Young Elevation Church Pastor and Crash the Chatterbox author Steven Furtick shot back at critics of his church's baptism tactics this week, declaring from his pulpit Saturday, "I'm too scared of God" to manipulate baptisms. He went on to baptize 400 people the same night.
A baptism guide produced by Furtick's North Carolina megachurch has been the subject of much criticism in recent months. Critics claim Furtick and his church have been manufacturing "spontaneous" baptisms of thousands of people and passing it off as a "miracle" and the church has since responded, charging that the information in the manual was being taken out of context.
Furtick, however, did not personally address the charges until Saturday. And he was so livid he said for critics to think he would do something like that was "just sick!" more >>
Christians in the church today are witnessing what may be described as "truth decay." Instead of being faithful to God's Word, many Christian leaders take a pragmatic "whatever works and will get people to come" approach. Pragmatism has its merits, but today it is undermining authentic Christianity and our call to biblical faithfulness.
In the quest for more nickels and noses, many church leaders lean more toward political correctness, cultural relevance, image promotion and the notion that size equals success in the eyes of God.
Charismatic sideshows parade preachers of imbalanced material prosperity, self-promotion and embarrassing flashy lifestyles, which both the world and the younger generation see through as hype. more >>
A point of clarity is in order. In this article I am referring to "the digital church" in a very specific way. I am not referring to the many uses of the Internet available to churches: church web sites; social media; and a plethora of training tools. Instead I use the phrase to refer to those churches that view a significant part of their constituencies to be online rather than in person.
The "digital church attendees" likely view the worship services online. They may be in some type of online small group. They have the ability to minister to others via the Internet. And they can support the church financially online as well.
Some churches now view these persons as integral participants in the life of the church. A small but growing number are willing to grant them membership. And many churches see the digital church attendees as an extension of the ministry of the church, even if they do not have full membership status. more >>
After enduring months of withering criticism for their 2011 manual on how to get "spontaneous" baptisms, Elevation Church, which has advertised its baptism of thousands of people as a spontaneous miracle, has admitted that the baptisms are "not so spontaneous."
Chunks Corbett, CFO of the 10-campus North Carolina megachurch which boasts more than 15,000 in weekly attendance, explained to The Christian Post in an interview last Friday, however, that the reason they aren't "so spontaneous" has nothing to do with any attempts to deceive, as suggested by some media reports.
A highly critical report by WCNC last Tuesday used the manual, Spontaneous Baptism How-To Guide, as a basis to challenge some of the marketing language used to describe Elevation Church's eventful baptism of thousands of people over short periods as "spontaneous" and miraculous. more >>
British newspaper Telegraph's U.S. editor, Peter Foster, has written a blog post to follow up on his previous article on the rise of atheism in the country, saying that research data shows evangelicals succumbing to the forces of secularization in America.
While mainstream Protestantism has declined in the U.S. over recent decades, Evangelical Christianity appeared to be immune to that wider trend with the continued growth of megachurches and George W. Bush as president, writes Foster on the blog of his newspaper.
However, Mark Chaves, a divinity and sociology professor at Duke University and author of America Religion: Contemporary Trends, found that Evangelicals are now succumbing to the same forces of secularization, the writer adds in his post, titled "America is turning secular much faster than we realise." more >>
The decline in church attendance among young adults and nonbelievers should motivate churches to care about their membership numbers. But oftentimes churches fail to realize that God wants quality and quantity, says a faith columnist.
Jaime H. Wilson of Faith Matters explains that now more than ever, church leaders and members alike need to focus on increasing their size.
"As a faith community, we need to be more concerned about the numbers, not as a means to pad our church rolls but as a way to reach people," wrote Wilson. more >>