T.D. Jakes and the Trinity

For more than a decade, Pentecostal Bishop T.D. Jakes has lived in the shadow of a Time magazine cover that asked, "Is this man the next Billy Graham?"That was a loaded question, because of tensions behind the scenes between the multi-media Dallas superstar and many mainstream Christian leaders.Now, this legendary preacher -- often listed as one of America's most powerful evangelicals -- has taken a big step toward convincing his critics that he is, in fact, an evangelical. Jakes has, after … [Read more...]

Baptists in an age without safe labels

Journalists have been known to jump to premature conclusions if a denomination has the word "Southern" in its name.Consider this paragraph in an MSNBC.com report about efforts by Southern Baptist researchers to shed light on the pros and cons of changing the name of America's largest non-Catholic flock. Southern Baptist Convention leaders have been discussing this prickly issue off and on for a generation.This new LifeWay Research survey was conducted, noted MSNBC, after SBC leaders created … [Read more...]

Southern Baptists vs. Mormons, again

If Southern Baptists gather for a seminar on what Mormons believe, the odds are good that one of the teachers will be a former member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Then again, if Mormons gather for a seminar on what Southern Baptists believe, the odds are good that one of the teachers will be a former Southern Baptist."There's an important word that people forget when they start talking about Southern Baptists and Mormons and that word is 'competition,' " said the Rev. … [Read more...]

Evangelicals learn to (heart) New York

Pastors have their own brand of insider humor, just like doctors, lawyers, accountants and other skilled professionals.The same is true for the missionaries, researchers and pastors who plant churches. Thus, Ed Stetzer once heard a veteran missions professor tell the following bittersweet joke at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.It went like this: How do you start a new Southern Baptist church in a big city up north? That's easy. You go into local grocery stores … [Read more...]

Churches late to Facebook party?

A mere three years ago, Diana Davis published a hands-on book for church leaders entitled "Fresh Ideas For Women's Ministry."When flipping through its pages, she said, one of the first things she notices is a missing word -- Facebook. She needs to rewrite the whole book to cover this reality gap."That obvious, isn't it? It's so obvious that we ought to be using Facebook to tell more women about our Bible studies and prayer groups and retreats and things like that," said Davis, who has been … [Read more...]

Rome ponders iMissal app

When it comes to liturgical details, the Vatican has clear guidelines about sacred objects that are blessed for use during a Mass."The Church has always sought," notes the Book of Blessings, "to ensure that all those things that are involved in any way in divine worship should be worthy, becoming and beautiful. ... Those objects that through a blessing are set aside for divine worship are to be treated with reverence by all and to be put only to their proper use, never profaned."This … [Read more...]

Symbols in the Texas hills

KERRVILLE, Texas -- The bracelet is both simple and a bit strange, since it consists of six or seven fishing lures connected end to end.Some people look at this piece of silver or gold jewelry in the James Avery line and they see fishing lures -- period.But other shoppers see the same item and they think of these words of Jesus: "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men." This is especially true if they have completed a United Methodist Walk to Emmaus weekend, or some other renewal … [Read more...]

SBC wrestles with corporate sin

Like most people born and raised in Biloxi, Miss., theologian Russell Moore grew up about 10 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico.It cost too much to live near the water, but that didn't really matter since the sights, smells and rhythms of the coast defined the whole community. Driving away from his hometown has always been emotional, but the last time he pulled onto U.S. Highway 90 was different.Hurricane Katrina was terrible. Now, the locals are facing what some writers have called "Katrina … [Read more...]


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