Recently, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that two for profit corporations with sincerely held religious beliefs (Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties) do not have to provide a full range of contraceptives at no cost to their employees pursuant to the Affordable Care Act.1
As detailed by ABC News, "In a 5-4 opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito the court held that as applied to closely held corporations the Health and Human Services regulations imposing the contraceptive mandate violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. "2
Upon hearing the news American Evangelicals broke out in a collective shout of "Hallelujah!" and took to praising God via social media; while in the streets of an otherwise secular society there was wailing and gnashing of teeth.3 more >>
Must Evangelical churches change or downplay their position on homosexuality to attract millennials?
Millennials, generally defined as those ages 18 to mid-30s, are the most supportive of redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, many polls show. A recent Public Religion Research Institute poll had their support at 69 percent, the highest of any age group.
Even among self-described Evangelicals, the millennials showed the highest level of support at 43 percent (though the poll only included white Evangelicals), compared to 33 percent for generation X, 22 percent for Baby Boomers and 19 percent for those 68 and older. The poll also found that 70 percent of millennials "believe that religious groups are alienating young adults by being too judgmental about gay and lesbian issues." more >>
Wesleyan and Anabaptist perfectionisms are the emerging dominant forms of Christian social witness in America, according to this fascinating piece in First Things by Dale Coulter of Regent University. He's certainly right about their pervasive influence but unduly optimistic about their plausibility and sustainability, much less desirability.
As a Methodist, I hope thoughtful Calvinists will provide a corrective dose of realism and sturdy doctrine to the social cul-de-sacs and Utopianism towards which both perfectionist traditions seem to spiral when untethered from church teaching about the limits of fallen humanity. It's not fair to fault Methodism exclusively for the excesses of the Social Gospel, whose key early proponent, Walter Rauschenbusch, was a liberal northern Baptist. It was fueled by German romanticism and New England, post-Congregationalist Unitarian transcendentalism. But Wesleyanism, once liberalized and unhinged from supernatural teachings about Christian cosmology, generously watered the roots of the Social Gospel movement and ultimately fully embraced it.
Methodism as a mass movement provided much of the activist machinery for Social Gospel energy if not much of the intellectual formation. This storyline is often repeated. Wesleyans are more comfortably doers than deep thinkers, Much of official Methodism, as it transitioned through its Prohibition crusade, easily abandoned traditional Methodism's affirmation of human nature's total depravity and complete need for transformation through the new birth. The new imperative, displacing evangelism and holiness, became earnest intent and constant activity for societal improvement. No human condition was beyond the reach of social and political reform. more >>
In a newsletter emailed to supporters this week, Florida pastor Paula White claims that God has shown her that "this is a season of victory for His people." The Christian minister also reveals a strong feeling "that a seed of $229 in accordance with 1 Chronicles 22:9 is a breakthrough seed for the month of July," and declares to recipients of her newsletter, "Do not hesitate to follow a prophetic instruction!"
White, who formerly led Without Walls Church International with ex-husband Randy White, is senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Florida.
In a newsletter emailed on Thursday to Paula White Ministries supporters, and titled "This Email Will Change Your Life!" White asserts: "YOU are on the verge of complete breakthrough in every area of your life. Spiritually, Financially, and Relationally God has shown me that this is a season of victory for His people." more >>
In a sense, we're all on death row. Death is on my mind because of the recent death of my much-missed older brother, Doug. I am so grateful he died as a Christian. To die in Christ is gain.
In our culture, we do just about everything we can to push death away from our thoughts. Often we don't even use the words. We'll say things like, "He passed away" or just "he passed." But these are just euphemisms for "he died."
There is an interesting contrast between the Puritans and us, when it comes to sex and death. Sex was all hush-hush, while death was front and center. more >>
Zealot, the controversial book about Jesus Christ written by Muslim author Reza Aslan, is set to be made into a movie by David Heyman, the producer behind the "Harry Potter" series. Deadline.com reported on Monday that Heyman, who is also behind 2013's critically-acclaimed "Gravity," will produce the movie alongside Jeff Clifford. Focus Features Chief James Schamus will be writing the adaptation.
"Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Dr. Aslan sheds light on one of history's most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived," Lionsgate, which acquired the rights for the title in December, said.
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, drew controversy in 2013 after several scholars responded to the work, which depicts what it says is the historical Jesus, but leaves out much of the divine inspiration found in the New Testament. more >>