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Author Archive

[344] Ego and Sin

Ego=Easing God Out.

Sin=Self-Indulgence Now. DC

[345] The New Wave

According to Meghan Winter of The Atlantic, the new wave of Protestant evangelicals is Hispanic. One factor is demographic. It is projected that by 2060 there will be 110 million Hispanics in the US, up from 110 million now. More important are organized efforts to evangelize Hispanics. There is an attempt to plant churches. The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) claims to represent more than 40,000 churches and intends to plant 25,000 more by 2030.

Much of this church planting is bankrolled by megachurches, though there are other networks as well. With a median budget of $5.3MM in 2019, these mega-entities have the resources to finance expansion.

There is a widespread belief that Hispanic churches are attractive to newcomers because they attempt to be apolitical. “People want love, they want joy, and they don’t to go to a church that is CNN vs. Fox,” said Samuel Rodriguez, president of the NHCLC. This does not mean people like Rodriguez are not involved in issues of justice. He has served as an advisor to George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump and believes Hispanic believers can help heal the nation. “We really do believe that the Latino Church will reconcile Billy Graham’s message with Dr. King’s march.”

In this church-threatened era, Winter’s article not only reminds us that God works in mysterious ways, but also calls to mind Christ’s words in Matthew 16:18, “…I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Moreover, for all those evangelical believers praying for a revival, we may have one coming, but from a source outside the traditional evangelical mainstream. DC

[344] Yancey

ChristianityToday.com reported on an interview of author, Philip Yancey, by Bob Smietana of Religion News Service. Among the questions was what would Yancey say to evangelicals if he had an audience with him.

Here is Yancey’s response.

I go back to that beautiful discourse in John Chapters 13 to 17, which is Jesus’ last time with his disciples. He’s turning over the whole thing to them. And they haven’t really proven themselves. In fact, they’ve proven themselves unreliable. So, what did he do? He washed their feet. And he said to them, this is your stance in the world. You’re a servant, you’re not the leaders. Then he said, you should be known by your love. And you should be known by your unity. Those three things.

Yet so often the church seems more interested in cleaning up society, you know, returning America to its pristine 1950s. That’s the myth we have — we are making America pure again, cleaning it up.

Jesus lived under the Roman Empire, Paul lived under the Roman Empire, which was much worse morally than anything going on in the United States. They didn’t say a word about how to clean up the Roman Empire, not a word. They just kind of dismissed it.

So, why are we here? Well, we’re here to form the kind of community that makes people say, ”Oh, that’s what God had in mind.” We’re here to form pioneer settlements of the kingdom of God, as N.T. Wright puts it. It’s about demonstrating to the world what the whole human experiment is about.

Let’s remember why we are here. We love people, we serve and we show them why God’s way is better. Let’s concentrate on that rather than tearing people down or rejecting them or denigrating them in some way. We’re here to bring pleasure to God. I believe we do that by living in the way God’s son taught us to live when he was on earth.

Yancey is right. Our call is to show the world what we are for–loving God and loving people, rather than what we are against.

DC

[343] KRT

Tony Evans is concerned about the debate over Critical Race Theory (CRT) and its implications. Though he accepts the validity of much of CRT thinking, Evans is concerned with the subject of race becoming an idol amid constant race-centric dialogue.

Evans proposes an intriguing alternative: Kingdom Race Theory (KRT). His formulation, based on Ephesians 2:11-22, is about “the reconciled recognition, affirmation, and celebration of the divinely created…ethnic differences through which God displays his multifaceted glory, as his people justly, righteously, and responsibly function personally and corporately, in unity under the lordship of Jesus Christ.”

He cites the ruckus in Ephesus over Jew and Gentile differences and how Paul made clear they were now Christians and “going to the same church. So it’s time for new rules.” In short, Paul was pushing them away from being ethnic-centric to being “Christo-centric.”

For Evans, “If you’re spending more time discussing CRT than you are KRT, then you’ve been tricked by the world. Now in Christ there are new rules,” and by following them “we will create something new.” DC

[343] And Again

In a recent blog I wrote of state of California having to pay $2MM in legal fees to those who challenged its practice of placing greater C-19 restrictions on churches than on retail establishments.

Well, here’s another Golden State special. The state has ruled that the LA public school district violated federal law by reducing funding for low-income students attending Catholic schools. It is likely the school district will have to fork over millions to the Archdiocese of LA, which filed the complaint.

Imagine that, a secular organization found snookering a religious one out of what is rightfully theirs under the law. Have we seen that before?

I love these stories, because for decades the secularists have made the law their #1 weapon in their war against Christianity. Abortion, pseudo interpretations of the separation of church and state, and outlawing the teaching of creation in public schools, are but a few examples. It is time to flip the coin on the use of the law and the archdiocese is to be commended for doing just that. DC

[342] Counterfeit Christians

Frank Powell, on Churchleaders.com wrote an article provocatively entitled, “7 Signs You are a Counterfeit Christian.” I want to use this space to offer a derivative to two of them. Powell’s second sign was “A counterfeit Christian believes the Bible is more important than Jesus.” This is somewhat arguable because we meet Jesus through scripture.

I grew up in an intensely doctrinal environment, one that made assent to the central doctrines more important than a commitment of the heart to Christ; people who knew and spouted all the right things but were deficient in the fruits of the Spirit.  This making theology more important than Jesus is counterfeit Christianity. Sound theology points the way to Jesus, not the other way around.

Here is a related one. “A counterfeit Christian thinks Christian maturity is more about how much people know than what they do.” This is the problem with so many Bible Studies. They degenerate into a sharing of content, opinion, and experience rather than a basis for living out discipleship.

The purpose of knowledge is action. Nowhere is that more important than in the Christian faith. DC

[342] Norm Mcdonald

Stand-up comedian, Norm Macdonald, suffering secretly from cancer the past nine years, died recently. He was 61. MacDonald was a bit of a spiritual enigma, claiming to be a Christian, but not a particularly good or practicing one.

As Terry Mattingly wrote in the September 25th Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Macdonald “was laced with paradoxes — an edgy, courageous comic who often seemed unconcerned if his work pleased the public or his employers. Nevertheless, superstars such as David Letterman, Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Newhart and others hailed him as a deadpan comic genius, and mourned his passing.”

Though his eternal destiny is in the hands of the Lord, while he was with us, he had no tolerance for the all-too-common practice among entertainers of mocking Christianity.

“I think if you’re going to take on an entire religion, you should maybe know what you’re talking about,” said Macdonald. The comedian was fearless.  “I’m a Christian,” Macdonald once said to Larry King. “It’s not stylish to say that now.”

The always probing King then asked, “Are you devout? … You believe in the Lord?”

“Yes, I do,” Macdonald said.

If he did, we know his destiny. DC

[341] Knowledge is Not Power

We often hear people say, “Knowledge is power.”

Don’t be fooled.

The statement is only true in the earthly, factual sense. Otherwise it is a bold lie. Think about it. The world is filled with intellectual fools, people with a vast command of facts, but without a life direction, because they have said in their heart, there is no God (Ps. 14:1). Secular academe has a near corner on this proud yet foolish, deluded demographic.

Wisdom–not knowledge–has power, and that wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord (Pr. 9:10). We get that wisdom by walking in the light of truth (Ps. 36:9) Knowledge without the light of truth is darkness, because it denies the creator of all knowledge. Knowledge gained in the light of God’s revelation is sure and has eternal power. DC

[341] Gutsy and Not

In Louisiana, the gutsy John Bel Edwards, of all things a pro-life Democrat, recently signed three pro-life bills into law. Meanwhile, the not so gutsy Tony Campolo’s “Red Letter Christians” organization openly takes a stand against the Religious Right, but not on third rail issues like abortion, apparently for fear of alienating the political left. DC

[340] Who Am I?

I was walking on Irving Park in urban Chicago, approaching a bus stop that would help take me downtown for an appointment.  As I approached the stop, to my right I saw a relatively young man stretched out on the pavement, lying next to the front door of a business. He was obviously drunk. Next to him were evidences of alcoholism, including a partially consumed bottle of hard liquor. 

Looking at his unhealthy face, it was clear that the man was in trouble, Intervention was needed.

But I didn’t intervene. Neither did any of the others waiting for the bus.

Perhaps they, like me, had appointments for which they did not wish to be late. Perhaps they did not want the inconvenience of “getting involved.”  Perhaps they had simply become hardened to the plight of society’s victims in a city awash with scenes like these.  I don’t know, but the whole thing bothered me.

Wasn’t this all-too-common urban scene a modern-day replication of the situation the Good Samaritan encountered?  And if so, who was I?  The priest?  The Levite?

What I was not, was the Good Samaritan. DC