Is Anyone Really Surprised by Elevation Church’s ‘Spontaneous Baptisms’?

Not that we need another reason to think less of Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in North Carolina, but this one’s too entertaining to ignore.

His church, like many evangelical churches, loves to tally up how many people get baptized there — one mark of how many converts the church has created. In fact, Furtick’s team put together an entire resource guide to help other churches put together “spontaneous baptisms” that would allow church attendees to get baptized right then and there without having to think about it. (Because thinking gets in the way of blindly following.)

What’s the benefit to the church? Well, it’s kind of like carving notches in a bedpost — it’s an unofficial way to claim superiority over your competitors. Plus, if you’re baptizing more people, you must be doing something right (at least in places where people take baptisms seriously), so attendees may be inclined to donate even more money to you(r church).

Furtick even provides a template script that other pastors can use:

It is my great privilege today to be able, after months of planning and a whole lot of prayer, to offer thousands of you at our church and even in sites all over the world, one of the greatest opportunities I think you’ll ever have in your life. It may be something you’re not expecting at all. We’ve been planning on doing baptisms at the church this weekend for a long time, but what you may not have known is that you’re going to be the one getting baptized.

I can feel the confusion in the air. You’re saying to me, But I didn’t sign up for baptism. Do you mean you’re going to give me a chance to sign up for baptism today? No not to sign up for baptism today; to be baptized today. I’m going to give every single person in this church today, who has never been biblically baptized as a public profession of your faith in Jesus Christ, the opportunity to be baptized today. Not in a month, not after you’ve gone through training for three years, I’m talking about you came dry, you’re leaving wet, dripping wet, baptized in Jesus’ name today.

This is a new beginning! This is a new day! I’ve decided to follow Jesus! May hundreds come now. Do it, God! One (this is it!), two, three! Move right now! Right now! Right now! Don’t let the Devil talk you out of it. Right now! Right now! Get off the fence! Right now, Uptown! Right now, Matthews! Right now, Blakeney! Right now, Providence! Come on, you feel a little hesitation? Let God push you in the deep end today. It’s all about Jesus! It’s all about His grace!

This is how peer pressure works, kids.

But I guess it’s not enough. What if no one wants to get baptized? What if no one wants to take the lead?

Furtick’s answer: Plant a few “volunteers” in the crowd to respond to the baptism calls first, and others will surely follow.

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How Should Atheists Respond to Those Who Think We’ll Convert on Our Deathbed?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, responds to the idea that atheists will convert on their deathbeds:

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

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New Report Shows the Shifting Attitudes Religious Groups Have Towards Same-Sex Marriage

A new report just released by the Public Religion Research Institute takes a look at the “shifting landscape” regarding attitudes toward same-sex marriage and LGBT issues in general.

As you might expect, there’s a lot of good news here. 53% of Americans now support same-sex marriage while only 41% oppose it. (Even in the South, the numbers are dead even at 48% on each side.) Furthermore, an astounding 69% of people ages 18-33 support it. Even among evangelical Christians, 43% of Millennials have no problem with gay marriage compared to only 19% of the “Silent Generation.”

We’ve known this for some time now, but when it comes to gay marriage, the question is not “If” but “When.”

So let’s get to the heart of what the report says about religious attitudes toward LGBT issues.

In general, people of all religious stripes are less likely to say gay marriage goes against their beliefs than they were a decade ago. Hallelujah!



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Why Run a 5K When You Can Run a Pi K?

The Illinois Science Council is sponsoring a Pi Day Pi K run — and I can’t resist posting about a run that’s not 3.1 miles like your typical 5K, but 3.14 miles instead!

Tickets for the March 14 run in Chicago are $25 and include a t-shirt and post-run party. Sign up before the slots are taken!

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Man Shot in the Leg Because He Didn’t Protect It With a Bible

That would be a good alternative headline for this CNN news report.



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