“This research may help to explain how evangelicals are often targeted for claims of hypocrisy; the unique ‘sin’ of evangelicals tends to be doing the ‘right’ thing but with improper motives,” says Barna Group president David Kinnaman.
Do you remember the merry-go-round? I loved those when I was a kid. Round and round and round. Awesome. Apparently, they were unsafe, and today’s safety Nazi’s determined that we’d had enough broken arms. I think we were tougher back in the 80’s.
Anyway, you remember spinning around faster and faster? There was always that moment you wanted to get off the thing, but it was a risky move. You jump, and you might get hurt. Of course, if you quit playing the game, it slowed down the spin, and everyone else got mad at you for messing up the ride. I always thought the guy doing the pushing seemed to be having the most fun. Continue reading
(Now that I’m an out of the closet Ancient-Futurist, it’s time to explore this topic a little more. Let me say that I don’t claim to be an expert, but I have studied this stuff, and have worked as a full-time pastor for almost 9 years. So, I think I’m at least a little qualified to think and talk about these things. So, here we go…)
Ok kids, I want to introduce you to the neighborhood bully. His name is Zeitgeist, but we call him Big Z. Zeitgeist (spirit of the age or spirit of the time) is the intellectual fashion or dominant school of thought that typifies and influences the culture of a particular period in time (thanks Wikipedia). Why is Big Z important? Well, he’s all around us whether or not we are fully aware of him. We are influenced by him as was every generation before us. Big Z has an uncanny knack for making us think and act in certain ways without us realizing that we are in fact being controlled by the thoughts and feelings of someone else. Studying history allows us to see Big Z at work. His work is not always positive, though it certainly isn’t always bad. Today, we want to look at some of the negative aspects of his handiwork.
Big Z is a bully. He’ll push you around, and call you names. He’ll call you a traitor to the cause, unpatriotic, authoritarian, ignorant, naïve, uneducated, bigoted, close-minded, and irrelevant. Whatever it takes to make the Church submit. Sometimes, Big Z acts like a tsunami that swallows everything in its path. Sometimes he acts like a slow boil. You’re the frog that doesn’t know he’s being cooked until it’s too late. “Submit or die,” is the message, but what Big Z doesn’t tell you is that if you submit, you will inevitably die. Continue reading
World Mag recently did an interview with VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer. If you don’t know the backstory, Phil had enormous early success with his Big Idea studio. A series of bad business decisions eventually lead to the company’s bankruptcy, and consequent sale to Classic Media.
Vischer had some interesting things to say about his experience with Big idea, and how he wants to do things differently with his new project, Jellyfish Labs. Continue reading
For a couple of weeks, I’ve been promising a post on civil religion, and its ramifications for Christianity in America. This is a big topic with several angles from which it can be examined. For this post, I want to give the term civil religion a definition, give a little history, and show some of the negative consequences of civil religion as it relates to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is the last in a series of longer posts concerning modern worship as spiritual Baalism. I’ve written my understanding that much of the problem can be traced to the revivalism and democratized Christianity that appeared at the founding of the United States. I could be wrong in my read on things, but I’ve been looking at this for a while, so I’m fairly confident in my assessment. With that said, I wanted to complete this series in a positive way with explanation of some of the elements of worship that can be used by Evangelicals even if they are of a more “contemporary” bent.
Last week I posted the first of a multi-part series discussing worship in the independent Evangelical church settings like our own. I discussed what I believe is the fatal flaw of worship in many Evangelical churches. That flaw is a propensity toward man-centered worship where we view worship not as a something we do in response to the revealed truth of God in the presence of other Christians, but as a worship experience we manufacture to help us express how we feel in a given moment. This month, I want to examine the historical roots of the trend of populist Christianity in America. By populist Christianity, I am referring to a way of shaping Christian practice so as to appeal to the masses with little or no regard to historic Christian practice, and a simplistic understanding of scripture. This trend toward populism is profoundly American. While there is much positive in it, there is also an inherent danger in it we need to address. In writing this essay, I’ll be drawing on multiple resources I’ve read over the years, but will primarily refer to The Democratization of American Christianity by Nathan Hatch.
Dan Wallace is saying something really important here. I’ve come to think that a huge cause of the problems within Evangelicalism is our weak ecclesiology, and Dr. Wallace voices some of the exact feelings I’ve had of late.
In this series, I’m blogging through the book The King Jesus Gospel (full series here). This topic has been particularly interesting to me since my days in seminary. For a few years, I’ve studied the Gospels and the Kingdom of God in scripture. My own studies have led me to the position that McKnight is advocating. Let’s talk about it.