Jesus Gets Excluded From His Own Birthday Party

Christmas obscured

The last two days on Grace to You, John MacArthur has remarked that much of the world celebrates Christmas, but few people spend any time celebrating Jesus Himself. This fact bothers me most years, but this year I find it particularly irksome.

It’s not simply that the excitement of presents, food and activities overshadow serious reflection on the Lord. In a sense, I can understand how that happens. It’s not right, obviously, but I think even the most devoted Christian falls into that trap from time to time. In and of itself,  that sense of distraction doesn’t upset me very much.

But it deeply disturbs me to Read More »

Do You Realize What You’re Reading?

God's Megaphone

Justin Peters famously says, “If you want to hear God speak, read your Bible. If you want to hear Him audibly, read it aloud ” Justin uses that pithy saying to combat the growing expectation evangelicals have that the Holy Spirit should speak personally, apart from the Bible.

I’ve written several blog posts demonstrating the sufficiency of Scripture, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I wrote more in future posts. As evangelicals increasingly believe that God speaks to them in a still, small voice or in visions and dreams, we must sound the alarm against this false teaching!

Lately, however, I’ve been considering another aspect of the Lord speaking through the Bible. For all I’ve written and said about this matter, I find myself sometimes Read More »

I Don’t Fit In –And I Shouldn’t

Untitled-1

Growing up with a severe disability, I yearned to fit in with the kids in my neighborhood. I gravitated to all the fads and trends of the 1960s, confident that if I wore that accessory or listened to that radio station, everyone would see that I was one of them. And they would accept me.

For the most part, I think I’ve overcome the need for cultural acceptance. I hope I have. After all, owning a blog called The Outspoken TULIP doesn’t exactly scream Read More »

Unforgiveness Hurts Others More Than It Hurts You

Forgiveness ButterfiesSomewhere in the 1960s, when evangelicals became enamored with psychology, teachings on forgiveness started emphasizing the benefits of forgiveness on the person doing the forgiving. If they had left the discussion at Matthew 6:14-15, that would have been fine.

To their shame, they didn’t leave it there. No, they elaborated that when someone refuses to forgive those who hurt her, she imprisons herself in bitterness. Therefore, they reason, she Read More »

Did You Go To Them Privately?

Powerful Word

Social media provides a platform for anybody with access to a keyboard. In many ways, that access makes it easier for Christians to proclaim the Gospel and offer good teaching. In this day in age when fewer and fewer evangelical churches preach expositional sermons and encourage congregants to understand Scripture in its proper context, blogs, tweets and Facebook posts can serve as needed nourishment to Christians.

Sadly, social media can also enable false teachers to spread their poisonous doctrines.

Since false teachers utilize social media so effectively, we can praise God for tech-savvy people who have both the courage and the discernment to repudiate their errors. Admittedly, some writers who consider themselves discernment bloggers carry things way too far and end up making legitimate discernment bloggers look unsavory. But once you weed those writers out, you appreciate the ones who stand against error and guide readers back to the Word of God.

Invariably, those of us who expose false teachers receive angry responses, demanding to know whether or not we confronted said teacher privately in accordance with Read More »

The Church Will Hurt You: A Biblical Response

 

Faded Church

If you join a local church,  you can pretty much expect that, at some point,  you’ll experience some level of hurt. The offense may be as mild as a friend neglecting to say hello on a Sunday morning or as devastating as leadership taking you out of a ministry you enjoy.  A few of these hurts are intentional and malicious; most result from plain old thoughtlessness or misunderstandings. Occasionally you will experience hurt because a brother or sister has called out your sin.

I write from 48 years of Read More »

What If There Is No Good Church Near You?

Elusive Church

In response to the article I wrote Monday, a reader from Australia commented that the only churches near her were five Hillsong churches. My heart broke for her, causing me to pray that the Lord will open up something that allows her to enjoy fellowship opportunities and to serve the body of Christ. I ask each of you to join me in praying for her.

As I read her comment, my mind went back to 2014. John and I had just Read More »

Can A Born Again Christian Do Without Church? (I Think You Know My Answer, But Read This Post Anyway)

Come To ChurchThe short answer is no.

Blogging isn’t conducive to short answers, however, and perhaps a longer answer would be more helpful than simply quoting Hebrews 10:25 as a definitive proof text. While that verse certainly carries all the authority necessary to teach that Christians need to meet regularly with their brothers and sisters in the Lord, looking at other passages can help us develop a fuller understanding of why we need to devote ourselves to a local body of believers.

In the interest of full disclosure, let me admit that John and I can’t attend our church during the winter months due to health concerns. And this past Sunday, the RIDE got us there late and picked us up early, completely depriving us of fellowship opportunities. But (and mark this point) we maintain contact with various people in the congregation, keeping accountable to the pastors and elders. We continue serving the church as best we  can while we’re providentially hindered (to borrow a phrase from Michelle Lesley) from making personal appearances and/or encouraging our church family.

Resisting the temptation to get on my soapbox about Read More »

Throwback Thursday: The Graciously Of Absolute Truth

Originally published April 12, 2017:

2th 3v5The continued exodus from Biblical Christianity doesn’t shock me as much as it used to, but it saddens me. Friends whom I once greatly respected as sterling examples of Christians, both for their doctrinal fidelity and their moral purity, have been embracing liberal theology and/or moving into blatantly sinful behavior patterns. A few, but only a very few, are honest enough to acknowledge that they aren’t following the Lord. Most, however, foolishly believe that He has led them to make these tragic choices.

“There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

There have been far too many times I’ve looked down my sanctimonious nose at Read More »

That’s Gratitude For You!

Many professing Christians acknowledge that Jesus died on the cross to forgive their sins.  Okay, that’s a start. But sometimes it seems as if they don’t understand the full implications of His death.

To put it bluntly, few of them really believe that, had they not been brought to faith in Christ, they would deserve eternity in hell. Indeed, few genuinely believe hell even exists. Nor do they honestly believe that their sins are serious enough to warrant eternal punishment.

Such a dismissal of a literal hell creates a casual attitude toward salvation, it seems to me. Consequently, the Lord’s sacrificial death doesn’t compel them to respond in adoring devotion.

But the redeemed sinner who grasps the truth that Christ snatched her from the jaws of hell responds much differently. Precisely because she knows the condemnation she deserves, she freely abandons her life to Him. She  knows she’ll never be worthy of what He’s done on her behalf. She simply wants to show her gratitude by living for Him.

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