Author Archives: Ryan Martin

A parable of moral change on alcohol

A parable of moral change on alcohol

Increasingly, evangelical Christians are abandoning abstentionist and prohibitionist positions on alcohol. This is true among many conservative Baptist churches. It is increasingly common for pastors to lead their churches to take a more moderationist position with respect alcohol. Back in 1981, John Piper led Bethlehem Baptist Church to change its church covenant with respect to… Continue Reading

Cold water to splash in Despair’s face over Apostasy

Cold water to splash in Despair’s face over Apostasy

Of late many high-profile apostasies have rattled evangelical Christianity. Some of the men who have departed from the faith were much admired and loved for their earlier writings and teachings. After all, they were pastors and Christian leaders. News of their exodus from the Promised Land back into Egypt exploded on social media. Fear and… Continue Reading

Worship and the “Mixt Congregation”

Worship and the “Mixt Congregation”

The great shift in worship over the last century has been the result of evangelical clergy in America seeking to make the worship of the church more palatable to the so-called “unchurched.” This is without dispute. The church growth gurus have urged Christian ministers to engineer the style and “aesthetic” of evangelical worship so those… Continue Reading

The New American Evangelical Liturgy | Roger E. Olson

The New American Evangelical Liturgy | Roger E. Olson

Roger Olson describes what he calls “the new evangelical liturgy”: Here is the new evangelical liturgy: The worship service begins with loud music either recorded or sung by a “worship team” led by a “music minister.” Then there is a “welcome” and sometimes encouragement to greet each other (in the congregation). Then there follows a… Continue Reading

Why Hymnals?

Why Hymnals?

I was recently asked to fill out a survey for pastors about their use of hymnals. Their final question was: “If you DO use hymnals for congregational singing, why do you view them as a worthwhile means of leading your church in worship?” Here was my response: A printed hymnal is good for so many… Continue Reading

Converted clog-dancers: Spurgeon on drawing a crowd

Converted clog-dancers: Spurgeon on drawing a crowd

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was known for being an ardent “soul winner.” He maintained that a gospel minister will see certain fruit. A lack of success could be caused by weak preaching, faulty doctrine, or unfaithfulness in prayer. In An All Around Ministry, he said, ‘He that never saved a sinner after years of work is… Continue Reading

Critiquing Expressions of Devotion – Reformation21 Blog

Critiquing Expressions of Devotion – Reformation21 Blog

Rob Looper offers some good thoughts on the appropriateness of “critiquing expressions of devotion”: “Biblically speaking, sometimes critique is necessary because one’s devotion may be misplaced or in error, as Paul did with the unbelieving Athenians (Acts 17:23).  Other times it is necessary because of ignorance, as Priscilla and Aquila did with Apollos (Acts 18:24-26)… Continue Reading

Desiring God Blog denounces the “Open-But Cautious” view of charismatic gifts

Desiring God Blog denounces the “Open-But Cautious” view of charismatic gifts

Andrew Wilson, writing at the Desiring God blog (the parachurch ministry of John Piper), denounces the so-called “Open but Cautious” view of charismatic gifts as the view that’s least biblically indefensible (he’s probably right on that point): Open-But-Cautious Continuationism, however, is almost always neither one nor the other. It involves the strange affirmation that Paul… Continue Reading

Are Some Cultures ‘Better’ Than Others? : Founders Ministries

Are Some Cultures ‘Better’ Than Others? : Founders Ministries

Alex Kochman at the Founders Blog observes: In respect to the value systems that form cultures, it is self-evident that some cultures as closer to biblical ideals than others. Some draw their strength from divine revelation; others do not. Some write laws recognizing freedom of conscience; others sever heads for sport. Moreover, the Great Commission… Continue Reading

An Unimaginable Exchange | Theology in 3D

An Unimaginable Exchange | Theology in 3D

Excellent thoughts on the incarnation of the Son of God from Greg Stiekes: It’s an unimaginable exchange. Heaven’s glory for earth’s humility. Cosmic riches for abject poverty. Ruler of all for servant of all. Source: An Unimaginable Exchange | Theology in 3D Continue Reading

Psalm 130 in the Hands of the Great Composers

Psalm 130 in the Hands of the Great Composers

I recently walked through Psalm 130 with the congregation I pastor. Psalm 130 My Soul Waits for the Lord A Song of Ascents. [1] Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD! [2] O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! [3] If… Continue Reading

Book Announcement: Understanding Affections in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards: “The High Exercises of Divine Love” by Ryan J. Martin

Today marks the release of my first book, Understanding Affections in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards: “The High Exercises of Divine Love.” (Amazon Link | Bloomsbury Link) | ISBN 9780567682246). T&T Clark (a subsidiary of Bloomsbury) is publishing it as part of their series T&T Clark Studies in Systematic Theology. I want to give glory to… Continue Reading

Tozer on great Christian poetry

Tozer on great Christian poetry

In the preface to his Christian Book of Mystical Verse, A. W. Tozer writes, The hymns and poems found in here are mystical in that they are God-oriented; they begin with God, embrace the worshipping soul and return to God again. And they cover the full spectrum of religious feeling: fear, hope, penitence, aspiration, the longing… Continue Reading

Pyromaniacs: Loneliness and the Church

Pyromaniacs: Loneliness and the Church

Hohn Cho: Ideally, the Body of Christ ought never be a place where any member suffers chronic loneliness born from the negligence or apathy (much less hatred) of the brothers and sisters in his or her local church. Source: Pyromaniacs: Loneliness and the Church Continue Reading

May a Baptist (or any other Protestant) sing Catholic hymns?

May a Baptist (or any other Protestant) sing Catholic hymns?

A critic recently approached me about our hymnal and rebuked us for (among other things) including hymns written by Catholics in our hymnal. It is no secret that we include Catholic and Orthodox hymn texts. For example, we include the very ancient Te Deum (“Holy God, We Praise Thy Name”). We include works by or attributed to… Continue Reading

Relevant Magazine: Justice is a fundamental aspect of the gospel

Relevant Magazine: Justice is a fundamental aspect of the gospel

Keshia Mcentire at Relevant illustrates why Christians who love the gospel need to respond with bold, biblical clarity to broader evangelicals’ latest infatuation with the social gospel: The definition of social justice is, “Justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society.” In a just society everyone would receive fair,… Continue Reading