Why Doctrine Matters

Jonathan Parnell

One step before the details of what you believe is the question of why it matters. Simply put, what you believe matters because it's what tells you how to live—and something is always telling everyone. Kevin Vanhoozer explains:

One's life is moving in one direction or another, taking one kind of shape or another. As Pascal remarked: "Our nature consists in movement. Absolute rest is death." To the extent that we are always following some direction or other, our very lives are... Continue Reading

Alcohol and Church Membership

Michael Johnson
Alcohol and Church Membership

Piper explains his position on alcohol and church membership:

When I came to Bethlehem Baptist Church over [three] decades ago, this was one of the first controversies I had to deal with. We survived it and are he better for it. I think what I learned may be helpful.

Among Baptist and other congregationally governed churches, the local church constitution generally contains an affirmation of faith and church covenant. The church covenant describes a core set of Biblical... Continue Reading

The Glory of God in the Gift of Disability

John Knight

In last week's sermon on John 9:1-23, John Piper makes this bold statement:

Jesus says that the purpose of the blindness is to put the work of God on display. This means that for our suffering to have ultimate meaning, God must be supremely valuable to us. More valuable than health and life.

But what if the intense suffering is happening to your child? Can God really be more valuable to a parent than a healthy child? Can there possibly be purpose to disability?

Greg... Continue Reading

Only Do What Your Heart Tells You

Jon Bloom
Only Do What Your Heart Tells You

Princess Diana once said, “Only do what your heart tells you.”

This is a creed believed by millions. It’s a statement of faith in one of the great pop cultural myths of the Western world. It’s a gospel proclaimed in many of our stories, movies, and songs.

It states that your heart is a compass inside of you that will point you to your own true north if you can just see it clearly. Your heart is a true guide that will lead you to happiness if you can just tune into it. We are... Continue Reading

John Piper Interviews Rick Warren on Doctrine

John Piper

This 98 minute interview that I did with Rick Warren was recorded on May 1, 2011, during the Desiring God Regional Conference at Saddleback Church. It's the fulfillment of a commitment we made when Rick was not able to come in person to the Desiring God National Conference in Minneapolis in October, 2010.

The nature of the interview is mainly doctrinal. I read Rick’s The Purpose Driven Life with great care. I brought 20 pages of quotes and questions to the... Continue Reading

C.S. Lewis on the Problem of Forgiveness

Michael Johnson
C.S. Lewis on the Problem of Forgiveness

C. S. Lewis writes about the problem of forgiveness:

. . . you must make every effort to kill every taste of resentment in your own heart—every wish to humiliate or hurt him or to pay him out. The difference between this situation and the one in such you are asking God’s forgiveness is this. In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough.

As regards my own sin it is a safe bet (though not a certainty) that the... Continue Reading

The Gospel Anchor to the Church's Identity

Jonathan Parnell

In A Light to the Nations, Michael Goheen explains the need to understand the nature of the Church (ecclesiology) in order to recover her missional role.

He writes:

Ecclesiology is about understanding our identity, who we are, and why God has chosen us—whose we are. If we do not develop our self-understanding in terms of the role that we have been called to play in the biblical drama, we will find ourselves shaped by the idolatrous story in the dominant culture (5).

... Continue Reading

Are Evangelicals Doctrinally Weak?

Michael Johnson

In the book God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards, Piper writes about the present state of evangelicalism:

I resonate with the lament of Os Guinness and David Wells that evangelicalism today is basking briefly in the sunlight of hollow success. Evangelical industries of television and radio and publishing and music recordings, as well as hundreds of growing mega-churches and some highly visible public figures and political movements, give... Continue Reading

The Danger of “Fruitfulness” Without Purity

Michael Oh
The Danger of “Fruitfulness” Without Purity

As I sift through a mountain of emails, I’ve learned to quickly dismiss forwarded “junk mail,” even if it’s from people I consider friends. At the same time I learn to recognize which email “clicks” might actually reap spiritual blessing. When I get an email from a particular dear friend who works with the Navigators, I pay attention. A few years ago he forwarded an email of a quote passed along by one his friends. The blessing and challenge of that email made such... Continue Reading

Serving One of the Least Religious Populations on Earth

Tyler Kenney
Serving One of the Least Religious Populations on Earth

Statistics about religion in the Czech Republic, especially in the last 20 years, are startling:

According to the 2001 census, 59% of the country is agnostic, atheist or irreligious . . . . From 1991 to 2001, the number of people identifying with no religion increased by 19.1%, or two million people, representing the largest group increase. Adherence to Christianity decreased by over one million persons.

These numbers are why Wikipedia can summarily... Continue Reading