by David and Tim Bayly on November 28, 2009 - 10:04am
(Tim) Here's a good post differentiating between regretting bad choices and Christian repentance written by our dear sister, Kamilla Ludwig. She wrote in response to a recent Sean Hannity interview of Miss California.
by David and Tim Bayly on January 14, 2010 - 5:48am
(Tim) These wise words were made as a comment under the recent post, Stats on internet pornography, by Alex McNeilly, a young sax student in Church of the Good Shepherd. Thank you, Alex.
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of how guarded any home is against sin, particularly the sexual sin of the media, in the world opportunities to indulge in it will abound. But even as we build larger and stronger walls against these sins
in the home, worldly access to them becomes ever more
available as we see in the stats in this post. As a result, I agree
with Kevin that the strongest defense against these things lies in the
We must teach our children the dangers of sexual sin and
pornography, so that when they go into the world (a friend's house, a
computer lab, a video store, etc.), where there are no guards, their
hearts will already be fortified against these iniquities...
by David and Tim Bayly on January 22, 2010 - 7:17am
(Tim, w/thanks to Bill M.) After many years of pastoral relationships and Christian brotherhood with men and women tempted by or repenting of same-sex intimacy, this article is about as straight an account of the life as any I've read. It's not for youngsters, but every Christian adult should read it for more reasons than I can count--but especially because it pulls the curtain back on the reality of Western culture's rabid promotion of sodomy and what that entails. Precisely.
But more, the glorious beauty of father-hunger becoming only just slightly self-aware; then taking the first fledgling steps of repentance. May God have mercy on Patrick Muirhead.
Three excerpts to whet your appetite:
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I was in Tenterden (getting my hair cut)...
A handsome young dad entered with a small, fair-haired boy at his
side. The man took a seat and hoisted the wide-eyed child proudly on to
his knee. The first haircut, I speculated inwardly, as an unfamiliar
fatherly glow and feeling of mild envy swept over me. I could not tear
my attention away from the mirrored reflections...
(Tim, w/thanks to Josh Congrove) Peter Hitchens has provided such a good set of reasons for the hope that is within him (and sadly, not in his brother, Christopher) that I abstain from comment and simply post the link. So many wonderfully wise and beautiful things here, I can't bear to mention only one.
Thank you, brother Peter. We will pray for your dear brother, Christopher.
Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed. (Matthew 26:74)
(Tim) In one of his more recent comments, Darryl wrote that I'd called his "profession" into question. This is not true. I've nowhere questioned Darryl Hart's faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
So how could he think so?
My guess is Darryl can't understand how I could accuse a man of discouraging the holiness and sanctification of believers without considering that man doing the discouraging an unbeliever, himself. In other words, such an accusation is so serious that the one making it must be holding another far more serious accusation in abeyance.
Reading through the account of Passion Week from the Gospel of Matthew last night (as is our congregation's habit on Palm Sunday evening), we were confronted by the Disciples' utter failure as Jesus went to His death...
(Tim) Yesterday, a friend sent me a satirical piece his son and
several friends had written about a bunch of new city church plants with
names like Elevation Church, Dust, The Line, Infusion Church, and
Austin City Life (see Howard Davis' comment, below). He commented, "What is really amazing is their unique
web sites all look alike (and) I bet all their unique worship services
are the same. And... they're all about being in the 'city.'"
reading many city
church web sites, it's clear such churches normally aren't missional if missional means faithfulness to Jesus' Great Commission commands. Most indicate no practice of rebuke, preaching God's Law, or calls to repentance. Instead, they prattle on about being "for the city" and they're positively chipper.
It's all about seeking common ground with
unbelievers. And if they mention God's perfections, it's only those
perfections that would be likely to make unbelievers feel good about
themselves and think God might not be so high and mighty and scary
after all. Christian faith and the Church are presenting as uniting believers
and unbelievers in the same brotherhood and sisterhood of man in and for the city. Convicting the world of sin and righteousness and judgment is out and assuring the world of our goodwill toward them in God's Name is in.
Reading Augustine's City of God
earlier today, I came across this excerpt. Augustine knew something about preaching the Gospel in the city and contextualizing the Lordship of Jesus Christ to urbane men and women world-weary in a decadent
(Tim) Under "What is Gospel-centered ministry, really...," there's been a lengthy series of exchanges in the comments concerning whether it's proper to preach evangelistic sermons to established churches. This is an exceedingly important discussion and I want to encourage readers to go down and read those comments in their proper context. But knowing some won't go there, here is my most recent response which can, to some degree, stand on its own. Whatever else you don't read, make sure not to pass over the critically important quote from Luther here recorded.
* * *
Augustine said, "Many sheep without, many wolves within." From the
founding of the Church, this has been the universal experience of
pastors as we care for our flocks. Yes, the Epistles demonstrate a
presumption that letters to believers are letters to believers. It's
hard to imagine how they could have been written otherwise. "To those
purporting to belong to Christ who are a part of that organization
purporting to be a true church in Galatia?" It doesn't work.
But do the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles provide evidence that our
Lord and His Apostles called the faith of those marked by the signs of
the Covenant into question? The answer to that question is an emphatic,
"Yes!" How long shall my list be? Think of those Christ contradicts,
telling them their father is not God, but the Devil (John 8:38
& ff.). And if we want to let ourselves off the hook by dismissing
Christ as our paradigm for pastoral care today under the rubric of His
omniscience, let's move to the Apostolic warning given to Simon Magus in
Acts 8. Or on to the many exhortations to baptized believers recorded
in the Epistles carefully calculated to warn against and expose
presumption--including the Letters to the Seven Churches (eg. Revelation
So yes, we are to preach to our people normally addressing them as
true believers. But we also must test ourselves to see if we are in the
faith and call our flock to follow us in this discipline...
(Tim, w/thanks to Michael) If John wasn't allowed to speak of the hand of God that honed in on Lutheran sodomy politics, I wonder what we're allowed to say about lightning striking this graven image that has long been a fixture visible to I-75 commuters passing Cincy's Solid Rock Church?
Well, by an act of Nature, it burned last night. But not to worry: church officials told the press the graven image will be rebuilt.
If judgment is no act of God, but only an act of Nature, it's quite a relief since Nature never calls us to repentance. Or, should I say, Nature only calls us to repent of things like a carbon footprint that's bigger than it ought to be.
(Tim) Listening to one of the ClearNote Conference sermons this past weekend, it came to me that churches that hide the Biblical doctrine of sexuality by putting women forward as officers over men, as small group leaders over men, as directors of the diaconate over men, as advisers sitting in all the session meetings, as worship leaders of men, as teachers of men, as servers of the Lord's Supper to men; in other words, churches that do everything possible to hide the Creation Order God has ordained (without taking the final step of having a woman as a senior pastor) are placing stumbling blocks before women, denying them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Well, if the Law is our schoolmaster to Christ; and if the constant theme of Scripture when it addresses the sins of woman is a clear note calling her to submit to the Creation Order, not teaching or exercising authority over man but submitting to her husband; when this Creation Order is hidden, it is one of the principal sins of woman that we are hiding, and thereby denying woman the call to repentance that would lead her to the Cross.
Put bluntly, churches that hide Scripture's doctrine of sexuality are obscuring the Law and obstructing woman's entry to repentance and faith...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 15, 2010 - 5:15am
(Tim) David Wegener teaches and serves as Academic Dean at the Theological College of Central Africa in Ndola, Zambia. David requests prayer for the Zambian church, then explains his request:
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(Please pray) for the evangelical churches in Zambia, that the Holy Spirit would not leave us in our unfaithfulness.
Reflections on the Church in Zambia: I’ve been reading Old Evangelicalism by Iain Murray. His contention is that we’re wrong in how we’re preaching the gospel today and I see the evidence all around us in our Bible-believing churches in Zambia. Nominal Christianity is the rule.
There is no fear of God.
There is no fear of sinning.
God’s grace is trampled under foot.
Why is that? Why does the gospel not come with power in churches that profess to be Christ-centered and Gospel-preaching? Murray tells us that churches from earlier generations did things differently.
They proclaimed the Law and then Christ. Today to preach the Law is legalism...
by David and Tim Bayly on September 29, 2010 - 8:32am
(Tim) In his post below, David is right. We shepherds often sin by healing the sin of the souls under our watch-care superficially. We commend the grace of God without condemning sin. We drone on about forgiveness and never mention repentance. Luther saw the same thing among the shepherds of his day:
In regard to doctrine we observe especially this defect that, while some preach about the faith by which we are to be justified, it is still not clearly enough explained how one shall attain to this faith, and almost all omit one aspect of the Christian faith without which no one can understand what faith is or means. For Christ says in the last chapter of Luke 24:47 that we are to preach in His name repentance and forgiveness of sins.
Many now talk only about the forgiveness of sins and say little or nothing about repentance.
by David and Tim Bayly on November 27, 2010 - 7:16am
(Tim) The past two weeks the Bloomington Baylys have had sorrow and joy. Sorrow in the death of my dear cousin, John DeWalt, who succumbed to a long illness connected with diabetes. He died two weeks ago this coming Monday and some of us were able to travel to Pittsburgh for the funeral. There we grieved, and yet celebrated his homegoing with his mother, Inis (Mrs. Curtis) DeWalt, his sister Beth DeWalt, and his brother Paul DeWalt (along with Paul's wife, Patti, and their three children--Zachary, Sarah, and Jacob).
A week ago today, we had the joy of joining brother David's family in the celebration of the marriage of David's eldest son, Nathan, and his lovely bride, Aleaha (pron. a leah). It was a joyful day.
Then the past three days we've had the joy of gathering here in Bloomington for our family Thanksgiving celebration and being joined by my mother-in-law, Margaret (Mrs. Ken) Taylor. That's the pic you see above. For the record, we now have ten grandchildren. (I apologize to my dear wife, Mary Lee, for the mysterious white-out on her forehead, but otherwise it's the best pic.)
by David and Tim Bayly on December 23, 2010 - 7:07am
(Tim) At times, it seems best to promote a discussion to the main page. Readers lose track of discussions in the comments under old posts. Here's one such discussion that I'm promoting for reasons I hope are obvious.
It's my conviction that the endless mantra of grace that permeates our Evangelical/Redeemer/Westminster/Campus Crusade/R2K/Covenant world leads to us knowing little of grace because we despise God's Law and repentance.
In the midst of a discussion bearing on this matter, the historian Darryl Hart asked me to clarify what I meant when I spoke of the grace of the Law--that to preach the Law is Gospel preaching and that the Law is our Gospel schoomaster or tutor? Here I respond:
Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24).
This is the great failure of Gospel preaching in our time, and the reason for the absence of fruit within our churches. We fail to preach the Law, instead trying to save unregenerate sinners from the indignities of repentance. We preach grace without leading souls there through the Law. We repudiate the Schoolmaster. It's the habit of pastors only to address the regenerate within the Covenant Community while outside that Community we gag preachers, leaving Gospel proclamation and conversion to Campus Crusade...
by David and Tim Bayly on February 24, 2011 - 8:01am
(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla)Repentance is such a wonderful thing. When our church transferred from the PC(USA) to the PCA, during my transfer exam on the floor of Northern Illinois Presbytery I was asked what I believed about the ordination of women to the office of pastor and elder...
(Tim) Talented, absolutely. His eponymous breakout album back in 1970 was hauntingly beautiful and you knew he was here to stay. But since then, even more than his music John has taken his public identity from sodomy.
Two months ago out in Hollywood, John serenaded a few hundred $1,000 a plate guests at a fundraiser for the repeal of California's law banning sodomite marriage. Partiers included David Geffen, George W. Bush's Solicitor General Ted Olson, and the immediate past chairman of the Republican Party, Ken Mehlman. In other words, anyone who's made a name for himself and lots of wealth was there. Together they announced their commitment to this sexual rebellion against God that permeates Hollywood, Wall Street, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, and New York City. Also those two peas in a pod--the Democratic and Republican parties.
The entire world is getting along fine with Elton John. AIDS softened us up--it was the justification for the blather about "compassion" that provided cover for executive orders and legislation that normalized in one more area the rebellion against God's Order of Creation that is one of the defining characteristics of our culture.
by David and Tim Bayly on April 11, 2011 - 11:02am
(Tim, w/thanks to David A.)
"The worship of idols is a most ridiculous thing, and it is but justice to represent it so and expose it to scorn. This will, by no means, justify those who ridicule the worshippers of God in Christ because the worship is not performed just in their way. Baal's prophets were so far from being convinced and put to shame by the just reproach Elijah cast upon them that it made them the more violent and led them to act more ridiculously" (Matthew Henry on Elijah's call to repentance in 1Kings 18).
Under another post, a longtime reader named Jay asks a question that seems worth answering on the main page.
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Answering a question like this by writing rather than in person is very difficult, pastorally. How can I show you I love you and am very concerned that you know the mercy of God for your particular set of temptations, especially in a time and place when any condemnation of sodomy is seen as at least shrill, and likely smug, insensitive, and grounded in self-righteousness, to boot?
Still, I will work to answer you because you say others are unwilling to do so, and because you are a precious soul belonging to the Lord of us all Who bought us each with His Own Blood and has called us to be holy as He is holy. If you want, I can put you in touch with those struggling with your particular set of temptations who are a part of our church here in Bloomington and you may ask them if what I write here is from love or censoriousness? You may ask whether you’d find our church to be loving of all regardless of their particular besetting sin, or loving only of those with more acceptable besetting sins?
So on to the difficult work others have avoided.
You wrote, “I would not consider myself heterosexual at all. Is being straight a requirement?”
Let’s clarify the question. The opposite of straight is gay, so another way of asking the question would be, “My psychological and emotional identity and inclinations are completely homosexual, so can I be give in to them as long as I don’t go all the way?” Or another way of saying it would be, “May I give myself to gayness rather than straightness in everything but physical intercourse, and will this please God?”
Anyone who is familiar with Evangelism Explosion's two diagnostic questions...
Have you reached the point in your spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die tonight you would go to heaven?
If you were to die tonight and God were to ask you, "Why should I let you into heaven," how would you answer?
...knows how very effective they can be at revealing a hope of salvation based in good works rather than faith in Jesus.
When D. James Kennedy began Evangelism Explosion in 1962, America's primary Christian influences were mainline Protestantism (whose denominations had reached their numerical peak in the 1950s) and Roman Catholicism. Despite deep sociological differences, these two branches of Christianity were united in teaching a salvation by works: the social gospel in mainline churches; the infused righteousness of Roman Catholicism.
Dr. Kennedy's "Two Questions" provided a powerful tool for addressing the error of both camps.
But Evangelism Explosion (EE) entered the scene at a tipping point in American religious history. For a hundred years America's primary Christian heresy had been the works-based salvation (semi-Pelagianism and Pelagianism) of mainline Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.
by David and Tim Bayly on December 15, 2011 - 6:04am
Where is sin? I've been reading Job and it struck me that this truth is completely absent from the church:
How then can a man be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure? If even the moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in his eyes, how much less man, who is but a maggot--a son of man, who is only a worm! (Job 25:4-6)
Do your children know they are sinners? Do you and your wife know how desperately wicked you both are--that your hearts are unbelievably deceitful? Do you preach for conviction of sin in your flock? Do you share Jonathan Edwards' conviction that the doctrine of original sin is the key to conversion and revival?
It's always struck me that the Reformed church seems incapable of preaching the sinfulness of sin. Yet doctrinaly, we continue to pay lip service to total depravity. How can we do this? What good is it to have a tool that we are in principle opposed to using? The demons have more faith in total depravity...
Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For those who are circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh. (Galatians 6:12, 13)
Sin is not what Reformed men do. Everyone knows that. It seems stupid to say it. Reformed men have enough money and class to keep their hands clean. We're scrupulous and the worst we can be accused of is not yet having attained the vocabluary necessary to be proficient at teaching doctors, lawyers, engineers, pharmacists, professors, architects and their husbands in our churches' adult discipleship programs. Maybe occasionally bad doctrine seeps in, but never bad practice and never ever bad motives which led to that bad practice. And don't you ever forget it!
It's not simply David-and-Bathsheba-pregnancy-and-murder public sins which have left the earth on UFOs. We don't even sin privately and we can't remember the last time we had to examine our hearts. All our motives are pure--that one you had better get. Don't ever make the mistake of questioning a Reformed man's motives or you'll pay for it; especially if he's an elder or pastor. "How dare you question my motives! What gives you the right? Who are you to talk? Judge not lest you be judged!"
Many object to the practice of confessing sins to one another, believing they need only confess their sins to God. Those who hold such a belief reason other brothers and sisters are not to be trusted with such confessions and, in the end, lack the power to do any good in the situation. Certainly all sins should be confessed to God. No one denies that. But categorical refusal to confess our sins before one another is a rejection of the gracious goads God uses to bring us to repentance and our brothers' effectual prayers. Only an unbeliever wouldn’t want those helps...
The fear of the Lord, John Murray explains, has two aspects. Terror and dread of God's holiness is the first aspect. Veneration and honor of God's majesty is the second. We moderns are happy to go along with Murray on the second aspect, but, to our detriment, we have tried to jettison the first. Murray writes,
Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. (Psalms 36:1)
Some time ago, I was talking with one of the elders of a healthy CREC church and I asked him whether there was any fear of God in his congregation? At first he said "yes," but after thinking about it a minute or so he said "no."
Where is the fear of God in our churches? Or rather, where is the fear of God in our own minds and hearts and the minds and hearts of our children?
In the Reformed church of North America today, I fear the fear of God is almost nonexistent.
Because there is no preaching of the Law and coming Judgment, nor of repentance...
Brother David responds to a comment with this pastoral wisdom I wanted all to read:
Thank you for writing. May I urge you not to make promises to God, but to act? Combine steps of obedience with prayers of repentance. Throw out the television set. Give up the magazines. Put down the tablet or laptop...