February 26, 2019

We’ve all been to this church service, and we all know what I’m talking about: It’s time for someone to be baptized or the church to receive the Lord’s Supper, and the pastor stands up and begins telling his congregation all about what the water, bread, and wine are not, what they do not do, and what we should not think about them: “There’s nothing magical about this water, it doesn’t save you.” “This bread and wine don’t turn into… Read more

February 11, 2019

Last week my first-grade daughter, Astrid, heard me mention abortion in conversation with my wife and asked me what it meant. It took no time for me to reply: “Abortion is when they kill a baby before it’s born, when it’s still inside its mommy.” Astrid’s eyes grew wide as she processed this horrible new feature of her world. She has seen her mommy pregnant twice, and those pregnancies ended in two little brothers. It’s strange to think that on… Read more

January 28, 2019

A friend of mine on Facebook observed that there seems to be a new procedure for writing on the subject of masculinity: 1.) Pick a typically masculine trait (say, strength). 2.) Create a false dilemma between this trait and an approved trait (say, gentleness). 3.) Pen an article expounding this false dilemma by using corruptions and exaggerations of the masculine trait to prove its incompatibility with the approved trait (for example, “traditionally strong men cannot be gentle”). 4.) Redefine the… Read more

January 7, 2019

I pick on millennials frequently, and that’s okay, because I happen to be one. But my generation comes by some of its much-criticized quirks and indulgences honestly. One of the worst we’ve inherited from our parents is our widespread aversion to church membership. When I bring this up with people of the non-committal persuasion, they react as if I’ve asked them to observe the Old Testament dietary laws. For a sizeable contingent of self-professed Christians, belonging to a local body… Read more

December 14, 2018

I think pastor Doug Wilson and I would agree that the Christmas song wars are more obnoxious and pointless than most of the songs that inspire them. In the broader culture, the current bogey is “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” In the theological literati subculture it’s “Mary, Did You Know?”. The complaint against the second boils down to people not understanding lyrical pedagogy. Yes, Mary knew much of what Mark Lowry asks, though she was probably fuzzy on the details. Nevertheless,… Read more

December 12, 2018

I never tire of citing one of C. S. Lewis’ most insightful passages in “The Screwtape Letters,” in which the senior demon instructs his understudy in the diabolical strategy to “direct the fashionable outcry of each generation [of humans] against the vice of which it is least in danger.” “The game,” says Screwtape, “is to have them all running about with fire extinguishers whenever there is a flood, and all crowding to that side of the boat which is nearly… Read more

December 4, 2018

In the time-honored spirit of judging other parents, many Christians this time of year inform fellow moms and dads that they’re lying to their kids, and probably setting them up for atheism by encouraging them to believe in Santa Claus. Initially, this pious-sounding stance held some appeal for me. I despise the over-commercialization of Christian holy-days, and generally find that believing households focus too little, not too much on Christ’s birth. And of course, lying to your children is wrong…. Read more

November 8, 2018

A couple of years ago, I wrote an article for the Federalist claiming that most American Christians are heretics. I grounded this bold charge on a previous State of Theology survey commissioned by Ligonier Ministries and conducted by LifeWay Research. In the survey, a significant proportion—in some cases a majority—of self-identified evangelicals fessed up to beliefs that run afoul of the Nicene and Chalcedonian formulas, Christian tradition, or Scripture. I think I was on the right track with my gloomy assessment, and… Read more

October 29, 2018

This piece was originally published at BreakPoint.org.  Would you believe in Christianity even if you believed it to be factually false? This is a complicated question. On the one hand, I am persuaded it’s rational to think in hypotheticals: about what I would believe if I were no longer able to accept or at least defend the literal reality of Christ’s life, death, burial, and resurrection. I recently took a sort of informal social media poll about this, asking online… Read more

October 25, 2018

Forty is a biblically significant number. It’s usually the duration of time—in days or years—of arduous tests or judgment events. The rains of the flood fell for forty days. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years. Jesus fasted for forty days before His temptation. Forty years have now passed since the publication of the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, and it’s fair to say the intervening decades have seen a large-scale trial in the church, specifically over the… Read more

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