Can Prayer Change God? (Yes and No) If I were to write another book about Christian clichés (folk religion) I would include a chapter on this very popular one: “Prayer doesn’t change things; it changes me.” Or sometimes it goes like this: “Prayer doesn’t change God; prayer changes me.” Over the years, but very often recently, I have seen or heard this cliché—in sermons, on Facebook, in casual conversations. It has become a kind of stock cliché that rarely receives… Read more

Is God Necessarily the All-Determining Reality? Occasionally I “meet” (including non-face-to-face meetings here and elsewhere) people who believe that the God Christians worship is what theologian Greg Boyd calls “the God of the blueprint”—the Supreme Being who is not only creator and sustainer and redeemer but also the one who theologian John Piper says “designs, ordains, and governs” everything that happens without exception. First, there are Christian (and other) theologians and philosophers who believe that God, in order to be… Read more

”What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate” If I’ve learned anything from blogging it is that communication is complicated. Some of you may know the source of that famous quote “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” I don’t remember many lines from old movies, but that one has stuck with me for many years. (Google it.) If I am proud of anything about myself it is the grace God has given me to communicate well…. Read more

Embed from Getty Images The whole world is rejoicing at the almost miraculous rescues of a boys soccer team stranded in a flooded cave in Thailand. The world has watched with bated breath and prayed for them and for their rescuers. I am sure that includes many Americans who have no empathy for Hispanic children separated from their parents or guardians and caged or warehoused without adequate adult supervision in the U.S. That can only be for one reason—hatred of… Read more

A Dilemma Unacknowledged by Liberal Western Academics (Colonialism Old and New) For some years now many liberal academics in Europe and America have been loudly decrying “neo-colonialism,” the continuing tendency of many European and North American countries to dominate Global South/Two-thirds World cultures and countries. “Hands off!” well summarizes the attitude. “Let them be totally self-determining.” I couldn’t agree more—but with an honest qualification. I think many of these liberal-leaning anti-neo-colonialists have a problem they don’t acknowledge. They don’t really… Read more

What Is the Difference Between an Illegal Immigrant and a Refugee? What is the difference between an illegal immigrant and a refugee? In some cases, the only difference would seem to be perspective. When we Americans look around the world at people escaping extremely dangerous living conditions in one country, moving to another one without formal permission by the host country, we call them “refugees.” When we Americans look at people escaping extremely dangerous living conditions in their countries, moving… Read more

Remembering the Difference between Patriotism and Nationalism I’ve become increasingly concerned that many American Christians (and perhaps especially evangelicals) confuse patriotism with nationalism to the extent that idolatry lurks close by. Patriotism is love for one’s country without blinders about its flaws and defects.  Patriotism seeks to actualize the highest and best ideals of one’s country which can sometimes look like disloyalty to nationalists.  Nationalists tend to confuse “country” with “government” and reject as disloyal all criticism of either.  However,… Read more

Something Interesting Is Happening in the Worldwide Anglican Communion (And Why It Matters to Non-Anglicans) I am not an Anglican in any sense of the word. What I mean is I’m not even Episcopalian. But over the years I have had friends who are Anglican (Episcopalian is a form of Anglican) and as editor of the Handbook of Denominations in the United States I have done my best to inform myself about “happenings” in the Anglican world. The Handbook includes… Read more

Has the Time Come for a New Neo-Evangelicalism? A bit of history for those who are not already versed in the story of 20th century American evangelical Christianity. (And here let me put in a plug for Ryan Reeves’s Youtube video “The Rise of Evangelicalism.” You could spend worse 30 minutes than watching it.) In 1942 a group of fundamentalist evangelicals (or evangelical fundamentalists) got together and formed a new umbrella organization called the National Association of Evangelicals. One of… Read more

Should Christians Declare or Decree Things over our Lives?   Guest post by Andrew K. Gabriel, Ph.D. *Note: This is a guest essay; the author may or may not wish to respond to questions and comments. Keep comments civil and respectful; stick to the subject and do not misrepresent anything he says here. Neither he nor I speak for anyone but ourselves. This is not a discussion board; do not respond to others’ comments or questions. There is a growing… Read more

Browse Our Archives