Writing at Ligonier, Dr. Tom Ascol, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, and executive director of Founders Ministries, explains why it is that some who once professed the name of Jesus Christ end up falling away from the faith. He reminds the reader of 1 John 2:19 and then shares the antidote to apostasy, namely, “a rigorous devotion to the truth of God’s Word.”
The Weekly Standard shares a shocking report from a Florida committee hearing this week, as a Planned Parenthood official openly “endorsed a right to post-birth abortion.”
A study released by the Rasmussen Reports polling firm on Good Friday found that 64% of Americans believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
While Americans who believe in the resurrection remain in the majority, that number is down significantly when compared to a Rasmussen Poll that asked the same question, released a year ago.
Purpose-driven pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church has resisted taking his ministry to the radio for the term of his career—until now. As previously reported, this first week of April 2013 marks the launch of Warren’s new radio program, ‘Daily Hope.’
In a promotional video appearing on his website, Warren explains why he has not previously pursued a radio ministry, including the fact that he “did not want to become a celebrity.” In the first two minutes of the video, Warren boasts about his own ministry success, using the words “I,” “me” and “my” and failing to mention Jesus Christ, Who must be the focus of every Christian pastor’s ministry (1 Cor. 1:23, 9:16).
NEW YORK – The American Bible Society released on Tuesday its annual State of the Bible report, which revealed that a majority of Americans feel the morals and values of the country are declining. And the most cited reason for this decline, according to the report, is a lack of Bible reading.
Part III: Church Development, Presbyterianism, & China
The need for church development, so acute in China, exists wherever the gospel is bearing fruit. Indeed, the proper goal of the church’s mission is not just to announce the good news to those who have not heard or to call unbelievers to faith and repentance; the church’s mission has always included establishing a well-ordered church in every land for the welfare of God’s people and perpetuation of the ministry.
Last night the final installment of The Bible miniseries appeared on The History Channel. Now that I have completed viewing it I would like to give you my overall thoughts.
The CPI, in our view, does not accurately measure inflation, which accounts for some of the discrepancy our reader is pointing out. However, the proper definition of inflation is “an increase in the quantity of money,” which we’ve had in spades. We’ve not experienced the concomitant increase in prices, which is what we’re addressing in this article.
It’s logical to assume that when you create more of something, you dilute the value of what’s already in existence. That’s exactly what has happened to the US dollar since the 2008 financial crisis hit. Economics 101 says this should lead to higher inflation – yet official Consumer Price Index (CPI) levels remain benign.
The pastor at the Washington, D.C. church where the Obama family celebrated Easter on Sunday said members of the religious right want blacks “in the back of the bus,” women “back in the kitchen” and immigrants “back on their side of the border.”
Only around a half of Britons trust the clergy to tell the truth and a similar proportion think the Church of England does a bad job of providing moral leadership, a poll showed on Sunday. The survey by pollster YouGov commissioned by Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper further showed that 69 percent of respondents thought the Church of England, mother church of the world’s 80-million-strong Anglican communion, was out of touch.
Karl Marx was another writer whose influence on Obama is well known. Marx railed against the middle class, fulminating in The Communist Manifesto, “The middle class owner of property…must be swept out of the way and made impossible.” Elsewhere in the Manifesto, Marx called for “the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie.”
Building on Marx’s concepts, Lenin sought the destruction of the bourgeois class and its values, recommending, as the strategy for annihilating the middle class, “grind[ing] them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.”
In the last few decades the United Nations has been obsessed with one country. Is it North Korea, Zimbabwe, Iran, Syria, China or some other nation with a reprehensible human rights record? Those would all be fair guesses and they would all be wrong. Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Human Rights Institute, answers this riddle and explains the upside down moral universe in which the United Nations resides. Watch the Prager University video below:
A respected pro-family organization announced this week a boycott of Starbucks coffee. The group, which supports legal protection for traditional marriage, launched the “Dump Starbucks” campaign after a national board meeting in which the Seattle-based coffee company mentioned support for same-sex marriage as a core value of the company. Some Christians are wondering whether we ought to join in the boycott. I say no.
Gay marriage? It came up at dinner Down Under this time last year, and the prominent Aussie politician on my right said matter-of-factly, “It’s not about expanding marriage, it’s about destroying marriage.”
That would be the most obvious explanation as to why the same societal groups who assured us in the Seventies that marriage was either (a) a “meaningless piece of paper” or (b) institutionalized rape are now insisting it’s a universal human right.
March 27, 2013 – One of March’s media stories has been the success of the History Channel miniseries, The Bible. The first episode, which premiered on March 3, had 13.1 million viewers, according to Nielsen, making it the highest entertainment (read: non-sports) broadcast of 2013.
The interest in a cable series makes it clear the American public is certainly interested in the Bible. But what do Americans actually think about the Bible? Do they believe it to be sacred, authoritative or merely nonsense? Do they try to follow its exhortations, or do they regard the Bible as antiquated literature? Does the Bible still matter—besides television ratings—to Americans?
A recent survey from the Barna Group, commissioned by the American Bible Society, provides some insight into these questions. From the results, it’s easy to see why the Bible remains a cultural force in the United States. Yet, its future role looks very different than its past.
(Editor’s Note: This blog was first published last year and received so much positive feedback that we have decided to offer it again.)
This is a blog with a very specific audience. I know it may exclude some of you, but it may be healthy for you to eavesdrop.
This is for all the church planters and their volunteers on post-Easter Monday, struggling to make it from week-to-week, as well as the leaders and members of established churches which are anything but “mega” – well below the 200 threshold in terms of average attendance.
I don’t know how Easter Sunday went for you, but I have a hunch.
It was bigger than normal, but less than breakthrough. It was good, but not great. Your attendance was large, but not staggering; worth being happy about, but not writing home about. You are grateful to God, but now that Easter is over, there’s a bit of a letdown. You wanted so much more.
It was, in the end, a typical Easter Sunday.
And you are normal.
When you lead a church, you can’t help but dream, and dream big. I think that’s one of the marks of a leader. But for most, it’s not long before the dream comes face to face with reality.
When I planted Meck, I just knew the mailer I sent out (we started churches with mailers in those days) would break every record of response, and that we would be a church in the hundreds, if not already approaching a thousand, in a matter of weeks or months.
Willow Creek, eat our dust. Saddleback? Come to our conference.
The reality was starting in a Hilton hotel in the midst of a tropical storm with 112 dripping wet people, and by the third weekend – through the strength of my preaching – cutting that sucker in half to a mere 56.
Actually, not even 56, because our total attendance was 56. This means there were fifteen or twenty kids, so maybe thirty or so people actually sitting in the auditorium.
(As a good church planter, I think we also counted people who walked slowly past the hotel ballroom doors in the hallway.)
Yes, we’ve grown over the years.
But that’s the point.
It’s taken years.
It usually does.
I know the soup of the day is rapid growth, but please don’t benchmark yourself against that. It’s not typical. It’s not even (usually) healthy. So stop playing that dark, awful game called comparison. It’s sick and terribly toxic.
Really, stop it.
I don’t care who you are, there will always be someone bigger or faster-growing, so why torment yourself? Or worse, fall prey to the sins of envy and competition, as if you are benchmarked against other churches?
(Rumor has it the true “competition” is a deeply fallen secular culture that is held in the grip of the evil one. Just rumor, mind you.)
The truth is that on the front end, every church is a field of dreams. After a few months, or a year or two, it’s morphed from a field of dreams to a field to be worked, and your field may not turn out as much fruit – much less as fast – as you had hoped.
You can rest assured that it probably has little to do with your commitment, your faith, your spirituality, your call, or God’s love for you.
I know it’s frustrating. We’ve got a lot of the world in us, and thus look to worldly marks of success and affirmation.
But what matters is whether you are being faithful, not whether you are being successful. You’re not in this for human affirmation, but a “well done” from God at the end.
Did you preach the gospel yesterday?
Then “well done.”
Did you and your team do the best you could with what you had?
Then “well done.”
Did you and your church invite your unchurched friends to attend?
Then “well done.”
Did you pray on the front-end, have faith, and trust?
Then “well done.”
Ignore the megachurches that tweet, blog and boast about their thousands in attendance.
Yep, even mine.
It’s not that we don’t matter. We do, and we’re very proud of the hard work of our volunteers and the lives we have the privilege of changing. There’s a place for us.
It’s just that you matter, too.
And you may need to remember that.
And perhaps most of all on the Monday after Easter.
James Emery White
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His newly released book is The Church in an Age of Crisis: 25 New Realities Facing Christianity (Baker Press). To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, log-on to www.churchandculture.org, where you can post your comments on this blog, view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.
by Mike Ratliff
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