And Can I Get a Hot Tub?

Commentary By February 26, 2016 Tags: No Comments

I overheard an interesting discussion recently. A group of students were talking about music, and as the conversation progressed – no matter what point one of them made – one fellow would wade in to deliver the authoritative opinion. The most amusing moment occurred when one student dared to disagree with this pontiff. “Well,” he sniffed, “I happen to be…


Should We Pray for ISIS to Be Converted or Defeated?

Commentary By December 1, 2015 Tags: , No Comments

“We sometimes forget that we are called to be a people of both justice and justification, and that these two are not contradictory.” Recently Russ Moore wrote an excellent article discussing the proper Christian attitude towards ISIS. Like many other American Christians, at times I feel conflicted. ISIS is a malignant, evil organization, yet it is made of men (and…


An Ordinary Life Lived to the Glory of God

Commentary By November 30, 2015 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

This time last year I had the honor of preaching Joyce Knodell’s funeral. She was my mother-in-law. We’ve all heard lots of mother-in-law jokes. None of them applied to her. She was an encourager and a prayer-warrior. I entitled the message “An Ordinary Life Lived to the Glory of God.” I meant the descriptor “ordinary” as a high compliment. Last…


America’s Campuses Are Getting Weird

Commentary By November 13, 2015 Tags: , No Comments

Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. … In June, a professor protecting himself with a pseudonym wrote an essay for Vox describing how gingerly he now has to teach. “I’m a…


The Exclusivity of the Gospel

Commentary By October 29, 2015 Tags: , , , No Comments

I have a confession to make. I think that the title to this article stinks. I hate the label “exclusivist” when it is applied to the Gospel. Hate, hate, hate, HATE, HATE it. Missiologist Harold Netland observes, “It is probably safe to assume that the term ‘exclusivism’ was not first introduced into the discussion by adherents of that perspective, but…


The Prosperity Gospel is Wrong and Sometimes Cruel

Commentary By October 27, 2015 Tags: No Comments

An acquaintance of mine attended the funeral of an acquaintance of his who had died after a long struggle with cancer. He recounted the remarkable sermon he heard preached at the service. The presiding minister informed the attendees that the deceased woman’s death was their fault. If only they had exercised sufficient faith when praying for her, the preacher explained,…


Church Discipline and Jesse James

Commentary By October 5, 2015 Tags: , , No Comments

Years ago I had the privilege of preaching at 1st Baptist Church of Kearney, Missouri. The pastor (at that time) told me a fascinating story about the church’s most infamous member: Jesse James. Evidently Jesse was a member in good standing when he led the first daylight bank robbery in Liberty, Missouri, a town about ten miles away. The church…


Disneyland Vs. Dismaland: Why Both Are Incomplete

Commentary By September 29, 2015 Tags: , , , No Comments

Recently PBS aired a two-part documentary on the life of Walt Disney. The program presented Disney as a man who recoiled from the dark side of life. He withdrew from the real world by re-creating a parallel, sanitized version of reality. Disney was a remarkable visionary and storyteller, so he powerfully communicated this safe, uber-reality through movies, television, and ultimately…


Is Prayer Simply Giving God Advice?

Commentary By August 31, 2015 Tags: No Comments

Prayer remains one of the most mysterious and marvelous endeavors in which a Christian can engage. What happens, exactly, when we pray? We are not telling God something he didn’t already know. And I don’t think we are trying to talk him into doing something he doesn’t want to do. Think about it: God is infinitely good and wise. If…


Practicing Vs. Pretending

Commentary By May 5, 2015 Tags: , , No Comments

“I know I should have done the right thing, but then it wouldn’t have been sincere.” Such an explanation is sometimes presented as an amusing rationale for wrong behavior, or for failing to take the correct course of action. But it highlights a serious point. No one wants to be a hypocrite. Even in our nonjudgmental culture, few character flaws…