A watershed in American evangelicalism?

The New Life Church in Colorado Springs was one of the nation’s leading megachurches.  But then its pastor, Ted Haggard, was brought down in a sex and drug scandal.  Now the congregation is changing the way it is doing things.  Instead of trying to be new, it is trying to find its place in historic Christianity.  This means bringing in liturgy, every-Sunday communion, the church year, and pastoral care.  Its new statement of faith is the Nicene Creed.

Christianity Today published a sympathetic in-depth article about the changes last month.  Lutheran scholar Martin Noland sees these developments as possibly “a watershed in American evangelicalism.” [Read more...]

Baptists want a catechism

Another example of  Baptists wanting what Lutherans have but have  neglected in order to be more like Baptists:  Some Baptist leaders are saying that what their churches need in order to address decreasing attendance and to combat religious illiteracy is a catechism! [Read more...]

Lutheranism FAQ

I stumbled across this Lutheranism FAQ put together by Steve Born, a convert to Lutheranism who bases it on the objections to Lutheranism and various  questions he received from his earlier Pentecostal co-religionists.  It includes topics often raised here, such as “how can Lutherans believe both in salvation by faith and in infant baptism?”  and the differences between Lutheranism and Calvinism.  My favorite objection:  “It’s a church 500 years out of date!”

After the jump are the Frequently Asked Questions.  At the site, you can click them and find some quite helpful answers. [Read more...]

Christmas carols on the Incarnation

Sean Morris posts on how the classic Christmas carols draw on the Nicene Creed as they confess that the baby Jesus is God incarnate.  See his examples after the jump.  What are some others? [Read more...]

Harold Camping dies

Radio evangelist Harold Camping has died at the age of 92.  Best known for predicting that on May 21, 2011, Jesus would come back, Camping’s most harmful teaching was that all church bodies were heretical and that people should just listen to his radio broadcasts instead of going to church.

Longtime readers of this blog might recall some good discussions we had about Mr. Camping’s predictions and his theology, including with one of his followers.  (See, for example,  here, here and here.)

[Read more...]

Churches, sects, denominations, and non-denominations

Sociologist of religion Peter Berger (an ELCA Lutheran) discusses the phenomenon of the Sunday Assembly, which we blogged about yesterday.  He said the fact that atheists too are gathering together following the pattern of religious activities demonstrates the almost universal human need to worship (or the equivalent) and to join together with others who hold common religious or philosophical convictions.

In the course of his discussion, he draws on older sociologists who distinguish between different kinds of religious institutions:  a church (which a person is born into) and a sect (which a person chooses to join).  Such a distinction, it seems to me, grows out of the European state church.  American religion, according to Dr. Berger, has added the concept of the denomination, which a person may be born into or choose freely to join.  Dr. Berger further says that denominations of one sort or another–in the sense of “a community of value, religious or otherwise,” have become inevitable in America, extending even to atheists.

After the jump, read his argument and some questions I have about “non-denominational” churches.  [Read more...]


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