But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Don't Stop Believing - Apologetic Report
Friday, 29 July 2016 06:58

the new unmasking

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The political conventions are over—the Democrats gave it their best shot and Donald Trump screamed at the world. The highlight of the Republican convention for many was calling back Chachi from what I presume was a stage in Branson, Missouri.

By the way, if you have some down time this summer, a fun game to play with family or friends is Dead

Wednesday, 06 July 2016 09:45

how to win this election

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Either Trump or Hillary will win in a landslide if they have the courage to do one simple thing: disappear. Stop talking, tweeting, and teleprompting. Stay off radio, television, and the Internet. Don’t appear in public until after the election. Let the other person have all the attention, and there is no way you will lose.

Do not campaign

Monday, 23 May 2016 08:31

church confessions part 2

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Here is part two of ten things to look for in your church’s confession. If you want an example that illustrates most of what I’m talking about, check out the confession of Cornerstone University or Calvary Church.

6. Does it set appropriate boundaries?

One of the benefits of revising your church confession is that it forces you to

Friday, 20 May 2016 07:04

Church Confessions Featured

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For the past year my students have evaluated their churches’ doctrinal statements, and I have learned valuable insights that might help pastors and boards improve their church’s confession of faith. Such statements are increasingly important, but they are not always treated as such, even in churches that value sound doctrine.

Here are

Friday, 13 May 2016 06:43

hard and soft

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This morning I told my children about the government’s instructions concerning school locker and bathrooms. My junior high daughter said, “That’s dumb.” I agreed, but wondered how to begin to explain why to a culture that is quickly losing the categories of male and female.

Here is my initial attempt.

Life requires opposites

Tuesday, 03 May 2016 07:03

boycotts

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The main point of my last post was that our disintegrating culture is going to need scapegoats. This has happened before. At the end of the second century Tertullian said the Romans blamed Christians for “every public disaster.” “If the Tiber rises as high as the city walls, if the Nile does not send its waters up over the

Friday, 29 April 2016 07:37

on Target Featured

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I understand the righteous anger that prompts Christians to join a public boycott of Target for saying men and women can use each other’s restrooms, but I think this move hurts us both in perception and reality.

1. Perception. As our culture steams toward what may be its tipping point, let’s remember that sin doesn’t work. Sin

Thursday, 28 April 2016 07:49

parchments

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The late Verlyn Verbrugge’s book, Paul & Money, contains an intriguing discussion of how much money Paul would have needed to write his epistles (p. 100-2). I had never considered this question, and I turned Verlyn’s thoughts into an essay for Our Daily Journey. I commend it and Verlyn’s interesting book to you.

“When

Thursday, 21 April 2016 05:28

Sermon Fails to Trend

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Last week I submitted this entry for the new evangelical satirical website, The Babylon Bee. I haven’t heard back, so I post it here for your enjoyment, conviction, and/or critique, if you’re that kind of person.

Rev. Geoff Cummings of Waters Edge Lutheran has been placed on administrative leave one month after his much anticipated

Tuesday, 12 April 2016 05:58

How to Talk to Terrorists

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Sunday night at church I met a man who is a former missionary in Muslim countries and is now living in Grand Rapids. He teaches math at our community college and remains in contact with his indigenous brothers and sisters in Iraq, Syria, and Mali.

He said several of his Christian friends have been killed by ISIS, but that others immediately step

Monday, 11 April 2016 06:26

transgender thoughts

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Some thoughts about last night’s 60 Minutes segment on Schuyler Bailar, a transgender swimmer at Harvard.

1. The episode contained none of 60 Minutes’ usual pushback. There were no alternate voices. No one wondering whether Schuyler had made a mistake. Instead, the segment praised Schuyler for sacrificing victories with the

Friday, 04 March 2016 08:55

homosexuality and the church

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I don’t enjoy writing on this topic, but I’ve heard recurring questions from Christians that seem important to address. Here are four questions, and what I think is a helpful response. I’ll answer two today and two more next week.

1. Why must the church make homosexuality an issue?

It hasn’t. The culture has made this an

Thursday, 03 March 2016 06:48

distraction

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Here is my latest entry for Our Daily Journey. Much obliged if you spot any errors before I turn it in.

Students at Arizona State University have invented a funny way to distract opposing basketball teams during free throw attempts. They position a “curtain of distraction” beneath the basket, and just before a player on the other team

Monday, 15 February 2016 13:18

four views on hell

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Zondervan’s new Four Views on Hell is another stellar volume in an already valuable series. I probably assign too many of these “views books” in my classes, but I don’t know of a more economical way to put in students’ hands the best, and most current arguments, from all sides. I finished this one in time for our

Thursday, 28 January 2016 07:52

endorsement

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Many of us are dismayed by Jerry Falwell Jr.’s endorsement of Donald Trump, especially his remark that Trump’s life reflects the teachings of Christ. As far as I can tell, the main thing that Jesus and Donald have in common is neither thinks he needs forgiveness. Their main difference? Jesus doesn’t think he’s Donald.

I

Wednesday, 06 January 2016 04:52

do Christians worship the same God?

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Christians who insist their God differs from Islam and Judaism point to the unique feature of the Trinity. The God of Islam and Judaism is only one person, while the Christian God is three persons. This is an essential difference, though it is sometimes flubbed in surprising places.

My last two posts addressed the problems out there, with Islam and

Tuesday, 05 January 2016 06:28

do Christians and Jews worship the same God?

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This question is more complicated than yesterday’s question about Islam because Christianity arose from within Judaism. The apostles claimed Jesus was Israel’s long awaited Messiah, the promised Deliverer who came to keep Israel’s covenants and save her from her enemies. The early apologists said Christians were the “third

Monday, 04 January 2016 08:04

do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

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Last year ended with a flurry of essays and blog posts that chided Wheaton College for questioning whether Christians and Muslims pray to the same God. This is an intriguing question that forces us to reflect on our theory of language, general revelation, and natural theology. Both Muslims and Christians say God is one, but are they talking about

Friday, 11 December 2015 04:54

why rewards?

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Here is a devotional for Our Daily Journey that I’ll submit on Monday. Much obliged if anyone spots any errors before then.

When my children were young my wife and I gave them money to buy Christmas presents for us. It seemed rather silly from our perspective. Why not eliminate the middleman and buy the socks or slippers ourselves? Because it

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 04:53

ETS 2015

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The Evangelical Theological Society’s annual meeting is different for everyone, as we attend different sessions and meet or miss (sorry, Jim!) different people. Here are a few highlights for me.

On Tuesday I attended Ligon Duncan’s session on “Recent Aspects of the Complementarian-Egalitarian Discussion.” Ligon noted that

Monday, 23 November 2015 05:16

sportainment

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Did you feel joy, or merely relief, when your team won this weekend? (Cleveland fans, you are excused). If you were mostly relieved, you have forgotten that sports are supposed to be fun, and you probably have an idol. I know there are more dangerous issues in our world—the refugee crisis, ISIS, Donald Trump—but that’s the point.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 10:29

mob madness

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Five thoughts about the faux outrage over bland coffee cups (you can get the gist and more about the non-event here).

  1. The Internet escalates the fervor and reach of a mob. In the old days we had to go door to door, make calls on our rotary phones, or send carrier pigeons, but now we can round up outrage with a couple clicks.
  1. Mobs do bad things.
Friday, 30 October 2015 06:16

built on blood

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It’s been awhile since I posted an Our Daily Journey entry for feedback. Here is one that means a lot to me. I won’t submit it for a couple of weeks, so if you see something, say something.

The meat section of my grocery store is clean and pleasant. Festive music plays as I select refrigerated trays of pork, beef, and chicken. Each

Wednesday, 28 October 2015 12:02

new creation

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Earlier this month our seminary hosted a one-day conference on the biblical teaching that our final destiny is the new earth. Check your church’s doctrinal statement, and there is a good chance that it leaves believers either in heaven or the millennium. We’re trying to correct that, and to say why it matters.

You can listen to the

Wednesday, 28 October 2015 12:02

new creation

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Earlier this month our seminary hosted a one-day conference on the biblical teaching that our final destiny is the new earth. Check your church’s doctrinal statement, and there is a good chance that it leaves believers either in heaven or the millennium. We’re trying to correct that, and to say why it matters.

You can listen to the

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