Blog Posts on Church Issues

How to Heal When the Church Hurts You

Marshall Segal

Churches really ought to be a refuge for the weary, a safe house for the broken, a rescue for the abused and mistreated. These local expressions of God’s gathered people are meant to offer the love, hope, and healing that God himself offers us in the gospel.

Sadly, some of the most serious and enduring pain is inflicted by the church, by people in these churches. Sin creeps into the corners of our sanctuaries and corrupts leaders, ministries, and relationships. And it... Continue Reading

An Alternative Script for Same-Sex Attraction

Nick Roen
An Alternative Script for Same-Sex Attraction

“There is nothing wrong with living a gay lifestyle. In fact, if you repress who you are, you will never live a happy, fulfilled life. Be true to yourself!”

This is the overwhelming message of society regarding homosexuality. Mark Yarhouse refers to this as “the gay script,” the blueprint for how homosexuals are to live. “Embrace who you are,” a swelling number shout, “and you will find happiness!”

I disagree, but I must confess that there is a part of me that... Continue Reading

Church, Make Room for Young Leaders

David Mathis
Church, Make Room for Young Leaders

What some aging Christians need from the younger generation is an invitation to lean into the local church, and not retreat or retire.

But others from the older generation need a different challenge — a summons to lay aside suspicion of everyone young enough to be your child, a charge to dispose of a derogatory view of the real-live specimen of the next generation. And, in particular, some older leaders need to hear a plea not to get off the bus, but to aggressively make... Continue Reading

How to Serve Families with Disability

John Knight
How to Serve Families with Disability

I was enjoying some friendly conversation with old friends after church when my teenaged daughter whispered in my ear, “Dad, he’s losing it.”

A quick glance at my son confirmed her assessment of her older brother with disabilities. Experience had taught us that his vocalizations would only get more intense and much louder. We needed to go.

I felt a heavy sigh welling up as yet another pleasant moment was cut short by my son’s behavior caused by his disabilities. It was... Continue Reading

20 Principles to Live Faithfully in a Complex World

Jonathan Parnell
20 Principles to Live Faithfully in a Complex World

How shall we as American Christians think and act with regard to freedom of religion in a pluralistic context?

It was ten years ago when John Piper and the elders at Bethlehem first presented this question. The aim was to guide the church — both locally and on a wider scale — in how to live faithfully in an increasingly complex society. They drafted a single document of 20 guidelines that are perhaps more relevant now than ever.

All 20 guidelines are... Continue Reading

Nine Reasons Why Your Church May Need a Blog

Josh Etter

A year into his pastorate, John Piper began a weekly newsletter called The Bethlehem Star. Today you might start a blog rather than a newsletter, but in an increasingly noisy world, the need to communicate effectively with your church membership is more important than ever. Reprinted below is the original rationale (from 1981) behind the creation of this regular communication — which 32 years later continues as a monthly publication complemented by weekly email... Continue Reading

What the Star-Tribune Got Right — And Wrong

John Piper
What the Star-Tribune Got Right — And Wrong

The Star-Tribune article about my sermon this past weekend got it partly right and partly wrong.

The part that they got right was that I did not give a public endorsement for any legislation or candidate.

But they got two parts wrong.

First they say, “Key Minnesota pastors opt out of marriage fight.” I didn’t opt out. I opted in. What is at stake more than anything else is the meaning of marriage and how important it is for the common good and for the glory of Christ.... Continue Reading

More on the Masculine Feel of Christianity

David Mathis

In his 2012 biographical address on "The Frank and Manly Mr. Ryle," John Piper highlighted the value of a masculine ministry — and with it, the importance of Christianity having a masculine feel. It's a provocative thing to say when, not only in our day, but throughout history, true masculinity has seemed too often like an endangered species, under assault from both the left and the right.

Such a controversial claim is open to swift misinterpretation, especially... Continue Reading

Standing Against a Vicious "Gospel"

John Knight

I recently had the pleasure of joining a group of people that included a Christian man from Ghana. He loves Jesus and holds tightly to the promises of God in ways that are beautiful and humbling. He has been evangelizing, mentoring, and teaching for years in Western Africa, including some very dangerous places.

Last year he lost his daughter to an illness. She was a beautiful 21-year-old young woman about to finish college. He and his wife have suffered greatly. The... Continue Reading