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Tag Archives: Roman Catholics

Learning from the Global Church

I have loved studying church history and global Christianity for well over 30 years. This passion has been fed by my thirty-year friendship with Scott W. Sunquist, a gifted scholar who now serves as a Dean at Fuller Theological Seminary. While God led Scott into PhD work and seminary teaching, God led me to pastor a local church. Yet our different paths, along with our common passion for Christ and His mission, have served as an “iron sharpening iron” experience over the years for us. Scott recently released an important book entitled – The Unexpected Christian Century – that captures some important insights as we consider the work of God today. Consider the following image: The graphic illustrates the following: Christian faith has deep roots going back to Creation and the work of God in Israel over the centuries. What holds The Church together is Jesus (God incarnate who has entered our world as. Read more.

Is Evangelicalism Exhausted?

This question was uttered by Gordon MacDonald during a recent leadership meeting at New Life. It has caused me to wonder also: “Might it be true?” He noted three things: Society is unraveling and evangelicalism has few answers. Research studies, like Reveal, seem to confirm that mega-churches do no grow deep Christians. Those who do go “deeper” with Christ often leave. 80% of the quotes in evangelical books are from outside our tradition, i.e. from Roman Catholics and the Orthodox believers. Consider also the following data coming out of recent research studies: Studies by several different organizations suggest that about half of men attending church are involved in pornography (Genung, 2005). A significant minority of self-identified born-again Christians, particularly those under 35, has cohabited, and divorce rates are just as high among born-again Christians as among other groups (Barna Research Group, 2001). An estimated 8 out of 10 youth from evangelical Christian homes walk. Read more.

10 Trends for 2013

Where we live impacts us. I have been the pastor of a multiracial, international church in New Life in Queens, NY for the more than twenty five and a half years. It is the soil out of which I see the world and the larger church. Thus, I offer the following trends, or concerns, that I believe we need to carry to God in prayer: Evangelicalism will continue to lose young people in their teens, 20’s and 30’s who are genuinely searching for an authentic transformative experience with God. The issue of same-sex marriage and partnerships will increasingly dominate our youth ministries. We will be very slow to equip our youth leaders and ministries with a well-thought, nuanced, theological response. There will continue to be little interest for Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox believers to learn from one another. Marriage discipleship will remain non-existent or superficial in our churches. The high divorce rate, along. Read more.

The Way to the Future is through the Past

In preparation for our Emotionally Healthy Leadership Conference I spent a lot of time reading of about the impact of social media/technology on our formation in Christ along with the importance of learning from other spiritual traditions outside of contemporary evangelicalism to root us deeply in Christ. What are the lessons I learned? 1. We need to learn from Roman Catholics, Orthodox churches and church history. Remember, Luther was anti-Semite. Calvin drowned an Anabaptist for believing in baptism by immersion. Jonathan Edwards had slaves. Azusa Street, in 1906, split on racism.  While my church historian friend, Dr. Scott Sunquist, reminds me that the roots of evangelicalism in the 18th and 19th century was marked by a generous spirit towards other traditions, that is not the case today.  We are often deeply judgmental and narrow. Our church family genogram since Pentecost has many riches and warts. By studying this history, we can see better what. Read more.