How Romans 9 Anticipates Objections to Unconditional Election

Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said if no one ever accuses you of preaching antinomianism, then you probably aren’t preaching justification the way Paul did. Why not? Because Paul anticipates this very objection in Romans 6:1: What shall we say thenshall we continue in sin that grace may abound? So if people make the same accusation against... Read more

Are Churches Losing the Battle to Form Christians?

Among the many ways 2020 has been punishing for pastors, one of the most disheartening is the way COVID-19 has further accelerated the already troubling tendency of Christians being shaped more by online life and its partisan ideological ecosystem than by church life and its formational practices. It was already an uphill battle for pastors... Read more

The Most Important Lesson Seminary Taught Me

The man who would eventually become my mentor and doctoral superviser, Tom Nettles, taught me three profoundly valuable words for ministry during my first week as a seminary student 20 years ago: I dont know.” Those words came in reply to a students question about Baptist history, a topic on which Tom has written thousands... Read more

When God Closes a Door, Does He Open a Window?

When God closes a door, he opens a window, right? the author said as though shed just penned some age-old axiom. After listening to her husband recount how hed missed an important job interview due to car failure, this mom of six reassured herself of Gods good providence: if God says no to one opportunity,... Read more

10 Tips for Finding a Ministry Position During the Pandemic

Just before everything closed due to COVID-19, our church hired an associate pastor. At the final elder meeting prior to his candidating weekend, I overheard a side conversation between two of our elders. One said, So, Im reading about this coronavirus thing. I don’t think its just going to go away. The other responded, Yeah,... Read more

What Did Paul Mean When He Said Were Being Saved?

The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy. Ray Ortlund: So Sam, getting saved by God’s grace in Christ is, even for us it’s not easy. This is a hard journey we’re going through. We are going to get home, but... Read more

Themelios 45:2

The new August 2020 issue of Themelios has 255 pages of editorials, articles, and book reviews. It is freely available in three formats: (1) PDF, (2) web version, and (3) Logos Bible Software. Brian J. Tabb | Editorial: Pursuing Scholarship in a Pandemic: Reflections on Lewiss Learning in War-Time Brian Tabb argues that an 80-year-old... Read more

The 8 Stages of Long-Term Pastoral Ministry

Youre a recent seminary grad and youve just been elected to your first pastorate. What might a young pastor expect in the years ahead? Or perhaps youre starting year 10 and everythings going well, but you feel tired, even stagnant. How can you continue to navigate the twists and turns of pastoral ministry and endure... Read more

How to Tackle Taboo Topics in Evangelism

Years ago, while ministering on a college campus, I met regularly with a Jewish agnostic student named Daniel. We talked a lot about Jesus, but we also discussed morality and sex. For some reason, he kept listening. During that time, God blessed my wife and me with our first child, a son we named Daniel.... Read more

Are We Held Accountable for the Sins of Our Forefathers?

In Jeremiah 3132, the prophet offers words of hope to his fellow Jews exiled in Babylon. In response to their complaint that they were suffering unjustly for the sins of their forefathers, Jeremiah assures them a day is soon coming when God will establish a new covenant with them, restoring them to their homeland and... Read more

The Unexpected Lessons of Samson

For kids who grew up in the church, Samson was like a Marvel superhero. With superhuman strength he slew a lion with his bare hands, lifted a city gate off its hinges, and repeatedly took on dozens of Philistines in hand-to-hand combat. He was a hero countless little boys would want to emulate. But the... Read more

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

On December 10, 2015, a Facebook post reignited debate over a 1,400-year-old question. At the center of the debate was Dr. Larycia Hawkins, a professor at Wheaton College who posted a message to her personal Facebook page: I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book.... Read more

Leadership Savvy Doesnt Make a Pastor

I never liked the title “pastor.” My plan was to practice law and pursue politics. I was fascinated with leadership, and all those career tests told me I had a knack for it. But unexpectedly, at a youth summer camp my junior year of high school, I felt a distinct call to become a pastor.... Read more

Reading Scripture Like a Berean May Look Different Than You Think

Acts 17 tells us that the Bereans examined the Scriptures daily to see if the things Paul was saying were so (Acts 17:1011). But what exactly did that look like? As evangelicals, were people of the sacred text, committed to the centrality and authority of the Scriptures. Yet in our concern for the enduring sacred... Read more

8 Things Your Bible Says About Itself

There are only two options when it comes to knowledge of a divine Creator: revelation or speculation. Either he speaks, or we guess. And he has spoken. The God of heaven and earth has forfeited his own personal privacy to reveal himself to usto befriend usthrough a book.Scripture is like an all-access pass into the... Read more

Are Christians Forbidden to Eat Blood?

Would you like your steak well done, medium, or rare? For many, a rare steak is a favorite dish, reserved for special occasions or relished after a long week at work. Yet the inclusion in Acts 15:29 of abstain from . . . blood and what has been strangledamong a list of forbidden practices for... Read more

How Pro-Life Efforts Bring Hope to the Fearful

Several months ago, a visibly distraught woman walked toward the abortion clinic with tears sliding down her cheeks. As is often the case, a clinic escort wrapped her arm tightly around the womans shoulders and walked her toward the front door. As a sidewalk counselor, I walked beside them. The pregnant woman greatly feared being... Read more

My Church Fired Me as Pastor. Now What?

Ill never forget the phone call informing me the church had overwhelmingly voted for me to become their pastor. I was excited, and church members were too. The future seemed bright. Three years later, I received another unforgettable call: a number of families within the church were demanding my removal.They were done with me, and... Read more

7 Lessons from a Friend Whose Life (and Death) Preached Christ

Every Wednesday night at 9:00 p.m., nine college guys, ranging from 18 to 25 years old, would amble into an urban Louisville garage.We called ourselves the band of brothers. These meetings started several months earlier when we were crammed into a 15-passenger van on a church trip. We began confessing how we wish we could... Read more

Gideons Fleece: Discerning or Disobedient?

Gideon is a well-known biblical figure. During a time of oppression at the hand of Midian, the Lord calls Gideon to save Israel (Judg. 6:11). The angel of the Lord tells Gideon that he’s a mighty warrior and that the Lord is with him (6:12), but Gideon scoffs: if God is here, why are we... Read more

5 Reasons the Trinity Matters So Much

Were told its difficult to describe, impossible to understand, and not even found in the Bible. So why should we care about the Trinity, aside from the fact that its true? Much has already been written and said about why the doctrine of the Trinity is so central. But the essential importance of understanding God... Read more

Gods Mission to Rescue a Prostitute

Many of us learned about the defeat of Jericho as children in Sunday school. Joshua’s army fought the battle by marching around the city for seven days. At the end of the march, they gave a mighty shout, and, as the song goes, the walls came tumbling down! God won the battle while Joshua and... Read more

Resurrected Saints and Matthews Weirdest Passage

As a child Id often convince my parents to give me one Christmas gift early, typically after our churchs Christmas Eve service. Wisely they would give me a good gift, but not the bestonethat would be saved for the next day. I got a foretaste, but not the full meal. Something like this happens in... Read more

3 Questions to Ask Before Critiquing Your Pastor

When I was 20, my childhood church changed leadership. Soon, its vision statement changed too. I was across the country in the middle of undergraduate studies in Bible and theology. Out of what I saw as the infinite resources of my leadership experience, I generously offered my wisdom and wrote a letter to the new... Read more

Ministering to Wounded and Straying Sheep in a Pandemic

As COVID-19 has caused many churches to temporarily worship virtually, our gauges for the spiritual health of congregants have become muddled. Recent data also shows a decrease in online church attendance. How can church leaderspastors, deacons, and Bible study leaderswisely minister to straying and wounded believers in these socially distanced times? Fresh and Reopened Wounds... Read more

The Ten Commandments Make Life . . . Livable

Christians sometimes wonder if the Old Testament law is intended for us. After all, Paul said were free from the law, and warned about subjecting ourselves again to slavery. Debates surrounding the law have raged, seemingly without resolution, for centuries. As is often the case, the proof is more in the pudding than in the... Read more

Is Salvation a Reward or a Gift? Yes.

Editors’ note:  Take part in TGCs Read the Bible initiative, where were encouraging Christians and churches to read together through Gods Word in a year. When a sinner believes in Jesus they have the right to eternal life. This is a strong emphasis in the New Testament. Eternal life is Gods free gift in Christ... Read more

John Frame: At 80, Im More Aware of Mystery

Although I’ve enjoyed a 50-year career expounding reasons for faith, I’ve always had a deep sense of the incomprehensibility of God. No matter how clear our concepts and cogent our arguments, God is, in the end, a transcendent being, above and beyond us, one whom we cannot master either by physical strength or by mental... Read more