Christians Great and Small

Friday morning was the funeral for evangelist Billy Graham, one of the most famous men in the world. Two thousand people attended the invitation-only event. On the guest list were presidents, cardinals, celebrities, and megachurch pastors—an A-list of significant and accomplished people. Friday morning was the memorial service for Irene Morrison. A couple hundred people attended the event which was held in a little country church a hundred miles from nowhere, and open to anyone who knew and loved her. …

Seven Thoughts on the Billy Graham / Mike Pence Rule

I have often wondered how Billy Graham feels about having a rule named after him. And it’s not just any rule either, but one that has generated all kinds of controversy both within the church and outside of it. Having a name synonymous with marital faithfulness must be a joy; having a name synonymous with charges of puritanical prudishness must be a burden. I wonder if he’s been happy enough to hand it off to Mike Pence and let him carry …

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Do Not Admit a Charge Against an Elder, Except…

It’s a rare week now when we do not learn of some new charge against a pastor. The world has gotten smaller than ever and information moves at a greater pace than at any other point in history. In such a world, news travels fast and furious. Especially bad news. And we do love our bad news, don’t we? In such a world, heroes rise and fall in hours or even moments. And we do love to raise up and …

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 …

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 …