Saturday, October 24, 2015
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
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Tuesday, September 08, 2015
I shifted uncomfortably in my chair, conscious of the tension in the little room. I'd guessed this conversation was coming, since the people now sitting in front of me had seemed unhappy with my pastoral leadership for a good long time. I wasn't sure what would happen now, but I was afraid it might end badly, with hurtful words spoken and their bitter departure from our church. I mention this moment not because it's unusual in pastoral ministry—every pastor experiences such meetings sooner or later—or because it had a miraculous and uplifting outcome, but because I recall my own heart in that conversation. I claimed to be Calvinist, but I wasn't living like one. I was thinking little of God's role in this conversation—and much of the people sitting across from me.
A Doctrine to Cherish
In the years since, I've come to cherish the doctrine of God's providence and to draw strength and encouragement from it. I've begun learning what a difference it makes in the Christian life. In his Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin underscored the high stakes of believing or rejecting this doctrine: "Ignorance of providence is the ultimate of all miseries; the highest blessedness lies in the knowledge of it."
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Monday, August 24, 2015
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
Several churches held a prayer service outside a government office yesterday, holding up crosses and banners that read, "Can't remove the cross in our hearts," reports the Union of Catholic Asian News.
The cross dispute is "destined to become one of the 'pain points' in the history of the [Chinese] church's development," wrote Lude Wang in a Pushi Institute for Social Scienceanalysis highlighted by ChinaSource.
"At its core, the Zhejiang Cross Dispute has revealed that in light of the backdrop of a new society, neither the church nor the state has sufficiently prepared to enter into a mature and constructive dialogue; nor have they shown a readiness to settle their differences and conflicts on the basis if the rule of law," she wrote. "How the church will coexist within a community holding different values to itself is an urgent question."
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Pope Francis today issued a sweeping 184-page papal letter, writing that climate change is a global problem with far reaching environmental and social consequences — especially for the poor. He blamed apathy and greed and called on developing countries to limit the use of nonrenewable energy and to assist poorer nations.
"Those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms," Francis wrote of the impact of climate change in the encyclical titled "Laudato Si," or "Praise Be."
He called on humanity to collectively acknowledge a "sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded." And he wrote that climate change "represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day."
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Last fall, LifeWay Research conducted a study commissioned by Ligonier Ministries to examine the theological views of Christians throughout the United States. The results were disconcerting for those of us who hold evangelical beliefs.
Americans who self-identify as Christians seem to believe in heaven, hell, and a little bit of heresy, likely without even realizing their error.
Biblical illiteracy is running rampant within many contexts. Fewer and fewer people know what the Bible actually says about key moral and theological issues, but more and more people know what they want the Bible to say on these issues.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Southern states dominate annual list of Bible-minded cities.
The Bible Belt lived up to its name as Southern locales topped the American Bible Society (ABS) and Barna Group's annual list of Bible-minded cities, with Birmingham, Alabama, earning the No. 1 spot.
The rankings, based on a city's Bible reading habits and beliefs, come from a decade of interviews with more than 63,000 adults in the country's 100 largest metropolitan areas. While the study crowned a new winner (Chattanooga ranked first last year), manydemographic trends stayed the same, notes ABS:
As in past years, the Bible Belt performed strongly in the 2015 rankings, while East Coast cities once again brought up the rear of the list. Small cities also generally performed better than did large cities. Just one of the top 10 Bible-minded cities ranks in the top 25 media markets.