'Many Christians have grown up in the church on moralistic preaching; that is, preaching that calls for obedience without connecting the commands of God to the cross of Christ. This disconnect is dangerous, potentially leading hearers into either self-loathing or self-righteousness. Moralistic preaching is often the ground in which the devil sows the seeds of legalism. Of course biblical preaching will always be relevant and call for a response, but how can we preach the commands of God without reducing our messages to moralism? Is the key to simply jump from the command “pray without ceasing” to the reality that Jesus suffered a vicarious, penal atonement? Well, that’s one way to do it. But, let me suggest three ways of preaching the commands of God that help us avoid the trap of moralism.'
'...be careful. It’s never safe to dislike the truths God has revealed. We should actuallylike what the Bible teaches. We may struggle to get there–we may not immediately resonate with the hard parts of the Bible–but the goal is to get to the place where we can. The law of the Lord should be our delight. We should tremble under the word of God, not begrudgingly accept it. Hell is a hard doctrine to embrace, but God sends people to hell for his glory. The punishment of the wicked in hell vindicates God’s honor (2 Thess. 1:5-12), avenges the persecuted church (Rev. 6:10), exposes the utter sinfulness of sin (2 Peter 3:11-13), upholds divine justice (Rev. 19:1-2), and makes known the riches of his glory to vessels of mercy (Rom. 9:22-23).'
'Gender. Is it a socially constructed reality or a God-given identity? That’s a significant question, and how you answer it has massive implications. The question of gender underlies many current cultural conflicts and theological controversies that go beyond even the long standing debates about whether or not a woman can be a pastor and whether or not a man is to function as the head of his home. In theology, there is a raging debate around Bible translations regarding the translation of gender terms such as God being our Father... In publishing, a popular book a while back portrayed some members of the Trinity in feminine terms... In parenting, a recent article made the rounds on the Internet about parents who have chosen to raise their child genderless... In the church, there is a raging debate about whether or not active homosexuals should be pastors... Once again, the debate rages.'
'Barry and I met and married 24 years ago. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing: He liked my then-red hair and green eyes; I liked his broad shoulders and sense of humor. Plus, he was easy to talk to. As unbelievers, neither of us had a clue what our future would be. We just thought a life together would be a kick. A relationship with Christ was the last thing on our minds! Our first three years of marriage were filled with partying, softball, and the birth of our first daughter. Then, almost without warning, God drew me into a relationship with himself.'
'Open Theists often assert the goodness of God. But for all their compassion, their theology robs us of the deep and mysterious comfort of God’s sovereignty and looks instead to a God who "chooses to limit his own power," a God who "does not always get his way on earth" (Socinianism, which is undergoing a modern revival under the guise of Open Theism, says the same things). If this is true, God cannot always be our "very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1), he is not always able to answer our prayers, he is not always able to shield those who take refuge in him (Proverbs 30:5). If God is not always in control, he might want what is good on earth, but he simply isn’t able to do it. Here is a God in whom there is no comfort at all.'