Religion, Retention, and Why We Stay or Go

The center is disappearing in American politics and American religion. Moderates are becoming an endangered species. Sometimes I try to figure out why I am so interested in religion and politics. The only answer that I can come up with is that religion played such a tremendous role in my formative years, that I am still trying to make sense of how that impacted the person I have become. I was a kid who went to my Southern Baptist church three times a week, always volunteered to help paint or... Read More

Georgia Endorsed Bible Classes. Twice. But Schools Aren’t Teaching Them

Why a growing political push to put the Bible in classrooms only has a minor impact. Steve J. Smith wants the 671 high school students in Bleckley County, Georgia, to know the Bible. As a Southern Baptist pastor, Smith believes Scripture has the power to transform their lives and ultimately lead them to salvation. As superintendent of the county school district, he thinks a basic knowledge of the Christian text helps them understand history, literature, and art. But when the Georgia state... Read More

Died: Reinhard Bonnke, Record-Setting Evangelist to Africa

Founder of Christ for All Nations, the German Pentecostal held one of the biggest evangelism crusades in history. German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, whose record-setting crusades led him to be nicknamed “the Billy Graham of Africa,” died Saturday at age 79. His ministry, Christ for All Nations (CfaN), claims that more than 79 million people came to Christ as a result of Bonnke’s career, which spanned from 1967 until his retirement in 2017. The Pentecostal evangelist... Read More

Samoa Bans Kids from Church as Measles Outbreak Kills 63

Advent will be “mellow” on South Pacific island as government restricts public gatherings amid vaccination campaign. Children in Samoa have been temporarily banned from attending church services and other public gatherings, due to a growing measles outbreak that has claimed more than 60 lives and threatens to cancel Advent celebrations. The government of the South Pacific island nation was closed today and yesterday, as officials and public health workers turned all their attention to an... Read More

Amid Christian Crackdown, China Recognizes Missionary Lottie Moon’s Church

The historic designation comes as the government shuts down fellow Christian congregations in the province, leaving advocates to wonder whether it represents propaganda or progress. As the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) collects its annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions, China has designated a church attended by the offering’s namesake a protected historical and cultural site. But a religious liberty watchdog wonders if the designation is part of an... Read More

Nobodies Were the First to Know

When God announced the birth of Christ to sweaty, uncouth shepherds, he signaled something important about the kind of Messiah he was sending. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to appear on top-rated national morning show. When I got the email confirming my appearance, my stomach tightened a bit, and I think my feet lifted off the ground. My first thought was, Wow, this will sell a ton of books. And my second thought was, Do I need to buy a new suit? I was excited and yet very,... Read More

Defining Leadership: What Is It and Why Does It Matter in Church?

Leadership is a key component in the health of any church or ministry. “Great men lead people,” Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ said. “But greater men train leaders.” As leaders we are called not only to raise up followers, but also to equip leaders. How we define Christian leadership is the crucial starting point. When I teach leadership, I walk through a few definitions, including: “Leadership is a dynamic process in which a man or woman with... Read More

LGBT Rights-Religious Liberty Bill Proposed in Congress

Fairness for All advocates hope legislation makes compromise seem possible. Congressman Chris Stewart doesn’t expect his bill to pass. But he is proposing the Fairness for All Act anyway. It’s a step of faith for Stewart, a Republican who represents Utah’s second district, and a marker on the bet that it’s possible to find a compromise that protects both religious liberty and LGBT rights. “Congress can be a frustrating place to be because it’s so... Read More

What It Means that Jesus Was ‘Without Sin’

It is central to our faith that Jesus shared our nature. Does that include its fallenness? As the lights flashed and the music blared out something caught my attention. It wasn’t the flashing lights nor was it the blaring music. As I stood excitedly at my first Chris Tomlin concert I was struck by the lyrics to his song “Jesus Messiah,” a song I was familiar with and had sung in my church many times, but this time, the well-known worship song was different to me. As the... Read More

Egypt’s Christian Women Treated Like Muslims in Inheritance. Until Now?

But Coptic activist who insists true religious equality does not yet exist goes to prison on terrorism charges. Coptic lawyer Huda Nasrallah may have won a great victory for Christian women in Egypt. Last week, a Cairo court ruled in her favor, dividing the family inheritance equally between her and her two brothers. But a few days earlier, Coptic activist Rami Kamel may have suffered a great setback for all Egyptian believers. He was arrested for his reporting of sectarian tension, and... Read More