Author Archives: Guest Author

Treasures of the Trial

Treasures of the Trial

Jon Pratt God brings trials of various kinds into all our lives, and we are not to be surprised by this (1 Pet 4:12). But I admit that recent events in my family’s life have been quite unexpected and extraordinary. In His grace, the Lord has taught me many lessons through this experience, and I would like… Continue Reading

Race and the Church

Race and the Church

Jon Pratt Central Seminary has hosted the MacDonald Lecture Series annually since 1991. The lectures are named in honor of Dr. Charles MacDonald, who served as professor of practical theology from 1969-1971. Through the MacDonald Lectures, Central Seminary has hosted many speakers who have addressed a variety of ministry issues. But on February 7, 2017,… Continue Reading

Why I Spend Time with “Old Men” in Ministry

Why I Spend Time with “Old Men” in Ministry

Jeff Straub Throughout my 35+ years of ministry, I have been privileged to meet a few grand old men—Calebs, if you will—whose strength remained undiminished until the day of their passing. I am not talking about physical strength, for many of these men would have been past their prime physically. Spiritually, however, they were as… Continue Reading

Help your children learn the content of Scripture

Help your children learn the content of Scripture

Several years ago when my oldest was beginning his homeschooling in earnest and my wife and I were choosing our curricula for different school subjects, I set out to find just the right Bible curriculum. Our family does regularly read the Bible together as a family, but it is my firm belief that it also… Continue Reading

A Visit to Winners Chapel

A Visit to Winners Chapel

Jeff Straub I recently read an essay in which the author described the scene at a San Salvador Pentecostal church: “Within two minutes it is holy bedlam—high-energy guitar music, electronic-generated images on two big screens, girls waving flags, hands raised, people dancing in the aisles, crying and singing so loud the windows vibrate.” Such a… Continue Reading

The Gospel in Europe

The Gospel in Europe

Jeff Straub Next year marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, the publication which started the Protestant Reformation. Luther, an Augustinian monk and theology professor, came to embrace justification by faith alone and to conclude that much of what the Roman Church was promoting had little biblical foundation. His initial goal was a… Continue Reading

Perry Noble’s Missed Opportunity

Perry Noble’s Missed Opportunity

Jeff Straub The fall of mega-church pastor Perry Noble has stunned the evangelical world. Noble founded and pastored NewSpring Church of Anderson, SC, for 18 years. NewSpring was listed as the third largest church in the United States in 2015. Outreach Magazine reports its attendance as approaching 28,000. But in recent days, the leadership of… Continue Reading

A Plea for a Three-Year Master of Divinity, Part Two

A Plea for a Three-Year Master of Divinity, Part Two

Jeff Straub Last week, I began a discussion on the trend to combine college and seminary education into a shortened five- or six-year program. By the end of the 19th century, the M.Div. was a graduate degree built off a non-ministerial undergraduate degree so that it required three years of intensive theological education. During the… Continue Reading

Summer Reading: Time for a Change of Pace

Summer Reading: Time for a Change of Pace

Jeff Straub In last week’s Nick, Kevin mentioned some of the books that he had read during the past twelve months. I thought I might follow up with an essay on summer reading. Christians need to read. Pastors need to read. Reading informs our mind, instructs our sensibilities, broadens our understanding, corrects our misconceptions, challenges… Continue Reading

Weep With Those Who Weep

Weep With Those Who Weep

Jeff Straub Ecclesiastes 3:4 reminds us that there is a “time to weep.” If ever there was a time for weeping in our independent Baptist world, it is now. Last week, a 280-page report was published on the serial sins of a trusted Baptist missionary doctor and the apparent malfeasance of his mission which, despite… Continue Reading

Carnal Christians? Part Two

Carnal Christians? Part Two

Jon Pratt Believers struggle with sin. But disagreement arises over how this ongoing conflict ought to be engaged. Some have suggested that classifying Christians into “spiritual” and “carnal” categories helps to explain the battle so that steps can be taken to secure victory over sin. Responding to a two-part essay on the “carnal Christian” by… Continue Reading

Carnal Christians? Part One

Carnal Christians? Part One

Jon Pratt One of my former professors, Charles Hauser, has recently written in support of the “carnal Christian” view as a way of describing the reality of sin in the believer’s life (Nick, 3/4/16 and 3/11/16). In response, I offer this essay in respectful dissent and in support of the more historically grounded position that… Continue Reading

The Fields Are Still White—Laborers Are Still Needed

The Fields Are Still White—Laborers Are Still Needed

Jeff Straub The modern missionary movement is now about 225 years old, if you mark its beginning with the journey of William Carey to India in 1792. Of course, students of missions history recognize that missions hardly began with Carey. It dates to the New Testament era and the great missionary apostle, Paul. Moreover, looking… Continue Reading

The Believer and Carnality, Part Two

The Believer and Carnality, Part Two

Charles A. Hauser The previous essay attempted to show that 1 Corinthians 1:14-3:3 establishes three categories of people: natural, spiritual, and carnal. The latter two are both genuine believers, but differ in their level of maturity. This contrast seems especially clear in 3:1-3. To avoid this interpretation, Reformed theologians like Ernest Reisinger appeal back to… Continue Reading

The Believer and Carnality, Part One

The Believer and Carnality, Part One

Charles A. Hauser All Bible-believing interpreters of scripture agree that doctrine must be determined by the teaching of the Word of God, not by creeds or confessions. The creeds are helpful and widely respected, but doctrine must always be decided on the basis of what scripture clearly teaches. Reformed theologians have consistently taught that the… Continue Reading