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

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

A La Carte

October 12, 2015

Today’s Kindle deals are headlined by 3 J.I. Packer titles: Taking God Seriously, Growing in Christ, and Keeping the Ten Commandments ($2.99 each). Continuing the theme, Sam Storms’ new book Packer on the Christian Life is $5.99. Also consider: Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur ($3.99); What the Bible Means to Me by Catherine MacKenzie ($1.99); The Fruitful Wife by Hayley DiMarco ($2.99).

More than the Five Points

David Murray provides a couple of interesting facts about Calvinism, including this: “The five points of Calvinism did not originate with John Calvin, and do not provide a comprehensive summarize of his teaching.”

The Inner Workings of Becoming One Flesh

Melissa has a gift for describing the Christian life as it is. “Marriage is an on-going exercise in making fools of ourselves for love’s sake.” Amen to that!

Why Gospel for Asia Got Kicked Out of ECFA

I mentioned last week that Gospel for Asia was removed from the financial accountability organization ECFA. This article explains why it happened and how GFA is responding.

Historic Flooding in South Carolina

This photo gallery shows the devastation in parts of South Carolina.

Sometimes Africa Scares Me

Let articles like this one remind you to pray for those serving the Lord overseas. “Will this election mirror other African countries? Will there be rioting and violence? Just a few years ago, 1000 people were killed in election violence in Kenya, our neighbor to the north.”

Today. Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians. In 1957 Parliament declared the second Monday of October to be “a day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.” Be sure to do that!

Building Church Community the Right Way

WORLD magazine has an extended excerpt from The Compelling Community, an excellent book from Mark Dever and Jamie Dunlop. This excerpt gets right to the heart of the book. (For further information, here is my review: The Compelling Community.)

Hoo Ba Ba Kanda

Take a bit of autotune and some old Robert Tilton clips and you’ll be singing Hoo Ba Ba Kanda all day long.


Begin early to teach, for children begin early to sin. —C.H. Spurgeon

October 10, 2015

Thanks to all who read and replied to yesterday’s article The Major Life Decision That Put My Theology to the Test. The response was very encouraging and, in its own way, very confirming. Thank you.

Can the Devil Read My Mind?

R.C. Sproul answers this question.

Lean In To Boredom

“Boredom is not tragic. Properly understood, boredom helps us understand time, and ourselves. Unlike fun or work, boredom is not about anything; it is our encounter with pure time as form and content.”

Reignite Your Prayer Life

This article from Don Whitney is essentially a summary of his book Praying the Bible.

Wise to What’s on the Internet

I was recently a guest on TechTonic podcast. We talked about ad blocking and protecting yourself and your family from pornography.

Your Husband Is Looking at Pornography

Here is some counsel on how to respond if you learn that your husband is looking at pornography or has been involved in other sexual sin. “The question is, now what do you do? How do you deal with this? I want to help you, Christian wife and woman, to see this sin through the eyes of the Lord and the Gospel.”

This Day in 2003. 12 years ago today, Desiring God hosted their first National Conference.

Comic Books as Modern Mythology

This is an interesting argument: “The comics of today are American versions of Greek mythology complete with origin, philosophy, psychology, and religion.”

Why the Reformation Study Bible?

Thanks to Ligonier Ministries for sponsoring the blog this week with an article titled Why the Reformation Study Bible?.


By faith we expect rich harvest fields and breaking nets, for the gospel is specifically designed to bear fruit. —Jack Miller

October 09, 2015

Today’s Kindle deals include two from Christian Focus, a trusted publisher: How Prayer Impacts Lives by Catherine MacKenzie ($1.99) and Input Output by Jo Boddam-Whetham ($0.99). You may also be interested in I Will by Thom Rainer ($2.99).

Andrew Peterson’s Newest Album Is Now Available

You can now purchase Andrew Peterson’s latest album, The Burning Edge of Dawn.

Everlasting Way

And while we’re on the subject of music, a reader pointed me to this EP by Dan opdeVeigh. You can listen to it for free on Bandcamp. My only complaint is that there are only 4 songs.

Were Early Christian Scribes Untrained Amateurs?

Michael Kruger takes on a common fallacy. “In the ongoing debates about the reliability of early Christian manuscripts, and whether they have been transmitted with fidelity, it is often claimed that early Christian scribes were amateurs, unprofessional, and some probably couldn’t even read.”

5 Warning Signs for the Church in a ‘Facebook Culture’

Sticking with Michael Kruger, he has also written on a very different topic: “What effect does ‘social media’ technology have on the way we view the church? On the way we conceive of life in Christ’s body?”

The Meaning of Marriage

Westminster Books has a great deal on the book, study guide, and DVD for Tim Keller’s excellent book The Meaning of Marriage.

Direct Revelation and Marriage Proposals

And speaking of marriage, we have all heard of these marriage proposals, right? “God told me we should get married,” Jacob said with enough strength to mean it—and with enough of a pause between, “God told me” and “we should…” for Lisa to deduce that he wasn’t so sure about what he was saying.

This Day in 1971. Russell Moore was born. Happy 44th birthday, Russell! You can wish him a happy birthday at @DrMoore.

Restaurant Conveyer Belt

If this is the future of restaurants, I think I’ll just eat at home, thanks.

The Frightening Promise of Self-Tracking Pills

And if this is the future of medication, I think I’ll just take my chances without. Yet a few years from now, both will probably seem perfectly normal.


The Bible simultaneously pictures God as utterly sovereign, and as a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God. —D.A. Carson

October 08, 2015

Yesterday’s test on the Trinity was surprisingly popular, with 21,000 people completing it by the end of the day! I can’t see individual results but I can see trends. I may write an article or two to address the most common mistakes (which may also have just been badly worded questions). In the meantime, enjoy today’s links:

A Songwriting Rant

You will probably appreciate Andrew Wilson’s songwriting rant. “I’m not really ranting about songwriters, but about the pastoral carelessness, verging on negligence, shown by a fair few guardians of the church simply because someone is holding a guitar. For most modern charismatics and evangelicals, our hymnody is our liturgy - a problem which is the subject of a whole other post - and that makes thinking it through carefully extremely important.”

The Raging Waters

Derek Thomas brings an update from South Carolina. “Our beautiful city has been ravaged, more than a dozen lives have been lost and thousands have been displaced and ruined; and as I write, further threats are in view.”

Fixing India’s Railways

In world news: “[India’s] railway, often dubbed as the ‘Lifeline of the Nation,’ shuttles more than 23 million people a day via 12,000-plus trains across some 7,000 stations. But congestion, frequent train accidents, and a lack of funding and political will to improve the rail system has made it inefficient and outdated.”

Christian Album Covers

Here’s a roundup of some of the most ridiculous and hilarious Christian album covers. Personally, I think Petra’s More Power To Ya was pretty awesome.

Be Kind To Yourself

I just love this new song and video from Andrew Peterson. His new album comes out in just 2 days. About this song he says, “I wrote this for my daughter, and the day I sang it for her I realized it was for me, too.” (Also, you can read an interview with him at The Gospel Coalition.)

This Day in 451. The first meeting of the Council of Chalcedon opened, near Constantinople. Dealing primarily with the Eutychian Christological heresy, the council created a confession of faith which has been regarded as the highest word in early Christian orthodoxy. *

The Most Spoken Language

A study has found that in 2050 the world’s most spoken language may just be French. That’s largely because of the high birth-rate in African nations where French is the dominant language.

Ditching the Rhythm

As a person who loves routine and who is trying to learn some new routines, I appreciated this article.


Inerrancy means the word of God always stands over us and we never stand over the word of God. —Kevin DeYoung

October 07, 2015

There are a few excellent Kindle deals today, including Answering Your Kids’ Toughest Questions by Elyse Fitzpatrick ($1.99); Roman Catholic Theology by Gregg Allison ($4.99); Run to Win the Prize by Thomas Schreiner ($2.99); The Underestimated Gospel edited by Jonathan Leeman ($0.99). New from GLH Publishing is The Precious Things of God by Octavius Winslow ($0.99).

How Do I Know That God Loves Me?

“How do we know God loves us, and what does His love look like? How we answer these questions, and we all hold answers to those questions whether we are aware of them or not, is what determines our view of God and the health of our faith.” 

Five Questions about Sanctification and Good Works

This promises to be a good series from Kevin DeYoung. Over the course of 5 days he will answer 5 questions about sanctification and good works. It’s not the easiest reading, but worth pushing yourself, I think. (Also, here is part two.)

‘Captive’ and the Christian Film Industry

This article may be a bit too harsh toward Christian movies, but I think the main point is valid. “No non-Christian is going to see one of these films and think ‘hey, I should follow Jesus now.’ They will watch them and either laugh, or nod off.” God’s Not Dead was an especially bad offender.

This Day in 1873. Extraordinary missionary Lottie Moon arrives in China. She once said, “If I had a thousand lives, I would give them all for the women of China.” *

New Planned Parenthood Video

This is beyond horrifying. “New undercover video footage released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) shows a Planned Parenthood abortionist describing how she tears away preborn babies’ ‘lower extremities’ in an effort to get at their torsos.”

Why Annihilationism is Wrong

Gavin Ortlund: “The traditional doctrine of hell is currently undergoing significant challenges from both within and without the church. Many question the reality of hell outright, while many others opt toward annihiliationism—the belief that the damned won’t suffer eternally but will instead have their consciousness extinguished at some point.”

The Preacher and His Technology

David Murray talks about the preacher and his technology. In the bottom part of the article he discusses how he uses various technologies in his sermon preparation.


Learning to pray doesn’t offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart. —Paul Miller

October 06, 2015

Today’s Kindle deals include The Insanity of Obedience by Nik Ripken ($2.99); Ordinary by Tony Merida ($2.99); Preparing Expository Sermons by Ramesh Richard ($2.99); Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcey ($2.99); My Daily Pursuit by A.W. Tozer ($1.99).

Ten Commandments for Pastors

Joel Beeke has ten wise and helpful commandments for pastors.

The Vine Journal

I’m excited about this! GoThereFor, a ministry connected to Matthias Media, has announced The Vine Journal, a new journal they will be publishing 3 times a year. The first issue is free to download. (You can read the announcement and rationale here.)

A Lack of Confidence

This article was written specifically for worship leaders. But even though I’m no worship leader, it still slapped me across the face. “One issue that can sink worship leaders is a lack of confidence. And when I say ‘confidence’ I mean a confidence in the power of God’s call on you, the power of the Spirit within you, and the power of the gospel no thanks to you.”

Joy - An Irish Christmas

Don’t wait to get your tickets for this year’s Christmas tour with the Gettys (since many of the shows will sell out!). I went last year and enjoyed it thoroughly. If you’re going to the Toronto concert, I’ll see you down at Roy Thompson Hall. If you’re going to the Louisville concert, you’ll get to support 20schemes.

This Day in 1536. William Tyndale is martyred at the stake in Antwerp for his Protestant views and for his efforts to translate the Bible into English. *

The Perspicuity of Scripture

As Burk Parsons points out, “what is so hard about the hard sayings of Jesus is not our inability to understand them fully but to believe them fully and obey them fully.”

ECFA Strips Gospel for Asia’s Membership

I am not certain if this will be relevant to any of my readers, but it may be good to know that The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) terminated the membership of Gospel for Asia Friday for violations of ECFA standards.


You and your sins must separate, or you and your God cannot come together. —C.H. Spurgeon

October 05, 2015

Today’s Kindle deals include Finding Truth by Nancy Pearcey ($5.99); The Dating Manifesto by Lisa Anderson ($2.99); and What’s Best Next by Matt Perman ($3.99). I especially recommend Pearcey’s book if you haven’t yet gotten a copy.

Transgender Confusion and Transformational Christianity

This year’s ACBC conference gets underway today and you can stream all of the plenary sessions. The theme of the event is Transgender Confusion and Transformational Christianity.

Lenny’s Garage

I always enjoy seeing interesting people in action. Like Lenny. “Lenny Shiller is a lifelong Brooklyn resident and classic car collector. He has amassed a staggering 58 rare classic cars, while he also owns hundreds of vintage bikes, motorcycles, and memorabilia.”

Thoughts on Note-Taking During Sermons

I appreciate Jared Wilson’s measured thoughts on taking notes while listening to a sermon.

Don’t Panic

This article tells why you shouldn’t panic about new technologies, and how people have been getting it wrong all the way back to Gutenberg.

Are Apple Stores the New Temples?

We used to have temples. “Nowadays, we have Apple Release Day—the Feast of St. Jobs—when faithful customers gather outside Apple stores and await the renewal of a next generation iPhone.”

MachowskiNow Available for Pre-Order. New Growth Press is about to publish another book with Marty Machowski. This book is a systematic theology for kids in the form of “a story of adventure, mystery, and wonder that leads them to the truth about God, themselves, and the world around them.” You can now pre-order it.

The Bithynian Option

Paul Carter has a long and fascinating article about Christians and cultural engagement. He critiques some of the prevailing views and offers an alternative. It’s a long but worthwhile read.

When Can A Child Respond to the Gospel?

“Few issues weigh more heavily on Christian parents than the salvation of their children. For credobaptists this issue takes on a special significance as we hold to the idea that our children must be converted in order to become Christians.”


Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of Hell. —C.T. Studd

October 03, 2015

Kindle deals today include: Truth in a Culture of Doubt by Andreas Kostenberger ($3.50); Contending with Christianity’s Critics by Paul Copan ($3.50); Fear and Faith by Trillia Newbell ($3.03); Discerning Truth by Jason Lisle ($2.99).

What “Orwellian” Means

Most people use the word wrong. This is a great little video that describes what it really means (and why we want to use it rightly).

A Quick And Easy Guide To The Planned Parenthood Videos

Mollie Hemingway provides a quick and easy guide to the 10 videos that have been released to this point.

Don’t Neglect the Work of Speck Removing

Are we actually supposed to remove the speck from a brother’s eye? And can we see clearly enough to do that? John Piper answers in his inimitable way.

FactChecker: The Umpqua Community College Shooting

Joe Carter: “In an attempt to help dispel and clarify some of the claims being made I’ve put together what we know so far. There is still much we do not know about this mass killing, and even most of what we know is tentative so I’ll update this article as necessary.”

Why Four Gospels?

Why did God give us four gospels instead of just one? It’s a valid question.

Tomorrow in 1692. Increase Mather published his “Cases of Conscience Concerning Evil Spirits,” which ended the Salem Witch Trials. *

The Execution of Alfredo Prieto

“It is undeniably disturbing to drive to the scheduled killing of another.” This article tells how an execution actually unfolds.

Don’t Leave Jesus Behind

Thanks to P&R for sponsoring the blog this week with “Don’t Leave Jesus Behind.” Sponsors play a crucial role in helping keep the blog going, so I am grateful for each one.


Can you have any greater assurance that you are praying the will of God than when you are praying the Word of God? —Don Whitney