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God Is Not Unreasonable

God is not “permissive”, but neither is he unreasonable. Reasonable exceptions to general rules are peppered all across the pages of Holy Scripture. In Numbers 9 verses 1-3 for example, we read: And the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 2 “Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. 3 On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed…

Persecution, Birth Pang or Pruning? (How Should We Interpret This Pandemic?)

As more and more countries emerge from lockdown and things slowly but surely begin to open up, thinking Christians are starting to ask an entirely different set of questions: What in the world just happened? Why did we respond the way we did? Have we just opened the door for totalitarianism and tyranny? Will the church come back stronger after being pressed down in the mud for more than a year?

COVID Gleanings from Ecclesiastes 7

We hear things in times of trouble that we tend to ignore in times of ease. In that sense, COVID19 has been a blessing. I know that I’ve seen some things in my daily readings that had not previously been raised to my attention.

How Should a Christian View the Government?

Salvation cannot be achieved by government. Governments restrain, they do not redeem. Governments reward, they do not restore. For blessings of that magnitude we look to the cross and to the coming of the Christ.

Dear Pandemic Weary Sister

A young lady that used to attend our church wrote to me recently and very kindly asked if I could encourage her as she was feeling very low as a result of this pandemic. I wrote her back a brief pastoral letter which I am happy to share here in the hopes that it may minister to others experiencing similar needs:

Pastoring after This Pandemic

The last 12 months have been incredibly difficult for pastors – as they have been for many others – but the next 12 months of recovery, regathering, and rebuilding promise to be even more so. COVID19 blew through the evangelical church in North American like a category 5 hurricane. As we begin to emerge from our lockdown shelters to survey the damage, the sheer scale of the task awaiting us will prove overwhelming for many.

A Bridegroom of Blood

If the act of baptism represents our appeal in faith to God for justification and absolution through the work of Jesus Christ, then it is effective. Not because we say magic words, and not because we use magic water, but because the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is itself powerful and effectual unto salvation.

Why I Am Not A Theonomist

It cannot be denied that theonomists are characterized by a sincere desire to honour Christ as Lord. Neither can it be denied that theonomists, as a group, tend to be very well prepared! But it can be argued, and it is often argued, that they have not yet learned to make their defense with gentleness and respect. And until they do they will not likely serve the corrective function within evangelicalism that they likely would otherwise.

Will This Suffering Make Us Stronger?

Does great suffering result in great strength – moral, personal and spiritual? Does great pain produce great gain in terms of faith, wisdom and understanding?

How The Book Of Job Makes Us Better Friends And Better Christians

One of the reasons that the Book of Job is in the Bible; not the primary reason, but an important reason; is to explore the question of how we should relate to friends and loved ones who are hurting.

If I Were Starting A Denomination From Scratch

To be clear I don’t think that churches have to associate with other churches, but I think it is dangerous and generally unwise not to. Churches that don’t associate are more vulnerable to doctrinal novelty, pastoral bullying and general isolation. Association is complicated and painful, but over the long haul it is worth it.

Semper Reformanda

I don’t think I ever referred to myself as “reformed” before 2014. I grew up in an independent evangelical church; we didn’t even formally associate with an actual denomination until I was a teenager. When I entered the ministry in 1994, to refer to yourself as “reformed” meant roughly “I am Presbyterian” or “I am Dutch”. Since I was neither of those things, I assumed the word had precious little to do with me. However, in the early 2000’s the old evangelical consensus began to fall apart and…