Skip down to C. Peter Wagner
Who Are the Jesuits? Why the First Jesuit Pope Could Signify the ‘New Evangelization’ of Christians: "The Society of Jesus, which later became known simply as the Jesuits, was founded in 1534 by Ignatius Loyola, a Spaniard like Pope Francis. The mission of the organization was to spread Roman Catholicism throughout the world, and to protect the power of the pope and the practices of Roman Catholicism from the Protestant Reformation, so that the pope may remain God’s authority on the earth....
“Barack Obama also issued a statement.... 'On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I offer our warm wishes to His Holiness Pope Francis...'"See Open Conspiracies
The Decline of Christianity in America [Old but sobering]: "Christian churches in America are losing members rapidly, and this trend is especially dramatic among young Americans. According to a stunning new survey by America's Research Group, 95 percent of 20 to 29 year old evangelicals attended church regularly during their elementary and middle school years. However, only 55 percent of them attended church regularly during high school, and only 11 percent of them were still regularly attending church when in college....In that same survey, 46% of Americans between the ages of 18 to 34 indicated that they had no religion. ...62 percent of Americans in that age group consider themselves to be 'spiritual', and 43 percent of them have prayed to some higher power in the last 2 months." See Re-Inventing the Church
The Hidden War of "Romanticism: "Romanticism (a philosophy, not a romance) was a reaction against the Enlightenment’s emphasis on the primacy of reason by emphasizing imagination and feeling.... Its prominent figures during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries included Johann Goethe in Germany and Samuel Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and George MacDonald in Britain. The literary aspects of Romanticism involved certain philosophical writings and lifestyles along with occultism.... Their main themes included (1) an embrace of paganism, especially in artistic and imaginative ways..."
The Crystal Cathedral is in debt to the tune of $48m dollars: "For decades, evangelist Robert H. Schuller's message of faith and positive thinking reached millions nationwide through his 'Hour of Power' television show, broadcast from his towering glass church known as the Crystal Cathedral. Now, it is the church's financial woes that are reverberating across the country....Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for bankruptcy protection this week, leaving a trail of hundreds of unpaid creditors from California to Washington, D.C." More insights in the next article:
Bankruptcy in the Cathedral: "Though ordained in the Reformed Church in America, Schuller minimized historic Christian orthodoxy and stressed instead the message of positive thinking. In his 1982 book, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, Schuller explicitly replaced the message of salvation from sin with a message of rescue from low self-esteem. In his 2001 autobiography, My Journey, Schuller told of the massive influence of Dale Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale on his thinking and theology.
"He told of his decision early in his ministry to replace theology with therapy. 'I realized that every sermon I preached... should be designed, not to ‘teach’ or ‘convert’ people, but rather to encourage them, to give them a lift.... In his 1986 book, Your Church Has a Fantastic Future, Schuller provided what he called 'A Possibility Thinker’s Guide to a Successful Church.' The book is a manual for a ministry built on pure pragmatism, sensationalistic promotion, a therapeutic message, and a constant and incessant focus on thinking positively. His message about money was simple: 'No church has a money problem; churches only have idea problems.”' See "New Thought"
The Second Great Evangelical Meltdown: "This article is the first in a series about ongoing sea changes in Evangelicalism today... It was widely accepted in the early 1900s that Evangelical and Reformed thinkers and preachers were promoting the true Gospel. They also had strong intellectual backing through schools like Princeton Theological Seminary, which was considered a bastion of Evangelical orthodoxy. However, heretical and unbiblical views of Christianity began entering the Church around that time, especially through the seminaries and universities...."
"Even though the effects are obvious, the forces behind these changes are not...."
“Nay, walk with me but a little space,”
Said the World with a kindly air;
“The road I walk is a pleasant road,
And the sun shines always there. [More]
The Perils of 'Wannabe Cool' Christianity: "...70% of young Protestant adults between 18-22 stop attending church regularly. Statistics like these have created something of a mania in recent years, as baby-boomer evangelical leaders frantically assess what they have done wrong. .. efforts are made to rebrand Christianity as hip, countercultural, relevant. As a result, in the early 2000s, we got something called 'the emerging church'....But one of the most popular—and arguably most unseemly—methods of making Christianity hip is to make it shocking....
"...when it comes to church, we don't want cool as much as we want real. If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it's easy or trendy or popular. It's because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It's because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched—and we want an alternative. It's not because we want more of the same."
Monvee Presectives: Pastor John Ortberg: "If you change somebody's habitual patterns of thinking and feeling, then inevitably the kind of stuff they do will be the right kind of stuff. ...I have to step back and ask the questions: how is it that those habitual pattern of thinking and feeling get changed?"
Bob Buford: "What we need is a diagnostic device to find out what the customer needs at different stages in their development and life of faith."
A posted response to this video: "Read the Bible! Christ is calling you to die [to self], not to be a consumer/customer where God is the product. Only the Holy Spirit can 'hand-craft' each particular person, and He is the one who leads us in our own ways, not a software."
May Day Prayers What Repentance? "One of the most amazing aspects of the May Day event, planned in Washington, D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial on May 1, 2010, is its Official Program stating the 'Prayers of Repentance for the Seven Mountains of Culture.' Many good-intentioned believers are being led into this event because they support its conservative political ideologies and moral overtones. They support Israel and they are against abortion. But do these folks also support the Seven Mountains of Culture Mandate? And are they fully in agreement with the esoteric theology of these spiritual warfare prayers and the Dominionist goals of the NAR leaders of the May Day event?" See Redeeming Cultures
Praying for Socialized Medicine: "Writing for Jim Wallis’ Sojourners, activist Valerie Dixon impatiently urged 'congressional courage' to defy public opposition to Obamacare. It’s a typical Religious Left theme: Help the people even when they don’t want it!.... In other words, maybe Americans will awake to the beauty of Obamacare if Congress will presciently force it upon an unwilling public." See Smiling at Socialism & Scorning the Bible
Riverside Church Divided -- A Pastor Loses His Flock: "Built by John D. Rockefeller at the height of the Great Depression, Riverside is the prime example of the Protestant liberal tradition in action, with all its promise and problems. It has been the home to such liberal church luminaries as Harry Emerson Fosdick and William Sloane Coffin Jr." See Biblical versus Postmodern Thinking
Why Sunday Schools Are Closing: "When Dorothy Stutzman was 5, she began a habit that would carry her through most of her life: Sunday school.... 'My parents said 'go,' and I went,' recalled Ms. Stuzman. It was that simple.... A few years ago, however, West Olive was forced to pull the plug on Sunday school. Attendance had shrunken to one lone child. 'We couldn't compete with television and computers,' Ms. Stuzman said sadly. ...
"Bruce Morrison, an official with the Missouri Baptist Convention, wrote about attending a 'ministry conference where several denominations were represented.' During a break, he recalled, 'I overheard a discussion between several of the attendees about the value of Sunday School in today's culture. The implication was that Sunday School ministry in the local church is obsolete.'... The kind of Sunday-school activities that pleased my generation simply wouldn't fly with today's busier and more sophisticated kids. 'A lot of the stuff we did was rote memory.'" See The Church Walking with the World
Why the Left Is Not Right: "Some who fit into the mold of the religious Left include Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, most all Emergent Church leaders including Brian McLaren, the National and World Council of Churches, and others too lengthy to list. I will focus on primarily one -- Jim Wallis. He is the most troubling because he is Barack Obama's 'spiritual advisor.' Jim Wallis is an admitted Socialist and Communist.... He was a part of the radical Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in the 1960s. That organization was always in a rampage and assaulted the police with their Communist agenda..." See Transforming the Church
Message Bible for Little Kids Instructs on Contemplative Meditation: "...we have found that if something sounds eastern or mystical, it's because it is eastern or mystical. Eugene Peterson's book rings of the mystical, and we hope parents will avoid putting their children in contact with it." See What kind of message is The Message?
Willful Ignorance: "We live in a time of great apostasy when many choose to ignore or disbelieve the simplicity of the Gospel of Salvation, the message of the Cross. Many of the new heresies are intricate, complex, always evolving, and 'emerging' with new theologies, philosophies, terminologies, eschatologies, ecclesiologies.... The neon beacon of heresy is alluring, creating warm feelings, and bestows a temporal vision that seduces the believer off the narrow path. But it does not convict man of sin in his heart."God's Way versus our ways
The Church Walking with the World
The next two links introduce a new Church "Manifesto" (remember where that word come from?) to be revealed next month. Led by Rick Warren, Leith Anderson and others, it seems to prescribe a new direction for the church. Is the Bible no longer enough? Actually, Warren has already suggested that we trade creeds for deeds -- and beliefs for behavior.
Come On, You Call This a Manifesto? "Like the Lausanne Covenant, it restates much basic Christian doctrine, proclaims the need for evangelism and contains passages of penitence. ("We must reform our own behavior.")..... A purpose finally emerges with the appearance of a word never mentioned by its predecessor: 'fundamentalism.' The Manifesto sets a course for evangelicalism that steers between the twin dangers of liberalism and fundamentalism. ...
"...'fundamentalism was thoroughly world-denying and politically disengaged from its outset,' and evangelicalism should be, by contrast, politically involved -- but in a civil and nontriumphalist way.... Once all the self-description is out of the way, it turns out that the heart of the document is a kind of urgent appeal: Please don't call us fundamentalists or confuse us with them. ... First, it is defensive, and manifestos should never be defensive. Second, it suggests a concern for labels and public perception that is not attractive in Christians."
Whose Evangelical Manifesto? "...a group of evangelical leaders--including the Rev. Rick Warren... and Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals -- will publish a document to be called 'An Evangelical Manifesto: The Washington Declaration of Identity and Public Commitment.'... Os Guinness, one of the 'Manifesto’s' primary authors, told me that a 'representative group' has been asked to sign it, and that 'scores of people have given input.'"
Liberal, Evangelical, or Fundamentalist? "...whatever definition of the term 'evangelical' one uses, few would deny that it has historically identified a group unwilling to be labeled either 'liberal' or 'fundamentalist.' The pejorative use of these two terms from the poles of the Christian community spectrum necessitated the 'middle ground.' ... the 'middle ground' is shifting, or more accurately, widening....We have attached the word 'legalism' to efforts mounted to stay the influence of the world on the church. It reminds me of the little old lady who prayed, 'Lord, forgive me. I do so many things I used to call sin.'...
"...we have chosen to pressure the church into accepting both doctrines and lifestyle practices as normative that were soundly rejected by the previous generation. In the interest of 'personal freedom' we have torn down fences before we learned exactly why they were built....
"...in the minds of those surveyed, the church’s value to their culture is diminished to the degree that it fails to capitulate to the shifting sands of their adjusted spiritual standards." See Re-Inventing the Church
Seeking Success? Or Jesus? "The typical media testimony goes something like this: 'I was sick and broke, a total failure. Then I met Jesus. Now everything is fine; my business is booming, and I am a great success.'
"It sounds wonderful.... But if that were really God’s way, it would put some Christians in communist countries and in the Two-Thirds World in a pretty bad light. Their testimonies often go something like this:
“I was happy. I had everything—prestige, recognition, a good job, and a happy wife and children. Then I gave my life to Jesus Christ. Now I am in Siberia, having lost my family, wealth, reputation, job and health.... I cannot see the face of my wife and dear children. My crime is that I love Jesus.'” See Suffering with Jesus
The Baptist All-Stars: "Mr. Gore, a featured speaker at the gathering here, was introduced as a 'prophet.' Like all prophets, he 'is not welcome in his hometown,' ... the people of that city failed to 'recognize' Mr. Gore's recent Nobel Prize victory. Talk about a cross to bear....
"... in Atlanta, Mr. Gore was preaching to the converted. Welcome to what might have been the largest gathering yet of the so-called religious left. A self-described 'informal alliance of more than 30 racially, geographically, and theologically diverse Baptist organizations,' the three-day celebration demonstrated how difficult it will be for religious liberals to unite....
"The New Baptist Covenant is officially apolitical. But with Mr. Gore and former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton on the roster of speakers at a meeting jammed last week between the Florida primary and Super Tuesday, one might be forgiven for doubting this claim.... The Covenant asks its members to overlook theological differences in order to solve practical problems." See Signs of the Times
Al Gore and Tony Campolo Address Baptist Organizations: "Al Gore... is also a promoter of New Age thought..." Al Gore's Vision of Global Salvation
My Trip to the Rethink Conference: "For nearly two thousand years, most professing Christians have seen the Bible as the foundation for the Christian faith. The overall view at the Rethink Conference, however, is that Christianity, as we have known it, has run its course and must be replaced. Co-hosted by Erwin Mc Manus and Robert Schuller, the conference declared that a paradigm shift is now underway. Speakers insisted that Christianity must be re-thought and re-invented if the name of Jesus Christ is going to survive here on planet earth.....
"Schuller... explained how pleased he was to be able to look back at the tremendous leaders he had mentored over the years, which include Willow Creek’s seeker-friendly pioneer pastor Bill Hybels... Bishop Charles Blake, and Rick Warren who has pioneered the purpose driven church....
"Chuck Colson’s half hour talk was primarily focused on the importance of having faith based on the Scriptures. He did a commendable job talking about the authenticity of the Bible.... But, just before his time was up, Colson said something I found very troubling … and confusing. Colson indicated how very encouraged he had become on how the emerging church was 'energizing'Christianity in such a positive way.... He also mentioned the importance of taking our faith to the world in an effort to 'establish the kingdom.'”
Pastor To Church: Send Love Notes To Britney Spears: "...the senior minister at Southland Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky, an affiliate of the Willow Creek Association, has reportedly asked the members of his congregation to each write troubled pop star, Britney Spears, a love note -- this in response to her alleged drug and alcohol related problems, hedonistic lifestyle and ongoing custody battle....
"Is that really Pastor Weece's only objective here - to make sure Britney feels loved?... If he cares so much about the controversial pop star and her place in eternity, why doesn't he do as the Lord Himself did... and call on her to repent - warning her in a compassionate way about the everlasting consequences of her actions?"See Softening God's Word
Will the Religious Agenda Grow? "'Values are insubstantial stuff, existing primarily in the imagination,' Allan Bloom wrote in "The Closing of the American Mind" (1987). During the Cold War, the language of "values" -- in which beliefs about good and evil are deemed purely subjective -- worked well for relativists....
"...the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) held its annual meeting, with Ban-Ki Moon, the United Nations secretary general, as its guest speaker.... 'Some people will say the evangelical Christians have invited the Antichrist to the Last Supper,' NAE president Richard Cizik told the crowd. But he explained that he was interested in hearing Mr. Ban (a Christian) talk about the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals... 'Most evangelicals would support those values,' he said of the MDGs -- even if it takes a world-government sort of institution to achieve them, apparently. Mr. Cizik is now somewhat notorious for such claims." See Transforming the World by Subverting the Church
Confession Makes a Comeback: "Sin never goes out of style, but confession is undergoing a revival. This February at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI instructed priests to make confession a top priority.... And in a dramatic turnaround, some Protestant churches are following suit. This summer, the second-largest North American branch of the Lutheran Church passed a resolution supporting the rite, which it had all but ignored for more than 100 years....
"To make confession less intimidating, Protestant churches have urged believers to shred their sins in paper shredders or write them on rocks and cast them into a 'desert' symbolized by a giant sand pile in the sanctuary.... During a 'Reconciliation Weekend' at churches in...Orlando, Fla., this March, more than 5,000 people turned out to confess....
"Aggressive marketing by churches has helped reinvent confession as a form of self-improvement.... And the appetite for introspection has been buoyed by the broad acceptance of psychotherapy and the emphasis on self-analysis.... More than 7,700 people have posted their sins on ivescrewedup.com, a confession Web site.... Kathleen Taylor, 43, a substitute teacher in Daytona Beach, Fla., hadn't been to confession in some time when she received a mailer from her bishop this March urging Catholics to atone for their sins."
We can't atone for our sins. Jesus did that for us on the cross. Now -- by His grace -- we must trust Him, confess to Him and repent (turn and forsake our sin). It's an act of faith and obedience -- not psychotherapy. See Repentance
The Changing Church. Consensus anyone? "...there are so many differing 'gospels' being advanced today, one can no longer assume that everyone's talking about the same Good News anymore than we can assume everyone is preaching the same Christ.... The ungodly result of building consensus is people with starkly differing convictions and priorities being artificially unified behind the gratifying goal of 'moving forward together'... "
"For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached... or a different gospel which you have not accepted -- you may well put up with it!" 2 Cor. 11:4
Radical Contextualization: "On its surface, 'contextualization' is supposed to mean that missionaries are being sensitive to the needs of varying cultural groups so that they can present the Gospel within the unique cultural context of those groups. It carries the aura of cultural sensitivity. In reality it is much more.... Contextualization has its roots in anthropology, probably connecting back to the Rockefeller dynasty's funding of 'applied anthropology' and social sciences'.... It was the Lausanne Committee which first mainstreamed the idea of the 'contextual' approach to evangelism....
"[According to Ralph Winter, U.S. Center for World Mission], 'We may need to go beyond mere radical contextualization.' We need to go 'beyond Christianity as we know it.' He suggests a number of examples of 'followers of Jesus 'who 'have not chosen to call themselves Christians nor to identify with the socio-ecclesiastical tradition of Christianity' but rather their pagan faith. In an attempt to argue this out, he asks: 'Do we preach Christ or Christianity?'"
Many postmodern leaders want to discard "Christianity" but preserve or reinvent a nonoffensive Christ who can be adapted to a pluralistic global community. Of course, most of the Bible would have to be discarded along with Christianity. See Who defines the Kingdom of God? and Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?
Christians Worldwide Too Busy for God: "About 6 in 10 Christians say that it's 'often' or 'always' true that 'the busyness of life gets in the way of developing my relationship with God.' Christians most likely to agree were from North America, Africa and Europe. ... While across gender lines, busyness afflicts both men and women, the distraction from God was more likely to afflict men than women in every surveyed continent except North America." See Loving God First
The New Order of the Kingdom: "...in 1934 the Federal Council of Churches began a grassroots public relations campaign to further its social gospel.... 'A new commitment to the concept of the kingdom of God on earth needed to be generated among the people at large and from the constituencies of the member churches.... Unless the Council succeeded in mobilising a grassroots movement of socially conscious Christians it would never realise the goals set out in the Social Creed. Thus the new emphasis on propagating the principles of the Social Creed was again designed to attain the kingdom of God on earth rather than to reach lost souls with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.'"
Troubling Revolution: "George Barna is one of the evangelical movement's 'brand names.' As the pollster for all things religious, Barna has been watching trends in evangelical circles for more than two decades. His most recent work, Revolution, has a surprising conclusion: Christians are leaving organized church bodies in droves, and that movement is a net bonus for the faith....
"His concern about the ultimate fate of the church is also well documented. In 1997 he published Leaders on Leadership, an anthology. Barna's conclusion: 'the American church is dying due to a lack of strong leadership,' and he wanted to provide resources to counteract it.... Barna rightly notes that church is irrelevant for many, even the faithful. But this makes his new enthusiasm for churchless Christians all the more confusing. ...
"...the church has shown surprising resilience in the face of gloomy predictions and prognostications. So rumors of the church's demise might still be greatly exaggerated. Yet, while Barna's research should keep us from being sanguine about the spiritual health of Christians, his proposed cure seems distinctly dubious. As disturbing as the American church looks now, a world without it would certainly get worse."
How Safe Is Your Data? "Not long ago, a locked file cabinet was all the data security a church needed. Now, it's a different world.... Software modules and files contain sensitive data, such as information about congregation members, church financial transactions, credit card and bank information, and facility access and use.... 'As we talked with... prospective customers for our church management software, security, risk management, and methods to track transaction processing haven't been high priorities,' says Bill Terrill, chief technical officer of Parsons Church Group. 'But now security and data integrity have a higher profile.'...
"A related issue is data integrity when different people work within the same fields doing data entry for contributions, Sunday attendance, and small group participation.... More and more, data management is moving to the Internet—causing even greater security challenges.... 'You'll want a system that can provide identification for children being dropped off....' A printer can generate a bar code that can be read by a scanner to authenticate the match.... Also, fingerprint readers and iris (eyeball) scanners can be tied into data systems to verify identity—critical in child care and youth events."
The Dopamine-Driven Church - Part 4 Customer Evangelists: "It is all about marketing. And the people in the pew are not only 'customers,' but they are also unwitting 'customer evangelists.' This is because the purpose-driven marketing plan is based on network marketing. Network marketing, unlike large-scale mass marketing, relies upon individuals in its downline to be its salesmen.... Stielstra shows how to get entire groups ignited so that the whole network is ablaze."
Evangelicals Reject God’s Holiness: "The loss of the traditional vision of God as holy is now manifested everywhere in the evangelical world. It is the key to understanding why sin and grace have become such empty terms.... Divorced from the holiness of God...
sin is merely self-defeating behavior or a breach in etiquette...
grace is merely empty rhetoric, pious window dressing for the modern technique by which sinners work out their own salvation....
our gospel becomes indistinguishable from any of a host of alternative self-help doctrines....
our public morality is reduced to little more than an accumulation of trade-offs between competing private interests.
our worship becomes mere entertainment."
Our survey said! "I invited readers to email me personally with 'the primary reason they left their former church and if they actively sought out and ended up in a more contemporary fellowship,' to see for myself if the results would be anywhere near those cited in the Christian Post....
"I specifically asked that all 'church switchers' who emailed me, keep their replies to only two-sentences - which most did. Others simply could not contain their anguish and frustration - elaborating at length about how they were shunned and abused at their former churches and what their former pastors, teachers, leaders and brethren refused to hear or address regarding drastic changes implemented there.... I understand in a very personal way what many of them have lived through - having had their concerns ignored - their motives questioned - their reputations trashed and, in some cases, their long-standing memberships revoked, simply because they spoke up and questioned the pastor and/or their church's new agenda....
"...the overwhelming majority of 'church switchers' let me know that they had left to find a more traditional church because of three things: 1. Rick Warren's teachings and growing influence at their former church. 2. The Purpose Driven agenda had recently been implemented at their former church. 3. Their former church had become too contemporary."See Dealing with Resisters
'Bible Answer Man' Sues and Loses - Are CRI Donations Now Going to ACLU? "The following is a letter from Dr. William Alnor about his recent court victory against the lawsuit Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute.... In short, Hank sued Bill when Bill Alnor caught Hank engaging in deceptive fundraising tactics, and after many hours of hard work and attorneys’ fees, Hank lost....
"Others have noted over the years that if one takes issue with the goings on at CRI under Hanegraaff’s leadership, CRI has attempted to discredit and punish that person – even when that person has correctly blown the whistle. In a case involving former CRI researcher Brad Sparks vs. CRI in the early 1990s, CRI tax documents revealed that CRI had spent almost one half million dollars in attorneys fees and private detectives in trying to bring down Sparks. Eventually CRI paid Sparks a $20,000 settlement in the case."
[Note from Berit] I knew Brad Sparks back in those days, and I was deeply saddened by the heartache suffered by numerous terminated CRI employees who dared to stand with Brad for the truth. Many of them had become my friends. Even more disturbing is the dishonor such repeated and vindictive lawsuits (by a public Bible ministry) brings to our Lord. The issue here is not forgiveness (which is readily given), but repentance, restoration and accountability -- first to God and then to the countless people around the world who have relied on Hank's leadership and integrity.
As I write this, I also pray that God, by His grace, would enable me (a weak, failing servant apart from Him) to obey and follow Him moment by moment.. See Forgetting "the fear of God"
The Networking Church - Part 2: Restoration Through Transformation: "'You need to be aware of the signs of possible spiritual awakening in America. We’ve had two great awakenings in the history of America, and we’re a hundred years over due for the next one. If there is a second Reformation in the Church and a third spiritual awakening in the world or in American, it will come through two words – small groups.” [Rick Warren]
“The church itself will need to go through a metamorphosis in order to find its new identity in the dialectic of gospel and culture..." [Cameron Crabtree, 'Church Growth Scholar Advocates Radical Change in New Millennium']
A Shaky Foundation: "...much church activity is thrown back upon a shakyfoundation of psychology and natural talents. It is sad but true that many a mother-in-law is actually praying that her handsome son-in-law may be called to preach because 'he would have such a marvelous pulpit presence.' We live in a day when charm is supposed to cover almost the entire multitude of sins. Charm has taken a great place in religious expression....
"Thus says the Lord: 'Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me."See His Strength in my weakness
Churches in praise of … Darwin: "This Sunday [Feb. 11], congregations throughout the U.S. will participate in what could be called a 'Darwin praise service.' They will be celebrating (yes, that’s the word that could be used for many of the churches1) the 198th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. It’s called 'Evolution Sunday.' ...
"The next step for Zimmerman (again, using the university’s website) was to solicit donations so that funds could be obtained to publicize this clergy letter.... He set up an arrangement with an organization called The Christian Alliance for Progress (CAP) to accept tax-deductible donations for his national project. What does CAP believe?" See Darwin's Black Box
The Top 10 Religion Today Stories of 2006: "Chaplains praying in Jesus’ name while in uniform? Offensive. Faith-based prison programs? Unconstitutional....We also learned how Rosie O’Donnell feels about fundamentalist Christians, as she compared them to the 9/11 terrorists.... The Gnostic Gospels received renewed interest... as everyone wanted to know what to make of the claims of The Da Vinci Code....
"Not everyone agreed with the themes of The Purpose-Driven Life. But neither could anyone have foreseen the polarizing effect the Saddleback pastor could have following his success. Consider for a moment the results of a poll we recently ran on Crosswalk, which asked: 'Do you find yourself more in agreement or disagreement with Rick Warren's stances and actions?' Out of 282 respondents, 63 percent said they tend to disagree with what Pastor Warren says and does. Only 27 percent tend to agree with Warren right now." See Re-Inventing the Church
Honest sinners and phony Christians: "Jesus had zero tolerance for liars and phonies Himself - and His language reflected that. In fact, His harshest words were always directed toward the devoutly disingenuous - religious rogues and professional pretenders who empowered and esteemed themselves by misleading the masses and keeping them in the dark and out of the Kingdom of God for the bounty and benefits of an earthy kingdom over which they, in some degree, reigned.
"...truth is almost always considered harsh to the unrepentant, regardless of the words that are used to convey it. I dare say the impenitent are more afraid of truth than anything in this life; and more often than not, will accuse their accuser as a diversionary tactic by charging them with being 'unloving' and 'unchristian,' when in reality, they mean intolerant. ...the dialectic church successfully redefined 'love' as 'tolerance'...
"...telling someone the truth is the most loving thing you can do for them, even when they end up scolding you, shunning you, slandering you and turning others against you for doing so. That's why sinners nailed Jesus to a cross, stoned Stephen to death and beheaded John the Baptist..." See The Travesty of TOLERANCE
Bibles Are Booming: "These days the Good Book comes in hundreds of varieties.... Thomas Nelson, which produces 150 different editions of the Bible each year, arguably more than any other publisher in the world, 'gets all sorts of interesting proposals.'... Next spring Tyndale House will be bringing out a paperback Bible in a plastic case that looks like a flattened Nalgene bottle. But Bibles are becoming as much personal statements as fashion statements. 'What people are saying is 'I want to find a Bible that is really me.'...
"...pastors are reaching out and grabbing the translation that best suits their point for a particular sermon." See Re-Inventing the Church
From success to significance to seduction: "I was again reminded last week of just how far the perceived church has strayed from the Great Commission upon reading an article published in the Baptist Press entitled: 'Mid-life adults can move from 'Success to Significance.' It begins by quoting the renowned and now deceased business management guru Peter Drucker, whose celebrated concepts and principles came not from scripture but reportedly from his own observations and life experience - pragmatic precepts that have become the very leaven of today's church." See Social Change & Communitarianian systems
Thousands Worldwide Take Part in Micah Sunday to Fight Poverty: "Thousands of Christians from over 20 countries celebrated Micah Sunday on 15 October, participating in festivals, prayer services and exhibitions all aimed at raising awareness of the UN Millennium Development Goals and poverty. Micah Sunday is an annual effort by Micah Challenge, a global campaign of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and the Micah Network, to mobilise churches and Christians against poverty through unified gestures. This year Micah Sunday overlapped with ‘Stand Up’, which is an international anti-poverty event of 2006... standing up against poverty and for the Millennium Development Goals." See Christian Service
Bill Hamon and the Manifested Sons of God: "Note the heresy: Who is being glorified here? The 'Manifested Sons of God'! Not Jesus Christ! This heresy teaches that Judgment Day can be bypassed, and that the perfection, immortality and glorification of the elect can be attained here on earth first, before Jesus comes again. This dominionist heresy is now spilled over the dam and is rushing in like a flood to the modern mission movement."
Coming Soon to a Church near You: "[Yesterday's] Wall Street Journal contains a page one article, 'A Popular Strategy for Church Growth Splits Congregants,' [next link] which describes the divisive effects of the church growth movement....
"...the movement tries to take over existing churches that are relatively traditional. (They call this 'transitioning.') And that requires deception. The traditionalists must continue to pay the bills even while the church they support is being dismantled and rebuilt as something they may find repugnant. Since most congregations would not agree to the takeover if they were aware of it, the movement's strategy is to fly 'under the radar,' as Rick Warren, one of its chief advocates, advises. It urges pastors 'to trust very few people with their plans' and, inspired by marketing techniques, to pursue change slowly enough that people are caught in a sorites paradox, eventually agreeing to something they would never have agreed to if they had understood at the beginning where the changes were heading." See the first link at The Purpose-Driven Church
Liberal Christianity is paying for its sins: "The accelerating fragmentation of the strife-torn Episcopal Church USA... isn't simply about gay bishops, the blessing of same-sex unions or the election of a woman as presiding bishop. It also is about the meltdown of liberal Christianity....
"The Presbyterian Church USA is famous for its 1993 conference, cosponsored with the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and other mainline churches, in which participants 'reimagined' God as 'Our Maker Sophia' and held a feminist-inspired 'milk and honey' ritual designed to replace traditional bread-and-wine Communion....
"When your religion says 'whatever' on doctrinal matters... it's a short step to deciding that one of the things you don't want to do is get up on Sunday morning and go to church." SeeTwist of Faith - Chapter 2 and Who defines the Kingdom of God?
Got meat? "Sue attends church regularly, she goes to a weekly Bible study, and sings in the praise band. She also practices yoga and consults a psychic.... Sue is skilled at assessing a person’s character and motives—and she’s usually right about them! Her roommates are confident that Sue has the 'gift of discernment.' Are they right or wrong? What criteria are Christians to use to determine whether or not someone is spiritually discerning?
"God wants to mold our lives according to what’s in His Word. Christians who conscientiously study the Bible develop discernment." See Forgetting the fear of God
Trashing the Trinity, Other 'Crazy' Decisions: "[Presbyterian Church, USA] "...commissioners voted to allow the denomination's churches to use the phrase 'compassionate mother, beloved child, and life-giving womb' instead of 'Father, Son, and Holy Spirit' when referring to the Trinity. This was just one of the 12 phrases approved by the Assembly as permissible substitutions for the traditional names of the Godhead, another being 'rock, cornerstone, and temple.'"
If it's true, it's probably not new: "Recounting the Athenians in Acts 17, C. H. Spurgeon spoke of those in modern times who are ever straining after novelties. There may be much of the 'Athenian spirit' among congregations, but that should be no excuse for it's being tolerated among ministers, who should be the last to spend their time in seeking 'something new'. ...
"David Wayne insightfully wrote this response to Charles Stanley's interpretation of this passage: 'The idea that there is a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth in heaven is a breathtakingly egregious mishandling of the text.... Later on, Stanley does qualify his remarks by saying that this weeping will not go on for eternity, there will come a time when God comforts those who suffer loss.... 'Purgatory has now become a suburb of heaven.'"See LILITH and Truth
Using the Occult for Marketing the Church. 'Da Vinci Code' Now a Tool to Win Christian Converts: "Pastors are setting out doughnuts and sandwiches and inviting non-Christians to come discuss 'The Da Vinci Code' bestseller. They're creating hip marketing campaigns to draw nonbelievers to sermons about the thriller. They're even giving away free iPods loaded with their commentary on the novel. ...
"Besides, 'it's probably going to be an awesome movie,' said Garry Poole, a pastor at Willow Creek Community Church.... He hopes that those who came for the sport of hearing a minister take on a bestseller will return this Sunday for another round....
"Moved by a similar vision, California pastor Ken Baugh plans to hand out free tickets to 'The Da Vinci Code.' .... Baugh wants to encourage members of his congregation to see the film with non-Christian friends. He plans to give them Starbucks gift cards along with the tickets so they can sit down over coffee when the movie ends and offer their perspective on Jesus."
‘Theologians Under Hitler’: "'Nineteenth-century liberal Protestant theologians, in an attempt to address the concerns raised by the Enlightenment in Europe, created a portrait of Jesus as the ultimate moral guide and teacher,' says the narrator.... Thus, belief in Jesus was tantamount to belief in the potential of humanity. From there, one could make the leap to Hitler’s Aryan ideal. ...
"The concept of volk [the collective masses] not only established a mystical and emotional bond among the German people, but it complemented the church and provided a sort of lens for its work in the world." Until That Day: Taking control of the church with consent of the masses
Christians have no fear of God: "We pray to Him, ask Him to 'Bless America,' and even put his name on our coins. But we really don’t take Him seriously... Unfortunately, for us, our enemies take their god very seriously. They fly planes into towers for him. They blow themselves up to honor him. They are committed to a world where their god is the one, exclusive, god of the universe. But America’s God is tolerant, and diverse, and all loving, right? ...
"People will serve whatever they fear. That’s why torture is so effective. The fear of pain convinces one to compromise. 'If I speak out, it could cost me my job!' Yep. You serve what you fear. America is in trouble. We fear the wrong things. "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso put his trust in the Lord shall be safe.' Proverbs 29:25" See Forgetting the fear of God
Are we witnessing the rise of the Fourth Reich? "My focus upon the German church is predicated upon the fact that as a Christian pastor... it is my studied opinion that any western nation will rise or fall according to the attitudes and actions of its Christian leaders and churches.... In the case of Nazi Germany, it was the German churches first and foremost that failed their country.... Some ministers were no doubt deceived themselves. Many others, like Adam, partook of the forbidden fruit with their eyes wide open.... Therefore, let's examine the attitudes and actions of Germany's ministers and churches and compare them to America's ministers and churches today to see if there is any similarity." See Re-Inventing the Church
Today's Sermons: Self-Esteem, Self-Help, and Most of All 'Stories': "In the past... biblical preaching was God-centered, sin-exposing, self-convicting and life-challenging; the direct opposite of today's light, informal sermons that Christianize self-help and entertain better than they convict. ...No wonder nominal Christians leave church feeling upbeat. Their self-esteem is safely intact." See Self-esteem
For more links, click on The Changing Church - 1 | 2 | (2002-2003) | (2004-2005)
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