There is a myth of church success in America that says, "The bigger the building, the bigger the budget, the bigger the attendance, the more successful you are."
In the sight of man, this might equal success, but in the sight of God, it might have nothing to do with success. In fact, it might simply be the beautiful façade hiding all kinds of spiritual rot and decay.
To be clear, I have had the privilege of preaching in some of the finest mega-churches in America, replete with large buildings, big budgets, and multiplied thousands of attendees. And I can personally attest to the fact that some of these churches are healthy in many ways: focused on Jesus, reaching the lost, making disciples, and giving themselves to prayer. more >>
"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions." – 2 Timothy 4:3
Dear false prophets, false teachers and Christian apostates of every stripe:
We've all heard this phrase: "You know who you are!" It's an expression typically levied in the context of some corrective admonition, intended for some person or persons, busy about some misbehavior. While sent via certified mail, this is one of those rare open letters to whom the preponderance of intended recipients have, somehow, managed to convince themselves, and one another, that they're not even home. Most of you decidedly do not know who you are. You're living on Deception Lane. more >>
Christian couples should marry sooner, an ethicist and a pastor with the largest Protestant denomination in the United States argue.
Andrew Walker, director of policy studies for the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Jon Akin, senior pastor of Fairview Church in Lebanon, Tennessee, made the argument in a column for the Baptist Press earlier this week. While not advocating a specific age for marriage and noting the diverse situations for people, young people should still look toward marriage sooner, they said.
"We do not advocate a specific age; rather, we believe that young people should make themselves 'marry-able' younger," wrote Walker and Akin. more >>
For many reasons, religious beliefs have greatly influenced American public policy and political elections. Because of its demographics and history, the United States has numerically more Christians (and more Protestants) than any other country in the world. There are nearly 313 million people in America, making the United States the third most populous country in the world.
According to the 2012 U.S. Census, three quarters of Americans claimed adherence to the Christian faith. (Whether or not they understand Christianity is another matter.) These Christians have various affiliations: 140 million are nondenominational, 62 million are Catholic, 40 million are Evangelical Protestants, and 26 million are Mainline Protestants. The states with the greatest number of religious congregations are Texas, California, and Pennsylvania.
The next largest group categorized by the Census is comprised of those who identify as having no religion. Following this group are those who identify as Jewish, Agnostic, Atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu. more >>
Former evangelical megachurch leader Ulf Ekman, who in March announced to his congregation at Word of Life in Sweden that he was leaving the Protestant ministry to join the Roman Catholic Church, recognized in a new article that the decision had caused an "uproar" among the faithful.
"It caused more than just a stir when I told the congregation of the Evangelical megachurch that I served as pastor since I founded it 30 years ago that my wife and I intended to become Catholics," Ekman begins in a lengthy article published online by The Catholic Herald on Wednesday.
"It caused a real uproar in my country of Sweden, which remains overwhelmingly Protestant. The period from that day, March 9, until May 21, when we were received into the Catholic Church, was marked by contention and debate. I have binders full of articles, comments and reactions that appeared in the traditional media and on the internet." more >>
Part two is the best way to launch this commentary. It is a definite response to those who appealed for help after my recent article, I'm Ashamed to Admit I Have a Problem With Masturbation.
One person expressed it this way: "I appeal for part 2. This area is epidemic-especially among men. Please don't leave us hanging. We need more info and real solutions!"
So that's exactly what we will do. Let's lay out a strategy for success. more >>