The Anvil of the Evangelical Mind

Schools and scholars can help the Christ-centered movement become all the more Jesusy. Historian Mark Noll’s prophetic call in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind launched a thousand more laments about the shallowness of evangelical scholarship and thinking. The judgment remains accurate as far as it goes. American evangelical Christians are American Christians, and Americans have never valued the life of the mind as much as they might. But where Noll’s 1994 volume lamented the... Read More

One-on-One with Dean Inserra on Cultural Christianity

“The biggest barrier to reaching cultural Christians is that there is no clear starting point for a conversation.” Ed: How do you define cultural Christianity? Dean: Cultural Christianity is difficult to define because there is no established category that exists for this religious group. I believe it begins by understanding that this is an actual religion. Cultural Christians claim to be Christians, but by that claim they mean they are not atheists, agnostics, Jewish, or Muslim. They... Read More

Churches That Play Together Stay Together

Pastors report the congregational gains of letting loose as a body. In its new Households of Faith report, Barna researchers claim that one of the many reasons “vibrant households” stand out from others is because they engage in “meaningful, fun, quality time with both their housemates and extended household members.” That includes playing games together (32%), sharing meals (63% eat breakfast as a family and 75% eat dinner as a family), and enjoying other leisure... Read More

Power and Pastors: Part 2

Too many Christians fail to consider the propensity leaders have to abuse power. James, the half-brother of Jesus, writes, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” (James 4:17). Applying Andy Crouch’s definition of power—the ability to make something of the world—to this verse would suggest that those who know what they should do (or refrain from doing) in order to make something better of the world for the glory of God and... Read More

The Disturbing Temptations of Pastoring in Obscurity

Leaving the limelight didn’t heal my pride; it only disguised it. Gregory the Great, so tradition tells us, was a reluctant pope. Well-educated and from a wealthy family, Gregory experienced inner tension between his longing for the contemplative life and his sense of calling toward secular responsibilities. After converting to the monastic life and transforming his house into a monastery—the happiest years of his life—Gregory often was called into service of the church in... Read More

Power and Pastors: Part 1

Recovering A Biblical Understanding of Power The Billy Graham Center recently hosted a conversation at the GC2 Summit about sexual assault and abuse, harassment, legal issues, consent, responses to abuse, the important role of governmental authorities, the rule of law, and additional topics vital and urgent to discuss in today's culture. Church leaders—women in particular—are gaining a prophetic platform to call out injustices and abuses, both inside and outside the... Read More

Do 47 Percent of Christian Millennials Think Evangelism Is Wrong?

Many young Christians clearly hold a negative view of evangelism. But why? There is something about a good statistic that can capture our attention and ignite debate. Seemingly more than an opinion or an anecdote, it tells us something concrete about the way our world is and how our experience of our world relates to broad trends outside of our narrow slice. So it’s not surprising that a new statistic is making the rounds on social media and in church board rooms across the United... Read More

Why Augustine’s ‘Come to Jesus’ Moment Tells an Incomplete Story

The same church father who experienced a radical turn to faith also preached a gospel of continual conversion. My parents bought me my first copy of Augustine’s Confessions when I was a young teen. In this classic of the Western literary canon, the church father Augustine describes his sometimes wayward youth, his eventual conversion to Christ, and how God transformed his way of seeing the world. The book has captured the imagination of countless spiritual and intellectual seekers and... Read More

Richard Mouw Wrestles with Evangelicalism, Past and Present

Reading his book is like enjoying a cup of tea with a wise elder statesman. Among my favorite books is Catholic activist Dorothy Day’s The Long Loneliness. When asked why, I often reply, “Because it’s like enjoying a cup of tea with a wise older woman who lived an astoundingly courageous life and led some of the most important movements of her generation.” Day’s book is conversational in tone and might mention names or historical events I don’t recognize.... Read More

Do 47 Percent of Christian Millennials Think Evangelism Is Wrong? – Part 1

Many young Christians clearly hold a negative view of evangelism. But why? There is something about a good statistic that can capture our attention and ignite debate. Seemingly more than an opinion or an anecdote, it tells us something concrete about the way our world is and how our experience of our world relates to broad trends outside of our narrow slice. So it’s not surprising that a new statistic is making the rounds on social media and in church board rooms across the United... Read More