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Showing posts with the label Evangelicalism

Andy Stanley’s controversial Unconditional Conference and how to live biblically in a post-Christian culture

 By Ryan Denison - Posted at Denison Forum: As Andy Stanley’s church and public profile have grown, the pastor has become an increasingly controversial figure in Christian life. His attempts to make the gospel attractive to the lost appear to come from a genuine desire to help people know the Lord, but too often he crosses boundaries that end up drawing people to a god that stands in contrast to the God of Scripture. As such, perhaps it should not come as a surprise that he and his church are in the news once again in the buildup to the Unconditional Conference that they will host next week. The Unconditional Conference is an event “for parents of LGBTQ+ children and for ministry leaders looking to discover ways to support parents and LGBTQ+ children in their churches.” They promise that those who attend “will be equipped, refreshed, and inspired as you hear from leading communicators on topics that speak to your heart, soul, and mind,” adding that “no matter what theological stance

The Rise and Fall of the Evangelical Elite

The penultimate “Together for the Gospel” conference in 2020 in Louisville, Ky.  (Together for the Gospel Coalition) Image Source: Chronicles  By Stephen Wolfe - Posted at Chronicles: I converted to Christ in the year 2000, leaving behind my atheistic contrarianism. I entered American Protestantism completely unaware that something unique was occurring. In the 1980s, Calvinism reemerged as a potent intellectual force in evangelicalism, spearheaded by Baptists John Piper and John MacArthur and Presbyterian R. C. Sproul. In the early 2000s, young Gen X seminary graduates and writers who were influenced by these men became a movement known as the Young, Restless, and Reformed (YRR). New personalities and publishers emerged, and megachurches were formed. Centered on Calvinistic doctrines of salvation, these Baby Boomers and Gen X Calvinists achieved a good deal of theological unity. Their cross- and intra-generational unity was most evident in the Together for the Gospel conferences (T4G),

Nancy Mace, premarital sex, and the Bible

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., speaking at the South Carolina Prayer Breakfast.  (Photo credit: U.S. Senator Tim Scott)  By Shane Vander Hart Congresswoman Nancy Mace believes premarital sex is something to joke about, not repent of, and, unfortunately, she's not alone. On Thursday, at the South Carolina Prayer Breakfast, hosted by U.S. Senator Tim Scott, R-S.C., U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., explained why she was almost late to the event. "When I woke up this morning at 7, I was getting picked up at 7:45, Patrick, my fiance, tried to pull me by my waist over this morning in bed. And I was like, 'No, baby, we don't got time for that this morning. I gotta get to the prayer breakfast, and I gotta be on time," she said. "A little TMI. He can wait, I'll see him later tonight," Mace added. Fox News reports that the group gathered "chuckled." The New York Post reported the crowd laughed nervously. (They also called South Carolina the "Tar

Breakpoint: 'The Rise and Fall of Evangelical America: Lasting Faith Needs Deeper Soil'

 By John Stonestreet and Shane Morris: Published July 25, 2023 Perhaps, given how quickly the evangelical bubble burst, part of the problem was that it was filled with shallow belief. In the parable of the sower, Jesus illustrated how the seed of God’s Word flourishes or perishes depending on the kind of ground it falls on. Some seeds fell on a path, and birds ate them. Some fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the seedlings. “Other seeds,” said Jesus, “fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away.” That rocky soil group aptly describes the rapid rise and decline of evangelicals in America in recent decades. Recently, political scientist Ryan Burge, co-author of The Great Dechurching , explained how, between 1983 and 1993, the share of Americans who identified as evangelicals exploded . In fact, at their height i

What Anti-Trafficking Experts Think of the Hit Movie ‘Sound of Freedom’

 By Emily Belz - Posted at Christianity Today: Published July 12, 2023 Ministries and former law enforcement have some caveats to add to the film about Operation Underground Railroad’s Tim Ballard. In a field crowded with franchises like Indiana Jones, the unexpected box office success of the summer is a movie about child sex trafficking, Sound of Freedom . Based on the story of Operation Underground Railroad’s Tim Ballard, the small-budget film has earned $45 million since its July 4 release. The movie tells the story of Ballard (Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in 2004’s The Passion of the Christ ) becoming frustrated with his work as a Department of Homeland Security agent arresting pedophiles. He wants to rescue the children being sex trafficked, but he says at one point, “Most of those kids are outside of the US.” He quits his job and goes rogue to track down a brother and sister who have been trafficked, traveling to Mexico and Colombia. He and his assembled team try to set up an

Few Worship Leaders Avoid Hillsong, Bethel Songs — Despite Controversies and Scandal

 By Sam Smietana - Posted at Ministry Watch: A new study looked at how worship leaders pick music for services — at a time when a handful of megachurches dominate the market. (RNS) — For the past decade, a handful of megachurches have dominated worship music, churning out hits such as “Goodness of God,” “What a Beautiful Name,” “King of Kings” and “Graves Into Gardens.” And though churches like Australia-based Hillsong and Bethel Church in California have met with scandal and controversy, worship leaders still keep singing their songs. A new study released Tuesday (July 11) found that few worship leaders avoid songs from Hillsong and Bethel, two of the so-called Big Four megachurches that dominate modern worship music. The study found that most worship leaders connect with songs because they’ve experienced them firsthand at a conference or by listening to them online, or because a friend or church member recommended them — rather than seeing the song at the top of the charts or on a

The Decline of the Mainline Continues

 By Warren Cole Smith - Posted at Ministry Watch: A new study by demographer Ryan Burge got a lot of attention on the MinistryWatch website this week. Burge took a deep dive into membership numbers for nine Protestant denominations, going back 30 or so years. He included both “mainline” denominations and newer, more evangelical denominations. He found that most Protestant denominations in this country are losing members, and even those that are growing are mostly not keeping pace with the population growth of the country. One of the key findings is that the decline of the mainline churches is even worse than has been previously reported. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is down 41 percent from the early 80s. The United Church of Christ is less than half the size it was in the 1980s. The United Methodist Church (UMC) is down 31 percent. The picture for the UMC is likely to get much worse. Over 15 percent of its churches are disaffiliating just this year , and that incl

Pat Robertson (March 22, 1930 – June 8, 2023)

 Posted at CBN News : Honoring Pat Robertson, 1930-2023: Witness to a God-Sized, World-Changing Dream Pat Robertson: March 22, 1930 – June 8, 2023 VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Pat Robertson, longtime TV host, religious broadcaster, educator, humanitarian, and one-time presidential candidate died at his home in Virginia Beach early Thursday morning. He was 93. Perhaps best known for offering prayer and political commentary at the helm of The 700 Club, the flagship program of his media ministry, Robertson’s rise to prominence is rooted in what he called a vision from God to create The Christian Broadcasting Network, which he founded in 1960. A prolific innovator, he also started a Christian university, a legal advocacy group, and an international NGO specializing in disaster relief. Read more here. See also: Died: Pat Robertson, Broadcast Pioneer Who Brought Christi...... | News & Reporting | Christianity Today Pat Robertson, Broadcaster Who Helped Make Religion Central to GOP Politics, Die

Dave Ramsey Sued for $150 Million by Former Fans Who Followed His Timeshare Exit Advice

 By Bob Smietana - Posted at Ministry Watch : The class-action lawsuit is the latest legal woe for Ramsey and his company (RNS) — A group of former followers of Dave Ramsey has sued the Christian finance guru and radio host, along with his company and a marketing firm, for endorsing a failed timeshare exit company that allegedly defrauded customers out of millions. Seventeen former Ramsey listeners filed a class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Western Washington alleging Ramsey was paid as much as $30 million from 2015 to 2021 to endorse Timeshare Exit Team, a Kirkland, Washington-based firm that collected $200 million from clients — many of them Ramsey listeners — in exchange for a promise to free them from their timeshare obligations. That promise came with a money-back guarantee. But the company, which often collected more than $5,000 per customer, failed to live up to its promises. In 2021, Reed Hein & Associates LLC, which did business as Timeshare Exit Team, pai

Hillsong Report Highlights Ministries Operating Like Businesses — But Without Public Accountability

Report features a lucrative honorarium model tempting many U.S. pastors to pay to play By Jessica Eturralde - Posted at  Ministry Watch: Last month, a whistleblower document disclosing Hillsong Church’s financial details highlighted the burgeoning popularity of reciprocal honorarium practices in ministries worldwide. A common growth strategy in the for-profit business circuit, honorariums are fees given to someone for something outside their normal job responsibilities—like giving a talk. And they have slowly found their way into evangelical circles. Although the amounts are often negotiable, more evangelical speakers require a fee to secure bookings. Findings in the Hillsong report are prompting donors to question at what point giving sermons or talks is or is not part of a pastor’s job. Also, how should leaders report honorariums if they regularly require a fee to speak? The custom of inviting and hosting guest speakers is nothing new for churches. Traditionally, host churches have

Thinking About Revival (1)

Asbury Revival - Image Source: Relevant Magazine By David de Bruyn - Posted at Churches Without Chests: Published February 20, 2023 Right now, something is happening on the campus of Asbury University in Kentucky. What began as a chapel service has turned now into a several-day worship service of singing and prayer. People from other universities have been busing in to see and to participate. People are queuing up outside the chapel. There are both people cheering it on, and claiming this is a revival the answer to prayer, and there are people sceptical, doubtful that this is more than emotion, and a kind of prolonged crowd-hysteria. I find that the momentum of the moment is to believe that it is true, and to harshly criticise those who are in any way doubtful, or even just unpersuaded. The tradition I grew up in is known as revivalism. Revivalism doesn’t only seek revival to come when God sovereignly wills it, in some ways, it seeks it every week. A lot of this began in the 19th centu

The Jesus Revolution?

Source:  Jesus Revolution   By Taigen Joos - Posted at G3 Ministries: Published February 22, 2023 The worldwide release of a new film entitled Jesus Revolution is set for Friday, February 24. The film is based on a book by the same title written by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, CA. The book and the subsequent movie tell the story of the so-called Jesus Movement of the 1960s and 1970s, which was centralized in southern California. Being rooted in the hippie culture, these young people were experimenting with all kinds of things like drugs, sex, and religious pursuits. Hippies were a counter-cultural group of adolescents and young adults looking for meaning in life in the face of what they viewed as a meaningless war in Vietnam and a frustrating American political climate. The Jesus Movement is said to have been a major spiritual working of God in these hippie sub-cultures, not only in southern California, but also around the nation. Converted hippies

Wait-and-See? Challenges Lie Ahead for Trump and Evangelicals

 By David Brody - Posted at CBN News: While it's clear Donald Trump is all-in for 2024, his MAGA hold on evangelicals may have lost some strength. A lot has happened since last time around: January 6th; the fallout with Mike Pence; the Mar-a-Lago classified documents; the continued focus on the past election and just overall drama. So does he have work to do this time around with evangelicals? "He has real work to do, let's not kid ourselves," says his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. "I'm sure that the team has a plan, but the work with the evangelicals and others that he may have taken for granted in 2020 is very real." As it stands, some of the prominent faithful who fervently backed Trump last time are still in the pews, not yet willing to commit. There's been no official support from the likes of Franklin Graham, Jack Graham or Albert Mohler – all previous backers. As for Pastor Robert Jeffress, once a vocal Trump defender says he'

He gets us? But who is he?

 By Ryan Biese - Posted at Mid the Pines : A trendy new "Jesus marketing" campaign seeks to rebrand a familiar figure. “They are wanting to know more about a Jesus who is a false Jesus,” said the Reverend Tom Buck in reference to the new HeGetsUs campaign which ChristianityToday describes as a campaign to “ make Jesus the ‘biggest brand in your city. ” The HeGetsUs campaign aims not to get people to “go to church,” but rather invite people to “ consider the story of a man who created a radical love movement that continues to impact the world thousands of years later .” As they explain on their website : He Gets Us is a movement to reintroduce people to the Jesus of the Bible and his confounding love and forgiveness. We believe his words, example, and life have relevance in our lives today and offer hope for a better future. They seem to believe the public “image” of Jesus needs to be rehabilitated for the 21st Century. They realized a problem according to Jason Vandergrou

Should We Abandon “Evangelical?”

 By Tim Challies The word evangelical seems to have fallen out of favor, and perhaps for reasons that are understandable. Where the word once had a distinct Christian meaning, in recent years it has come to be conflated with politics as much as religion, with civil issues as much as spiritual. Many wonder whether the term is worth salvaging or if we should simply move on. Many wonder whether Christians should still consider themselves evangelical or whether it would better serve Christ’s cause to find a new self-description. Michael Reeves has wondered this as well and has written Gospel People: A Call for Evangelical Integrity to address the issue. “This is a book about being people of the gospel,” he says. “In other words, this is a book about what it means to be evangelical. I believe that there is a biblical case to be made for the importance and the goodness of being evangelical.” This is not to say that he will defend everything that calls itself evangelical since “across the w

Because She's Black?

 By Samuel Sey - Posted at Slow to Write: We’ve reached a point in evangelicalism when we’ve become so desensitized by abortion and so manipulated by critical race theorists that some of us would unashamedly celebrate the confirmation of an unjust Supreme Court Justice because she’s black. Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to America’s Supreme Court a couple of days ago—making her the first black woman to receive that honour. However, she is the latest dishonourable character in the honourable role. Just as she infamously claims she doesn’t know what a woman is—she also claims she doesn’t know when life begins. In a better society, her claims would make her unfit for any consequential role. But in our depraved society, she’s a Supreme Court Justice. Her history as a judicial activist for abortion is one of the reasons why Joe Biden nominated her (with strong support from Planned Parenthood and NARAL) in keeping with his promise to select a judge who would help strengthen and expand

GOP 'romance' with evangelicals may be chilling down

By Steve Jordahl and Chad Groening - Posted at American Family News: The Republican National Committee has struck a deal with the Log Cabin Republicans, the homosexual wing of the party. That's not sitting well with some observers who suggest it may be a step too far for the evangelical voting bloc. RNC chair Ronna McDaniel created a furor last week when she revealed the launching of a new initiative called the "Pride Coalition" in partnership with the Log Cabin Republicans, which describes itself as "LGBT conservatives and straight allies who support fairness, freedom, and equality for all." McDaniel was forced to do damage control when a number of evangelical leaders like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and John Stonestreet of the Colson Center expressed their fears that the arrangement will undercut the RNC's pro-family, pro-faith agenda and make it look more like the Democratic Party. The RNC chair sent emails to the GOP's 168 committee

'Let's Go Brandon' Chant at Megachurch Draws Rebuke: 'This Is Blasphemous'

 By Michael Foust - Posted at Christian Headlines: A chant of “Let’s Go Brandon” at a well-known Texas church over the weekend was met with a round of rebuke from multiple Christian leaders, who called the moment shameful and antithetical to Jesus’ teachings. The phrase – a substitute for “F--- Joe Biden” – was chanted Saturday at the Reawaken America Tour rally at San Antonio’s Cornerstone Church, where popular author John Hagee serves as pastor. A video of the chant went viral on social media, with another video showing the chant being led from the stage. The rally was organized by Clay Clark and featured dozens of speakers, including Mike Lindell, Michael Flynn and Greg Locke. The videos show attendees on their feet and clapping while chanting the phrase – similar to how fans at a sporting event would act. Read more... Editor's Note: Cornerstone Church has distanced themselves from this rally. Please read more here.  - AW See also: Pastor John Hagee (Christian Research Ins

Elite Evangelicalism’s Allergy to Complementarianism

 By Denny Burk  Former editor of Christianity Today, Mark Galli, wrote a jaw-dropping column last week. Galli’s essay discusses where the next generation of evangelical leadership is going to emerge from. Will it be from among “elite evangelicalism” (e.g., Fuller Seminary, CT, Intervarsity Press, World Vision, etc.), or will it be from among the constellation of “reactionary Reformed conservatives” (e.g., Doug Wilson)? Galli then goes on to talk about his tenure at Christianity Today and what it revealed to him about the priorities of “elite evangelicalism.” He writes , Elite evangelicalism (represented by CT, IVPress, World Vision, Fuller Seminary, and a host of other establishment organizations) is too often “a form of cultural accommodation dressed as convictional religion.” These evangelicals want to appear respectable to the elite of American culture. This has been a temptation since the emergence of contemporary evangelicalism in the late 1940s, the founding of Christianity Tod

'Woke Culture' in the Church Is 'Deadly' for the Gospel, Pastor Michael Youseff Warns

Image Source:  About Us (  By Milton Quintanilla - Posted at Christian Headlines: One Egyptian-American pastor is speaking out against “woke culture” arguing that the ideology has permeated many evangelical churches in America today. Dr. Michael Youssef, 72, is the pastor of the 3,000-member Church of The Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia and is also the founder of Leading the Way television ministry. In a recent interview with The Christian Post , Youssef noted how pastors are rapidly embracing “woke culture” in their churches because it’s “popular and appeals to the flesh.” “Bowing to woke culture allows you to avoid rejection by culture and society,” he explained. “It’s a very, very popular message that is now being preached from many evangelical pulpits; traditionally Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching churches. We have gone so far that it just grieves me to the point that I literally sometimes just weep tears.” Critical Race Theory (CRT), Youseff says, is one evidence of “woke