Category : Evangelicals

(Wash Post) Michael Gerson–Perhaps the recent Wheaton gathering will provide an alternative narrative to that of the (so-called) Trump evangelicals

Enter the group that met at Wheaton, which included some of the most prominent pastors, theologians and writers of the evangelical world. Many are disturbed by the identification of their faith with a certain kind of white-grievance populism, which cuts them off from the best of their history, from their nonwhite neighbors, from the next generation and from predominately nonwhite global evangelicalism.

But the stated goal of the leaders who gathered at Wheaton is not to push a politicized faith in a different political direction. It is to provide an alternative evangelical narrative — a more positive model of social engagement than the anger, resentment and desperation of many Trump evangelical leaders.

People like me can point out the naivete and political self-sabotage of the president’s evangelicals. But the groundwork for a new narrative will ultimately be theological, which makes the Wheaton consultation strategically significant. Many political views and denominational traditions were represented in the room. But any thinker who takes the authority of the Bible seriously must wrestle with the meaning and implications of one idea: the kingdom of God.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture, Theology

(CT Gleanings) Remembering Bob Buford, the Christian Leader’s Leader

A businessman, philanthropist, management coach, and inspirational author, the late Bob Buford worked behind the scenes to build a legacy that quietly extends to some of the most prominent figures, organizations, and megachurches in American Christianity today.

Buford, who died Wednesday at age 78, was a leader’s leader. It’s no wonder that he founded an organization simply called Leadership Network, designed to bring together Christian leaders and help them make their ministries more effective and innovative.

Buford was a friend to Peter Drucker and helped introduce the famous management guru’s thinking to the church. A Texas native and former cable TV executive, Buford was committed to serving fellow Christians in ministry, always asking, “What can we do to be more useful to you?” and happy to have his fruit “grow on other people’s trees.”

Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, explains on his CT blog the impact of one of the most influential but least known chuch leaders.

Read it all.

Posted in Evangelicals

(Terry Mattingly) Billy Graham’s advice to newspaper editors on covering religion

[Billy] Graham gave the editors four pieces of advice that still ring true, even in today’s embattled journalism marketplace.

1. Increase local, national and global religion news coverage — period. Look for “street-level” religion and don’t be afraid to put these stories on page one.

2. Dig deeper than the “bare facts,” probing the ethical and moral angles of issues in medicine, science, business, academia and law.

3. “Build bridges” to religious leaders through face-to-face contacts, just like media leaders do with business people and politicians. Also, help religious leaders understand the realities of the news business.

4. There’s no way around it: Hire experienced religion reporters who have demonstrated excellence on that beat. Isn’t that, Graham said, the way you hire sports reporters?

…one truth cannot be denied.

“Religion often sways whole societies,” Graham said, “and can even change the course of history.”

Read it all.

Posted in Evangelicals, Media, Religion & Culture

‘What do we mean when we pray Thy Kingdom Come?’ The Reverend Nicky Gumbel & Archbishop Justin Welby

Watch it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Evangelicals, Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry

(Washington Post) Dozens of evangelical leaders meet to discuss how Trump era has unleashed ‘grotesque caricature’ of their faith

As evangelicalism has grown without any formal hierarchy, it has formed tribes often driven by celebrity pastors, authors and artists. Evangelical leaders of institutions have been having conversations about how to address an evangelical identity crisis, said Rich Mouw, former president of Fuller Seminary, but most of these gatherings are small.

“There’s a real pastoral problem right now that in any given congregation that it’s a topic you can’t talk about,” Mouw said. “I don’t think it’s fear. I think it’s genuine pastoral perplexity about how we deal with this.”

Other invited leaders at this week’s gathering include Mark Labberton of Fuller Seminary, Ed Stetzer of Wheaton College, Jo Anne Lyon of the Wesleyan Church, Harold Smith of Christianity Today and Gabriel Salguero of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, President Donald Trump, Religion & Culture

The keynote address by Russell Moore at the MLK50 Conference last week–Black and White and Red All Over: Why Racial Justice Is a Gospel Issue

Black and White and Red All Over: Why Racial Justice Is a Gospel Issue from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

You need to take the time to listen and ponder it all carefully–KSH.

Posted in Anthropology, Baptist, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Yahoo News) Honoring Martin Luther King Jr., evangelicals weigh their response to racism

On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., evangelicals gathered in Memphis on Tuesday to assess where their movement stands in relation to King’s mission and ministry. The consensus of the speakers was they were falling short.

“Why is American evangelicalism so white and so middle class?” asked Russell Moore, an evangelical leader who was an outspoken opponent of Donald Trump in 2016. “Why are we not cultivating the future? Why are we not bearing one another’s burdens?”

Moore took direct aim at tolerance for racism and systemic injustice within the white evangelical church, and said that the failure of the white American church when it comes to healing and rectifying the ills of racism have caused a “crisis of faith” for many younger Christians.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

Food for Thought from AW Tozer–‘A right conception of God is basic not only to systematic theology but to practical Christian living as well.’

That our idea of God correspond as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us. Compared with our actual thoughts about Him, our creedal statements are of little consequence. Our real idea of God may lie buried under the rubbish of conventional religious notions and may require an intelligent and vigorous search before it is finally unearthed and exposed for what it is…A right conception of God is basic not only to systematic theology but to practical Christian living as well.

–A W Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: HarperOne, 2009 ed. of the 1961 original), p.2

Posted in Evangelicals, Theology

(CT Editorial) We Need an Independent Investigation of Sovereign Grace Ministries

For six years now—and more intensely in the last few weeks—charges and counter-charges (see links…), accusations and defenses have been conducted in public forums and in the courts, without a satisfactory conclusion. This has left many, many observers bewildered, angry, and deeply suspicious of SGC. What’s worse, these unseemly events reverberate outward, mixing with the #ChurchToo discussion and lingering anger over the Roman Catholic Church abuse scandal. Many now wonder if there has been a habit of covering up and denying child and sexual abuse in evangelical churches in general—if there is something in the evangelical DNA that makes us hesitant to deal with accusations quickly, openly, and truthfully when there is the suspicion of grave sin in our midst.

We call for a fresh and thorough independent investigation not because we believe SGC guilty of every one of its critics’ charges. We are as bewildered as anyone and simply don’t have enough information to make a confident judgment on the matter. We see, however, that SGC and some of its individual congregations—and pastor C. J. Mahaney (founder and former president) in particular—are under a cloud of suspicion. A former ministry partner of Mahaney turned critic, Brent Detwiler, has been chronicling the controversyfor many years and claims that 100 pastors, 300 small group leaders, 40 churches (including his own), and 12,000 members have left SGC churches largely over what they claim has been abusive and deceitful leadership.

Given the prominence of Sovereign Grace, especially in Reformed evangelical circles, this puts the gospel we preach under a cloud. If, in fact, they are as guiltless as they have proclaimed, and if, in fact, the incidences are as few as they suggest, it would be great news for the evangelical community and the cause of the gospel.

At the same time, if the many charges prove to be true to a larger extent than they currently acknowledge, it would be sad and troubling—but not without hope if it leads to truth-telling and repentance. The truth of sin that leads to repentance is one of the most glorious moments in our life in Christ.

 

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology, Violence

Ruth Graham speaks at her father’s funeral: “Everyone’s got a Billy Graham story”

FOX Carolina 21

If you havn’t heard this you need to take the time to do so.

Posted in Children, Christology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family

A transcript of Billy Graham’s TED talk in 1998: On technology and Faith

I spoke some time ago to a joint session of Congress, last year. And we were meeting in that room, the statue room. About 300 of them were there. And I said, “There’s one thing that we have in common in this room, all of us together, whether Republican or Democrat, or whoever.” I said, “We’re all going to die. And we have that in common with all these great men of the past that are staring down at us.” And it’s often difficult for young people to understand that. It’s difficult for them to understand that they’re going to die. As the ancient writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, he said, there’s every activity under heaven. There’s a time to be born, and there’s a time to die. I’ve stood at the deathbed of several famous people, whom you would know. I’ve talked to them. I’ve seen them in those agonizing moments when they were scared to death.

And yet, a few years earlier, death never crossed their mind. I talked to a woman this past week whose father was a famous doctor. She said he never thought of God, never talked about God, didn’t believe in God. He was an atheist. But she said, as he came to die, he sat up on the side of the bed one day, and he asked the nurse if he could see the chaplain. And he said, for the first time in his life he’d thought about the inevitable, and about God. Was there a God? A few years ago, a university student asked me, “What is the greatest surprise in your life?” And I said, “The greatest surprise in my life is the brevity of life. It passes so fast.” But it does not need to have to be that way. Wernher von Braun, in the aftermath of World War II concluded, quote: “science and religion are not antagonists. On the contrary, they’re sisters.” He put it on a personal basis. I knew Dr. von Braun very well. And he said, “Speaking for myself, I can only say that the grandeur of the cosmos serves only to confirm a belief in the certainty of a creator.” He also said, “In our search to know God, I’ve come to believe that the life of Jesus Christ should be the focus of our efforts and inspiration. The reality of this life and His resurrection is the hope of mankind.”

I’ve done a lot of speaking in Germany and in France, and in different parts of the world — 105 countries it’s been my privilege to speak in. And I was invited one day to visit Chancellor Adenauer, who was looked upon as sort of the founder of modern Germany, since the war. And he once — and he said to me, he said, “Young man.” He said, “Do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ?” And I said, “Sir, I do.” He said, “So do I.” He said, “When I leave office, I’m going to spend my time writing a book on why Jesus Christ rose again, and why it’s so important to believe that.” In one of his plays, Alexander Solzhenitsyn depicts a man dying, who says to those gathered around his bed, “The moment when it’s terrible to feel regret is when one is dying.” How should one live in order not to feel regret when one is dying?

Read it all.

Posted in Apologetics, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Evangelicals, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Theology

(Atlantic) Michael Gerson–on President Trump and the Evangelical Temptation

Evangelicals also have a consistent problem with their public voice, which can be off-puttingly apocalyptic. “We are on the verge of losing” America, proclaims the evangelical writer and radio host Eric Metaxas, “as we could have lost it in the Civil War.” Franklin Graham declares, a little too vividly, that the country “has taken a nosedive off of the moral diving board into the cesspool of humanity.” Such hyperbole may be only a rhetorical strategy, employing the apocalypse for emphasis. But the attribution of depravity and decline to America also reflects a consistent and (so far) disappointed belief that the Second Coming may be just around history’s corner.

The difficulty with this approach to public life—other than its insanely pessimistic depiction of our flawed but wonderful country—is that it trivializes and undercuts the entire political enterprise. Politics in a democracy is essentially anti-apocalyptic, premised on the idea that an active citizenry is capable of improving the nation. But if we’re already mere minutes from the midnight hour, then what is the point? The normal avenues of political reform are useless. No amount of negotiation or compromise is going to matter much compared with the Second Coming.

Moreover, in making their case on cultural decay and decline, evangelicals have, in some highly visible cases, chosen the wrong nightmares….

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, History, Office of the President, President Donald Trump, Religion & Culture

(Barna) The Enduring Influence of Billy Graham

In 2011, Barna asked American adults who they consider to be the single most influential Christian leader in the U.S. today:

19 percent of American adults chose Billy Graham.
This is particularly striking considering only 9 percent chose the Pope. The survey also included figures such as Barack Obama (8%) and Joel Osteen (5%).

In 2014, Barna asked American adults how familiar they are with Billy Graham:

34 percent of American adults said they were “very familiar” with Billy Graham.
Other religious leaders in the survey included Pope Francis (28% very familiar), the Dalai Lama (21%) and Andy Stanley (4%).

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Religion & Culture, Sociology

A Glimpse of Life at Harvard these days–Secularism and Its Discontents by Henry Brooks

In the past month, student group Harvard College Faith in Action endured two serious public relations debacles, both regarding the group’s relation to the BGLTQ community. The first incident arose when HCFA invited renowned ex-lesbian Jackie Hill-Perry, who became famous for claiming that her rebirth into faith saved her from a “lifestyle of homosexual sin,” to speak at its weekly Doxa meeting. Then, in the wake of a public outcryand several opinion pieces, news broke that HCFA had dismissed one of its Bible study group leaders after she dated someone of the same gender—though group leaders citedreasons of “theological disagreement.” After the latter incident, the College put the group on “probation,” reportedly marking the first instance of such disciplinary action in the history of the College.

Much of the response among community members and the wider public has echoed a familiar array of sentiments. One student interviewed by The Crimson chastised the non-denominational Christian group for exemplifying “institutional backlash against queer people.” An op-ed judged HCFA “complicit in promoting dangerous homophobic rhetoric” and threatening “the emotional and physical safety of LGBT people here on campus.” One commenter following the story on a BGLTQ news site staked out a more extreme position: “Virginal births, talking snakes, boats with two of every species on board… Enough judging people through the prism of fairy tales.”

It seems to this author that these reactions, some more respectfully than others, leave unexamined the purchase that faith still holds in people’s lives—and the lives of BGLTQ people no less. To identify “dangerous homophobic rhetoric” as the object of our frustration means leaving the underlying problem—the way faith is often framed as contending with our secular sensibilities—unaddressed. Attributing homophobia to a belief in “virginal births [and] talking snakes” only exacerbates that problem, affirming categories like “religious-and-straight” and “secular-and-queer” that constrain nonconforming expressions of identity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Secularism, Sexuality, Theology, Young Adults

(Christian Today) Tears, laughter and deep gratitude to God as Billy Graham is laid to rest

..[Franklin Graham] continued: ‘My father believed in heaven, he also believed in hell. Hell is reserved for the wicked for those who refuse to repent of their sins and acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.’

Read it all.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Evangelicals