Poll: Authority of the Bible vs. the Church’s Teachings

Here's a poll for you.  Have we gone too far in rejecting the authority in the church, or not far enough?  Find out where your church or congregation stands on authority--on the bible alone, or also on the teachings and traditions of the church? It seems like the majority in the evangelical church today tend …

God’s kingdom’s reign…in our weakness or strength?

My last post was on God's coming kingdom.  Although how extremist-Islam's version of God's kingdom is to come about is violent and forceful, Islam also believes in a new kingdom.  However, if I may also be critical of us as Christians, throughout sectors of the church, some of our Christian ideas about God's coming kingdom …

Do you support your pastor’s family?

Do you support your pastor's family? To many people's surprise, the pastor's family might be one of the most mistreated families in the church.  The expectations of the pastor is that he/she ought to give, give, and give, and if there's more to give, then squeeze him dry. The only thing pastor is expected to …

Part 4: Religious and spiritual landscapes — urban vs rural

Have you noticed a decline in evangelism in your local church? In most rural communities, the visible church is more stable and will likely remain (although many historic mainline churches are closing).  Naturally, change in rural communities do not happen as frequently; therefore, people will have the opportunity to integrate their spirituality and their religious …

Part 3: Religious and spiritual landscapes — urban vs rural

Is there still a need in people’s lives to express their spirituality in some way, shape or form--and within community?  Our  western culture seems to have taken individuality to the extreme where religious community life has been secularized and devalued to the sidelines of life, and even ignored.  Participation in religious community life has now …

Part 2: Religious and spiritual landscapes — urban vs rural

Have we, as a society, kept our spirituality hidden away too much from the eyes of others for the sake of being tolerant?  In my move from rural to urban, I have also noticed a big difference in how people approach spirituality (as opposed to religion).   Spirituality in the urban setting (especially on the part …

Part 1: Religious and spiritual landscapes — urban vs rural

This will be the first post in a four part series.  I want to bring up and provoke some thoughts about differences in people's attitudes toward religion and spirituality in both rural and urban settings. The Church is at a critical moment in the 21st century. Either we work to survive and thrive, or we …

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 is like Jekyll and Hyde?

Is the church holy, divine, and theological in nature? Or is the church human, historical, and sociological in nature? Well, when everything seems to be going wrong…when I see all the horrible things happening in the life of Christian people…when I see all the imperfections, I tend to see the church as merely a human …

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 …

Christless Christianity by Michael Horton. Has the church been taken captive?

Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church Author: Michael Horton Publisher: Baker Books (272 pages) ISBN-10: 0801013186 ISBN-13: 978-0801013188 I wish to thank the fine people at Baker Books for sending me this review copy. Has mainstream evangelicalism gone Pelagian and taken captive to consumerism, pragmatism, self-sufficiency, individualism, positive thinking, personal prosperity, and …

Mel Gibson and wife Robyn to divorce

Those who hold to conservative family values still end up in the same messy situations. Rep. New Gingrich, Pastor Ted Haggard, Senator Larry Craig.  Now it's actor Mel Gibson's turn.  Hollywood is as mixed up as always.  Mel Gibson's adulterous affair with actor Oksana Grigorieva has recently resulted in an out of wedlock child, Lucia, …

What does your pastor wear on Sundays?

What does your pastor wear on Sundays?  I envy the likes of Pastor Mark Driscoll who looks like he just slapped on a T-shirt and a pair of old ripped up jeans for Sunday morning church service (or gathering).   I wonder if he even plans out his wardrobe for Sundays?  I wish I could wear …

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 …

Vestments: to wear or not to wear?

Is there a scriptural basis for clergy vestments or any kind of distinctive clothing as an element of worship in the New Testament church?  Not that I can find in scripture; but if there is, it's more of an anti-vestment tone. In this Sunday’s reading, Jesus warns: 38 "...Beware of the scribes who like to …