The beauty of the Genesis narrative is found in the harmony of two notable features: its simplicity and its explanatory power. With straightforward prose through the pen of Moses, God reveals the origin of man and woman, providing us insight into one of the most glorious realities in the universe. Genesis 1:27 gives us a general description of the event: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them. Male and female He created them.” Genesis 2:7-25 fills in the details: Adam was created first, placed in the garden, and given instructions on how to conduct his calling as God’s vice-regent. Continue reading “Contemporary Gender Confusion and Clarity of the Nashville Statement”
Personal discipline is vital to the Christian life, but it seems that a broad misunderstanding exists among Christians as to how personal discipline and heart affections relate to one another. Before we discuss spiritual disciplines, we need to consider the important question of how these disciplines relate to our affections.
All You Need is…Discipline?
On one side I’ve heard folks who give the idea that discipline is all that matters. That is, they’ve concluded that affections (i.e., feelings, emotions) for God aren’t essential to the Christian life and that it is simply our duty to discipline ourselves to do the right thing even when we don’t feel like it (which we often won’t). Continue reading “Spiritual Disciplines, Part 1: Is Self-Discipline “Unspiritual?””
Nothing of any significance has ever been accomplished without discipline. That’s true in both the physical and spiritual realm. Talented athletes who rely upon their natural athletic prowess and refuse to put in the work to develop their skills rarely find enduring or memorable success. Wealthy sons who take their financial status for granted instead of laboring to multiply their inherited wealth often stand as pathetic examples of privileged yet wasted lives. There have been great minds who have wasted their massive intellectual gifts because they simply would not discipline themselves to work hard. Regarding this last kind of neglect, I am reminded of the following description of William Coleridge, a 18th-century poet who, despite his literary gifts, fell far short of what many expected him to accomplish. Continue reading “The Vital Importance of Personal Discipline”
Male handsomeness and female beauty are good gifts from God. Scripture is unashamed to speak of men who had attractive physical appearances (Gen 39:6; 1 Sam 9:2; 16:12; 17:42; 2 Sam 14:25; 21:21; 1 Kings 1:6; Ps 45:2; Songs 5:10-16) and of women who had beautiful faces and—get this—beautiful bodies (Gen 12:11; 14; 26:7; 29:17; 1 Sam 25:3; 2 Sam 11:2; 13:1; 14:27; 1 Kings 1:4; Job 42:15; Songs 4:1-5).
Yet, I am regularly asked if it is important for a Christian man or woman to be physically attracted to the person they are dating. As I’ve asked this question in the past, I’ve found that counsel usually comes in one of two basic answers. One answer is that no, physical attraction isn’t important and shouldn’t be part of one’s initial consideration; rather, a person’s godly character should be the paramount factor. Another answer suggests that while godly character should be the primary factor, physical attraction is important and should also be part of the equation. Continue reading “Christian Dating and Courtship, Part 3: The Question of Physical Attraction”
Much is made these days about compatibility when it comes to romantic relationships. Indeed, the entire online dating industry is built upon the idea of compatibility, and a simple Google search will provide you a dizzying array of romance gurus ready to share their wisdom on how to find the person with whom you are the most compatible.
One popular Christian dating website offers seven types of compatibility, including the nebulous “Personality Compatibility.” One social-psychologist, states that when we’ve found another person with whom we share the “traits that really matter” we are most likely to experience the greatest happiness and avoid divorce. That’s quite a promise. Continue reading “Christian Dating and Courtship, Part 2: Compatibility”
Ever since Joshua Harris kissed dating goodbye in 1997, the dating vs. courting debate has raged within the evangelical community. While not as controversial as it once was (as far as I can tell), the question of whether Christians should “date” or “court” is still a hot topic within the larger Church.
I do not intend to enter that debate directly here. Rather, I want to lay down a few vital biblical principles to help you to think carefully about romantic relationships, regardless of whether you think dating or courting best facilitates the implementation of these principles. I will discuss these principles in a series of posts. Continue reading “Christian Dating and Courtship, Part 1: Leadership”
I’m thirty-eight. I’m a pastor. I love to write. But in terms of full-length books, I’ve only written a dissertation (which remains unpublished), a little book entitled How to Pray for Your Pastor, and a recent book, Strong and Courageous: The Character and Calling of Mature Manhood. I’ve got some other projects in mind, and I hope to serve the church by someday writing more books, but right now it’s hard to find the time. I have a wife and two young (very active) boys, a new (super cute) baby girl, a ministry full of people I love to serve, and friends and family members to whom I want to give my time and attention, so it’s often difficult to secure time for book writing.
But I’m not discouraged. Continue reading “Brothers, Be Patient: A Few Thoughts on Pastors and the Writing of Books”