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

Small Town Pastors See More Than Small Wonders

Rural ministry is experiencing a resurgence in the US even as economic and demographic numbers continue their decline. These days, living in small-town America often means living with less. 2018 marked another year of decline in many rural and small towns: economies suffering; local residents aging or moving away; and many struggling with addiction, disillusionment, or depression. But just as the nation declares a crisis in small communities, the church has seen new momentum around rural... Read More

Interview: How Universalism, ‘the Opiate of the Theologians,’ Went Mainstream

Michael McClymond decries the rising popularity of an idea Christians have rejected for most of church history. Rob Bell made a splash in 2011 with the release of Love Wins, a book that challenged settled Christian understandings of heaven, hell, and divine judgment. But as many critics pointed out in response, Bell’s musings about universal salvation relied on arguments that have been advanced—and mostly condemned—throughout church history. What explains the recent... Read More

How Secularity Will Advance the Gospel of the Kingdom

Religious pluralism has provided space for the Gospel to be heard. Things aren’t always as they appear. The rose-colored glasses with which we look at our religious past often artificially and inappropriately distorts our perspective on our future. As the great philosopher Billy Joel once quipped, “The good ol’ days weren’t always good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.” Our fears of tomorrow often stem from a longing to retreat back to the familiar... Read More

One-on-One with Charles Stone on ‘Holy Noticing’

A conversation about Christian mindfulness. Ed: What led you to discover mindfulness? Charles: My youngest daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 1. Through the first 25 years of her life she had a dozen brain surgeries, two devices implanted into and taken out of her body, and had part of her brain removed. I saw the effects of something wrong with the human brain. Although I had been a Christian for decades, I still greatly struggled with anxiety and worry. Even though I... Read More

Are We the Ultraviolet Light of the World? Or the X-Rays?

An astronomer ponders one of Jesus’ most memorable sayings. When Jesus defined himself as “the light of the world,” listeners probably associated those words with common objects well known to them: the hot sun of Judea, the stars twinkling in the sky, the moon shining during the night, torches they carried on the roads, small oil lamps used in their houses, or bonfires lit when camping on a long trip. In our current age, we associate the light with many other things: the... Read More

My Cocaine Habit Was Killing My NFL Dreams

How I found a power greater than the white powder that enslaved me. Don’t put the powder in your nose,” I said as I looked in the mirror. “Don’t do it.” I was sure I could talk myself out of snorting cocaine one more time. My words sounded so real, so genuine. But just like that, I saw my image disappear from the mirror as I bent down and took another hit off the table. It was an awful high. The chemicals of the cocaine laced through my body at the same time... Read More

This Fantasy Novelist Showed Me What It Means to Fear God

How Lois McMaster Bujold’s Hugo Award–winning stories depict reverence in the face of divine mystery. The fear of the Lord,” says Proverbs 1:7, “is the beginning of knowledge.” Indeed, God’s scriptural appearances are often terrifying. Moses sees only God’s cloaked back and is nearly undone by the sight (Ex. 34:4–8). Isaiah sees God’s throne room, complete with disturbingly inhuman angelic creatures, and is devastated by the gap between his... Read More