Does the Bible require ecclesiastical succession in order for a group of Christians to form a church? In other words, can a church start without being “sent out” by another church? By looking to the Bible and church history, we see that ecclesiastical succession is an unnecessary element when it comes to the formation of a legitimate local church. Furthermore, there are often good reasons why Christians ought to form churches without being “sent out” by another church. … More Is Ecclesiastical Succession Required for a Church to Form?
[Author’s note: The thoughts in this article have been expanded in a recently published book, Essential Service, available as a free PDF download.] “We are living in unprecedented times.” If you’re like me, you’ve heard that phrase more than once this past month. Maybe you’ve even said it. In many ways, it is a true statement. … More Unprecedented Times Call for Precedented Measures: Coronavirus and Cancelling Church Services
Many Christians today are prone to think that the coronavirus “pandemic” is proof-positive that Jesus is coming back soon (i.e. within this generation). They see the worldwide scale of the virus and conclude that it must be a sign that the pale horse of Revelation 6 is at work in a special way in our generation. But is this really the proper way to think about the current global situation? … More Thinking Biblically About the Coronavirus, Pestilences, and the End Times
Throughout church history, the gospel has consistently fallen under attack. Those who have boldly proclaimed the biblical gospel of grace—the depravity of man, the sovereignty of God in salvation, and the victory of Christ at the cross; in short, the doctrines of grace—have been forced to confront false gospels. One man who modeled a firm commitment to the gospel of grace was Charles Haddon Spurgeon. We do well to follow his example. … More Don’t Prune the Truth: Lessons from Spurgeon’s Preaching of the Gospel of Grace
The fifth chapter of Ephesians contains an important verse related to singing and music: “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with you heart” (v. 19). Of all the posts I have written, one has received far more views than any other. In early 2019, … More Christian Singing: Its Necessity, History, Didactic Nature, and Teleology
Ladies and gentlemen, I am launching a new podcast on church history! Our first episode introduces us to William Bradford and is available now on Apple Podcasts, Anchor, Google Podcasts, and all other major podcast outlets. Allow me to describe the new podcast and the motivation behind it. What Is It? Church History for Everyone, … More New Church History Podcast!
The modern Charismatic movement is fraught with dangers and misrepresentations of Christianity. What are the the key aspects of this movement that should concern Christians? I originally wrote the following article as a series of six blog posts in 2014 on a now defunct site. I have combined them all into one mega-post and made a few slight edits in order to re-publish this article here. The topic is still of immense importance … More The Strange Fire of the Charismatic Movement
[To listen to the sermon on this topic, click here.] In the previous post, we discussed the topic of the first mark of a true church as identified by the Reformers: the pure doctrine of the gospel. When it comes to defending the truth, we are to give no quarter for a false gospel. As … More Baptism and the Marks of a True Church
The gospel is truly the sine qua non of the church. This means that it is absolutely essential and indispensable to the church. Without it, a congregation is not a congregation of the one true God. They may be a congregation of people meeting together, but they do not qualify as a congregation (or “church”) of God. … More Is Calvinism the First Mark of a True Church?
If people are encouraged and empowered to be independent, responsible, critical thinkers in the church, they are more prone to be independent, responsible, critical thinkers in the state. On the other hand, if church members are in a system where they are governed from the top-down, they are far more likely to be disengaged in the civil sphere, abdicating their responsibility to those “over” them. … More The Connection Between Church Polity and Civil Engagement