My Brother Paul’s Response to Matthew Vines’ “40 Questions”

Matthew Vines has posted a series of forty questions. I have written up compiled a fairly brief response from Scripture.

1. Do you accept that sexual orientation is not a choice?

Who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.

But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.

Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.

See Romans 9:20-23, Acts 3:18-19, Titus 3:5


See my answer to #1.

To some people, this may seem harsh or rude.

First of all, no sinner, including Matthew Vines, has the right to question God. I believe these questions are as inauthentic as the atheist who says to the Christian, “Show me evidence for God and I’ll believe.” Matthew is using a rhetorical device using questions to cast aspersion on God’s authority over the life of sinners by attacking God’s revelation.

Secondly, better men than I have already provided good answers for people who really want to know how to think about Matthew’s questions. My “lack of response” in no way is a judgement on these men’s excellent articles.

Doug Wilson’s Response

Dr. James White’s Response

Kevin DeYoung’s Questions which prompted Vines to write his.

3rd Ever Ps 117 mini conference

Click this link to register for the 3rd EVER Psalm 117 Mini-Conference and read more about it.

I am a “C”

Many folks will recognize the reference to the “camp song” in the title of this post. I am a “C”. I am a “C-H.” I am a “C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N.” And I have “C-H-R-I-S-T” in my “H-E-A-R-T” and I will “L-I-V-E E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y”!

It’s catchy. If you don’t know the tune, click here to check it out.

More on that later.

Today I took the first of a much needed two day vacation. My children have a snow day, so it is family day at the Coughlin home. I sat with my eldest 3 children to do a devotional today. I wanted to communicate to them why we have discipline for our youngest, Wesley who is only 1. Often I find my older children giving him to his mildly tyrannical demands, a trend I don’t want to see continue. I also don’t want my older kids who are just trying to help and who are genuinely trying to love their little brother to be discouraged.

So I turned them to 5 verses, studied in the following order.
Proverbs 13:24;22:15;29:1523:13-14
In this verse we noticed the stark contrast between parents who are loving (provide discipline) and haters (neglect discipline).


In this verse, we saw the nature of children (foolish) and the remedy (discipline).

Here we saw the use of the rod bringing the opposite of the innate foolishness of a child, to the child. We also see the unfortunate effect of a foolish child. Shame to Mom! May I confess my own personal sin in that area for which Jesus (and my Mom) have graciously forgiven me.


Finally, we saw this wonderful promise that proper discipline will not harm the child, but rather, it will provide him/her with life. It is this type of discipline which loving parents apply to their children which allows children to see the personal promise which is offered when they obey their parents. (Exodus 20:12). We saw how parents and children work together to eliminate foolishness from the child’s heart God’s way.

So I asked my children, what is the proper heart response to parents who are trying to discipline according to the nurture and admonition of God? They responded that it should make them feel good; they realized there should be an acknowledgement that they are inherently foolish in their hearts and that they should actually crave discipline…so that they may reach the point where they are no longer fools.

Any child who claims to be a Christian ought to be challenged to believe these Scriptures and respond as if they really believed them which would look like gratitude, affection toward parents and ultimately, obedience.

Then I thought of this song referenced earlier and I asked my children to each write a new song with the truths they learned. I gave them a starting point, here are the results to the tune of “I am a ‘C.'” Say capital letters individually, not as words.

Bailey – 14
I am a C, I am a CH, I am a CHILD.
and I am FOOLISH in my HEART and if I am not disciplined I will DIE!

Alexandra – 10
I am a C, I am a CH. I am a CHILD.
and I have FOOLISHNESS in my HEART and only DISCIPLINE and CHRIST can SAVE me!

Nicholas – 12
I am a C, I am a CH, I am a CHILD.
and I have FOOLISHNESS in my HEART and I will need DISCIPLINE!

Special thanks to LOGOS Bible software for the cool verse images and Daniel J. Phillips and his book God’s Wisdom in Proverbs.

Malarkey! Raising kids, MLK Jr Day and Sufficiency

1. I know it’s funny that Alex Malarkey’s last name has a coincidental meaning in English of “nonsense.” And the book previously drafted by him is nonsense.

But can we stop with the plays on words with the person’s name? Just take for example the fact that both Alex and his mother have repented and are working to amend for the error as enough to say, hey, let’s stop making fun of the kid’s name?

Seriously, he inherited that name from his earthly father, and Alex has a new Father now anyway. I can’t tell you how hurt I’d be if someone with my last name did something stupid and then my last name became a great punchline.

2. If you are going to talk about Martin Luther King Jr., and you don’t allow people to refer to details about the man’s life or teachings which directly relate to his character, well, remember the words of … um … Martin Luther King Jr.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

I would say allegations of adultery go directly to the “content of his character” regardless of the “color of his skin.” And if the content of a man’s character directly relates to his qualifications as a preacher, then so be it. And if a man isn’t qualified to preach, I have no reason to listen to his preaching on that basis. Now that doesn’t mean MLK never said anything right or true, but it was incidental, for the wrong reason and thus, possibly misdirected.

If me writing what I just wrote makes me a racist in your estimation, then you are part of the problem.

3. Back to the Malarkey or Burpo kid with the Heavenly Tourism stuff. What should be striking is NOT so much that there are ravenous wolves trying to deceive the Church, but rather, that the Church is either so non-Christian or so lacking in discernment that these books are even popular. Seriously, I don’t know the demographics, but my guess is the predominant statistics would tell us it isn’t atheists and Muslims who are buying these books!

Whose fault is it? A number of people, to be sure, but for one thing: pastors and teachers who are afraid to speak ill of these books and name them to their congregation as well as men who do not hold to and consistently teach the sufficiency of Scripture.

4. My baby boy is turning 1 Sunday. After 2 miscarriages, for God to give my wife and me a child is so sweet. This is the first child we are raising together (we had 3 others already when we met). It is really fun to watch the process and to see how we each interact with him. I’ve noticed in the area of discipline something neat.

It seems to me that my wife tries to appeal to him to love her and have a desire to obey her. So when she tells him what to do or what not to do, it is very kind and gentle, almost enticing him to goodness. It’s like subconsciously, she wants him to choose good things for good reasons and love and trust for her.

I am nearly opposite. I am completely happy that he fears me and the consequences of bad behavior. You can see the difference in how we interact with him. It made me think of our Perfect Triune God who really offers both those features to His children to provoke us to love and good works in the fear of the Lord.

Just a few random thoughts for a Wednesday.

How to be Good

Be content with God’s goodness toward you and be thankful for the abundance as it is not owed to you.

1 Timothy 6:6–8 (NASB95)
6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.
7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

Goodness is that quality in us which the Holy Spirit produces whereby we desire moral purity and to give charity toward the brethren and the heathen; it is the heart attitude by which our outward behaviors must be judged.

Are you patient or kind or peaceful because you are Good? Or do you try to do those other things to make yourself Good? Your legitimate kindness toward others, your self-control, your gentleness and humility are to be tempered by your Goodness: your moral uprightness as defined by God’s statutes revealed in His Word.

Proverbs 3:27 implies that God, who is always good and knows our need before we do, may seemingly withhold some good thing from us, like a wife or a husband, a job, a position at work or the church. He may let you have a dead child or spouse. He may not save family members as quickly as you’d like, but He is always good and thus, does not withhold good things from them to whom they are due. Therefore, the goodness you expect is either not due to you or it is not what is good for you at that time in His infinite and perfect wisdom.

There’s a preview of today’s Sunday School lesson I’ll teach at Berean Baptist Church where my views may or may not reflect the views of the church :).