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3 Things I Love about Evangelicals

Evangelicals often get a lot of flak…including from fellow evangelicals. And sometimes deservedly so. I don’t care to defend the stupid things evangelical Christians do. It’s safe to say they can be easy target.   Yet in spite of their problems, here are three things I love about evangelicals: 1. Evangelicals are all about the Bible. I want the sacred text of the Old and New Testaments to be the primary governing and shaping element in my life. So, I love that evangelical Christians are committed to the authority and truth of the Bible. They have it on their phones, attend home Bible studies, open it up on Sunday mornings, highlight its pages, get multiple translations, read it early in the mornings, put verses on their walls, etc. Evangelicals are uncompromising on their priority of Bible. 2. Evangelicals get that it’s about having a personal relationship with Jesus. In a religious world that can often be about empty rituals, endless doctrinal checklists, or emotional excitement, the mantra of evangelicalism that ultimately “it’s about having a personal relationship with Jesus” holds true. Evangelicals despise legalism and speak… Read More »3 Things I Love about Evangelicals

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Throwing Stones

When is it good for Christians to throw stones at other Christians? Only when those same stones might be used to build something. That is to say, only when it might be helpful. It seems to me there is no good reason for us to get on a pedestal to throw stones at other Christians in the presence of people who we know will simply agree with us, laugh, and applaud. I don’t see any benefit of Christians saying, “Yeah, look at us, aren’t we’re so stupid?” other than perhaps to appear cool and self-critical. Simply put, we don’t need Christians (particularly evangelicals) mocking all the stupid things evangelical Christians do and say. We have an entire unbelieving, fallen world to do that job for us. We don’t need to help them. There are other more pressing things Christians can be doing than pointing and laughing at every foolish thing evangelicals do. As Proverbs 26:4 says, “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.” We as Christians have an urgent mission to complete, and those Christians who are blessed… Read More »Throwing Stones

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Interview with Joshua Ziefle

SV: Could you please explain some of the theological distinctives of Pentecostalism? In what ways is it different and similar to mainstream evangelicalism? JZ: One of the helpful ways to understand Pentecostalism is around what Donald Dayton refers to as a “gestalt” of approaches towards Jesus Christ: Savior, Sanctifier, Healer/Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, and Coming King.  This is the traditional four-fold or “foursquare” arrangement of what Pentecostals understand to be the “full gospel.”  These four doctrinal strands (salvation, sanctification/Spirit baptism, healing, and premillennial eschatology) form the core of the movement, especially when Spirit baptism is linked together with the biblical practice of glossolalia (speaking in tongues).  A Pentecostal’s openness to the continued and unexpected work of the Holy Spirit (via tongues and other gifts/miracles) is often experienced in a deeply personal and miraculous way.  Such experience and theological system that accompanies it helps characterize Pentecostalism. When it comes to the core historic doctrines of the Church and more traditionally conservative approaches to biblical teaching and ethics, Pentecostals and evangelicals have much in common.  The Assemblies of God, for instance, was a founding member of… Read More »Interview with Joshua Ziefle

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Witches, Warlocks, and Magic

Growing up in a conservative Christian home there were some things that were considered sort of… “off limits.” And one of those things was books, tv shows, or movies that had anything to do with magic, or more specifically, witchcraft.

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A Self-Help Gospel

God has a plan for your life. You are meant to fulfill a purpose. God wants you to flourish. You don’t have to feel confused or despair… All of this is true, but when it becomes the entirety of the Christian message, then it is bad. A human-centered, me-centered theology is always a bad theology, and I see this take place in two forms. Many people with Charismatic inclinations seem to particularly  gravitate to this type of message. The message that says, “You can do it! “You’ve got it in you!” “Don’t give up!” “Don’t look back, God wants you to climb higher! He’s got good plans for you. And here’s a plan how you can know God’s plan for your life so you can be happy…” These are the voices that tend to be on Christian television or in popular Christian bookstores. And what is communicated over and over seems to be essentially this, “Is life hard? Does life have problems? Well you can fix them! God’s made you victorious. Don’t live a disappointed life. Be positive! It’s what God wants for you.” When… Read More »A Self-Help Gospel

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Is America a Christian Nation?

In what sense can we describe a nation as being “Christian?” By its leaders, or its citizens, or maybe its laws? By all these measures, America would not be considered a Christian nation. And yet, I frequently hear Christians speak so earnestly about how America is a Christian nation, and how we need to get back to our Christian roots, almost as though the United States has a special place in God’s heart. For many evangelicals in America their Christian faith is directly tied to their American identity. In fact, I have many memories of saying the Pledge of Allegiance at my Christian elementary school, or singing the “Star Spangled Banner” in church. But the truth is, America is not a Christian nation, and I’m not sure it really ever has been a Christian nation. It’s always difficult for me to hear certain Christians talk about the founding fathers as being these proud, whole-hearted Christians. It’s often said that they stood on biblical/Christian principles. I have even heard some say that they built this nation based on teachings of Jesus and the laws found in… Read More »Is America a Christian Nation?

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Theology AND Ministry

Theology and Ministry are not mutually exclusive. They go hand in hand. It’s not like there’s theology AND ministry as though the two were two completely separate and unrelated categories. Theology and ministry are as two sides of the same of the coin. I think it’s absolutely crucial that we keep this in mind whether we are “doing theology” or “doing ministry.” In order to do either properly, you have to do both. Recall the greatest theologians throughout the Church. Paul: Think of all the theological material and rich literature found in the letters of Paul. So much of our Christian theology comes from Paul and is developed by Paul. And there are very intelligent, academic, scholars who study all the intricacies and minutia of Paul’s letters and Paul’s theology, and write giant books about it. But Paul himself was a pastor and a missionary. He was a minister! Paul was not some lofty academic theologian at a prestigious institution sitting and writing in an office full of books, who only cared about academia and scholarship. (Some of the time he wrote from prison.) Rather,… Read More »Theology AND Ministry

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