Married parents and their kids have a calling that needs to be expanded, not obliterated. In pockets of Western Protestant culture, the image of a happy, put-together family unit has become an idol. Many of our church programming budgets are directed toward attracting young families, and those members who aren’t inside a traditional family unit are keenly aware of their status. Singles become a problem to fix or fix up. Lone parents are pitied, and older unmarried adults get relegated to seniors’ clubs, widow support groups, or some other socially palliative program. Christian authors are taking notice and rightly challenging…

The successor to Paige Patterson cites “reputational, legal, and financial realities” as he moves on to an IMB role. Adam Greenway has resigned as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary three and a half years after he succeeded fired president Paige Patterson. Greenway stepped down during a trustee meeting on Thursday and will take a role at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)’s International Mission Board, according to a statement from the seminary. O. S. Hawkins, retired president of the SBC financial services entity GuideStone, will lead the school as acting president the interim. Greenway said in a statement: These days…

First NFL player to kneel and thank Jesus in the end zone said caring for souls and helping people in poverty were more meaningful than fame. Herb Lusk II went down in history on a Friday night in August 1977. The tailback for the Philadelphia Eagles caught an easy toss from the quarterback, tucked the football into the crook of his arm, slipped between a knot of players on his left, and sprinted 70 yards down the field to score a fourth-quarter touchdown. Then, in the end zone, in front of 48,000 yelling fans, he got down on one knee…

Twenty-four pastors and one imam lose argument that the rules designating worship “high risk” violated their religious rights. New Zealand’s High Court has ruled that government officials were not acting unlawfully when they restricted and regulated religious services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The court acknowledged that rules curtailed the protected right to “manifest religious beliefs” but deemed that allowable in a health emergency. Starting in December 2021, the New Zealand government limited religious gatherings to 100 vaccinated people or 25 unvaccinated people. Face masks were also required if the house of worship shared the site with any other groups. The…

History, philosophy, and theology all testify that fear and anxiety have always been a significant part of the human experience. Nevertheless, the word anxiety has a contemporary ring to it. We live in an age of anxiety; it is a part of the fabric of modern life. And it is part of the experience of many believers. Anxiety is a chronic and pervasive feeling. While fear describes a response to specific and immediate threats, anxiety is a response to something more distant and nebulous. Kierkegaard referred to it as a sense of dread. When we are anxious, we often don’t…

Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims—all from different ethnic backgrounds—are coming together to resist the violent military junta. For the first time since anyone can remember, members of Myanmar’s majority Bamar people are seeking long-term solidarity with the country’s ethnic minorities. Since a coup in February 2021 stunned the world, the military, known as the Tatmadaw, has violently cracked down on both the Bamar and ethnic minority citizens protesting its takeover. Its tactics have included burning down entire villages and firing heavy artillery against its own people. So far, more than 2,000 people have been killed in its countrywide civil war with…

The “arty pilgrimage” through Leicestershire has given her a chance to share and deepen her faith. As England loses a number of its churches and rethinks the role of church buildings, one artist is finding a new appreciation for the over 300 churches in her hometown by drawing each and every one. Art teacher Hayley Fern pulled out a new sketchbook during a visit to Leicester Cathedral and drew the 900-year-old Gothic-style church, with its pointed arch windows and 220-foot spire. She enjoyed it so much that she decided to draw the church she attends, St. John the Baptist Church,…

New study projects that the religious identity in the US will drop below 50 percent by 2070. Pew Research Center isn’t ruling out a future religious revival in America. But given the country’s steady trends away from faith affiliation, experts don’t know what it would look like to see a return. Analyzing surveys about religious identity and religious “switching” going back to 1972 and trying to project the American religious landscape out to the year 2070, they can’t say what demographic signs might indicate a coming swell of conversions. “We’ve never seen it, and we don’t have the data to…

Sheila Gregoire’s research has Christians across the spectrum correcting harmful assumptions and bringing new attention to women’s pleasure in marriage. When it was published last year, Sheila Gregoire’s marriage book, The Great Sex Rescue: The Lies You’ve Been Taught and How to Recover What God Intended, came as a stark contrast to what many Christians learned from the church about sex and marriage. Drawing from her own research, including a survey of 22,000 Christian women, the Canadian author affirms that sexual pleasure is for women too—and chronicles the damage done to women, men, and their relationships when people operate on…

Our historic, global faith tradition connects sanctity of life with social justice. There was a time in the not-too-distant past when opposition to abortion united evangelical Christians across the political spectrum. Along with political conservatives, left-leaning advocates for the poor like Ron Sider spoke out against abortion. In 1987, he published Completely Pro-Life as an explanation for why Christians should support a consistent life ethic. Sojourners magazine, the leading periodical of the evangelical Left, published several pieces against abortion in the 1980s. But that moment is gone. This summer, when the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade ignited…

After more than two years in diplomatic limbo in South Korea, Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church is now in Thailand, trying to seek refugee status. Pastor Pan Yongguang and nearly all of the 61 members of his Chinese house church have arrived in Thailand. The congregation left the southeastern city of Shenzhen for South Korea between 2019 and 2020, trying unsuccessfully for months to gain refugee status. Last month, the group left Jeju Island for Bangkok, hoping to appeal to the UN refugee office. Their search for a home continues as they hope to make one more move in the near…

“He said to him, ‘Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.’ And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” (Mark 10:20–22) Imagine a patient at the doctor’s office going into a long explanation about his symptoms and the reason for his visit. The physician sits there, waiting patiently for the end of the prolonged description until…

T. B. Maston’s views on integration were controversial at his seminary. Today, they deserve a fresh hearing. In the years before the Civil War, the major evangelical denominations divided into regional factions based in part upon their views of human enslavement. The DNA of each new Southern denominational tradition was imprinted with racism, casting a long shadow over their subsequent development. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was formed under these circumstances in 1845, and for most of its history, the Southern part was at least as important to the Convention’s identity as the Baptist part. Southern Baptists were a thoroughly…

Tolkien’s kingdom of Númenor is a cautionary tale for us today. A charismatic demagogue seduces a mighty empire, winning power with promises to restore past glory. A people betray their founding principles, apostatizing from the faith of their fathers to pursue dreams of immortality. Their great city teeters on the brink of civil war. A faithful remnant is hounded as traitors by a mob hellbent on ruin. Neither a summary of Old Testament prophets nor of yesterday’s New York Times, these are some of the stories in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion—the lore bible of Middle-earth. Long overlooked, the…

In today’s hybrid work culture, Christians should recommit to the biblical rhythms of work and rest. Over the past few years, many of us have unfortunately become familiar with descriptors like the Great Resignation and the Great Disengagement. Even if you have not heard these terms, you are likely familiar with their meaning. The former describes the onslaught of people quitting their jobs due to all sorts of current socioeconomic and mental health reasons, while the latter points to people keeping their jobs but having a profound sense of emotional disengagement with their work. Sometimes referred to as “quiet quitting,”…

The National Association of Evangelicals focuses on the impact of the changing environment. The National Association of Evangelicals unveiled a sweeping report on global climate change, laying out what its authors call the “biblical basis” for environmental activism to help spur fellow evangelicals to address the planetary environmental crisis. “Creation, although groaning under the fall, is still intended to bless us. However, for too many in this world, the beach isn’t about sunscreen and bodysurfing but is a daily reminder of rising tides and failed fishing,” reads the introduction of the report, penned by NAE President Walter Kim and released…

His theories of conversion and competition shaped widely held views of church growth and decline. Rodney Stark, the influential and controversial sociologist who argued for rational choice in religion, died last month at age 88. Stark made the case that religious conversion, commitment, and cultural vitality should be understood in terms of costs and benefits. He rejected the common assumption that people practice a religion because they agree with the theology, arguing creedal affirmations are secondary to social connections. And he rejected academic accounts of belief as “false consciousness” or fundamentally irrational. In more than 30 books published across seven…

“At the very best we only have an inkling of the wonder of who God is.” — Alistair Begg Click Below to Download your Image: Apple Devices:iPadsiPhones Other Devices:Android PhonesAmazon FireMicrosoft Surface Social MediaFacebook BannerFacebook PostTwitter PostInstagram Post Desktop ComputerLargeSmall

There are lots of reasons to oppose capital punishment. Among them: When a prisoner is a fellow believer. Recent statistics show that the vast majority of 2022’s executions have or will take place in the Bible Belt, a fact in keeping with broader historical trends. White evangelicals are the strongest supporters of capital punishment in the United States, often drawing on biblical concepts like “an eye for an eye” to justify their position. In fact, those carrying out the executions sometimes understand themselves as doing God’s work and draw on Christian ideas accordingly. One former prison warden (now the head…

Faced with overall enrollment declines, schools are working to close higher education’s gender gap. Indiana Wesleyan University didn’t start a football team just to boost male enrollment, but it was a factor. The evangelical college is also starting an engineering program with the same issue in mind. “Not that engineering is only for male students, but we know historically schools that have engineering draw a higher percentage of male students,” said Chad Peters, the vice president of enrollment management and marketing at IWU. As evangelical colleges and universities across the country worry about overall enrollment declines, many schools are especially…

As the Chinese festival ends, theologians explain why pneumatology matters more in Asia. On the 15th day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar, the gates of hell fling open and ghosts roam the earth freely to visit their living relatives. Or so goes the origin story of the Hungry Ghost Festival, a day celebrated predominantly by the Chinese diaspora across East and Southeast Asia. It occurs during Ghost Month, which began on July 26 and concludes on August 26 this year. While the Hungry Ghost Festival is often said to have Buddhist roots, it is more accurately described…