Blog

Bread, Circuses, and the Coliseum

Blog, The Kingdom Notes

While the Christians who went to their deaths under the empire of Rome died for their faith, I fear they did not die for our faith. First, we must understand what Rome had against these saints. Part of the genius of the Roman empire was their “broad-mindedness.” They did not roll into town after their phalanxes had left not one brick upon another and rebuild from scratch. Instead it was their habit to assimilate. As they did with the Pharisees, they cut a deal. We will rule over you, but you can, by and large, keep doing what you were doing.  Keep your temple. Worship there. Keep your traditions, your way of life.  All we ask of you is that you pay your taxes, acknowledge our authority, and then this one other little thing- we need you to acknowledge that Caesar is Lord. Burn a pinch of incense, bow the…

Supreme Comfort

Ask R.C., Blog

Friday’s Supreme Court decision, though not much of a surprise, is distressing, disheartening and disgusting. Even the most adamant defender of so called “gay rights” ought to at least affirm that the decision is fundamentally flawed, driven by judicial overreach, and by any sane reading of the Constitution, unconstitutional. It has, nevertheless, been decided. How state and local governments ought to respond is an important question. How local churches and the church as the church ought to respond is an important question. But today I would like to make some suggestions for believers as believers. What should we do? The same thing we do every day.

Student In a School of Fools

Blog, The Kingdom Notes

Moments ago I finished a refreshing encouraging conversation, recorded for a future podcast, with my friend Tim Challies on the subject of writing.  One of the things covered in that conversation was dealing with criticism. The irony is that each of us has at one time or another criticized, or at least critiqued the other. Tim is quite clear on his conviction that public schools are a viable option for Christian parents. I’ve been quite clear over the years that I think not. Our pens, mightier than swords, have crossed. That, however, has not kept me from being blessed by, served by, taught by Tim.

Ask R.C.: What Are Some Concerns You Have With the Homeschooling Movement?

Ask R.C., Blog

I’m writing from this year’s Christian Home Educators of Colorado conference. It’s always encouraging to be here, to visit with friends and to be encouraged. I always find homeschool conferences encouraging.  That said, where there are people, there are sins to be concerned about, and that includes we who homeschool. Here are five things I believe are a current danger.

My Dad Is My Hero

Blog, The Kingdom Notes

The contrast didn’t hit me like it should have. I was outside Orlando Women’s Center, praying for my friend John Barros as he preached the Word to people intent on killing their babies. I asked God to move with power to rescue those precious babies. I asked Him to open the eyes of the moms, the boyfriends, the fathers, the grandmothers. How, I couldn’t help but wonder, do they think any of their relationships will survive this? Abortion is an act that says to everyone in the know, “No matter how close you think we may be, you should know that if you ever get in my way, no matter how helpless and needy you may be, if I can get away with it I will kill you.”

Are Our Minds Totally Depraved?

Ask R.C., Blog

Yes. The doctrine of total depravity asserts two key points. First, all that we are has been affected by the fall. It impacts our hearts, our minds, our bodies, our desires, everything about us. There is no untouched area. Second, the doctrine affirms that there is no island of righteousness out of which we can, on our own and embrace the work of Christ for us. We are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) and before we can embrace His work for us we must be made alive by the Holy Spirit. Regeneration, or the rebirth, like our first birth, isn’t something we do, but something done to us. Thus regeneration precedes, logically speaking, faith. Regeneration is the cause of faith, not faith the cause of regeneration.

Ten Lies of the Devil The World Believes About Bruce Jenner

Blog, The Kingdom Notes

The devil is resourceful and hard working. There is no temptation he will not use, no stratagem too tiny to try us with. He does, however, have a few areas he specializes in. He is called Satan because he is an expert at making accusations. He delights to accuse us when we are innocent, and when we are guilty. He is also a murderer and has been from the beginning. Those who hate Him, we are told, love death (Proverbs 8:36). He is also not just a liar, but the father of lies (John 8:44). When we hear a lie we ought to smell sulfur. Every lie has his hoof prints on it. Of late the broader culture has been rather frantic in telling and believing lies with respect to Bruce Jenner, and we Christians too often face the temptation to believe them. Here are ten we must never give…

How Should Christians Respond to Cultural Decline?

Ask R.C., Blog

What advice would you give Christians facing such rapid cultural marginalization? In the great battle that is the culture war Christians are in rapid and chaotic retreat. On issues of sexuality we are deemed backward, hateful and hypocritical. To speak in defense of marriage is, in the minds of the world, on par at best with denying the holocaust, at worst to perpetrating it. We have not just lost our place at the table, but in the building. We are on the outside looking in. First, accept it. I’m not suggesting surrender mind you. I am, however, suggesting that denying the obvious helps no one. Sure Fox wallops MSNBC.  Of course abortion mills are shutting down. But the cultural ethos is still hostile to us, and it’s only going to get worse. I fear that too often our fear is losing privilege, that we fight our rearguard action to protect…

Back Up

Blog, The Kingdom Notes

It is because we are saved by grace that we sinners are able to confess publicly that we are sinners. It is because we are sinners, however, that we are so quick to get defensive anytime someone accuses us of a specific sin. Why the disconnect? Because being a sinner is a condition, a universal condition, an oddly antiseptic descriptor of humanity. Sinning, however, that requires acknowledging that we have done wrong. And we can’t have that.

Evangelistic Crusades

Ask R.C., Blog

What are your thoughts regarding large evangelism crusades held by preachers at large stadiums? One of the awkward parts of seeking to follow the regulative principle of worship, that Puritan notion that we are free in worship only to do what the Bible expressly commands, is determining what falls under the category of the “elements” of worship and what falls under the “circumstances.” Typically elements describe what- prayer, preaching while circumstances describe how- indoors, on pews.  But the lines are not so easily drawn. Is a kneeling bench for prayer an element or a circumstance? Applied to this question we ought, of course, affirm that preaching to large numbers, calling for repentance, is perfectly wonderful. Peter, at Pentecost, could be described as a crusade. The gospel was preached and 3000 saints were added to the fold. Why then would anyone have a concern about crusades in stadiums? The issue isn’t…