Modern worship music can seem awfully simple. But it has a vital role to play, especially when paired with Scripture. If you spend any amount of time in churches that have a notable proportion of people under the age of 40, you’ll hear the genre of music called “modern worship.” The chords are simple, the melodies are exceedingly singable, the sentiments are sincere, and the lyrics are brief. Like all genres, modern worship has individual examples of real quality, and this week I was in the car singing along with one—Elevation’s 2018 song “Worthy”—that has many merits. I would gladly…

It’s 2022, but Arianism and Pelagianism are steadily making a comeback, according to the State of Theology report. American evangelicals’ grasp on theology is slipping, and more than half affirmed heretical views of God in this year’s State of Theology survey, released Monday by Ligonier Ministries and Lifeway Research. The report references Ligonier founder R. C. Sproul’s teaching that everyone’s a theologian. “However, Dr. Sproul would be quick to add that not everyone is a good theologian,” it read. That caveat applies to Americans in general and evangelicals too. Overall, adults in the US are moving away from orthodox understandings…

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8 ESV Click Below to Download your Image: Apple Devices:iPadsiPhones Other Devices:Android PhonesAmazon FireMicrosoft Surface Social MediaFacebook BannerFacebook PostTwitter PostInstagram Post Desktop ComputerLargeSmall

Brent Leatherwood stays on to lead the Southern Baptist entity after the “Dobbs” ruling and a major denominational abuse report. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s interim leader, Brent Leatherwood, will become its next president. Leatherwood spent the past year as acting president, leading the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm during a historic span that included the reversal of Roe v. Wade and landmark denominational moves on abuse reform. The ERLC board of trustees unanimously approved his appointment on Tuesday. A five-year staff member at the ERLC, Leatherwood was chief of staff under the previous interim leader, Daniel Patterson,…

Q&A with Jewish scholar Steven Fine on the history of a biblical minority. The Good Samaritan shows up in the Gospels as an apparent exception to his people, since he’s the “good” one. Then he exits the stage, presumably to go back to life with the rest of the Samaritans, with little explanation of what a “Samaritan” is or why that might have mattered to Jesus and his first followers. A new exhibit at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, opening on September 15, promises to expand our understanding of these biblical people. CT spoke to Steven Fine,…

Liberal Protestants built a global elite in the 20th century. Its fracturing holds a caution for evangelicals today. Political upheaval has produced a split within a large Christian community. The once-unified people have hardened into separate and oppositional cultures. On one side is a mix of institutional leaders, pastors, and intellectuals who claim a centrist, even progressive, mandate by God. Most of the seminaries, NGOs, and charities are run by these people, and those institutions tend to promote the same worldview. On the other side are pastors and allied political leaders who represent a numerically much larger group of Christians,…

The Porter’s Gate offers an album of “Climate Vigil Songs.” Deckers Creek, an Appalachian tributary that runs through Morgantown, West Virginia, was once clean and clear. These days, it often has an orange hue. “That’s the heavy metals leaching into the creeks and ground water,” said Zac Morton, a pastor at First Presbyterian Church, a nearby congregation of roughly 250. “It’s notorious as an acid mine tributary.” In Appalachia, Morton says, addressing climate change and weaving the theme of environmental justice into liturgy reflects the experiences of his community. His church members live in an area littered with reminders and…

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor … to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1, 3) What can transform despair, mourning, sackcloth, and weeping into light, gladness, honor, and joy? Who brings about changes like this—in a city, in a life,…

Amazon’s “Rings of Power” series adds to what Tolkien termed the “Cauldron of Story,” where sub-creators mix up the stew of God’s creation. I’ve read the Lord of the Rings so many times I have sizable swaths of it memorized. It doesn’t require much to get me reciting lines about the sound of horns echoing dimly in dark Mindolluin’s sides, or to call out a foul dwimmerlaik for his deeds and trespasses. I’ve loved Tolkien since I first read him. I always will. And I know I’m not alone. That kind of love for Tolkien is behind a lot of…

But it doesn’t mean what you think it means. A recent LifeWay Research study asked American Protestant pastors if women in their congregations were allowed to take on six specific leadership roles. Views on preaching were predictably split, but roughly “9 in 10 pastors say women could be ministers to children (94%), committee leaders (92%), ministers to teenagers (89%), or coed adult Bible study teachers (85%) in their churches,” according to Aaron Earls. Fewer (64%) said women could be deacons. The question of where a woman can serve in church “has been debated for centuries with biblical scholars in different…

When leaders admit wrongdoing, we should respond with quiet sobriety, not clapping. Yesterday, I finished a 17-year ministry at Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa. Our attendance was the highest it’s been in a long time. I did what I’ve done week after week, Sunday after Sunday, since August 28, 2005: preach a text of Scripture. After church, we had a potluck dinner and enjoyed warm fellowship. Members expressed love for my wife and me, sorrow that we were leaving, and prayers for our future. We received a basket of cards with some generous gifts and messages that…

Title IX coordinators look for ways to combat silence and shame. Only two Anderson University students have filed reports on sexual violence or harassment so far this year, according to Title IX coordinator Dianne King. That number might seem encouraging, but King is actually worried about it. Just because someone doesn’t report something doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Anderson is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The school, like all colleges and universities that receive federal funding, is required to enforce Title IX, a federal civil rights law prohibiting sex-based discrimination. That includes tracking…

He fought the government over how it treated its most vulnerable. They hit back. On January 1, 1818, the British-led army of 800 Dalit soldiers defeated a 2,000-person battalion composed almost entirely of high-caste Brahmin elite. The battle was one of the many confrontations that ultimately led to the British overthrow of the ruling Peshwa. Today, thousands of Dalits gather annually in the village of Bhima Koregaon, in the modern-day West Indian state of Maharashtra, to commemorate the anniversary of the group’s victory there. In the months leading up to the 2018 battle bicentennial, high-caste Maratha and right-wing Hindu groups…

Being a believer entails a lifelong pursuit of getting to know God better. It’s an ongoing journey that involves studying the Bible and gaining a deeper understanding of God by learning about the many facets of His nature. The book God Is: A Devotional Guide to the Attributes of God examines twenty-six unique characteristics of God, one short chapter at a time. The book presents daily readings that are five to six pages in length. Each is dedicated to a specific attribute of God, including for example, His patience, His omnipresence, His mercy, and even His anger. You’ll learn how…

Unlicensed production prompts cease-and-desist letter from Broadway musical. When offered a chance to save his soul at a Texas church this past weekend, Alexander Hamilton did not throw away his shot. During a slightly adapted production of the hit musical Hamilton at The Door Church, a large, diverse congregation, the main character bowed his head, closed his eyes and gave his life to Jesus. “What is a legacy?” the actor playing Hamilton said, according to a recording of the show obtained by Religion News Service. “It’s knowing you repented and accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ that sets men free.”…

The Brooklyn congregation and its pastor A.R. Bernard hope the Jane Jacobs–inspired urban village will be a model for other cities. A. R. Bernard, pastor of the largest evangelical church in New York City, has been working on a plan for more than 10 years. Now the proposal to build a $1.2 billion urban village and revitalize the struggling neighborhood around his church is progressing through the city’s approval process and closer to reality. The Christian Cultural Center (CCC) hopes developers could break ground in Brooklyn next year. “If I’ve got land, and it’s valuable, I’m going to leverage that…

“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.” (Psalm 40:2) Throughout the Psalms, we read David’s words of lament for his sins and his praises for God’s forgiveness. As the king learned more about the wonders of his Creator, his words made a clear distinction between the heaviness he experienced while he was running away or hiding from God and the happiness he later declared in knowing full restoration. Through God’s sanctifying work in David’s heart, he made an eye-opening discovery: God not only…

Church and pastoral abuse can trigger a unique form of PTSD. I first encountered the concept of moral injury during my MDiv program at the University of Chicago in an anthropology class called Humans After Violence. The MDiv program required each of us to intern at a site of our choosing for the middle year of the program, and I’d opted to work with the clergy at my church. Earlier that year, our church had discovered reports of our priest’s abuse of power, and he was removed from leadership. Initially, my school supervisors worried it might be a bad idea…

It’s not mainline traditions anymore. Over the last decade Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and every other Protestant family has declined except for those who say they are nondenominational. The 2020 US Religion Census, due out later this year, tallied 4,000 more nondenominational churches than in 2010, and nondenominational church attendance rose by 6.5 million during that time. At the same time, mainline Protestant Christianity is collapsing following five decades of declines. In the mid-1970s, nearly a third of Americans were affiliated with denominations like the United Methodist Church, the United Church of Christ, and the Episcopal Church. But now, just…

School claims attorney general is “interfering in the religious decisions of a Christian university.” Seattle Pacific University, a private school associated with the Free Methodist Church, was the site of daily protests for more than a month earlier this summer as students challenged a school policy that prohibited the hiring of LGBT people. Dissenting students called the policy homophobic and discriminatory. Now, the university says its rights are being violated by Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, whose office launched an investigation into the school’s hiring practices. Seattle Pacific University is suing Ferguson, claiming his probe aims to influence the…

Extreme weather changes can prompt people to seek out extreme solutions and saviors. This piece was adapted from Russell Moore’s newsletter. Subscribe here. After several weeks of heat waves all over the world, I’m finding that the first thing I end up talking with anyone about, no matter where the person is from, is the weather. And then, almost every time, —the conversation turns to how “crazy” and angry everything seems right now—whether in the world, the nation, or the church. What if those two conversations turn out to be strangely related? That’s the argument of a new book, Climate,…