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

Tim Challies

Challies on FacebookChallies on Twitter

A La Carte

August 01, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include a good selection: Atheism Remix by Albert Mohler; Reasons We Believe by Nathan Busenitz; Is Jesus the Only Way? by Philip Ryken; Reasons for Faith by Norman Geisler; How to Be An Atheist by Mitch Stokes; and What’s Best Next by Matt Perman. Get them here.

Free from Christian Audio this month is The Brothers Karamazov. They also have a lot of other great classics discounted.

The Story of Iran’s Church in Two Sentences

“It’s a simple story that can be summarized in just two sentences: Persecution threatened to wipe out Iran’s tiny church. Instead, the church in Iran has become the fastest growing in the world, and it is influencing the region for Christ. As simple as it is, such an amazing story is worth examining deeper.”

China’s Christian Future

We go from Iran to China: “Two years later, the Holy Spirit made fellowship with me and allowed me to confess my sins. The Lord gave me the chance to repent and he accepted me as his humble servant. I was baptized on Christmas Eve. Our Bible study group became an ark. As human rights lawyers, independent writers, journalists, and Tiananmen survivors joined us aboard our vessel, our community of faith also became a thorn in the regime’s side.”

50+ Old Fashioned Insults We Should Bring Back

Yeah, I think we could do with a revival of some of these—dunderhead, gadabout, gollumpus, etc.

Stop Having ‘Quiet Times’

David Powlison is always worth reading. “In the verbal actions of the psalms—rejoicing in who God is, asking for needed help, expressing heartfelt thanks—we’re talking to someone. It’s fair to say that having a ‘quiet time’ is a misnomer. It’s more of an out loud, ‘noisy’ time.”

The Gritty, Grace-Filled Virtue of Self-Control

“In a culture of ‘gospel-centered (fill in the blank)’ and grace-filled (again, fill in the blank), have we bypassed perhaps the supreme virtue of Christianity: a gritty, unwavering control of our passions, thoughts, words, and behaviors for the sake of Christ?”

This Day in 1834. 182 years ago today, Robert Morrison, the first Protestant missionary to China, died at age 52. *

3 Types of Legalism

R.C. Sproul discusses legalism: “The gospel calls men to repentance, holiness, and godliness. Because of this, the world finds the gospel offensive. But woe to us if we add unnecessarily to that offense by distorting the true nature of Christianity by combining it with legalism.”

Three Men You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

This neat animation shows how three men you’ve probably never heard of helped end the Second World War.

Flashback: And Also Much Cattle…

“We need to answer the question. You and I. Do we really believe that nothing in all the world is more valuable than people? Do we bear this out in our lives?”


I want to hate my sins more than I hate the sins of others who sin differently than I do. —Burk Parsons

July 30, 2016

Logos users may like to know that several major new works have just made the transition to the Logos format: Zechariah by Mark Boda (NICOT); Romans by Richard Longenecker (NIGTC); and The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures by D.A. Carson.

Your Work Never Goes Unseen

This is sweet and encouraging: “God sees. And all things done for his glory and in his name are never wasted. That includes the laundry we fold, the meals we prepare, and all the quiet, mundane acts of service we provide for our family.”

Online Bible Study Resources

Nathan Busenitz shares some of his favorite free online Bible study resources.

The Best Way to Organize Your Desk

“When you spend hours at your desk every day, even the smallest features of your workspace–such as the position of your monitor or the height of your chair–can greatly affect your productivity and even your health. Here’s what science says about the best way to set up your office for ergonomics and productivity.”

Machias Seal Island

I didn’t know that there are ongoing territorial disputes between Canada and the US. “Little known to most Americans and Canadians, the U.S. and Canada hold five border disputes to this day.”

The Power Is in the Word, Not in Methods

Here’s a short but important reminder from R.C. Sproul.

The Most Relentless Propagator of Racism

This is important considering how many people are drowning in a cesspool of porn: “ugly and brutal racial stereotypes are being crassly perpetuated by one of the largest capitalist enterprises in the United States of America: the porn industry.”

This Day in 1956. 60 years ago today, “In God We Trust” became the official motto of the United States by an act of Congress signed by President Eisenhower. *

The Decline of British English, Visualized

Even I, as a Canadian, have pretty well given up on British English.

How to See Productivity from a Biblical Perspective

“Productivity sometimes seems like a bad thing, or at least a purposeless one. We work and produce more, more more, but to what end? Is there a purpose to all our productivity? From a biblical perspective, there is.”

Flashback: Paul Washer’s 7 Concerns with the New Calvinism

A few years ago I interviewed Paul Washer and he laid out 7 concerns with the New Calvinism. Are they still valid today?

The Tyranny of Tolerance

My thanks goes to Impact360 for sponsoring the blog this week with “3 Practical Steps to Resist the Tyranny of Tolerance.”


Peace in the gospel is not just a ceasefire, but the ability to look at people who were formerly foes and call them family. —John Onwuchekwa

July 29, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include 3 books I highly recommend: The Gospel by Ray Ortlund; Core Christianity by Michael Horton; and Church History 101 by Sinclair Ferguson, Joel Beeke, and Michael Haykin. You can find the deals right here.

On the print book side, Westminster Books has a great sale on the venerable NICNT commentary series. You can build yourself a commentary collection in a hurry with these volumes. (For specific commentary recommendations, you can visit my Best Commentaries page.

Godly Compassion for Hurting People

John MacArthur describes “a wonderful, practical, real-life illustration of God’s compassion.”

The Word of God and the Academy

Tim Grant: “I have noticed that those from the academy give the impression that the Bible belongs to them—that they have a special claim on it and that they have a special claim to understand it, due to their great learning, general smartness, or a PhD they completed at some point in the past. They are, at this point, deeply mistaken.”

The Camera Adds 10 Pounds

You’ve heard it said before that the camera adds 10 pounds. This quite gif shows how that’s the case. It’s all about the lens!

Touched by Biblical Beauty

George Guthrie: “The world may be ‘death impregnated,’ as one of my mentors used to say, and most of us know the bite of suffering in one form or another, but it also is brim-full of beauty because it everywhere bears the mark of his thumbprint, his “It was very good” (Gen. 1:31). The common graces of tastes, sights, touch, sounds, enduring friendship, love, joy, community. And much, much beauty has been squeezed into the world through the funnel of God’s good Word, the Bible.”

This Day in 1775. 241 years ago today, the U.S. Army Chaplaincy was founded, making it the second oldest branch of that service after the Infantry. *

The Attractional Church’s Growing Irrelevance

Jared Wilson does what he does so well: “I find it incredibly interesting, sort of amusing, and more than a bit sad that the attractional church—what we used to call the “seeker church”—hasn’t seemed to grow up at all. Yes, it’s grown big. But growing big and growing up aren’t the same thing.”

The Rearview Mirror

“We see Providence in the rearview mirror. In my experience, it is usually far less clear looking over the dashboard. It’s when we look back that we can see how God was working all things together for his glory and our good.”


Despite the title, this is not really an article about Trump. It is, in fact, about the church and a role the church ought to play.

Flashback: Why We Fail at Family Devotions

Here are some common reasons that we fail in our good desire to have family devotions.


If we harbor bitterness and resentment, praying is little more than wasted time and effort.D.A. Carson

July 28, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include: Andrew Murray: Christ’s Anointed Minister to South Africa by Vance Christie; Patrick of Ireland: The Boy Who Forgave by Karen Murdarasi;Foundations by Peter Mead; As It Is Written by Kenneth Gentry; An All-Round Ministry by Charles Spurgeon. Find them all (and others!) here.

A Little Gem in Job

James Faris says and shows that “One of the beautiful but subtle gems of Scripture is found in the book of Job.”

Missionaries are Supposed to Suffer

Amy Medina: “I’m going to let you in on one of missionaries’ biggest secrets: They are terrified to tell you about their vacations.” In other words, missionaries are supposed to suffer…so are they allowed to eat lobster?

5 Reasons to Host a Q&A After Your Worship Service

Tim Keller explains why he used to host a Q&A after his services and why you may wish to consider one as well. At Grace Fellowship Church we have a brief, moderated Q&A related to the morning service at the very beginning of our evening service. We find it very helpful.

The Oppressive Gospel of ‘Minimalism’

This article from the New York Times has some good insights as it looks at the new gospel of minimalism. “It has become an ostentatious ritual of consumerist self-sacrifice; people who have it all now seem to prefer having nothing at all. And, as with watching birds or going Paleo, talking about the material purge is just as important as actually doing it.”

Prophetic from the Center by Don Carson

Here’s a new, free ebook from TGC. “Prophetic from the Center is a short e-book adapted from D.A. Carson’s plenary address at The Gospel Coalition’s inaugural public conference in 2007. It is an extended exposition of I Corinthians 15:1-19, and embodies TGC’s mission to make the gospel central to the Christian life. It is a powerful and bracing call to renew the contemporary church in the ancient gospel of Jesus Christ.”

This Day in 1540. 476 years ago today, Thomas Cromwell, who served King Henry VIII as chief advisor, was executed after refusing to support Henry’s divorce against Anne of Cleves. *

10 Ways To Create More Margin in Your Time

Here are a few useful tips to address a common problem.

14 Lions, 1 Elephant

Who would you pick as the winner? (I was able to see but not hear the video, so forgive me if anything is said that is inappropriate.)

Flashback: What Gives God Pleasure

What makes you happy? What pleasures do you pursue? That might be one of the most important things about you. And let’s ask a related question: What makes God happy? What pleasures does God pursue? That might be one of the most important things about God.


The cross is the quickest and best summary of what God says to unworthy people. —Ed Welch

July 27, 2016

There are a couple of new Kindle deals today: Introducing Covenant Theology by Michael Horton and the NIV Lifehacks Bible by Joe Carter. Or if you are into printed books…

9Marks’ Building Healthy Churches is a great series meant to, well, build healthy churches. Westminster Books has discounted the whole series and the discounts increase as you buy more of them. A lot of other 9Marks books are also on sale. Buy them for yourself, for your pastor, or for your church.

Marriage Manifesto for Men

Ed Welch’s article is pretty short as manifestos go, but a good read. He talks about responsibility in marriage and, despite the title, it applies to both husbands and wives.

The Bug With the Great Big Eyes

It has been a long time since I’ve linked to a collection of photos. Here are some quality ones from the BBC. “From the macro to the massive, deserts to underwater worlds, here is a selection of our favourite photographs from the Earth Capture community this week.”

14 Rules for Being a Godly Employee

Jordan Standridge: “Not too long ago I found a little article a professor shared with us that was written by an old pastor. He offered 14 rules that he tried to live by in order to be the best pastor possible. As I looked through his ‘rules’ it was obvious that this didn’t just apply to pastors, but rather it could be applied to any job anywhere.”

Accountability Software Roundup

Steven Kryger: “Accountability software is a powerful tool in the pursuit of purity online. Here’s a comparison of 5 of the best tools on the market today.”

Ask Pastor John

Andy Naselli just finished listening to all 900+ episodes of Ask Pastor John and shares what he considers a few of the strongest episodes. If you’re new to the podcast, you might like to begin with these ones.

This Day in 1945.71 years ago today, Deitrich Bonhoeffer’s parents learned of his execution through a broadcast emanating from London. Bonhoeffer was a German pastor and theologian, active in the resistance to Hitler and Nazism.*

Dutch Men and Latvian Women

This interested me primarily because I grew up among tall Dutch folk. “Dutch men and Latvian women are now the tallest in the world, height study reveals. Where do you stand on the global height chart?”

How My Special-Needs Sister Teaches Me to Trust God’s Heart

I enjoyed this article by Allyson Todd. “It seems like part of growing up is finally realizing how much your childhood affected your adulthood. You start to realize that you have habits and presuppositions because of your family, and you also have interests and values that are shaped by your experiences as a kid. One of the most formidable things that shaped who I am today is my sister, Amanda. She is now 21 years old, reads more books than I do, just graduated high-school, and has Down’s Syndrome.”

Flashback: No Platform High Enough

“No matter your goal, no matter your god, it will not and cannot bring lasting satisfaction. In this world, God’s world, these kinds of desires were never meant to bring ultimate satisfaction…”


We will never be so holy as to meet God’s standard and we are never too wicked as to be beyond his rescue. —Paul Tripp

July 26, 2016

As mentioned yesterday, Amazon is updating the ways sites like mine may or may not link to their Kindle deals and remain in compliance with their affiliate program. For that reason I am trying some new options. I apologize for the inconvenience as I try to navigate this.

Today’s Kindle deals include: Set Free by Stephen Owens; Evidence for God by William Dembski; Preaching to a Post-Everything World by Zack Eswine. You can learn more and buy them right here.

A Beginner’s Guide to ‘Free Will’

John Piper has put together a short guide to free will.

Died: Tim LaHaye

Christianity Today writes about Tim LaHaye who died yesterday. “The founder and president of Tim LaHaye Ministries and founder of the PreTrib Research Center, LaHaye sold 80 million copies of the series with Jenkins. ‘In terms of its impact on Christianity it’s probably greater than that of any other book in modern times, outside the Bible,’ the late Jerry Falwell, a friend of LaHaye’s, told Time magazine in 2005.” (Alternatively, read WORLD.)

40 Years of Theological Education

D.A. Carson is Jason Allen’s guest on the most recent episode of Preaching and Preachers.

Listen in as Four Theologians Discuss the Trinity Debate

Fred Zaspel interviews four theologians outstanding theologians on the recent Trinity debate. He speaks with Dr. Mike Ovey, Oak Hill College, London, UK; Dr. Fred Sanders, Torey Honors Institute, Biola University, La Marida, CA; Dr. Scott Swain, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL; Dr. Steve Wellum. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY.

10 Things You Should Know about Thomas Aquinas

Sam Storms: “We Protestants often fail to take note of the unique and sometimes profitable contributions of Roman Catholic theologians of the past. So today we look at 10 things we should know about Thomas Aquinas.”

This Day in 1833.183 years ago today, Britain’s House of Commons banned slavery. Upon hearing the news, William Wilberforce, who gave his life to abolish the slave trade said, “Thank God I have lived to witness [this] Day .” He died three days later. *

Money Bags

Bill Mounce asks for help translating a word that doesn’t have a clear modern-day English equivalent. It’s in Luke 10 and a few other places: “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out.”

Is God Always Pleased with You?

Michael Kruger has shared the third entry in his series “Taking Back Christianese.” We often hear Christians say things like “Don’t feel bad about this sin. If you are a believer, then God is always pleased with you. He can never be more pleased with you than he is right now.” Is that accurate?

Flashback: John MacArthur Wants Us to Grow Up

A few years ago John MacArthur penned some articles meant for the Young, Restless, Reformed crowd. Here I reflected on them.


If the whole world were changed into a globe of gold it could not fill thy heart. —Thomas Brooks

July 25, 2016

Today’s Kindle deals include Sex and the Supremacy of Christ by John Piper, What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung; Rid of My Disgrace by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb; Designed for Joy edited by Jonathan Parnell & Owen Strachan; A Grief Sanctified by J.I. Packer; The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis Volume 1 and Volume 2. Because of new Amazon policies, I can no longer link to the deals directly. For now I will direct you to this spreadsheet as I look for a better option: Kindle deals for Christians.

3 Things Sin Can’t Do To the Christian

Cody Barnhart offers “three things to remember about sin to remind yourself that it has ultimately lost its power in your life. These reminders help us eliminate the shame we feel after disobedience and push us to repent of our sin even when we’re tempted to wallow in it.”

The Likelihood of Increased Persecution in America

Randy Alcorn writes about what seems to be the unavoidable conclusion that there will be increased persecution of Christians in the near future.

How ‘Free Grace’ Theology Diminishes the Gospel

You may enjoy this review of a new book by Wayne Grudem. “How does saving faith relate to repentance? Does it always produce good works? Should we ever doubt our faith is genuine? And what does it mean to say we’re justified by faith alone? These are the sorts of vital questions Grudem tackles in this book.”

How Do Hummingbirds Fly Without Crashing?

“A new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that Anna’s Hummingbirds connect different visual cues to keep from crashing into things duiring their high-speed journeys to collect pollen.”

You Have Enough Time to Study the Bible

Ryan Higginbottom allows for extraordinary circumstances but says “Among Christians, I suspect busyness is the top excuse for not studying the Bible. It seems we don’t have enough time for God’s word. I’ve made this excuse many times myself.”

This Day in 1899. 117 years ago today, Stuart Hine was born. While an English missionary to the Ukraine, he penned the English words to the Swedish hymn we know today as “How Great Thou Art.” *

Why We Don’t Punish Our Kids

Sara Wallace distinguishes between two words: “We want to be parents who discipline rather than punish. While we don’t necessarily know if our children are Christians, this is one of the most tangible ways we can point them to the hope of a Savior.”

Word Study Missteps

George Guthrie continues his series on doing word studies the right way (or, if you prefer, not doing them the wrong way).

Flashback: We Are All Virgins Now

Virginity matters because sexual purity matters because God says it matters. But it is not the highest of virtues. It is not the measure of a godly young man or young woman. It is not the goal and the measure of Christian living.


Example is the most powerful rhetoric. —John MacArthur

July 23, 2016

Once again it has been rather a slow week for Kindle deals. I’ll keep my ear to the ground next week and hope for better things! Until then, here are some links I think you’ll enjoy.

The Perfect Spouse Will Not Complete You

So true: “If you asked most people, they would affirm that there is no such thing as a perfect spouse. However, I’m betting that most of those same people would probably also affirm the ‘perfect-for-me’ theory of spousal selection. That is the idea that there is some perfect person somewhere on the planet, and if they could just find them, the two would be perfectly happy together. Their interests, strengths, and shortcomings would all blend in perfect relational harmony.”

Pastoral Burnout: Its Causes and Its Cure

“What is a pastor to do when feeling ‘exhausted and depleted’? Should pastors entering the ministry do so on the assumption that they will one day burn out and throw in the towel? Where can such tired ministers turn? Where can discouraged shepherds go for the shepherding of their own souls?”

World-Building in The Lord of the Rings

This video explores and explains Peter Jackson’s successful world-building in The Lord of the Rings. (Note: I just noticed there’s a dumb, off-color little phrase in the final second of the video, following the credits.)

New Studies in Biblical Theology

Logos users will want to check out this sale on the NSBT series, edited by D.A. Carson. “Each volume in NSBT explores an important biblical theme, tracing its development across a biblical book, biblical writer’s work, or the entire canon of Scripture.”

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

It is still baffling that a modern airliner could just completely disappear. Popular Mechanics says, “We’ve gone through two years of clues and conspiracy theories and false starts. But to understand how we’ve come to this point, it’s necessary to review the clues that search officials possessed, and how they interpreted them.”

This Day in 1846.170 years ago today, Canadian hymn-writer William R. Featherstone was born. He composed “My Jesus, I Love Thee” before turning 16. *

Stop Trying to Make the Bible Relevant to Teenagers

Eric McKiddie says, “In my years in youth ministry I’ve seen unhelpful and even harmful methods of trying to make Scripture relevant.”

Should Your Church Build a Bigger Building?

Jonathan Leeman answers a question from someone concerned that his church is expanding its building.

Flashback: Jesus Repulses, Jesus Draws

When we preach Jesus today, we preach for a response. And there is always a response. Jesus repulses and Jesus draws. But an encounter with Jesus never accomplishes nothing.

God’s Mysterious Ways

My gratitude goes to P&R for sponsoring the blog this week with “God’s Mysterious Ways.”


How unspeakably wonderful to know that all our concerns are held in hands that bled for us. —John Newton