What’s the Purpose of … Pastors?

The Bible knows nothing of lone Christians, of believers who are willfully independent from a local church. Rather, Christians gather in communities to worship together and serve one another. And as God commands his people to gather in community, he also commands them to be led—led by men called and qualified as pastors or elders (terms the Bible uses interchangeably). As we progress through a series of questions  about things we as Christians often take for granted, we now come …

Death to the One-Year Rule!

There is no sin that cannot be overcome, no transgression that cannot be put to death, no consequence so grave it cannot be undone in 365 days. At least, that’s what you might think as you read about pastors and other Christian leaders who rise, fall, and rise again. It’s the unwritten but often-followed “one-year rule.” Every month, or every few months, at least, we hear of another pastor or ministry leader who has been exposed as a fraud, an …

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Why We Must Emphasize A Pastor’s Character Over His Skill

The New Testament clearly, repeatedly, and unapologetically lays out the qualifications of a pastor. What is so remarkable yet so often overlooked is this: Pastors are called and qualified to their ministry not first through their raw talent, their finely-honed skill, or their great accomplishments, but through their godly character. Of all the many qualifications laid out in the New Testament, there is just one related to skill (he must have the ability to teach others) and one related to …

Consecutive Exposition Is Not the Only Way

In many ways, the Reformed resurgence of the past couple of decades has been built upon a particular style of preaching. Many Reformed leaders have faithfully practiced and forcefully advocated what we might call “consecutive exposition.” This is the practice of preaching from the beginning of a book of the Bible to the end, then choosing a new book and doing the same with that one. It’s a practice I appreciate and one that has benefitted me tremendously both as …

Seven Leaders

You know the rule with Iain Murray’s books, right? If he writes it, you read it! You can simply never go wrong. The rule proves itself true once again with his newest work, Seven Leaders. The thirteenth chapter of Hebrews exhorts us, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” This book is designed to help us meet, understand, and remember seven leaders, seven …

How Many People Go To Your Church?

So how many people go to your church? This is the question nearly every pastor faces at just about every conference he attends. I’ve written about the question before but, having spent the week at Together for the Gospel, and having been part of many conversations, it seems like a good time to revisit it. It usually doesn’t take long for a conversation with a pastor to progress to that point. For the pastor this can be a moment of …

New & Notable Books

I am in the unique and enjoyable position of receiving copies of most of the latest and greatest Christian books and I like to provide regular roundups of some of the best and brightest of the bunch. Of all the books I have received recently, here are the ones that appear most noteworthy. Christianity & World Religions: An Introduction to the World’s Major Faiths by Derek Cooper. I studied world religions as a college student and was so discouraged by the …

How Do I Dispose of a Bible?

There is etiquette that surrounds the disposal of a flag. According to VFW, the dignified way to dispose of a tattered or soiled flag is to burn it, but to do so with discretion and to ensure that it has been entirely consumed. The reason flags are treated with respect is that they are symbolic. They are far more than just silk and dye, but actually represent a nation and what that nation stands for. To treat a flag with …

Free Stuff Fridays

This week’s Free Stuff Friday is sponsored by first-time sponsor Hendrickson Publishers. Hendrickson focuses on publishing Bibles and academic materials and they’ve got just the thing to interest you: The ESV Looseleaf Bible. They are offering five of them which means there will be five winners today. The English Standard Version’s rigorous fidelity to the original languages of the Scriptures has quickly made it a widely used translation—now it’s available from Hendrickson in a loose-leaf edition that will be a …

Unique Christmas Gift Ideas

Last year I put together a list of unique Christmas gift ideas. This year I wanted to reprise that post while adding and taking away a couple of items. Here are 9 unique gifts you might offer someone for Christmas this year–things that may not be on your radar but would still make a good and thoughtful gift for a loved one. Here they are, in no particular order: Tabletalk – Ligonier Ministries’ Tabletalk magazine makes a great gift. Every …