Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

A La Carte

October 31, 2015

Here are a few new Kindle deals: The Betrayal by Douglas Bond ($0.99); Recovering the Reformed Confession by R. Scott Clark ($0.99); Tributes to John Calvin by David Hall ($1.99); Martin Luther by Stephen Nichols ($1.99); The Deity of Christ by Christopher Morgan & Robert Peterson ($4.61).

Is the Reformation Over?

If you know much about R.C. Sproul, you’ll be able to anticipate his answer to this question. His final paragraph is pure gold. I predict that as we come to the 500th anniversary of 1517, we will find a resurgence of people disagreeing with him.

An FAQ on Mysticism

Justin Taylor posted a very, very helpful FAQ on mysticism. He defines mysticism, provides historical examples, and then shows both the similarities and differences with biblical spirituality.

Daylight Savings Time

Here are the realities and myths of daylight savings time.

Absurd Creature of the Week

Here’s a bizarre and beautiful creature. “These are the rare dalcerids, also known as the jewel caterpillars, creatures of such beauty that you might just want to wrap one in a gold chain and hang it around your neck.”

This Day in 1517. At age 31, German Augustinian monk Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg—which sparked the Protestant Reformation! *

The Refugees’ Journey Through Europe

What a sad, sad situation as refugees pour into Europe.

Reformed Presbyterian Theological Journal

Thanks to RPTS for sponsoring the blog this week with news of their new (free) journal. This blog depends upon sponsors to cover the various costs involved, so I am grateful to each one of them.

Why I’m Not a Christian

Cameron Fathauer was one of my summer interns this year (who, after the summer, was involved in a terrible accident). He has been released from hospital and today is leading an event meant to answer tough questions about Christianity. He invites you to participate via livestream. 


Much praying is not done because we do not plan to pray. —D.A. Carson

October 30, 2015

Today’s Kindle deals include The Skeletons in God’s Closet by Joshua Butler ($2.99); Big Truths for Young Hearts by Bruce Ware ($2.99); Hero of Heroes by Iain Duguid ($1.99); Double Play by Ben & Julianna Zobrist ($0.99); The Simple Gospel by Jon Cardwell ($0.99). New from GLH Publishing is The Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson ($0.99). Finally, I’ve heard a lot of good things about the (general market) book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield ($0.99).

The Reformation Gave Us a Seat at the Table

Kevin DeYoung: “Among all the critical rediscoveries during the Reformation, it is easy to overlook the importance of recovering the Lord’s Supper as a covenantal meal (not a re-presenting of Christ’s atoning death) with all the elements (bread and cup) distributed to every believer (no longer withholding the cup from the laity).”

He Giveth More Grace

Jamie Brown shared a new melody for a beautiful hymn of encouragement: “Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision / Our God ever yearns His resources to share / Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing / The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.”

No Creed but the Bible

I appreciate John Piper’s handling of the idea that we need no creed but the Bible. (As I’ve published quizzes on matters of doctrine, I’ve been surprised by how many people refuse to treat creeds and confessions with any kind of value or authority.)

Last Words

Ed Welch reflects on last words. “A child would not fully understand, but an adult does: with life’s uncertainty in mind, we are especially careful with our words and relationships.”

This Day in 1536. Thirteen years after Lutheran ministers came to bring spiritual renewal to its people, Denmark adopted Lutheranism as its official state religion. Today more than 80% of Danish people are adherents of the Luthern Church but less than 4% are considered Evangelical. *

The Curator

Baseball (and sports) fans will enjoy The Curator , a short film about a man with a unique job.

Activism, Apathy, or Affliction?

When the laws are changing, God’s people need to be praying (and fasting). “Perhaps we have not seriously enough considered seasons of sincere fasting and prayer among God’s people – days of affliction of the body for the sharpening of the soul.”

Fly Free Forever

“Back in 1981, in an effort to raise some quick funds, American Airlines introduced a $250,000 pass (about $641,000 today) that would allow customers to fly on its airlines for free for the rest of their lives.” It proved to be a terrible and costly mistake.


Eternity will be too short fully to recount His praise. Let us not shorten our joy by neglecting to begin on earth. —Henry Law

October 29, 2015

Today’s Kindle deals include two volumes from the excellent Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament series: James ($2.99) and 1 Peter ($0.99). Other deals include The Man of Sin by Kim Riddlebarger ($1.99); Made in Heaven by Ray Comfort ($2.99); An Introduction to Wisdom and Poetry of the Old Testament by Donald Berry ($0.99); The Gospels and Acts (The Holman Apologetics Commentary on the Bible) ($2.99); The Five Points of Calvinism by Edwin Palmer ($0.99).

Why Abortion Is Unjust Discrimination

This helpful animated video shows why abortion is unjust discrimination.

Should Christians Take Part in Halloween Celebrations?

“These kinds of disputes are not uncommon in the history of the church. In Biblical times, believers argued about all kinds of things like food, festivals, celebrations, and rules…” (If you want to know my view on it, well, we just sorted out our girls’ costumes for Saturday.)

Scary Stuff

While we’re on the subject of Halloween, Janie at Redeemed Reader says, “In general, I don’t consider horror stories to be of much value for Christians, for three reasons.” (And, as it happens, we do not allow our children to participate in Halloween as horror or occult characters.)

Why “God’s Not Dead” Resonated, and What It Missed

With God’s Not Dead 2 in the works, Trevin Wax looks at why the first movie resonated and what it missed. 

Are Daily Fantasy Leagues Immoral?

Daily fantasy leagues are in the news a lot today. Brad Hambrick looks at the phenomenon from a counselor’s perspective and asks whether they are something that Christians should participate in.

This Day in 1837. Statesman and theologian Abraham Kuyper was born 178 years ago today. “So strongly was his Christian touch felt in his native land that the nation came together to celebrate his seventieth birthday.” *

The History of Western Philosophy

Westminster Books is offering a steep discount on John Frame’s massive new work.

Reformation Reminders

Eric Davis offers a series of Reformation Reminders to remind us why the Reformation was a necessity. (I may say more about this later, but touring the grand cathedrals in Germany and Austria and seeing the relics and superstition, was shocking to this Protestant.)


God is good to all in some ways and to some in all ways. —J.I. Packer

October 28, 2015

Today’s Kindle deals include three titles by Joel Beeke: Family Worship, The Family at Church, and Bringing the Gospel to Covenant Children ($0.99 each). Also consider The Unquenchable Flame by Michael Reeves ($2.99); Recovering the Real Lost Gospel by Darrell Bock ($2.99); Safe? by Frank Retief ($1.99); No Tears in Heaven and Mother, Sister and Follower by Charles Spurgeon ($1.99 each).

Also, the Christ-Centered Exposition commentary series, edited by David Platt, Danny Akin, and Tony Merida, is on sale today in the Kindle versions ($2.99 each): Exodus, Song of Songs, Galatians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians; Ezra & Nehemiah, Matthew, MarkEphesians1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, James1, 2, & 3 John. These are solidly evangelical, entry-level, reader-friendly commentaries.

The Needless Complexity of Academic Writing

Theologians (and pastors) take note.

New Planned Parenthood Video

The eleventh video from the Center for Medical Progress was released yesterday and it just continues the horror.

Six Ways to Cultivate Thankfulness and Joy

Mark Altrogge: “As we make gratitude a habit by practicing it over and over, it becomes part of us. Natural. As natural as complaining. And eventually thankfulness will drive out that demon of grumbling and we’ll experience more and more consistent joy.”

Before Galaxies Stood Forth, He Knew You

“The cosmic love and wisdom of God should be a truth that collides with our heart (for it is personal to us) and explodes in our soul (for it will stir you to worship).”

This Day in 1646. At age 42, colonial missionary John Eliot (“Apostle to the New England Indians”) conducted the first Protestant worship service for the Native Americans. He was the first to preach a sermon to them in their own language. *

Debunking 4 Myths About Religious Freedom

Russell Moore debunks a few common myths.

Why Study Hebrew (or Greek)?

I really appreciate David Murray’s answer here.


It is no less difficult to have great abilities than great riches without trusting in them. —John Newton

October 27, 2015

Today’s Kindle deals include a lot of R.C. Sproul: The Promises of God ($1.99); How Then Shall We Worship? ($1.99); Pleasing God ($1.99); The Work of Christ ($2.99); and The Dark Side of Islam ($2.99). It’s never the wrong time to read an R.C. Sproul book! Also, Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology and Gregg Allison’s accompanying Historical Theology are both marked way down at $7.99.

A Praying Man

This is beautiful: “It is a blessing to my heart to know that this father in the faith is storming heaven on my behalf day by day, that I need only to drop him a note with a particular request and he is sure to take it to the Lord.” Don’t we all want a praying man or woman in our lives?

Bedeviled by My Wife’s Dementia

Douglas Groothuis writes movingly about his wife’s dementia and his deep struggles in and through it.

The Neglected Pastoral Priority

Brian Croft says (rightly no doubt) that prayer is the most commonly neglected pastoral priority. “Ironically, a pastor can be so busy caring for his people that he never makes time to stop and pray for them.”

Eight Life-Changing Things Someone Taught Me

Lore shares eight important lessons she has learned along the way.

This Day in 1978. Today marks 37 years since the New International Version (NIV) Bible was first published. *

Can a Word Be a Punctuation Mark?

I love these articles. In this one Bill Mounce asks whether it is okay to translate a Greek word with an English punctuation mark.

The Cowboy and The Shepherd

Southern Seminary: “Enjoy this brief glance into the life of Southern Seminary Alumnus, Texas Pastor John Powell, who’s learned how to be both a cowboy and a shepherd.”

And, while we’re on the subject of Southern Seminary, you may be interested to note that today Al Mohler has a new book, a new (or redesigned, at least) web site, and a new app.


Always and everywhere the servants of Christ are under orders to evangelize. —J.I. Packer

October 26, 2015

Reformation Day is coming up this week, and these two Kindle deals will remind you what it’s all about: The Reformation by Stephen Nichols ($2.99) and John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor by Robert Godfrey ($2.99). Both are short, accessible introductions to their subject. You may also be interested in God’s Love by R.C. Sproul (free) or The Money Answer Book by Dave Ramsey ($5.99).

This Is a Story About Loss

I really enjoyed this story about the Unclaimed Baggage Center. The author does a great job of discussing her own life and struggles even as she writes about a business.

The Largest-Ever Image of Space

“Space is big, but it’s never been quite this big. This composite image … is, they claim, the largest image of space to date. It shows a long swathe of the Milky Way, photographed piece by piece over a period of five years from the university’s observatory in the Chilean desert.”

Tips for Being a False Teacher

Interested in becoming a false teacher? This tongue-in-cheek article will give you the guidance you need.

Peggy Noonan’s Education in News Craft

Here’s an interesting and biographical column from Peggy Noonan.

Thresholds of Violence

If you are up for a longer read, check out Malcolm Gladwell’s article on how school shootings catch on.

This Day in 1751. Philip Doddridge died 264 years ago today. He is famous for his book The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul, which led William Wilberforce and others to Christ. He also wrote the hymn, “O Happy Day” (among hundreds of others). *

Fabulous Fall Foliage

Now that I’ve actually seen fall colors, I’m a bigger fan than ever. Here’s a photo gallery of fall at its finest.

Communicating with the Spirits

There are lots of interesting historical tidbits in this video. It displays some of the ways people have tried to communicate with the dead over the years and, as it does that, it shows the human fear of death and desperation to know what lies beyond it.


I love the sinner by telling telling them how much God hates their sin. —Mez McConnell

October 24, 2015

I have just two Kindle book deal to share today: The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias is $0.99; new from GLH Publishing is J.C. Ryle’s must-read classic Holiness which is also just $0.99.

Historical Is Not Enough

Carl Trueman says it well here: “Christians must be self-consciously historical in both thought and life.” Some people like historical Christianity, but without really believing it.

Relevant, Old Paths

Burk Parsons: “My father’s values were old, traditional values. But just because they were old and traditional didn’t necessarily make them good. They were good values because they were biblical values, and biblical values are relevant in every generation.”

UP In Real Life

This is fun: A couple celebrating their sixtieth anniversary by playing the theme song from UP.

What To Pay

You may have heard of Dan Price who decided to pay all 120 of his employees at least $70,000. This article talks about what he did, why he did it, and how it suddenly became a worldwide news story.

Anti-Secrecy Site Releases Abortion Industry Videos 

WORLD: “An online news site that emphasizes publishing information ignored by mainstream media has obtained and posted to YouTube 11 Center for Medical Progress (CMP) videos a judge ordered the pro-life group not to release.”

This Day in 1826. Ann Hasseltine Judson, wife of Burma missionary Adoniram Judson, died on the field 189 years ago today. 6 months later, their daughter would also die. *

The First Person To Run A Marathon Without Talking About It

Here’s a good little bit of satire: A profile of the first person to ever run a marathon without telling everyone about it.

The Story of Philosophy

Thanks to P&R and John Frame for sponsoring the blog this week with “The Story of Philosophy.”


The more we get to know God, the more we want to know him better. —D.A. Carson

October 23, 2015

Today I am heading home from Germany—a process that will consume 15 hours or so. Thanks to all who prayed for me. It was a sweet time of teaching and fellowship and I leave here having made several new friends. I hope to tell you more about it in the near future.

Far Side Christians

WORLD magazine interviews Albert Mohler on what we can learn from two unorthodox sources about responding to crises of faith.

Reflections on the New Spurgeon Library

Donald Whitney gives an interesting report on the dedication of the new C.H. Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO.

If the Bible Rarely Talks About It

I appreciate Mark Cortez’s comments on this subject: “In my theology classes, we often find ourselves wrestling with questions about which the Bible has relatively little to say. And students always wonder if that means these issues aren’t that important. If the Bible doesn’t have much to say about it, should we?”

When Routines Become Idols

Oh, shoot. I’m guilty as charged. “How do we know if our routines are an idol? The ways we respond to interruptions in our routines are a good indicator. If we have a strong emotional reaction or resistance to the disruption of our routines, it should give us pause to stop and consider whether our routines have turned from a good thing to a counterfeit god.”

Letter to a Perplexed Eleven-Year-Old

John Piper posts a public response to a note he received.

This Day in 877. Ignatius, patriarch of Constantinople, died 1,138 years ago today. *

Carl Trueman’s Lecture

I haven’t had time to listen to it yet, but I’ve heard really good things about this lecture by Carl Trueman.


There is more grace in Christ than sin in you. —Burk Parsons