A few years ago the elders at my church asked the pastors to focus on equipping the congregation to deal with persecution. As part of our strategic plan, the elders wanted the members of Immanuel Bible to have a larger understanding of what persecution looks like globally, with an eye toward preparing our church for future persecution here in the United States. Continue Reading…
Archives For Jesse Johnson
Yesterday I looked at how the New Testament describes the office of a deacon. Today I want to argue this point: the Bible describes women as holding this office, and the church should follow the New Testament’s example in similarly recognizing women who are exceptional servants by identifying them as deacons.
The qualifications for deacons are listed in 1 Timothy 3:8-13. The key verse for this discussion is right in the middle: verse 11 says, “Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.”
There are four different views on this verse, and I want to explain why I don’t find the first three interpretations convincing before defending what I think is the biblical view. Continue Reading…
There are three offices described in the New Testament for a local church: elders, deacons, and members. While most evangelical churches agree on the identification of elders and members, there remains much confusion about deacons.
In some smaller churches, the pastor is considered the elder, and the plurality of godly male leaders who work with the pastor are called deacons. In this sense, the word deacon is used almost synonymously with elder. In other churches, deacons are considered elders-in-training. Future elders are drawn from the deacons, and deacons exercise leadership, just not quite at an elder level. In this context, deacons are like elders-lite. Both of these approaches really miss the biblical model for deacons. Continue Reading…
Gnostics were a first-century cult that taught that matter didn’t matter. More precisely, they held that our physical bodies were vulgar and thus lacked value, while our inner spiritual state represented true reality. They taught that because Jesus was the perfect spiritual being, he wouldn’t have even had a physical body. If he would have walked on the beach, he wouldn’t have left foot-prints (which, if true, would radically change many Christian posters).
Gnostics are still around today, only the best place to find them is inside the transgender movement. The modern transgender movement seeks to differentiate between one’s biological sex and the concept of gender. Your sex is what you are born with, while gender is a social construct foisted upon you at birth by a society that (wrongly) assumes that your sex is related to your gender. Continue Reading…
Having decreed that God did not invent marriage, our culture has moved on to a new cause célèbre: the claim that neither did God invent gender.
Last week Fairfax County Schools (where I live) considered a measure to no longer teach that there are two genders, but rather that gender exists on a spectrum, as well as to move the curriculum out of the science department and into the health department so that parents can no longer opt their students out. This all follows their vote a few weeks ago to allow cross-dressing teachers and essentially end gender segregated bathrooms.
By the way, Fairfax is one of the ten largest public school districts in the US. Continue Reading…
“Hitting the wall” is a phenomenon that happens to marathon runners somewhere around mile 20. They have trained hard, kept their pace, and are running well. But now, with the finish line so close, they start to falter. Some runners lose focus. Some lose energy. Some even stop running.
A similar phenomenon can occur for young couples on the cusp of marriage. After months (years?) of dating, engagement presents couples a new set of challenges. Here is my pastoral advice to engaged couples:
It is hard to comprehend the damage that the culture of death has done to our society. Abortion on demand has produced a generation of women scarred by the trauma of taking life. Marriage as an institution has been corroded, the basics of morality have been lost, and motherhood has become more about convenience than sacrifice.
But often lost in our view of abortion is the role of the father. One of the many casualties of our Moloch worship is that the father’s role in pregnancy has been minimized and marginalized, while his obligation to care for the child has been vanquished.
By stressing that human life is a choice that should only be made by the mother, fathers have been eliminated from the picture all together. Sexually promiscuous men are free to sleep around, and if it results in pregnancy they have no obligations. Abortion is so cheap and our culture celebrates the women who do it; the result is that the father’s conscience is simultaneously seared and soothed.
And this too is now celebrated. Carafem—a Washington DC area abortion clinic whose motto is, “Abortion. Yeah, we do that”—has started this ad campaign in the DC Metro:
The gist is this: a guy gets a girl pregnant, and can’t take five minutes away from work to talk to her about it. His response, via text message of course, is just get an abortion. See the point: abortion is so low-key that you can just tell your partner to get one by text message! With any luck, she will have gotten that take care of by the end of your shift.
It is hard to fully comprehend how deluded our political and legal culture is over the issue of abortion. The United States in many ways has become a culture of death—a culture that embraces a mother’s murder of a child as a right, and then defends that right at all costs and against all logic.
Here are three examples of that.
Last week I was notified by local law-enforcement that you (Westboro Baptist) were planning on visiting the church I pastor. They told me you had a track-record of not showing up for your protests, that we shouldn’t worry about it or do anything differently, and that if you did show up, they would ensure your right to be heard while maintaining order at our church.
I quickly found your website that lists your protest schedule, which conveniently also listed why you were protesting. You said you would be at our church because we are not active in street evangelism, as evidenced by the fact that we were meeting together in a building. I sent you an email asking if you were familiar with all of the evangelism and outreach our church does do, but never heard back.
Historically, churches have not had what we call today “counseling pastors” (or for that matter, youth pastors, assimilation pastors, etc.). But today many larger churches have pastors that specialize in counseling. Why? What historical trends brought about the ecclesiological necessity for pastors specifically trained in counseling?
David Powlison’s 2010 book, The Biblical Counseling Movement—History and Context answers that question. In what was actually his PhD dissertation from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996, and New Growth Press has updated it to include more modern developments, as well as to make it readable for a broader audience. Continue Reading…