Must I Join a Church to be a Christian?

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I have heard many versions of this notion over the years, phrased as both a statement and a declaration. “I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian—do I?” More often than not, it’s been put this way: “I love Jesus and the Bible, but I don’t love the church.” Or those more…



Eight Reasons to Study Baptist History

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I always begin church history classes the same way as our dear brother Tom Nettles, with a lecture called “Why Study Church History?” I’m not merely seeking to copycat my mentor; we live in an age in which what C.S. Lewis called “chronological snobbery”—the prioritizing of all things new and the despising of all things…

 

The Regulative Principle – A Baptist Doctrine

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God is being worshiped in new and inventive ways in Baptist churches these days. Years ago, one massive Baptist church installed a baptismal pool in the shape of a fire truck complete with red paint and lights, though it has since been removed. The baptistery was specifically designed for baptizing children who made a profession…



Beware of Your Fictional Church

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His words rang in my ears for days and triggered a few nights of nocturnal unrest. “What were you expecting in the pastorate? You’re not in seminary any more and this church isn’t filled with your seminary buddies. You’re in the real world now, son.” I had been on the job exactly seven days when…

 

7 Reasons to Teach Your Kids Church History

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Ask my four children what their father loves and ranking high on the list after “Jesus, our mom, baseball, and the Georgia Bulldogs,” might just be “dead people.” Why? The fact that I teach church history notwithstanding, I think it is important that my children—beginning at a tender age—understand the richness of the faith I…



Dear Timothy, Part III: “Embrace Your Weakness”

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Several years ago, Founders Ministries published Dear Timothy, an excellent multi-author work. The book was written as a series of letters from the veteran pastor, Paul, to the young upstart pastor, Timothy. In the spirit of that publication, I offer the following letter as part of an occasional series. I have written two previous letters…



Eight Reasons Why We Need the Puritans

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For many years before surrendering to vocational ministry, I was a conservative evangelical Christian whom God had called to work in the dog-eat-dog world of secular media. While working for a metropolitan daily newspaper in Georgia, one of my ultra-liberal colleagues was teasing me about being a conservative “boy” from a small town in the…



“Our great distinguishing characteristic.” H.H. Tucker and the Battle for Church Purity, Part 2

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  (See here for Part 1.) “Yet they stumble at the words:” Regeneration Remove the necessity of regeneration, Tucker argued, and you undermine the New Testament church; For Tucker, regeneration was the track upon which the train of theological orthodoxy traveled, pulling along all the graces of redemption–repentance, faith, justification, adoption, sanctification, glorification–in its path:…