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I’m not entirely sure how to explain what happened to me on Friday morning (12-3-04), or even why I feel compelled to comment on it, but I’ll do my best. I was sitting at a table in a local coffee shop, checking e-mail and reading Greg Beale’s new book on the temple (I’ll review it at a later date). A few tables away from me were two female employees, one in her late thirties or early forties, the other a teenager. The older of the two began tell...Read More

As we approach this Christmas season, the focus of most people, both Christian and non-Christian, will be on the babe in a manger, the human Jesus. Sadly, however, Christians have often failed to acknowledge that Jesus is truly human while non-Christians have insisted that he is only human. I’ll address the evangelical failure at another time, but I want to draw our attention today to the full and unqualified deity of Jesus of Nazareth and the immensely practical b...Read More

The hymn writer tells us that it was a “silent” night, a “holy” night. But it was also a cold night, as the shepherds huddled together seeking warmth from the fire. To them it seemed like every other night. The crackling of wood, the occasional bleating of a lamb, were the only sounds that disturbed the otherwise routine silence. Then suddenly an angel of the Lord “stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they wer...Read More

There was a time when the glitz and tinsel of Christmas used to bother me. But no more. It bothered me, then, because it seemed at times as if Jesus had become lost in all the hoopla of the holiday season. I was fearful that the secularism and sophistication of society had somehow obscured Christ right out of Christmas. But I’ve come to realize that it can’t be done. I’m not bothered by the trinkets of Christmas any more because I’ve come to real...Read More

I gave up long ago on New Year’s resolutions. I think it was about the time I first began to take Jonathan Edwards seriously. Compared to Edwards’ resolutions, mine suddenly seemed trivial and carnal. As we begin this new year, I strongly encourage you to carefully read and meditate on the Resolutions of Edwards. Some of them are easier to read and apply than others, but all are worthy of your attention. One good thing about them is that they are valid for th...Read More

In case you hadn’t seen it, Time magazine’s February 7, 2005 cover story focuses on who it believes are the 25 most influential evangelicals in America. I have three reasons for taking time to reflect on the list. First, I have a few thoughts on those selected, as well as those omitted. Second, I also believe the list reflects both what is good and bad about contemporary evangelicalism, as well as revealing how the secular media views the evangelical church a...Read More

Sometimes we need to get hit between the eyes with a really big sledge hammer, spiritually speaking of course. It happened to me this morning (Saturday, April 2). I turned on my computer and began reading the headlines on Fox News. Two items stood out, aside from the report that as of 9:15 a.m. the Pope was still alive. The first thing I saw was the headline reminding me that at around 5:00 this afternoon the first semifinal game of the NCAA basketball tournament will s...Read More

With the death of Pope John Paul II, a lot has been said and written concerning the variety of ways in which American Catholics, in particular, disagreed with his views and chose not to follow his recommendations. This is most often seen in the arena of sexual ethics, “artificial” means of birth control, and the ordination of women to the priesthood. It has raised the question in both Catholic and Protestant minds: “When and to what extent do Catholics ...Read More

I have to confess I haven’t read much of Eugene Peterson over the years. That’s soon to change. I just purchased his book, “Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology” (Eerdmans, 2005) and plan on digging into it as soon as possible. But my reason for bringing up his name is an interview that he gave for Christianity Today magazine that was published in their March 2005 issue. The title of the article in which the i...Read More

Late one night, Linus, the Peanuts cartoon character, is preparing himself for bed. He appears to be deep in thought as he moves his hands in differing positions. Lucy, his sister, enters the room only to find Linus on his knees, praying. “I think I’ve made a new theological discovery,” declares Linus. “What is it?” asks Lucy. “If you hold your hands upside down, you get the opposite of what you pray for!” Before we too quick...Read More

My nephew first alerted me to the cover story of the May 23, 2005, issue of Business Week. When I got to Barnes & Noble, it wasn’t hard to locate. “Evangelical America: Big Business. Explosive Politics” was plastered across the cover with a picture of Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. There were actually two other ways in which the article was named: “Marketing Masters: How evangelical churches employ a pan...Read More

The most recent issue of World magazine (June 18, 2005) contained an interesting item that got me thinking. The conservative publication, Human Events, asked a panel of 15 scholars to rank the 10 most harmful books of the 19th and 20th centuries. Included on the list were such “favorites” as The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital by Karl Marx, The Kinsey Report by Alfred Kinsey, The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan and other volumes that make for unpleasan...Read More

I can’t remember anything affecting me quite like Katrina and the devastation this hurricane inflicted on the southern gulf coast. There have been other disasters that resulted in greater loss of life (the recent Tsunami, for example) and perhaps carried greater implications for our world today (9/11, being a case in point). But I recently ministered at a church in New Orleans and was scheduled to return in late September to speak there yet again. So I’m feel...Read More

By now, virtually everyone has offered an explanation or lament for the hurricanes that have devastated our southern gulf coast. So what are we to make of it all? Before I offer you my uninspired opinion, I have to confess that my last name has proven a bit too literal for my own good. I was scheduled to preach in New Orleans in early July when Hurricane Dennis was making its way through the Gulf. Although damage was largely restricted to Mississippi, Alabama, and Flori...Read More

The story in John 9 of the blind man whom Jesus healed is fascinating for several reasons. This is the account where, contrary to what his disciples thought, Jesus declared that it was not because “this man sinned, or his parents,” that he was born blind, but in order that “the works of God might be displayed” (John 9:3). This is also the story where Jesus probably offended everyone by spitting in the dirt and making a mud pack to heal the man! ...Read More

[This article is a follow-up to a brief review I wrote of Bernard Goldberg’s book, “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America.” I have chosen not to post that review, for reasons that will become obvious below. In the absence of the review, I still think you will be able to understand my concerns.] There’s a very fine line between speaking the truth concerning sin and human folly, on the one hand, and slandering one’s fellow-man, on the other....Read More

Ann and I have just spent the weekend (October 7-9) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, attending the third National Conference of Desiring God Ministries. The first (October, 2003), at which I spoke, was in celebration of the 300th anniversary of Jonathan Edwards’ birth. Last year, the theme was Sex and the Supremacy of Christ. This year the theme was Suffering and the Sovereignty of God. This week I will be sending out to you brief summaries of several of the more signif...Read More

One of the highlights of the Desiring God National Conference this past weekend was the appearance of Joni Eareckson Tada on Saturday night. As most of you know, Joni, a quadriplegic, was paralyzed 38 years ago in a diving accident. She is going to turn 56 years of age next week. Joni, together with her husband Ken, and a team from Joni and Friends Ministries, were on their way to England and then to Africa, but arranged to stop over in Minneapolis at John Piper’s...Read More

I loathe horror movies. The last thing I want when I watch a film is to be frightened. Monsters, deformed creatures, distortions of reality and the like are a guarantee that I will get up and walk out of the theater. Much to the dismay of many, I walked out of the first film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and never came close to attending the other two. I simply cannot bear looking at the darkness and ugliness of evil, even when the powers of good and right win out. Bu...Read More

One of the questions I raised in part one of this study was the issue of terminology. Throughout the film, “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” Father Moore spoke of her as being “possessed” by the Devil. As best I can recall, I don’t think anyone used the language of “demonization” or of her being “demonized”. I think we should forever abandon the use of the term “possession” when it comes to spiritual warfare....Read More

Another issue raised by this film, although not directly addressed in it, is the question of how Emily Rose came under such vicious demonic or Satanic attack. As I said in part one, there is no indication given that she was involved in immorality or idolatry or had committed some horrific sin and had refused to repent. So we are faced with the question: What are the doors to demonic attack or demonization? Are there things we can do or fail to do that might make us espe...Read More