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The challenge of Islam—a Christian perspective

  The issue of Islam is never far from our headlines. Early in his administration, President Barack Obama put the issue of Islam front and center on the international stage. His visits to Islamic-dominated lands and his public statements to the Muslim world have raised a host of questions at home and abroad. In a…

The next last frontier: are you ready to minister in the cities?

  No alert reader in ministry has to go very far today to find some reference to urbanization, cities or urban missions. It’s a hot topic, and it should be. Cities have always been centers of power, culture, religion and wealth, but the majority of people around the globe lived away from urban hubs. That…

A grand vision for the Christian life

  EDITOR’S NOTE: Below, Owen Strachan, assistant professor of Christian theology and church history at Boyce College, discusses his new book, Risky Gospel: Abandon Fear and Build Something Awesome, with Towers book review editor Matt Damico.    MD: Why did you write Risky Gospel? OS: I wrote Risky Gospel because everybody today wants a Snuggie. You’ve…

All of the church’s best leaders should move away. Here’s why.

The task of a pioneer missionary is not a fall-back option for those who can’t make it in the States.

Part V – The pastors confession

  All this assumes, of course, that the pastoral ministry is first rooted in the pastor’s own confession of faith — the pastor’s personal theological convictions. The faithful pastor does not teach merely that which has historically been believed by the church and is even now believed by faithful Christians — he teaches out of…

How a biblical worldview shapes the way we teach our children

To have a biblical worldview is to interpret every aspect of our lives — including our relationships with children — within the framework of God’s story. At the center of God’s story stands this singular act: in Jesus Christ, God personally intersected human history and redeemed humanity at a particular time in a particular place.…

3 questions with J.D. Greear

  Why do you want people to stop asking Jesus into their hearts? For many evangelicals, “asking Jesus into their hearts” has become something like a Protestant ritual or sacrament, which if you do correctly punches your ticket for heaven. God never promises to give salvation to someone because they pray a magical prayer or…

Part IV – The pastor as teacher

  *Editors note: Read also Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this series.  As a theologian, the pastor must be known for what he teaches, as well as for what he knows, affirms and believes. The health of the church depends upon pastors who infuse their congregations with deep biblical and theological conviction. The means of…

The ex-felon and the gospel

  Several years ago, I stood in front of our congregation and introduced a new member. That, in and of itself, was not strange. We regularly introduce new members as we prepare to extend to them the right hand of Christian fellowship – a traditional practice of our 49-year-old congregation. However, this was different. Not…

The dissolution of marriage

  We leaned against the pickup-truck fender out in the front yard. One of my laymen, Rick, was inside, talking with the woman of the house while her kids swirled about. I was taking the man through the Continuing Witness Training presentation of the gospel, leading up to willingness and commitment questions. He’d been tracking…

Part III – The pastor and theological triage

  *Editors note: Read also Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.  The pastor’s stewardship of the theological task requires a clear sense of pastoral priority, a keen pastoral ear and careful attention to the theological dimensions of church life and Christian discipleship. This must be foundational to the ministry of the local church,…

Gaining a balanced picture of gospel counsel

  Whether we engage in the private ministry of God’s Word as pastors, missionaries, counselors or just a concerned brother- or sister-in-Christ, it is important to answer the question, “What is thorough, biblical help?” Surely, the answer to this question must begin with a faithfulness and an accuracy as we study and apply the Scriptures…

Joan or John? A Dilemma in Christian Ethics

  Christian theology is about cleaning up after a suicide. What I mean by that is that biblical doctrine exists not simply as a set of abstract, propositional truths, but as a war plan. What we learn from Scripture is that the entire created order exists in the midst of a vast conspiracy – one…

Part II – The pastor’s calling

*Editors note: Part I of this series can be viewed here. The pastoral calling is inherently theological. Given the fact that the pastor is to be the teacher of the Word of God and the teacher of the Gospel, it cannot be otherwise. The idea of the pastorate as a non-theological office is inconceivable in…

Gay marriage and the eclipse of religious liberty

Ever since the Supreme Court ruled againstthe Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) last June in the landmark Windsor v. United States case, it appears that the United States is one lawsuit away from gay marriage being ensconced as a constitutional right. My hunch is that such a lawsuit will come sooner rather than later, and…

Holiness is not the same as forced solemnity

  When I was in college I struggled a lot with being holy and being funny. Now, those who know me best may wonder if I’m particularly adroit with either virtue. But stick with me for a minute. I used to have the notion that holiness meant forced solemnity. I remember as a camp counselor…

Don’t you already have kids? Adding to your existing family through adoption

5 reasons to adopt when you already have children

The Pastor as Theologian — Part 1

  The transformation of theology into an academic discipline more associated with the university than the church has been one of the most lamentable developments of the last several centuries. In the earliest eras of the church, and through the annals of Christian history, the central theologians of the church were its pastors. This was…