• Our Venezuelan Brothers and Sisters in Christ Are Suffering

    Here’s how the church is faring as the country experiences increasing political tumult, blackouts, water shortages, and out of control inflation.
    Venezuela has been in crisis for years, but the situation there has arguably taken an even greater turn for the worse in recent weeks. Recently, a blackoutcut off the entire country from electricity. Citizens have also been victim to frequent water shortages and a currency that is losing its value at unprecedented rates.
    At the same time, more th
  • An MIT Professor Meets the Author of All Knowledge

    I used to think religious people were ignoramuses. Then I got smart and took a chance on God.
    As early as grade school, when I was a voracious reader and a straight-A student, I identified with being smart. And I believed smart people didn’t need religion. As a result, I declared myself an atheist and dismissed people who believed in God as uneducated.
    In high school, I led a classroom debate team arguing for a godless form of evolution, confident my side would win because “this was
  • 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
  • African American Students Respond to Southern Seminary’s Slavery Report

    After an unflinching look at its racist past, SBC’s flagship seminary aims to honor a more diverse population on campus.
    After overhearing a tour guide honoring the early leaders of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary buried in Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery, Latevia Priddy felt like she had to speak up.
    “It’s like you’ve given a one-sided version of the history of Southern,” Priddy, a biblical counseling student, explained later to a staff member at her ca
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  • Transhumanism and the Cult of ‘Better, Faster, Stronger’

    Why the church should resist technologies that aim to liberate us from ordinary, embodied life.
    Amid the pop-culture detritus of my childhood, one unforgettable fragment is the TV series The Six Million Dollar Man. For the children of the 1970s, Steve Austin (played by Lee Majors) was our first cyborg, fitted with a “bionic” eye and limbs after a nearly fatal accident. Every episode began by retelling his origin story, as a voiceover intoned: “We can rebuild him. We have the te
  • 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 grouped
  • 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 see G
  • The Anvil of the Evangelical Mind

    Schools and scholars can help the Christ-centered movement become allthe more Jesusy.
    Historian Mark Noll’s prophetic call in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind launched a thousand more laments about the shallowness of evangelical scholarship and thinking.
    The judgment remains accurate as far as it goes. American evangelical Christians are American Christians, and Americans have never valued the life of the mind as much as they might. But where Noll’s 1994 volume lamented the dearth
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  • 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 wor
  • Religious Freedom Isn’t Just for Christians

    A Supreme Court cruelty reveals how we can love our neighbors.
    Had Domineque Ray been a Christian, he’d have been executed with a chaplain kneeling by his side, praying with him. But Domineque Ray was not a Christian, and he did not want a Christian chaplain. He wanted his imam present in the execution chamber instead.
    At a January 23 meeting, the warden at the Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama, refused Ray’s request. Ray’s imam, who has ministered at Holman for y
  • One-on-One with Dean Inserra on Cultural Christianity

    “The biggest barrier to reaching cultural Christians is that there is no clear starting point for a conversation.”
    Ed: How do you define cultural Christianity?
    Dean: Cultural Christianity is difficult to define because there is no established category that exists for this religious group. I believe it begins by understanding that this is an actual religion. Cultural Christians claim to be Christians, but by that claim they mean they are not atheists, agnostics, Jewish, or Muslim. The
  • Grand Canyon University’s Online Seminary Gains Accreditation

    After shedding its for-profit status, GCU becomes a bigger competitor for traditional Christian colleges.
    With 90,000 students online and on campus, Grand Canyon University (GCU) now ranks as the biggest Christian college in America.
    After a decade growing its bottom line and its enrollment as a for-profit entity, GCU transitioned to nonprofit status in July 2018. Meanwhile, the for-profit college industry that GCU tried for years to leave behind continues to crash.
    The Pentecostal Dream Center
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  • 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 standard
  • 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 gospel,” th
  • 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 espe
  • Inside the Popular, Controversial Bethel Church

    Some visitors claim to be healed. Others claim to receive direct words from God. Is it 'real'--or dangerous?I have seen a man dance holding a translucent scarf, the fabric billowing around his spinning form like a garment made of stars. I have prayed for strangers’ healing from high-blood pressure and unspecified neurological disorders. I have wept with salt-faced abandon as four women prayed over me; I have walked through a “fire tunnel”; I have seen a woman bob in Hasidic fas
  • Why Augustine’s ‘Come to Jesus’ Moment Tells an Incomplete Story

    The same church father who experienced a radical turn to faith also preached a gospel of continual conversion.
    My parents bought me my first copy of Augustine’s Confessions when I was a young teen. In this classic of the Western literary canon, the church father Augustine describes his sometimes wayward youth, his eventual conversion to Christ, and how God transformed his way of seeing the world. The book has captured the imagination of countless spiritual and intellectual seekers and shap
  • Power and Pastors: Part 2

    Too many Christians fail to consider the propensity leaders have to abuse power.
    James, the half-brother of Jesus, writes, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” (James 4:17). Applying Andy Crouch’s definition of power—the ability to make something of the world—to this verse would suggest that those who know what they should do (or refrain from doing) in order to make something better of the world for the glory of God and the
  • Power and Pastors: Part 1

    Recovering A Biblical Understanding of Power
    The Billy Graham Center recently hosted a conversation at the GC2 Summit about sexual assault and abuse, harassment, legal issues, consent, responses to abuse, the important role of governmental authorities, the rule of law, and additional topics vital and urgent to discuss in today's culture. Church leaders—women in particular—are gaining a prophetic platform to call out injustices and abuses, both inside and outside the church, that have
  • Do 47 Percent of Christian Millennials Think Evangelism Is Wrong?

    Many young Christians clearly hold a negative view of evangelism. But why?
    There is something about a good statistic that can capture our attention and ignite debate. Seemingly more than an opinion or an anecdote, it tells us something concrete about the way our world is and how our experience of our world relates to broad trends outside of our narrow slice.
    So it’s not surprising that a new statistic is making the rounds on social media and in church board rooms across the United States.
  • Churches That Play Together Stay Together

    Pastors report the congregational gains of letting loose as a body.
    In its new Households of Faith report, Barna researchers claim that one of the many reasons “vibrant households” stand out from others is because they engage in “meaningful, fun, quality time with both their housemates and extended household members.” That includes playing games together (32%), sharing meals (63% eat breakfast as a family and 75% eat dinner as a family), and enjoying other leisure activit
  • Richard Mouw Wrestles with Evangelicalism, Past and Present

    Reading his book is like enjoying a cup of tea with a wise elder statesman.
    Among my favorite books is Catholic activist Dorothy Day’s The Long Loneliness. When asked why, I often reply, “Because it’s like enjoying a cup of tea with a wise older woman who lived an astoundingly courageous life and led some of the most important movements of her generation.” Day’s book is conversational in tone and might mention names or historical events I don’t recognize. But
  • Interview: How Universalism, ‘the Opiate of the Theologians,’ Went Mainstream

    Michael McClymond decries the rising popularity of an idea Christians have rejected for most of church history.
    Rob Bell made a splash in 2011 with the release of Love Wins, a book that challenged settled Christian understandings of heaven, hell, and divine judgment. But as many critics pointed out in response, Bell’s musings about universal salvation relied on arguments that have been advanced—and mostly condemned—throughout church history. What explains the recent resurgence
  • How Secularity Will Advance the Gospel of the Kingdom

    Religious pluralism has provided space for the Gospel to be heard.
    Things aren’t always as they appear. The rose-colored glasses with which we look at our religious past often artificially and inappropriately distorts our perspective on our future. As the great philosopher Billy Joel once quipped, “The good ol’ days weren’t always good, and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems.”[1] Our fears of tomorrow often stem from a longing to retreat back to the familiar &n
  • How Christian Art Historically Depicts Women and Their Bodies

    Examining how female biblical characters have been visually represented over time.
    As part of the launch of her latest book, Shameless: A Sexual Reformation, Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber asked would-be readers to mail her their purity rings. Then she took the submissions and had them melted down and turned into a vagina statue.
    While the action earned attention for its shock value, Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren recently pointed out for CT that this was far from the first example of va
  • One-on-One with Charles Stone on ‘Holy Noticing’

    A conversation about Christian mindfulness.
    Ed: What led you to discover mindfulness?
    Charles: My youngest daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 1. Through the first 25 years of her life she had a dozen brain surgeries, two devices implanted into and taken out of her body, and had part of her brain removed. [She is doing well now and studying to be a chaplain.]
    I saw the effects of something wrong with the human brain. Although I had been a Christian for decades, I still greatly strug
  • Are We the Ultraviolet Light of the World? Or the X-Rays?

    An astronomer ponders one of Jesus' most memorable sayings.
    When Jesus defined himself as “the light of the world,” listeners probably associated those words with common objects well known to them: the hot sun of Judea, the stars twinkling in the sky, the moon shining during the night, torches they carried on the roads, small oil lamps used in their houses, or bonfires lit when camping on a long trip.
    In our current age, we associate the light with many other things: the screen of a
  • What Shakespeare Taught Me About Ash Wednesday

    On the first day of Lent, I’m reminded of a love that “alters not” and “bears it out even to the edge of doom.”
    Many years ago this winter, I published my first novel. That was a proud day for me. I had a sense of maybe having achieved something of lasting significance. The novel sold reasonably well, made it into a second and third reprinting, and was even brought out again in mass-market paperback. But three or four years after it first came out, my publisher told
  • This Fantasy Novelist Showed Me What It Means to Fear God

    How Lois McMaster Bujold’s Hugo Award–winning stories depict reverence in the face of divine mystery.
    The fear of the Lord,” says Proverbs 1:7, “is the beginning of knowledge.” Indeed, God’s scriptural appearances are often terrifying. Moses sees only God’s cloaked back and is nearly undone by the sight (Ex. 34:4–8). Isaiah sees God’s throne room, complete with disturbingly inhuman angelic creatures, and is devastated by the gap between his i
  • The Church Growth Gap: The Big Get Bigger While the Small Get Smaller

    The US congregations most likely to grow are the 10 percent that already have more than 250 worshipers.
    In many congregations in the United States, new faces in the pews have become rare.
    A new study from Exponential by LifeWay Research found 6 in 10 Protestant churches are plateaued or declining in attendance and more than half saw fewer than 10 people become new Christians in the past 12 months.
    “Growth is not absent from American churches,” said Scott McConnell, executive director
  • One-on-One with Kadi Cole on ‘Developing Female Leaders’

    “This book will educate and inspire you to better maximize the leadership potential of the women in your church.”
    Ed: Why did you write this book?
    Kadi: Over the course of my career as a leadership and organizational consultant, I have worked with churches and leadership teams in a variety of denominational settings. Recently, I’ve noticed a significant shift in the conversation around women in leadership roles.
    Previously, when I would present at an event, the few women presen
  • One-on-One with Juan Martinez on the Faith of Latino Emerging Adults

    “Young Latino transnational believers in Christ have the relational life skills necessary to be transcultural missionaries and intercultural leaders.”
    Ed: How would you describe the state of Christianity and the church among emerging adults—18 to 29-year-olds—today? What are their biggest questions, concerns, or motivations?
    Juan: There are several good studies about the religious perspectives of millennials in the U.S. I would point to them as good places to answer these
  • Girl, Get Some Footnotes: Rachel Hollis, Hustle, and Plagiarism Problems

    “Girl, Stop Apologizing” strikes a chord with women. But its message of success hits the wrong note and borrows heavily from others.
    Something funny happened after I finished the new book from multimedia business mogul Rachel Hollis, best known for the massive 2018 bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face. After marking up my copy with marginalia, I nibbled at the bait: I pulled a notebook out of my desk, wrote “GOALS” on the front, and made a to-do list of accomplishments to focu
  • Florida’s Oldest Place to Grow Old

    Dowling Park was a retirement community built around widows and orphans. A century later, it’s a model for intergenerational ministry.
    Charles Moore says he must have heard about Florida’s first retirement community when he was in the cradle in the late 1930s. His father loved reading the Present Truth Messenger, a newspaper of the Advent Christian Church—especially the back-page “Old Folks at Home” section that offered updates about the denomination’s retirem
  • Exploring the Growing Trend of Taking a Gap Year before College

    When chosen wisely, a gap year can meet a student exactly where they are and provide what they need to thrive in college.
    Each year, between 80 and 110 future Harvard students choose to take a gap year. They’re encouraged to pursue this option straight from the Admissions office. Why would one of the most prestigious schools in the country encourage high school grads to wait to go to college?
    Harvard isn’t the only school encouraging its applicants to consider this option. Wheaton Co
  • If You Think You Have God Figured Out, You Definitely Don’t

    Despite our best efforts to understand his ways, he won’t be bound by our tidy notions of divine etiquette.
    About 25 years ago, while neck-deep in my seminary training, I set my sights on a rather high goal: I’d learn the Book of Psalms by heart. Not in a year. Not even in five years. But as long as it took. Inch by inch, I’d explore these ancient hymns, climbing every hill and sinking into every valley, immersing myself in their literary landscape until they became part of me.
  • Why We Need a Church Planting Manifesto

    The Send Institute has formulated a manifesto to serve as a rallying point for God’s church to effectively honor him in his kingdom advance.
    We make statements every day. Most are quite unassuming—small facts needed to navigate life, maintain a healthy marriage, or keep our jobs. Other times we make greater claims. We pledge lifelong marital fidelity, we affirm oaths of national allegiance, or we attest to our salvation in Christ through baptism. These greater claims have life-alteri
  • What to Give Up for Lent 2019? Consider Twitter’s Top 100 Ideas

    Among abstentions the week of Ash Wednesday so far, food leads technology and personal habits.
    Once again, you can follow in real time what Twitter users say they are giving up for Lent, which this year begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6.
    As in past years, food is the most popular category for abstention, followed by technology and “vices” like smoking and drinking alcohol.
    After analyzing the first 1,500 tweets—both serious and sarcastic—OpenBible.info’s Stephen Smit
  • This Church Mother Comforted the Grieving with Scientific Thinking

    Macrina’s famous brothers approved the words in the Nicene Creed: ‘maker of all things visible and invisible.’ But she explained why it matters.
    In AD 379, Basil the Great, one of the men who contributed to the Nicene Creed, died. Basil and his brother Gregory of Nyssa were two of the three Cappadocian Fathers­—men responsible for major theological decisions made in the early life of the Christian church. What is less well known is that they also had an older sister,
  • More Church Signs!

    We are getting back into the groove of posting some good church signs.More Church Signs!
    We are getting back into the groove of posting some good church signs. They never seem to end, and I think we all enjoy seeing them. So tweet me some good ones at @edstetzer and we will get them posted. In the meantime, enjoy the ones below.
    Two signs for the price of one, anyone?
    Thanks, Reformed Manbeard.
    God utilizing cultural elements to reach our world for Jesus? Yes!
    Thanks again, Reformed Manbeard.
  • Good Christians Are Satan's Easiest Targets

    But The Pilgrim's Progress teaches us how to brawl with Apollyon.
    This article was adapted from episode two of The Way to Glory.
    Each week on The Way to Glory, we take a fresh look at a character from The Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan's 300-year-old masterwork. Subscribe now in iTunes, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.
    How do you think about the devil? Or, perhaps, do you think about him at all?
    As much as we attempt to explain away or ignore Satan, he’s a person. And he’s seeking to de
  • Willow Creek Investigation: Allegations Against Bill Hybels Are Credible

    Independent Advisory Group releases report backing claims of pastor's “sexually inappropriate words and actions.”
    An independent investigation has concluded that the sexual harassment allegations that led to Bill Hybels’s resignation last year are credible, based on a six-month investigation into the claims against the senior pastor and into Willow Creek Community Church (WCCC) and the Willow Creek Association (WCA).
    The newly released 17-page report places the blame for such i
  • The Peace Cross May Get to Stay, But Not Because It’s ‘Secular’

    After the Supreme Court’s oral arguments, Christian legal experts weigh in on the symbol.
    During yesterday’s oral arguments, the Supreme Court suggested it would allow a 40-foot memorial cross to stay on public land, despite a challenge from an atheist group concerned that the 83-year-old World War I monument represented a government endorsement of religion.
    The hour-long debate in the case of American Legion v. American Humanist Association didn’t just raise the question of wh
  • Southern Baptists Torn Between Bold Abuse Reforms and Caution

    President J. D. Greear wants 10 churches investigated; Executive Committee subgroup wants only 3. But both agree on Sovereign Grace.
    Conflicting statements from Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) leaders on the denomination’s approach to addressing sexual abuse have left victims, advocates, and pastors themselves with a sense of whiplash—and called into question the fate of proposed reforms to improve accountability among SBC churches.
    Those concerned about abuse within America’
  • Gospel for Asia Settles Lawsuit with $37 Million Refund to Donors

    Major ministry ends class action with no acknowledgment of guilt and gives board seat to plaintiff.
    After three years in court, Gospel for Asia (GFA) announced yesterday that it would pay $37 million and a board seat to settle a class-action lawsuit.
    One of America’s largest ministries—in 2013 alone, it brought in about $93.8 million—GFA faced two lawsuits accusing it of sending only 13 percent of its donations to the field instead of the oft-promised 100 percent.
    The first of
  • Did Trump and Kim’s Summit Help North Korean Christians?

    Experts analyze the impact on persecuted believers after the two polemic leaders walk away without a deal.
    On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump referred to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un as “his friend.”
    At extreme odds a year ago, the two leaders met this week in Hanoi, Vietnam, with a new agreement possibly on the table. This time, Trump made friendly overtures to Kim—even going so far as to say he believed the leader had not been directly responsible for the death o
  • You’re Divorced—Can You Remarry?

    Q: The New Testament seems to support divorce for a narrow range of reasons, but does it support remarriage?
    —K.A.Miller, Wheaton, Illinois
    A: There are three New Testament passages that bear most directly on the subject of divorce and remarriage. I suggest that when they are carefully considered, they prove to be both more demanding and less restrictive on the question of divorce and remarriage than evangelicals have often acknowledged.
    Luke 16:18 is a very bold, straightforward saying th
  • Methodism’s Global Reach Has Changed the Denomination

    The tradition is largest in the US but today has a strong international presence. How did that happen?
    For the past four days, the General Conference of the United Methodist Church has been reexamining its doctrines on human sexuality. From Christianity Today’s report from yesterday: The United Methodist Church (UMC) voted Tuesday to maintain its traditional stance against same-sex marriage and non-celibate gay clergy, bolstered by a growing conservative contingent from Africa.The denomina
  • 18 Really Big Numbers That Show That The U.S. Economy Is Starting To Fall Apart Very Rapidly

    Originally Published on This Site Virtually every piece of hard economic data is telling us that the U.S. economy is slowing down dramatically.  Many of the pundits have been warning that we could officially enter recession territory later this year or next year, but these numbers seem to indicate that it could happen a whole...

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