• What is the greatest challenge in the church today? Question and Answer

    I think the greatest challenge in the church today is probably no different from any day, and that is that if we really believe in God and His sovereignty we’ll learn to pray together. One of the things that has always burdened me is that in the life of the church it’s the prayerlessness of the church that stands out most of all. Also, I think another challenge in the church is this: that life is becoming tremendously dysfunctional, especially in the Western world. Families are becoming tremendously dysfunctional. We can moan and groan and lament that, but one of … View Resource

  • What is the mission of God as we look to the next 500 years? Question and Answer

    2 Corinthians 12:9-10

    GODFREY: As I sat listening to the international panel, one of the things that struck me was how truly global Christianity is today, much more so than it was at the time of the Reformation. And to some extent that is the fruit of the Reformation, and we can really rejoice in that. But the historian in me sat and pondered those parts of the world that once were full of churches and Christians and gospel-light, where that light has so significantly gone out. I’ve been contemplating writing a book for which I have a title. I have a friend … View Resource

  • What is the goal of reformation? Question and Answer

    Psalm 115:1

    FERGUSON: Both in Calvin and in the Westminster Confession and its subordinate standards the answer to the first question, “What is our chief end?” must be the same as to the question, “What is the goal of Reformation?” The answer is, “To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” To be able to do both of these things simultaneously is what I think at the end of the day is going to make an impact on our contemporary world that is so interested in enjoyment. It’s very rare to hear non-Christians say, “See how these Christians enjoy the glory of … View Resource

  • In this day when the gospel is considered offensive, how can I work without losing my job? Question and Answer

    That’s a question you need to go and ask your pastor or minister really. That’s not the kind of question that can be answered just in a blanket way. But one of the things I would say to people is, please read through the New Testament, moving from the Gospels and also to the letters. You will find in the New Testament a phenomenal amount of instruction about how to live in a world that’s antagonistic to the gospel. If you think about it, the New Testament world was a pre-Christian world. We are now living—certainly in the United Kingdom, … View Resource

  • Why should I become a formal church member? Question and Answer

    By however a church does it, and churches do it in different ways, what we are actually doing by becoming a formal member is saying “I’m committing myself to you. I’m committing myself to the Lord, and I’m committing myself to you.” That brings together two really important elements in the Christian life: our faith and trust in Christ and our life for Him; but also our commitment to all those in the fellowship to whom He has committed Himself. Becoming a formal member of the church is very, very important, because if you don’t do it, in a sense … View Resource

  • Do you have any advice for new ministers in the Bible Belt surrounded by charismatic influence? Question and Answer

    The one thing I would say in a local church situation is to make sure your focus is on the person, ministry, and work of Christ. If folks really are the Lord’s sheep, Jesus assures us that they’ll hear His voice. As we do that, those prejudices, and often that focus on the Holy Spirit that actually diverts people away from what Christ has done and who Christ is, in the Lord’s people does begin to dissolve. They realize that actually they’ve been doing almost the reverse of what Jesus says the Holy Spirit would come to do. Jesus says, … View Resource

  • Are all Christians called to be missionaries and/or do the work of missionaries? Question and Answer

    We’re all called to serve Jesus Christ. The word “missionary” just means somebody who is sent. And we’re all sent, we’re all drawn into Christ and we’re sent out by Christ to live in the world as witnesses to Christ. In that sense, wherever God places us we are sent by Him with the gospel. If there is a broader question, then that’s the question of, “Where do we do that and in what context do we do that?” Now that’s a question that someone would need to talk through with their elders or with their minister. But the central … View Resource

  • How is the exclusivity of Christ alone under attack in different cultural contexts? Question and Answer

    DE CHIRICO: The seal of the gospel that my city and my nation have received as the standard form of the gospel was a Rome-alone kind of gospel. In our twenty-first-century context it has been substituted with a mercy-alone gospel. This is the keyword of the present pope: mercy. Mercy has no limits, it has no place for an exclusive Christ. It has shifted into an inclusivist Christ, a pluralist Christ, and a multifaceted Christ to the point that, while still maintaining the forms of traditional Christianity, it has quickly adapted to become a multi-religious type of offer. So even … View Resource

  • How do you explain the doctrine of election to an unbeliever? Question and Answer

    The first thing I would say is that it is not the place to begin in talking to an unbeliever. The second thing is that since the reality of election is grasped only by faith, that’s what we really need to emphasize. The third thing I might say, however, is that the one thing the doctrine of election does is underline that we are utterly helpless, and we need God to save us. I think it’s true that people sing about that, and yet when you ask them about it they say, “No, I don’t really believe that.” What’s the … View Resource

  • Why did Jesus speak in parables? Question and Answer

    Matthew 13:11-17

    He actually answers that question Himself, or gives one answer to it, when He tells the parable of the sower and the soils and His disciples don’t get it. They come to Him and say, “What was that all about?” and He explains it to them. He says, “I’m giving these explanations to you because you’re my disciples. But one of the reasons I tell these parables is because when I tell the parables it actually makes clear whether people really grasp the meaning of the kingdom or not” (see Matt. 13:11-17, Mark 4:10-12, or Luke 8:9-10). I don’t know … View Resource

  • Will Christians who have been forgiven answer for their sins in judgment? Question and Answer

    1 Corinthians 5:10

    First of all, let me try and put it this way: When we are justified, we are justified with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. What that means–if you can begin to take it in–is that when you stand before God you are able to say, “I am as righteous before You as Your Son Jesus Christ.” Now that can sound very arrogant. But if you then ask, “Well how is that?” the answer is, “Because the only righteousness with which I’m justified is Jesus Christ’s righteousness.” There is an absoluteness about the perfection of that righteousness. There is an absoluteness … View Resource

  • What are apocryphal books, and should Christians read them? Question and Answer

    I’m a Presbyterian, and the confession of faith that the denomination I’m in uses is the Westminster Confession of Faith. In its first chapter it makes a comment on the apocryphal books, which basically is that they have no more value than any other piece of literature. The reason that is characteristic Reformed teaching is because unlike, for example, the prophecy of Isaiah or Jeremiah, the apocryphal books are not recognized by the apostles as part of the canon of the Old Testament Scriptures. So there is no reason that Christians should treat them in that way. In the Anglican … View Resource

  • How should I preach the doctrines of grace? Question and Answer

    Matthew 11:25-30

    I think, pastorally, one must always recognize that in some of these areas people do not have the paradigms to be able immediately to take in what Scripture teaches. Sometimes they have been taught in a way that is contrary to the doctrines of grace. So I usually say to younger men, or men who are younger than myself, “One of the best things to do with someone you think really is a Christian is sit down with them or preach to them with this question in mind, ‘How did Jesus think about this?’” Because sometimes people think they have … View Resource

  • How do we obey the moral law without being moralistic? Question and Answer

    John 14:15

    We obey the moral law, first of all, by understanding what it’s for, and there are various ways of putting this. For all my life I have been interested in the game of golf. Golf is played according to rules. I have never met a golfer who has said to me, “Let me move my golf ball nearer the hole,” and I said, “That’s fine,” because the game ceases to work when you don’t play it according to the rules. Take the Ten Commandments, for example: the moral law. The moral law given in Exodus 20 is a written form … View Resource

  • What are the essential qualities of a Christian? Question and Answer

    1 Corinthians 13:13

    Think for example about what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13. Here is a church where certain gifts are being held up before the people as indications of a kind of super-spirituality. And basically what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 is, “You can have all of these gifts and actually be nothing in God’s kingdom.” So what would be the sign? The sign would be the presence of faith and hope and love (1 Cor. 13:13): faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in Him; hope—remember how Peter speaks in 1 Peter about the hope that is given to … View Resource