What Gospel Parenting Looks Like

All parents have a duty to teach their children how to be law-abiding, contributing members of society. But shouldn’t Christian parents seek more than simply training their children to obey the law? We want to give our children a hatred of sin and a love for the gospel of grace—which feels especially daunting when we see parenting bring out our own sin. Paul Tripp sat down with Courtney Reissig and Brian Davis to talk about how to model the gospel for your children. “The very things I struggled with before I was a parent are the things I struggle with now as a parent,” Reissig admits. “I live for the glory of myself. I live for what the mom on the playground is thinking, comparing myself to others instead of the standard of God’s Word and what Christ has accomplished on my behalf.” Listen to three forgiven sinners—two of whom still have small children at home—discuss how to live out your life before your children with gospel hope. You can watch a video of their discussion or listen to the episode here. Related:  Visit TGC The Gospel Coalition US

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20 Quotes from Jen Wilkin’s New Book on Imaging God

The following 20 quotes caught my attention as I read Jen Wilkin’s superb new book, In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character (Crossway, 2018). (This is the sequel to None Like Him, a 2016 TGC Book Award winner.) Also check out Melissa Kruger’s sneak-peek interview with Wilkin. If we want our lives to align with God’s will, we will need to ask a better question than “What should I do?” . . . God is always more concerned with the decision-maker than he is with the decision itself. (12) If we focus on our actions without addressing our hearts, we may end up merely as better behaved lovers of self. (13) No other attribute is joined to the name of God with greater frequency than holiness. (23) If the utter purity of God makes the angels avert their gaze, preaching holiness may not be a crowd pleaser. Better to go with an emphasis on love so everyone feels welcome, or better to go with an emphasis on justice so everyone behaves. God deserves our worship for both his love and his justice. But his love and his justice are imbued with and defined by his holiness—he does not merely love; he loves out of utter purity of character. He does not merely act justly; he acts justly out of utter purity of character. If we emphasize any of his attributes above or apart from his holiness, we fashion him after our own imagining or for our own ends. His love becomes love on human terms, rather than a holy love. His justice becomes justice on human terms, rather than a holy justice. (25) Simply put, God’s will for your life is that you be holy. That you live a life of set-apartness. That, by the power of the… Read More

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The Persistent and Pervasive Problem of Pseudo-Pique

What do Rosanne Barr’s racist tweet, Samantha Bee’s vulgar insult, and a “too-Catholic” Jesus statue have in common? Before we consider the answer, think about why you even know about any (or all) of those references. Chances are you don’t follow Rosanne on Twitter, watch Bee’s basic cable TV show, or attend Red Bank Baptist Church in South Carolina. You only know about these topics because they received a “signal-boost” (i.e., content shared, usually on social media, for the purpose of raising awareness of an issue, event, etc.) from someone in your media circles. (President Trump has tweeted about two of the three stories, ensuring they’d get even more coverage by the media.) The reason these stories were boosted—and what they share in common—is that they were shared in order to prompt outrage. The remarks by Barr and Bee were indeed outrageous and deserve denunciation. But it raises the question of why, out of all the outrageous events that occurred among 7 billion people on the planet, these three specific instances captured the public’s attention this week. How Pseudo-Events Drive Pseudo-Pique Several years ago I wrote an article about what the historian Daniel Boorstin dubbed pseudo-events: non-spontaneous events created for the immediate purpose of being reported or reproduced, whose meaning is ambiguous, and that are usually intended to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. The paradigmatic example of a pseudo-event is opinion polls. News agencies used to report on opinion polls; now they sponsor polls them so they can report on the very poll they sponsored. Instead of reporting the news, they create a pseudo-event to report on. Ironically, this information (the opinion poll) is processed as “news” and helps shape the judgment of people who are supposed to be represented by the polls. Consider, for example, presidential opinion polls. If you’re told… Read More

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21 Places Women Emerge Front and Center in Scripture’s Storyline

The growing call for the church to protect vulnerable women is not a new phenomenon. As Karen Swallow Prior has noted, this call is as old as the church itself. Stephen was appointed to serve the neglected women of the congregation, and he eventually became church history’s first martyr. The content of Stephen’s sermon in Acts 7, which became the catalyst for his martyrdom, is notable. He began with Abraham, who was called by God as a sojourner and never possessed what God promised. He then highlighted how God worked through the abuse of Joseph to preserve Israel, and then freed his enslaved people through Moses’s exile. The persecution of the prophets throughout history, he said, culminated in the betrayal and crucifixion of the righteous one, Jesus Christ. Inspired by Stephen’s sermon, I began to freshly reflect on the role women play throughout the Bible. Though the list could be much longer, here are 21 events—from Genesis to Revelation—in which women play key roles in redemptive history: 1. A woman’s absence is the first thing declared ‘not good’ in creation (Gen. 2:18). The “not good” of woman’s absence contrasts the “good” of everything else God made (Gen. 1:31). Man cannot rule the earth without woman (Gen. 2:18). Even on the new earth, the last Adam will not reign without his bride (Rev. 22:5). 2. The first woman is named as being at enmity with the serpent (Gen. 3:15). The woman plays a role so crucial that she is a special object of Satan’s hatred. 3. A woman will give birth to the serpent-crushing seed—the Messiah (Gen. 3:15). History will be a war between the Devil’s children and God’s children with victory coming at Calvary. 4. A woman is the first and only character in the Old Testament to confer a name… Read More

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The ‘Other Guys’ of the Reformation

In this talk on the Reformed tradition beyond Calvin, Ligon Duncan gives biographical sketches five lesser-known but key Reformers: Heinrich Bullinger, Ulrich Zwingli, Johannes Oecolampadius, William Farel, and Renée Ferrara. Date: April 4, 2017 Event: The Gospel Coalition 2017 National Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana You can listen to this episode of The Gospel Coalition podcast here. Related: Find more audio and video from the 2017 National Conference on the conference media page. Visit TGC The Gospel Coalition US

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Elizabeth Groves on Context, Context, Context

Every Bible teacher wants to be liked and appreciated by those he or she teaches. As a lecturer in Biblical Hebrew at Westminster Theological Seminary since 2009, Elizabeth (Libbie) Groves doesn’t have to wonder if her students appreciate her. She has repeatedly been the highest-ranked professor on student evaluation forms at the seminary. On the day I was there, not only had she dressed up like Elvis to make her point in Hebrew grammar memorable, she also fed her classes burritos. No wonder she’s a favorite! She’s also known for her dramatic recitations of passages in the Bible in Hebrew, including this presentation of the entire book of Jonah.  We’ve heard the saying over and over: “A text without a context is a pretext for a prooftext.” We want to understand the passage we’re teaching in context. But how do we work through context in a way that affects how we’re teaching? In our conversation, Groves walks listeners through two passages—Daniel 1 and Proverbs 3—demonstrating how exploring the various aspects of context in these passages saves us from teaching them insufficiently. You can listen to the episode here. Related Visit TGC The Gospel Coalition US

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Why You Need a Priest

“We need to understand what it means that Christ is a priest—we need to understand what he has achieved—so that we can come confidently to him. If we remain in the dark, fuzzy, hazy, unsure about what Christ has achieved as a priest, what’s going to happen? We will not enjoy assurance.” — Lewis Allen Text: Hebrews 2:14–18 Preached: May 14, 2017 Location: Hope Church, Huddersfield, England You can listen to this episode of TGC Word of the Week here. Related: Visit TGC The Gospel Coalition US

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A Gem from Robert Murray McCheyne

“Nothing that is imperfect can make us perfect in the sight of God. Hence the admirable direction of an old divine: ‘Labor after sanctification to the utmost; but do not make a Christ of it; if so, it must come down, one way or another. Christ’s obedience and sufferings, not thy sanctification, must be thy justification.’ “ Advertisements Share this: Like this: Like Loading… Visit ResponsiveReiding

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9 Things You Should Know About MS-13

In a recent roundtable discussion in New York, President Trump called MS-13 a “menace” and said about the gang members, “They’re not people. They’re animals.” The controversial statement was the first time many Americans have heard about the group that has been called the “world’s most dangerous gang.” Here are nine things you should know about MS-13. 1. MS-13 (also known as Mara Salvatrucha, Mara, or MS) is an international criminal gang that originated in Los Angeles in the 1980s and has since spread throughout the United States, as well as to Mexico, Canada, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, and other Central American countries. In 2012 MS-13 became the first—and remains the only—street gang designated by the U.S. government as a “transnational criminal organization.” 2. Because of ongoing conflicts in Central America during the 1980s, both refugees and guerrilla fighters from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua fled to the United States. Many settled in the Rampart area of Los Angeles ,where they were frequently victimized by the Mexican Mafia, a Hispanic gang that dominated the area at the time. Some of the Salvadoran youth banded together to protect themselves and formed the gang “Mara Salvatrucha.” 3. The gang’s name comes from “mara,” a Central American term for gang; “salva,” referring to El Salvador; and “trucha,” which means “trout” in English and is a slang term for “clever” or “sharp.” The meaning is roughly translated as street-smart Salvadorans. 4. In 1993 leaders of Mara Salvatrucha formed an alliance with the Mexican Mafia. They added the number 13 to their name—standing for “M,” the 13th letter of the alphabet—and marking them as Sureños, an alliance of gangs in the southwest United States and Mexico. During this time MS-13 began accepting members of other nationalities, such as Ecuadorians, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Mexicans, and Peruvians. 5. MS-13 frequently recruits boys and girls from middle… Read More

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THE Tale of Two Cities: Revelation 11

Revelation Part 23 Chapter 11 2 Corinthians 10:1-6 THE Tale of 2 Cities  AUDIO FOR THIS SERMON CAN BE FOUND HERE As I mentioned last time – there is little question Revelation 11is one of the most – if not THE most – debated chapter in the entire book. And you are all to be commended for sticking with me through the first part of this chapter last week, because there was a LOT there to try and unpack in interpreting the symbols. Fortunately, the rest of the chapter is NOT as symbol laden and will end up very clear. But there is still one more symbol we need to deal with this morning. And if we can get this, it will make the whole rest of the book much more understandable. In fact, much of the point of the book of Revelation rests on it. So please bear with me just a bit longer in doing some hard work  – I promise you it will pay off. Before we even get into the immediate text – let’s stop at the “You Are Here” sign to get our bearings and then forge on ahead. You will recall that there are a series of 7’s that we are right in the middle of. There were the 7 churches in 2-3. The 7 seals on the scroll Jesus opened in Chs. 5-8 – Which scroll contains the complete plan of God in bringing final judgment upon sin and final reward for those in Christ by saving faith. The opening of those seals gave us an overview of the plan. That was followed by introducing 7 trumpets. A series of announcements or proclamations that expanded on some aspects of what we saw when the seals were opened – and are meant to serve… Read More

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Lest We Forget: Reflections Heavenward on Memorial Day

Drizzle dappled the path and steeped the morning in melancholy. My kids sat in their red wagon and occasionally inquired about the trumpets and clarinets clutched to chests the elementary school band. They covered their ears when rifle shots cracked the air. We pointed out gravestones as Boy Scouts laid flowers on them, continuing the tradition followed by generations since the Civil War. Headstones fringed the hillside. Before many of them stood small acrylic flags, folded on themselves amid a scrabble of dew-slicked grass. In some cases, the names etched into granite, more than a century old, denoted stories we would never completely know, faces we would never see. Others elicited tears from people in the crowd whose grief remained raw and tender. All epitomized sacrifice, life given to ensure our freedom. On this day, the gifts of fallen soldiers felt near, palpable and heavy in the air. Yet how easily we forget. When the holiday passes, we return to our routines: emails, paychecks, diaper changes, commutes, deadlines. Monotony we take for granted each day. Luxuries accessible to us only through the sacrifices of soldiers, those who died so we might be free. Even the origin of Memorial Day has drifted from public consciousness. A day meant to commemorate fallen soldiers now signals the arrival of summer. We relish the opportunity to tuck away sweaters and flaunt our pastels. We rejoice over backyard barbecues with a couple of six packs, grilled chicken, and babyback ribs. Even the origin of Memorial Day has drifted from public consciousness. Such celebrations are not wrong. On the contrary, revelry gives our gratitude light and color. It lends music and expression to the deep stirrings of the heart. Yet when we focus on the festive trappings without reflection on the day’s somber motive, we dishonor those… Read More

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Small-Town Summit Encourages Ministry in Rural New England

Vermont is one of the least religious states in the United States. It’s also one of the most rural. That means gospel work in the Green Mountain State won’t be glamorous. It likely won’t be big or fast-moving (though God can do surprising things, which we yearn for him to do). His kingdom will advance in Vermont and other rural regions through an army of committed gospel workers—men and women, young and old, pastors (full-time and bivocational) and laypeople—willing to lay down and pour out their lives in small, unknown places. Already in Action We’ve got good news: those gospel workers are already on the ground, and hard at work. We know, because we just spent a hugely encouraging day with them. On May 16, more than 80 men and women (rural and small town pastors, laypeople, and ministry leaders) packed the sanctuary of the Red Door Church in South Royalton, Vermont. We spent the day praying, singing, eating (you must try Vermont’s best donuts), and considering how God means for the gospel to penetrate and transform the small places of Vermont and New England. The gathering was sponsored by Small Town Summits, which partners with TGC New England to reach the small places of our region. In addition to Vermont leaders, we welcomed Christian workers from New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Leaders from CCEF New England, Vermont Church Planting, Village Missions, the Baptist Convention of New England, and Acts 29 took part in the summit, and the pastors ranged from ministry interns and those just starting out to those who’ve served in ministry for more than 35 years. Breakout sessions reflected on various aspects of ministry in small places, including evangelism, discipleship, worship-leading, and soul care, as well as the unique challenges and opportunities for women ministering… Read More

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3 Ways to Help Kids Connect Obedience with Joy

“Obey? What does that mean?” The boy I was tutoring stared at me in confusion. I had just been telling him that he should do his homework to obey his dad—until I realized I was using a foreign word. I was stumped. How had this boy gone seven years without hearing the word “obey”? It actually made sense. Many non-Christian homes, including his, omit this word from their vocabulary. They might even shun it altogether. Obedience has baggage, after all. It’s linked to rules, to consequences, and—worst of all—to authority. The word “obey” is out of place in our don’t-tell-me-what-to-do society. But Christians should have a different reaction to the word. For us, obedience means blessing, not baggage. And the ultimate authority who was our Judge is now our Savior. For Christians, obedience means blessing, not baggage. Obedience draws us into all the blessings of being part of God’s covenant family. But obedience goes against our sin nature, so we have to teach our kids how to find joy in it. Here are three ways to help your kids connect obedience with joy. 1. Tell Them Why “Because I said so” is reason enough to obey God. Yet in Fatherly love he lets us in on his big-picture plan for obedience. In his Word he shows us why we should obey. And he tells us to do the same for our kids. When the Israelite children asked their parents, “What are these stones for?” God told the parents to explain all he’d done for them in the wilderness (Josh. 4). Obedience and teaching must go hand in hand. This doesn’t mean obedience is subject to negotiation. “Obey first, questions later,” we rightly tell our kids. They must obey whether they understand or not. But it’s our job to help build that understanding,… Read More

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Sexual Assault and the Hope of the Gospel

One in four women, and one in six men, will be sexually assaulted at some point in their life. There are almost certainly people in our churches who have been deeply wounded by assault, but may feel compelled to keep their suffering to themselves. In a Sunday evening elder’s talk at Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Bobby Jamieson walked through the story of Amnon’s rape of Tamar from 2 Samuel 13, a vivid account of the devastation that sexual assault causes. Jamieson then offered seven ways the gospel brings renewal to those who have been victims.* 1. The gospel restores your voice, turning denial into the righteous act of naming evil truthfully. 2. The gospel gives you a new identity as God’s beloved child in Christ. 3. The gospel frees you from shame. 4. The gospel perfectly and permanently removes the guilt of your own sin. 5. The gospel makes room for righteous anger and uproots sinful anger. 6. The gospel restores trust in God and others, turning isolation into growing intimacy. 7. The gospel grants hope, turning despair into confidence in God’s promises. You can listen to this episode of The Gospel Coalition podcast here. Related *Throughout the talk, Jamieson relies heavily on and recommends Justin and Lindsey Holcomb’s book Rid of My Disgrace: Hope and Healing for Victims of Sexual Assault. TGC The Gospel Coalition US

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