1. What the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage Means to Christians

    June 26, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    United States Supreme Court

    By now, you’ve heard of the landmark 5-4 ruling by the United States Supreme Court in favor of same-sex marriage.

    As a Christian pastor, I’m deeply grieved at the Court’s decision to ignore biblical revelation and redefine God’s institution.

    Indeed, marriage is God’s institution, and He has clearly defined it for us.

    From Creation itself, God made marriage a sacred union between a man and a woman:

    Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.—Genesis 2:24

    Jesus quoted from this passage, affirming that marriage between a man and a woman was God’s special institution “at the beginning”:

    And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?—Matthew 19:4–5

    To attempt to expand the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples, is actually a redefinition of marriage that undermines the very core of what it is. And an honest assessment of what is taking place indicates that the redefinition will not stop with today’s decision.

    So what does this decision mean for Christians? How should we respond to it? (more…)


  2. When Baptist Is a Name But No Longer a Reality

    May 28, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    Open Bible

    This Sunday morning, I’ll stand in front of several dozen adults—all who are newer to Lancaster Baptist Church and most of which are new Christians as well—and teach week two of “Starting Point,” a three-week class I teach several times a year.

    On the second week of each Starting Point class, I teach on the Baptist distinctives—the doctrines that, as a whole, set Baptists apart from any other denomination. I’ll use an acrostic as an outline to teach these scriptural beliefs:

    • Biblical Authority in all matters of faith and practice
    • Autonomy or self governing power of the local church
    • Priesthood of believers
    • Two offices within the church—pastor and deacon
    • Individual soul liberty
    • Separation of church and state
    • Two ordinances—baptism and the Lord’s Table
    • Separation and personal holiness

    As a Baptist pastor of a Baptist church, I believe that each of these distinctives are not only biblical, but they are vital. They are doctrinal. And doctrine matters. (more…)


  3. Growth Points 61: Leading in a Hostile Culture

    January 7, 2015 by Paul Chappell

    As we enter a new year, we’re mindful that we don’t minister in the American days gone by in which the the pastoral position was appreciated and the pastor himself revered throughout the community. The ministry landscape of today is simply not the same as it was.

    To be sure, there has always been hostility to the gospel. But that hostility in the communities across America has definitively been on the rise. In fact, hostility in general is on the rise. Today, there is greater disparity between the rich and the poor, more racial tension, and more violence then before.

    What are the reasons for this hostility? And how can we, as pastors, respond to it as well as lead our people through it? In this growth points video, we look at practical ways to stand with grace and truth as servant leaders in hostile days:


    (If you cannot see this video in your RSS reader or email, you can watch it here.)

    Make sure you get all future Growth Points videos by subscribing to the Spiritual Leadership Podcast.


  4. Doctrine Still Matters: What’s Wrong with Hillsong?

    October 28, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    Bible

    You’ve likely read the news regarding Brian Houston, pastor of Hillsong Church, refusing to answer questions concerning Hillsong’s position on same sex marriage. Although this is not the first time Houston has made similar statements, it is the most recent.

    Does Hillsong’s position matter? After all, even Houston himself made a press release with a follow up statement that he personally believes in the traditional definition of marriage. (In effect, his “clarification” covered his personal belief but reiterated that Hillsong would not take a public position on these matters as a church.)

    Over the years, many have spoken out against Hillsong. The overall assessment I have heard has centered on music issues—specifically their CCM style. Sometimes we critique an area that may be worthy of attention (after all, music is a powerful, important part of worship and worthy of concern), but we can miss the larger picture and the deeper issues. Thus we condemn a ministry for an expression of a deeper issue rather than identifying and separating from the real issue(s).

    Why would I be concerned when a Baptist pastor becomes enamored with a ministry like Hillsong? My fundamental concern is that those enamored with Hillsong’s style will end up compromising Bible doctrine.

    Notice the three points of concern below, and ask yourself if these aren’t substantial issues—issues that would keep you from working with the church in your hometown that believed and practiced in these ways? (more…)


  5. Why I Stand with the Five Houston Pastors

    October 21, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    Bible-on-pulpit

    Houston made headlines last week over the subpoena issued to five pastors surrounding the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).

    The short background to the story is that Mayor Annise Parker (the first openly lesbian mayor of a major city in the US) signed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (also known as “the bathroom bill” because it would allow men who identify themselves as women to use public ladies restrooms and vice versa) into law. For obvious reasons—including common sense public safety concerns—Christians in Houston began gathering signatures to put this measure on the ballot. Pastors spoke out against the sin involved and encouraged their congregations to sign the petition to get the measure to voters in Houston.

    Petition organizers collected over 50,000 signatures—well over the required 17,269. The city secretary approved the signatures, and all was set to see Houston vote on this law.

    Then the mayor and city attorney went back through the approved signatures and said that enough of them either weren’t submitted or authorized correctly to bring the number below the required amount. Petition organizers disagreed and filed a lawsuit against the city.

    What happened next is where a sad story becomes bizarre and alarming. (more…)