Posted by Kendall Harmon

1. The coming into effect of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 may have changed English law but it has not changed Anglican Mainstream’s commitment to promote, teach and maintain the commonly agreed Scriptural truths of the Christian faith. For Anglicans these truths are expressed by the historic Creeds, the 39 Articles, and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. They provide the source of true unity and fellowship, and the basis of our mission and service to a needy world. Those truths remain and, as the Church of England’s house of bishops’ statement has explicitly confirmed, the church’s doctrine of marriage remains unchanged.

2. We recognise that the passage of the 2013 Act marks a further step away from biblical values in our national life and demonstrates the extent of the decline in the influence of the Christian churches in Parliament and public debate. In spite of much effort from the churches individually and collectively, the Parliamentary vote was substantially in favour of the measure, as was public opinion.

3. Nevertheless, the failure to win the debate about the legislation does not indicate that we were wrong; rather, that the arguments offered and the strategy adopted failed to overcome the intellectual and emotional appeals of the forces of self-centred secularism which dominates our culture. There was in fact little debate and those urging care and caution were disregarded.

4. Powerful as those forces are, we place our faith in a stronger power, that of God Himself.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted April 15, 2014 at 12:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As many congregations have already split within mainline Protestantism, Northern Seminary professor Scot McKnight said that in 25 years, he suspects evangelical churches will be split on the issue.

“What has happened is that the same-sex marriage/same-sex legitimacy has become the focal point or scapegoat of the culture wars,” McKnight said. “It is Bible, theology and politics all rolled into one big monster.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted April 10, 2014 at 11:19 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Florida megachurch pastor Bob Coy has resigned from his 20,000-member Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale congregation over a “moral failing.”

A statement on the church’s website reported the news: ”On April 3, 2014, Bob Coy resigned as Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, effective immediately, after confessing to a moral failing in his life which disqualifies him from continuing his leadership role at the church he has led since its founding in 1985.”

A call to Coy on Sunday (April 6) was not returned. But it appears extramarital affairs may have been one reason.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMarriage & Family* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted April 8, 2014 at 11:07 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[My husband and I]...both work in higher education and run in circles that are highly educated and liberal. In our community, intellect is the only viable form of religion, and the fact that I’m a Christian calls into question my intellectual grit. When my colleagues find out, they are hard-pressed to reconcile the bright, open woman they see before them with the stereotypes they understand about evangelicals. You know the ones: judgmental, anti-intellectual, homophobic, which we are not.

We are the types of young adult Christians who love our faith, but who’ve moved slightly left of center. Just enough so that we have to keep our social and political views quiet in our faith communities. On the other hand, we have to tamp down the religious talk in our work and social communities. I am constantly negotiating how much of myself to share in either group.

Nothing embodies the tension I feel around integrating my identity into both these communities like Noelle’s first explorations with faith. She is extroverted and vocal in ways I am not brave enough to be. She is unselfconscious — completely unaware of the stereotypes that linger around conservative faith.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

3 Comments
Posted April 7, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The shifts in public sentiment have led Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention to draw an arresting conclusion: Contrary to what an earlier generation believed, there's no "moral majority" in America today, and never was. "There was a Bible Belt illusion of a Christian America that never existed," Moore told journalists at a conference sponsored by the Ethics and Public Policy Center last week. "The illusion of a moral majority is no longer sustainable."

The Moral Majority, of course, was the Christian political caucus founded by the late Jerry Falwell in 1979. Falwell's premise was that conservative Christians were a sleeping giant, and that if they were organized and summoned to the polls, Congress and state legislatures would do their will.

Moore has concluded that although plenty of Americans call themselves evangelicals and attend church most Sundays, many have drifted away from orthodoxy on issues such as divorce, abortion and gay marriage. To Moore, that means the crucial mission for believers shouldn't be politics but rather to preach the Gospel and win souls.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted April 3, 2014 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We live in an age in which the very word ‘doctrine,’ or worse, ‘dogma,’ is a negative term. And yet it is simply impossible to live without doctrinal beliefs. While many do not want to use the term, all people—secular as well as religious—treat some views as horrific heresies. I have encountered churches that claim, “We don’t teach doctrine, we just preach Jesus.” But the moment you ask them—‘Well, who is Jesus, and what did he do?’—the only way to answer is to begin to lay out doctrine.

But Paul does not simply say that right doctrine is necessary, but it is “sound.” The Greek word Paul uses here means healthy rather than diseased. This is Paul’s way to say that wrong doctrine eats away at your spiritual health. Or, to say it another way, if you lack spiritual vitality and fruit, if you are not courageous enough, or joyful enough, or if you are not filled with love and hope, it may be because your grasp of Biblical doctrine is shallow and thin, or distorted and mistaken.

This came home forcibly to me many years ago when I spent a number of weeks working through a Bible study on the attributes of God by Warren and Ruth Myers. What was so revealing were a couple of application questions: 1) What specific false thoughts or disturbing emotions hinder me when I don’t trust (fully grasp) that God has this particular attribute? 2) Although my conscious mind may agree that God has this attribute, does my outward life demonstrate that he is like this? (Experiencing God’s Attributes, NavPress, 1978.)

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyThe Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

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Posted March 31, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even those who advocate most strongly for the legalization of marijuana concede the impaired functioning that research has shown. One such site acknowledges,

The short-term effects of marijuana include immediate, temporary changes in thoughts, perceptions, and information processing. The cognitive process most clearly affected by marijuana is short-term memory. In laboratory studies, subjects under the influence of marijuana have no trouble remembering things they learned previously. However, they display diminished capacity to learn and recall new information. This diminishment only lasts for the duration of the intoxication. There is no convincing evidence that heavy long-term marijuana use permanently impairs memory or other cognitive functions.

Other studies suggest that the effect on diminished brain function is more lasting, especially for teenagers.

Thus, unlike caffeine, marijuana is not generally thought of as an empowering drug that enables you to be a more alert dad, or a more aware mother, or a more competent employee. Rather, for most users, it is a recreational escape, which produces diminished accuracy of observation, memory, and reasoning. And it may have lasting negative effects on the mind’s ability to do what God created it to do.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetDrugs/Drug AddictionLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 29, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The response to your Facebook post has been staggering. Was it written on the fly or what?

In the last month, there were four instances where I was subtly or not subtly moved along. I was having lunch with a mother younger than I am who was recently bereaved. Her loss was 14 months ago. I said, "Before the one-year mark was up, did you have people telling you, hinting or saying to you that you should move on?" I asked other people who had lost children. I was hearing the same story. It just made me mad. I jotted off that Facebook post and have been completely astounded by the response—3,780,000 views and more than 10,000 comments.

Aren't most of the comments supportive?

Somebody wrote, "I want to print words around my neck that say, 'Please just read Kay Warren's Facebook post.'"

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyMental IllnessReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 28, 2014 at 12:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

World Vision U.S., an evangelical Christian charity known for asking donors to sponsor a hungry child, set off an uproar when it announced this week that it would hire Christians in same-sex marriages.

The charity, the nation’s 10th largest, is based in Washington State, where same-sex marriage is legal, and said it intended to present a symbol of “unity” for Christians in an era when controversy over homosexuality is splintering the church.

Instead of the unity it sought, World Vision’s move was swiftly denounced by some prominent evangelical leaders as a “disaster” and a devil-inspired betrayal of biblical morality. Christians proclaimed online that they had canceled their child sponsorships. Less than 48 hours later, World Vision reversed course, calling the decision “a mistake” and pleading for forgiveness.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

3 Comments
Posted March 28, 2014 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In our board's effort to unite around the church's shared mission to serve the poor in the name of Christ, we failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.'s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith, which says, "We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God." And we also failed to seek enough counsel from our own Christian partners. As a result, we made a change to our conduct policy that was not consistent with our Statement of Faith and our commitment to the sanctity of marriage.

We are brokenhearted over the pain and confusion we have caused many of our friends, who saw this decision as a reversal of our strong commitment to Biblical authority. We ask that you understand that this was never the board's intent. We are asking for your continued support. We commit to you that we will continue to listen to the wise counsel of Christian brothers and sisters, and we will reach out to key partners in the weeks ahead.

While World Vision U.S. stands firmly on the biblical view of marriage, we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

7 Comments
Posted March 26, 2014 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Richard Stearns has every right to try to make his case, but these arguments are pathetically inadequate. Far more than that, his arguments reveal basic issues that every Christian ministry, organization, church, and denomination will have to face — and soon.

The distinction between an “operational arm” of the church and a “theological arm” is a fatal misreading of reality. World Vision claims a Christian identity, claims to serve the kingdom of Christ, and claims a theological rationale for its much-needed ministries to the poor and distressed. It cannot surrender theological responsibility when convenient and then claim a Christian identity and a theological mandate for ministry.

Add to this the fact that World Vision claims not to have compromised the authority of Scripture, even as its U.S. president basically throws the Bible into a pit of confusion by suggesting that the Bible is not sufficiently clear on the question of the morality of same-sex sexuality. Stearns insists that he is not compromising biblical authority even as he undermines confidence that the church can understand and trust what the Bible reveals about same-sex sexuality.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit OrganizationsLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted March 26, 2014 at 3:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During his Sunday morning service, Ulf Ekman announced the he and his wife, Birgitta, are converting to Roman Catholicism.

Ekman is the founder of Word of Life, a megachurch in Uppsala, Sweden. News reports and blogs coming out of the nation reveal the congregation was “partially stunned” after hearing what was packaged as a “special announcement.” The theme was “Follow the Lamb Wherever He Goes."

“For Birgitta and me, this has been a slow process were we have gone from discovering new things, to appreciating what we have discovered, to approach and even learn from our fellow Christians,” Ekman says on his ministry website.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* International News & CommentaryEuropeSweden* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsRoman Catholic

1 Comments
Posted March 10, 2014 at 4:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Film critics have spoken: Son of God is a dud.

Just don’t tell that to the film’s producers, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett. They found evidence of divine favor in the film’s release, citing the “truly miraculous” support they received as Catholic and evangelical leaders from Charlotte to Los Angeles threw their influence behind the movie. Clearly, their efforts were successful—a film that was a re-packaged version of scenes that aired during last year’s Bible miniseries brought in $26.5 million in ticket sales for its first weekend.

Burnett and Downey attribute the wave of support to a grassroots movement and the “quiet commitment of people of faith to spread the word about the life-changing love of Jesus to their friends and neighbors.”
'
Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchMediaMovies & TelevisionReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyChristologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted March 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If the number of awards scooped up by George Marsden's 2003 biography of Jonathan Edwards is taken as the index of achievement, Marsden stands as the dean of living interpreters of American religion. With The Twilight of the American Enlightenment, he offers another compelling study, one that relates more to his own life and times than to a life from the past.

In six artfully crafted chapters, Marsden sketches the tectonic shifts set in motion in the years immediately following World War II. He looks at common assumptions held by the leading cultural analysts of the age, intellectuals writing for middlebrow Americans. The protagonists were mostly white, male, well educated (especially at Harvard, Yale, and Columbia), centered in New York City, and descended from old-stock Protestant culture. Alongside these were a fair number of Jews, many of them émigrés from Nazi Europe. Leading figures included journalist Walter Lippmann, poet Archibald MacLeish, historian Arthur Schlesinger, magazine tycoon Henry Luce, culture critic Hannah Arendt, and especially sociologists Vance Packard, Erich Fromm, and David Reisman. Taken together, their views constituted what might be called the liberal mainline consensus.

The two books bear important similarities. Both are beautifully written and reveal imposing erudition. But they also bear important differences. While Jonathan Edwards is long, richly detailed, and largely descriptive, American Enlightenment is short, elegantly interpretative, and strongly argued. Another difference concerns the reaction from readers and critics. The Edwards biography won virtually unanimous praise. This latest offering likely will provoke both sustained praise and spirited debate (sometimes both at once).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksEducationHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifePersonal Finance* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

1 Comments
Posted March 5, 2014 at 8:05 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

1. Is new life downtown becoming an Anglican Church?
No. New Life Downtown is a parish of New Life Church. Your giving goes 100% to New Life Church. I am “sent” as an Anglican priest to serve New Life Church. As such, I continue to be under Pastor Brady’s covering and authority, along with the elders of New Life Church. While New Life Downtown does not come under any Anglican authority, I personally hold a “dual citizenship” of sorts, with Bishop Ken Ross as my covering in the Anglican world.

2. What do Anglicans believe?
Anglican theology is, to put it simply, Protestant theology. Their central document is the Bible -- they are committed to the Bible as the Word of God -- it is God breathed and it is the truth by which we order our lives. They also believe that Jesus is the unique Son of God -- that salvation is found only in His sacrificial death and resurrection. This faith in what the Bible reveals is summed up in the historic statements of belief such as the 39 Articles and the Nicene Creed.

Because Anglicanism is not a denomination with a solitary authority figure—it is a communion of bishops—the diversity within Anglicanism worldwide is rich and varied. The majority of Anglicans are in the global south—in Africa and Asia— where Christian orthodoxy and missionary zeal are combined in ways reminiscent of the early church. The majority of them are Evangelicals who affirm the authority of Scripture and embrace the work of the Holy Spirit.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Rwanda* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

6 Comments
Posted March 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Warren, founder of Saddleback Church and a best-selling author, will team with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and the National Alliance on Mental Illness to host a daylong event next month focused on helping church leaders reach parishioners who are struggling with mental illness.

The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church grew out of private conversations Warren had with the local Catholic bishop, Bishop Kevin Vann, after his son's death and his own writings in his journal as he processed his grief. Matthew Warren, 27, committed suicide last April after struggling with severe depression and suicidal thoughts for years.

"I'm certainly not going to waste this pain. One of the things I believe is that God never wastes a hurt and that oftentimes your greatest ministry comes out of your deepest pain," Warren said Monday as he met with Vann to discuss the March 28 event. "I remember writing in my journal that in God's garden of grace even broken trees bear fruit."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchPsychologyMental IllnessSuicideReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted February 27, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In his first major interview as senior pastor in Costa Mesa, Brodersen says his relationship with Smith goes back to the early days of the Calvary Chapel movement, when Brodersen was a new disciple and manager of a surf shop. That's when Smith invited him to minister as an intern, and within a few years Brodersen became pastor of Calvary Chapel in San Diego.

In the last half century, Calvary Chapel has grown from a single Bible study to a worldwide fellowship of more than 1,500 churches and ministries, yet not without its problems. In a 2007 CT interview, one pastor said of Calvary Chapel, "The Titanic has hit the iceberg. But the music is still playing." Calvary Chapel is, however, still afloat, and has survived not just growing pains, but also allegations of pastoral misconduct, lawsuits, and scandals.

In a historic transition in 2012, Calvary Chapel officially established an association with a 21-member leadership council, which now guides the worldwide organization Chuck Smith fostered. In December, CT's senior editor, global journalism, Timothy C. Morgan interviewed pastor Brodersen.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted February 26, 2014 at 1:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jiří Unger, president of the European Evangelical Alliance and general secretary of the Czech Evangelical Alliance, said: "Church-planting initiatives across Europe – particularly in the last two decades – have become major sources of innovation in a lifestyle of mission. It has also helped people identify new and effective ways of reaching neighbours with the gospel.

"In UK, Germany, France, Ukraine, Baltic states and in many other countries church-planting has been instrumental in bringing back denominational vitality, in recruiting new leaders and making churches more visionary.

"There is a long way to go but we can be encouraged that it's possible. We can reinvent ourselves and get a better understanding of how to relate to the people and communities around us in a fresh and authentic way."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryEvangelism and Church Growth* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEurope* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted February 24, 2014 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The media often portrays scientists and Christians as incapable of peaceful coexistence. But results from a recent survey suggest the two are not as incompatible as one might think. In fact, 2 million out of nearly 12 million scientists are evangelical Christians. If you were to bring all the evangelical scientists together, they could populate the city of Houston, Texas.

Sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund and her colleagues at Rice University and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) reported results from the largest study of American views on science and religion at the association's annual conference in Chicago on Sunday, February 16. More than 10,000 people, including 574 self-identified as scientists, responded to the 75-question survey. Among the scientists, 17 percent said the term "evangelical" describes them "somewhat" or "very well," compared to 23 percent of all respondents.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

1 Comments
Posted February 23, 2014 at 4:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So, you recently released your new book, Balancing It All. Why did you decide you wanted to write a book on balance?

I think it's so relative to how we live life today. We're all crazy-busy in this world of technology, and I think that each generation puts more and more on our plates. Whether you're single or married, you have children or you don't, no matter where you are in life, we all feel the pressure to do a lot and then try to figure out how to balance it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureWomen* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted February 21, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Scientists and Christian evangelicals can collaborate for the good of society but it will take some serious effort, experts said as they launched a new campaign to change perceptions between the two groups.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science and its Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion program released a major research project on Sunday (Feb. 16), at the AAAS annual meeting in Chicago, and announced an upcoming series of conferences mixing believers, scientists and many who are both....The concern is not whether “science and religion can co-exist. They already do,” said lead researcher Elaine Howard Ecklund, a sociologist and director of Rice University’s Religion and Public Life Program. “The question is how to do it well.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted February 18, 2014 at 4:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A bus full of South Korean Christians who saved money for years in order to visit biblical sites in Egypt and Israel were attacked Sunday by a suicide bomber.

Four people were killed in the bombing, including the Egyptian driver, a church member, and two South Korean guides. At least 14 others were injured, the Associated Press reports.

This is not the first time South Korean Christians have been the target of violence in a foreign country. In 2007, after a 43-day hostage situation left two South Korean missionaries dead in Afghanistan, South Korea subsequently banned citizens from traveling to certain majority-Muslim countries—which proved to be a blessing in disguise for Korean Christians.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaSouth KoreaMiddle EastEgyptIsrael* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

1 Comments
Posted February 18, 2014 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Uncertainty remained Sunday, February 16, over the future of one of Hungary's main evangelical denominations after it lost its church status and the government rejected an expert opinion about its "religious legitimacy."

The Hungarian Evangelical Fellowship (HEF), known for outreach to Gypsies, or Roma, and aid programs among homeless and elderly, was among hundreds of groups losing recognition under controversial religious legislation imposed by the center-right government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

In January, the Ministry of Human Resources warned students attending HEF's John Wesley Theological College that they would no longer receive state scholarships, despite reports that Minister Zoltan Balog was a former faculty member.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryEuropeHungary* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted February 16, 2014 at 2:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I haven't been around long enough to tell you what the centre of British evangelicalism was a generation ago. I'm sure any description of the movement would have included John Stott, Martin Lloyd-Jones, Dick Lucas and a few other well-known names, but there would have been sufficient practical, ecclesiological and missiological diversity to make pinning down a centre pretty difficult. Stott was probably the most widely respected figure, but an awful lot of those who read his books and admired his sermons would not have much wanted to join him on Sundays at All Souls, Langham Place, since although they shared his theology and respected his leadership, they were hardly influenced (if at all) by his style, methodology, philosophy of ministry and so on. In these days of mass communication, replicable courses and large conferences, however, it is far easier to identify the new centre of the evangelical movement (at least, the white evangelical movement) in Britain, to see how the channels of influence work, and to consider the implications. Because the new centre of British evangelicalism is Holy Trinity Brompton.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted February 15, 2014 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If past conferences such as Women of Faith drew thousands of evangelical women to indoor stadiums for devotional Bible study, a new generation of evangelical women is looking outward and concerned with issues such as social justice.

The IF:Gathering in Austin earlier this month was one of those conferences. At the Austin Music Hall, about 1,200 women were greeted by farm tables decorated with candles and cabbage- and lavender-filled centerpieces. The free coffee came from Westrock Coffee, an organization committed to safe working conditions in Rwanda. But the wholesome, back-to-nature ambiance was just the start.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureWomen* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted February 13, 2014 at 1:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Central to the Anglo-Catholic School was the dynamic between folk culture and Christianity in the formation of the person. This was at the heart of Christendom, not some monolithic church-state entity that oppressed people. I see this perspective as also being a central feature of Evangelicalism, especially in its revivalist wing. It also strikes me that Richard Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture misses these connections in part because Niebuhr is caught up in an American narrative of the fracturing of mainline Protestantism. Sociologists such as Peter Berger have repeatedly emphasized how the global Pentecostal and charismatic movements have become adept at navigating the forms of modernity without succumbing to disenchantment. This is because by emphasizing the Spirit’s role in creation and redemption evangelical revivalism and its offshoot of the Pentecostal and charismatic movement have advanced a program that both democratizes Christianity and inculturates it in a way that preserves and fosters folk culture. Festivals, musical forms, and other features of folk culture are not denounced as antiquated features of authoritarianism that seek to destroy autonomy, which seems to be what the Frankfurt School thought about folk culture.

One of the important contributions of Christopher Lasch is his criticism of the Frankfurt School’s solutions to modern life. These solutions have been taken up into certain theoretical accounts in which the ideas of gender and family promoted by folk culture become part of the problem and therefore need to be destroyed. Since religion was a powerful rationale supporting folk culture it has become part of the problem for the Frankfurt School and its modern disciples. Lasch’s criticisms reveal the deep suspicion of “the common man” behind the Frankfurt School’s analyses and the impact this had on historians like Richard Hofstadter. The rise of McCarthyism, according to Lasch, confirmed in the minds of many liberal critics like Hofstadter that mass movements mask ingrained hatred of the other and therefore control must be taken from the people and the folk cultures they foster.

One of the problems I have with Mark Noll’s analysis of the Evangelical Mind is an uncritical embrace of Richard Hofstadter’s ideas about populist movements.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, Politics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted February 12, 2014 at 9:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What have you discovered about evangelical global engagement?

Churches, nongovernmental organizations, lay leaders, and missionaries have played an important part in the United States' role in the world. Beyond preaching the Good News, missionaries built schools, established clinics, and learned about the world. They were really the first internationalists for the United States. Diplomats like Benjamin Franklin and John Adams went abroad, but it was really evangelicals—orthodox missionaries—who started it.

In the post–World War II era, we've seen a significant rise in missions-related organizations, groups like World Vision or, in the field of microenterprise, Opportunity International. Humanitarianism has been a very important component of evangelical action in foreign lands.

What this shows is that evangelism abroad hasn't always been propositional. Evangelical diplomats, businessmen, and physicians want to share the Good
News in places where missionaries aren't allowed, but the sharing of that Good News takes subtle forms.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted January 23, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Evangelicals are the most likely religious group to say that abortion should be illegal in all cases. So why would organizers of the March for Life, the annual demonstration on the Washington Mall, hire someone to reach out to that group?

The 41st march, scheduled for Wednesday (Jan. 22), has traditionally had a strong Catholic presence, with priests and nuns marching on or around the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Its founder, Nellie Gray, who died in 2012, was Roman Catholic, as well as is her successor, Jeanne Monahan.

“The march has a very Catholic feel to it with lots of rosaries, Virgin Marys and crucifixes,” said Jon Shields, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College. “It hasn’t been particularly savvy about reaching broader audiences.”]

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesLife EthicsReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsRoman Catholic* Theology

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Posted January 21, 2014 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Hollywood nod to a Christian film has come as a shock to the entertainment world, as the song "Alone Yet Not Alone" (from the movie by the same name) was nominated for an Oscar.

The song beat out Coldplay, Taylor Swift, and Lana Del Ray to join the other four nominees for best original song: Frozen's "Let it Go"; U2's "Ordinary Love" from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; Pharrell Williams's "Happy" from Despicable Me 2; and Karen O's "The Moon Song" from Her.

What's more surprising, however, may be the person who performed the song in the end credits: Joni Eareckson Tada, quadriplegic Christian author and speaker, and one of CT's "50 Women You Should Know."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionMusicReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

1 Comments
Posted January 18, 2014 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

During the past decade or so, one of the most interesting demographic trends in American evangelicalism has been the relocation of its leadership from suburbia to center cities. Just 10 years ago, you would have chosen James Dobson’s Colorado Springs, Rick Warren’s Orange County, and the Wheaton-Willow Creek axis in Chicagoland as the epicenters of evangelical activity—suburbs or exurbs all.

Now, the shepherds are heading to big cities: Mark Driscoll’s Seattle, Louie Giglio’s Atlanta, and, of course, New York—home to Tim Keller, Eric Metaxas, Gabe Lyons, Carl Lentz, Greg Thornbury, Jon Tyson, and others. Some key leaders still minister outside of the metropolis, but the trend is unmistakable.

If your city didn’t make that list of hot spots, just wait. San Francisco may be the next evangelical darling: The pastor of the largest Acts 29 church in Phoenix recently left the desert to plant a work in the Bay Area, and Francis Chan left his post at a suburban megachurch for ministry in San Francisco. Down the coast in Los Angeles, two mammoth evangelical brands—Saddleback and Hillsong—are coming to Tinseltown this year.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted January 17, 2014 at 3:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Near the end of my doctoral program in modern Western religion at Harvard University, I became convinced that the Internet was the most powerful platform available for global religious conversation. When I joined the team that was building Patheos.com, we had a vision for creating online a marketplace of religious ideas, attracting the world’s most talented writers to engage life’s most important questions. About five years later, we have four million unique visitors monthly and a vibrant multi-religious conversation that attracts a constantly growing number of participants from all religious (and nonreligious) backgrounds and all parts of the planet — and we are still only beginning to scratch the surface of what new media technologies built upon a global telecommunications infrastructure could mean for faith in the modern world.

In summary, then, the work of the technologist is meaningful from a Christian theological perspective for several reasons. It reflects the creative and constructive ingenuity of God, for we are created to be creators in the image of our Creator. The Jewish and Christian scriptures affirm the original goodness of the natural world, and technology can serve to repair the broken world and restore humankind’s capacity for stewardship. It helps us fulfill the creation mandate to subdue the earth and give it order. Technological development can be a form of neighborly love, as countless technologies — from the roofs above our heads to the vaccines that eliminate diseases to prosthetic limbs — serve directly to minimize human suffering and make the world more hospitable for human flourishing. From the perspective of the Christian theological tradition, the mental disciplines formed in the processes of technological innovation are infused with spiritual potential, cultivating the powers of attention and self-control that are intrinsic to prayer and obedience. And technologies can serve not only the interests of humankind generally but also the growth of the Body of Christ on earth. Thoughtful early adopters of emerging technologies have revitalized existing religious communities and planted more communities on fertile new soils.

We cannot travel from the garden to the heavenly city without crossing the tractor marks outside the walls.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingEducationGlobalizationHistoryPhilosophyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

1 Comments
Posted January 15, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It is no surprise, then, that people whose belief systems are a muddle of Casey’s sweet-mystery-of-life passage and Modern Family bridle at the strict sexual morality of the monotheistic religions. This is exacerbated by traditional Christianity’s refusal either to conform to the spirit of the age or to go away and be quiet. The erosion of the state’s role in upholding public morality both foreshadowed and led to the cultural rejection of religion’s right to judge the morality or immorality of certain acts.

Evangelicals still loudly proclaim that one should “wait until marriage,” even if that command is largely honored in the breach. The Catholic Church has not relaxed its prohibition on contraception, even if many of its adherents ignore its teaching or even loudly oppose it. Both Evangelicals and Catholics (and those members of mainline churches who hold to traditionalist norms) grapple with the culture on multiple fronts—praying outside abortion clinics, attending the March for Life, objecting to FDA approval of abortifacients, decrying pornography, etc. In short, they have remained a thorn in the side of an ever-more-permissive culture for over forty years. (Orthodox Christianity, Orthodox Judaism, and Islam also adhere to strict moral norms regarding sexual behavior, but attract less attention because of their status as minority religions.)

This cultural attitude has led to religious liberty’s current embattled position.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPhilosophyPsychologyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsRoman Catholic* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

3 Comments
Posted January 9, 2014 at 4:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On October 6th Tammy Wang attended an evangelical church, New Life Fellowship of Elmhurst Queens, that didn’t exist when she arrived in the city in the Fall of 1975. Furthermore, she hadn’t heard of the church until recently. And yet today this congregation of 1400 regular attenders was inaugurating a leadership succession to the founding leaders Pete and Geri Scazzero. This congregation is one of several thousand such evangelical churches that have grown up since her move to the city.

Scazzero told the congregation that New Life Fellowship’s multi-class, multiracial, international community (37+ nationalities) with its contemplative, emotionally reflective life-style “is a gift of hope to many around the world. Our community offers a glimpse of what is possible by the power of God, and is a taste of heaven itself.”

A New York City church “a taste of heaven itself’? A place that has become an inspiration for churches around the world? What is happening here? What does it mean for the future of the city?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted January 7, 2014 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch Year / Liturgical SeasonsChristmas* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyChristology

0 Comments
Posted January 4, 2014 at 11:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Evangelicalism is in the midst of a Calvinist revival. Increasing numbers of preachers and professors teach the views of the 16th-century French reformer. Mark Driscoll, John Piper and Tim Keller — megachurch preachers and important evangelical authors — are all Calvinist. Attendance at Calvin-influenced worship conferences and churches is up, particularly among worshipers in their 20s and 30s.

In the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, the rise of Calvinism has provoked discord. In a 2012 poll of 1,066 Southern Baptist pastors conducted by LifeWay Research, a nonprofit group associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, 30 percent considered their churches Calvinist — while twice as many were concerned “about the impact of Calvinism.”

Calvinism is a theological orientation, not a denomination or organization. The Puritans were Calvinist. Presbyterians descend from Scottish Calvinists. Many early Baptists were Calvinist. But in the 19th century, Protestantism moved toward the non-Calvinist belief that humans must consent to their own salvation — an optimistic, quintessentially American belief. In the United States today, one large denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, is unapologetically Calvinist.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

5 Comments
Posted January 4, 2014 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

While this feels very different from soft-toned American evangelical Christianity, which emphasizes God’s loving mercy rather than God’s judgment, spiritual warfare is deeply embedded in the evangelical tradition. The post-1960s charismatic revival in the United States, sometimes called “Third Wave” Christianity (classical Pentecostalism was the first wave and charismatic Catholicism the second), introduced the idea that all Christians interact with supernatural forces daily. That included demons.

In fact, I found American books on dealing with demons in all the bookstores of the African charismatic churches I visited. In one church where I stood looking at the shelf of demon manuals, a helpful clerk leaned over to fish one off for me. She chose an American one. “Here,” she said as she handed me Larry Huch’s “Free at Last,” “this one is good.”

In many American evangelical churches, people will tell you that demons are real, but they do not treat them as particularly salient.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAfricaGhana* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyTheodicy

0 Comments
Posted December 30, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Rob Bell has suggested Christians put too much emphasis on hell. Do you agree?
Absolutely not. Most don't even talk about it.

Do you think the church has lost the same-sex-marriage fight?
I'm going to pass on that. I don't know.

Read it all (subscriber access only).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEschatologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted December 28, 2013 at 12:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Ah-ah-ah. You need to guess which four and then go read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

4 Comments
Posted December 23, 2013 at 4:26 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Once dubbed the city's "rock and roll church," Seacoast remains a place where jeans are expected, pastors use iPads on stage and worshipping with a Starbucks in hand is the norm.

But after 25 years, Seacoast pastors wrestle with a new dilemma: How do they welcome the unchurched while helping longtime members dig more deeply into their faith? For starters, they focus outward.

"It's not about you and me. It's about Jesus and seeking and saving those who are lost," founding pastor Greg Surratt says.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* South Carolina

0 Comments
Posted December 23, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If you and I were talking about all this over a cup of coffee, I’d tell you about the 305,000 people he drew to Charlotte in 1996 for his last hometown crusade. But I’d also tell you about the time he left a message on my answering machine, sharing a long and worried update on his ailing wife, Ruth, a message so long that the machine cut him off. Or, the times I wanted to focus an interview on the world leaders he knew, and he’d turn the conversation back to his childhood and memories of riding the bus to school. The prophetic and the personal, together making a connection.

There’s much that organized religion can learn from Graham.

By setting rules and surrounding himself with honest associates, he remained unsullied by scandal. The Modesto Manifesto was the most famous illustration, established at a meeting in Modesto, Calif., Graham and his colleagues agreeing never to be alone with a woman other than their wives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted December 20, 2013 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It's unclear why Driscoll waited until now to publicly address the matter. The first accusations of plagiarism were made by syndicated radio host Janet Mefferd on a November 21 broadcast. She subsequently accused Driscoll of plagiarizing in two other books. Mefferd’s interview generated a firestorm, to which the radio host responded by producing evidence on her blog to support her accusations....

For three weeks, Pastor Driscoll remained mum. Repeated attempts by several journalists including myself to contact Mars Hill Communications Manager Justin Dean were ignored.

In the meantime, leaders within the evangelical movement began to openly criticize Driscoll. Baptist professor Collin Garbarino gave Driscoll a proverbial “F” and said, “I’ve failed students for less flagrant plagiarism.” Christian scholar Carl Trueman blamed the affair on “the celebrity culture which has so corrupted the young, restless and reformed movement.” Pastor Jared C. Wilson accused Driscoll of a “trajectory of pride.” And author Andy Crouch of “Christianity Today” said Driscoll’s real problem was not plagiarism, but rather idolatry.


Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetBooksLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted December 19, 2013 at 11:12 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"If the Lord told me I could redo two years of my life--if I could take a mulligan--I would choose the two years after Bible College. Hands down. I joke about it, but it really was the worst time. There was so much pride in my life...."

Go here, then to the table of contents, then to page 58 to read the rest.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted December 16, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

First, beyond naming winners in our ten regular categories, we've christened from among those winners our first-ever CT Book of the Year: God's Forever Family, Larry Eskridge's history of the Jesus People movement. Now, this is no exact science. And really, we wouldn't have gone wrong laying the extra laurel atop any of the competitors, or a dozen other books besides. You may have your own favorite to recommend. But we can't see any harm in generating buzz—or provoking debate—around a book our judges praised for its originality, meticulous research, and colorful character sketches.

Second, speaking of those judges, we've lifted the veil of anonymity from their comments on the winning books. Our judges—best-selling authors, experts in their fields, and simply thoughtful people—have strained their eyes and brains reading and evaluating a thousand or more pages. They deserve to have their labors recognized. And you deserve to have your curiosity satiated.

And third, we've introduced a new awards category targeted at readers of Her.meneutics, CT's popular women's blog.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

2 Comments
Posted December 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"We found out today that Isaac took his life," says the email sent by Darling Murray, a coordinator at Summit Church in Orlando. "We are obviously deeply deeply devastated and saddened beyond words by this news. The tears keep coming and coming as we mourn. We are praying for his family and this congregation as we walk through this together."

Officials of Northland, a Church Distributed, said they are still awaiting the police report on Isaac Hunter's death, but the church confirmed his death in a statement posted on the Northland website.

"By now you may have heard that Pastor Joel and Becky's son Isaac Hunter died today. All of us are grieving for the Hunter family, and we will deeply miss Isaac. Words cannot express the sorrow we're feeling," said the statement by Vernon Rainwater, a Northland pastor. "We love this family and are so grateful for the impact they have had on each of our lives. I have loved Isaac since he was a child, and I know this ... Isaac loved Jesus. And we are assured of his continuing relationship with Christ now in heaven."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchPsychologySuicideYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted December 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Billy Graham has gotten weaker since celebrating his 95th birthday at a celebrity-studded party last month in Asheville, but he is “not in any imminent danger,” and his “vital signs are quite good,” Graham spokesman Mark DeMoss told the Observer in an email on Sunday.

DeMoss, citing Graham’s medical and personal staff, said Graham has not been as strong lately as he was at the Nov. 7 party at the Omni Grove Park Inn, but that his health is not as dire as some news reports have suggested.

Those reports were reacting to recent comments by Franklin Graham, son of the Charlotte-born evangelist.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & MedicineReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted December 8, 2013 at 3:14 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We are concerned that the media is already focussing on the proposal in recommendations 16 and 17 for permitting public services “to mark the formation of a permanent same sex relationship”, including potentially same-sex civil marriages. The CEEC’s St Matthias Day Statement of 2012, which we submitted in evidence to the Pilling Group, sets out clearly why we believe this would mark a departure from biblical truth and Anglican teaching. It concludes by stating that “Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships or affirming or blessing sexual activity outside marriage is contrary to God’s word. When a church does either of these things it therefore becomes difficult to recognise it as part of the visible Church of Christ”. The fact that such recommendations can be made is, we believe, a surface sign that there are deeper and more serious flaws in the report as a whole.

It is clear that the Church of England is going to face difficult discussions and decisions about human sexuality in the coming year. We look to our bishops, individually and corporately, to be faithful to Scripture, to continue upholding the practice of the Anglican Communion as set out in Lambeth I.10, and to encourage all their clergy and people to do the same.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsSexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)Same-sex blessings* Culture-WatchMarriage & FamilyReligion & CultureSexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted November 30, 2013 at 2:40 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I’m a university professor. I have no tolerance for this kind of nonsense. I’ve failed students for less flagrant plagiarism. So, it’s my duty, as a member of my professing profession, to give Driscoll an “F.”

Mark Driscoll, you have failed.

I’ve dealt with a number of plagiarists, and it seems to me that plagiarism stems from two issues. I’ll let you decide which problem Driscoll suffers from, because there obviously is a problem.

1. Laziness. Writing is hard work, so some writers don’t want to do it right. Laziness also leads to procrastination. Getting behind schedule causes writers to cut corners and plagiarize.

2. Ignorance. I don’t mean ignorance of the conventions of proper citation. Everyone knows not to steal other people’s words. I mean ignorance of the topic.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 30, 2013 at 1:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I’m thankful that even though I don’t have all the answers, God does. In tragedy we seek explanations, but explanations never comfort. It is God’s presence that eases our pain.

I’m thankful that this life is not all there is. It’s not the end of the story. One day God will right all wrongs, even the odds and settle all accounts. Justice will be served. Evil will not win.

I’m thankful for the hope of heaven. I won’t have to live with pain forever. In heaven, there are no broken relationships, broken minds, broken bodies, broken dreams or broken promises. The Bible tells us, “God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 29, 2013 at 5:22 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History, Robert Tracy McKenzie takes the historical challenges posed by the Pilgrims as his starting point. I cannot recall ever reading a book quite like The First Thanksgiving. It is an entertaining retelling of a seminal moment in American history—and a remarkable reflection on how Christians should handle history in general.

American evangelicals seem to have reached a crisis point over the study of history, especially the history of the American founding. For decades, many evangelicals have turned to popular history writers who have presented America, especially of the colonial and Revolutionary era, as a straightforwardly Christian nation. In response, a respected cohort of academic evangelical historians, led by Mark Noll and George Marsden (my doctoral advisor), have concurrently mapped out a more complex view of religion's importance in American history.

While those academic evangelicals at least implicitly disagreed with parts of the "Christian America" thesis, they have struggled to compete with the popular audience won by writers such as Peter Marshall and, most controversially, David Barton. Barton's recent book, The Jefferson Lies, which presented Thomas Jefferson as embracing relatively orthodox Christian views until late in life, unleashed an unprecedented torrent of evangelical and conservative criticism, precipitating the decision by Barton's publisher, Thomas Nelson, to pull the book from distribution in 2012.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What about what some call the greatest mission field, which is our own secularizing or secularized culture? What do we need to do to reach this increasingly pagan society? I think we need to say to one another that it’s not so secular as it looks. I believe that these so-called secular people are engaged in a quest for at least three things. The first is transcendence. It’s interesting in a so-called secular culture how many people are looking for something beyond. I find that a great challenge to the quality of our Christian worship. Does it offer people what they are instinctively looking for, which is transcendence, the reality of God?

The second is significance. Almost everybody is looking for his or her own personal identity. Who am I, where do I come from, where am I going to, what is it all about? That is a challenge to the quality of our Christian teaching. We need to teach people who they are. They don’t know who they are. We do. They are human beings made in the image of God, although that image has been defaced.

And third is their quest for community. Everywhere, people are looking for community, for relationships of love. This is a challenge to our fellowship. I’m very fond of 1 John 4:12: “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us, and his love is perfected in us.” The invisibility of God is a great problem to people. The question is how has God solved the problem of his own invisibility? First, Christ has made the invisible God visible. That’s John’s Gospel 1:18: “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”

People say that’s wonderful, but it was 2,000 years ago. So in 1 John 4:12, he begins with exactly the same formula, nobody has ever seen God. But here John goes on, “If we love one another, God abides in us.” The same invisible God who once made himself visible in Jesus now makes himself visible in the Christian community, if we love one another. And all the verbal proclamation of the gospel is of little value unless it is made by a community of love.

These three things about our humanity are on our side in our evangelism, because people are looking for the very things we have to offer them.

You may find the whole article from which it comes there. I quoted this at the early morning service sermon this past Sunday--KSH.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeLiturgy, Music, WorshipParish MinistryEvangelism and Church GrowthPastoral Care* Culture-WatchPsychologyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEcclesiologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

1 Comments
Posted November 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here are titles of three recent books about evangelical Christianity:

“The Great Evangelical Recession: Six Factors that Will Crash the American Church … And How to Prepare.”

“The American Church in Crisis.”

“A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future?...”

None are anti-Christian screeds. All are written by evangelical pastors.

And they're all part of an intense, active debate – in books, magazines, conferences and anxious church offices – about the future of evangelical Christianity....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

3 Comments
Posted November 27, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Every 14 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies by suicide. Every 15 minutes, someone is left to make sense of it. Survivors of Suicide Day is a time of hope, healing, and support for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.

Take the time to watch the video.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchPsychologySuicide* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

0 Comments
Posted November 24, 2013 at 6:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Billy Graham has been taken to a hospital in Asheville, N.C., with respiratory problems, a family spokesman said Wednesday.

"Mr. Graham is in the hospital with a respiratory congestion issue, similar to what he had a few weeks ago," Mark DeMoss said. "As was the case then, we expect he will be able to return home in a day or two."

Graham, who celebrated his 95th birthday earlier this month with a party in Asheville, was taken to Mission Hospital.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHealth & Medicine* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted November 21, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Billy Graham has been worried about the state of America’s soul for a long, long time.

So it isn’t surprising that — when preaching what could be his final sermon — the 95-year-old evangelist looked straight into the camera and talked about sin and tears, repentance and salvation.

And the cross.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted November 19, 2013 at 11:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What must you do? If you suffer then you—or your friends and care-givers—must be keenly aware of these possibilities so you can move through them. Obviously, any afflicted person needs times of solitude, but isolation must ultimately be resisted. Suffering can make you more lonely or drive you into deeper community. Let it be the latter. And while all afflicted persons need to spend a great deal of time self-examining and healing, at some point they must face outward and think of others and love their neighbors and not think exclusively of themselves.

Even for Christians who understand the gospel, the feeling of condemnation can be a great challenge, but it is in the end a welcome one. We may think we believe we are saved by grace, but in times of difficulty we can finally learn to use the doctrine we know on our hearts, remembering that God’s wrath and punishment of our sin fell into the heart of Jesus, and now that we believe in him, “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1)

Our anger can be the greatest challenge of all. Again, the answer is to not merely believe gospel doctrine but use it.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyPastoral TheologyTheodicy

0 Comments
Posted November 14, 2013 at 8:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Billy] Graham was hardly the first evangelist to cast himself as an ecumenically minded apostle. But his role as “America’s pastor” had unique power in a time when Christians of all stripes battled over God’s desires for their country. The neo-evangelical movement gave fellow believers a mirror in which to reflect on their own traditions. If Graham has been the symbol of evangelical unity, he is also part of the reason why today’s evangelicalism is more fragmented than ever.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted November 14, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

England, of course, is the nation that once gave us preachers the likes of Charles Simeon, Charles Spurgeon, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Now, with the rare and blessed exception of some faithful evangelical churches, preaching has fallen on desperate times.

Some observers of British life now estimate that in any given week Muslim attendance at mosques outnumbers Christian attendance at churches. That means that there are probably now in Britain more people who listen to imams than to preachers.

This raises an interesting question: Is the marginalization of biblical preaching in so many churches a cause or a result of the nation's retreat from Christianity? In truth, it must be both cause and effect. In any event, there is no hope for a recovery of biblical Christianity without a preceding recovery of biblical preaching. That means preaching that is expository, textual, evangelistic, and doctrinal. In other words, preaching that will take a lot longer than ten minutes and will not masquerade as a form of entertainment.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted November 12, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

When Simeon moved to put benches in the aisles, the church wardens threw them out. He battled with discouragement and at one point wrote out his resignation.

"When I was an object of much contempt and derision in the university," he later wrote, "I strolled forth one day, buffeted and afflicted, with my little Testament in my hand … The first text which caught my eye was this: 'They found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name; him they compelled to bear his cross.'"

Slowly the pews began to open up and fill, not primarily with townspeople but with students. Then Simeon did what was unthinkable at the time: he introduced an evening service. He invited students to his home on Sundays and Friday evening for "conversation parties" to teach them how to preach. By the time he died, it is estimated that one-third of all the Anglican ministers in the country had sat under his teaching at one time or another.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted November 12, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The agency of Satan in the affairs of man cannot be doubted by any one who really believes the representations given us in this inspired volume. His great employment from the very first has been to seduce men to sin.

----Charles Simeon, Horae Homileticae MCCLXXVI

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

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Posted November 12, 2013 at 5:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He grew downward in humiliation before God, and he grew upward in his adoration of Christ.

Handley Moule captures the essence of Simeon's secret of longevity in this sentence: "'Before honor is humility,' and he had been 'growing downwards' year by year under the stern discipline of difficulty met in the right way, the way of close and adoring communion with God" (Moule, 64). Those two things were the heartbeat of Simeon's inner life: growing downward in humility and growing upward in adoring communion with God.

But the remarkable thing about humiliation and adoration in the heart of Charles Simeon is that they were inseparable. Simeon was utterly unlike most of us today who think that we should get rid once and for all of feelings of vileness and unworthiness as soon as we can. For him, adoration only grew in the freshly plowed soil of humiliation for sin. So he actually labored to know his true sinfulness and his remaining corruption as a Christian.
I have continually had such a sense of my sinfulness as would sink me into utter despair, if I had not an assured view of the sufficiency and willingness of Christ to save me to the uttermost. And at the same time I had such a sense of my acceptance through Christ as would overset my little bark, if I had not ballast at the bottom sufficient to sink a vessel of no ordinary size. (Moule 134f.)
He never lost sight of the need for the heavy ballast of his own humiliation. After he had been a Christian forty years he wrote,
With this sweet hope of ultimate acceptance with God, I have always enjoyed much cheerfulness before men; but I have at the same time laboured incessantly to cultivate the deepest humiliation before God. I have never thought that the circumstance of God's having forgiven me was any reason why I should forgive myself; on the contrary, I have always judged it better to loathe myself the more, in proportion as I was assured that God was pacified towards me (Ezekiel 16:63). . . . There are but two objects that I have ever desired for these forty years to behold; the one is my own vileness; and the other is, the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ: and I have always thought that they should be viewed together; just as Aaron confessed all the sins of all Israel whilst he put them on the head of the scapegoat. The disease did not keep him from applying to the remedy, nor did the remedy keep him from feeling the disease. By this I seek to be, not only humbled and thankful, but humbled in thankfulness, before my God and Saviour continually. (Carus, 518f.)
Please do read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyPastoral Theology

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Posted November 12, 2013 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He stood for many years alone—he was long opposed, ridiculed, shunned—his doctrines were misrepresented—his little peculiarities of voice and manner were satirized—disturbances were frequently raised in his church or he was a person not taken into account, nor considered in the light of a regular clergyman in the church.
--as quoted in William Carus, Memoirs of the Life of the Rev. Charles Simeon (New York: Robert Carter, 1848), p.39

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch HistoryParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted November 12, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Under ordinary circumstances, Donald Trump and Rupert Murdoch are probably not in the habit of attending the birthday parties of elderly Christian preachers in the North Carolina mountains.

But they were both among the hundreds of well-wishers at the party on Thursday marking Billy Graham’s 95th birthday.

Graham spent his career leading revivals around the globe, following a long tradition of evangelists who have traveled far and wide to urge sinners to accept Christ. But his birthday guest list shows that he is no ordinary preacher. He is a cultural icon, the most famous face of traditional Protestant Christianity.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted November 10, 2013 at 6:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

He screened his last sermon, a 30-minute short film called "The Cross - Billy Graham's Message To America," to the assembled crowd, as his waning strength has made it difficult for him to preach from behind a lectern.

"Our country is in great need of a spiritual awakening. There have been times that I have wept as I have gone from city to city and I have seen how far people have wandered from God," he said. "With all my heart, I want to leave you with the truth-- that God loves you."

Focusing on Christ's sacrifice on the cross, the film was filmed over the course of last year, partly at Graham's home in North Carolina.

Read it all and watch the whole video also.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted November 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The last time I saw Billy Graham in person was in 2005, when he addressed a crowd of 60,000 at Flushing Meadows in Queens, N.Y. It would be, he declared, his final Crusade for Christ. Everyone who watched and heard him understood why. Billy approached the pulpit leaning on a walker and his voice as well as his body wavered as he spoke. He was 86 years old at the time and suffering from Parkinson's disease, among other ailments.

And yet, for the past three weeks, the face of Dr. Graham, white-haired but ruddy with seeming good health, has gazed down from a billboard overlooking the glitter of New York's Times Square. The billboard seems to say: "He's back!"

As it turned out, the billboard was promoting "My Hope America with Billy Graham, " an outreach video campaign produced by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). The half-hour program and three "bonus" videos feature segments of Billy preaching when he was still in vigorous and magnetic middle age, plus testimonies from others on how they found Jesus—presumably because of that preaching.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted November 8, 2013 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Billy] Graham and his sermons can be found online in dozens of YouTube videos, but before there was YouTube, there was the boob tube and the Crusades.

Dr. Ann Blue Wills is a Davidson College professor and is co-editing a book on Billy Graham.

"These meetings were designed as a kind of civic event and the roots of them went way down, or way up or way over to all different aspects of life," explained Wills of the Crusades.

According to Wills, the events pulled in all different kinds of people.

Read it all (and consider the video as well).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAging / the ElderlyReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted November 8, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today, McKeehan stands as arguably the biggest star in Christian pop music. In the ’90s, his groundbreaking group, dc Talk, made faith-based rap-rock that was brash enough to crack MTV, but wholesome enough to get them invited to Billy Graham’s house.

Last year, McKeehan’s 10th solo album as TobyMac, “Eye On It,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart — the first contemporary Christian music album to achieve that feat since 1997. Last month, McKeehan snagged four trophies at the Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, including artist of the year. After the show, Christian rap star Lecrae gushed to reporters, “TobyMac is a legend.”

But in late September, nobody on M Street recognizes McKeehan.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMusicReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted November 7, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I grew up in the Episcopal Church in Alaska, but my belief was superficial and flimsy. It was borrowed from my archaeologist father, who was so brilliant he taught himself to speak and read Russian. When I encountered doubt, I would fall back on the fact that he believed.

Leaning on my father's faith got me through high school. But by college it wasn't enough, especially because as I grew older he began to confide in me his own doubts. What little faith I had couldn't withstand this revelation. From my early 20s on, I would waver between atheism and agnosticism, never coming close to considering that God could be real.

After college I worked as an appointee in the Clinton administration from 1992 to 1998. The White House surrounded me with intellectual people who, if they had any deep faith in God, never expressed it. Later, when I moved to New York, where I worked in Democratic politics, my world became aggressively secular. Everyone I knew was politically left-leaning, and my group of friends was overwhelmingly atheist.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Culture-WatchMediaReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

3 Comments
Posted November 3, 2013 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The powers of evil work in very personal ways. Among their subtle seductive strategies are the ones that lure us into a fascination with skulls, curses, mysterious personages, and magical sights and sounds in the night. Which is why I should perhaps get over deciding about Halloween on the basis of pleasant memories of past Octobers. At least I should act on the obligation to encourage a more assertive teaching ministry about these matters.

Not too far from the “Spooktacular” banners in the local shopping district there is also a sign in front of a church announcing some classes in parenting. I have a good idea of what goes on in those classes: insights drawn from “family systems” theory and child/adolescent research. Very worthwhile. But maybe it is time to have some theologians teach classes for parents as well. The local businesses have been marketing Halloween for at least a month now. It would be a good thing if the churches would beat them to it next year, with some solid catechesis, focusing on the practical realities of evil in our daily lives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spending* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyTheodicy

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Posted November 1, 2013 at 3:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

International adoption is full of ethical and financial challenges, largely because adoptive children are coming from poor countries with opaque bureaucracies, and agencies stand to gain thousands of dollars per child. "The movement has ignored and minimized those challenges," says David Smolin, director for the Center for Children, Law, and Ethics, at Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Ala.

Mr. Smolin, who describes himself as an evangelical, is the father of six biological children and two girls adopted from India. Fifteen years ago, he and his wife discovered that their adopted daughters had been stolen from their birth parents. "We went through a horrible learning experience," Mr. Smolin says. "It's very frustrating to me that the movement arose while these problems still existed." He thinks evangelical groups need to "emphasize other kinds of interventions," including finding extended family to care for the child in his or her home country.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted November 1, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This morning I stopped to chat with John W Yates III of Holy Trinity Church in Raleigh, N.C.. John was a former study assistant to John Stott and we talked about Uncle John’s influence on North American Anglicans.

Take the time to listen to it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Global South Churches & PrimatesGACON II 2013* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the OrdainedPreaching / Homiletics* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

1 Comments
Posted October 24, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Yet there are troubling signs that Roger Olson and his self-styled “post-conservative” Evangelicals approach Scripture and tradition in ways that are more modernist than orthodox. They refuse to let the Great Tradition (the Catholic-Protestant-Orthodox consensus which C.S. Lewis dubbed “mere Christianity”) ever trump an individual’s interpretation of Scripture. This is what can be called nuda scriptura—the idea that the Bible is self-interpreting, needing only the Christian individual to make sense of it. In contrast, Martin Luther’s sola scriptura used the great creeds to fight for the primacy of Scripture over late medieval tradition.

Olson asserts that the Great Tradition has been wrong in the past, which just goes to show that all tradition is “always . . . in need of correction and reform.” Evangelicals should reject any appeal to “what has always been believed by Christians generally” because tradition by nature protects vested interests. The creeds are simply “man-made statements.” They all need to be re-examined for possible “revisioning of doctrine” based on a fresh reading of scripture. Nothing is sacrosanct, everything is on the table. Only the Bible is finally authoritative. But even that is too often mistaken for revelation itself, which in reality consists more of the “acts of God” in history than the words of the Bible. Post-conservatives tend to reject the idea that the actual words of the Bible are inspired, and often prefer to speak of “dynamic inspiration,” in which the biblical authors but not their words are inspired.

Read it all from First Things.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyTheology: Scripture

2 Comments
Posted October 21, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

What might Anglicans make of these conclusions? Cape Town is in the main consistent with a serious, plain-sense reading of The Catechism of the 1979 prayer book. Our evangelical neighbors show us not the face of “the Other” but rather that of our own forgotten selves. If to some readers Cape Town seems distant, it will be because of our own estrangement or amnesia. Traditional believers within Anglicanism, be they Catholic or evangelical, are not some outdated rump but rather the enfleshed memory of normative, ecumenical, global Christianity.

Here the question of what Cape Town is saying “No” to returns. What makes Cape Town appealing is its address of Christian practice as well as belief. It consciously compares itself to Pauline epistles, which move from proclamation (kerygma) to moral exhortation (paraenesis). Talking the talk must move on quickly to walking the walk. And on this score Cape Town does not let evangelicals off the hook. They have not always proclaimed the whole gospel, nor have they reined in their own leaders, nor consistently addressed the pressing social issues of their day. While the doctrinal part of Cape Town aims at the perennial, the ethical section seeks after pertinence to today’s context.

Here too is a message crucial for Anglicans to hear. Cape Town’s call to action asks: How are we addressing dramatic urbanization and constant migration on the global scene? How are we catechizing our young? How can be minister with honesty and charity to the postmodern era’s commodified and disordered sexuality? Has our theological education retained a heart for evangelism?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal- Anglican: Analysis* Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologySoteriologyTheology: Evangelism & MissionTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted October 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A couple of cynical commentators maintain that schools like the Institute have to adapt to today’s culture “because otherwise they cannot recruit enough top-notch staff.” Non-cynically, one can relate this and other change to fresh Biblical scholarship, studies of evangelical hermeneutics, recognition of internal diversity among conservative evangelicals, and awareness that strictures like the old ban often caused embarrassment to many of the most conscientious and able employees, including faculty. It might be most useful to try to assess where compromises like the Institute’s register among adjustments to contemporary culture(s) in general.

Whoever is of temperate disposition and conscientious commitment and has weathered weekend-night drinking-orgies on many kinds of campuses might look with envy for the peace and quiet—not always dullness—in colleges where self-restraint has endured. Still, many who have nothing against, or who favor, the relaxation of rules like the wine-ban can sympathize with leadership caught in the conflict between old restrictions and new experiments with freedom.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

1 Comments
Posted October 16, 2013 at 5:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The mere fact that people like Jack find it intuitively possible to have invisible companions who talk back to them supports the claim that the idea of an invisible agent is basic to our psyche. But Jack’s story also makes it clear that experiencing an invisible companion as truly present — especially as an adult — takes work: constant concentration, a state that resembles prayer.

It may seem paradoxical, but this very difficulty may be why evangelical churches emphasize a personal, intimate God. While the idea of God may be intuitively plausible — just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are atheists who have prayed for parking spots — belief can be brittle. Indeed, churches that rely on a relatively impersonal God (like mainstream Protestant denominations) have seen their congregations dwindle over the last 50 years.

To experience God as walking by your side, in conversation with you, is hard. Evangelical pastors often preach as if they are teaching people how to keep God constantly in mind, because it is so easy not to pray, to let God’s presence slip away. But when it works, people experience God as alive.

Read it all.



Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychologyReligion & CultureSociology* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicalsOther Faiths* TheologyAnthropology

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Posted October 16, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In his church office, pastor Chuck Smith kept a crown made of thorns and a jar full of candy. The thorns were from the Holy Land. The candy was for his grandkids. The image suggested his special appeal as a preacher: A harsh, old-school Christianity delivered with grandfatherly sweetness.

Smith, the founder of the Jesus People and the Calvary Chapel movement, and one of the most influential figures in modern American Christianity, died Thursday morning at his home in Newport Beach after a two-year battle with lung cancer, church officials said. He was 86.

"He was definitely a pioneer," said Donald E. Miller, a professor of religion at USC. "He had a transformative impact on Protestantism."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / FuneralsMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

1 Comments
Posted October 15, 2013 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In "Our Father's World," Northland pastor Joel Hunter makes the argument to conservative Christians that saving energy, recycling waste and reducing your carbon footprint are all based on Scripture.

"The Bible provides a direct mandate to be caretakers of the garden," Hunter says in the documentary. "While creation still belongs to God, he has graciously entrusted it to our care and stewardship."

But the film also points out that evangelical Christians have abdicated the care of God's creation to the New Age and secular environmentalists.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEnergy, Natural Resources* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 12, 2013 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In 1995, Mark Noll opened his The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind with an unflattering observation: "The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind."

Now, almost two decades later, has anything changed? In a new roundtable video, three Christian higher education presidents—Michael Lindsay, Albert Mohler, and Philip Ryken—consider evidences of a recovered and maturing evangelical mind in the years since Noll's landmark work.

"We're no longer trying to prove ourselves, trying to get a seat at the table," observes Lindsay, president of Gordon College in Massachusetts. "I think evangelicals have demonstrated they can do the highest level of scholarship in fields like history, philosophy, and sociology."

Read it all and watch the video also.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

1 Comments
Posted October 10, 2013 at 4:40 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Here is a sampling of the thoughts of the 94-year-old evangelist in his newest book:

Sin

“The truth is that every last one of us is born in sin, and while some may not think of themselves as sinners, God does. He hears every word we utter and knows the deepest secrets we lock away in the vaults of our hearts.”

‘Trendy religion’

“Many churches of all persuasions are hiring research agencies to poll neighborhoods, asking what kind of church they prefer; then the local churches design themselves to fit the desires of the people. True faith in God that demands selflessness is being replaced by trendy religion that serves the selfish.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 2, 2013 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

I have heard a lot of sermons, and read a lot of books, articles, and blog posts, on imitating certain attributes of God and the incarnate Christ (e.g., compassion, love, goodness, mercy, humility). And I have heard a lot and read a lot about avoiding certain vices that are contrary to the kingdom (e.g., selfishness, envy, pride, lust). But I can’t recall offhand hearing much of anything about power—either as a gift to be redeemed or an idol to be rejected. You’ve invested a significant amount of time now thinking about the redemption of power to promote flourishing for the common good. Why do you think the Church has neglected this topic in particular?

That is what prompted me to write this book: a dawning awareness that I was almost never hearing Christians—especially in the dominant culture—directly address power as either a gift or an idol. Now, that is not at all the case in many minority-culture communities. I’ve spent perhaps 50 Sunday mornings of my life, cumulatively, in African-American church settings, and I’d bet that at least a third of sermons I’ve heard in those settings have directly addressed power and powerlessness in the context of American society, and how Christians should respond to those realities.

But of the couple thousand Sundays I’ve spent in majority-culture church settings, I could count on one hand the times the teaching directly addressed those topics. But the privilege of being in a majority is you rarely have to examine your own power closely. You often are not even aware that you have it. Oddly, power is frequently most invisible to the powerful—especially the form of power that I call privilege. So perhaps it is not surprising that majority-culture Christians rarely address it.

Power is a truly tricky topic, and that’s another reason you don’t hear a lot about it directly....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooks* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropology

1 Comments
Posted September 30, 2013 at 7:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Last Saturday, Michael McDuffee had his first beer since 1994. It was a cold beer, refreshing. It was a long time coming.

“I had been a man convinced that three drinks can quench our thirst: milk, lemonade and a cold beer,” said Mr. McDuffee, who practiced his drinking as a Marine. “And for 20 years I was drinking milk and lemonade.”

Mr. McDuffee is not an alcoholic newly fallen from the wagon, but rather an evangelical Christian professor at Moody Bible Institute, which includes a seminary, an undergraduate college, and radio and publishing arms, with its main campus in Chicago. When he joined the faculty, in 1994, he agreed to abide by its requirement that faculty members, staff and students not drink alcohol, smoke, or have extramarital sex....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchAlcohol/DrinkingEducationReligion & CultureYoung Adults* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted September 28, 2013 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At the heart of [all these]...critiques is the work of Kathryn Joyce, the self-described “secular, feminist journalist” and author of The Child Catchers, who is again decrying the evangelical adoption movement, this time in the pages of “The New York Times.”

In her article, Joyce again paints the picture of evangelical adoption as a well-intentioned, but misguided, movement that exacerbates corruption and harms children around the world. It is a perspective I was first introduced to after reading Joyce’s “Mother Jones” article (“Orphan Fever: The Evangelical Movement’s Adoption Obsession”). I responded to her article at “On Faith and Culture”:

“In the end, Kathryn Joyce curses the darkness without lighting a candle. She attempts to pour cold water on the Christian adoption movement, but her ideas for actually solving the orphan crisis that now affects more than 100 million children are more than lacking; they’re non-existent. We should expect more from even an unashamedly partisan publication like Mother Jones. Not to mention a writer who recently published a 352-page book on the subject. “

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenGlobalizationMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 26, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

America's first great theologian, Jonathan Edwards, spent much of his life serving in a single small parish. Presbyterian theologian B. B. Warfield spent nearly his entire adult life in Princeton, New Jersey, where he taught at the university and cared for his sick wife. The late Dallas Willard taught and ministered in the same philosophy department for nearly five decades. Just recently, my pastor interviewed a dozen fellow pastors who have served in Lincoln, Nebraska, for over a decade. All of them are committed to staying at their churches indefinitely.

But, like so many Westerners, we don't always practice the virtues of the little way in our communities. Evangelicals are a people of megachurches, national conferences, city-centric thinking (which often comes with derision for small-town life), and ever-expanding religious empires, be they church-planting networks or the Twitter feeds of celebrity pastors. Consider just one example: the rise of video preaching and podcasting, and the cultlike following they have generated around certain leaders.

The point is not to demonize cities or the prominent ministries that grow out of them. God does work through these and other large endeavors.

But what happens when our ambitions and fondness for big run amok?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureRural/Town Life* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

0 Comments
Posted September 25, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Evangelical adoptions picked up in earnest in the middle of the last decade, when a wave of prominent Christians, including the megachurch pastor Rick Warren and leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, began to promote adoption as a special imperative for believers. Adoption mirrored the Christian salvation experience, they argued, likening the adoption of orphans to Christ’s adoption of the faithful. Adoption also embodied a more holistic “pro-life” message — caring for children outside the womb as well as within — and an emphasis on good deeds, not just belief, that some evangelicals felt had been ceded to mainline Protestant denominations.

Believers rose to the challenge. The Christian Alliance for Orphans estimates that hundreds of thousands of people worldwide participate in its annual Orphan Sunday (this year’s is Nov. 3). Evangelicals from the Bible Belt to Southern California don wristbands or T-shirts reading “orphan addict” or “serial adopter.” Ministries have emerged to raise money and award grants to help Christians pay the fees (some $30,000 on average, plus travel) associated with transnational adoption.

However well intended, this enthusiasm has exacerbated what has become a boom-and-bust market for children that leaps from country to country. In many cases, the influx of money has created incentives to establish or expand orphanages — and identify children to fill them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenGlobalizationPovertyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

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Posted September 22, 2013 at 11:06 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Why write a book about religious freedom now?

Religious freedom is one of the world's most urgent issues at this moment in history. For a start, it is the guarantee and protection of the foundational human right that best allows us the freedom to be human. Also, it is under assault around the world as never before, whether through brutal government oppression (think of China and Iran) or horrifying sectarian violence (think of Nigeria, Egypt, and much of the Middle East). But what makes the situation worse is the failure of the West to live up to the best of its heritage, and therefore to fail in demonstrating an alternative. This is especially tragic in the U.S., where the founders' settlement, which James Madison called the "true remedy" to the problem, is steadily being destroyed by fifty years of culture warring. And all this is happening at a time when the challenge of "living with our deepest differences" has become an urgent global problem.

There are of course endless academic studies of the issue, and many individuals and organizations have stood courageously against the violations of religious freedom, but where are the constructive proposals that lead to a better way? And where are the statesmanlike leaders addressing the issue? I hope my book will contribute to a new Western debate reaffirming the foundational importance of religious freedom. I hope too that it will challenge Americans not to squander their heritage foolishly as so many are doing now.

Read it all

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted September 19, 2013 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In his first interview since his son's suicide in April, famed pastor Rick Warren told CNN that he knew his son, Matthew, had bought a gun, dismissed rumors that Matthew was gay and said he doesn't blame God for the tragedy.

"I have cried every single day since Matthew died," Warren said Tuesday in an exclusive interview with CNN.

"But that - that's actually a good thing. Grief is a good thing. It's the way we get through the transitions of life."

Read it all

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyPsychologyMental IllnessSuicideReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

2 Comments
Posted September 19, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a college student I attended a campus Christian fellowship that always, at every meeting, had a book table of literature for purchase. On the table there was a little booklet called Doubters Welcome. I remember my surprise at the title, because as a young believer I thought that Christians frowned on doubters and wanted them to just take that leap and have faith. But I came to realize that the Bible had a more balanced view. While we want doubts to give way to faith (John 20:28; James 1:6), we should be merciful and patient with those who are still in their doubt-troubled period. (Jude 1:22). On that campus the Christian fellowship was very inviting to skeptics and doubters, and there were always a lot of them mixed in with the believers.

I always wanted to be part of a church that had that same spirit. When we began Redeemer Church in Manhattan in 1989, one of the first “core values” was that we wanted to be a place where those who were not believers (or who were not sure what they believed) would find their questions welcomed and addressed, their doubts and difficulties respected, and their struggles and concerns anticipated. We soon became aware of and glad for the presence of many, many doubters and spiritual inquirers in our midst. Over time, many of them discovered the Redeemer community to be an “incubator” where they were able to see the reasonable beauty of the Christian gospel and discover their own faith developing and growing.

However, the only way we were able to have a community filled with questioners was because believers at Redeemer were not afraid to identify themselves publicly as Christians to others that they worked with and lived near.

Read it all (his emphasis).

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureUrban/City Life and Issues* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

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Posted September 15, 2013 at 1:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

See what you make of it.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the InternetReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologySeminary / Theological Education

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Posted September 4, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was my attempt in those far off days to combat the spirit of anti-intellectualism that I still believe is such a bane on the Christian church today. It was then that I dared for the first time to say, though I have said it often since, that anti-intellectualism and the fullness of the Holy Spirit are mutually incompatible. And I dare to say it because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. Jesus our Lord himself, referred to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth, and therefore, it is only
logical to say that wherever the Holy Spirit is given his freedom, truth is bound to matter. So, I have argued, and argue still, that a proper, conscientious use of our minds is an inevitable part and parcel of our Christian life.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeChurch History* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted August 27, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....despite his national renown, he's a pastor at heart. Gentle, gracious, and filled with concern for his congregation, for over 25 years he's counseled his flock at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio through countless painful experiences—the marriage that's fallen apart, the 5-year-old who died in a car accident, the war vet burned from head to toe in Afghanistan. These experiences led to his latest book, You'll Get Through This: Hope and Help For Your Turbulent Times, an extended reflection on suffering, pain, and hope based on Joseph's story in Genesis. Jeff Haanen, executive director of Denver Institute for Faith & Work, spoke with Lucado on living through tragedy, a theology of suffering, and the hopefulness that flows from trusting in God's sovereignty.

Why did you choose Joseph's story in Genesis as a basis for your book?

Well, I've been pastoring for a long time—over 30 years—and I've found myself wanting to give people a real hope-filled message that they can consider during tough times of their lives.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooks* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEschatologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted August 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Founded on the challenge to "Attempt something so great for God that it is doomed to failure, lest He be in it," Perimeter's Vision is:

To make and deploy mature and equipped followers of Christ for the sake of Family, Community and Global transformation
See what you make of the rest.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* Theology

4 Comments
Posted August 21, 2013 at 11:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

"It was hard to know where to start after my last album. The song Blessings started as a diary entry and God blew us away by using it in the lives of so many around the world. And as I began to write for my new project "God of Every Story", I went back to that deep place of vulnerability before the Lord, and honesty -- with myself. The path God has led our family down is not one I would have chosen for myself. It has been much harder than I had envisioned, yet it has required deeper faith than I ever thought myself capable of. And that's what God of every story is really about: It’s trusting that the same God who orchestrates the rising and the setting of the sun each day pays the same attention to every detail of my life. It’s believing that at the end of the day, we will look back on this amazing God story that is my life and view it as a beautiful sunset, where the blues and reds, the laughter and tears, all meld together to show the faithfulness of God in a way that makes us stand in applause."

"God of Every Story" is a collection of songs about where God's love and grace intersect with our real life situations. It’s about God working all things together for good and love always winning. It’s a celebration of God's faithfulness, even when we don't always understand His plan this side of heaven. Yet we praise Him because He is the keeper of the stars, the One who holds all things together and always, always, deserves our worship.

Read it all (note there is an excerpt from one of her new songs if you wish to listen) and you can find a Godtube interview to watch there.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenHealth & MedicineMarriage & FamilyMusicReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* South Carolina* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologySoteriology

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Posted August 21, 2013 at 11:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some have concluded that making our voice heard in the public square about sex and family life, or about anything controversial, is counter-productive to mission. But the opposite is the case. I worked in South Africa for more than 12 years, mostly in poor communities. I saw how some evangelical and charismatic Christians happily did church in their affluent homogenous groups, and refused to address publicly the iniquities of apartheid. Other churches were bravely confronting injustice and involved in compassionate social action, but were unable to promote loudly the life-saving message of sexual self control in the context of the devastating HIV/AIDS epidemic, often because their pastors were compromised in that area. In both cases fear of unpopularity prevented prophetic Gospel-driven action to save lives.

Anglican Mainstream remains committed to the local church’s vital role in pastoral care, evangelism and mission in our own nation and worldwide in contexts of genuine poverty and oppression. These will be main themes at GAFCON 2 in Nairobi in late October. But listening to the revolution in our culture will also involve discerning what is wrong as well as affirming what is good. The gospel of the Kingdom is good news, but inclusion depends on repentance, and faith in the one who has not changed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesMarriage & FamilySexuality--Civil Unions & Partnerships* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted August 19, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Some blog readers may remember that several years back I made a strong plea for the avoidance of the word "prophet" or words derived therefrom. Below I have posted a weekend interview with Russell Moore which includes the following from Dr. Moore: "we are no longer the moral majority. We are a prophetic minority."

In 2010 my main focus was on mainline churches in general and the Episcopal Church in particular, but the same critique applies here. Please, please can we get away from any self declaration that we ourselves or anything we say is "prophetic."

Say it again after me--one of the clearest ways to identify a false prophet in the Christian tradition and the Bible and someone who says they are a prophet--KSH.


Filed under: * By Kendall* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyTheology: Scripture

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Posted August 18, 2013 at 12:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Russell Moore]... is definitely pushing a new tone for this generation of evangelicals. "This is the end of 'slouching toward Gomorrah,' " he says. Not only is the doomsaying not winning Christians any popularity contests, but he doesn't think it's religiously appropriate either. "We were never promised that the culture would embrace us."

He also questions the political approach of what was once called "the religious right." Though his boyish looks bring to mind the former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, Mr. Moore is decidedly not a fan of the "values voter checklists" the group employs. "There is no Christian position on the line-item veto," Mr. Moore says. "There is no Christian position on the balanced-budget amendment."

Which is not to say that Mr. Moore wants evangelicals to "turn inward" and reject the larger U.S. culture. Rather, he wants to refocus the movement on serving as a religious example battling in the public square on "three core issues"—life, marriage and religious liberty.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted August 18, 2013 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

High-profile pastors have long complained (along with other celebrities) of impersonators on social media. But Rick Warren recently revealed just how widespread the problem is.

Warren announced Tuesday that in the months since his son Matthew's suicide, more than 200 fake Facebook pages have popped up, soliciting funds in Matthew's memory. So far, he has succeeded in shutting down 179 of them, which he said were "making money on my son's death."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingMediaPsychologySuicideReligion & CultureScience & Technology* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral Theology

2 Comments
Posted August 13, 2013 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We fear being sued, finishing last, going broke; we fear the mole on the back, the new kid on the block, the sound of the clock as it ticks us closer to the grave. We sophisticate investment plans, create elaborate security systems, and legislate stronger military, yet we depend on mood altering drugs more than any other generation in history. Moreover, “ordinary children today are more fearful than psychiatric patients were in the 1950s.”

Fear, it seems, has taken a hundred-year lease on the building next door and set up shop. Oversize and rude, fear is unwilling to share the heart with happiness. Happiness complies and leaves. Do you ever see the two together? Can one be happy and afraid at the same time? Clear thinking and afraid? Confident and afraid? Merciful and afraid? No. Fear is the big bully in the high school hallway: brash, loud, and unproductive. For all the noise fear makes and room it takes, fear does little good.

Fear never wrote a symphony or poem, negotiated a peace treaty, or cured a disease. Fear never pulled a family out of poverty or a country out of bigotry. Fear never saved a marriage or a business. Courage did that. Faith did that. People who refused to consult or cower to their timidities did that. But fear itself? Fear herds us into a prison and slams the doors.

Wouldn’t it be great to walk out?

Imagine your life wholly untouched by angst. What if faith, not fear, was your default reaction to threats? If you could hover a fear magnet over your heart and extract every last shaving of dread, insecurity, and doubt, what would remain? Envision a day, just one day, absent the dread of failure, rejection, and calamity. Can you imagine a life with no fear? This is the possibility behind Jesus’ question.

“Why are you afraid?” he asks (Matt. 8:26 ncv).
--Max Luxado, Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear (Thomas Nelson, 2009), pp.5-6 ; quoted by yours truly in the morning sermon

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchBooks* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals* TheologyAnthropologyChristologyEthics / Moral TheologyPastoral TheologyTheology: Scripture

1 Comments
Posted August 11, 2013 at 8:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In truth, the connection between SouthLake and Roosevelt very much fit into a plan. It was a plan devised by an especially odd couple — Sam Adams, the first openly gay mayor of Portland, and Kevin Palau, the scion of an evangelical association created by his father, Luis. And their plan has delivered thousands of evangelical volunteers not only to Roosevelt, but also to scores of other public schools in the area and to public agencies dealing with homelessness and foster care.

The Portland model, as it might be called, has brought its two founders inquiries from about 50 other cities and hundreds of churches across the country. While avoiding the tripwire of church-state separation, the program here has addressed two needs: that of urban mayors coping with static or falling budgets for public services, and that of a young generation of evangelical Christians drawn to the cause of social justice.

“Young evangelicals absolutely want their faith to be relevant,” said Mr. Palau, who is 50. “The world they grew up in and got tired of was the media portrait of evangelicals are against you, or evangelicals even hate you. Young evangelicals are saying, ‘Surely we want to be known by what we’re for.’ ”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted August 10, 2013 at 11:04 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Whatever the future outcome for Protestant Christianity in America—and no matter how murky the present landscape—one would be remiss to overlook the unique legacy of evangelist Billy Graham, whom Scheussler invokes to illustrate the mobilization of evangelicals against mainline-endorsed leftist causes in the 1950s; Graham comes off the page as little more than a firebrand polemicist.

Quite to the contrary, Graham's impact on American Protestantism has been one of inclusion—building bridges of understanding to unite ecumenicals and evangelicals and, in latter years even Catholics—in evangelism. Using a football metaphor, if leaders of diverse Christian confessions were perceived to be playing between the ten-yard-line and the goal at either end of the field, Graham brought them mid-field between the two forties.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted August 8, 2013 at 4:50 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Sam Sturgeon, president of Demographic Intelligence, said:] “Partly because religious communities provide a family-friendly context to the women who attend them, religious women are more likely to have children and to bear a comparatively high share of the nation’s children, compared to their less religious or secular peers.”

Is anyone surprised? And yet, even as this report reveals that religious factors are in play in reproductive decisions, the influence of religion is explained only in terms of the fact that “religious communities provide a family-friendly context to the women who attend them.”

Missing from this analysis is the factor of religious belief. There appears to be little recognition of the fact that what we believe about sex, marriage, and children has a great deal to do with the decisions that individuals and couples make.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilySexuality* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

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Posted August 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Before evangelical leader Chuck Colson fell ill at a conference last year, crumbling at the podium and later dying at the hospital, it was Eric Metaxas who introduced him.

At the time, Metaxas seemed primed and ready to become the next Colson — a key leader in the evangelical movement, known for his prison ministry, but also credited with keeping Christians engaged in politics and culture through books, radio and other outlets.

Metaxas took over some of Colson’s roles, including co-host of BreakPoint, a radio show Metaxas wrote for in the late ’90s. He took Colson’s place on the board of the Manhattan Declaration, a movement Colson helped found to focus Christians’ attention on life, marriage and religious freedom issues.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksHistoryReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesEvangelicals

1 Comments
Posted August 1, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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