Phil Thornton is doing more than just overseeing gospel artists as the vice president and general manager of Urban Inspirational at Entertainment One Music. The entertainment industry executive has found a way to bridge the gap between Christian culture and the secular world one music artist and television show at a time.
Thornton has helped redefine the figurative box that gospel music once occupied, helping to usher in new sounds with songs like Erica Campbell's "I Luh God" and the reunion of Destiny's Child members Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams on "Say Yes." The eOne executive remembers when "Say Yes," premiered on "Good Morning America" and even atheists were tweeting about wanting to buy the song on iTunes.
"If (people) bought nothing else gospel this whole year, the fact that they have a song on their iTunes or library celebrating Jesus, that's what it's all about. I want to make it feel cool, because it can," Thornton told The Christian Post. "It doesn't have to be downtrodden and stale. That's my goal is to keep providing great music and to give artists a platform to keep pushing their message and ministry." more >>
While a common view is that social conservatives have "lost" the culture war, little other result was possible due to the power of the U.S. Supreme Court. This point was made clear at a presentation at the Family Research Council on May 8, which reviewed the judicial decisions issued, political moves made, and ideological positions taken in the mid-twentieth century that led to the current collapse of marriage, morality, and the family.
William Duncan, Director of the Marriage Law Foundation (with a mission of re-affirming traditional definition of marriage as union of one man and one woman), offered one of three presentations, his focusing on the Supreme Court's decisions which preceded its decisions on homosexuality in the 1990s and 2000s.
Duncan began by noting common judicial opinion about marriage and the family before the sexual revolution, citing a 1952 decision from the California Supreme Court in which marriage was held to be "a great deal more than a contract, 'the family is the basic unit of our society, the center of personal affections … it channels biological drives that might otherwise become destructive, it insures the care and education of children in a stable environment, it established continuity from one generation to another.'" Although it would be the 1970s before there was a radical departure from this understanding, the 1960s saw the decisive shift that made everything that came after it possible. more >>
This column was originally published in National Review.
I'll never forget the first time I learned that I couldn't put faith in Christians. I was in middle school, and our church had hired a new "pulpit minister" (that's what my church called pastors) — a man widely known for his ability to deliver a sermon. During one of his first weeks at our church, he proudly declared that when he preached, he didn't want to hit "bunt singles." He wanted to "belt home runs." But he didn't just boast. He delivered. Week after week his messages moved, taught, and inspired. The church started growing, and even bored young teens (like me) looked forward to Sunday.
Then, one day he was gone. He ran off with another man's wife, and we never heard from him again. I was crushed. I was angry. I couldn't comprehend how a man could say one thing with such conviction yet live another way entirely — even to the point of forsaking his wife, his kids, and his church. When I was at my angriest, my dad pulled me aside and said, "David, our faith is in Christ, not any man." more >>
I have been terribly grieved by some "Christian" responses to Josh Duggar, as if there are some sins God cannot forgive or some people that He cannot transform. Such an attitude betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of the gospel of grace and is actually a slap in the face of the Savior.
When I shared some redemptive thoughts about Josh's situation earlier in the week, I did not for a moment minimize the gravity of his acts. Specifically, I wrote that "he did sin grievously"; I put his actions in the category of "wicked things" that some of us did as teenagers; I stated that, "There's no excuse for sin, so own up to it"; I referred to Josh committing "serious sexual sin"; and I said "there are consequences to our actions" but that God can redeem, also stressing the importance of the Church helping the victims of abuse.
And although I have never been the victim of sexual abuse, I have listened to the stories of abuse victims for years, often devastated by what they shared. more >>
Fearing for his life, an Ethiopian man was forced off his land after Muslims ignored multiple court decisions protecting his property rights. International Christian Concern, a human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide, brought attention to Fikere Mengistu's plight last week.
Local Muslims in the town of Deder are demanding his property in order to build a mosque, and according to the ICC, have already begun construction.
Accoring to BosNewsLife: "The harassment allegedly began when Mengistu built a house for his 93-year-old mother two years ago." Muslims destroyed the home of his mother and then destroyed his fence and looted many of his possessions. more >>
There is an ongoing silent migration away from the church of an estimated 3,500 individuals each and every day. A 2014 study indicated that over 1.2 million people will leave the church in the next year. Several factors are contributing to this trend, but the majority of individuals who are leaving the church report that they no longer feel connected. Can this be reversed? Can the church connect with these people before it is to late?
This movement away from the church has been ongoing for several decades. The number of churches that are closing their doors every year is leading to an overall decline in church attendance. In 2015, it is estimated that over 10,000 churches will close their doors. This has lead to a growing host of Christians who no longer have a place to connect with other believers. In fact, The Barna Group reports that the average size of a church congregation in America is just 89 adults. That means for each church door that closes, almost 100 people are left without a spiritual home.
When asked about the importance of church in their lives, 80% of 14-33 year olds reported that church was 'not important' to them. Millennials, as they are often called, have very different preferences of what church should look like compared to their parents. Millennials prefer worship spaces that are quiet and decorated in a classic style. They prefer casual dress and a sense of community over privacy. Clint Jenkin with the Barna Group says, "Millennials don't look for a church facility that caters to the whims of pop culture. They want a community that calls them to deeper meaning." In short, churches do not need to create ultra modern worship spaces to connect with young people, but rather create an environment that engages and inspires. more >>