Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 435766 times)

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Offline John

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #1304 on: June 19, 2019, 09:46:09 AM »

C-Family @ Faithwall


It tells of on going racism, of a need for white society to change and of God's amasing grace to suffers who go above and beyound what is expected of them.

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[Cfamily]Will Southern Baptists’ Political Truce Last Through 2020?
« Reply #1305 on: June 20, 2019, 01:00:09 AM »
Will Southern Baptists’ Political Truce Last Through 2020?

After a polarizing presidential election in 2016, evangelicals rethink their discourse and engagement.

Unlike its tense annual meetings over the last few years, when partisan allegiances shook up the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), leaders at this week’s gathering offered broad encouragement to transcend political divides, while the messengers rallied together to condemn sexual abuse.

The abuse issue has offered Southern Baptists a common enemy, in contrast to some of the infighting that has surrounded President Donald Trump’s election and presidency. Last year, the messengers debated over the decision to invite Vice President Mike Pence to speak, and the year before, controversy mounted over Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president (ERLC) Russell Moore’s position against Trump during the 2016 campaign.

The 2019 SBC annual meeting was themed “Gospel Above All,” a line borrowed from president J. D. Greear about keeping secondary issues—including politics—from dividing them. “Political affiliations have a way of obscuring the gospel,” he told the 8,000-person crowd at an arena in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, during his presidential address. “You’re going to have to make a choice this election whether the gospel above all is a priority at your church or politics is.”

Some Southern Baptists viewed Greear’s approach, whether they liked it or not, as a sign of a political shift for the conservative denomination. (The SBC has hosted at its annual meeting the president and/or vice president from the past three Republican administrations, but not the Democratic ones. A motion came up last year to bar elected officials from speaking other than local leaders in the host city.)

It’s a “new day in the SBC when a president makes a statement ...

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[Cfamily]How Should We Think About Declining Denominational Numbers?
« Reply #1306 on: June 21, 2019, 01:00:09 AM »
How Should We Think About Declining Denominational Numbers?

There’s more that matters than just the numbers.

Are denominations dying?

Are local churches increasingly ineffective?

Is the church losing?

Recently, the Southern Baptist Convention released their Annual Church Profile (APC), reporting on key metrics for the SBC, including church attendance, number of baptisms, number of churches, and giving. Overall, the numbers weren’t good. Membership is down to its lowest point since 1987, baptisms are down to 1940s levels, attendance dipped by about half a percent, and the total number of churches dropped by 88.

The only statistical bright spot is that giving is up slightly.

As a man who loves the church and believes numbers are our friends, this report is concerning. All of us would like to see a different trajectory for the SBC, and other Evangelical denominations, but sadly, that isn’t our reality.

I’m not a part of the SBC. I’m Assemblies of God. And the AG releases its numbers every year as well. We’ve enjoyed being one of, if not the only, growing major evangelical denominations of late. We’ve shouted those numbers from the rooftops, and rightly so.

When I’m with friends from other denominations, they often ask for the AG’s secret to growth when all the other denominations’ numbers are declining. While there are some very legitimate reasons why the AG has seen sustained growth in the U.S. and globally (95 percent of the AG resides outside the U.S.), there’s a concerning statistical development on the horizon for us, too.

Our latest U.S. numbers reveal that the AG is growing in churches and average attendance, but only barely. Our total number of adherents slipped slightly after 27 years of consecutive growth. Our number of churches classified as plateaued and declining is ...

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[Cfamily]The Bonhoeffer That History Overlooked
« Reply #1307 on: June 22, 2019, 01:00:13 AM »
The Bonhoeffer That History Overlooked

In 1946, a man named Ernst Lohmeyer disappeared from East Germany. It took me three decades to piece together his story.

I had never heard of Ernst Lohmeyer until I was in my late 20s. I came across his name in the same way I came across many names at the time—as another scholar whom I needed to consult in doctoral research.

In the mid-1970s, I was writing my dissertation on the Gospel of Mark in the McAlister Library at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. A premier commentary on Mark at the time was Ernst Lohmeyer’s Evangelium des Markus (Gospel of Mark), published in the acclaimed Meyer Commentary Series in Germany. Lohmeyer first published the commentary in 1936 when he was professor of New Testament at the University of Greifswald in Germany. The edition I was using, however, was published in 1967 and accompanied by a supplementary booklet. It carried the name Gerhard Sass, was dated 1950, and mentioned “how continuously [Lohmeyer had] labored to improve and expand his book, until a higher power carried him off to a still-unresolved fate.”

The melancholy of Sass’s preface haunted me. Why, after all these years, was the mystery still unsolved? The note about Lohmeyer’s mysterious disappearance stayed with me by the sheer power of its intrigue. But I did not pursue it. I was married at the time. My wife, Jane, and I had two young children, and my work as youth minister at First Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs was a full-time-plus call. In addition, my PhD work at Fuller entailed flying to Pasadena three times a year to research assiduously in the library for two weeks. I had no leisure to pursue the lead.

In June 1979, however, his name came up again. I was translating for a Berlin Fellowship team in Greifswald, East Germany. We were in our final meeting, enjoying Kaffee und Kuchen—coffee ...

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[Cfamily]The Purpose of the World: To Become the Church
« Reply #1308 on: June 23, 2019, 01:00:12 AM »
The Purpose of the World: To Become the Church

Paul on “good works”—and my replies to initial critiques of this series.

Let me begin this essay by responding to some critiques of the series up to this point, and especially about last week’s essay, “The Church Does Not Exist for the Sake of the World.” While most readers seem appreciative, I expected pushback for the counterintuitive emphasis I’m trying to bring to bear in the series.

Note that word—emphasis. The careful reader sees that I’m not saying that we should forget about loving our neighbor and that I’m not arguing that in glorifying God the church should not reach out in mission. Thus the charges of “binary thinking” or of offering a “false dichotomy” are a failure to read what I’ve actually written.

More to the point: I’m arguing that the evangelical movement in particular has made an idol of activity for God, to the point that God has been increasingly eclipsed from our hearts and minds (though he is still on our lips, to be sure). To call us back to our first love does not mean that I deny the importance of our second love—the neighbor. And to question our idolatry is not binary nor a false dichotomy any more than it was for Jesus when he cleared the moneychangers from the Temple.

Let me be absolutely clear here: I am not like Jesus; I am very much a moneychanger, caught in the nexus of daily life and worship of the horizontal at the expense of a deep and abiding love for my Lord.

One critique I agree with: I failed to note that many missional thinkers are not first and foremost talking about the church’s mission but God’s. That is, it is God’s mission to bring the world to himself, and we just participate in his mission. Fair enough. I will say, however, that I wonder if this picture ...

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[Cfamily]Why Indians Choose to Follow Jesus Despite Opposition
« Reply #1309 on: June 24, 2019, 01:00:10 AM »
Why Indians Choose to Follow Jesus Despite Opposition

Christ's message of love, forgiveness, peace and justice is too compelling to resist.

When Prime Minister Modi and his cabinet assembled on May 30 to take their oath of office, nobody expected that a relatively unknown minister sworn in at the end of the ceremony would steal the show.

Applause broke from the audience when Pratap Sarangi walked onto the stage. Earlier that day, a picture of him leaving the austere hut where he lives went viral, drawing praise for his modest lifestyle.

But Sarangi’s spot in the limelight also resurfaced a controversial issue in India: religious conversions.

Sarangi was the leader of Bajrang Dal, an extremist Hindu militant organization that was accused of the 1999 murders of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons in Odisha.

An official investigation didn’t cast blame on any particular group, and although over a dozen people were convicted and given life sentences, all but one were eventually released. Dara Singh, who presumably led the mob who attacked the Staines, was sentenced to death but had his sentence commuted to life in prison.

Sarangi has denied involvement in the crime and distanced himself from Singh, whom he says was not part of Bajrang Dal. But he has not shied from accusing Christians of converting Indians by force or fraudulent methods, most recently characterizing conversions as asking for sex in exchange for a favor.

Since 1999, attacks against Christians in India have sharply increased, particularly in the north. Last year, Open Doors, which ranks global levels of persecution, included India for the first time ever in the top 10 nations where Christians are persecuted.

As was the case with the murder of the Staines, much of the violence is incited by extremists who, for decades, have spread the propaganda preached by Sarangi that Christians ...

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[Cfamily]Our July/August Issue: No Shadow Unlit
« Reply #1310 on: June 25, 2019, 01:00:09 AM »
Our July/August Issue: No Shadow Unlit

We can lament the dark. But don't miss the light.

It’s become something of a trend, in op-eds and in more private conversations, to christen our current moment as “dark days” or even “the new Dark Ages” for the church. I confess the designation has a certain allure. At times it’s hard to see more than drifting mores, a growing pile of fallen leaders, or a gathering mob of critics cheering the church’s demise. When night falls, you do get tired.

I’m not much for dwelling in that land of shadows, though. I’d rather look for the dawning light.

Early in my career I worked as a photojournalist. On one project I was documenting coal miners in Eastern Kentucky—or trying to—but finding no leads. I called my wife one evening, exhausted and feeling the specter of failure closing around me. I told her I was quitting, heading home. She counseled me to give it one more day.

The next day wasn’t much more fruitful, but I did make a contact who invited me to his mom-and-pop mining operation. So the following morning I parked my aging Toyota Corolla at the mine entrance while it was still dark and watched the Appalachian dawn diffuse through the night. Flat blackness fading to smoke-blue mists. Tipples strung with haloed mercury-vapor lights. Head lamps floating from the mouth of the mine like fireflies after a long night. Nothing in the landscape—no structure, tree, or shaded spot—went untouched by the soft, spreading light.

As biblical metaphors go, light is hard to beat for its versatility and timelessness. I’m not scholarly enough to understand the complex interplay between its more than 250 mentions in Scripture. But at least a few simple truths are clear: The light has already dawned, it will fall ...

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[Cfamily]Prayer & Polarization
« Reply #1311 on: June 26, 2019, 01:00:11 AM »
Prayer & Polarization

Amid societal polarization, American churches are dedicated July 7th to pray for the country.

Polarization has been trending for a long time. Especially in politics, but also in education, religion, economics, race, and more.

Even suggesting a place in the lonely middle-of-the-road can spark accusations of compromise and capitulation. Like the North Pole and the South Pole, polarization is about opposites that never meet and can’t even see each other. When it’s summer in the northern Arctic, it’s winter in the southern Antarctic.

Introduce a big What If.

What if Christians could set aside the cultural categories and extremes of our generation to center on the faith we all share in Jesus Christ? What if we could do something that demonstrated our Christian hope more than popular despair? What if together we made Jesus the winner rather than seeking victories for our sides of the lines that are dividing so many?

The proposal straight out of Washington, D.C.: Pray Together Sunday. It wasn’t my idea, but I was there when a staff member of the National Association of Evangelicals who is trained as a lawyer proposed a very Christian and biblical antidote to divisive polarization. She suggested choosing a summer Sunday for churches across our nation to pray together for God’s blessing in America.

Good idea with lots of reasons to say no. Of course it’s a good idea for churches to pray. No true Christian should object, but it’s easy to come up with a quick list of why it won’t work:

  1. The idea is already taken. We already have a National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday of every May.

  3. Prayer is already part of every weekend church service. Asking churches to pray is like asking dogs to bark — it’s what they already do.

  5. Getting lots of churches to do anything together is tough to coordinate. Most churches like to make their own decisions, do what they are already doing and value independence over cooperation.

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