Holidays (Other), Parenting

Beautiful Motherhood: A Mother’s Day Bible Study

As we look ahead to Mother’s Day,
let’s check out what the Bible has to say about mothering.
This is lesson 12 of my topical Bible study:

Imperishable Beauty- A Study of Biblical Womanhood.

Read These Selected Scriptures

Questions to Consider

1. What are some attributes or character traits of a godly mother from Proverbs 31 that we can emulate? In today’s lesson, rather than attributes to emulate, we’ll be focusing on God’s instructions to obey for mothers. We’ll examine how we’re to regard motherhood and our children, how we’re to train our children in godliness, how we’re to discipline our children out of ungodliness, and the example we’re to set for our children. Some of these instructions can also apply to childless women in their relationships with their spiritual children (i.e. younger women or children they disciple) and others. As you read over today’s passages, explain how childless women might apply some of these Scriptures.

2. Examine the first three passages (Psalm 127-Titus 2) together. What do these passages say about how we are to regard motherhood and our children? What should the attitude of our hearts be? In what sense are children a reward? How do we know that Psalm 127:3 does not mean that if you act in a way that pleases the Lord He will reward your good behavior with children? What does this verse mean? Is loving your children (Titus 2:4) simply a feeling of affection toward them? If so, why would young women need to be trained to love their children? When you finish today’s lesson, come back to Titus 2:4 and give a fully-orbed biblical definition of what it means to love your children.

3. Examine the next five passages (Proverbs 22-Ephesians 6) together. Why does God want us to train our children in godliness? Explain the phrase “in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). How does the gospel figure in to training your child? Look carefully at the three Old Testament passages. At what age should we begin training our children in godliness and the Scriptures and how long should this training continue? Is Proverbs 22:6 an iron-clad guarantee or promise from God that if we raise our children in a godly home they will definitely get saved and turn out to be godly adults? Why not? (Scroll down to the Deuteronomy 21 passage if you need help.)

To whom are the Colossians and Ephesians verses addressed? Does this mean they don’t apply to mothers or that it’s OK for mothers to provoke their children, but not fathers? If they apply to both parents, why are they addressed to fathers? How are we not to deal with our children according to these verses? What does it mean to provoke your children? Why are we not to provoke them (Colossians), and how are we to deal with them instead (Ephesians)? Compare Ephesians 6:4b to the Old Testament verses in this section. How are they similar?

3. Examine the next three passages (Proverbs 29-Deuteronomy 21) together. What is the purpose of godly discipline? What are the biblical definitions of the words “discipline” and “reproof”? Are discipline, reproof, and training the same as punishment? Why or why not? What are some of the consequences of disciplining your child? The consequences of refusing to discipline your child? According to Proverbs 13:24, what motivates someone to discipline her child? What motivates someone to refuse to discipline her child? Are “love” and “hate” simply emotional feelings in this verse or an attitude, posture, or orientation of mindset toward the child? Look closely at Deuteronomy 21:20. Is this passage most likely talking about a very young child or an older child/teenager? According to the Deuteronomy 21 passage, does godly discipline always result in an obedient son or daughter, or can there be exceptions to the rule?

Why is it important to both train your child in godly ways and discipline him out of ungodly ways? Explain how this fits into the “put off the ungodly, put on the godlymodel of biblical sanctification.

4. Examine the last five passages (Deuteronomy 21-Matthew 10) together. What do these passages teach us about the godly example we need to set for our children?

Sometimes we see implicit instructions to parents in passages that explicitly teach children how to treat and regard their parents. For example, if there were a verse that said, “Children, love your parents,” we could learn from that verse that we need to act in a way (lovable) that makes it easier for our children to obey that Scripture. Considering this concept, look at the Exodus 20 and Proverbs 1 passages. If your children are to honor you, in what manner should you behave? What should your teaching be like if your children are not to forsake it and to consider it a “graceful garland” and a “pendant”?

What is the context of Ezekiel 16? To whom is the parent/child metaphor in this  passage addressed? Explain the phrase “like mother, like daughter”. Why is it important to set a good example for our children with our own behavior, and why was this a good metaphor for God to use in addressing Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him?

Examine the Deuteronomy 21 and Matthew 10 passages together. What is to be a mother’s highest priority – her relationship with her child, even the life of her child, or her love for, obedience to, and loyalty to Christ? Do you love Christ more than your child? If you had to choose between your child and Christ, who would you choose? What message does it send to our children when we show and tell them that we love Christ more than we love them? How can you demonstrate to your child that your highest love and loyalty is reserved for Christ?


Homework

Examine each of the instructions in Deuteronomy 6:6-9. Make a list of practical ways your family could put each of these instructions into practice and discuss it with your husband. Together, pick one of these practices and implement it with your children this week.


Suggested Memory Verse

Complementarianism

Throwback Thursday ~ Women Preaching: It’s Not a Secondary Doctrinal Issue

Originally published August 3, 2018

When it comes to Christianity, are the specifics of what people believe important?

I think most of us would answer a resounding “yes” to that question. Of course, the various concepts we believe are important. You can’t just believe anything you like and still be a Christian. There are certain things you must believe in order to become a Christian at all, and there are certain things you will come to believe because you are a genuinely regenerated Christian. But what are those things, and how do we know which is which?

Maybe you’ve heard the terms “essential doctrines” or “primary, secondary, and tertiary theological issues” or “first, second, and third tier levels of doctrine”? For years, theologians have been attempting to organize beliefs of the Christian faith – all drawn from the Bible, naturally – into nice neat categories in order to make things a little simpler. As someone who thrives on organization and categories, I’m grateful for their efforts. But if you begin to study this categorization of beliefs, you’ll find that we haven’t reached an across the board consensus yet.

Generally speaking, “essential”, “primary”, or “first tier” doctrines are those which you, biblically, have to believe in order to become a Christian and/or be considered a Christian. For example:

✢ Sin is a thing, and I am a sinner.

✢ God exists and is the supreme authority of the universe.

✢ Jesus was God in human flesh.

✢ Jesus rose bodily from the grave.

See how this works? If you don’t believe you’re a sinner, you’re not saved. If you don’t believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ, you’re not saved. Here’s how our friend, Pastor Gabe, briefly outlines essential doctrines:

(Gabe later tweaked the acrostic a little and added an “S”, which I think is helpful.)

The vast majority of brand new Christians have only the most basic understanding of most of these tenets at the moment of salvation. But it’s not an issue of fully understanding – or else we’d all have to be theologians in order to get saved – it’s an issue of believing. Someone who is genuinely regenerated may not completely understand how the Trinity works (honestly, no one does), but when she’s introduced to the biblical idea of the Trinity, she believes it, learns more about it, and does not reject it.

There is typically agreement among most reputable theologians regarding what constitutes first tier doctrine. Scripture is clear about these things, and several of these issues were settled long ago by the church fathers in assorted church councils (Nicea, Chalcedon, etc.)

Secondary issues are routinely defined as non-salvific but still extremely biblically important, if not quite as biblically clear-cut as primary issues. Doctrines surrounding baptism (credo versus paedo, affusion versus immersion), for example, are usually cited as a secondary issue. A disagreement on a secondary issue doesn’t mean one person is saved and another isn’t, but it normally prevents close partnership in ministry activities involving these issues. For example, my Presbyterian friends and I can join together in pro-life ministry, but we would most likely not plant a church together.

Tertiary issues are non-salvific, less immediately urgent, biblical issues in which the Bible is even less clear-cut and open to wider (yet still biblical) interpretation. These are issues over which Christians can disagree and still maintain close doctrinal fellowship, even in the same church, if they’re in agreement on first and second tier doctrine. Eschatology – the order and timing of events at Jesus’ second coming – is a doctrine that’s often considered third tier. Someone can hold a different eschatological view than mine, yet it doesn’t affect our ability to worship together, work together, or participate in the ordinances together in the same church.

Some theologians add a fourth category – issues of adiaphora, conscience, or Christian liberty. Usually these are issues of much less importance that the Bible either doesn’t specifically address, or doesn’t give commands about one way or the other. Individual Christians may use biblical principles to inform their consciences and decide for themselves. These would be things like whether or not to take your child trick-or-treating or deciding whether to dress formally or casually for church.

While theologians are largely in agreement about primary doctrines, there is wider spread disagreement on which doctrines are secondary and tertiary (many consider eschatology to be a second tier doctrine, for example) and whether or not there is a need for a category of adiaphora, since such issues are normally not considered to be “doctrinal” issues. In fact, there’s enough space for disagreement that pastors and theologians often wisely refrain from making concrete lists of secondary and tertiary doctrines.

But when we’re talking about the different levels of doctrine, what you won’t find is questions like these: Is murder a first, second, or third tier doctrine? What about gossip? Rape? Adultery? Lying? Gluttony? Pride?

And it’s not because these issues aren’t important or because the Bible doesn’t address them. It’s because they’re in a different category from the other issues: the category of sin. They aren’t doctrines upon which salvation hinges, they aren’t open to interpretation, and the Bible is clear that we are absolutely not to do these things.

In 2005, Dr. Albert Mohler wrote an excellent article about the different levels of doctrine entitled A Call for Theological Triage and Christian Maturity. He carefully explains the importance of each level of doctrine and what it covers in a plea to keep each level’s urgency in its proper place of significance during discussion, debate, and decision-making.

It was a helpful article to which I always refer people who have questions about tiers of doctrine, and I agree with Dr. Mohler’s thoughts wholeheartedly1 …except on one point:

“In recent years, the issue of women serving as pastors has emerged as another second-order issue.”

Women serving as pastors, women preaching, women teaching men Scripture in the church, and women exercising authority over men in the church is not a secondary issue. Nor is it a primary or tertiary one. It does not belong in the category of “doctrine” in the same way baptism and eschatology do. It belongs in the category of sin in the same way murder, gossip, and adultery do. Let’s take a look at the reasons for this.

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 1 Timothy 2:12

(The preponderance of Scripture supports and affirms this concept, so to keep things simple, we’ll use this verse as an exemplar.)

✢ The prohibition in 1 Timothy 2:12 is a clear command against a certain behavior. And when we behave in a way God has prohibited, that is called “sin”. All of the tenets in the three levels of doctrine are affirmative statements regarding beliefs (you must believe in the resurrection of Christ, we believe in baptism by immersion, etc.). None of them are commands, in the negative, against sinful behavior (Thou shalt not murder, I do not permit a woman to teach… etc.)

✢ Secondary and tertiary doctrines can be open – to varying degrees – to biblical interpretation. Every stripe of non-heretical eschatological thought can provide you with chapter and verse passages that can, depending on the angle from which you approach the subject, be biblically plausible and scripturally supported. There is no biblical support for anything God prohibits. No one can cite a properly handled, in context Bible verse in which God says, “It’s OK to commit adultery,” or “Women are allowed to preach.” There can be multiple views on a secondary or tertiary issue that can all be considered biblical, but there can only be one view of sin that is biblical.

✢ Differing beliefs on true secondary and tertiary issues are not sin. My Presbyterian friends have a different view of baptism than I do. That doesn’t mean either of us is sinning. I may think their interpretations of the verses they believe support paedo baptism are incorrect, but they are not breaking any of God’s commands. Differing behavior (again, we see the distinction between doctrinal belief and sinful behavior) on issues of sin is sin. If someone behaves differently from God’s command about lying, she is sinning. If a woman behaves differently from God’s command in 1 Timothy 2:12, she is sinning.

✢ Differing beliefs on secondary and tertiary issues are not born of disobedience and rebellion toward God. Usually, it’s quite the opposite. When someone has studied a theological issue enough to hold a particular position on it, it’s usually because she is striving to please God and to be biblical in her beliefs. Differing behavior on issues of sin is born out of disobedience and rebellion toward God. Someone who steals has already decided in her heart that her desires are better than God’s command. A woman who knowingly holds improper authority over men in her church is doing so because she has already decided to defy God’s clear command against such.

✢ Because different beliefs on secondary and tertiary issues are not born of rebellion and are not sin, they do not require church discipline. Sin does require church discipline. If someone in your church is openly dishonoring her parents, she is sinning and should be subject to church discipline. If a woman is pursuing a career as a pastor, she is sinning and should be subject to church discipline. 

Since the publication of Dr. Mohler’s article (and perhaps as a result of others teaching the same thing) the idea of the violation of 1 Timothy 2:12 being a “secondary doctrine” has spread in a most unhelpful way, leading many Christians to treat the issue in a c’est la vie, “We can just agree to disagree on this,” manner.

No, we cannot.

We would not say, “We can agree to disagree,” on lying or adultery or homosexuality or abortion, and we cannot say it about women preaching, teaching men, or holding unbiblical authority, either. We disciple and teach a sister in Christ who is unaware of what the Bible says on these matters, and if she is committing any of these sins, we begin the process of church discipline. But it would not be loving toward her, or honoring God, to allow her to continue in biblical ignorance or in willful sin.

Furthermore, the violation of 1 Timothy 2:12 brings with it dangers to the church that true secondary and tertiary issues, and even many sins, do not…

She may not say it with her lips, but when a woman preaches to men in defiance of Scripture, she’s teaching false doctrine through her behavior. What is the false doctrine she’s teaching? “I don’t have to obey God’s Word, and neither do you. If there’s a part of the Bible you don’t like, you’re free to disregard it.” If your pastor stood up in the pulpit on Sunday morning and said that in words, you’d run him out of town on a rail, and rightly so. Neither should a woman be able to teach that same false doctrine via her actions.

Additionally, I have mentioned several times when dealing with this issue that women preaching to men is highly correlated with women teaching other forms of false doctrine. I have researched scores of women teachers. Every single one of them who unrepentantly teaches men also teaches false doctrine in some other aspect of her theology (usually Word of Faith or New Apostolic Reformation). In other words, if a woman teaches men, you can just about take it to the bank that she also teaches additional false doctrine. False doctrine and heresy are infecting the church – via female preachers – at an alarming rate.

We dare not simply “agree to disagree” on this.

The violation of God’s command that women are not to instruct men in the Scriptures nor hold improper authority over men is a sin like any other. It is not a doctrinal issue in the same sense that other second and third tier doctrines are. If left undisciplined, however, it can lead to first tier doctrinal issues infiltrating a church and eventually destroying it. It is detrimental to the church to label and treat any sin as a secondary doctrinal issue.


1In the years since 2018, when this article was originally written, Dr. Mohler has said, done, and supported a few biblically questionable things, leading some to question whether or not he has “gone woke”. While I don’t support his stance on those questionable things, I also don’t believe he has reached the point at which I need to warn against him. To my knowledge, at this time, he is still generally doctrinally sound.

Doctrinally Sound Teachers

Doctrinally Sound Christian Men to Follow – 3

Sometimes we ladies fall for the mindset that if we’re going to pick up a Bible study book, read a blog, or listen to Bible teaching, it has to be from a female author or teacher. Not so! There are a lot of fantastic, doctrinally sound, male Bible teachers, pastors, and writers out there – far more males than females, actually – and you’ll really be missing out if you limit yourself to women teachers and writers.

I’ve recommended lots of my favorite doctrinally sound teachers at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page. Here are some more; and these lists are by no means exhaustive!

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Don’t take my (or anyone else’s) word for it that any ministry, podcast, book, or blog is biblical in its doctrine. You MUST do the work of comparing with Scripture everything you read and hear. If it doesn’t match up with God’s word (in context), chuck it.

 A.W. Pink – “Biographer Iain Murray observes of Pink, ‘the widespread circulation of his writings after his death made him one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century.’ His writing sparked a revival of expository preaching and focused readers’ hearts on biblical living.” Pink pastored churches in Britain, Australia, and across the United States. During that time (1922-1953), Pink published a monthly magazine, Studies in the Scriptures. Each edition contained several articles expositing Scripture. He also authored scads of pamphlets and books on a number of theological topics. Perhaps two of his best known books are The Attributes of God and The Sovereignty of God. These, and many other works by Pink are available for purchase or can be read free online.  Facebook 

Tom Ascol – Tom has served as pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida for over thirty years and has taught theology courses at several seminaries. He is one of the founders, and current executive director of Founders Ministries, the president of the Institute of Public Theology, and a popular author, conference speaker, podcaster, journal contributor, and blogger. I am especially grateful for Tom’s strident efforts in the grassroots movement to bring back biblical and doctrinal fidelity in the Southern Baptist Convention. Check out Tom’s booksread one of his excellent articles, listen to his sermons, or subscribe to The Sword and the Trowel podcast.  Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Allen Nelson – Better known as “Cuatro” to his friends (because he’s Allen Nelson IV), Allen has a deep and abiding passion for the local church, and pastors Perryville Second Baptist Church in Perryville, Arkansas. You might recall reading reviews here on the blog of Allen’s books From Death to Life: How Salvation Works and Before the Throne. Both are well written and helpful, and you’ll want to get a copy of each if you haven’t already. Allen is also contributing writer and roundtable member of the Things Above Us blog and podcast, and is a regular contributor to Servants and Heralds. And don’t forget to check out his sermons, too!  Facebook  Twitter

James White – An expert in apologetics, textual criticism, and theology, “James White is the director of Alpha and Omega Ministries….He is Professor of Church History and Apologetics at Grace Bible Theological Seminary….He has authored or contributed to more than twenty four books…He is Pastor/Elder of Apologia Church in Arizona.” Following Dr. White is almost the equivalent of getting a graduate degree from an elite, doctrinally sound seminary. Check out Dr. White’s many books and debates, his blog, and The Dividing Line webcast (also on iTunes).  Facebook  Twitter  

(Note: Dr. White maintains a personal friendship and, in the past, occasional ministerial connections with Dr. Michael Brown, who, although doctrinally sound in many areas of his theology, has become a safe haven for the worst of the worst New Apostolic Reformation heretics. To my knowledge, Dr. White does not endorse this behavior of Dr. Brown, and certainly does not endorse NAR heresy. It is my understanding that he has attempted to correct Dr. Brown’s errors multiple times. I strongly discourage you from following Dr. Brown.)

Darrell Harrison – “Darrell B. Harrison serves as Dean of Social Media at Grace to You, the bible-teaching ministry of John MacArthur…Darrell has a blog called Just Thinking . . . for Myself…and is the lead host of the Just Thinking podcast, one of the top-ranked Christian podcasts in America…Darrell is currently in the final phase of becoming certified as a biblical counselor with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).” You can read more from Darrell at his G3 Ministries blog. Darrell is also a beloved author, conference speaker, and all around nice guy. Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Tom Buck – Tom’s no nonsense quips and keen insight into the current affairs of Southern Baptist life have made him something of a legend on Twitter, but Tom is first and foremost a pastor, and has served as senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lindale, Texas, for over 15 years. Tom is also the Director of G3 Expository Preaching Workshops, training pastors to become better preachers. Listen to Tom’s sermons online or on iTunes. Follow Tom’s blog, Vessels of Honor, at the G3 Ministries website.  Facebook Twitter

Costi Hinn – Costi is the Pastor of Preaching & Teaching at Shepherd’s House Bible Church in Chandler, Arizona. He is the author of several phenomenal books (one of which I had the pleasure of writing an endorsement for). Though not one to capitalize on the family name, much of Costi’s background and expertise that uniquely qualify him to address the blight of the prosperity gospel and New Apostolic Reformation, stem from his personal experiences as nephew and ministry assistant of NAR faith healer Benny Hinn, and his zeal for sound biblical doctrine is contagious. Check out all of Costi’s blog articles, videos, and his podcast at For the Gospel.  Facebook  Twitter Instagram

Jerry Bridges – Jerry Bridges spent most of his professional career in parachurch ministry, serving in a variety of positions and capacities with The Navigators. He is remembered for his clear and easy to grasp writing style which has endeared to the hearts of millions his books The Pursuit of HolinessThe Practice of GodlinessTrusting God, and over twenty others dealing with topics in theology and discipleship. Get a list (with links) of all of Jerry’s books, listen to his sermons, talks, and interviews here and here, and watch his videos on YouTube.  Twitter

Mike Riccardi – “Mike Riccardi serves as the Pastor of Local Outreach Ministries at Grace Community Church, which includes overseeing Fundamentals of the Faith classes, eight foreign language outreach Bible studies, and evangelism in nearby jails, rehab centers, and in the local neighborhood…He also serves as Assistant Professor of Theology [at The Master’s Seminary]. He has the privilege of serving alongside Phil Johnson as co-pastor of the GraceLife fellowship group at Grace Church.” Check out Mike’s sermons, his books, his articles at the TMS blog and his videos on YouTube. Facebook Twitter

Martyn Lloyd-Jones – “David Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a Welsh Protestant minister, preacher and medical doctor who was influential in the Reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. For almost 30 years, he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London… Lloyd-Jones was well known for his style of expository preaching, and the Sunday morning and evening meetings at which he officiated drew crowds of several thousand, as did the Friday evening Bible studies.” Listen to Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ many fine sermons (or download the app), or purchase his books. You might also wish to watch the excellent documentary Logic on Fire: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Facebook


You can always find these – and more great Christian men and women to follow – at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Doctrinally Sound Teachers

Doctrinally Sound Christian Men to Follow – 2

Sometimes we ladies fall for the mindset that if we’re going to pick up a Bible study book, read a blog, or listen to Bible teaching, it has to be from a female author or teacher. Not so! There are a lot of fantastic, doctrinally sound, male Bible teachers, pastors, and writers out there – far more males than females, actually – and you’ll really be missing out if you limit yourself to women teachers and writers.

I’ve recommended lots of my favorite doctrinally sound teachers at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page. Here are some more; and these lists are by no means exhaustive!

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Don’t take my (or anyone else’s) word for it that any ministry, podcast, book, or blog is biblical in its doctrine. You MUST do the work of comparing with Scripture everything you read and hear. If it doesn’t match up with God’s word (in context), chuck it.

Josh Buice– Josh is the pastor of Pray’s Mill Baptist Church in Douglasville, Georgia, and the founder and president of G3 Ministries. G3 holds annual national and regional conferences and periodic training workshops for pastors, and has established a growing network of doctrinally sound, like-minded churches, among many other ministry endeavors that support and provide helpful resources to the church. Josh is a bold and biblical voice for this era of Christianity. Check out his excellent blog, Delivered by Grace, his sermons, and all the fantastic resources G3 has to offer.   Facebook  Twitter Instagram

J.C. Ryle – One of my beloved, “old dead guys,” John Charles Ryle (1816-1900) was the first bishop of Liverpool and a 19th century English pastor, known for his solid preaching and defense of the faith. He was a prolific author of tracts and books, often based on his sermons, and he frequently taught on contemporary issues from a biblical worldview. Two of his better known books are Holiness and Practical Religion. My favorite book of Ryle’s, however, is The Duties of Parents. Many of Ryle’s works are available online for free. Download nearly 200 of Ryle’s tracts (booklets), read one of his books or sermons online, or add a volume or two to your library.  Facebook  Twitter

Conrad Mbewe – A man who wears many hats, Conrad is, first and foremost, pastor of Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia. Conrad is also editor of Reformation Zambia magazine, Director of International Advancement and lecturer at African Christian University in Zambia (where Voddie Baucham serves as Dean of Theology), writes and preaches extensively, and is a sought after conference speaker. I first became familiar with Conrad when I heard his phenomenal teaching sessions at John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference. Read Conrad’s blog, A Letter from Kabwata, listen to one of his sermons, or purchase one of his booksFacebook  Twitter

Justin Peters  – “Justin Peters Ministries is committed to communicating biblical truth through expository preaching and teaching resources designed to deepen the believer’s knowledge of God and, in turn, his love for God.” Justin is a beloved and popular conference speaker, most often on the topic of discernment. He is best known for Clouds Without Water, a seminar designed to educate the church on the history, growth, and danger of the Word of Faith and New Apostolic Reformation heresies. Watch a presentation of Clouds Without Water, order some of Justin’s materials, listen to his sermons, or subscribe to Justin’s podcast on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform.  Facebook  

Gabriel Hughes– Gabe serves as Associate Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lindale, Texas. An excellent writer, Gabe blogs on discernment and contemporary issues, but he is probably best known for his 90 second WWUTT (When We Understand the Text) videos which address a variety of biblical topics. Gabe also hosts the WWUTT podcast, a helpful daily study in the Word of God. You can watch WWUTT videos, download WWUTT podcasts, purchase Gabe’s books, and more, at the WWUTT website.  Facebook  Twitter

George Whitefield– George Whitefield (1714-1770) was a minister in the Church of England and, along with the Wesley brothers, was one of the founders and leaders of Methodism. Whitefield’s zeal for evangelism led him outside the four walls of the church, and it was not unusual to find him preaching to thousands and even tens of thousands in fields along the English countryside. Whitefield was also a well-known itinerant preacher and evangelist in the United States, and was an integral part of the Great Awakening. Many of Whitefield’s works are available on line including his sermons and tracts. I thoroughly enjoyed this brief biography of Whitefield by the aforementioned J.C. Ryle, and you’ll definitely want to get a hold of Steve Lawson’s book on Whitefield.  Facebook  Twitter

Nate Pickowicz – A heart for New England and a mind for the Puritans, Nate is the pastor of Harvest Bible Church in Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire. He has authored and edited several books, including R.C. Sproul: Defender of the Reformed Faith, Reviving New England, Why We’re Protestant, and How to Eat Your Bible, an introduction to studying God’s Word, complete with a Bible reading plan Nate designed. Check out Nate’s books and articles, and give his sermons a listen. Facebook Twitter Instagram

Andrew Rappaport – Andrew is an absolute ministry machine. He is the pastor of Grace & Truth Bible Church in Bucks County, PA, founder and Executive Director of both Striving for Eternity Ministries, a speaking and training ministry, and the Christian Podcast Community, a colloquy of Christian podcasters. Andrew is also the host of several podcasts, himself: Andrew Rappaport’s Rapp ReportAndrew Rappaport’s Daily Rapp ReportApologetics Live, and So, You Want to be a Podcaster, has authored a number of books and study materials, and is a dynamic conference speaker. Listen in to one (or all!) of his podcasts, and check out his books, materials, and training sessions at one of the links above. Facebook

Owen Strachan – Owen is Provost and Research Professor of Theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary in Conway, Arkansas, and former president of the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood (CBMW). Owen has authored and contributed to a truckload of books and journals on subjects as varied as biblical sexuality, Jonathan Edwards, and social justice. He also writes about theological issues and events at To Reenchant the World. Not just a sharp writer, Owen is also an articulate speaker, hosting his own podcast, The Antithesis, and speaking often at conferences. Listen in to the podcast, and check out Owen’s books. Facebook Twitter Instagram

Scott Aniol– Scott is “Executive Vice President and Editor-in-chief of G3 Ministries and Professor of Pastoral Theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He is a teacher of culture, worship, aesthetics, and church ministry philosophy, he lectures around the country in churches, conferences, colleges, and seminaries, and he has authored several books and dozens of articles.” Scott’s heart for biblical worship -in the church and in the family – is clear in all of his ministry endeavors. Check out his podcast, By the Waters of Babylon, his books and other media, Religious Affections Ministries, and his G3 blog, By the Waters of Babylon. Facebook Twitter Instagram


You can always find these – and more great Christian men and women to follow – at the Recommended Bible Teachers tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Church, Holidays (Other), Reformation Day

The Five Solas of the Protestant Deformation

Reformation Day is Sunday, October 31.

Originally published September 15, 2017

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. October 31, 2017 will commemorate the date in 1517 when Martin Luther famously nailed his 95 theses – a list of grievances against the Catholic church for unbiblical doctrines and practices – to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

Luther’s calls for reform spread quickly throughout Europe, inspiring the likes of church fathers Ulrich Zwingli (Zurich), John Calvin (Geneva), and John Knox (Scotland) to join the effort in their own locales. As they worked to address the issues raised in Luther’s document, these men codified what we know today as the “Five Solas of the Reformation,” the basis of Protestant church doctrine. The five solas are:

1. Sola Scriptura– Scripture alone is the basis for all church doctrine, belief, and practice. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

2. Sola Gratia– Salvation is by grace alone. It is an unmerited gift of God based solely on His goodness, not our own (because we don’t have any). (Ephesians 2:8-9)

3. Sola Fide– Salvation is through faith alone. Faith is a gift bestowed by God. We are saved only by placing that faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross, not by doing good works or by any other attempts to earn salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

4. Solus Christus– Salvation is found in Christ alone. As Acts 4:12 says, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

5. Soli Deo Gloria– God saves man for God’s glory alone, and Believers are to live our lives to glorify Him alone. (Romans 11:36)

The five solas should be the foundation of the church’s orthodoxy (beliefs or doctrine) and our orthopraxy (church practices). But over the past five centuries there’s been a declension. A downgrade. The church has become deformed from the beautiful biblical portrait of a bride “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” because we’ve functionally replaced the Five Solas of the Reformation with pragmatic, and often idolatrous, solas of our own making…

No longer is Christian doctrine and practice governed strictly by sola Scriptura, especially among Christian women. Now it’s all about our own personal feelings, opinions, and life experiences. Won’t go to a church that preaches sin and repentance because it offends your sensibilities? You’ve become accepting of homosexual “marriage” because someone you love dearly has adopted that lifestyle? Believe God is in the habit of talking to people because you’ve “heard His voice”? Then you’re basing your doctrine and practices on your own feelings and experiences rather than on what the Bible says.

The Christian’s instructions for life and godliness are found in only one place: the Bible. We do not squish Christianity into the mold of what makes us happy, what we agree with, our relationships with others, or the things we’ve experienced. We start with the Bible and we bring everything else in our lives – everything we think, feel, believe, say, and do – into submission to it. If a personal feeling, opinion, or experience conflicts with Scripture, it is wrong. We don’t change Scripture to fit our perspective, we change our perspective to fit Scripture.

If you want to know what road the modern church is headed down simply pick up your Bible and turn to… the Old Testament. Especially the verses that say “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Jesus said the way to greatness was humility, servanthood, and anonymity. We want glory, recognition, and applause. God says, “walk in My ways.” We say, “I’ll consider that if it fits in with my plans, is agreeable to me, and makes me look good to others.” We “welcome” the Holy Spirit into His own church as though we own the place. We are so used to being on the throne of our own lives that we use words like “letting” or “allowing” God to do something without even realizing it. We don’t ask, “Is it pleasing to God?”, we say, “If it’s pleasing to me, it must be pleasing to God.” Goodbye soli Deo gloria. Hello soli ego gloria.

More and more, “Christians” are driven by the selfish greed of “What can God do for me?” rather than the pursuit of holiness. So-called Christian teachers who will scratch itching ears are sought out, and an abundance of hucksters are at the ready, eager to “give the people what they want” in order to make a fast buck.

These people who claim the name of Christ care nothing about following in His footsteps – or even knowing what those footsteps are – craving instead the temporal creature comforts of wealth, success, popularity, health, self esteem, and influence. They want to be told what their flesh wants to hear, and they want to believe that’s Christianity. Share in Christ’s sufferings? Never. Away with the Via Dolorosa. Lead us down the primrose path.

Spotlights. Merch. Audiences of thousands. Agents. Entourages. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the Christian celebrities from the secular. The star-struck church has created its own caste system in which biblical fidelity is measured by how many books you’ve sold, the number of attendees at your megachurch or conferences, and the size of your audience on social media. That many followers? That number of bestsellers at the Christian retail chain? She must know what she’s talking about. We’ll use her books for our women’s “Bible” study – no vetting necessary! But that 85 year old pastor who’s been faithfully expositing the Word to his rural congregation of twenty for the better part of his life? No kudos. No esteem for honorable servants of the Lord such as he. We want glitz and glam and hype and bling. We want to be cutting edge, relevant, and attractional. Because maybe – just maybe – some of that glory will rub off on us. And so it goes – we follow the latest and greatest Christian authors, bands and personalities, attracted more to their pretty faces, stylish clothes, and charisma than to sound doctrine, while Christ’s sheep, relegated to a dark corner of the sanctuary, bleat to simply be fed the Bread of Life and the Living Water.

What’s hot rightthisminute? What’s the current style, the latest trend, the fad du jour? The Church of What’s Happening Now wants to know. Whether it’s today’s Christian bestseller that simply every small group is using now, dahling, or caving to whichever way the wind is blowing today when it comes to the world’s sexual morality, if we can just ride the viral wave of the immediate we can get people in the doors, money in the offering plate, and souls into Heaven. Maybe.

Vox populi, vox Dei? Have we forgotten how uncool it was to be the only one building an ark before rain was invented? That idol worship was the latest thing going in Jeremiah’s day? That it was the crowds who cried “Crucify Him!”?

The God of the Bible is not hip and groovy. He’s seen as hopelessly out of touch with current morals and values. A doddering old fool who just can’t seem to get with the times. His holy ways are antiquated and obsolete. We’re modern and educated and wise to the ways of the world. We know better how His church and our lives should run.

Just what is it we’re building our Christian doctrine and practices on these days? ‘Cause it sure isn’t the unadulterated written Word of God and the original five solas. Maybe it’s time we took a good hard look at how far we’ve slidden in the last five hundred years. How far we’ve strayed from the purity of Scripture and doctrine the Reformers worked so hard for, were imprisoned and persecuted for, were martyred for.

Maybe it’s time for another Reformation.


Additional Resources:

Why We’re Protestant: An Introduction to the Five Solas of the Reformation by Nate Pickowicz

What was the Protestant Reformation? at Got Questions

5 Questions and the 5 Solas at The Cripplegate

Reformation Resources to Feed Your Heart and Mind at G3 Ministries