• Morningview’s Child Abuse Prevention Policy

    by Tom Hicks on May 3, 2016

    Child abuse is not merely an act of immorality, but also an act of violence and an abuse of power.  It’s not only a sin, but also a crime, which calls for immediate reporting to the civil authorities.  The Bible gives civil government the power of the sword to visit justice upon criminals (Rom 13:1-7), but denies it to the church (Matt 26:51-53).  Therefore, child abuse can never be settled within the church alone, but must always involve the civil authorities.

    It is with this understanding that Morningview has had the following Child Abuse Prevention Policy in place for the past five years.  We publish it here again for two reasons.  First, we want everyone in the church to know our policy, to understand what child abuse is, and how to respond to it.  Second, we hope that any would-be predators might read this and choose not to victimize our children. (more…)

  • Discipline for Church Abandonment

    by Tom Hicks on September 29, 2015

    The following post is a “pastoral position paper,” prepared and unanimously approved by the pastors body at Morningview Baptist Church.  We offer it here so Morningview members may review it.  We’ll be providing hard copies for the whole church on Sunday.

    In 1 Peter 1:22, Christ commands us to “love one another fervently, from the heart.” One of the crucial ways we love one another is by holding one another accountable. Hebrews 12:5-11 teaches us that God’s discipline of His children is a crucial aspect of His grace and love for us, and therefore, the exercise of church discipline is an exercise of His grace of love for the church as well as for the member who persists in unrepentant sin. Church attendance and involvement is one of the most central expressions of our faith in Christ. The idea of a believer who does not identify with a local church is completely foreign to the New Testament. So, when we allow members of our church to forsake all fellowship and participation with God’s people, we are not demonstrating love. We are demonstrating an extreme indifference and disregard for their souls. Because we love Christ, love His Word, and love one another, when one of our brothers or sisters refuses our admonishment to obedience in this area and persists in unrepentance, we must move through the steps of Matthew 18:15-17 to address their sin of church abandonment. (more…)

  • We Need to Keep Repenting

    by Tom Hicks on September 24, 2015

    RepentanceSin sometimes grows silently and unconsciously in the hearts of believers, but we must repent when we become conscious of it. Believers must continually turn from self-righteous pride, sinful anger, lust, covetousness, worldliness, prayerlessness, neglect of the Bible, and selfishness of every kind. According to the Bible, repentance is godly sorrow for sin and turning away from all known sin to Christ.  According to the Baptist Catechism:

    Q 92. What is repentance unto life?
    A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace (Acts 11:28), whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin (Acts 2:37, 38), and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ (Joel 2:12; Jer 3:22), doth, with grief and hatred of his sin, turn from it unto God (Jer 31:18, 19; Ez. 36:3 1), with full purpose of and endeavour after new obedience (2 Cor. 7: 1 1; Is. 1: 16, 17).

    If we don’t repent, we will not be saved. Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Lk 13:3). Here are some of the steps involved in the biblical process of repentance. (more…)

  • Some Thoughts on Parenting

    by Tom Hicks on August 11, 2015

    Parenting1. Your spouse is your most important relationship in this world. Don’t forget that the most important relationship in your life, under God, is your relationship with your husband or wife. Your children will only be in your home for a season, but your spouse will be there for life.  You and your spouse are the relational center of the home. So nurture your relationship with your spouse above all else.  Putting your spouse above your children, teaches them two very important lessons. First, it teaches the kids that they are not at the center of the world, which is a very important lesson for them to learn before they actually get out into the world. Second, it teaches them to look for spouses that will cherish them before any other relationship. If you want your children to marry well, then you must model love and devotion to your spouse above any other relationship. Malachi 2:15 says, “And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So, guard yourselves in your spirit and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.” Notice the logic of that verse. God wants godly offspring; so, be faithful to your spouse. (more…)

  • Should the Government Legislate Marriage?

    by Tom Hicks on June 20, 2015

    MarriageThe Supreme Court is hearing arguments for the redefinition of marriage, and many Christians wonder whether or not the government has any business setting the limits of marriage at all.

    I don’t believe the institutional church should generally try to formulate specific public policy or identify herself with particular political issues or candidates. But the church is charged with preaching the whole counsel of God and seeking to form Christian conscience around God’s Word. The purpose of this post is briefly to survey what Scripture has to say about the government’s role in legislating the definition of marriage. (more…)

  • What Kinds of Sin Warrant Church Discipline?

    by Tom Hicks on May 6, 2015

    Church DisciplineOccasionally, when discussions of church discipline arise, some people worry that discipline might be applied to every kind of sin. If we discipline people who persist unrepentantly in adultery, does that mean that we should also discipline people for not giving faithfully, for not reading their Bibles and praying faithfully, for marital conflict, etc.?  Where do we draw the line?   (more…)

  • True and False Repentance: What’s the difference? John Colquhoun answers.

    by Tom Hicks on April 23, 2015

    Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 12.52.18 PMIn his excellent book, Repentance, John Colquhoun gives 8 distinctions between true and counterfeit repentance. For ease of reading, I’ll put his points in my own words and provide summaries and quotations under each point, though I haven’t distinguished between quotations and summaries.

    1. False repentance flows from faith in the law (as a covenant) and is legal; but true repentance flows from true faith in the law and the gospel.

    False repentance comes from a temporary faith in the commands and curses of the broken law which a falsely repentant man fears. When the holy law strikes his conscience, he is forced to believe that it requires perfect obedience and its curse for disobedience stands against him. The only refuges  he has from the curse of the law to pacify his guilty conscience and to satisfy Divine justice and to give himself hope include verbal resolutions, reformations, renewed duties, and other self-righteous schemes. He does not actually become righteous because he seeks it by works (Rom 9:31-32). He may pretend some regard to Christ in this legal progress. He may hope that God, for the sake of Christ, will accept his repentance and forgive his sins.

    True repentance, however, flows from humble belief in the law and gospel. Godly sorrow for sin and turning from the love and practice of sin to the love and practice of holiness issue from reliance on the righteousness of Jesus Christ for all our title to pardon and sanctification and from trusting in Him for pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace. True repentance has a humbling, self-condemning, broken, whole-hearted longing for God’s pardoning mercy. (more…)

  • Why is Denying Justification such a Serious Error?

    by Tom Hicks on February 23, 2015

    JustificationThe doctrine of justification by faith alone on the ground of Christ’s imputed righteousness remains under direct attack in various quarters. Reformulations of the doctrine among proponents of the New Perspectives on Paul (Sanders, Dunn, Wright) as well as men such as Dan Fuller, Norman Shepherd, and Peter Leithart have dangerously distorted the biblical teaching.  As someone who wrote his PhD dissertation on the doctrines of justification in Richard Baxter and Benjamin Keach, I am convinced that modifying the biblical doctrine is a serious theological error. As a pastor of a local church, I have observed how the doctrine of justification humbles the proud, strengthens the fainthearted, gives assurance to the fearful, encourages vulnerable and motivates self-sacrificing love. To deny this doctrine is to deny the very heart and power of the gospel. May the Lord bring theological clarity on this doctrine for the sake of His own glory and for the good of His beloved bride. (more…)

  • What is Contentment?

    by Tom Hicks on February 12, 2015

    Rare JewelI’ve been reading Jeremiah Burroughs classic book, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, and wanted to share a bit of it here.  If you haven’t read this book, let me encourage you to get it and read it.  American culture fosters discontentment and all the miseries and heartaches that go along with it.  Discontentment is coveting what we do not have, longing for it, believing that if we have it, then we will be satisfied.  To be content is to obey the 10th commandment, “You shall not covet” in the power of Christ and the gospel of grace.  Here are 20 ways that Burroughs describes contentment:

    “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Phil 4:11). (more…)

  • The Difference Between the True Christian and the Hypocrite

    by Tom Hicks on January 22, 2015

    Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 5.24.12 PMHow can you tell whether you’re a genuine believer or a false professor? One of the best books describing the true nature of conversion is The Christian’s Great Interest by William Guthrie. The great Puritan theologian, John Owen, highly commended it and wrote, “The author [of The Christian’s Great Interest] I take to have been one of the greatest divines that ever wrote; it is my Vade-mecum [that is, “handbook”], and I carry it and the Sedan New Testament, still about with me. I have written several folios, but there is more divinity in it than in them all.”

    Consider what William Guthrie says in chapter 5 of his book about the differences between the true Christian and the hypocrite. Here are some ways in which the hypocrite may be like the Christian. (more…)

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