Read This! 04.25.17

What We Gained When We Lost Our Hymnals

A few weeks ago Tim posted the other side to this. I appreciate this view as well.

On Christian “Platforming”

This was a good thing to read and well worth considering.

A Letter From N.D. Wilson

Please pray for this brother.

5 Questions Leaders Should Be Asking All the Time

Good advice.

On Family Worship and Failure

I needed to read this. It is so hard for us to get consistent in this area.

10 Questions For Pastors and Polemics

This is really good.

Beware of Broken Wolves

This is real. “These are the false teachers who use their own authenticity, pain, and brokenness to attract believers who are also suffering and broken—and then using their “brokenness” to lead the sheep to turn away from God’s Word and embrace sin.”

A Hill to Die On

That Douglas Wilson quote in the article is phenomenal.

8 Reasons Church Conflicts Often Burn Out of Control Quickly

Helpful analogy.

Dr. Wellum was one of my favorite professors, here he answers a good question:

Is It Just for An Innocent Person to Pay for the Sins of the Guilty?

Is it just to allow an innocent person to pay for the crime of a guilty person? Let’s try that out in story form.

A wretched woman stands trial for murdering a husband and wife. The jury finds the woman guilty of all the heinous crimes she is accused of. It is now the day when sentencing will be handed down. The prosecuting attorney was going for the death penalty. The judge agrees that someone deserves to die for these crimes. But everyone in the court is shocked when instead of passing sentence on the guilty murderer the punishment is handed over to an innocent son of the victims.

Hopefully if you were in the courtroom you’d cry out against this miscarriage of justice. An innocent party should not be punished for the guilty actions of another. But what if we added a bit to the story? What if the innocent son of the victim offered to take the punishment upon himself? What if he volunteered for the job?

Such a story would be noble—and it’s the thing of many sermon illustrations—but is it really just? According to Scripture (Proverbs 17:15), “acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent—the LORD detests them both.” No judge in the land would allow for such a thing—especially in a murder trial where the death penalty is in play.

So how in the world can we say that it is not injustice for God to accept such a deal in the death of His Son? If we did the crime, why don’t we have to do the time? To say that God poured out His wrath on His innocent Son, who willingly took the place of sinners, is a bit much for some to swallow. No matter if he volunteered or not, it is unjust to punish a righteous man for the guilt of unrighteous people.

But what if we added something else to our story. What if I said that the innocent son was actually the husband of the murderer. Now, I understand that at face value this does absolutely nothing for our argument. Why should an innocent spouse pay for the crimes of a guilty husband? But such a thing is to misunderstand a fundamental principle of our union with another.

It’s not as difficult of a thing to grasp if we are talking about finances instead of the death penalty. It’s not considered unjust to transfer debt to a husband once he marries a spouse. The justice system have no problem making a willing husband financially responsible for his wife’s student loans. In this regard they consider the two as one.

Now I understand that when we start talking about death penalty instead of student loans it gets a bit trickier. I suppose this is where the analogy might break down a tad. But biblically speaking we are united to Christ in such a way that he actually becomes responsible for our debt. This in part is what 2 Corinthians 5:21 is talking about. When Christ took the church as His bride he took upon Himself her debt.

How can God the Father punish His innocent Son for the sins of an unrighteous people? Because by His willingness to marry this unrighteous bride he was “made to be sin”. Though not guilty of any sin of His own, by His union with a sinful bride, in a very real sense He is no longer the innocent Son.

The man upon the Cross is bearing the punishment of His beloved bride. That is the only way that He could be among the cursed hanging upon that tree (Galatians 3:10-14). Any other reason would be a gross mishandling of justice. I appreciate this point in Pierced For Our Transgressions:

The only way to explain how Christ could have died at all without compromising God’s justice is to say that our sin and guilt was imputed to him. Although Christ was sinless in himself (he bore no guilt for his own deeds), he nonetheless did bear the guilt of our sins. It is ironic that criticism of penal substitution, which claims to be concerned to uphold God’s justice, actually ends up undermining it. (Pierced For Our Transgressions, 248)

Take heart, he has paid our debt in full. This is why he cried tetelestai from the Cross. Through our union with Him and His perfect work, we are debt free and living in His positive righteousness, all by the Father’s good plan and good pleasure. This is great news!

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Read This! 04.18.17

When to Stop Chasing Your Dream

This wouldn’t fly very well on TBN but I think it’s wise and biblical.

Lies at the Heart of Addiction

It’s helpful to know what lies the addicted person might be believing.

Some Errors Avoided by a Right Doctrine of Sanctification

I tried point out some of these in the sermon on Sunday.

7 Things Pastors Wish Their Congregations Knew


Benjamin Franklin’s Misplaced Hope of Resurrection

The history nerd in me loves this, the pastor in me mourns this.

Pandering to Millennials?


4 Ways Satan Uses Christian Generosity for Evil

It’s a bit of a strong title but I think it’s important to consider.

The Intrusive Neighbor

This is convicting and difficult for me.

What Do You Do When You’re In the Pit?

Helpful suggestions.

Ever wonder why Bibles are printed with the text in two columns?

We Need More Leaders Like…

“We need more leaders like (insert name of celebrity preacher).”

I’ve inserted my share of people into that little blank, and almost every time it was wrong.

Now don’t misunderstand, the people I’ve put in there might be great leaders. I’m sure some of my heroes of the faith make splendid leaders. The silly thing about my statement, though, is that biblically speaking I’ve no right to say they make great leaders.

Did you realize that almost every single one of the qualifications of an elder can only be known by actually rubbing shoulders with that person? I can write about hospitality, tell everybody of their need to be hospitable, wax eloquent about the relationship between the gospel and then shut the door of my home to everybody except a few folks I can reasonably tolerate. And you wouldn’t know the difference. You’d assume that just because I wrote a riveting and encouraging and profoundly true article about hospitality that I must be living it in my own life.

You can pick about any of those graces in 1 Timothy 3 or Titus 1 and tell a similar story. You don’t have any right to say “we need more leaders like person X” until you’ve actually sat under the leadership of person X and watched him follow Jesus—not just write or preach about following Jesus.

Yet here we are in our local churches dreaming about what it’d be like if our pastor or leaders were a bit more like celebrity preacher X. I’ve heard more than a few points made from 1 Peter 5:2 that we are called to shepherd the flock of God that we have been given. Preachers aren’t being faithful when they daydream about a different flock. They’ll end up with miserable and bitter hearts and probably dead sheep.

We leaders need to hear 1 Peter 5:2, but I have to wonder if we also need to emphasize 1 Peter 5:5. There is a call here to be faithful sheep to the shepherd God has placed among you. I don’t think it is an accident that Peter especially admonishes the younger to be “subject to the elders”. It is when we are new to walking with Christ that we are more prone to being starry-eyed dreamers. At these early stages we dream big dreams (may this never die) and often follow leaders who give voice to our passions. If that isn’t your local church pastor, that could lead to difficulty.

Here is something one of my spiritual heroes has said:

If your goal is to love all Christians, let me suggest working toward it by first committing to a concrete group of real Christians with all their foibles and follies. Commit to them through thick and thin for eighty years. Then come back and we’ll talk about your progress in loving all Christians everywhere. (Dever, 29)

The same is true of your local church pastor. It’s not that we can’t learn from what other leaders are writing, nor that we should be unhelpfully skeptical of leaders we haven’t met, but we should do our best to celebrate and learn from the leadership of the local church pastor God has placed among us. And let’s not hold them to a standard set by a leader we’ve never actually met.

Photo source: here