Christian missiologist Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, did his best this week to counter any further stereotyping of Christians as the result of a viral story about a pastor who refused to tip an Applebee's waitress and left a snarky note on the food receipt. Stetzer gave a generous tip and a complimentary note to his server after a meal. In both cases, the photo of the receipt was posted online.
"We should be known as a generous people. We should be known for our love. Not just with waitresses and waiters at restaurants, but with everyone," Stetzer, who is also a pastor, wrote in his blog post with an accompanying photo of his food receipt published Friday.
"So in response, I've been striking up conversations with servers and asking them about this perception," he added. "Yesterday, I talked to a server, and we discussed the 'pastor tip gate' scandal. I wanted to do a small thing to change the perception so I wrote a note on my bill." more >>
The headline of one pastor's blog post states: "If it can happen to General Petraeus, it can happen to you!" And so it goes after the recent revelation of an affair between former CIA Director David Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell. Many Christian leaders took the teachable moment as an opportunity to mostly make it clear that an affair is serious – it's adultery.
"Adultery can happen anywhere, to anyone. You do not have to be debonair, suave, handsome, articulate, successful, muscular, and every woman's dream. You can be dull and overweight, unattractive and without a shred of a personality, and still be caught up in this firestorm we call an affair," Pastor Joe McKeever, a former Director of Missions for Southern Baptist churches in New Orleans, wrote in his blog post referencing Petraeus.
"And, you can be mighty in the Lord, successful beyond your biggest dreams, and a warrior for Christ of the first dimension, and still be brought down by adultery," he added. more >>
The president of one of the leading Christian-based research organizations in the U.S. says it's time for believers to re-consider how the church in America should engage a culture that appears to be shifting away from Biblical values. This year's election results make it obvious that the country is embracing moral views that differ from evangelical Christianity, said LifeWay Research President Ed Stetzer.
"We must face the reality that we may be on the losing side of the culture war," wrote Stetzer in his blog posted the day after the election. "For decades, the 'religious right' has focused its energies on winning the day through political means."
He also wrote about the outcomes of key ballot issues in Tuesday's election that included victories in support of abortion and same-sex marriage. more >>
New York Times best-selling author Eric Metaxas is among the Christians upset over the decision by LifeWay Christian Stores to remove "The Blind Side" from its shelves because it contained profanity and racial slurs. He says objections over the language miss the point of the film and such reactions make it hard for Christians to be taken seriously in cultural discussions.
Metaxas, a rising evangelical voice who is best known for his biographies on William Wilberforce and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, expressed his disapproval of LifeWay's move to pull "The Blind Side" in a commentary for BreakPoint radio this week.
"I'm kind of upset. A great movie was pulled from the shelves of a Christian bookstore chain," he said on the July 5 program. "Look, I'm as concerned about cultural messages as anyone. I'm a father. But there's a right way and a wrong way to do this – and the wrong way definitely includes the permanent state of umbrage that many Christians seem to exhibit. They seem to have confused being salt and light with being curmudgeons." more >>
Ed Stetzer thinks Christians can be "knowledge addicts" when it comes to the Bible but have an "application deficit" when it comes to living on mission. In other words, Christians can talk the talk but they don't walk the walk.
That's where Stetzer, the general editor of The Gospel Project, is hoping the new LifeWay Christian Resources curriculum will be different from other Bible study curriculums out there. Stetzer and the project's managing editor, Trevin Wax, were intentional in making a resource that connects deep theological concepts with mission-driven application.
"We're really working hard to make sure that people know the big story. Not that they will be addicted to knowing more but that it will lead to actional application. That's what we're trying to do is to break that cycle," said Stetzer, an expert in missiology and vice president of Research and Ministry Development for LifeWay Christian Resources. more >>
The newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention supported the efforts of a Florida pastor to remove the movie "The Blind Side" from LifeWay Christian bookstores over its language content.
The Rev. Fred Luter, senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church of New Orleans and who was elected the first African-American SBC president on Tuesday, corresponded with Florida pastor Rodney Baker of Hopeful Baptist Church regarding Baker's effort to remove the film from LifeWay shelves.
In his email correspondence, which took place in late May, Luter expressed his support for Baker's efforts, stating that the Florida pastor showed determination in doing something Luter agreed with. Baker requested that the actual language of the email not be published, but The Christian Post obtained a copy and verified Luter's support. more >>