Churches that don’t baptize

Some churches that work hard to get people to “make a decision for Christ” never get around to baptizing them!   In fact, there are some ostensibly Christian bodies that don’t baptize at all.  And more that will baptize if someone asks for it, but most members don’t go to the trouble.  And according to Christian scholar Roger Olson, “one Texas megachurch pastor reported that nearly a third of the people who receive Christ in his church are never baptized. ”  [Read more...]

Making Christianity strange again

Russell Moore thinks the persecution of Christians around the world might bring American Christianity back to life.   Tagline to his post:  “Christianity in this country is big, powerful, and familiar. We need it to become strange again.” [Read more...]

Theological flowers

Calvinists sum up their theology, as well as their Dutch connections, with the acronym TULIP.  That stands for Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints.

Southern Baptists are currently in the midst of a controversy between their Calvinist members and their more Arminian brethren.  So to compete with the TULIP faction, as Bill Leonard reports, the non-Calvinist Baptists have come up with a flower of their own:  POINSETTIA.  That stands for “Pursuit unconditional, Own guilt, Inclusive atonement, Natural responsibility, Spontaneous regeneration, Election available, Temperate foreknowledge, True freedom, Indestructible security, Almighty gospel.”

Your task:  Come up with a flower for other theological traditions (Catholics?  Orthodox?  Pentecostal?  Methodist?  Non-Denominational?), turning it into an acronym or a symbol for its distinct teachings and practices.  After the jump, the flower of Lutheranism. [Read more...]

Presbyterians (USA) vote to allow gay marriages

The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to revise its Book of Order to redefine marriage as being between “two persons” rather than between a man and a woman, thereby fully sanctioning gay marriages and gay weddings.  The revision must be approved by a majority of presbyteries, but congregations in states that have legalized gay marriage may now perform them. [Read more...]

Text and context on women’s ordination

The Australian theologian and Bible scholar John Kleinig said that women’s ordination used to not be a big deal for him–until he studied 1 Corinthians 14 and realized that it is far more forceful on the issue than most people realize. [Read more...]

Baptists discovering toddler baptism

Southern Baptists are concerned that the number of baptisms is way down.  (And yet many of their churches are growing.  Is it that converts, new members, and the Millennial generation are unwilling today to be baptized?)  But one demographic of Baptists is getting baptized in greater and greater numbers:  children five and under.

That is not all that different from what we Lutherans practice as infant baptism.  Traditionally, Baptists–who require faith as a precondition of baptism, rather than seeing baptism as a means of grace and the faith that receives it– have insisted that infants and young children cannot have faith.  I have never understood that.  Of course babies and toddlers can have faith.  They have faith–which has to do with trust, a sense of dependency, and relationship and is never just intellectual knowledge–in their parents.  Why not in their Heavenly Father?  So I salute this trend among Baptists! [Read more...]


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