Theology of the Future

Bible scholars, theologians, and philosophers used to work together. N.T. Wright believes they need to do so again. Stop thinking like children.” Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians is even more urgent for us today. Though they should be like little children when it came to evil, he insisted they should be grown-ups when it came to thinking. To that end, Paul constantly tried to teach people not only what to think but how to think. This remains vital. The various disciplines... Read More

The Suffering Servant Only Makes Sense in the Context of the Trinity

The historical Christian doctrine helps us to see the goodness of God in Good Friday. Good Friday sermons aren’t always easy to sit through. They’re even tougher to preach. Never have I been more moved or more likely to squirm in my seat in church than on Good Friday. Perhaps that’s because they invite us to sit in the midnight passages of Scripture, caught up with suffering, death, and the purposes of God. For many of us, it is a trial to read Good Friday texts and still... Read More

Should We Rethink the 30-minute Sermon Lecture?

Our message should encompass both Scripture and our congregants questions. Recently, a group of pastors asked me this question: “Should we rethink the 30-minute sermon lecture in light of the many different ways classroom teaching is currently conducted?” They are part of a year-long initiative by the Center for Excellence in Preaching at Calvin Seminary to strengthen the quality of preaching. In an effort to answer this question, the group of pastors asked me to lead a preaching... Read More

ECFA Suspends Harvest Bible Chapel’s Accreditation

Under James MacDonald, Chicago-area megachurch may have been in “serious violation” of 4 out of 7 stewardship standards, says Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. Harvest Bible Chapel had its accreditation suspended this week by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), after “new information” led to concerns that spending under former senior pastor James MacDonald was in “serious violation” of 4 of the agency’s 7 standards... Read More

Court Overturns Atheist Victory Against Pastors’ Best Benefit

Seventh Circuit rules Clergy Housing Allowance is constitutional, despite challenge by Freedom from Religion Foundation. For the second time, a popular tax break for pastors has been judged permissible under the US Constitution, despite efforts by an atheist legal group to prove otherwise. Today the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s 2017 ruling that the Clergy Housing Allowance violates the First Amendment. Offered only to “ministers of the... Read More

Making Missions Count: How a Major Database Tracked Thailand’s Church-Planting Revival

A movement in Southeast Asia shows how real-time reporting is building Great Commission connections. Dwight Martin can tell you the exact number of churches in Thailand. At the start of 2019, his site reported 5,805. By the next week, the number would be different. While missionaries overseas, and even Western churches, often rely on broad estimates, he can calculate exactly how many subdistricts in the Buddhist kingdom have no churches at all (5,509) and how many people live in communities... Read More

Lessons from Evangelicalism’s PR Guru

Mark DeMoss represented Christian organizations through highs and lows, but we’re all tasked with representing Christ. I’ve spent my entire professional life at the intersection of two fields increasingly held in low esteem by much of society: public relations and Christianity. In January, nearly two years removed from cancer treatment, I announced my decision to close the PR firm that bears my name, after occupying a front-row seat for so much evangelical history. Having worked with... Read More

Cinema of God: Muslims Memorialize Augustine

North African nations bring church father to the silver screen. The students at Wheaton College were surprised: Wait, Saint Augustine was African? Shown the international award-winning Augustine: Son of Her Tearsfor a freshman seminar that reads his Confessions, they witnessed history brought to life beyond the text, said Sarah Miglio, dean of curriculum. So did the Muslim actors who depicted the story of the Christian theologian. The cast and creators now want to remind the world—and... Read More

Who Says Social Media Can’t Make You Wise?

Done right, Facebook offers a chance for discernment and connection. Facebook decided to kick off 2019 with a challenge: Compare your first profile picture to your most recent one to see how hard aging hit you over the past ten years. I pulled up my first profile picture and stared at it, the air exiting my lungs and an odd numbness seeping up from my toes. Hello, fresh-faced person. I remember you. I remember that shirt, the wallpaper in that kitchen, that haircut. I also remember the night... Read More

Gleanings: March 2019

Important developments in the church and the world (as they appeared in our March issue). Asia Bibi exonerated, awaits asylum After eight years in prison and on death row, Asia Bibi no longer faces legal threats over allegations of blasphemy. In January, the Supreme Court upheld her acquittal and denied requests for further review made by the Muslim leader who brought charges against her. But the Pakistani Christian remains in danger of violence from vigilantes and has struggled to obtain... Read More