Demonstrating the State of Evangelicalism Today

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Today, Thom Rainer posted a list of the "twenty most influential evangelicals in America." In light of the recent World Vision controversy, I think this list demonstrates precisely what is wrong with evangelicalism in America, at least as it is perceived and defined by most people - both insiders and outsiders. Namely, it is limited to those who are publicly conservative in their politics, against legal gay marriage (and hiring married gay people to do charity work, apparently), and limited in … [Read more...]

World Vision and the Damage Done

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What a whirlwind.First, World Vision announced a policy change that would allow married gay Christians to work for the organization, igniting the vast indignation of the conservative evangelical establishment.Then, just yesterday, less than 48 hours later, World Vision reversed their decision, issuing an apology (mainly to their conservative constituency).Several reports cite a nearly instantaneous loss of 2,000 child sponsorships when World Vision made the initial policy decision. … [Read more...]

God Hates Double Standards: Fred Phelps and the Evangelicals

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Fred Phelps is dead.And while the Westboro cult itself is refusing to mourn ("We don't worship the dead"), some counter-protesters at yesterday's Lorde concert in Kansas City graciously expressed counterintuitive condolences for the hate-group's loss.When Phelps's death was announced a few days ago, it didn't take long for evangelical condemnations to hit my feeds, some of them fierce, some of them kinder and more forgiving. Some Christians were quick to consign Phelps himself to the … [Read more...]

Pluralistic Society is the Answer, For the World Today

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When I was little there was a popular CCM song called "Jesus is the Answer." Maybe you remember it. The chorus went, simply: Jesus is the AnswerFor the world todayAbove him there's no otherJesus is the Way. The song became something of a rallying cry for the burgeoning post-Jesus Movement evangelical right, with implications for both saving souls and enacting righteous legislation. Yes, Jesus is the Answer for every down-and-out lost person who needs to get saved. And he's also the … [Read more...]

Riffing & Reviewing: Girl at the End of the World

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Christians get agitated when you use the word "cult." I found this out recently when I suggested that megachurches can produce a cultish environment, especially if they have a revered celebrity personality for a leader (hence, "cult of personality"). High-control, high-demand, high-secrecy patterns can emerge, leading to all manner of hurt and abuse. Of course, this does not only (or stereotypically) occur within megachurches, but the very suggestion of such produced strong pushback in the co … [Read more...]

Don’t Throw Rocks – Mark Driscoll’s Humble Plea?

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It's been a busy week-or-so with Mark Driscoll news and content, but I wanted to share this video from his sermon last Sunday as a (hopefully) final entry in this saga, at least for a while. It is very likely that his sermon was referencing, at least in part, some of the controversy surrounding him and Mars Hill in recent days. Mark seemed to produce a tone of humility, and, in a different part of the sermon, even gave a very vague kind of apology.In this segment, Driscoll drew out the … [Read more...]

Are These the Last Days…of Mark Driscoll’s Pastoral Ministry?

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Are these the last days of Mark Driscoll's pastoral ministry?I'm not sure, but it's a question worth considering. (Some follow up questions: Would that be a good thing? Would it be a bad thing? How do we better handle the prospect of celebrity preachers and megachurches in general?)In addition to the plagiarism and bestseller gaming scandals, there is a rising level of strong critique coming from former pastors at Mars Hill.Here's Mars Hill's Board of Advisors statement about that … [Read more...]

What Everyone Might Be Missing About Mark Driscoll: It’s All Business

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This past week yet another scandalous story broke having to do with the ministry of Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church in Seattle.This story is, frankly, somewhat derivative - last month a similar one surfaced about megachurch pastor Steven Furtick. And, it follows on Driscoll's last moment in the media rotation over questions of plagiarism. But this one could be a hell of a lot more serious than those previous blips on the evangelical media radar.Essentially, Driscoll/Mars Hill hired a … [Read more...]

Go and Learn What This Means: I Desire Honesty, Not Christianity

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I am a Christian.I love Christians.I have great hope for the Christian church.But throughout my journey one thing has repeatedly frustrated me. And that is the tendency among Christians to value the identity marker of "Christian" over basic truth and honesty.Oh sure, we've got the "truth." But that truth revolves around theological realities about how one secures salvation or lives the Christian life that must be defended and upheld no matter what, along with the institutions … [Read more...]

A Hermeneutic of Oppression, a Hermeneutic of Liberation

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It's Ash Wednesday, and last night I watched 12 Years a Slave.For some reason, that film seems a fitting way to begin the Lent season. It is painful. It is intense. It's the kind of film that is impossible to "like" - it just destroys you. And in the process, it changes you.While there are plenty of wonderfully thorough reviews of the new Best Picture winner, I just want to share one observation from the film, and then make an Ash Wednesday application.First, the observation: The … [Read more...]


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