Wanted: Dead or Alive - What is Actually Happening to American Evangelicalism?
Last week's religion news was schizophrenic. Is there a coming evangelical disaster or a resurgence of Neo-Calvinism as one of the 10 ideas changing the world? Here are a few interesting articles to help gain some clarity:
- More Americans say they have no religion, -Associated Press, March 8th
- The coming evangelical collapse -Michael Spencer, Christian Science Monitor, March 10th
- Survey: Less Than 1 Percent of Young Adults Hold Biblical Worldview -Jennifer Riley, Christian Post March 10th
- Losing My Religion...Not So Fast -Lauren Green, Religion Correspondent; Fox News, March 11th
- 10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now...# 3 The New Calvinism -David Van Biema, Time Magazine, (this one is worth quoting...) "Neo-Calvinist ministers and authors don't operate quite on a Rick Warren scale. But, notes Ted Olsen, a managing editor at Christianity Today, "everyone knows where the energy and the passion are in the Evangelical world" — with the pioneering new-Calvinist John Piper of Minneapolis, Seattle's pugnacious Mark Driscoll and Albert Mohler, head of the Southern Seminary of the huge Southern Baptist Convention. The Calvinist-flavored ESV Study Bible sold out its first printing, and Reformed blogs like Between Two Worlds are among cyber-Christendom's hottest links."
- Why the Time Magazine Trumpeting of New Calvinism Is a Bad Thing -Thabiti Anyabwile, Tuesday, March 17 (a respectful and sober treatment of the issue)
EDITORIAL: I'm never too keen on church death predictions. Some churches may die, but Christ's church will never die. His claim was simple; "I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. He will build his church but he will build no one else's. That's why the first wound toward the death of a movement comes in the form of a label. I'm certain that the leaders of this fresh new movement of God love Jesus supremely (their ministries have increased my love for Christ) but we should all be careful to accept any labels lest we minimize Christ leadership and work in building the church.
When Ideas Collide...
Collision Course: Homosexuality and Christianity?
- "Equality Ride 2008: Faith in Action: Social Justice for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered People." Young Evangelicals Are Ditching the Christian Right's Bigoted Agenda -Pam Chamberlain, The Public Eye, March 6th
- Christian and gay -Emma Midgley, BBC, February 24th
Collision Course: Islam and Christianity?
- Families of dead soldiers react with fury to Muslim hate preacher's taunts -Andrew Levy and Paul Harris, DailyMail Online (UK), March 12th
- Egyptian Christian Burned Alive; Father Murdered Also -Ethan Cole, Christian Post Reporter, March 10th
- Minister beaten after clashing with Muslims on his TV show -Jonathan Petre, DailyMail Online (UK), March 15th
- Islam and freedom of speech -Geert Wilders, The Boston Globe, March 8, 2009. Geert Wilders is a member of the Dutch Parliament and head of the Freedom Party. In 2008 he released "Fitna," a controversial film about the Koran and jihadist violence. Wilders was condemned as an anti-Muslim agitator but also hailed as a defender of Western values and free speech. In January, a Dutch court ordered Wilders prosecuted for allegedly inciting hatred against Islam. He is interviewed here by the Boston Globe
- Report: Obama Considers Reaching Out To Taliban by The Associated Press discussed on NPR, March 10th
EDITORIAL: The point here in collecting these resources is NOT to elicit Fred Phelps-ian foolish outrage and fear, but to challenge us to consider what we really believe about the Scripture. The pressure to compromise the teaching of the Bible (on homosexuality, 1 Tim 1:9-10 and the exclusivity of Christ, Acts 4:12 for instance) is not something new but it is increasing and may eventually come from the state. We have to wrestle with some big decisions now.
- Can we be loving and hold to the authority of the Bible? (Is that a false dichotomy?)
- When do we stand against authority that compromises Scripture?
- Would it be more loving to compromise?
There is a very real possibility that we will all be faced with these challenging questions and our "standing" may come a great cost. Where will we stand?
(Comparable) Quote(s) of the Week
"[We urge the U.S. to] maintain its good credit, to honor its promises and to guarantee the safety of China's assets...We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets, to be honest, I am definitely a little worried." - Chinese Premier Wen JiabaoThe rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. (Proverbs 22.7)
In the Arts
Ryan Adams is writing...
RYAN ADAMS RELEASING BOOKS LIKE HE RELEASES ALBUMS -Joe Shearer, Past Magazine Online, March 11th
"Prolific" has always kind of been Ryan Adam's middle name when it comes to records (he's released 10 of them in the last nine years), but it seems he's taking that work ethic to the book world. Not one, but two books are slated for this year. more...
The Gospel Coalition website has a growing collection of video interviews (2 - 12 minutes long) that are definitely worth reviewing.
Soul of the Author
On a date with my wife and Mac (our 5 yr-old), I bought a Schleich lion and a lamb to adorn my desk. From heavy counseling situations to demands as a father/husband to disappointments in ministry to the stress of preaching the word, I need to be reminded of Christ's sufficiency and supremacy. Jonathan Edwards, while expounding on Revelation 5, once said that in Christ we find "an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies." Lion and lamb. Ruler over all and intercessor for my sin. That's my Jesus.