Whoever came up with that saying was onto something, just like the person who came up with the phrase "actions speak louder than words" - it's much easier to talk about something than it is to actually follow through with it. While these expressions may hold weight in the real world, I don't particularly appreciate them, and here's why: they're fundamentally unbiblical because they devalue the significance of our words.
The history of the splendid human activity of reading especially centers around the Bible. Besides its divine inspiration, there are several reasons that make it the Best Book ever: millions of people have learned to read in order to read the Bible; the Bible text is supported by the greatest documentation; the Bible sets the records for manuscript copies and books written about it; movable type was invented to help propagate the Bible. Even in the very secular New York City, my town, the largest library – the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue with the iconic giant sculptures of lions in the front – features the Bible in three of its four murals in the lobby near the main reading room.
The prosperity gospel teaches us to seek God's blessing outside of the covenant fulfillment in Christ, and to hope not for the reconciliation of heaven and earth in him but instead to aspire to whatever Western culture deems as success. This is not gospel; this is witchcraft. And, as such, it cannot bring about reconciliation. You cannot reconcile people across carnal divisions with a gospel based on carnal promises.
While working on an unrelated research project, I recently came across some data published by the Hartford Institute of Religion Research. Though the information was five years old, it still seemed highly relevant today. In essence, the data showed that non-denominational churches are now the second largest Protestant group in America. Only the Southern Baptist Convention is larger.
As the rioting, looting, and burning of homes and businesses that erupted earlier this week threatened to overshadow the weeks-long peaceful protests that have been ongoing in Baltimore, the word "thug" began rolling off of lips and popping up on social media accounts, including on those belonging to some Christians shocked by the violent scenes playing out on TV networks like CNN. However, one Baltimore pastor, recalling the Apostle Paul's transition from the persecutor Saul, warned against simply condemning "rioters as unsalvageable thugs."
While we can never eliminate all difficult issues between co-workers, we can seek to manage the relationships in the most healthy and godly manner. Unfortunately, in some churches, one or more staff members will turn against another in an unhealthy, unbiblical, and ungodly manner. Allow me to share eight thoughts about these bad situations.
A Catholic priest, author, and founder of organizations such as Madonna University Nigeria, has said that peace, even with members of prominent terror groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram, is "really possible," as long as they undergo a process of re-orientation and see who they truly are, as creations of God.
I wish I could say that since coming to a saving faith, I have found complete freedom from sin. I wish I could say with honesty that my entire life has been a reflection of Romans 6:11 – "dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." But sadly, that's not the reality of my life. Why is it that we struggle day after day? And how do we ultimately break free? That's what this Article is about.
Oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges are now complete, and there is just a bit less triumphalism from the Left than expected. It turns out that Justice Kennedy — the presumed deciding vote — was not uniformly enthusiastic about expanding the definition of marriage, noting at one point that he had "a word on his mind, and that word is 'millennia.'"
Our television screens glow with images of criminal rioting and assault on police officers in the streets of Baltimore. This is in the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, despite the pleas from Gray's family for calm. The horrific scene seems to bring out the worst ideological responses from divergent corners. Some, wrongly, excuse the rioting, pointing out the issues leading up to it as justifying such criminality. On the other side, some suggest, wrongly, that such rioting is part and parcel of what peaceful protesters are about, distracting from the very real systemic issues that must be addressed. But behind all of this is a question the church must ask: what does Baltimore need in a time such as this?
Some years ago, I conducted a study and wrote a book on membership classes in local churches. Many of those churches included teaching church covenants in their membership class, but they talked very little about church discipline. That is, they established expectations but did not always talk about accountability. Since then, I've conducted an ongoing informal survey to see why churches don't do discipline. Here are the primary findings, in no particular order.
The Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday about whether states can legally choose to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It is a defining moment in our nation's history. Though marriage between a man and a woman has existed since the beginning, this time-honored institution is under fire. For nearly twenty years the debate has raged. Before federal judges began to overturn marriage laws, 30 states had protected normative marriage. Now the High Court is poised to decide for us all.
Megachurch pastor Tony Evans has issued a call to Christians across the nation to rise to the challenge of bringing solutions to some of the issues he believes are apparent in the violence that recently gripped parts of Baltimore city amid protests over the police killing of a young black man.
While speaking at a North Korea Freedom Week forum on Capitol Hill Friday, the first North Korean defector to be ordained as a Methodist minister asserted that Korean Christians not only want to topple the regime of dictator Kim Jong-un but want the unification of North and South Korea to occur through the gospel.
Renowned neurosurgeon and potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson, said Friday that the injury suffered by 25-year-old Freddie Gray who died on April 19 after being gravely injured while in the custody of Baltimore police officers "would be almost impossible to acquire…by simply rolling around in a van."
Baltimore mother Toya Graham, who is being called "mom of the year" after being captured on camera smacking her 16-year-old son to get him away from protests, should be "mom of the century," her pastor said, urging all moms to follow her example.
President Barack Obama's administration has warned that it will veto a proposed amendment that would require the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini and three other American citizens held prisoners in Iran before any final nuclear deal agreement is reached. The American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini's family, called the admittance "despicable" and "outrageous."
In a move being described as both swift and unusually surprising, Baltimore's newly elected State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday that the death of Freddie Gray, who died on April 19 after being injured while in police custody, had been ruled a "homicide" and six police officers involved in his "unlawful arrest" had been criminally charged and warrants have been issued for their arrests.
The lead attorney representing the Obama administration admitted before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday that if the court were to rule in favor of making same-sex marriage a constitutional right, it would create a religious liberty "issue" for faith-based schools and institutions, who could be at risk of losing their tax-exempt statuses.
Hillary Clinton wants to be president of the United States, but what actually guides her? The only currently declared candidate for the Democratic ticket was raised in the Methodist tradition and continues to practice that faith today. Here are six interesting facts about Clinton's faith as it relates to her candidacy and personal life.
Megachurch pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, charged Wednesday that it's corporations and not elected officials that represent "the greatest hope" in effecting change and development in underserved communities across America. He said, however, that they need to "add a moral component to money" to make it happen.
Passion for Truth Ministries Pastor Jim Stanley, 40, who told his St. Charles, Missouri, congregation last summer that he didn't realize he had been arrested after a federal grand jury indicted him last June for defrauding investors, admitted in federal court Thursday that he cheated his elderly victims out of $3.3 million while making $570,000 for himself.
The United Methodist Church is considering a new process for proposals given at General Conference for agenda items pertaining to the debate over the denomination's stance on homosexuality.
"What I want to do with the rest of my life, even though I'm involved with the restoration of historic buildings, is fully involve myself in the restoration of men's lives," he told me from his office in Pomona, California, recently.
The pastor of a youthful and racially-diverse congregation located just a few blocks from the CVS pharmacy set on fire by rioters amid otherwise peaceful protests in Baltimore says it's time for white Christians to acknowledge the existence of systemic racism in America and to listen to those who are angry and hurting in order to help find meaningful solutions.
A diocese that broke away from The Episcopal Church in 2012 over theological and personal differences might join a prominent conservative Anglican group.
Potential presidential candidate Ben Carson was recently disinvited from a speaking invitation at a Southern Baptist Pastor's Conference in Columbus, Ohio, in June, because of concerns raised by some Baptist pastors.
Commenting on the devastating violence that took place on Monday in Baltimore, outspoken Christian professional football player Benjamin Watson explained that the pain, anger and tension that the city and its residents are experiencing can only be healed through the power of Christ.
Each week Clark Beckham subjects himself to judgement and criticism in the music competition that made names like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia Barrino and Jennifer Hudson famous. Still, that's a small price to pay for the up-and- coming Christian "American Idol" XIV hopeful who has plans of cementing himself as a secular music artist while being a light for God.
Alejandro Monteverde risks trivializing faith by likening it to magic in "Little Boy" but manages to appease believers with a powerful lesson about loving thy neighbor.
New York Times bestselling author of the "Angels Walking" series Karen Kingsbury is making a Scriptural argument for the existence of angels on the heels of releasing her latest book.
Armenian Christians won't get "an iota of land," the mayor of a Turkish city says in response to a lawsuit filed by an Armenian Church in Turkey's Constitutional Court to reclaim its headquarters that existed before the 1915 Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire.
As the death toll from Saturday's Nepal earthquake and aftershocks continues climbing and passed 5,000 victims, relief groups such as Samaritan's Purse have reported heartbreaking scenes on the ground of families losing everything they have. The Christian aid group has asked for prayers and financial support as it seeks to reach out to the nearly 8 million people affected by the disaster.
The lack of aid given to North Korean defector organizations by the United States and other nations is emboldening Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un to continue his regime's brutal disregard for human rights, the director of Free North Korea Radio told reporters Monday.
The Nigerian army has reported that it rescued 200 girls and 93 women from the Sambia Forest on Tuesday as it continues driving out terror group Boko Haram from its territory. It added, however, that the girls are not the ones from Chibok kidnapped by the jihadists in April 2014.
Islamic State militants have devised a twisted way of getting homosexual Shariah violators to reveal themselves for execution by posing as gay to lure men into opening up about their sexual preference only to arrest and execute them.
A Christian mother from Houston, Texas made history last Wednesday when she became the first woman to give birth to a set of all-girl quintuplets in the United States since 1969 and she did it all in four minutes.
The In-N-Out Burger chain is America's favorite "limited-service" restaurant, according the annual Consumer Picks survey in Nation's Restaurant News.