Today is another sad day – another tragedy. It will likely not be the last, regrettably. On days like these, commentators will ask "where was God in this?" or "why would God let something like this happen?" There are no easy answers to those questions. And while we may not be offered answers, we are offered hope and a promise in the midst of the brokenness.
He's still uber-Reformed, but now he has a growing church after being stuck for a while... and I am pretty excited about it. They've grown, they've reached the unchurched, they've had baptisms, and they still believe in 1, 2, and 3rd John (that is John Calvin, John Piper, and John MacArthur). He is just now preaching those beliefs to new and more believers because HE. DID. STRATEGIC. OUTREACH.
Last week on the blog I discussed the mainstream media's fascination – and apparent surprise (since he appears to be... wait for it... someone who holds Catholic beliefs) – that Pope Francis was elected as what Catholics consider the 266th pontiff. And while this was an event with worldwide interest and implications, we at LifeWay Research pondered whether or not the general public was as interested in the story as the media made it seem.
This week's election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as pontiff sparked an interesting response from much of the mainstream media in the United States. There was a great deal of angst, and even shock, that the Catholic Church chose a leader who holds to traditional Catholic beliefs. It appeared many were hoping the church would suddenly choose someone filled with positive ideas to move away from all the conservative moral standards Catholics find rooted in their sacred texts, but which seem outlandish to those who have moved on to more progressive thinking.
I think it is harder (in some ways) to be missional when you're a megachurch because you have a tendency to maintain the monument you've created. Megachurches face unique challenges in being truly missional -- yet they also have the opportunity to rally people for substantive impact.
Jack Schaap has been caught up in what many are calling an "adultery scandal" and was fired this week. While it obviously is sex outside of marriage, this is not just adultery. This is abuse. I don't care what state it was in. Some have tried to compare this to other moral failures -- it is not the same thing and you should not trivialize such abuse with invalid comparisons.
So you're probably wondering what a horrific chain of events in State College, PA, has to do with the local church. For starters, this isn't isolated to a college campus, city, state, or nation. This story could easily have been about your church, the one down the street, or one around the globe.
There's a popular saying often repeated by Christians. It has found new life on Facebook and Twitter. Maybe you have even uttered these words, commonly at tributed to Francis of Assisi: "Preach the gospel. Use words if necessary." There are two basic problems with this quote.
This week, I am in New Orleans for the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting. This year's gathering will be a historic one as Southern Baptists are poised to elect our first African-American convention president – Dr. Fred Luter. A denomination birthed with a racially-tinged history is now electing a descendant of slaves as its leader.
Homosexuality is not an easy issue. Christians have said a lot of unhelpful things about the subject over the years-- but that does not mean we cannot say helpful things now.
Chuck Colson's name has been synonymous with conservative evangelicalism for as long as I can recall.
Now, the Presidential race is really on – and down to two candidates. But, it appears, that many Americans (and a strong majority of evangelicals) don't think either of them actually are Christians.
If you do find yourself in an unhealthy Christian organization, I would encourage you to consider that God may want you to leave it. My own standard is this: will staying here hurt my walk with God or harm my family?
How do you know if your Christian organization or church is dysfunctional? The organization or church thinks everyone else is wrong and only they are right.
How do we relate in a helpful way with those who are (or are perceived to be) outside of orthodoxy?
Joe Paterno has died. Our condolences go out to his family. Many do not know how to respond to his legacy and ask, "Will one mistake define him?"
I do not know the details of Gingrich's past, many of which are disputed, but here are three things we all know: Gingrich has committed adultery at least twice.
Sex. A lot of Christians are talking about it... and some are talking about talking about it.
With the death of Kim Jong Il, we stand at a key moment.
What if instead of focusing on the intellectual challenges of Hitchens' arguments, we reflected on the brevity of our own lives for a moment?
I remember when I first heard of AIDS in church. It may have been called GRID (Gay Related Immune Disorder) at the time, but I know for certain the speaker that day called it "the gay plague." The speaker was half right, but also completely wrong.
I don't spend a lot of time with "issue Christians." It's not just the issue of prophecy either. I've had similar conversations with "issue Calvinists," "issue political Christians," "issue charismatics," "issue homeschoolers," and many others.
Many people are shocked at the idea that some pastors believe Mormons are not Christians-- "judgementalism" is decried and "intolerance" proclaimed. Yet, as that may be new news to some, the view that Mormons are not Christians is historic and very widely held view.
Steve Jobs was more than an inventor. He was also a public figure. Watching his health over the last few years reminds us of our own mortality. Jobs faced death and, unlike some public figures, he spoke of it.
After a few years of "worship wars," many churches decided to create multiple services based primarily on worship styles or worship preferences.