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Showing posts with the label Social Gospel

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

Dear False Teacher: The Puritan Thomas Brooks Would Like a Word with You

 By Rosaria Butterfield - Posted at reformation21: Dear Mr. False Teacher, Permit me to write boldly to you. You have repeated your shallow shibboleths in sermons, blogs, and conferences, and you have tried very hard to pretend that secular society is a neutral playground, a marketplace of ideas where Christianity is welcome to flourish. You punt for nuance every time and have made every clear teaching of the law and gospel a grey area of ambiguity. You have sought the middle road on every issue: gay marriage, transgender normalization, Black Lives Matter, and abortion. You always seek the third way. But it’s getting harder for you to persuade your flock because some of them see that a raging spiritual war has washed out the middle road and the third way. I believe that you are at a crossroads. So let me put it straight: if you are a true Christian who has fallen into some bad theology, I’m throwing you a rope. Why not grab it? Your rhetorical strategy was to yield the moral language

The Grave Danger of Liberal Protestantism

 By Al Baker - Posted at Forget None of His Benefits: “. . . be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” -Ephesians 4:23 Nelson Rockefeller, the grandson of John D. Rockefeller (America’s first billionaire who made his money through his company, Standard Oil), was the governor of New York for three terms (1959-1973), and ran three times as a Republican candidate for President of the United States. The Rockefellers were chaste, moral people who did not drink, smoke, or use profanity. John Sr. and his son John Jr. personally read the Bible daily and led their families in family worship. They were social gospel Baptists who had a deep compassion for the poor and gave huge sums of money to help them. John Jr. strongly supported the ministry of Harry Emerson Fosdick, the well known liberal Baptist preacher. When Fosdick preached his famous sermons “Shall the Fundamentalists Win?”, Rockefeller Jr. printed 130,000 copies and sent one to every Protestant minister in the country. John Jr. also buil

Addicted To Autonomy

 By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog: Carl Trueman’s two volumes on Modernity, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self (2020) and Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists redefined identity and sparked the sexual revolution (2021) are essential for understanding what is happening around us. As he notes, what we are experiencing now has been a long time coming. I point my students to the death of René Descartes (1596–1650) as a convenient turning point. Descartes was a Christian who sought to defend the faith not by beginning with God or divine authority but by beginning with the human self. His argument may be very roughly boiled down to the sentence, “I am doubting, therefore I exist.” The subject of the verb in the sentence is I. Before Descartes and the rise of Modernity, the subject of the verb had been God, as in, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In Genesis 1 , God is the subject of the verb. He is sovereign. He is speaking. He is defin

Why the Doctrine of Total Depravity

 By Al Baker - Posted at Forget None of His Benefits: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), the 28th President of the United States (1913-1921) was reared in a Presbyterian home. Wilson was five years old when the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America met at First Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Georgia in December, 1861 where his father served as pastor. Wilson grew up with the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms and no doubt as a child had memorized Question and Answer 18 of the Shorter Catechism: Q. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell? A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called Origin

Who Are the True Revolutionaries?

Source: This Day in Presbyterian History Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History: As the Schaeffers were preparing to move to Europe, the following article was published in BIBLICAL MISSIONS, the newsletter of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, under whose auspices the Schaeffers initially moved onto the European field, with the intent of planting theologically sound churches. The picture shown here is from the January 1949 issue of that same newsletter. Some will remember that this same title “Revolutionary Christianity” appears as the title of the last chapter of Schaeffer’s book, THE CHURCH AT THE END OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. The content of the 1948 article is entirely different, though it would be an interesting exercise to compare the two messages. Great minds are always building on prior accomplishments and advances, and I have to think that Schaeffer hadn’t forgotten this 1948 article when he so titled that last chapter of his book in 1970. Fo


By Thomas Littleton - Posted at Thirty Pieces of Silver: THE CHURCH IN AMERICA IS BEYOND THE TIPPING POINT AND WE HAVE LITTLE TIME TO RESPOND IF IT IS TO RECOVER. GETTING PERSONAL I am a Southern baptist and a “street ” evangelist for the last 42 years . This simply means that most of my time in ministry has been focused outward and not on the day to day happenings inside the church structures like the denominations and seminaries . However 2009-2010 brought a disturbing awareness of compromises deep within those structures and among popular leaders as a drastic shift was taking place .This shift became a painful and personal reality to me. The church in America is in DEEP trouble . Many no longer hear the true Gospel from our pulpits. Social change has replaced transformed lives . Equity and Justice echo from our pulpits like false prophets at Jezebels alters of BAAL .The house of God is scheduled to become nothing more than a hub of community development, dispensing s

A page from Hell's Playbook

By Thaddeus Williams - Posted at Reformed Perspective: If I were the devil – which some of you may believe after reading on – if my sworn mission was to devour the Christian faith from the inside out, then here is what I would not do. I would not slither into a Sunday service, breathing blasphemy and dragon fire, bragging about my triumphs at Auschwitz, commanding the congregation, “Deny that God is God!” I would not be an idiot. If I was the devil… I would dress up to look like justice, compassion, or equity, or some other ideal Christians would be quick to “Amen!” I would sink my teeth and suck the true, biblical content from those words – not that many of the Enemy’s people know the true, biblical content of those words to begin with – and then inject it with the venom of new meaning, a meaning that is antithetical to the Enemy’s definition of such silly words. Then I could get nearly every faithful Tom, Dick, and Sally to deny the Godhood of God while they think the


By Marsha West - Posted at Christian Research Network : Baptist Press has a piece on the battle brewing over a recently released statement titled Social Justice & The Gospel. As a result, “productive conversations” are now taking place by those in the evangelical community who land on different sides of the social justice discussion. John MacArthur, a conservative evangelical who spearheaded the SJ&G statement, strongly disagrees with Russell Moore, a progressive evangelical who believes that “the Gospel is a Gospel … of both justice and justification.” We shall see how this all plays out. Top tier signatories of the statement include John MacArthur, Voddie Baucham, Phil Johnson, James White, Tom Buck, Anthony Mathenia, Michael O’Fallon, Tom Ascol, Darrell Harrison, Craig Mitchell, Justin Peters, Jeremy Vuolo and Josh Buice. Over at SH&G, Phil Johnson clarifies what the signers of the statement believe to be the true Gospel of Jesus Christ in a piece he wrote ti

The Gospel Is Not Social

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : Every culture and generation has been tempted to capture Jesus for their own agenda. The Gnostics portrayed Jesus as a second-century figure (a dead give away) who was a Gnostic opposed to the church and the Christian gospel of free salvation from the wrath to come through faith alone in Christ alone. The Constantinian (post-4th century) church often portrayed Jesus as such a fearsome king and judge that the church began to search for other saviors and mediators. In the Modern era, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) re-made Jesus into his own rationalist image—he produced his own version of the New Testament stripped of supernaturalism. In the Carter 1970s and the Reagan 80s, as the baby-boomer-dominated culture turned inward, Jesus became a facilitator for our personal sense of well being. Now, with the rise of the Millennial generation, the product of the war against terror and a Carter-esque economic malaise, the concern is ostensib

Reweaving the Culture?

By Al Baker - Posted at Banner of Truth : Have you noticed the many sermons, the many books and blogs telling the church of Jesus that our purpose is to reweave the culture? Behind these statements is the idea that our world, as we know, is permanent. While they readily admit the world’s fallen state, they still say the church’s role is to labor for the redemption of culture. That is, we are to make this world a better place. This is to come they say, by practising social justice, racial reconciliation through progressive, statist, identity politics. To be fair, some who are teaching this also speak of the importance of evangelism, but they nonetheless are urging a two-fold kingdom initiative. More specifically, they are urging us, as the church of Jesus, to seek justice, reconciliation, and reparations for victims of violence, oppression, or racism; to preserve God’s creation through Green energy initiatives; to transform social and cultural systems, and to labor for the removal


By Elizabeth Prata - Posted at The End Time : It has been dizzying this past 3 months in the evangelical wider world, and very worrying in the online evangelical world. The controversies have been deep and fervent. The lines between camps within visible Christianity have widened. Seemingly stable ministries have suddenly swerved hard. There have been numerous events and controversies which reveal that we are less than unified over Christian foundational beliefs. The April conference called MLK50 sparked a division in how we as Christians are to approach race discussions. TGC and GCC's coupling for a west coast conference titled "Enduring Faithfulness" sparked a discussion about how far to delve into the culture and which topics are truly Gospel centered. Agreement was not reached and the two entities uncoupled. Beth Moore's Letter to Brothers charged the global church with misogyny and threw gas in the cultural #MeToo movement, which in turn and inflamed the e

The Anti-Gospel of Immigration Activism and American Prosperity

By Ariel Bovat - Posted at  Kaleoscope:  Several months ago, Time magazine published an article titled, Smugglers Inc. The author quotes a female coyote, which is another name for human smuggler, as she discusses her “work”: Other coyotes don’t care, they’ll just take the money and leave them, robbed or whatever. She flips through her digital ­scrapbook to find a woman who arrived in tears. “She had been raped, and had an infection.” A trip to the hospital was arranged. “And this blond woman says she was raped also. The coyote in the jungle separated her from the group and told her she couldn’t move forward until she slept with him. Latin American people, along with other ethnic groups, many of them women, risk their lives and pay large amounts of money to Latino coyotes to pay off the cartel. Once they do make it across the border, they are still at the mercy of smugglers, operating and moving them around the U.S. On June 14, 2018, special agents from U.S. Immigration an

The Gathering Storm: A Split in the Reformed World

By Todd Friel - Wretched TV Link: Watch and listen to full episodes of Wretched Radio & TV for FREE:

A Royal Wedding: How Bishop Michael Curry's Sermon Was Not Royal Enough

By Pastor Gabriel Hughes  Published 5.20.2018 So there was a royal wedding this weekend. Did you know that? You've probably had little contact with the outside world in the last several weeks if you hadn't at least heard about it. Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan Markle, an American actress, were proclaimed husband and wife yesterday during a fairy-tale wedding at Windsor Castle in the English county of Berkshire. As you might expect, it was quite lavish: the bride wore a 16-foot veil, the couple rode in a 1968 Jaguar E-Type Concept Zero converted to electric, and they had a wedding cake worth more than I've ever made in a year. An estimated 1.9 billion people tuned in to watch worldwide. Yet I was not one of them. I've always been fascinated by royalty, and Britain's is one of the oldest monarchies in the world (after Japan as the oldest, followed by Cambodia, Oman, and Morocco for your trivia pleasure). I've even watched the show Suits a few

World Evangelical leaders confer at Wheaton

Wheaton College Billy Graham Center - Wikipedia By Giselle Gaytan - Posted at The Wheaton Record : A group of 60 evangelical leaders met on Monday, April 17 and Tuesday, April 18 in the Billy Graham Center to discuss the future of American evangelicalism in the context of the term’s current political associations. “I do think the name [Evangelical] has never been held in lower public esteem. And since we can’t really avoid it, we do need to reclaim the name if we can,” said well-known pastor and author Timothy Keller, who attended the gathering. “The name is tied to the behavior of visible churches and institutions and leaders who represent evangelicalism to the world.” The name can be reclaimed, Keller said, if the behavior of many of these representatives changes. Associate Professor Politics and Law and Director of the Center for Faith, Politics and Economics David Iglesias attended the evangelical consultation. He told the Record about the political factors that made the ev

Would Christ have had to die for the social justice gospel to be true?

By John Hendryx - Posted at Monergism : So-called "progressive Christians" are all progressive and no Christian. The "social justice gospel" is all social justice and no gospel. "Nationalist Evangelicals" are all nationalist and no evangel. What do these movements have in common. They all fail to take into account the seriousness of the human condition. The missing element is regeneration: They are all law and no gospel. Human effort without new life. Take away their politics and social causes and they would have nothing to talk about and their movements would collapse in a week. Those in Christ, who are theological conservatives, on the other hand, by grace, recognize that man cannot extract himself from the morass he is in. He cannot save himself - his will is inflexibly and hopelessly corrupt. No amount of human wisdom or good works can save himself or others. The quick fixes offered by these other groups do nothing to change the nature

The “Opium Of The People” And The Opioid Crisis

Karl Marx  (1818–1883) By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : I have been thinking some lately about Karl Marx (1818–83). Now, it has been a few decades since I have read Marx but I did read him a fair bit in University as an undergraduate. I think my various Political Science professors assigned The Communist Manifest about 5 times in various courses. Beyond the reading he featured prominently in lectures. This was all before President Reagan’s 1987 “Tear Down This Wall” speech and the visible collapse of the Soviet Union, in which those who had been held hostage by Marxist-inspired communism did finally tear down the Berlin Wall in 1989. As I watched Germans and others sitting atop the wall, an act that would have had them shot only a few years earlier, I thought that the manifest evidence of the failure of the Marxist-Leninist (Communist) project would be obvious to all but I was wrong. I was wrong because I did not understand yet that Marxism is not a mere social

Racial Reconciliation, the Gospel, and the Church

Image Source: By Jarvis J. Williams - Posted at 9Marks : The relationship between the gospel and racial reconciliation has been a contested topic among evangelicals of late. Some Christians propose that the gospel and gospel action can solve the current racial divide in the church. I (an African-American) make this point in a book called One New Man , and biblical scholars Kenneth Mathews (European-American) and Sydney Park (Asian-American) make a similar point in The Post Racial Church . However, there is hardly a Christian consensus regarding the church’s role in the work of racial reconciliation. A SOCIAL ISSUE OR A GOSPEL ISSUE? Michael Emerson and Christian Smith observe in Divided by Faith (Oxford, 2000) that evangelical Christians have traditionally viewed racial reconciliation and matters of race as a “social issue” instead of a “gospel issue.” One white Southern Baptist pastor illustrates the point in his 2014 article “ I Don’t Understand the Eva

Ecumenical vs. Evangelical

By Mike Riccardi - Posted at The Cripplegate : One of the most devastating attacks on the life and health of the church throughout all of church history has been what is known as the ecumenical movement—the downplaying of doctrine in order to foster partnership in ministry between (a) genuine Christians and (b) people who were willing to call themselves Christians but who rejected fundamental Christian doctrines. In the latter half of the 19th century, theological liberalism fundamentally redefined what it meant to be a Christian. It had nothing to do, they said, with believing in doctrine. It didn’t matter if you believed in an inerrant Bible; the scholarship of the day had debunked that! It didn’t matter if you believed in the virgin birth and the deity of Christ; modern science disproved that! It didn’t matter if you embraced penal substitutionary atonement; blood sacrifice and a wrathful God are just primitive and obscene, and besides, man is not fundamentally sinful but b