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 >>
A conservative Christian campaign group has called Sir Elton John's comments that Jesus would support same-sex marriage if he were alive today "remarkably ignorant and staggeringly arrogant."
Campaigns director Andrew Marsh of Christian Concern told BBC Radio Wales:
"Sad to say, these are remarkably ignorant and staggeringly arrogant comments, presuming to dictate to Jesus Christ what he should think when the reality is He has spoken quite clearly on this subject." more >>
A trial centered around the name, seal, and property of a diocese that broke away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences will begin Tuesday.
After months of legal back and forth between TEC and the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina, the trial will decide who rightfully owns the assets and property of the diocese.
Supporters of the denomination who remain within the Diocese are known as The Episcopal Church in South Carolina. more >>