The Good Accusation

From First Thoughts

“There is no better test as to whether a man is really preaching the New Testament gospel of salvation than this, that some people might misunderstand it and misinterpret it to mean that it really amounts to this, that because you are saved by grace alone it does not matter at all what you do; . . . . Continue Reading »

Sweat Equity Salvation is of the Devil

From First Thoughts

A few months ago on my own blog I wrote about something I write often about: how the good news is that Christ’s finished work actually means the work of salvation is finished, so that even our feeble participation in sanctification is both covered by Jesus and empowered by him through the . . . . Continue Reading »

Dude, Where’s My Gospel?

From First Thoughts

Gospel deficiency is the major crisis of the evangelical church. The good news has been replaced by many things, most often a therapeutic, self-help approach to biblical application. The result is a Church that, ironically enough, preaches works, not grace, and a growing number of Christians who . . . . Continue Reading »

The Cheapening of Baptism

From First Thoughts

. . . is somewhat inevitable in the customer-driven church. Isn’t it?This was in a recent email newsletter sent by a church from my past:“While you only need to be baptized once, if you’d like to reaffirm your commitment to God we encourage you to participate in baptism . . . . Continue Reading »

Product Placement in the Pulpit

From First Thoughts

There’s a curious and discouraging article in the November 20th Entertainment Weekly magazine about producers’ efforts to “sell” the upcoming film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to Christians (by way of their pastors). [T]he adaptation of . . . . . . . Continue Reading »

“Maybe We’re Not Christians”

From First Thoughts

A real Christian life is one infused with the qualities of Christ himself. But we have replaced submission, service, and sacrifice with salesmanship, self-help, and success.Here is an excerpt from a challenging article written by someone who may surprise you. Read it first, and I will tell you who . . . . Continue Reading »

Getting Back On it

From First Thoughts

I really wish someone would post online Philip Yancey’s most recent Christianity Today column, his last for a long while apparently. It is titled “O Evangelicos” and would serve as a nice companion piece, if not an incidental rejoinder, to this recent Patrol Mag editorial, itself . . . . Continue Reading »

Do Not Go Quietly

From First Thoughts

“Do Not Go Quietly” is the name of the message I’m preaching this Sunday, from Titus 2:11-15:For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the . . . . Continue Reading »

Ray Ortlund, Jr.’s Gospel Manifesto

From First Thoughts

Shortly after I first met my friend and mentor Ray Ortlund, he gave me a copy of his book A Passion for God: Prayers and Meditations on the Book of Romans. The Afterword includes as prophetic and powerful an evangelical manifesto for gospel reform as I’ve ever read.An Earnest Call For . . . . Continue Reading »