Renaming The Doctrines of Grace

English-speaking Reformed believers have long been taught the acronym TULIP as a memorization aid to the doctrines of grace. In classic Calvinist terminology, the letters stand for: T – Total Depravity U – Unconditional Election L – Limited Atonement I – Irresistable Grace P – Perseverance of the Saints Recently many authors and theologians have realized the shortcomings with trying to make theology fit into nice acronyms. In the case of TULIP, several of the terms have not received the …

For The Good

Every believer has at least a passing familiarity with Romans 8:28 which reads “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” If you’re like me, you probably have lost track of the number of sermons you have heard and books you have read which make mention of these verses and the promise they contain. And truly they are verses of great comfort as they prove God’s concern …

Become a Patron

Seeker Services

Every week Rick Warren sends out his Ministry Toolbox and it seems he always gives me something to think about. As the man at the leading edge of evangelicalism these days I always pay attention to what he says, for I know it will be only a matter of weeks before many churches follow his lead. This week he addresses the topic of seeker services, saying that when he started Saddleback he immediately “decided to specialize our services, having one …

Rules of Translation

There have been a couple of occasions on this site where I have written about the evangelical church’s apparent belief that unbelievers are really quite dumb. After all, we treat them as if they are unable to pay attention to anything for more than a few minutes, as if they are unable to enjoy any kind of music but what they hear on the radio and that they need pictures, excitement and multimedia to keep them interested in church. You …

Dale “Potty Mouth” Earnhardt Jr.

For someone who lives this far north, I have a surprising number of friends and acquaintances who are NASCAR fans. I can’t count the number of times I have heard them defend it as a sport, and not just some sort of car rally. Like most types of sport or entertainment, NASCAR has many who follow it fanatically. I can’t imagine why, but I have been told on good authority that the reason I do not love it is simply …

Knowing How To Use It

Vincere scis, Hannibal; victoria uti nescis In my literary travellings this weekend (you can interpret that phrase to mean “reading” – I just mean to indicate I stumbled across this phrase, not that I was spending a lot of time reading ancient history) I read an interesting phrase which immediately caught my attention. It was spoken by a soldier named Maharbal in 216 BC. Maharbal was the cavalry commander who served under the great Carthaginian general Hannibal during his wars …

Stupid Is As Stupid Does?

If I were to use the average church outreach program as a guide, I would have to assume that the average non-Christian is lazy, stupid, ignorant, unwilling to learn and suffering from attention deficit disorder. He has two kids that he loves but never spends any time with, leaving him racked with guilt. He is trying to hold a marriage together but his wife ranks a distant second to his career. It really seems that this is the way many …

Revelation, Inspiration & Illumination

Revelation, inspiration and illumination are three critical concepts for Christians to understand. While most believers are at least vaguely familiar with the concepts surrounding revelation and inspiration, it seems far fewer understand illumination. We will seek to remedy that today. It is important that we keep these concepts apart in our minds. We must not confuse them, for they are in no way synonymous. We will look at revelation and inspiration briefly and then turn to illumination. Revelation God has …

The Little Words

I tend to rush. Even when I’m kicking back on the couch to read a book, I find myself rushing through the pages. It’s not that I do not enjoy reading – it just seems that I am always in a hurry to do the thing that will come immediately after what I’m doing right now! When I read, I’m hurrying to get to eating the snack that’s next on my list of things to do. And when I begin …

Health, Growth, Message, Methodology

Proponents of church growth would have us believe that health and growth are always inexorably connected. They contend that a healthy church must necessarily grow and that an unhealthy church will generally not grow. Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life, tells us that his book is not a church growth manual, but a church health manual. He believes that when the church is healthy it will grow. Of course the book is subtitled “Growth without compromising your message & …