Author Archives: Ryan Martin

On the relationship of faith and works

On the relationship of faith and works

I still confess the doctrine of justification by faith alone. The Scriptures teach repeatedly that no man is or can be saved by his works. This matter is central in importance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul teaches that the Gospel is that Christ died for our sins and rose again in accordance with… Continue Reading

Encouragement to Ministers

Encouragement to Ministers

Gospel ministry is filled with both great difficulty and great encouragements. When ministers are discouraged, one of the ways that the Lord strengthens them is through the encouragement of other ministers. Along these lines, here are two voices from the past to encourage any ministers out there in the work they are doing: Charles Bridges… Continue Reading

Horatius Bonar on Trendiness in Religion

Horatius Bonar on Trendiness in Religion

Every pastor and Christian leader feels a certain pressure to be relevant. We do not want Christianity to slip away into an oblivion. We do not want the church to go “backward” during our watch. This impulse has led many to the conclusion that Christianity must “keep up with the times.” One of the criticisms… Continue Reading

Augustine on that which deserves the name “love”

Augustine on that which deserves the name “love”

Too often, contemporary Christianity sees all emotions or affections as essentially equal. For this reason, many conclude as long as some kind of religious emotion is evoked, some good has been done. Augustine did not believe that all loves were equal. In fact, he distinguished between different kinds of genuine spiritual love. This comes out… Continue Reading

The Mortification of Spin’s Take on Secular Music (or, Calvin vs. the Calvinists)

The Mortification of Spin’s Take on Secular Music (or, Calvin vs. the Calvinists)

Occasionally I listen to the Mortification of Spin (hereafter MOS) podcast. I find the episodes largely helpful and would happily recommend the podcast to others. Recently, however, Carl, Aimee, and the other guy1 released an episode on whether or not Christians can listen to secular music.2 They largely defended the proposition that Christians can listen to almost… Continue Reading

The Holy Spirit and decent and orderly worship

The Holy Spirit and decent and orderly worship

In the fourteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul rebukes the church for its chaotic worship. It seems that the problems included women teachers (14:33b-35), the incoherence of foreign langues (14:13, 19, 27-28), and even people speaking over each other in the services (14:27-32). Paul rebukes them strongly for this. As he wraps up his discourse,… Continue Reading

This is the Truth Sent from Above

This is the Truth Sent from Above

The carol “This is the Truth Sent from Above” is a traditional carol whose text originates from words that first appeared in the 19th century. It is regrettable that many choirs leave many of the verses out (although it is impractical to sing all 16 verses that have been discovered). Still, the carol needs several stanzas… Continue Reading

Christian worship is corporate

Christian worship is corporate

Paul has a corporate worship in mind in 1 Corinthians 14, and as the Apostle addresses the problem of tongues in Corinth, he at the same teaches us something very important about Christian worship. Earlier in the book, Paul asks, Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Cor 3:16). The… Continue Reading

Paul, Plato, and Calvin on Music

Paul, Plato, and Calvin on Music

In 1 Corinthians 14:7-8, Paul says, ”If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?” 1 Cor 14:7-8 (ESV) The “flute,” I’m told, was a woodwind instrument more akin… Continue Reading

Praying for what God has promised

Praying for what God has promised

The Scriptures teach us to pray for the things that God has promised. We often pray for things that we are unsure of. We often pray for health problems or for people to obtain employment or for a president to be of a certain political persuasions. This is good. We should continue to do this, for God… Continue Reading

tobyMac and the state of Evangelical piety

tobyMac and the state of Evangelical piety

Paul’s Words to the Ephesians The beginning of Ephesians 5 is striking. Paul writes to former idolaters and fornicators, reminding them of their new life in Christ. He opens with a call to holiness. Believers must “be imitators of God,” walking “in love.” To walk in love means that believers must live making personal sacrifices to build… Continue Reading

Some Thoughts about the hymnal Cantus Christi

Some Thoughts about the hymnal Cantus Christi

I have had a chance over many months to get to know the hymnal Cantus Christi published by Canon Press, associated with Pastor Douglas Wilson and Christ Church of Moscow, Idaho. Over this time, I have gathered some reflections about this hymnal. For churches who are considering purchasing this hymnal, they should know a few things about… Continue Reading

Is Self-Love Always Selfishness?

Is Self-Love Always Selfishness?

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Reflections on Christian Love You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We all say we’re against selfishness. But what is selfishness? And if God hates selfishness, why does our own happiness play such an important role in Biblical motivation? Some people think of selfishness as merely loving oneself, and that love for self is where the sin in selfishness lies. As you will see, I think we can… Continue Reading

A Modest Proposal: One Loaf in Communion

A Modest Proposal: One Loaf in Communion

In 1 Cor 10:17 Paul says, Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. For many Christians, Paul’s words in that verse do not make as much sense as they might otherwise, because they break the their Communion bread before they see it.1 While I… Continue Reading

Are Christians free to love however they please?

Are Christians free to love however they please?

What is Christian love like? Where does it come from? Should we desire that our love be utterly spontaneous? Should we seek to love naturally? Is it inauthentic to love in a way other than that which first comes to us? Should our affections be unaffected? The impulse to say that the way a believer… Continue Reading

Some thoughts concerning Hymns on Christ’s Resurrection

Some thoughts concerning Hymns on Christ’s Resurrection

I know this post is somewhat badly timed, but I wanted to provide a bit of help for those who are looking for good resurrection hymns, either for personal devotion, to teach to their families, or to teach to congregations.1 Sometimes I hear the lament that there aren’t that many good Easter hymns. There are probably more… Continue Reading

Paul the Cultural Conservative

Paul the Cultural Conservative

One of the most difficult passages of Paul’s writings to interpret is 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. In this passage, Paul commands Christian women who are praying or prophesying to cover their heads. At almost every turn, interpretative issues arise. Part of the problem is that we have very little understanding of cultural practices of the time that… Continue Reading

Spurgeon on counterfeit affections

Spurgeon on counterfeit affections

At this blog, we are concerned about the affections. We believe that true Christian love is a supernatural and gracious work of the Holy Spirit, and from this belief we want (positively) to encourage Christian ministries to draw affections out of believers properly through the means God has given and (negatively) to warn against the catastrophic… Continue Reading

All Things to All Men | Part 6: A Couple More Parallel Passages

All Things to All Men | Part 6: A Couple More Parallel Passages

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series All Things to All Men You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This post will complete the series I have been slowly working through after beginning it a couple months ago. As I oft reminded you, Paul’s words in 1 Cor 9:19-23 have been used to justify a “anything goes” approach to evangelism. In verse 22 we especially see the potential for abuse, where Paul writes, “I have become… Continue Reading