What exactly is the church’s mission? In order to answer this question, we must first accurately define the gospel.
When we speak of post-Christian, we are making the point that the church no longer occupies a central place of social and cultural hegemony. This represents a monumental shift in the cultural context into which the American, church is now attempting to carry out its mission. What does this new cultural condition mean to the church and its mission?
I do not think it too strong or sensational to say that we are witnessing the collapse of Western civilization. Across the Western world, the fruits of apostasy and secularism are manifesting themselves in overwhelmingly destructive ways. In essence, we in the West are reaping precisely what we have sown. Mankind cannot construct a world devoid of subservience to God and hope to prosper.
Throughout the first decade of the new millennium, multiple studies—revealing a crisis among youth in the church—seemed to appear almost every year and now in 2011, the research still shows no improvement. It is astonishing to note that despite the continued evidence demonstrating the American church’s failure to adequately and holistically disciple the faithful into maturity; the leadership in so many of our churches continue to do the same thing
It seems necessary to address why and even if Christians should be involved in redeeming society and culture. There are many who deride such activity as being a diversion from the “real” work of the church, which in their minds is nothing more than articulating the personal plan of salvation (or “gospel,” very narrowly understood).
A pressing concern for us today is that unlike our first and second-century brothers and sisters, we all-too-often appear similar to the surrounding culture. This is especially true among the forthcoming generation. As Christianity Today reported more than seven years ago, “Specific studies of sexual trends among Christian teens have been limited, but all indications are that, on average, there is little difference between their sexual behavior and that of non-Christian youths.”
The famous historian, Arnold J. Toynbee points out that civilizations sank owing to either nationalism, militarism or the tyranny of a despotic minority. It seems we are "sinking" as a “despotic minority” redefines human biology and the natural family in its quest to validate homosexual behavior through "marriage."
Study Reveals: If a father does not go to church—no matter how faithful his wife’s devotions—only one child in 50 will become a regular worshipper. If a father does go regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two-thirds and three-quarters of their children will become churchgoers.
One of the most persistent and pervasive myths that have shaped the thinking of many people and, subsequently, public policy is the myth that the world’s population is spiraling out of control and that it will ultimately lead to catastrophic shortages of the essential resources necessary to sustain life.
It is astounding to consider that the most powerful military force in the history of the world is comprised entirely of volunteers! These are men and women who have, by their own free choice, set aside their personal freedom and dedicated themselves to serving a higher purpose: justice and liberty. It is this attitude of self-sacrifice for the greater good (or “other-centeredness”) that is absolutely essential to the strength and longevity of any society.
When pastors and theologians speak of calling, most people think of some loftier spiritual work rather than trudging off to a business office, construction site, or retail store to labor. Under this paradigm, the essential activity that consumes the other 98 percent of Christians’ time and energy is, in essence, of little or no spiritual value.
Without the essential theological and intellectual foundations, business as mission often ends up being nothing more than business as usual but with Christian platitudes tacked on.
For those mothers who are discouraged by the spiritual state of their children, take heart; I bear witness to the fact that the Lord can and does respond to the prayers of a grieving mother!
As we begin this Holy Week there is no other issue, no other thought more demanding of our attention than that of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I imagine the folks over at Planned Parenthood are desperately trying to figure how they can best spin the latest results from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), released last month.
For many Westerners, the hope of peace between the Middle East and the West rests in the spread of democracy. However, is our foreign policy driven by a naiveté that incorrectly identifies with the “revolutionaries” as kindred spirits?
After more than ten years of serious study and careful examination of culture—what it is, how it’s formed and its present influence on the church—I find that Americans generally flow in one of two directions. They either tend toward being consumers or being creators.
As a result of the overwhelming suffering, injustice, and evil that frequently seems to rule the day, many of us may feel overwhelmed by a sense of despair and may think that improving these conditions is not only futile but also pointless. However...
Too often, our attitude toward the surrounding culture and those who make it up is judgmental and condemning. We thoughtlessly criticize anything that isn’t distinctly Christian. We vilify and ridicule the representatives of “godless culture” and rather than engage with and love the lost, we take offense and withdraw into our Christian enclaves. This is devastating to the church and it's mission.
If “all the Law” hangs on loving God and loving others, then to love God is to obey him and to obey him is to love others. But what does it really mean to love others? Should you walk down the street hugging everyone you meet saying, “I love you”? Should loving others be accompanied by feelings of affection? Are these feelings essential to loving others and if absent does this mean you’re not being loving?