Progressive Christianity: A Master Class in Half-Truths

Progressive Christianity: A Master Class in Half-Truths

By Michael J. Kruger /

Michael J. Kruger

In 1923, J. Gresham Machen, then a professor at Princeton Seminary, wrote his classic text, Christianity and Liberalism. The book was a response to the rise of liberalism in the mainline denominations of his own day. Machen argued that the liberal understanding of Christianity was, in fact, not just a variant version of the faith, nor did it represent simply a different denominational perspective, but was an entirely different religion. Put simply, liberal Christianity is not Christianity.

What is remarkable about Machen’s book is how prescient it was. His description of liberal Christianity—a moralistic, therapeutic version of the faith that values questions over answers and being “good” over being “right”—is still around today in basically the same form. For this reason alone the book should be required reading, certainly for all seminary students, pastors, and Christian leaders.

Although its modern advocates present liberal Christianity as something new and revolutionary, it is nothing of the sort. It may have new names (e. g., “emerging” or “progressive “Christianity), but it is simply a rehash of the same well-worn system that has been around for generations.

Continue reading Progressive Christianity: A Master Class in Half-Truths

For All Intents and Purposes: Living Life as It Was Intended

For All Intents and Purposes: Living Life as It Was Intended

By Jonny Ivey /

Jonny Ivey

Hi. We’ve not met. I know almost nothing about you. I don’t know your name or your age or even your gender. I don’t know how you like your tea or if you even like tea. (I hear that some people don’t?) I certainly don’t know what you believe about the bigger questions of life. But there is something I know about you.

You believe in purpose. 

I mean, you’re reading this, right? And you’re doing it for one purpose or another. The same would be true if you’d chosen to watch a movie. Or put some bread in the toaster. Or brush your teeth. Nobody brushes their teeth for no purpose. That would be weird. Why not finish up by brushing your knees? No. We don’t do stuff at random. We do it on purpose.

This morning I got out of bed, not aimlessly, but because I had things to do. I ate some breakfast, not arbitrarily, but so that I’d have energy for the day. I chose this coffee shop because I like the coffee here, better than the one next door. I ordered a flat white because it tastes better than the cappuccino. I’m now writing this sentence, like everything else today, for a particular reason—to show that whatever we do, we do it purposefully.

Continue reading For All Intents and Purposes: Living Life as It Was Intended

Meet Melissa McPhail and Lisa Menchinger, Authors of the Sophron Studies

Meet the authors of the Sophron Studies

Interview by Marco Silva /

We are excited to highlight for you a new series of Bible studies for women: the Sophron Studies (pronounced So-frone). We know they will inspire you to go deep with God and his word. The first volume is Galatians: Redeeming Grace and the Cross of Christ. We asked the authors, Melissa McPhail and Lisa Menchinger, to tell us about themselves, along with what they hope to accomplish with their study. If parts of this interview sound strangely quaint, it was in fact conducted pre-covid.

How did you come to know and love Jesus Christ? Who or what was instrumental in your own discovery of God’s redeeming grace at the cross?

Melissa: While going to church at our Marine Corps base chapel as a newlywed, a marine’s wife confronted me about my testimony. It made me stop and think and worry that maybe I was not saved. Shortly after, I heard the gospel and was converted.

Lisa: I came to know and love Jesus Christ as Lord through a difficult marriage and divorce. During the divorce, the Lord called me to himself. The Lord used preaching on the radio to woo and pursue me and give me a hunger for more, along with observing my parents’ changed lives, who had recently come to faith.

What does a typical day in your life look like? What does an ideal day look like for you?

Continue reading Meet Melissa McPhail and Lisa Menchinger, Authors of the Sophron Studies

Announcing a New Blog Series

Announcing a New Blog Series: A Conversation about Fiction

by Kevin Meath /

The authors associated with our new imprint, Cruciform Fiction, are commandeering the blog for a while. Yesterday’s post was the first in the series. Make sure you check out what Ernie Bowman had to say about our hopes and dreams for using novellas to help inspire the missionaries of tomorrow!

Over the course of several posts, these authors will be discussing novellas—longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. For decades the traditional publishing world has stayed away from novellas, but we think (ok, yes, we’re hoping) it may be time for a change. In fact, we’re pretty sure we have the only Christian fiction line that specializes in novellas.

To get a point of terminology out of the way, “Christian fiction”—just like Christian art or music or anything else—is admittedly a vague phrase that can be freighted with all kinds of expectations. As a familiar and convenient handle, we simply use it to mean “fiction from a Christian imagination.”

During this blog series, the authors will distinguish novellas from other forms of fiction, discuss some favorite novellas, explain why they see short fiction as especially valuable for Christians, and share about some of their own titles. They will also announce a couple of things we’re excited about: $1.99 fiction flash sales, and the giveaway of an intriguing short story that imagines a personal, private conversation between two famous, brilliant, thoughtful, opinionated, articulate, and biblically grounded contemporaries in 19th Century London.

This blog series will itself be a work in progress, and for now we’re envisioning six or eight more posts over the next month or so. The authors would love to hear from you, in blog comments or in book reviews, so check out our fiction titles, consider signing up for this blog, and stay tuned!

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

Cruciform Fiction Launches with Three Titles

Our first three fiction titlesby Dave Swavely /

Today we are excited to announce the simultaneous release of our first three fiction titles. It so happens that these are all “speculative fiction”—like the novels of C. S. Lewis and Madeleine L’Engle—although future titles will include missionary stories, historical fiction, and more.

Please download a sampler with a lengthy excerpt from each book.

In two of the books we release today, characters travel to different worlds and times, and the other is a reality-rending ghost story by Charles Dickens—which is not A Christmas Carol but may be even better than that beloved tale.

SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY OFFER: Use coupon code FICTIONOFFER1 to get 30% off any or all of these three paperbacks.

A Forgotten Classic

Haunted Man, by Charles Dickens, Abridged and Annotated by Dave SwavelyDave SwavelyOur first book is an edition of Charles Dickens’ Haunted Man, originally published in 1848. This version has been abridged significantly to make it more enjoyable for modern readers, while retaining every essential element of the story. It also includes an introduction with character descriptions and other helpful information, and a thought-provoking Afterword discussing some of the spiritual issues that are addressed in the book.

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Truth Is No Stranger to Fiction

Truth is No Stranger to FictionBy Dave Swavely  /

Truth Is No Stranger to Fiction

– We’re trying our hand at publishing fiction!
– The first novellas are coming soon…
– And we’re seeking more fiction manuscripts! Got one?
Here’s something we’ve been eager to announce for almost a year. At Cruciform Press, we’re finalizing our preparations to follow our Savior into the realm of creative storytelling!

Jesus Christ was the most skilled and effective communicator of truth who ever lived, and more than a third of his teaching in the gospels is in the form of parables—fictional stories designed to illuminate and illustrate the truth he taught. The prophet Nathan brought King David to repentance with a metaphorical story about ungodly greed and unjust murder, and other prophets and apostles were given visions by God that used fictional elements in the service of truth. Professing Christians like Charles Dickens and Harriet Beecher Stowe literally changed the world through their stories, and C. S. Lewis described his Chronicles of Narnia and Space Trilogy as a way of “seeing the truth sideways.”

When we see Satan, God’s enemy and ours, using fiction throughout human history to powerfully advance his nefarious schemes, let’s remember that all he is doing is perverting a divinely ordained technique—one that God intends to belong first and foremost to his church. So at Cruciform Press, we are excited about the opportunity to help “reverse the curse” in this regard by using the God-given instrument of fiction for good purposes instead of evil.

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Three Booklets from Tim Challies Launch Cruciform Quick

Three Booklets from Tim Challies Launch Cruciform Quick

Today we are excited to announce Cruciform Quick, a line of booklets in the range of 40 to 60 pages each. We’re launching the series with three titles from Tim Challies, and we look forward to other authors publishing in this line as well.

Cruciform QuickWe all know the feeling: every week, every month, every year it just seems that life keeps moving faster and faster. So at Cruciform Press we are taking our trademark length—books of about 100 pages—and adding a set of resources that will make for an even quicker read.

The Challies booklets seen above each started life as a popular series of posts on Tim’s blog, articles he then adapted for this format. And while Tim plans to release additional Cruciform Quick titles, there is plenty of room for others to publish in this new format.

In fact, the introduction of Cruciform Quick is the first public step in a significant diversification within Cruciform Press…but more on that to come. For now, we hope you will enjoy Tim’s three new titles: The Character of the Christian, Set an Example, and The Commandment We Forgot. And if you think you might like to publish in the Cruciform Quick series, please let us know here.

55 Percent Off Nearly Everything

55 Percent Off Nearly EverythingHappy Thanksgiving!!

So, it’s that time…

Christmas is coming…New Year Bible Studies and book clubs are being planned…your church needs simple but solid books to offer…

Shouldn’t you grab some great titles at an unbeatable discount?

Don’t forget the coupon code: THANKFUL2017

Sale runs through Tuesday, November 28th.

John Piper on How the Psalms Change You

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John Piper on How the Psalms Change You

Shaped by God

Thinking and Feeling in Tune with the Psalms

by John Piper

Coming soon

God wants your heart.

The whole Bible teaches truth and awakens emotions, but the Psalms are in a category of their own. They do not just awaken heart; they put it in the foreground. They do not just invite our emotions to respond to God’s truth; they put our emotions on display.

SHAPED BY GOD: Thinking and Feeling in Tune with the Psalms, by John PiperThe Psalms are not just commanding; they are contagious. We are not just listening to profound ideas and feelings. We are living among them in their overflow. We touch pillows wet with tears. We hear and feel the unabashed cries of affliction, shame, regret, grief, anger, discouragement, and turmoil. But what makes all this stunningly different from the sorrows of the world is that all of it—absolutely all of it—is experienced in relation to the totally sovereign God.

This book is an invitation. God wants our hearts. He will take them as he finds them. And then, with the healing contagion of the Psalms, he will shape them. Accept his invitation to come.

The miracle of the new birth shows us that the Holy Spirit raises the spiritually dead by giving them new minds and hearts that together believe the gospel, love God, and want to be conformed to Christ. And yet, born-again people are not perfected. They are truly new, truly alive, truly spiritual, but in many ways unformed and immature—just like newborns in our families. So the question for the early Christians—and for us—is this: How does the new mind and the new heart, full of imperfect thinking and feeling, pursue the fullness of right-thinking and the fullness of holy affections? One of the main answers of early church believers was to immerse themselves in the Psalms.

Psalms is the most often-quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament. It was the songbook, poetry book, and meditation book of the church. Alongside the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, Psalms was the book that shaped the thinking and feeling of the first disciples more than any other. It is this shaping power of the Psalms that gets at my aim in this short book. My hope is to simply jump-start, or deepen, that kind of Psalms legacy in your life. I pray for God-centered, Christ-exalting, Psalms-saturated thinking and feeling—because I believe that this kind of thinking and feeling will bear fruit in the kind of living that cares for people and magnifies Christ.
— John Piper

Wilderness Wanderings: The Story Behind the Book

Wilderness Wanderings: The Story Behind the Bookby Stacy Reaoch  /

Recently, all in the same evening, I helped my teenage daughter get ready for her first Homecoming dance and read Spiderman to my 4-year-old son, Micah. Raising four kids whose ages span a decade has given me an interesting—and a shifting—perspective on motherhood. With our youngest I’ve realized that being “late” to potty-train isn’t the end of the world (as my pediatrician says, “I promise you he won’t wear a pull-up to prom”), and it’s not essential to have him reading by age three. With my oldest I’d been the typically over-zealous, type-A parent, determined that a french fry would not touch her lips the first three years of life. I’ve now relaxed to a type-C parent—I think Micah was eating chicken nuggets and fries as soon as he could chew.

Throughout marriage, ministry, and family life, I’ve experienced much joy and blessing, but also heartache. I entered adult life with rose-colored glasses on, thinking everything would work out exactly as I planned. I didn’t anticipate the trials of loneliness, miscarriage, ministry conflict, deferred hopes, and the sheer exhaustion and responsibilities of daily life. Being in ministry has also allowed me to walk through seasons of suffering with others. I’ve been near to friends who’ve experienced depression, infertility, death of loved ones, broken relationships, marriage conflict, and more. Difficulty and suffering fill our lives, yet our hope and joy is found by looking to Jesus for our contentment, rather than ideal circumstances. I pray that my writing will point others to find their satisfaction in Christ instead of whatever else they think might fill that void.

WILDERNESS WANDERINGS: Finding Contentment in the Desert Times of Life, by Stacy ReaochA couple years ago I was in a weekly Bible study that was focusing on the life of Moses and the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness. At the time I was walking down my own dark path, but I felt incredibly encouraged and comforted as I studied the truths of God’s Word. I saw parallels between the Israelites’ discontentment and my own. I was convicted of my lack of gratitude for God’s blessings as I read about the Israelites’ constant whining. I also was given fresh motivation to persevere through difficulty as I saw Moses continue on his rocky path of leadership. Around that time I started writing blog posts for various ministries about things I was learning. As those lessons began to accumulate, I began thinking that I could likely write a small book on this section of Scripture.

Another impetus in writing Wilderness Wanderings was to provide a short, chronological devotional for women who feel too busy to commit to a lengthy inductive study. I’m passionate about Bible study, mostly because I’ve seen it as the primary means God has used to sanctify me and grow my faith. But I also realize that there are seasons of life where it’s difficult to get to a weekly study or commit to one with a lot of homework. I have friends who feel like they’re drowning in piles of laundry and don’t have time (or energy) for an in-depth study. My hope in writing Wilderness Wanderings is that women with a small amount of time could still benefit from a chronological study, whether it be on her lunch break at work or waiting in the carpool line at school. I also hope that others will recognize the relevance of the Old Testament to our lives today. Studies for women often focus on New Testament passages. But God has much to say to us through the richness of His entire Word.

As a side note, writing with four children in our home is a balancing act. The majority of this book was written during two-hour blocks of time I had a couple mornings each week when our youngest was at preschool and my older three were at school. I’d race home from preschool drop-off, pray for the Lord’s blessing on my time and writing, and get to work! I’m continually learning new ways to be efficient, like hiding my phone during those couple hours I have to write so that I won’t be distracted by social media, or running to the glamorous Target café while my daughter is at her gymnastics class to squeeze in one more hour of writing. Although I’m not wishing away the time my youngest is home with me (reading stories to him after lunch is my favorite part of the day), it’s exciting to imagine a day in the next couple years when I’ll have several hours in a row to write!

Check out Stacy’s book here.

Stacy Reaoch

Stacy Reaoch is a pastor’s wife and mother of four. She is passionate about studying the Bible and helping women apply God’s life-changing truths to their daily lives. Stacy has written for various ministries including Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition and Revive Our Hearts. She and her husband, Ben, live in Pittsburgh, PA with their children.