Archives for Christian - Page 252

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Moms, Go on with Your ‘Bad’ Self

By Jennifer Grant In a culture that expects perfection, sometimes failed moms are just doing their best. My friend Ellen posted a status update on Facebook: “For some reason, Pinterest thinks I’m interested in lists of things I should do to be a super-duper mom who never bruises her children’s fragile egos and aims to make every moment of their days 1,000 percent positive and enlightening.” “Pinterest,” she wrote, “is mistaken.” The recently released comedy Bad Moms hurls the “Pinterest-perfect mommy myth” against the wall, shattering it like a doe-eyed Precious Moments figurine. Some reviewers have complained that the movie glorifies bad moms and bad parenting, and the Christian review site Movieguide even started an online petition against Bad Moms, saying it insults mothers and is “dangerous” because of “excessive cussing by mom’s , drunkenness, sexual perversion, and disregard of parental responsibilities and safety.” (This begs at least one question: Would excessive cussing by dads be more palatable?) While there is no arguing that Bad Moms is a raunchy romp, I respectfully disagree with Movieguide’s claim that the movie insults mothers. I believe it attempts to do just the opposite. It both portrays the many ways that committed mothers are overworked and overwhelmed and affirms …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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The State of The Church in America: When Numbers Point To A New Reality

By Ed Stetzer Before you dismiss research as unimportant, read this. If facts are our friends, then it’s time we listen to them for the good of the Church in America. The polls are in and the news is bad for the Church in America. Christianity is on the decline, Americans have given up on God, and the “Nones”—those who have no religious ties—are on the rise. It is indeed true that parts of the Christian Church in America are struggling, while a growing number of Americans are far from God. As the former head of a research firm that studies the church and culture, I often tell pastors and other Christian leaders that “facts are our friends.” Surveys and other polls are a bit like running a series of tests during an annual physical. The scale, stethoscope, and blood tests don’t lie. There is no positive spin on your increased weight, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Research data gives us a realistic picture of our health—rather than the overly optimistic view we’d prefer. What the Numbers Tell Us (If We Will Listen) So what do the numbers tell us about the Church in America? Overall, the Church’s influence on Americans is beginning to fade. A growing number …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Evangelical Views of the 2016 Election: Evangelicals, We Need to Start Looking Beyond the Candidates

By Ronnie Floyd Pastor and Immediate Past President of the Southern Baptist Convention prioritizes issues over candidates For the past nine presidential elections – intentionally or unintentionally – I have stuck with one clear principle when I go to the voting booth: I do not vote for candidates but for policies. From our 39th to our 44th commander in chief, I have not voted for men or, even, for parties – I have voted for issues. And in my life, I have never seen so many crucial issues, with such vast consequences, hanging in the balance as they are in the 2016 Presidential Election. The issues, to anyone – especially a Christian – who has been following the course of our nation, should be fairly clear by now: the appointment of Supreme Court justices, the defense of religious liberty, the fight to protect the life of the unborn, our friendship with and support of Israel, the need for resolving racial tension, our national security, and the preservation of limited government and a free market. These are the issues that matter to me this election, and I believe we should filter every voting decision we make through them. Yet the problem with this presidential election is that we …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Evangelical Views of the 2016 Election: Swimming Against the Stream, An Evangelical Vote for Gary Johnson

By Gena McCown Women’s Ministry Council Co-Founder is a long-time Libertarian. In the history of the United States, when Americans have begun to question or feel as if they are no longer represented by the political parties in place… a third party forms. It is the sign of disenfranchised people who cannot align themselves to one party or another. It is the call of those who see problems in our political system, feel the strain in our social systems, and step forward as agents of change. When any one of us steps out of the party lines we have grown up with, this is not without criticism and mockery. My family roots itself in generations of party loyalty. When I turned eighteen years old, my uncle asked me if I had registered to vote. When I responded that I had already mailed in my card, his next query was what party affiliation I had chosen. As the words Libertarian slipped past my lips, the look of shock on his face was something I expected. I’ve voted Libertarian in almost every election since. To understand why an Evangelical would support Gary Johnson, we have to begin with a basic understanding of the draw to the Libertarian …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Race in America: How Two Pastors (and dozens of churches) Partnered for Racial Reconciliation in Dallas

By Bryan Carter Senior Pastor of Concord Church in Dallas, TX Two years ago, a white pastor friend, Jeff Warren, and I asked ourselves this question not long after the events in Ferguson: “What will happen when Ferguson comes to Dallas?” This question prompted us to begin to explore the possibilities for our city. Dallas is a tale of two cities: the northern sector is predominantly white and known for its affluence and prosperity, the southern sector is predominantly minority with heavy pockets of poverty and inequalities. Jeff’s church is located in north Dallas and my church is located in south Dallas. Despite Dallas’ great affluence, we have the fourth highest poverty rate in the country. Jeff and I began building a relationship with the hope that we could help our city address the ongoing racial divide. Next, we decided to invite other pastors for candid conversations. He invited eight white pastors from north Dallas and I invited eight black pastors from south Dallas. We then met monthly for lunch in order to get to know each other and discuss the racial climate in our city and nation. Our questions included: How are you feeling about the recent racial tensions in our country? What do you think the …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Does Protestantism Need to Die?

By Fred Sanders Or to recover its riches? Two Protestant luminaries look at the legacy of the Reformation, 500 years later. Now and then, Protestants are stirred to ask whether the Reformation might be bad for the church and the world. Five centuries downstream from 1517, old objections come with the burden of knowing where things occasionally went wrong. As Reformation heirs prepare to celebrate our 500th anniversary, we do so with a remarkable capacity for self-criticism. At its worst, Protestant self-critique can be a tiresome self-flagellation, a dreary round of virtue-signaling and posturing over the sins of others. But at its best, it can be a time for soul-searching, a source of insight, and a promise of revival. Two new books show the range covered by the best Protestant self-critique. Peter Leithart’s The End of Protestantism: Pursuing Unity in a Fragmented Church (Brazos) and Kevin Vanhoozer’s Biblical Authority after Babel: Retrieving the Solas in the Spirit of Mere Protestant Christianity (Brazos) come to the task from very different angles. Vanhoozer comes to the conversation from a deep dive into the depths of the gospel. Leithart comes back to it from the future. Future Church The End of Protestantism is the long-awaited expansion of the provocative shorter remarks …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Fighting with My Husband and the Work of Shalom

By Tish Harrison Warren Do I proclaim radical love for the world even as I neglect to care for those closest to me? Jonathan stopped by at midday to pick something up at the house, and we had a fight. I would call it an argument, but that sounds too reasonable, like we were coolly debating opposing sides of an issue. Logical. Rational. Collected. The stuff to make marriage therapists proud. This was hardly that. Because most often what we’re arguing about—in this case a decision about our daughter’s schooling—isn’t really what we’re arguing about. What we are actually arguing about is our fears, anxieties, identities, and hopes. We were really arguing about how we love our daughter and feel a chasm—a terrifying chasm—between our responsibility for her and our ability to bear it well. We were grieving the reality of our limitedness and our inability to rescue our daughter from suffering in our broken world—and even in our broken family. And we were arguing about the sharpness in our voices, and who interrupts whom, and how often, and about a passing comment he made yesterday and a look I gave this morning. These are the patterns in family life that make it hard to be patient and gentle …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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What Do White Evangelicals Owe People of Color in Trump’s America They Helped Create?

By Ed Stetzer We carry each other’s burdens now so we can cry out with one voice for eternity. In 2010, visual artist Gene Schmidt embarked on a journey using Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, as his canvas. Schmidt used panels of scrap wood to recreate 1 Corinthians 13 and laid it out against buildings and along sidewalks throughout the city. His work of art is now displayed throughout Wheaton College’s campus. Every day, as I walk into the Billy Graham Center, I see a section of these scrap pieces. Here is the portion I see: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” Without love we have nothing as the Body of Christ. The past 48 hours I’ve done interviews with reporters asking, “Where do we go from here? Where does the Church go from here?” I’ve gotten tweets and emails and seen endless posts that have one common thread, which I believe is critical for us if we are truly to walk together as one in the coming days. This thread is the need for authentic repentance and reconciliation. A Deep Divide What was once perhaps in the background …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Tullian Tchividjian Resigns after Admitting 'Inappropriate Relationship'

By Bob Smietana and Morgan Lee (UPDATED): Billy Graham’s grandson says hiding from public eye would “undermine the very message that I claim to believe.” Update (July 30): Less than six weeks after resigning as the senior pastor of a prominent Orlando-based church because of an affair, Tullian Tchividjian says he has no plans to withdraw from the public eye. “One of the big questions I’ve wrestled with is, how do I properly steward this glorious ruin?” wrote Tchividjian on his Facebook page Tuesday. While Billy Graham’s grandson wanted to crawl “into a hole and be anonymous for a long, long time,” Tchividjian said he feared that his message of grace—the topic of many of his previous books—might be undermined if he stayed quiet. “If I only let you see me when I’m ‘good’ and ‘strong’ and polished and ‘at the top’, I undermine the very message that I claim to believe,” wrote Tchividjian. “…But if I run away because I don’t want you to see me broken and weak and sad and angry and struggling with fear and guilt and shame, then I fail to practice what I preach—and one of the many things I’ve learned from this is that failing to …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Ashley Madison Exposes More Than Just Names

The fallout from the Ashley Madison leak shows us that there is a critical sexual disconnect between men and women. Most women are completely dumbfounded at the Ashley Madison scandal, asking, How could it be so easy for so many men – including godly, Christian men – to visit such a site? Most men are completely chilled at the Ashley Madison scandal: thinking, There but for the grace of God go I. There’s something more important here than the Ashley Madison issue itself: a vast disconnect between men and women on modern sex-related issues that affect nearly all men and boys every single day – but which many women aren’t even aware of. While actual infidelity affects only a small percentage of marriages, the factors creating online temptation impact everyone. And we women don’t always understand why. Our men are vulnerable in ways most of us never realized. Our sons have a target on their backs. They need our support, prayer and awareness as they stand against the temptations of this culture – or as they work to heal their lives and marriages from poor choices. After years of research and multiple nationally-representative surveys to investigate the inner lives of men and boys for …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Review: The Keeping Room

By Mark Moring A feminist Civil War drama that mostly works – except for all the mumbling. mpaa rating:R (For strong violence including a sexual assault.) Genre:Drama, War Theatre Release:September 25, 2015 by Drafthouse Films There were a number of things I could have Googled after watching The Keeping Room, a Civil War-era drama now playing in limited release. Like, “How many females were widowed and/or orphaned by the war?” or “What was the condition of the South after General Sherman plowed through?” or “How many soldiers died?” And many more. But here’s what I Googled instead: “Why is there so much mumbling in modern movies?” I’m not talking about mumblecore, the sub-genre where you might expect some inaudible dialogue, given the often-low production values. I’m talking about mumbling, where the actors just don’t articulate their lines very well. And/or the director and sound team do a lousy job picking up those lines. Apparently this is really a thing too. Some of my search results: “Stop the mumbling! Why can’t we understand what people are saying in movies any more?” “The rising problem of inaudible dialogue.” “Why we can’t hear anything in the movies any longer?” There were more, but you get the point. It’s not …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Listen Up if You Want to Be More Like Jesus

By John Koessler How we imitate Christ by practicing the art of listening. The first thing we learn about God from the Bible is that he has a voice. Yet most of us never hear it. We read the Bible and pray, but our conversations seem one-sided. We appear to be doing all the talking. What are we to make of this? In The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction (InterVarsity), Adam McHugh wants us to know that our God is also a God who hears. We should not mistake divine silence for disinterest. “Listening begins when we learn that our heavenly Father listens to us,” writes McHugh. “The pattern of human life may be to listen first, but with the Lord, we are always heard before we hear.” God’s apparent silence is not a mark of his absence. It means that we have his full attention. The same should be true of our dealings with one another. “This book,” McHugh explains, “is predicated on the assumption that most of us are not good listeners.” As an ordained Presbyterian minister, McHugh has often served as a hospice chaplain. Presented with occasions for listening, he would instead seize the chance to speak: “I considered …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Christianity Today's 2016 Book Awards

Our picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture. Friends who know my book-besotted line of work sometimes ask whether I actually read, cover-to-cover, all the volumes that come streaming into my office. I have to suppress a snicker, because that’s a bit like asking whether Alex Trebek knows all the answers on Jeopardy! Still, I devoured every word of the four finalists for CT’s first-ever Beautiful Orthodoxy book award. What, you might wonder, is that high-sounding coinage supposed to mean? Think of everything that makes public discourse today a nails-on-chalkboard nightmare: the screaming matches, the hair-trigger outrage, the glib snarking and self-righteous peacocking. You might call “Beautiful Orthodoxy” our shorthand for the opposite of that—for theological, political, and cultural expression that unites truthfulness and loveliness. The way the gospel does. Plenty of people speak the truth about God and his world, but their manner is abrasive. Others use warm, artful language in the service of half-truths and falsehoods. At CT, we believe in the possibility of truth without ugliness, of beauty without moral and theological squishiness. (Don’t take it from me, though. Let editor in chief Mark Galli flesh out our commitment to Beautiful Orthodoxy in <a target="_blank" …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Faith of the Candidates: Interview With Marco Rubio (Part 2)

By Ed Stetzer In the second part of my interview with Senator Marco Rubio, we talk about “lost” people, and how “President Rubio” would share his faith. Ed Stetzer: You used the phrase “lost people” . So talk to us a little bit about that. What is the role of the Christian, the Catholic, the Evangelical when it comes to sharing with people who are, to use a term you used a minute ago, “lost.” What’s our role? Senator Marco Rubio: We’re called to spread the gospel. Now obviously you can spread the gospel in different ways. Some of it is verbal, especially if someone is curious and asks. We should never be shy about sharing our testimony. Oftentimes it’s just in the way we treat others. That, sometimes, is the best way to bring someone to the faith is first foremost by how you treat them. many people, their image of Christianity will be formed by how they interact with Christians and how Christians treat them—or how Christians behave. I’m convinced that the growth in the early Church was significantly influenced by how the early Christians dealt with adversity and with the circumstances around them. But both the supernatural peace that …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Made in China: The Next Mass Missionary Movement

By Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra Chinese Christians plan to send 20,000 missionaries by 2030. Five years ago, more than 200 Chinese Christian leaders were detained before they could board flights to the most diverse gathering of evangelicals ever. Among the 4,000 leaders gathered in South Africa’s Cape Town for the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization, their empty seats signified the Chinese church’s challenges in engaging world missions. But instead of tamping down the Chinese church’s desire for missions, the Cape Town 2010 incident acted as a catalyst, bringing together the right leaders inside and outside China, ChinaSource president Brent Fulton says. In 2011, 100 of those house church leaders made it to Seoul, South Korea, where the Lausanne Movement held a special conference for them. And this fall, about 850 Chinese leaders gathered for their own missions conference even closer to home. They announced from Hong Kong a long-discussed goal: to send 20,000 missionaries from China by the year 2030. The number is enormous, especially for a country that has sent only a few hundred foreign missionaries so far. Of the world’s top six sending countries, four hover around the 20,000 mark, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Exploring Evangelicalism: An Interview With Brian Brodersen of Calvary Chapel—Part 2

By Ed Stetzer Brian Brodersen explains what some Evangelicals have misunderstood about Calvary Chapel ES: What do many Evangelicals often misunderstand about your movement? BB: One of the most common misunderstandings about Calvary Chapel that I’ve encountered is on the issue of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It seems that the non-Charismatics think we are Charismatics, and Charismatics think we are non-Charismatic. Or, the Baptists think we are Pentecostals, and the Pentecostals think we are Baptists. As already mentioned, we believe in all the gifts of the Holy Spirit for today and give room in many of our services for ministry in the gifts to take place; but we are very careful to maintain an orderly environment. Another subject of misunderstanding would be in relation to the Calvinism / Arminianism debate. This is one more area where we seemed to have landed in a bit of a different place from other Evangelicals. We are not Calvinists, yet we enjoy fellowship with and glean much from our Calvinist friends. However, we are not Arminians either, and we also enjoy fellowship with and glean from our Arminian friends. What we have sought to do when it comes to the subject of soteriology is to be as biblical as …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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7 New Theology Books You Should Read This Year

By Compiled by Kevin P. Emmert A list to help you grow intellectually and spiritually. CT asked publishers which theology and biblical studies books they were most excited to publish this year. Here are the entries along with descriptions from the authors, showing how their books address questions and concerns Christian have. What does it mean to be a Christian today? Modern Christian Theology, by Christopher Ben Simpson (T&T Clark, February) My book tells how the story of Modernity is deeply intertwined with the story of Christian theology. Few people in the modern Western world think about God or religion. A religious perspective is no longer dominant in our society. If we look back 500 years, we see a world in which it would be strange for someone not to believe in God. What happened from 1500 onward—the rise and development of “Modernity”—was not only influenced by developments in Christian theology, but also influenced what it means when we today claim to be Christians. Our Christian theology has a history, and understanding that history—and the resources therein—shapes how we should think about ourselves, the modern world, and the Christian faith. ~ Christopher Ben Simpson, professor of philosophical theology, Lincoln Christian University How can we truly understand ourselves? None Like Him: 10 …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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The Secret Ingredient of Our Poverty Relief

By Bruce Wydick Economists are showing that one emotion makes a statistical difference in developing nations. Driving on a main highway in Mexico, I slow down at a stoplight. A man outside my window is igniting a cotton ball on a stick soaked in gasoline and extinguishing the flame in his mouth. He starts approaching the cars to ask for money for his admittedly breath-taking stunt. I don’t give him anything; I don’t want to reward him for potentially blowing his head off. Nor do I want to facilitate the slow but certain onset of brain damage caused by inhaling gasoline fumes. I have the urge to give him 200 pesos if he promises to take the day off, but I know he won’t. The scene makes me wonder how hopeless a man must be to try to earn a living this way. For six months this year, my family and I lived in a small village in Oaxaca to study hope. Oaxaca is a curious place to try to find hope. It is the poorest state in Mexico, and many of the people in villages like ours are not very hopeful. The same social and political problems that have plagued other regions in Latin …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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How Should Christians Disagree? Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians Try a New Model

By Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra Joint statement by believers in Israel and Palestine is a small but hopeful step toward peace. Historically, Christians in Israel and the Palestinian territories haven’t gotten along much better than their respective governments. The list of issues to argue about is long: security, the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, equality of citizenship in Israel, refugees, acts of lethal violence, and the search for justice and peace were examples listed at a gathering last month of 30 Palestinian Christians and Messianic Jews. However, the group didn’t gather to argue. Instead, they spent four days in study and prayer before issuing a statement of unity. “In times of tension and violent conflict, relationships suffer, while suspicion, accusation, and mutual rejection thrive,” the statement read. “At such times it is even more essential that we who affirm our unity in the Messiah must uphold ethical standards of life that are worthy of our calling, in all our attitudes, words, and deeds.” The conference was hosted in Cyprus by the Lausanne Initiative for Reconciliation in Israel-Palestine (LIRIP) with the hopes of promoting “reconciliation within the body of Christ and our wider communities in Israel and Palestine.” The network of participants was meant to …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Interview: Why Did Jesus Choose the Cross?

By Interview by Mark Galli The reason he died a bloody, horrible death. The Crucifixion has been a problem from the beginning—from devout religionists (Jews and Gentiles) who found the idea of a crucified messiah scandalous, to fans of the late Christopher Hitchens, who said, “I find something repulsive about the idea of vicarious redemption.” Whether it’s the bloody method of death or the theological meaning of the Atonement, even Christians are tempted to give the Crucifixion its due and move briskly to talk about the hope of the Resurrection. It is so much more life affirming! Not so fast, says Fleming Rutledge. A retired Episcopal priest who spent 22 years in local church ministry, Rutledge is recognized as an outstanding preacher and a teacher of other preachers. She’s also a theologian, as her latest work attests. The book, The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ (Eerdmans), attempts to resurrect (as it were) the centrality and necessity of preaching the Cross. She argues this is especially urgent in an age of unmitigated evils, which she says only the Cross can explain and redeem. She was interviewed by Mark Galli, the editor of Christianity Today. Why write a book about the Crucifixion today, especially in a …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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