Grace for Sinners to Love Like Saints

I am often asked how I read so many books. My pat answer is something like this: “The more you read, the easier it gets. When you’ve read 8 books on marriage, the 9th goes really quickly.” The point is that there is a kind of sameness to Christian publishing where books tend to focus on the same themes, exposit the same passages, quote the same authors, and in the end say roughly the same things. It’s awfully refreshing, then, …

It’s the Air We Breathe

At the end of the Second World War the Allied nations began to “denazify” Germany. After the final surrender, they began the long process of identifying Nazis and uprooting the influence of Nazism across all of society—in culture, media, economics, and politics. The goal was to create a Germany that was post-Hitler and, therefore, post-Nazi. It seems to me that in the West today we are witnessing an attempt to “dechristianize” our society—to identify and destroy the influence of Christianity …

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The Bible’s Plan for Sexuality Isn’t Outdated, Irrelevant, or Oppressive

Do you remember the purity movement? Or perhaps it’s better to ask this: How could you possibly forget the purity movement? Though in many ways its aims were noble—sexual purity among teens and young adults—its methods were more than a little suspect and, in the long run, often even harmful. It framed sexual purity as a method that would gain a spouse rather than as obedience that would honor God; it led people to believe that those who had lost …

Should We Abandon “Evangelical?”

The word evangelical seems to have fallen out of favor, and perhaps for reasons that are understandable. Where the word once had a distinct Christian meaning, in recent years it has come to be conflated with politics as much as religion, with civil issues as much as spiritual. Many wonder whether the term is worth salvaging or if we should simply move on. Many wonder whether Christians should still consider themselves evangelical or whether it would better serve Christ’s cause …

Listen to the Church in China

Christians in the West hear a lot about the church in China. We hear of its growth, of its strength, of its suffering, of its perseverance. We admire it and often laud it, yet in truth know very little of it. Though we often hear about the church in China, we rarely hear from the church in China (for at least a couple of reasons: There is a need for many of those believers to keep a low profile and, …

The Loveliest Place

We can sometimes get dismayed as we think about the church. We can sometimes get frustrated or even embittered. And sometimes our dismay is fair, for the church is made up of people who, though they love the Lord, still sin against God and still harm one another. Though it is a blessing to belong to the church, it can also be a challenge and even a trial. Yet in God’s eyes, the church is beautiful. It is lovely. It …

What Kind of Men Does the Church Need?

Masculinity has become complicated. At least, it has become difficult to be confident about what it means to be a man—to be a man as God has designed men to be. The culture has plenty to say about masculinity that is toxic, but far less to say about masculinity that is good and honoring. We hear more about women becoming men than men simply being men. And many wonder: What are men meant to be and what are men supposed …

Health, Wealth, and the (Real) Gospel

Wherever the true gospel makes inroads, we can be sure that false gospels will follow close behind. Wherever the true gospel begins to win the hearts of men, we can be sure that false gospels will begin to compete with it. And sure enough, one of the most attractive, most deceptive, and most pernicious of today’s false gospels is the one known as the “prosperity gospel.” The prosperity gospel promises that those who love God will inherit not only the …

Strange New World

Whatever else is true of the modern, Western world, this much is beyond dispute: It is not what it used to be. We have entered into a new world that is very different from the one that came before, a new world that in many ways feels so very strange. Many of us feel like immigrants who have inadvertently found ourselves in a new world and are learning to adapt to its new rules, its new norms, its new mores. …

Is It Unspiritual To Be Depressed?

Is it unspiritual to be depressed? Or perhaps, said better, is it necessarily unspiritual to be depressed? Most of us would agree that the answer is “no.” Of course we would want to include some nuance to affirm that spiritual malaise or emotional despondency can sometimes be the result of sinful thoughts or actions and in such cases there may be a connection with a lack of spirituality. But we also know that sometimes depression appears mysteriously, providentially, and unprovoked …