Theological pilgrimage

I have blogged about this matter in the past but only very briefly in passing.   After many months of self-reflection and getting resettled, I now have more time to reflect upon my journey and share with  readers here (and anyone else who may be interested). Since November of 2011, I have made a journey that …

Keeping a “wall of separation” between Church and State

Baptists had a very important role in the formation of the idea of a “wall of separation between church and state”. Thomas Jefferson made this phrase famous, and in part, it was due to the influence from the Baptists. Jefferson had written two letters. The first of the two letters was addressed to the Danbury …

Is church membership important anymore?

In some churches,  50% of those in attendance might not be official members of the church.  In some evangelical mega-churches, and in many cases in large church, there are many attendees who are not members. What could this mean?  ...that some go church-hopping and never become an official member of that church?  ...that there's a …

News of my family’s life-changes

Grace and peace to readers of the New Epistles blog.  It's been a while since my last blog post. In this month of November, our family has been undergoing a big life-change. We have moved to new place (Brampton, Ontario located in the Greater Toronto Area). This change was stressful at first but we are …

The Mushy Middle series: on church life

... a series of posts on politics, church life, culture, theology-discipleship, and ministry It seems that it’s not only the mushy middle in politics that is being pushed out, but also the mushy middle in church life.  Take a look at the life of the established (or rather, de-establishing) mainline churches.  The United Church and …

The Church: always forming and reforming

Throughout my seminary career, I’ve heard professors being openly critical of other churches, especially those that practice different methodologies in ministry.  Both mainstream evangelical and confessional mainline churches are continually criticizing one another’s methodologies, and even, critiquing one another’s motives in ministry.   I have had a foot in both camps for a while now so …

Your Church is Too Small

Your Church is Too Small: Why Unity in Christ’s Mission is Vital to the Future of the Church Author: John H. Armstrong Publisher: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010 ISBN: 9780310321149 First, I wish to thank the good people at Zondervan for sending me this book to review.  This book is likely the challenging book I’ve …

Is there hope for Christian unity?

This cartoon reflects the current condition of the Church. I hope things can change in the future. When there's a lack of communication because of theological-intellectual-spiritual pride or lack of humility, a huge divide becomes even deeper.  We need to suck in our pride and talk to one another as equals and try to become …

Top 50 Ecumenical Blogs and being ecumenical

I'm honored that the New Epistles blog has been put on the “Top 50 Ecumenical Blogs” at Biblical Learning Blog (http://BibleCollege.org).  I guess this means that I'm ecumenical…but what does "ecumenical" mean?  Here's how Merriam-Webster defines "ecumenical" as: promoting or tending toward worldwide Christian unity or cooperation. However, there are different levels of ecumenism.  On …

Lutherans have officially apologized for persecution of anabaptists

In the past, even shortly after the Reformation was kick-started by Luther, the Reformation period wasn't all that rosy.  Followers of Luther’s doctrinal beliefs began to persecute the Anabaptists because they had other ideas of how far the Reformation should go.  This persecution in Lutheran lands lasted for many decades, if not centuries.  The Lutheran …

Pope Benedict makes it easier for disenchanted Anglicans to convert

Since the consecration of the openly gay Bishop gene Robinson in 2003 and the blessing of same-sex marriages in the Anglican Church in Canada (ACC), there was no turning back.  The wedge was set and hammered into the heart of the Anglican Communion across the U.S. and Canada.  Now it’s open season. It is now …

Church attendance is dropping amongst Anglicans-Episcopalians

People say regarding churches (especially mainline churches in the United States and Canada) that all they see are a sea of white hair.  This sea is no longer a sea; it’s only a smattering of white hair these days...and many are closing and shutting their doors.   Church attendance is dropping and seems irreversible. The statistics …

Why the United Church is dying

The United Church in Canada (UCC) is the fastest dying church in the nation of Canada today.  Its membership has declined from 25% to 9% of this nation's population and originally formed in the 1920s as a merger of Canada's three churches: Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregationalist. This was the church my father first got involved …

New quiz: I’m a Congregationalist – United Church of Christ

Just did one of those new what's your denomination type of quiz (Hat tip: CD-Host). I didn't know I was a Congregationalist-United Church of Christ.  I also come out high on Lutheran, Reformed and Calvinistic Baptist (surprise?); but genuinely surprised about Eastern Orthodox being high at #6 and Charismatic being low at #7. I don't …

Our denominational differences and commonalities

When I hear the bickering that goes on between mainline churches and evangelical churches, I shake my head and laugh at what both sides are saying about each other. Mainline churches accuse evangelical churches of sheep-stealing; but the fact is that this is far less a significant issue than the baptised-confirmed members in mainline churches …