Is it just me, or has the Internet and social media seemingly been flooded lately by a whole lot of vocal people expressing just how… Read More »At Least 10 Things Great Churches Are FOR
I recently told a friend, who happens to be agnostic, that he “shouldn’t” go to church. I know. That was dumb, right? I really didn’t… Read More »Two Good Reasons to Attend Church This Weekend
“The American church is so consumeristic!” It’s a common line uttered by the religiously fed-up, and of course, there’s a lot of truth in it. Some churches… Read More »Let's Keep Reaching Consumers. Aka, Lost Sheep.
Is it possible to have a thriving relationship with God even in the middle of a culture gone crazy? Absolutely! And my confidence is bolstered by… Read More »What the Ancient Prophet Daniel Has to Say to Our Times
Last night, I caught a few minutes of a History Channel show about Auschwitz, where 1.1 million Jews were essentially murdered systematically by the Nazi regime in occupied Poland. The picture in this article is of the ovens, which remain as you see them as a memorial to those who died. Shelly Palmer wrote a detailed piece on Huffington Post about the technology of the holocaust as highlighted at Birkenau. The holocaust was an atrocity that should never be repeated on this planet.
One of the more unpopular things to do, today, is to compare abortion to the holocaust. But I can’t help thinking of the similarities, especially in terms of the technologies used to exterminate a defenseless portion of humanity. In Auschwitz, it was ovens and gas chambers. In abortion-providing clinics across America, it is the ultrasound-guided precision murder and subsequent removal of babies from their mothers’ wombs.
UPDATE: Let me address the issue of comparing abortion to the holocaust, which really seems to raise the ire of those on the pro-choice side and evoke plenty of “how dare you” responses. The world today has erected a multitude of museums and monuments to the holocaust. We’ve done the same to mark the genocide of Native Americans, slavery, and plenty of other atrocities. Why? So that we can learn. So that we will look back and draw, not complete comparisons, but lessons about how we ought to protect the sanctity of all human life, at all cost. My personal hope is that someday, this modern holocaust will be behind us and we’ll erect a monument to memorialize the millions of lives lost. In other words, no apologies here for making this partial comparison. We ought to have learned from this horrid tendency to victimize the most defenseless for our own gain.
We are still cold. We are still calloused. And we’ll still eliminate sixty million people from our population, before they ever see the light of day, to keep life the way we’d prefer it to be for ourselves.
When I wrote Rewired, I argued that there is really nothing new about “social media” except the term itself. Media (truth, information) has been around since the world began, and God made us to be social from the start. It was always his idea that truth and information, especially the good news about God, be spread relationally, from person to person. What is new is the set of tools we have at our disposal to create and join conversations online.
So I love social media. I believe it’s a force for good. People use it to raise money for good causes, to teach good things, to form good relationships, and to have good conversations. But I also hate it, because people also use it to spread hate, to turn conversations into fights, and to pursue unhealthy and destructive habits. But here’s the thing – it isn’t the fault of social media, it’s the fault of sinful human beings.
The “Dones.” It’s a term sociologists and researchers use to describe those who are done with church. The Dones were once part of a church,… Read More »10 Terrible Reasons to Be Done with Church
So the big news among religious leaders right now are the latest results from new research conducted by the Pew Research Center. The data reflects what I and plenty of other leaders have been anecdotally observing for a while – Christianity is losing ground while other religions are growing along with the number of unaffiliated people.
One of the most interesting statistics for me personally is this little detail:
The new survey indicates that churches in the evangelical Protestant tradition – including the Southern Baptist Convention, the Assemblies of God, Churches of Christ, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Presbyterian Church in America, 0ther evangelical denominations and many nondenominational congregations – now have a total of about 62 million adult adherents. That is an increase of roughly 2 million since 2007, though once the margins of error are taken into account, it is possible that the number of evangelicals may have risen by as many as 5 million or remained essentially unchanged.
That means two things. First, evangelicalism has more adherents than a decade ago. And second, that growth hasn’t kept up with the actual total population growth in the U.S. In other words, we’ve reached more Americans, but we’re reaching less of America as it outgrows us.
The Washington Post shared the news with a simplistic headline of Christianity faces sharp decline as Americans are becoming even less affiliated with religion. Most of those commenting on the article give evidence of not having read the article. The consensus would be something along the lines of “Christianity in America is shrinking because it’s too conservative theologically.” This seems logical, but there’s a problem. It isn’t true. As I commented there,
So, evangelicalism, generally referring to those who believe in a supernatural God, a risen Jesus, and a trustworthy Bible, are doing alright, while denominations that have given up on biblical theology in an attempt to be more agreeable with the surrounding culture are shrinking. Interesting.
This is a point most people seem to miss. After pouring over Pew’s report and reflecting on some of my own observations about evangelicalism in America, I’ve come to some conclusions about what is really going on. I’ll summarize them this way – there are three ways we’re killing the church in America. They are…
I’m not an SBC Pastor (Southern Baptist Convention). I’m a BMA Pastor (Baptist Missionary Association of America), but I did grow up in an SBC… Read More »Four Commitments the Church Ought to Keep for the World's Sake