- Napkin Thelogy: If you can communicate it better with a quick drawing, why not?
- Just like universities agree to honor some of each others credit courses, four Reformed denominations and the Roman Catholic Church have agreed to honor each others infant baptisms. (For some this confirms that the CRC denomination is not evangelical.)
- Here’s how some churches look at the issue of copyrights involving music or materials. This example is not a good example, though.
- Church planters sometimes are often guilty of reacting to existing trends or conversely, copying existing trends. There are three other factors that can motivate planters, and certain risks and dangers in all five types.
- When you release a dove ceremonially, it’s not supposed to be attacked by seagulls.
- Should communion (Eucharist, Lord’s Supper) be done with a common cup or several cups? Actually, that’s not the issue; the real reason I posted this is because it’s a great example of taking Bible study notes.
- Or this question: Should Churches shift weekend service times to accommodate the Super Bowl game? Perry Noble’s church did.
- Last week Rachel Held Evans linked to a trio of articles with the common theme, Do Christians idolize virginity? One of the recommended articles is being recommended here as well; the story of a girl who believed that, in her words, I am Damaged Goods.
- For my local readers who enjoy Robin Mark’s annual visits here each summer, here’s the best version of the John Wesley song I can find. (YouTube audio.) Watched it three times on Saturday.
- Michael Belote has a very lengthy, heartfelt article on dieting that he then uses as springboard for looking at our spiritual diet. There are some great principles here including this question: Am I using the right fuel in the right amounts? This is a five-star blog post!
- We’re a bit late arriving at this one, but this February list transcends time. Here are 28 ways to show gratitude that are good anytime.
- Wanna start a church in Orange County, California? You’d be in good company, and there are currently 17 churches for sale.
- A New Jersey pilot credits her faith in God for her and her passenger surviving a crash in the Hudson River.
- When Michael Hyatt spoke to real estate professionals about social media, he discovered they didn’t know what to post to Twitter or Facebook. Here are his ten suggestions.
- Canadian hockey player Mike Fisher, now with the Nashville Predators, made Brad Lomenick‘s young influencers list for January. Here’s his testimony and a link to his Zondervan-published biography.
- The Calvinists gotta hate this song; but probably the Arminians are glad they have enough free will to turn off bad church music. Click for The Free Will Song.
- For something more contemporary… I’ve never been to the blimeycow YouTube channel before, but this take on five-minute instant worship songs, is far too cynical.
- …Click the images for sourcing from Clark Bunch’s blog (top) and Close to Home (below)…Feel free to add your favorite recent Christian blog links this week in the comments…
February 6, 2013
January 2, 2013
June 2, 2012
Apparently, this blogger isn’t the only one concerned with the way New Calvinist media — especially books and blogs — are dominating mainstream Evangelicalism. On Thursday,
“A group of current and former Southern Baptist leaders has signed a statement affirming what they call the “traditional Southern Baptist” understanding of the doctrine of salvation, with the goal of drawing a distinction with the beliefs of “New Calvinism.”
“The statement was posted May 31 at SBCToday.com and includes a preamble and 10 articles…”
The suggestion is that New Calvinism — or what I’ve referred to on this blog as militant Calvinism – is aggressively infiltrating Baptist thought in order to become the default doctrine. On a personal level, I’ve seen it happen here in Canada where Baptist bloggers have so strongly identified with the writings of YRR (Young, Restless and Reformed) authors that it defies understanding why they haven’t left their Baptist denomination in favor of the Christian Reformed Church.
The document further asserts that the “vast majority of Southern Baptists are not Calvinists and that they do not want Calvinism to become the standard view in Southern Baptist life.”
“We believe it is time to move beyond Calvinism as a reference point for Baptist soteriology,” the statement reads. Soteriology is the study of the doctrine of salvation.
Each of the 10 articles includes a statement of what the signers affirm and what they deny. For instance, on the article about the Grace of God, the document says:
“We affirm that grace is God’s generous decision to provide salvation for any person by taking all of the initiative in providing atonement, in freely offering the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in uniting the believer to Christ through the Holy Spirit by faith.”
The statement then adds:
“We deny that grace negates the necessity of a free response of faith or that it cannot be resisted. We deny that the response of faith is in any way a meritorious work that earns salvation.”
To read this statement in full, along with a reprint of the original ten-point statement, click here.
For the most part, the Reformed-dominated blogosphere has been somewhat silent on this, with most responses coming from within the Baptist movement where the SBC Today web page is more closely monitored.
Tom Ascol at Founder’s Ministries Blog disagrees with the document and has published three blog posts (so far, more to follow) to respond. Before expressing concerns in part three however, he does provide a charitable, concise summary:
In essence, I believe that those who have published it are concerned by the rise of Calvinism among Southern Baptists at all levels of convention life, from local churches all the way down to various institutions and agencies. They think that Calvinism represents the views of only a small minority while their own views represent the vast majority of Southern Baptists. They are concerned to be identified positively by what they do believe rather than negatively by what they do not believe (“non-Calvinist”). They have offered this document as a testimony to their beliefs and invite other Southern Baptists to sign it to show just how many agree with their views. By doing so, they do not want to intimidate or exclude Southern Baptist Calvinists, but rather are interested in asserting what they are convinced that most Southern Baptists believe on the doctrine of salvation.
At Pulpit and Pen, Jordan Hall writes:
…For example, consider the irony of articulating the “historic, traditional beliefs of Southern Baptists” by creating a new document. The premise itself is laughable. Could it just be our historic confessions and creeds do not suffice because they are, inherently, Calvinistic?
At the site BaptistTwentyOne, Jon Akin writes,
The statement is divisive for three reasons:
- It inaccurately and unfairly describes the theology of the “New Calvinists.”
- It implies that “New Calvinists” are having a detrimental impact on “contemporary mission and ministry” in the SBC without a shred of proof to back that up. It claims that the SBC has reached around the world with the Gospel “without ascribing to Calvinism,” and therefore fails to properly recognize that many godly Calvinists have contributed to the spread of the gospel through SBC cooperation in our history.
- It is trying to unite a segment of Southern Baptist around a new theological statement, when the BFM2000 is enough to unite us in theology and mission.
- I could be wrong, and would be happy to admit it, but I don’t know any Calvinist who is arguing in print or sermon to make “Calvinism the central Southern Baptist position on God’s plan of salvation, “ or “the standard view in Southern Baptist life.”
- The statement consistently responds to double predestination, therefore implying that this is the standard position of “New Calvinists,” when in reality it is a minority position, almost certainly an extreme minority. The statement only argues against double predestination and never really addresses what the biblical word “predestination” actually means in the text. The authors make it sound like the “New Calvinism” is fighting for double predestination, and that is simply not accurate.
Josh Buice at Delivered by Grace writes:
… As we move forward, do we want to be considered the “Fightin’ Baptists” or the “Religious version of the Hatifelds and McCoys?”…
…Furthermore, when SBC pastors, leaders, and professors sign this letter, it’s almost as if a line is being drawn in the sand and a request is being made for action. What should the action be? …
… Have we forgotten our history as Southern Baptists where we had Calvinists such as Lottie Moon, James P. Boyce, John L. Dagg, A.T. Robertson, John A. Broadus, and many others who served in our convention along with those who were less Calvinistic (Reformed) in their doctrine? They didn’t fight over it, throw mud, and pull out the heresy sword to use on one another. In recent history we have had Albert Mohler serving together with Adrian Rogers. Why are we headed down the broken road of schism over Calvinism today?…
There is more available online, and there will be even more as you’re reading this. William F. Leonhart III, provides some historical context; apparently this isn’t the first time.
We’ll give Jordan Hall the last word on this:
Perhaps most offensive is [David] Hankins’ appeal to consensus. He says multiple times that “the majority of Southern Baptists do not embrace Calvinism.” He may be right. Statistics show that the majority of Southern Baptists do not embrace Christianity, let alone Calvinism. The majority of Southern Baptists can’t be found on Sunday morning. The majority of Southern Baptists are on Synergist church-rolls and are either dead or apostate because of the watered-down and anemic, shallow theology of Finney-style revivalism and easy-believism, decision-regeration that has eaten away at the SBC like a cancer. But Hankins is right; the majority of Southern Baptists are not Calvinists.
But c’mon Jordan, tell us what you really think.
December 14, 2011
August 3, 2011
March 20, 2011
The book’s title probably insures there won’t be copies sold in too many Christian bookstores. Which may be good or bad depending on how you feel about confronting the issue of people (i.e. women) who appear sanctimonious on the outside, but are in fact, often about a different agenda, especially the gossip agenda.
Surely the book could have been released with a different title, right? Perhaps, but then, the author says it might not reach its intended audience. Author Kim Gatlin was interviewed yesterday on the Drew Marshall Show, probably one of the few such “Christian radio” interviews she’s done. The station wouldn’t allow him to say the third word in the book’s title. You can hear that interview when it’s posted on Friday (3/25) at this site.
The scary part of all this is that the book is going to become a TV series in the fall. On network television, not cable. NBC, I think. Hanging out “our” dirty laundry for all to see, I suppose.
Here’s what the website has to say:
Good Christian itches is the devilishly fun, yet strikingly honest, tale of Amanda Vaughn, a recently divorced mother of two. To get a fresh start, she moves back to the affluent Dallas neighborhood where she grew up. In an Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Desperate Housewives on steroids style, her old friends are already out to destroy her reputation.
In the whirling midst of salacious gossip, Botox, and fraud, Amanda turns to those who love her and the faith she’s always known. Will the Good Christian itches get the best of her, or will everyone see that these GCBs are as counterfeit as their travel jewelry?
Before you think that perhaps the description here describes a Christian fringe that doesn’t identify with your own church experience, you might want to look at — and take — the “Are You a GCB?” 15-question quiz at the website.
I think the author truly sees an intrinsic value in all this. A means to an end, perhaps.
Honesty and transparency in the church is something I am 100% in favor of. We need to be real about our failings, our foibles and our faults. But that should be part of the natural process of living. This TV shows strikes me as rather gratuitous attack on Christianity. And no matter what the book has to offer, the television writers will have licensed the concept and will be creating original scripts that will go off in all kinds of directions.
Like Canada’s hit “Little Mosque on the Prairie” TV series, the writers will probably follow the tendency to portray churchgoers and clergy negatively to get laughs.
That’s what has me worried.
That, and being in a position that forces true Christ-followers — especially some Evangelicals — to go into damage control mode.
February 2, 2011
January 24, 2011
Ever since Jim Henderson took Casper the Friendly Atheist to church, I’ve had a fascination with books where a “fish out of water” give us a fresh take on what the Christian world looks like to an outsider. This weekend, I completed yet another such tome.
In Jim and Casper Go To Church, the “fish” was a foreigner to all things religious. In My Jesus Year: A Rabbi’s Son Wanders the Bible Belt in Search of His Own Faith, the writer, Benyamin Cohen is all to familiar with what is, potentially at least, going on inside a house of worship.
As I type this, I am aware that I’ve lost track of the number of this type of book I’ve read recently, though certainly the Jim Henderson & Matt Casper title was the one that got this genre going for me. Then there was Kevin Roose’s semester at Liberty University, chronicled in Unlikely Disciple. And of course, Daniel Radosh’s investigation of Christianity in Rapture Ready.
Radosh like Cohen is Jewish, but there the similarity ends. Radosh is doing investigative journalism, albeit some of it with tongue firmly in cheek. Benyamin Cohen is on a personal quest; on a personal mission. He is seeking to connect with his own faith by immersing himself in the Christian culture he has always lusted after from afar.
But unlike the other writers embedded for the ride, Cohen continues to attend synagogue as well. It makes for some very tiring weekends. To make matters worse, this Rabbi’s son is married to the daughter of a Methodist minister who was on a road to conversion to Judaism before they met. She is able to provide him with briefing and de-briefing information, but is not along for the ride at all. Oh, and just to make it all that much more colorful, the Rabbi who has given his ‘blessing’ to the one-year project insists that Cohen wear his press credentials and his yarmulke wherever he goes.
Bottom line; this is a book that is really more about Judaism than it is about Christianity. It’s about faith, the quest for faith, finding faith; and purports to show that there are more similarities than differences.
On that point, I am not so sure. Cohen was reared in Orthodox Judaism, that branch of the faith requiring the highest level of devotion to its various laws and interpretation of the laws.
Still, there were a couple of serendipitous parallels between Cohen’s faith journey and my own that were tucked away in sentences almost hidden in the narrative. One was a reference to Benyamin and Elizabeth’s simultaneous membership in two different synagogues. As I mention that, I do so knowing that my wife and I are currently listed in the directory of two different church families. The other was a reference to their decision to ditch the main services taking place over the Jewish high holidays in order to worship with about twenty other people at an “alternative” service in a smaller classroom. That is so something my wife and I would choose to do.
Like Casper and Radosh and Roose, Cohen does not convert at the end, just in case you’re wondering. (Hardly a spoiler!) Though in a way, he does; describing his journey as a later-in-life finding of his own faith.
Cohen is embedded in more than just evangelical culture — this review’s title flawed with an irresistible alliteration — and his journey also takes him into a Catholic confessional booth, and inside the home of a woman being proselytized by Mormon Missionaries. But the book is really a primer for Christians on Orthodox Jewish faith and practice, and simply uses the alleged similarities between the two faith systems as a means to explain his own.
My Jesus Year was published in hardcover by HarperOne in 2008 and in paperback in 2009. It is well-written, engaging, evocative and a must-read for Christians who want to get to know their Jewish neighbors.
November 25, 2009
May 21, 2009
In a country with half the percentage of Evangelical Christians as our dominant neighbour to the south, we don’t get as much attention in the media as our American friends; all of which makes this Monday’s news special more significant.
On Monday, May 25th, the Global Television Network in Canada will broadcast “Hip 2 B Holy” at 10 PM nationally, with host Global national news anchor Kevin Newman. Here’s a preview interview from Lorna Dueck’s Listen Up broadcast posted to YouTube which runs just under 7 minutes.
HT: Lon’s blog, Solar Crash.