“Baptism is not supposed to be nice”

The Church of England has decided to take out the part in the Baptism liturgy in which the candidate or sponsors answer the questions, “Do you renounce the Devil?  And all his works?”  British journalist Giles Fraser complains at the attempt to make Baptism nicer, reducing it to a sanitized middle class naming ceremony. [Read more...]

The Crusades, the Inquisition, and Protestants

President Obama told the National Prayer Breakfast that Christianity, like Islam today, has been used to justify violence, mentioning particularly the Crusades and the Inquisition, historical episodes that are always being brought up against Christians.  It’s kind of strange, though, for us heirs of the Reformation to be blamed for those particular incidents. [Read more...]

How pastors and other leaders deal with inner chaos

There are lots of books about leadership, particularly leadership in churches.  The book that won the Award of Merit (2nd place) in the category of Christianity & Culture in the Christianity Today Book Awards, goes much deeper than most.   Mark Sayers, in Facing Leviathan: Leadership, Influence, and Creating in a Cultural Storm, shows how leaders–that is to say, pastors–are often caught up in battling their own inner chaos.

In his discussion, he also shows why so many leaders (pastors) adopt an anti-establishment, neo-bohemian mindset in insisting on changing the institution they are trying to lead.   But the book is not a critique, as such, but a very personal treatment of its author’s own experience as a pastor, one that will be of great help to other pastors and leaders, burnt-out or otherwise, trying to do their best for the people following them.

After the jump, see the mini-review I wrote about the book as one of the Christianity Today judges. [Read more...]

THE political issue for Christians in 2016

In the early days of the Republic, Baptists supported Thomas Jefferson, even though he was not a Christian.  Why?  Because he supported religious freedom.  Russell Moore says that Christians today need to develop that same mindset  in their political activism today.  He says that THE political issue for Christians in the upcoming elections needs to be religious liberty. [Read more...]

The dissolution of religious institutions

In an article about a prominent non-denominational pastor who has decided that he needs to go to seminary, the writer, Michelle Boorstein, discusses  non-denominational churches as an example of the larger phenomenon of “the dissolution of religious structures.”

Now we usually think of the decline of religious institutions in our culture in terms of fewer people going to church, the rise in the number of “nones,” the general climate of secularism, etc.  But this suggests that Christians too are complicit in the decline.  [Read more...]

Confessing the faith

Yes, Nadia Bolz-Weber is on the “progressive channel” at Patheos and she is a “pastorix” (her word) in the ELCA, but she continues to defy conventional liberal theology.  I came across a post in which she first discusses Moltmann’s view that the Virgin Birth of Christ is just a meaningful legend, and then talks about what it means to confess the faith of the church. [Read more...]


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