Is the Book of James Really ‘An Epistle of Straw’?

We have a lot of books in our New Testament. All of them, we believe, are divinely inspired. And yet we don’t spend equal amounts of time reading them. For most of us, our reading pattern is profoundly lopsided, focusing mostly on Paul (especially Romans and Galatians) and the Gospels (with John leading the way). Indeed, some books (like 3 John) hardly get read at all.

This trend raises intriguing questions about why certain books were even included in the New Testament. What purpose do these less famous books serve? This becomes particularly acute with the book of James. Although 500 years have passed since Martin Luther called it …

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How the 5 Solas Do More Than Respond to Catholicism

“What is Reformed theology?” This is the question I get asked all the time. Especially since I teach at a school called Reformed Theological Seminary!

While there are many ways to answer that question, I have found that the 5 Solas of the Reformation provide one of the best summaries of what it means to be Reformed: sola scriptura (Scripture alone), solus Christus (Christ alone), sola fide (faith alone), sola gratia (grace alone), and soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone).

Since the 5 Solas are borne out of the Protestant Reformation, then it would not be surprising to know that, in many ways, they reflect the circumstances of the …

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His Grace Is Enough: A Wonderful New Kids Book

Ok, so I am biased. Let me just get it out there.

But, that doesn’t change the fact that my wife Melissa’s new kids book, His Grace is Enough: How God Makes It Right When We’ve Got it Wrong (Good Book Company, 2022), is really something special. It released yesterday, and I could not be more excited.

In addition to the really fun drawings—the artist, Isobel Lundie, also did Melissa’s prior kids book, Wherever You Gothis book is unique because it tackles a question that so few children’s books address. It helps children understand what to do when they do wrong things.

Every child will find themselves …

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Romans, the “Righteousness of God,” and the 1984 NIV

I was recently on the Knowing Faith podcast with Jen Wilkin, J.T. English, and Kyle Worley. We had a great time focusing on some of my favorite verses in the Bible, Romans 3:21-26.  Martin Luther called those verses, “The chief point, and the very central place of the Epistle, and of the whole Bible.”

This wonderful passage begins with a key line, “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law” (v.21).  As I noted in the podcast, this phrase “righteousness of God” has occasioned much debate in the modern day. Is this a reference to God’s righteousness (subjective genitive)? Or a reference to righteousness from

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How Do You Know If Your Church Is Legalistic?

Legalism. Pretty much everyone agrees that it’s bad.  And in a world where Christians seem to disagree over basically everything, that’s saying something.

Even so, if you asked the average Christian to define legalism, the answers may not come so quickly. What exactly counts as legalism?  How do we know it when we see it?  The confusion is exacerbated by the fact that the term can be used in different ways.  People can use the same word but infuse it with very different meanings.

In hopes of dissipating a little of the fogginess, here’s a breakdown of different ways to understand legalism.…

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