CNN Identifies “Fake” Christianity

A recent article on CNN identifies what they call “fake” Christianity and describes it as a “watered-down faith that portrays God as a ‘divine therapist’ whose chief goal is to boost people’s self-esteem.” This brand of Christianity is very common in today’s churches, especially those geared towards attracting young people. But instead of attracting them, these churches end up repelling young people. Read the whole thing here.

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How Pastors Spend Their Time

A study by LIfeway research reveals how typical protestant (across all denominations) pastors spend their time, by number of hours on particular activities. More details available here.

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Favorite Hypocritical Church Complaints

I recently came across a blog post that quotes Kevin DeYoung’s book, Why We Love the Church, with some of the typical complaints leveled against the church. We need to love the church, warts and all, because the church is people. I have tweaked DeYoung’s quote a little into a list of favorite church complaints. 1. The church is lame. The ‘church-is-lame’ crowd hates Constantine and notions of Christendom, but they want the church to be a patron of the arts, and run after-school programs, and bring the world together in peace and love. 2. The church is too-programmatic. This crowd bemoans the over-programmed church, but then think of a hundred complex, resource-hungry things the church should be doing. 3. The church is too hierarchical. This crowd doesn’t like the church because it is too hierarchical, but then they hate it when it has poor leadership. 4. The church needs to…

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In Praise of a Boring Ministry

I wonder how many young men would choose to enter the ministry if they knew, from the very beginning, that their churches would never exceed a few dozen people, their salary would always be meager, their church budgets would always be tight, and all their labors would be scarcely noticed by anyone outside of their faithful few? Carl Trueman writes along these lines at his reformation21 blog in a recent post. In a world that is driven by larger than life celebrity personalities, it is no surprise that the church has a few of its own, leading large churches, writing books, and posting podcasts for listeners around the world. Trueman notes that these celebrity churches are led by celebrity pastors who have one-in-a-million type gifts and it is unreasonable to try to replicate this into other churches. Enter new Calvinism. Time Magazine recently pegged new Calvinism as the third most…

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7 Elements of a Multi-Ethnic Church

George Yancey writes in One Body One Spirit that there are seven characteristics of multi-ethnic churches that are worth noting. Some of these were surprising. 1. Inclusive Worship. Music is so important to people that when they sing to God it needs to take on a form that is culturally meaningful for them. In the Euro-white culture, we have everything from Indie-Rock, to pipe organs, to Coldplay, to acoustic folk in our churches. But others prefer a keyboard and rhythm section driven sound. I suppose in India people would want a Sitar with Ravi Shankar sound. The point is that the musical style of the church must reflect the diversity of the people that come there. 2. Diverse Leadership. Yancey writes, “multiracial leadership is important because members of different racial groups desire to feel represented by the members of the church, especially racial minorities who historically have received a lack…

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Communities of Grace vs. Communities of Performance

Tim Chester posted about different types of church communities and how the ethos of the group affects individuals. Communities of Performance People talk about grace, but communicate legalism Unbelievers can’t imagine themselves as Christians Drive away broken people The world is seen as threatening and ‘other’ Conversion is superficial—people are called to respectable behavior People are secretly hurting People see faith and repentance as actions that took place at conversion The gospel is for unbelievers Communities of Grace People can see grace in action Unbelievers feel like they can belong Attract broken people People are loved as fellow sinners in need of grace Conversion is radical—people are called to transformed affections People are open about their problems People see faith and repentance as daily activities The gospel is for both unbelievers and believers

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Is Racial Reconciliation Dead?

No, racial reconciliation isn’t dead, but perhaps Christians need to talk about the topic differently. God has put in my heart a dream of a multi-racial church in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. In that previous sentence, there’s about three things that people have told me are foolish ideas. I have been told that (1) Cincinnati is “rough soil” for church planting, and (2) downtown Cincinnati is especially difficult, but to be (3) multi-racial is just plain out of the question. I believe that God can and will do it, however. And right now, God has answered my prayers of raising up a core group of Christian leaders who want to see the same thing happen downtown in Cincinnati. But I have been beating my head against a wall trying to figure out how to make our group more ethnically diverse. Yesterday, I met Alvin Sanders, the Chief Diversity Officer…

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