Shepherd the Shepherd
While responsibility for sin lies directly on the conscience of the one who forsakes their marriage vows, I’ve often wondered what might be done to help prevent such tragedies. I remember asking one of the elders of our church what accountability or oversight had been given to the pastor prior to his fall. To my astonishment he answered, “None.” Now, I want to emphasize that this man wasn’t a helpless victim of bad shepherding, but it did confirm my suspicion—one I still have—that often times and in many ways, the pastor is one of the most neglected sheep in the congregation.
How the Charleston Tragedy Cries Out for God
Do you see? The worldling has an insoluble problem when faced with such tragedy as this horrendous slaughter. Taken seriously, the reigning worldviews of our day leave us helpless to describe murderer, victims, or incident, in any terms other than either “…and then that happened,” or even (God help us all) positive terms. Then after describing them, they have no way to categorize them, or have any relief to the emotional response they quite properly have. They are forced to steal categories from Christianity — categories they don’t really mean, and just as surely do not think through — to do any better than “this event makes me feel bad!”
Anatomy of a Sick Church – 10 Symptoms to Watch
Decline in frequency of attendance of church members. This symptom is the number one explanation for attendance decline in most churches. Members are not as committed as they once were. Their waning love for their church is reflected in their declining frequency in worship attendance.
How to Conquer the Grumbles
Awareness of my grumbling showed me where I desire my kingdom, rather than God’s kingdom, to flourish. That is always the issue. When I grumble in response to circumstances, I am stating that the values of my kingdom matter more than the values of God’s kingdom. I am stating that people should work better for my sake, that systems should function in certain ways for my benefit, and that the weather should conform to my particular desires. I am the focus of my life.
“Eschatology is the Key to Your Sanctification in the Christian Life”
I was immediately drawn in when he said this because although it is good, true, and important to discuss Christ’s work on the cross and how that applies to our sanctification, the believer also needs to hold fast to where Christ is now, interceding on our behalf at the right hand of the Father, and what he is going to do, return for his bride and reign with her on the new heavens and the new earth. All of this is good news, and helps us to strive for that eternal Sunday.
Can the Ethiopian Change His Skin or a Leopard His Spots?
And it is here that the Rachel Dolezal story exposes the silliness and the absurdity of postmodernity, and its accompanying commitment to relativism. It shows–perhaps more clearly than any other recent example–that postmodernity simply doesn’t work. It shows that we can’t create our own realities after all. We can’t make something true just because we want it to be. Any person with common sense simply knows that saying you are black doesn’t make you black.
Homeschooling and Christian Duty
So is homeschooling selfish? Have homeschoolers enthroned the needs of their own children at the expense of the larger society? In declining to send our children to public school, have we truly turned our backs on the lost of the world? This, after all, is the real charge that Christians level at homeschooling.
When Pastors Abuse
Third, sometimes church discipline is exercised in the context of a poor structure in which the pastor is without sufficient accountability. Some evangelical groups that identify with some aspects of Reformed theology are not actually Reformed in their polity. In many cases, these groups are congregational in polity and are not sufficiently connected and accountable to other congregations nor to broader (or higher) assemblies (church courts).
Shutting Down Debate and Silencing the Opposition
By now it should be perfectly clear how the secular left operates: they have very little intelligent arguments of their own, so they resort to other means to win the public debate on hot potato issues. And the main means they use is bullying, intimidation, shouting, name-calling, mud-slinging, and simply preventing the other side from getting a hearing.
Since our mainstream media is predominated by secular lefties, this is exactly how the media works as well. It is almost impossible nowadays for a contrary opinion to be heard in the MSM, whether on the issue of homosexuality, or abortion, or climate change. There is the party line, and that is adhered to and defended at all costs. No countervailing points of view will be heard.
And of course there is only the slightest pretence of balance offered when another side is allowed in. As the Q&A program the other night once again demonstrated so clearly, one token conservative and/or Christian will be invited to take on 4, 5, 6 or more secular lefties.
Community, Cause and Corporation – Church & Culture Blog
Cold Case Christianity: Why the Case for Christianity Is More Important Than Ever
Much has been written and discussed about this year’s Pew Research Center poll, America’s Changing Religious Landscape, and I’ve also weighed in on the findings. The percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. When statistics like these are released, it’s tempting to panic and respond without properly examining the trends. The devil is always in the details, however, and a careful analysis of the data ought to energize rather than discourage us. Opportunities abound, and the case for Christianity is more important than ever.
While more and more people say they no longer identify as Christians, the ranks of atheists and agnostics are not growing in equal percentages. During the same seven year span, as Christian affiliation dropped by 7.8%, those claiming an atheist affiliation only grew by 1.5%. So where did all the Christians go? They went to the ranks of those claiming no affiliation with any established Christian denomination or belief system (a category affectionately called, “the nones”). Importantly, those who no longer claim a Christian attachment, have not yet jumped in with the atheists or agnostics. They haven’t even jumped in with other religious groups (such as Jewish, Muslim or other believers). This is an important reality for all of us who seek to make the case for Christianity. We sometimes mistakenly think our culture is becoming more and more atheistic. It isn’t. Instead, it’s simply becoming less and less Christian.
People are not nearly as resistant to the existence of God as the more liberal, atheistic media would like us to believe. In fact, 92.9% of the country rejects atheism and is open to the existence of God in one form or another. We are a country of theists, even though we might be divided on which form of theism (or deism) is true. That’s why the case for Christianity is more important than ever.
Those who believe in the existence of God, yet reject Christianity, can still be reached for Christ. I sometimes think this group of “nones” has rejected their experience in the Church rather than their belief in Jesus. That may simply be a reflection of the sad, non-evidential nature of the Church rather than a reflection of the strong evidential nature of Christianity. Some of those who have left our ranks may never have heard anything about the evidence supporting the Christian worldview in all the years they were attending church with us. My own anecdotal experience, as I speak at churches around the country, supports this uncomfortable hypothesis. Most churches are still uninterested in making the case for Christianity, while more and more Christians want to know why Christianity is true.
Now is the time to make the case for the reliability of the New Testament, the historicity and Deity of Jesus and the reasonable inference of the Resurrection. People are still hovering in the “nones” category, open to the existence of God, but skeptical of their past experience in Christianity. Now is the time to show them a new way forward and a reasonable path to belief. The reasonable, evidential case for Christianity is more important than ever.
Should I Keep a Stupid Promise?
We recently encountered the rather colorful figure of Jephthah in our study through the book of Judges. In case you need a primer, Jephthah made a rather absurd vow, promising to sacrifice “whoever came out of his house first” if God would make him successful in battle. When that turned out to be his own daughter, he actually put her on the altar and killed her.
There’s a lot to say about that particular vow (you can hear the whole message here), but our Pastor of Counseling, Brad Hambrick, has some good reflections on what to do after we’ve made a ridiculously stupid promise to God:
God is not pleased or amused because we’ll do extreme things; which portrays God as an immature teenage audience chanting “Do it! Do it!” God is pleased with us because he sees us clothed in the righteousness of Christ when we accept his death on the cross as the penalty for our sin.
Part of the reason we are prone to promise God stupid things in the first place is because we think he’s impressed with our grandiosity. The sooner we relinquish this idea the better. Therefore, we should repent not just of our stupid promise, but the immature view of God which led us to think he would be impressed by it.
Is taking down the Confederate battle flag a mere gesture?
I have been watching the flag controversy from a distance, choosing not to weigh-in until now. Well, I guess that’s not quite right. Early on, I did tweet my opinion on the matter but offered little more. So for those who missed it, I agree that the flag should come down.
It has been interesting to see the conversation unfold among evangelical and conservative writers. Russell Moore, Albert Mohler, Rod Dreher, Ross Douthat, and countless others have called for its removal. Even Doug Wilson has declined to defend the flag as a symbol of southern resistance against federal encroachment, saying “Just take it down, man!” Among conservatives, it seems those wishing to keep the flag up are growing fewer and farther between.
I won’t rehash the arguments made so able by the others I mentioned above. I’ll simply add my cosign to Moore, Mohler, et al. Having said that, I would make one brief response to conservatives who argue that taking the flag down is an empty gesture and doesn’t do anything to actually solve the problem of racism. I think that critique actually misses the point—at least from a Christian perspective. Here’s why.
Gospel for Asia’s Leader K.P. Yohannan to Speak at Calvary Chapel Missions Conference
Patheos columnist Warren Throckmorton has raised several questions with regard to the forthrightness of Gospel for Asia leaders. He writes:
According to this website, Gospel for Asia’s founder and president will speak at Calvary Chapel in Downey, CA as a part of a missions conference. I wrote the church to ask if Yohannan plans to address any of the controversies swirling around Gospel for Asia and will add any answer I get.
Specifically, it is not known if any leader at Gospel for Asia is going to publicly acknowledge that the leaders prevailed upon their own students and ministry partners to carry envelopes of undeclared U.S. cash to India in apparent violation of U.S. law. Thus far, GFA has not apologized for violating their own financial integrity guidelines or requiring students as young as 18 to engage in smurfing of large amounts of cash to India.
America’s Preferred (and Protected) Symbol of Slavery and Oppression
As you may have noticed, people are talking a lot about flags lately. And slavery. And oppression. And hate and feelings and sensitivities. And how Confederate flags and icons are uniquely worthy of a purge here in “the land of the free” and the home of the NSA. That’s the Corporate American Statists’ spin on […]
Remaining Faithful in a World of Humanism
Next Monday the U.S. Supreme Court should weigh in on the defining decision regarding homosexual marriage in our nation. If the Court dictates that homosexual marriage is a protected right the church will face a very interesting future. If you believe the Church will not come under heavy pressure to affirm and support unbiblical marriage–well […]
Rick Warren’s “Power of a Campaign for Revival and Spiritual Awakening”
Amy Spreeman, co-host of Stand Up For The Truth, has the latest on Rick Warren:
Saddleback’s and Amurica’s pastor Rick Warren is talking revival and spiritual awakening! Can it be that he is finally preaching repentance and surrender to Christ? Well, not exactly. We’re talking about a movement by numbers again, from his latest email blast. What does the Bible have to say about this?
Rick Warren: “If God allowed you to baptize hundreds of new believers, add almost hundreds of new members, and increase your average attendance by thousands in just 40 days, would you call that a revival?”
I’d call it nickles and noses. Proof of revival is not in numbers. Remember, GOD does the increasing. Acts 3:19-21 “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.”
The Rev. Canon Andrew White, known as the “Vicar of Baghdad,” has said that persecution of Christians at the hands of ISIS in Iraq has passed all expectations of extreme brutality. White said that while Christians have lost everything, it’s their faith in Jesus that’s keeping them going.
“It is happening now in our midst and the persecution of Christians is like we’d never expect would happen,” White told the audience at the Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. Mark in Salt Lake City, according to Deseret News. “All I know is we are not (ceasing) to love Jesus. We are still serving him.”
He added that Christians in Iraq are in constant fear of attacks.
“They’re all petrified. They’re all desperate. They all think they have no future,” he said.
Jeffress: We will follow God, not a court ruling
God or government?
“We are prepared to endure fines from the government and even loss of tax-exempt status if necessary to uphold our religious beliefs,” Jeffress tells OneNewsNow. “And I believe every religious leader is going to have to make a decision at some point whether they’re going to obey God or government.”
The complete, true story of Charlie Charlie, the ‘demonic’ teen game overtaking the Internet
“Charlie Charlie,” a game/Internet urban legend of sudden and inexplicable popularity, surged to the top of the global social media charts this weekend after kicking around on the Spanish-language Internet for much of eternity. As of this writing, #CharlieCharlieChallenge has been tweeted more than 1.6 million times. More people are Googling “Charlie Charlie” than virtually any other news event.
An Approaching Financial Collapse?
Greece and Europe are at a turning point. Many seasoned commentators already believe that the next and greatest worldwide economic crash has already begun. Over the next few days decisions and events are going to unfold that will literally affect the economic course of Europe, and arguably the entire world.
We are looking at the potential beginnings of a full-blown worldwide economic collapse.
You’re being secretly tracked with facial recognition, even in church
Greenshpan said the churches just have to upload one high-quality photo of a congregant to start scanning video or photos from gatherings to see if they were there. I asked him if the churches let people know they’re using the technology. “I don’t think churches tell people,” he said. “We encourage them to do so but I don’t think they do.”
When it comes to the sins of others, we are all too quick to believe them, and all too slow to submit to God’s Word.
I was privileged to preach recently at the Pastor’s Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting. Watch the full message, from Luke’s Gospel, in the video below.
Trying to come up with 5 of my favorite apologetics books is like asking me to name my 5 favorite moments as a University of Kentucky sports fan.
Elisabeth Elliot, 1926-2015
The woman who wrote “Through Gates of Splendor” has gone through them herself. This is a special tribute to Elisabeth Elliot.
Listen Now | Download
Video: What is a Four-Point Case for Christianity?
four-point case for Christianity would look like. The case Turek briefly shares is as follows:
4. Is the New Testament Reliable?
Last weekend I spoke at my home church, Good Shepherd Community Church in Boring (yes, Boring) Oregon, on the question of why a good God allows evil and suffering.
The Cell Church
for the New Church
for the New Millennium
|C. Peter Wagner’s original vision for hierarchical networks.|
Twenty years ago I began researching the networking hierarchical cell church structure that was beginning to emerge in the evangelical church. I gave a two “Cell Church” talks. One presentation was in 1997 at a Discernment Ministries conference in Missisauga, Ontario, Canada, and a few years later an updated talk was given in 1999 at a Discernment Ministries conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The following audio comes from the later 1999 talk.
This talk was graphic intensive, so the referenced exhibits are available from Discernment Ministries (“A. Cell Church Structure with transparencies”), http://home.etcable.net/hestervanboven/DVD’s.htm
I had always intended to put the information in these talks into a written document. But personal life circumstances continually thwarted this plan. But by 2005 we had launched the Herescope blog, and a good deal of the research eventually ended up in articles. For the serious researcher Al Dager’s 1990 book Vengeance Is Ours: The Church in Dominion is foundational reading.
Christian Headlines Daily – Thursday, June 25, 2015
Lecrae: Church Needs to Correct Oppression Not Just Forgive It
Bobby Jindal Announces Entry into Presidential Race
Illinois Planned Parenthood Clinic Built against Zoning Code Loses Court Battle
ISIS Kidnaps 1,200 More Children to Train as Jihadists
Bibles Pour into Cuba to Meet Christianity Boom
Texas Christian Fined for Feeding Homeless Says it was Her Religious Right
Concerns Grow over Radicalized Kenyan Youths in Islamic Militia
Donations Flood in for Emanuel AME and Other Black Churches in Charleston
Irish Pastor Facing Prosecution for Calling Islam ‘Satanic’
Joel Osteen Says He Sells Many of His Books in Muslim Countries
Cheers to the Magna Carta
What Does it Take to Forgive Someone Like Dylann Roof?
The Heresy of Racial Superiority — Confronting the Past, and Confronting the Truth
Is the Confederate Flag a Symbol of Heritage or Hate?
A Tribute to Elisabeth Elliot
What is The Gospel?
“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime
9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.
The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?
Our Time is Short
Ready to start your new life with God?
Who do you think that I am?
With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more
Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!
30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.
New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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