Author Archives: Ryan Martin

Hymns sifted in Satan’s sieve of suffering

Hymns sifted in Satan’s sieve of suffering

In the midst of difficult days, it is helpful to learn from those saints who have endured hard times before us. We are self-centered enough to think that our personal plight is exceptional, when in reality it is not. Paul Gerhardt, born in 1607, was a Lutheran pastor. Today he is remembered best for his… Continue Reading

Greet one another with a holy kiss

Greet one another with a holy kiss

If someone was to tell you every day, multiple times a day, that you were an extremely handsome man or beautiful woman, that repeated compliment would do wonders for how you viewed yourself. If someone was to tell you the opposite, that you were extremely ugly, you would become insecure about your appearance. You might… Continue Reading

What I’ve missed while not gathering with my local church (Part 3)

What I’ve missed while not gathering with my local church (Part 3)

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series What's missing in virtual church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The novel coronavirus has resulted in a time where many churches have been unable to gather. This has been unprecedented for most of us alive today. Many churches have opted for a virtual or streaming ministry. Others have encouraged family worship, or sent pastoral guidance to church members to follow. As I have repeatedly said,… Continue Reading

What I’ve missed while not gathering with my local church (Part 2)

What I’ve missed while not gathering with my local church (Part 2)

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series What's missing in virtual church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

We’ve all been caged up for a while now. Because of the concerns of governments the world-wide, churches have not been able to gather. In one respect, this ought to seriously concern all of us, for whenever we fail to gather as believers, we disobey Christ. That is, we had better have sufficient and significant… Continue Reading

What I’ve missed while not gathering with my local church (Part 1)

What I’ve missed while not gathering with my local church (Part 1)

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series What's missing in virtual church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Throughout my life, I have very rarely missed church services. Because of our governor’s “Stay-at-Home” order, this season has been one of the most prolonged periods I have ever spent without attending local church services. Here’s my hot take on the situation: not being in church really stinks. For several reasons, our church has opted… Continue Reading

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