Our host discusses how to think Christianly on difficult topics. Are Christians asking the right questions when it comes to critical race theory? How should we think about purity culture? Should believers leave the church when it does not align with their political beliefs? These are just some of the questions that Russell Moore answers this week on The Russell Moore Show. Tune in for a thought-provoking episode that emphasizes the importance of engaging all topics, concerns, and issues of the day from a biblical perspective. When should I leave the church? (04:45) Based on recent scandals, should there be…

Christian leaders have always grappled with tough issues surrounding finances and faith. Their insights still speak to us today. Some years ago, a survey estimated that 85 percent of clergy are uncomfortable talking about money. My dad was in the 15 percent. Before he was a Methodist pastor, he was a chemist at Union Carbide, supervising the making of Glad bags. As I was preparing to go into the ministry, he used to say to me: “There are two things they don’t teach you in seminary—how to run a finance campaign and how to fire the janitor.” Eventually, after some…

Despite historic clashes, Roman Catholic and Protestant leaders have come together during the pandemic around Brexit, the legacy of the Troubles, and other issues that span both sides of the border. Leaders from Ireland’s main Christian traditions will host a “Service of Reflection and Hope” in Armagh, Northern Ireland on October 21, 2021, marking 100 years since “the partition of Ireland and the formation of Northern Ireland.” But the churches’ service has become controversial, underscoring tensions that linger on both sides of the border. In September, the president of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, said he would decline his invitation because…

The reasons worship services should be offline are all too human. Every week, in the front lobby, the secretary of the church I attended in kindergarten updated the archive of sermon recordings. This was in the early 1990s, so the archive was a spice rack of cassette tapes, with maybe two or three copies for each sermon, in case multiple homebound church members wanted to listen simultaneously. That sort of care for those who can’t make it to church on Sunday—whether occasionally or long-term, due to old age, chronic illness, or disability—is uncontroversial. Most churches have long since moved past…

Does church membership matter? Since God is available to us anywhere and anytime, do we really need to belong to a local church? Can’t we just worship in the privacy of our homes? Author and pastor Sinclair Ferguson addresses these questions and more in his new book, Devoted to God’s Church: Core Values for Christian Fellowship. Although private time alone with God is vital, Sinclair explains that being a Christian isn’t something we’re meant to do in isolation. Believing in Christ includes the privileges and responsibilities of belonging to God’s family. Belonging to a church, in other words, isn’t an…

Once a hub for Reformed thought and a waystation for immigrants, a New York City congregation finds itself at the center of a property dispute. Queens Christian Reformed Church—one of the first Chinese American churches in the Reformed tradition established in the United States—is waiting with bated breath to find out what the future holds. Some are worried the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) is going to evict the congregation and sell the Briarwood, Queens, property to developers—in the process erasing an important part of Chinese American church history in New York City. Others say they don’t know…

We can imitate those in Acts 6 who responded to the needs of neglected and oppressed women. This is a revelatory moment for American Christianity. A continuous stream of stories of abusive ministry leaders and racial injustice is driving many Christians to question their identification with their churches. So are the old stories, showing that the oppression of women and ethnic minorities is more woven into the American Christian story than we were taught or ever wanted to admit. Not every recent assessment of this story is compelling or accurate. But what’s clear is that our reckoning hasn’t reached back…

Lessons I’ve learned in praying for and working with the Chinese church. Last week, a friend asked me to meet for coffee. She is a young mother, and after seeing the now-world-famous image of a young Afghani mother handing away her baby over a barbed wire fence to an American soldier, my friend found herself struggling to emotionally grapple with what she had seen. Though she has been praying consistently for the situation in Afghanistan, as the image continued to loop through her mind. She wanted advice regarding how to be concerned for the suffering church without succumbing to the…

Ahead of the legal payments, the California pastor acknowledged that he and others contracted the virus last winter. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to authorize a $400,000 payment to settle a legal battle with Grace Community Church over lead pastor John MacArthur’s defiance of COVID-19 restrictions in the early months of the pandemic. Under the agreement, which the board unanimously approved without discussion, the state of California will also pay the church $400,000. This agreement, county officials said, was reached in the context of the US Supreme Court’s decision in February that told California it…

The suburban DC megachurch’s recent scuffle over race and politics is symptomatic of a broader evangelical rift. The Washington-area megachurch led by best-selling author David Platt has affirmed three new elders—but only after a public tussle over politics, race, and alleged liberal drift, plus a lawsuit filed by dissenters. The conflict at McLean Bible Church is significant not only because of the congregation’s size and influence—with several thousand attendees and a prominent place in the DC church landscape—but also because the incident marks the latest salvo in an ongoing clash within American evangelicalism. After new elder nominees failed to be…

Conservative Methodists worry about their place in the denomination ahead of delayed plans for a split over LGBT issues. Regional leaders of the United Methodist Church (UMC) took control of an 8,000-member congregation in suburban Atlanta earlier this month after a lengthy conflict over who should pastor the church. The North Georgia Conference seized assets of Mount Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta on July 12, a move that has sparked tensions already roiling over the denomination’s ongoing conflict around same-sex marriage and LGBT ordination. Back in April, North Georgia Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson reassigned Mount Bethel’s conservative pastor, Jody Ray,…

With a denominational split delayed, some are willing to pay big to exit now. Caught in a decades-long battle over LGBT issues, with a proposed denominational split delayed again by the pandemic, dozens of conservative and progressive churches are leaving the United Methodist Church (UMC) without a tidy exit plan. Two years ago, factions in the United Methodist Church (UMC) agreed on a plan for splitting the denomination with conservative churches keeping their property as they leave. But the UMC has twice postponed its General Conference and won ’t meet until August 2022 to vote on the proposal, called the…

Facing decline, Anglicans debate whether the suggestion represents a fresh missional strategy or a radical departure from their theological convictions. Petertide—the days around the feast of St. Peter on June 29—is traditionally one of the most joyful seasons for the Church of England, a time for ordination of new priests and deacons. But this year’s Petertide has been marred by what many have interpreted as an attack on the future of Anglican priesthood itself. As Britain’s national church prepared to gather for its General Synod, which began last Friday and runs through Tuesday, one of its most senior clerics submitted…

As we gather again, congregants bring the weight of trauma and tensions built up over more than a year spent apart. Back in March, Iowa pastor Andrew Schmidt could tell from the energy in the sanctuary that it would be Celebrate Church’s most-attended weekend since the pandemic began. Schmidt welcomed new members, baptized babies, and teared up as he extended his arms to pray blessings over the congregation from the stage. Even with the church split between mask-required and mask-optional services, he said seeing 390 people in the building felt “almost normal.” It was exciting—and a wake-up call. “Wait a…

Approaching times of transition as opportunities. Over the years I've had the honor of both planting churches and helping churches revitalize. On several occasions, I've been the interim pastor at churches that eventually welcomed new pastors. In fact, summer of 2020, I finished an almost four-year interim at the historic Moody Church in Chicago. I'm often asked about how best to navigate change as a new pastor. Times of transition offers opportunities, and we never want to waste an opportunity. Nevertheless, times of transition are also always challenging. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to stepping into the…

Visiting Wayne Cordeiro and New Hope Church was our last big trip before shutdown. Of course, seeing these pictures now is a bit strange considering this was January of 2020. We already knew that the pandemic was starting to spread and was probably present in Hawaii. My assigned topic that day was the people of Issachar, which basically meant I was focusing on the theme of how to know and engage our cultural context. I have noticed this is a recurring theme as a missiologist. We walked through that theme together in the service as shown below. Let me observe…

Standing with indigenous people, leaders are also calling for a deeper look into US residential schools. The Evangelical Covenant Church became the latest Protestant denomination in the United States to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, the theological justification that allowed the discovery and domination by European Christians of lands already inhabited by indigenous peoples. Delegates at the Covenant Annual Connection voted overwhelmingly (84%) on Friday to approve a resolution acknowledging the damage done to indigenous peoples in the Americas by taking their land and rights and lamenting the church’s complicity in the continuing effects of that history. “After 125 years,…

Members of my congregation poured out their stories after the recent discoveries at Canada’s residential schools. Here’s why we all should be listening. A month ago, the remains of 215 indigenous children, some as young as 3 years old, were uncovered in British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province. The discovery came through the persistent prayers and consorted effort of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation who wanted to know why so many of their children never returned home from the Kamloops Indian Residential School that operated there from 1890 to 1978. The people of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc have known for generations…

Adults and youth well trained and serving confidently in every area. Visiting Saddleback Church is always a fascinating experience. I preached there again on March 21, the Sunday before Palm Sunday, which was actually the last week they met online. So preaching, then, doesn’t make a particularly exciting blog post because basically, you preach in the studio. However, you are able to preach to perhaps over 100,000 people over the weekend services. Now saddleback has moved back in person, though outside and with masks. However, in 2019, I had the privilege of preaching at Saddleback in what I now call…

One court yields keys to colonial-era worship site, while another issues verdict for prominent pastor facing proselytism charges. Algerian Christians finally have something to celebrate. Amid a rash of church closures the past two years, the North African nation’s Council of State returned a historic worship site in Mostaganem, a port city on the Mediterranean coast, to the Algerian Protestant Church (EPA). The EPA loaned the building, which dates to the French colonial era, to the Ministry of Health in 1976. But in 2012, when the site’s medical clinic changed locations, the local governor gave the facility to an Islamic…

Cross-cultural diffusion of the Gospel through people on the move. What is the Diaspora Church? Millions of people live and work outside their homeland due to economic, social, political, or environmental reasons. Migration has had and continues to have a profound impact on the global church. In fact, the Christian faith in all of its history has involved displacement and migration. Today, there are Christians in every geopolitical entity in the world, often called the diaspora church. Diaspora refers to dispersed people who find themselves other than where they were born. “Diaspora” was originally a biblical word meaning “dispersed” as…