Now that Christianity is strange to the larger American culture, Christians have an opportunity to reclaim the freakishness of the Gospel message, Russell Moore writes in his new book, Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel.
"As American culture changes, the scandal of Christianity is increasingly right up front, exactly where it was in the first century. The shaking of American culture will get us back to the question Jesus asked his disciples at Caesarea Philippi: 'Who do you say that I am?' As the Bible Belt recedes, those left standing up for Jesus will be those who, like Simon Peter of old, know how to answer that question.
Once Christianity is no longer seen as part and parcel of patriotism, the church must offer more than 'What would Jesus do?' moralism and the 'I vote values' populism to which we've grown accustomed. Good," wrote Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in Chapter two. more >>
The recent, racially-motivated massacre of a bible study group in a historic African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston has sparked grief, shock, rage, and an almost-unbelievable and moving expression of forgiveness from the victims' families. The shooting reignited a national conversation on the appropriateness of public displays of the Confederate battle flag; many prominent Southern Christians spoke in favor of its removal. Within Charleston, the church which was the site of the massacre was packed during the next Sunday's service. Thousands participated in vigils, and an estimated 20,000 people of every background marched together in solidarity, singing "This Little Light of Mine" and "God Bless America." Many public leaders recognized and reflected this solidarity and the forgiveness offered even while acknowledging and mourning the history of anti-Black and anti-Black church violence in American history; a vocal few, primarily from the political left, chose instead to exploit the tragedy for their own ends.
Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, gave an impassioned speech denouncing America and aligning all white Americans with the sentiments of the racist murderer. This speech was given at historic Metropolitan AME Church in Washington D.C., the "National Cathedral of African Methodism," and received thunderous applause and cheers. Farrakhan did not hold back with his extreme and inciting vitriol. Speaking of the white people of Charleston that joined in the services, vigils, and marches he shouted, "White folks march with you because they don't want you upsetting the city. They don't give a damn about them nine."
Because the police fed the murderer shortly after he was (without incident) apprehended, Farrakhan accused them of supporting the murders. "And you know what they [the police] were saying? 'You did a good job killing all them [racial epithet].' You think they were sympathetic? If they were sympathetic with us they would have snatched him, put him in chains, had the gun on him." (Photos show the murderer in handcuffs.) more >>
Texas pastor Voddie Baucham has appeared in a video produced by the desiringGod ministry, responding to the oft-repeated claim that "gay is the new black." He argues that some similarities between the two movements cannot undermine significant differences between ethnicity and sexual orientation.
Similarities exist because "there are some things that we accepted philosophically in the civil rights movement that were not based in biblical truth," which are being applied in the so-called gay rights movement the exact same way, says Baucham, pastor of preaching at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas.
The video was posted on the desirigGod website the day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees same-sex marriage across the country. President Barack Obama hailed it as "a victory for America." more >>
Thousands of mourners gathered in Charleston, South Carolina, on Friday for the funeral of Democratic State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, pastor of the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, as President Baraxk Obama delivered an impassioned eulogy for the respected leader he remembered as "a man of God who lived by faith."
Grieving relatives, Emanuel AME church members, politicians and members of the community were present at the College of Charleston's TD Arena to pay their respects more than one week after Pinckney and eight others were gunned down during a Bible study at his church.
"Giving all praise and honor to God," Obama began. "The Bible calls us to hope, to persevere and have faith in things not seen. They were still living by faith when they died, Scripture tells us. They did not receive the things promised, they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on Earth." more >>
Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton wants to dig up the bodies of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife and remove them from a city park in the latest and perhaps most despicable example of the anti-Southern cleansing spreading across the nation.
"Which African-American wants to have a picnic in the shadow of Nathan Bedford Forrest?" Wharton said in a Thursday press briefing.
In addition to desecrating the graves, Wharton wants to tear down a massive statue honoring the Confederate general who was involved in organizing the Ku Klux Klan. The bodies of Forrest and his wife would be relocated to a cemetery. more >>
After last Wednesday night's Bible study at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston ended with nine people losing their lives in a violent act of racial hatred, over 100 worshipers gathered in the very same room just one week later to continue the church's Wednesday night tradition.
Interim pastor Norvel Goff Sr., who's standing in for slain Rev. Clementa Pinckney, said that while Wednesday night Bible studies would never be the same for members of the church, he believed that faith had brought the 100-strong crowd to the same basement room only a week later to continue worshipping the Lord.
"This territory belongs to God," Goff told the crowd at the Bible study, as quoted by CNN. "Bible study will continue. But because of what happened, we will never be the same." more >>