Evangelizing the condemned Nazis

Last year almost to the day we blogged about  Rev. Henry Gerecke, the LCMS military chaplain who was pressed into service as the Protestant chaplain at Nuremberg, charged with ministering to the Nazi war criminals who were on trial there, many of whom were executed.  There is now  book out about Chaplain Gerecke:  Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis by Tim Townsend.

It tells how he used both firmness and compassion, applying both the Law and the Gospel, in an effort to bring these moral monsters to repentance and to Christ.  Which he apparently did with at least 4 of the 11 who were hanged.  Then again, Hermann Goering repudiated Christianity just hours before he committed suicide by biting a  smuggled cyanide tablet, calling Jesus “just another smart Jew.”  After the jump, an excerpt from a review of the book.
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Igniting a second Reformation

Check out this new website, which, in turn is a forum for a new ministry and resource group whose goal is nothing less than “igniting a second Reformation.”  It’s all about Lutheran apologetics–defending Christianity and specifically defending the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions.  Not just defending, but promoting and evangelizing.  Lutherans often just talk with each other, but the idea here is getting the Word out into the world.

The initiative is called 1517 The Legacy Project.  After the jump, Dr. Rod Rosenbladt tells all about it. [Read more...]

How George Herbert’s poetry converted an atheist

I throw out opinions on all kinds of topics, but my real area of expertise is 17th Century English literature.  To drill down to an even more specific field, as we English professors have to do, I have a specialty in George Herbert, the great Christian poet.  He was the subject of my dissertation and my first book, which has recently come back into print: Reformation Spirituality: The Religion of George Herbert

Now British journalist Miranda Threlfall-Holmes tells how the poetry of George Herbert played a factor in her conversion to Christianity from atheism.  (He had a similar impact on the French philosopher Simone Weil.)

What does this tell us about apologetics and evangelism? [Read more...]

“Scare the living daylights out of nonbelievers”

Final:  The Rapture is another end times movie.  It’s billed as a “Christian horror movie.”  The purpose, according to filmmaker Tim Chey, is to “win people to Christ” by scaring “the living daylights out of nonbelievers.”

After the jump, I excerpt a story about the movie with various quotations that I put in bold.   I know that the Law terrifies, as it drives us to the Gospel.  But that doesn’t mean that anything that terrifies is the Law.  Does there seem to be either Law or Gospel in this particular evangelism project?

And what do you make of all of this interest in this particular interpretation of the End Times?

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Do church growth tactics attract the unchurched?

The best argument for adopting the techniques of the Church Growth movement–contemporary worship, non-traditional styles, and culturally-relevant practices–is to reach the lost, the unbelievers, the unchurched.  Such “missional” concerns often trump all other considerations.  It’s hard to argue against the importance of evangelism and the Great Commission.

But the question remains, do the Church Growth techniques that have given us so many megachurches, in fact, attract non-Christians and others who do not normally go to church?

I stumbled across a study of those who attend megachurches–one that is actually pro-megachurch in many ways–that found that only 2% do not describe themselves as “committed followers of Jesus Christ,” and only 6% do not come from other congregations. [Read more...]

Speedfaithing

You know about speed dating.  A man and a woman sit down together for 3-8 minutes (depending on how it’s set up) to see if they hit it off, then move to a new table for 3-8 minutes with someone else.  Now there is speedfaithing, in which people go to different tables to hear from advocates of different religions, who have 10 minutes to make their case.

After the jump, a news story about speedfaithing in Irvine, California, along with a challenge for you commenters. I’m struck more, though, about the last sentence of the story and what it reveals about what people, including this atheist, think religion is all about.  ” ‘I’m a good person,’” says the atheist representative, “‘ and I don’t necessarily need religion to show I’m a good person.’ ”  OK.  Then there are the Christian tables for all of us bad persons; that is, sinners. [Read more...]


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