What Is "the Name"?
on October 13th, 2021
Were the Jehovah’s Witnesses right? Among their central boasts is that they have revived the covenantal name of God, the Hebrew YHWH, sometimes pronounced Yahweh and sometimes Jehovah, that Jesus came to restore. Ancient Hebrew has no vowels so the precise pronunciation may never be known. Given the growing practice among Evangelicals of referring in sermons and lectures to Yahweh, one would think...
Service Times Changing
on August 1st, 2021
For many years I have sensed that our Sundays feel rushed. When years ago the evening service was at 6:30 PM, the time between services was more restful. The extra hour turn-around time made a significant difference. During the pandemic we experienced a few Sundays with a 10:00 AM service (to avoid the on-line congestion at 11:00 AM, you may recall). Many of our members loved it. They thought it w...
Yes, Scripture Reading Really Does Change People
on July 26th, 2021
I grew up in a typical evangelical church of the 1960s and 70s. Specifically, it was the First Baptist Church of Dominguez, a Missionary Baptist Church nestled between Carson and Long Beach, California. It was a Bible-believing, gospel-preaching, altar-call-featuring church connected denominationally with a number of churches in Southern California and the farm-rich California central valleys. The...
Worship at General Assembly: What We Want
on July 16th, 2021
Let’s return to having worship services each morning, Tuesday to Thursday…They can be held from 8:30-9:30 or thereabouts…. Each evening General Assembly could host a concert. Choirs, soloists, and musicians all across the sacred music spectrum could perform. These concerts could be held from 7:00-8:00 or thereabouts. I might dare to hope that this two-pronged approach would make everyone happy. An...
The Good Shepherd
on April 21st, 2021
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" — John 10:11Among the most cherished titles of Christ is that of “The Good Shepherd.” Never resting, ever vigilant, exposed to the elements, vulnerable to predators, the beloved Shepherd persists in leading, caring, providing and guarding His sheep.His sheep? That’s us. We are defenseless sheep, creatures capable of neith...
Returning to Normal Schedule
on April 1st, 2021
(following the pandemic, 2019-2021)The Session has approved returning to the regular program of the church beginning on May 2, pending removal of the Governor’s COVID-19 restrictions. This means that we will return to a single Sunday morning service, re-start Sunday School, conduct our first Inquirers’ Class of 2021, and eliminate social distancing. Given the number of our members who have been va...
Progressivism’s Dark Frontier
on February 19th, 2021
How can a secular society make moral distinctions? How can it separate right from wrong? This is more of a problem than most people realize, especially in the realm of sexual ethics. A generation of “everything is normal” sex education, mixed with “everything is desirable” Hollywood sit-com and cinema seductions has morally disarmed our civilization. Politicians frame the issue as, “the freedom to...
The Origins and Meaning of Our Wedding Service
on February 12th, 2021
Not all wedding services are created equal. The service conducted by the justice of the peace at the courthouse is not the same as that conducted at the church by a Christian minister. A Christian service expresses a distinctly Christian outlook and is based on distinctively Christian principles. Similarly Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist wedding services express the distinctives of each of thos...
on January 29th, 2021
I dislike travel. I dread getting into a metal box and spending hours on the highways. I know that some of you enjoy driving. The automobile spells freedom for you. For me it means confinement. It means I am trapped for hours in a tiny space, unable to stretch my legs, needing regular stops, etc. Worse is being trapped in an aluminum tube traveling at 550 mph for 12-15 hours. Okay, it’s a first-wo...
China and the Reformed Faith (1)
on January 15th, 2021
Having twice taught at the China Reformed Theological Seminary in Taiwan and twice taught week-long classes in mainland China, I can in no way pose as an expert on Chinese Christianity, not by a long shot. Yet I do have some impressions I’d like to share. At the height of the Cultural Revolution, Mao declared that Christianity had been eradicated from China. Today there are reported to be as many ...
on January 8th, 2021
Today we minister God’s word with an ever shrinking pool of topics with which we may deal without causing great offense for an increasing pool of people. Gone are the days when the gospel (narrowly defined) and only the gospel caused the offense. The exclusive claims of Christ, for example, have long proved scandalous in an age of religious pluralism. However, now we are surrounded by potential la...
The Christian Sabbath
on January 1st, 2021