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 >>
A baptism manual produced by Pastor Steven Furtick's popular Elevation Church in North Carolina, which teaches people how to produce "spontaneous" baptisms among the repentant, is being criticized as "emotional manipulation."
The manual, Spontaneous Baptism How-To Guide, was produced by Elevation Church in 2011 and received its first critique in November from James Duncan, a Christian blogger and associate professor of communication at Anderson University who lives in South Carolina.
"As a church we pray Sun Stand Still prayers all the time. We are constantly asking God to do something that seems impossible and then believing that He is going to pull through," explains the introduction to the guide. more >>
A Kentucky congregation is taking on an unconventional approach to community outreach by building a recreational facility, with hopes to attract gym members that eventually become churchgoers.
Forks of Elkhorn Baptist Church in Midway, Ky. is currently building The CROSS Center, which stands for Christian Recreation Outreach Strengthening Souls, on their church grounds where pastor Todd Lester believes people will be able to strengthen their body, mind and soul.
For more than twelve years I have been helping others to see what has long been overlooked, otherwise missed, or outright ignored in the New Testament: namely, the biblical mandate of the multi-ethnic church as envisioned by Jesus Christ (John 17:20-23), described by Luke (Acts 11:19-26; 13:1), and prescribed by the Apostle Paul throughout his writings, most specifically in Romans and Ephesians. Needless to say such teaching, though exegetically sound, is not readily embraced by an Evangelical establishment more enamored by size and growth than with diversity and holistic community engagement.
Nevertheless since the Mosaix Global Network's first national conference in 2010, attitudes have markedly changed. Receptivity to the multi-ethnic church is up across the board; throughout denominations, networks, and conferences, alike. Likewise, an increasing array of local and national influencers is speaking up encouraging biblical diversity in the local church for the sake of the Gospel. The number of practitioners is growing, too, due to intentional multi-ethnic church planting as well as through the transition of healthy but otherwise homogeneous churches. In fact today, according to the latest research, 13.7% of churches throughout the United States have at least 20% diversity in their attending membership (up from just 7.5% in 2000). Beyond this, 14.4% of Protestant Evangelical churches have now reached this marker.
That said, I am sometimes asked: "If this mandate is so clear in Scripture, how has it been so missed throughout history? In other words, who else in the past has shared a similar message or understanding?" more >>