Try Reading This Over a Cup of Coffee


Women Aren’t Objects, Babies Aren’t Body Parts

To those arguing abortion is only murder if it’s deemed to be illegal by the civil government: 

According to Pew there are six countries that outlaw abortions under any circumstances:  Chile, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Vatican City, and Malta.  So, if abortion advocates lived in one of these countries, would they tell pro-choice advocates to, “Pipe down!  The law is what the law is, and that’s all there is to it.  You’re never going to succeed in having the law changed, so give it up already!”

The argument that “you can change the law, but until it’s changed abortion’s not murder” is a smokescreen.  This is good to recognize.  It’s also good to know that those wishing to dictate the destruction of an unborn baby’s body are acting in a tyrannical fashion by using their belief system to dictate control over another person (the child in the womb).  Understanding this is clarifying.

Selfish Much?  Misandrous much?

For those arguing that men should keep silent on the issue of child sacrifice because males never have to face pregnancy – well, males will never have to face cervical cancer or ovarian cancer either.  It’s interesting that these people only seem to care about females of childbearing age.  Is it really so easy for a woman to tell another female (or a young male for that matter) that they deserve to be killed because the fact of their existence is an inconvenience?  This is ageism.  #YoungLivesMatter.


Talking Prophetically

Someone I know well said, “If a church refuses to preach tolerance and acceptance, we are doomed.

I knee-jerk retorted, “If a church fails to preach ‘Repent, believe in the gospel, and be baptized… for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,’ then that church is doomed.

We had an audience, and a Baptist didn’t like what I said.  (I was surprised at the time, but given the state of the SBC I’m no longer surprised).  Finding a Baptist standing in disagreement, I assumed the Bible might actually mean something to her, so I directed her attention to Scripture verses like Matthew 3:2, Mark 1:15, and Acts 2:38 as I emphasized the need to believe the gospel.

This resulted in a pivot from the woman.  Happy to see this result from our exchange I said to her, “It sounds like you and I are in agreement, after all.  You’re absolutely in alignment with God’s Word when saying the path to Heaven is through Jesus.  And the Bible teaches us that the way to acknowledge our saving relationship with Christ is by repentance and outward signs such as baptism.  So, we’re now making the same point.  The relationship is foremost, and there’s no relationship without repentance.  You keep on fighting for the truth of the Good News!

Almost immediately I had opportunity to expand on this when a curious Roman-Catholic-turned-Baptist began seeking clarification.

She invited me to share my “two cents”, so I said:

I, too, was Roman Catholic as a child and I’ve spent much time in Baptist churches as an adult.  So, we have many things in common.  I agree that being Christ-centered is crucial for any church claiming to be Christian, and that many professing “Christian” churches fail in this.  I agree that the Bible is God’s Word, with the Holy Spirit having inspired men to write what is unchangingly authoritative and without error.  I agree that we’re called to love people and hate sin.  I agree that God has established an order for His church and that this order values both males and females, with males charged particularly with eldership responsibility.  I agree also that many Baptist churches are faithful stewards in announcing the gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

However, this isn’t true of all those who wave the “Baptist” banner.  Nor is it true that other denominations are necessarily unfaithful in their ministry.  As a general rule, for example, many Lutheran Missouri Synod churches are faithful.  So, too are many Presbyterians (such as the PCA, the OPC, the ARP, etc.).  I know Anglicans who’d put many of us to shame.  I’ll stop with my examples for now, as I’ve already belabored the point.  I agree, as well, that we shouldn’t worship anyone but God (the Father/Son/Holy Spirit) and that disobedience needs to be recognized as sin.  However, I urge caution when talking about sinners who are unsaved versus sinners who are saved.

Christians should hold other Christians to account in order to restore proper relationships between believers.  As for non-believers, Christians should call these men and women to salvation with the message of mercy, grace, and forgiveness.  There’s no need for a Christian to condemn lost sinners for their sin, as they already stand condemned by God’s Word.  Instead, the Christian should call lost sinners to reconciliation with their Creator and pray that they’ll repent to become disciples of Christ.  Now, is homosexuality called an abomination in the Christian Scriptures?  Yes it is.  And so are many other things that each of us is guilty of perpetrating.

All of us stand condemned, and are but mere poor beggars mired in our unrighteousness – until accepting the gift of The Cross.  Jesus paid the penalty for all of His Father’s elect – gluttons, thieves, homosexuals, liars, gossips, you, me, and our pastors even.  All of us.  We’re no better than the homosexual who’s called an abomination.  We’re taught in the Book of James that breaking one of God’s laws makes us guilty of having broken the whole Law.  So, outside of Christ’s blood we’re all an abomination and stand dead in our sin.  But washed in the blood of Christ we’re declared clean and stand alive forever in God’s loving presence, in His Kingdom.

I know I said an awful lot, but she asked for it!  Incidentally, she also asked me if I was a pastor.  Interesting that she thought a non-pastor couldn’t have given her the same biblical truth.  Perhaps that would be true in some cases, but honestly I know pastors for whom it’d be true, as well.


Was It Enough From MLB?

A former classmate of mine said about a baseball player in the World Series making a “slanted eyes” gesture directed at an Asian player on the other team, “I forgive the man, but a light punishment makes it easy for others to assume this kind of behavior against Asians isn’t a big deal.  MLB, please set the tone.”

With a story like this I’m able to say, “I hear ya”.  However, there are often practical realities, and in this case a World Series suspension was pretty much impossible.  Even if the Series extended to a seventh game, the season was ending in two days.  The Astros player had a right to plead his case and appeal the suspension.  This process would’ve taken longer than just a couple of days.  (The appeals process can sometimes last weeks).  So, he would’ve ended up being suspended during the following season no matter what.  (Or maybe not at all, if he won his appeal).  As it turned out, he decided to not appeal the decision that was handed down.  So, rather than a “he’ll probably miss games next year”, there was a situation where “he’ll definitely miss games next year”.  All in all, it’s a win (if they choose to look at it that way) for those terribly offended by the ethnic gesture.  In other words, they could be encouraged by seeing the glass as half full.

However, too many choose to be permanently offended, even though there was no way for Major League Baseball to have pulled the first baseman from the Series.  The league could’ve tried, perhaps, but they’d have failed due to the player’s right to appeal.  Then, through the appeals process, the penalty could’ve ended up being less than the five game suspension that was meted out for the start of the next season.  Granted, the league could have pretended to go after a suspension immediately, but this would’ve been mere grandstanding.  Not being a fan of grandstanding, I’m glad they didn’t go that route.


Faith Debates Radio Series Now Available as Podcasts

Three Marks of the True Christian Church

This four-part series of the Faith Debate aired on the first four Sundays of April 2017 (4/2/17, 4/9/17, 4/16/17, and 4/23/17).  Panelists included pastors Jace Broadhurst (Poolesville Baptist) and Peter DellaSantina (Neelsville Presbyterian).

Part 1:  The three marks of the church from a Protestant (especially Reformed) view are:  The Word Rightly Preached – Sacraments Rightly Administered – Discipline Rightly Applied.  This episode focuses on the first of these.  What’s it mean to “rightly” preach God’s Word?

Part 2:  The focus of this episode is on the second of the marks.  What are the Sacraments, and how are they “rightly” administered?

Part 3:  This episode’s focus is on the third of the marks.  What’s church discipline, and what’s it look like when “rightly” applied?

Part 4:  This episode focuses on the questions, “What should a person do when their church doesn’t exhibit the three marks?  When is it right to leave, and how should this be done?”


Should the Christian Church Work at Being Relevant?

Joining me on the panel were pastors Jace Broadhurst (Poolesville Baptist) and Chuck Copeland (Hosanna Worship).

Part 1:  What’s the current state of the “relevance dialog/debate” in the church?  What’s the “relevance landscape” look like?  Are “seeker sensitive” churches relevant?  How about “high church” with lots of liturgy?  What’s been the impact of high profile pastors such as Andy and Charles Stanley, Matt Chandler, John Piper, John MacArthur, etc.?  In other words, what are churches today doing in an effort to be relevant?  And to whom?

Part 2:  Are the efforts by churches “to be relevant” a good thing?  Why?  Why not?  Should the church seek to mirror culture?  Change culture?  Ignore culture?  Whose culture?  Does the church’s cultural relevance effort ever go too far?

Part 3:  Aired on 5/14/17.  Part one aired 4/30/17.  Part two’s original air date was 5/7/17.  Part four was broadcast on 5/21/17.  And part five’s airdate was 5/28/17.

Part 4:  Taking a short view – What’s happening in churches in the effort to be relevant to the surrounding culture?  Skits, dramatic dance, and even worship services featuring U2 as worship music have been tried.  So, too, has décor that’s like Starbucks, mega churches with multiple programs, and now a renewed house church movement.  Are these good, bad, or indifferent things?

Part 5:  What’s the point of relevance?  Why even talk about it?  Is it merely a marketing question about purposely building interracial/multi-national churches and/or demographically targeted congregations?  In what ways was the earthly ministry of Jesus relevant to the Jewish culture around him?  What can we learn from this?  This episode tackles these sorts of questions while tying up loose ends from the previous episodes in this five-episode arc.


Many blessings to you,

Pastor Troy Skinner