Posted on Monday, March 05, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


Like many, I was troubled by the response from Sovereign Grace Ministries to Rachael Denhollander's stated concerns about their handling of sexual abuse allegations. I was equally troubled by the number of men who forwarded SGM's response along as "thoughtful" and "helpful." I found it to be neither.


Mrs. Denhollander has written a thorough response to the SGM statement. It is carefully worded and free of rancor. It would be well worth your time to read it. And I do hope that those who forwarded SGM's statement will read and carefully consider Denhollander's assesssment.


Pastors, we must be vigilant in these matters. The impulse to protect our reputation or that of our church must never be considered when abuse is revealed. We have an obligation to the vulnerable. We also have an obligation to the civil authorities. We have an obligation to our Lord to act in defense of those who have been abused. If we mess up in the process then let us give full disclosure and offer full repentance.


Posted on Monday, February 05, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


The media loves a former Christian. Recent years have seen well-known former believers rise to prominence. Some are scholars like Bart Ehrman while others are are more folksy celebrities like Rob Bell and Jenn Hatmaker. Now, Mrs. Hatmaker still maintains that she is Christian. The problem is that her Christianity bears little resemblance to that of the Bible and the church's historic confessions. The de-convert's stories are often moving. Sometimes we can identify with and even agree with portions of their experience. But upon careful reflection their reasons for abandoning biblical Christianity are rather dull and unpersuasive.


Michael Kruger has written a piece which is quite helfpul in exposing the flaws of the typical de-conversion story. Of these stories Dr. Kruger writes:

De-conversion stories are designed not to reach non-Christians but to reach Christians.  And their purpose is to convince them that their crusty, backwards, outdated, naïve beliefs are no longer worthy of their assent.  Whether done privately or publicly, this is when a person simply gives their testimony of how they once thought like you did and have now seen the light.

Through his excellent blog, Dr. Kruger has for years been addressing the reservations, doubts, and outright attacks of well-known skeptics and de-converts. His latest post was prompted by an interview of Jenn Hatmaker by well known de-convert Peter Enns.

This interview has been making the rounds, and I can see why.  She’s a friendly, charming and well-spoken woman who is easy to listen to.

And the title of her interview fits this de-conversion theme perfectly: “Changing Your Mind about the Bible: A Survivor’s Guide.”  As many know, the main issue Hatmaker changed her mind about is that she now fully affirms the LGBQT lifestyle as consistent with biblical Christianity.

But, Hatmaker’s journey in this interview is not as original as it might first appear. In effect, she simply follows the same basic playbook used by Rob Bell, Bart Ehrman and others. The details may be different, but the overall point is the same.

Dr. Kruger offers five common features of a the de-conversion story. They ring powerfully true...

Step #1: Recount the Negatives of Your Fundamentalist Past
Step #2: Position Yourself as the Offended Party Who Bravely Fought the Establishment
Step #3: Portray Your Opponents as Overly Dogmatic While You Are Just a Seeker
Step #4: Insist Your New Theology is Driven by the Bible and Not a Rejection of It
Step #5: Attack the Character of Your Old Group and Uplift the Character of Your New Group


Dr. Kruger concludes:

In the end, there’s no doubt Hatmaker’s de-conversion story will be persuasive to our postmodern world.  And I am sure some will adopt her newfound theology as a result.

But, upon closer examination, it is rife with problems.  While claiming to be non-judgmental, she declares the fruit of those who believe in traditional marriage as “rotten.”  Despite her insistence that the Bible should be read without certainty, she offers all sorts of dogmatic claims about what the Bible teaches. While claiming her views are due to a deep study of Scripture, she offers only simplistic (and even irresponsible) explanations for the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality, while disregarding 2000 years of church history.

Yes, we should not settle for pat answers.  But, sometimes the Bible does give clear answers. And when it does, we should be willing to listen and receive them.

You can read the entire post HERE.


Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


I have been challenged politely by some and excoriated by others for writing an open letter to Andrew White, the staunch defender of Roe V Wade, PCA Ruling Elder, and candidate for governor of Texas.

I have been called divisive and even unchristian by some fellow Teaching Elders for posting the letter. The basic point of the complaints is “Have you contacted him personally? Why don’t you just let the session of his church handle this? That’s how Presbyterianism works.”

But how does my open letter in anyway hinder or stop the session of his church from doing the right thing? How does my open letter stop the Presbytery from doing what is right?

I was alerted to the story about RE/candidate White by a number of PCA laypersons who were genuinely confused and vexed. I was being asked, “Is the PCA pro-choice?” “Is it time to leave the PCA?” The fact is, Mr. White’s public advocacy of wicked and violent policies has caused division within the church and vexation among brothers and sisters in Christ. A quick and public response was necessary.

Let’s frame the issue like this:
Suppose an open white supremacist was running for governor of Texas. Suppose also that he was a Ruling Elder of a PCA church. Let’s also suppose that his position on the legislation of his views was less ambitious than Mr. White’s commitment to actively defend abortion.

For example, what if our racist RE simply stated that he believed in white supremacy but did not favor changing any laws in the US? What if he stated that he believed that racial intermarriage should be illegal but that he would not seek to introduce legislation toward that end? What if he stated that while he believed whites to be superior to blacks he would nevertheless uphold current laws?

Would that be enough for a public rebuke? I certainly believe it is enough. I would not wait for months to see if his session would act. I would want to be out in front assuring PCA laity and the public in general that his views were absolutely out of accord with the PCA and biblical Christianity.


Posted on Monday, January 29, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


Andrew White is a Ruling Elder in a PCA church in Houston, Texas. He is also running for Governor of Texas. He has recently stated his full support for Roe V. Wade the 1973 Supreme Court ruling which made laws prohibiting abortion unconstitutional. In an interview aired on Texas Public Radio Mr. White stated, "I support Roe v. Wade 100%, and it's the law of the land, we just celebrated the 45 year anniversary of that." He also said that as governor “I'll veto any of this legislation that's coming out that limits a woman's right to choose.” You may hear those comments beginning at the 8:20 mark in the audio.



Dear Mr. White,


Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


You and I have several things in common. We both love the state of Texas. I was born and raised in Houston. You are a ruling elder in a PCA church. I am a Teaching Elder in the same denomination. We both profess faith in Jesus Christ. For this I rejoice. In fact it is on the basis of our brotherhood in Christ that I write to you.


I understand that you are running for Governor of the state of Texas. What a tremendous responsibility that would be should you be elected. While Christians will certainly continue to be marginalized because of our belief in the authority of God’s Word and our love for Christ and his gospel I trust that Christians will continue to seek ways to exercise influence in public life including running for elected office.


Unfortunately, based upon your public statements it is clear that your Christian convictions will have no bearing on your role as Governor of Texas should you win. I gather this from your own words in a recent interview: "My personal faith is personal to me, but I will not let it interfere with how I govern."


How is it desirable for a Christian to believe that his or her faith convictions have no place in the public square? And how is it even possible? If you are indeed a Christian, how is it possible for you to govern a state as though you were not?


I was deeply troubled to hear of your position on abortion. You have pledged to give full support to abortion. Indeed your position on abortion seems to be one of celebration. In an interview on Texas Public radio you stated:

"I support Roe v. Wade 100%, and it's the law of the land, we just celebrated the 45 year anniversary of that." And “I'll veto any of this legislation that's coming out that limits a woman's right to choose.”


You state that you hold to the Joe Biden position of being personally opposed to abortion while favoring its continued practice.


My question is on what basis do you personally oppose abortion? The only reason to oppose abortion is if it is indeed the taking of an innocent human life. And since abortion is indeed the taking of an innocent human life (the only reason for your personal opposition) then how can you support its continued legality? That sort of position collapses under the weight of its own moral contradictions.


Since you are a Christian and ruling elder in a PCA church I will proceed with the assumption that Scripture shapes your thinking. I assume as well that our denominational standards are also of great importance to you. God’s Word has no notion of life in the womb being anything other than fully human; the creation of God. The following is a small sampling from the Scriptures and Christian history:


The Psalms

The Psalmist refers to children in the womb as “treasure”:

“You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants.” (Ps. 17:14)


The Psalmist reflects on God’s creative and wonderful work in the womb: 

For you formed my inward parts;

            you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

   I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

           Wonderful are your works;

            my soul knows it very well.

   My frame was not hidden from you,

           when I was being made in secret,

            intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

   Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

            in your book were written, every one of them,

            the days that were formed for me,

            when as yet there was none of them. (Ps. 139:13-16)


The Prophets

“Thus says the LORD who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen.”  (Isaiah 44:2)


“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)


Mary and Elizabeth

In the first chapter of his gospel, Luke describes an encounter between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth when they were both pregnant. Mary was carrying in her womb the miraculously conceived Messiah and Elizabeth was carrying the one who would come to be known as John the Baptist. The encounter highlights the fact that God’s Word assumes the full humanity of children in the womb:

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” (Lk. 1:41-45)


Christian History

Perhaps you have read about the Christian practice in the first few centuries of the church of rescuing babies left abandoned to die under the cruelty of the elements. So common were these rescues that they captured the attention of the upper echelons of Roman government. This practice of rescuing the weak and vulnerable was based on those Christian’s biblical convictions. They learned from God’s word that they must try to rescue those who were being led away to destruction.


The Presbyterian Church In America

The Westminster Larger Catechism (part of the doctrinal standards you and I have taken sacred vows to uphold) states the following:


Q. 136. What are the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves, or of others, except in case of public justice, lawful war, or necessary defense; the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life; sinful anger, hatred, envy, desire of revenge; all excessive passions, distracting cares; immoderate use of meat, drink, labor, and recreations; provoking words, oppression, quarreling, striking, wounding, and whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any.


There is also the report from an ad interim committee on abortion from our denomination which clearly states opposition to the practice of destroying life in the womb.


I trust that you are aware of the staggering number of abortions performed in the United States since the passage of Roe V. Wade. We have crossed the 60 million mark. Compare that to the number of US military killed in action in all combined wars: about 2.8 million. There is no human slaughter in history that can compare to that which was made possible through Roe V. Wade. It most certainly is not something to celebrate.


I wonder also if you are aware of the genocidal feature of Roe v Wade among African Americans. Since, by your own words we “celebrate” the anniversary Roe V Wade I assume you are informed enough to know that almost 2,000 black babies are aborted every day in the United States. Since the passage of Roe V. Wade some 16 million black babies have been aborted in our nation. The numbers are appalling.  


In 1935 the Nuremburg Laws essentially excluded Jews from German society. They were dehumanized; called lesser persons. This dehumanization made possible the Nazi program of genocide. Abortion is justified on the same grounds. The most vulnerable members of the human family – the unborn – have been dehumanized. Since the claim that unborn children are not human is no longer supportable on scientific grounds, abortion proponents now label the pre-born “lesser humans.” Surely you do not want to add your voice of approval to such a moral catastrophe.


In light of all this, how do you justify your current position on the slaughter of the unborn? How is it that you join in celebrating the anniversary of Roe V. Wade? How can you promise to use all your powers as Governor to uphold and defend the practice of abortion?


I am praying for you Mr. White. I am praying that the Lord will open your eyes and grant you repentance from you current views. I am praying that, should you harden your heart and maintain your current position, your church and presbytery will do the right thing and exercise proper discipline in your life. It is not too late. So long as you have breath there is time to repudiate your current views. I pray you do.


Yours in Christ,


Todd Pruitt

Lead Pastor

Covenant Presbyterian Church

Harrisonburg, VA


Posted on Friday, January 26, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


The Best thing I have ever found on understanding Covenant Theology is Ligon Duncan's lectures from Reformed Theological Seminary. You can listen to them free on ITunes.


If you would like to actually understand Covenant Theology you won't find a better explanation.


Posted on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


I will not rehearse the grotesque acts of Larry Nasser.

As you probably know by now, Nassar is the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor whose crimes led to his disgraceful end. Today (January 24) he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. It is estimated that Nassar sexually assaulted over 150 women and girls.

During the sentencing, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina gave some of those assaulted by Nassar an opportunity to address the court and the man who victimized them.

Rachel Denhollander is the woman who first shone the light on Nassar's deeds by recounting the abuse she suffered at his hands. Mrs. Denhollander’s statement in court was powerful. But it was much more than that. She gave a better presentation of law and gospel than you will hear in many evangelical churches.

Mrs. Denhollander spoke boldly about the depth of Nassar’s guilt. Her words exposing his actions and the impact of those actions gave him no place to deflect his sin or in anyway minimize its impact. Extraordinarily, after methodically naming his evil she held forth the radical promise of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. I say “radical” because that is exactly how it sounds in light of Nassar’s wicked deeds.

In all of this we are reminded that the gospel demands repentance. It is not a self-help program meant to make good people better. The gospel is not a nice word for nice people. It is a word of pardon for those devestated by their sin. It is a promise made to sin's slaves that purchase has been won through the death of God’s Son. So great is the sinner’s guilt that nothing else would satisfy the demands of perfect justice.

Speaking directly to Nassar, Mrs. Denhollander said:

In our early hearings. you brought your Bible into the courtroom and you have spoken of praying for forgiveness. And so it is on that basis that I appeal to you. If you have read the Bible you carry, you know the definition of sacrificial love portrayed is of God himself loving so sacrificially that he gave up everything to pay a penalty for the sin he did not commit. By his grace, I, too, choose to love this way.

You spoke of praying for forgiveness. But Larry, if you have read the Bible you carry, you know forgiveness does not come from doing good things, as if good deeds can erase what you have done. It comes from repentance which requires facing and acknowledging the truth about what you have done in all of its utter depravity and horror without mitigation, without excuse, without acting as if good deeds can erase what you have seen this courtroom today.

If the Bible you carry says it is better for a stone to be thrown around your neck and you throw into a lake than for you to make even one child stumble. And you have damaged hundreds.

The Bible you speak carries a final judgment where all of God's wrath and eternal terror is poured out on men like you. Should you ever reach the point of truly facing what you have done, the guilt will be crushing. And that is what makes the gospel of Christ so sweet. Because it extends grace and hope and mercy where none should be found. And it will be there for you.

Read Rachel Denhollander's entire statement HERE


Posted on Saturday, January 20, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


In a continuing effort to bring to you the voices of those you will likely not hear in the current race "discussion" I pass along an excellent article on the propriety of so-called "Racial Reconciliation" services by Reverend Sam Murrell.


Sam Murrell is an Anglican priest living in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is a graduate of Covenant College and Covenant Theological Seminary.


Reverend Murrell writes:

Years ago, I participated in my first”racial reconciliation” worship service. It was a well-integrated gathering of black and white folk. The service, while very moving, left me feeling very awkward as white strangers approached me to confess their racism toward me and “my kind”. It wasn’t that I had never experienced unfairness or injustices because of the tone of my skin. On the contrary, the issue was that the confessions came from people who had never done any wrong towards me in particular. So, I was left not knowing what I should do for them in response to their confessions; I was young and so chalked my discomfort up to my inexperience. Since that gathering, I recall participating in at least two other instances of worship services that were focused primarily on racial reconciliation. And I have actually worked for a church where “intentional racial reconciliation” was part of the mission statement. Over the years, I have come to a greater sense of clarity regarding my uneasiness with such event. Here, in no particular order, are the few reasons that I no longer take part in “racial reconciliation” services:

Too often, the premise of the worship service is that Whites are guilty because they are White. This is evident in the fact that the white people present at such events are expected, even pressured, to confess the sin of racism even if they cannot recall any specific instances of racist action that they have perpetrated. The assumption is that because you are white then you must have knowingly, or unknowingly, caused offense towards Blacks (and maybe other ethnic minorities too). An example of this guilt-by-association is that, although you may be unable to find any instance of slave ownership in your genealogy, you are held accountable for the history of slavery in the United States of America. The black person stands as representative of the innocent victim of so-called racism and thus serves a priestly role for the white confessor who is guilty because of a lack of melanin in the epidermis. The white person’s pigmentation carries with it a privilege, and that is enough to require repentance.

Continue Reading...


Posted on Friday, January 19, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


Given the profusion of regrettable things being said about race by those who are members of reformed churches like “repent of your whiteness” it is necessary to actively support those whose voices are aggressively marginalized. It does not take much to be marginalized in the current climate. Simply suggest that being a white male does not necessarily mean you are a vile racist and you will be told that you just don’t get it (as I was recently by a fellow PCA pastor). Suggest that there may be a problem with a ministry leader in a PCA church publicly praising the terrorist Angela Davis and you will be called a racist. And then watch all the great people of influence in the PCA remain silent lest they risk their influence. Such is the current condition of the race “discussion” in the PCA.

So, in a continuing effort to promote helpful voices on race and reconciliation I give you the following links…

Lisa Robinson (someone always worth reading) has posted a helpful article entitled “When They Don’t Want to March.”

Darrell Harrison was the guest on this week’s Mortification of Spin. We talk with Darrell about race, the gospel, and being called an Uncle Tom.

And here is a heads up for an upcoming Mortification of Spin. We are scheduled to interview Ismael Hernandez on his essential book Not Tragically Colored: Freedom, Personhood, and the Renewal of Black America. You really ought to read this book.


Posted on Friday, January 12, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


On Friday February 16 our friend Carl Trueman will be lecturing at the Washington DC campus of Reformed Theological Seminary. He will deliver two lectures on the subject of "The Road to Nowhere: How Our Understanding of Human Identity Has Changed and Why It Matters."


If you are anywhere near the D.C. area you will want to check it out.


I might even drive out for that and I've heard everything Carl has to say.

Posted on Wednesday, January 03, 2018 by Todd Pruitt on 1517


Imagine a man named A. Davis. Mr. Davis is a white nationalist and a former leader in the Nazi Party in the United States. He has had membership or at least close affiliation and sympathy with various domestic terrorist groups. The groups which he defends have been responsible for an array of crimes including drug dealing, money laundering, bank robbery, stockpiling weapons, and the murder of black police officers. But A. Davis is no backwater red neck. In fact he is a scholar with multiple degrees. As such he has been honored by various fascist and white nationalist groups in the United States and Europe. A. Davis also served time in federal prison. His crime? He purchased and supplied weapons used to murder a black federal court judge in 1970.

Davis remains unrepentant for his views and crimes. But with his age and the adoration of white supremacists, he continues to speak and deliver lectures as something of an elder statesmen in the white nationalist movement. He continues to decry what he calls “the mongrelization of the white race.”

Continuing with our thought experiment…

Imagine that an influential voice in the PCA routinely praises Mr. A. Davis. Imagine that this man is not only a member of a PCA church but a graduate of the denomination’s college and seminary. Imagine also that he is a ministry leader on staff in a PCA church. Imagine that he is an active presence in the life of our seminary, even speaking in classes and mentoring students. Imagine that, though he praises A. Davis on social media, celebrates his birthday, and refers to him as “King” and “Teacher” he is still asked to speak at the PCA’s college and Seminary. Imagine that he is asked to speak at gatherings of the more conservative ministers of the PCA who praise him and actively defend him against any and all criticism. Imagine that the session of his church support him. Imagine that the presbytery to which his church belongs remained silent. Imagine that the TE’s and RE’s of the PCA were collectively frightened to speak out.

Can’t imagine it? Neither can I.