The problem with public official prayers

We believe in freedom of religion, something that is becoming more and more important to Christians in light of the possibility of official suppression.  Along with that comes the rights of non-Christian religions.  Public governmental meetings are allowed to open with prayer, but that prayer cannot discriminate against the various religions.

Recently, a member of the Escambia County Commission in Florida walked out of the meeting, after an “Agnostic Pagan Pantheist” did an “invocation” that he found weird and satanic.

Wouldn’t it be better not to have any prayers at all at these meetings, rather than force those in attendance to participate in such syncretism? [Read more...]

Caution: Intense Law & intense Gospel

Sunday was the commemoration of St. Matthew.  In the Gospel lesson, Matthew tells about how Jesus called him, tax collector though he was, and how the Pharisees thought about him:

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

10 And as Jesusreclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:9-13)

Our pastor took this text and played off of the indignation that people are feeling about NFL stars Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson.  He turned it into a powerful sermon.  Read it all at the link, but I give excerpts after the jump.  CAUTION:  INTENSE Law and INTENSE Gospel. [Read more...]

Even Billy Graham prefers liturgical worship

According to a new biography of Billy Graham–America’s Pastor by Grant Wacker (Harvard University Press)–the Southern Baptist evangelist has said that if he were starting all over again he would be “an evangelical Anglican” because he appreciates the “spiritual beauty in Anglican order.” [Read more...]

Theologically diverse churches?

One of the tenets of the “Revangelical” movement, which seeks to “renew, reform, and rethink” evangelicalism, is that churches today need to be “theologically diverse.”   I wonder what that means and if it’s possible.  And, according to both my experience and my convictions, I can’t see why it is desirable. [Read more...]

Finding the true Cross

Last Sunday was Holy Cross Day, an ancient celebration that originally commemorated St. Helena (Constantine’s mother) supposedly finding the “true Cross.”  You have got to see what our pastor, Rev. James Douthwaite, does with this, taking the occasion to plunge into some of the deepest waters of Lutheran spirituality, the theology of the Cross. [Read more...]

“Revangelical”

Brandon Robertson is one of the spokesmen for the “Revangelical” movement, the prefix meaning, in his words, the effort to “rethink, reform, and renew my evangelical faith.”

He has posted the results of an informal survey he conducted that goes against the grain of conventional “church growth” assumptions.  For example, 51% prefer a “liturgical/contemplative” service, with only 4% preferring a “contemporary/seeker” service; 80% prefer a small-medium size church (60-300), with 19% preferring a “large/mega” church (300-2000).

These findings, he says, support his Revangelical emphases, which I post after the jump (after the statistics).  We Confessional Lutherans might applaud some of these, though the thrust of the movement is “progressive.”  I offer them for your reflection and feedback.  One tenet in particular I would like to scrutinize tomorrow. [Read more...]


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