WASHINGTON — Contrary to popular opinion and previous research, the Christian Right was not responsible for people leaving their church, a new study finds.
While those who have left the Church appear to mostly have sympathies on the left side of the political spectrum, a correlation between those who have left the Church and views of the Christian Right does not imply that the Christian Right caused them to leave, according to researchers Paul Djupe, associate professor of political science at Denison University, and Jacob Neiheisel, assistant professor of political science at University of Buffalo, SUNY.
In their paper, "The Choice That Matters: Politics in the Role of Leaving Congregations," presented Aug. 30 at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Djupe and Neiheisel found that politics was related to the reason some chose to leave their congregations, but not in the way many imagine. more >>
Some people argue that America never was a Christian nation, even if most of the colonists were very devout. After all, some of the Founders were Deists and devotees of the Enlightenment, which in its extreme form in France tried to replace God with Reason.
Still more argue that America is not a Christian nation now. Barack Obama said on June 28, 2006: "Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation—at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers."
To test whether this is true or not, we might consider what a Christian nation would look like. more >>
When David Limbaugh let his friend Steve know that he had doubts about Christianity, he was surprised by Steve's response. Instead of a blast of arrogant judgmentalism, Steve responded like a Christian should—with grace and evidence. What has happened since that time is told in Limbaugh's excellent new book, Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel. Limbaugh artfully tells his journey from skepticism about Christ to skepticism about skepticism and ultimately to trust in Christ.
David is a lawyer, but he doesn't write like a lawyer. While he's intellectually precise, he writes as if he's sitting across the table from you, anticipating your questions and objections. This is rare for a book of Christian evidences (often called Christian apologetics). Such books often read like technical manuals, but not Jesus on Trial. Limbaugh not only does a masterful job of highlighting the abundant evidence that supports Christianity, his insights into what the scriptures actually say will have you marveling at the tapestry of scripture and the Savior who wove it.
From the very beginning, Limbaugh bares his soul, holding nothing back about how his previous doubts were shielded by an embarrassing lack of knowledge. He writes, "I knew, after all, that I hadn't really given the Bible itself a hearing, much less a fair one. To my surprise— and this is embarrassing to admit—Steve showed me how verses of Scripture, both Old and New Testaments, were tied to others in content and theme with remarkable frequency. Amazingly, I had never looked at a reference Bible before, and I was blown away. My ignorance was on display, but Steve wasn't remotely judgmental— to help me learn more, he even gave me that Bible. I was genuinely intrigued to discover that the Bible was not simply a mishmash of stories, allegories, alleged historical events, and moral lessons. There was obviously a pattern here, and for the first time in my life the Bible appeared to me to be thematically integrated. The scales on my eyes started peeling away." more >>
Today's mainstream culture assumes that people attracted to the same sex are born that way because the same sex attraction is something that comes naturally to them. They didn't choose it, they didn't will it, they didn't ask for it. It has just always been there. And that's been my personal experience as a same sex attracted person.
This way of thinking isn't derived from facts based on anything biological or scientific, though; it's a theory rooted in logic. The logic goes something like this: "As long as I can remember I've felt this way, and I never made a conscious decision to choose to feel this way, so it must be true that I was born this way."
Honestly, I don't think that's super irrational. It kind of makes sense, doesn't it? Those of us with inclinations and drawings toward certain behaviors, like eating too much, temper tantrums, laziness, anger and depression, think that we were "born" with these inclinations. We know that these things just come naturally to us and we know that we don't choose what comes naturally to us. We choose to eat too much or fly off the handle, most definitely, but the drawings inside of us toward those things aren't drawings that we conjure up into existence. They're just there. Again, what we choose to do with them is up to us. Behavior is a choice. So are gay people born with natural-to-them inclinations to be attracted to the same sex? more >>
Pastor Perry Noble of NewSpring Church took to social media on Sunday to announce that 2,335 people had been baptized throughout their 10 South Carolina campuses.
Noble and his megachurch often celebrate large baptism and salvation numbers but he says the church in general needs to do a better job at celebrating God's work, including the name and story behind each individual.
"Over and over again His people are called to celebrate who God is and what He has done," Noble wrote in a blog post. "As His church, we should refuse to be silent when He has been so good … every number has a name, every name has a story and every story matters to God." more >>
Hans Christian Anderson's famous story, The Emperor's New Clothes, teaches that we should strive to discern and declare truth in the face of mounting political pressure. This vitally important lesson was exhibited last week by district court Judge Martin Feldman in his remarkable and courageous ruling upholding the Louisiana constitutional provision that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
Contrary to popular belief, traditional marriage is not dead (or at least not yet). In last year's much ballyhooed decision of U.S. v. Windsor, the Supreme Court did not strike down the traditional meaning of marriage. Though this nuclear option was squarely before the Court, and strenuously sought, the Court opted to go in another direction. Justice Kennedy, speaking on behalf of the majority, held deference ought to be afforded states in the realm of marriage, allowing states to define marriage for themselves and their citizens an opportunity to participate in the democratic process on this important social issue.
But following this decision, akin to Anderson's tale of swindlers selling imaginary clothes to the Emperor, same-sex marriage activists developed a clever plan to fool judges and everyone else. They put together talking points boasting of a new right for same-sex couples to marry, though none in truth exists. Coupling this fictional guarantee with the on-going, slick marketing campaign that links their cause to the virtue of equality, these activists trumpeted the Windsor decision as precedent triggering a massive overhaul of the marriage institution. more >>