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[Cfamily]Why Has Evangelism Declined?
« Reply #1536 on: January 24, 2020, 12:00:11 AM »

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Why Has Evangelism Declined?

Instead of starting with our questions, we should start where people are and walk them to the gospel.


We have entered a decade or two lull in evangelistic passion among evangelicals now. This is ironic since “evangelical” and “evangelistic” come from the same root word which means gospel, good news, or evangel. I think there are several reasons for this.


First, there's been a bit of a backlash to past models that seemed reductionistic and mechanistic.


Os Guinness in Fool’s Talk observed how “recent forms of evangelism are modeled not on classical rhetorical or even on good communication theory, but on handbooks for effective sales technique.”[1]


Some are bothered by the idea that evangelism is boiled down to asking people to answer two questions: “If you were to die today, do you know for sure you'd go to heaven?” And, “Do you know for sure you are going to be with God in heaven?”


Over time, people increasingly felt these were reductionist and mechanical, so (for good or for bad) they moved away from them.


You’re more likely now to find Christians make jokes about the way they used to do evangelism than actually do evangelism. Instead of starting with our questions, we should start where people are and walk them to the gospel.


Second, many believers don’t have confidence in the gospel.


A LifeWay Research study found about half the people who regularly attend an evangelical church give a pluralistic or a universalistic answer to questions about the need for people to know Christ.


A higher percentage would likely be functionally universalistic or pluralistic. Showing how the gospel and Scripture connect to and help make sense of all of life –– not just our spiritual life –– can grow confidence in it. One study found Millennials ...

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https://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/114984.png?w=460
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2012/april/new-research-universalism-pluralism-pastors-people.html
https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2020/january/why-has-evangelism-declined.html
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CFamily

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[Cfamily]Boko Haram Executes Pastor Who Turned Hostage Video into Testimony
« Reply #1537 on: January 25, 2020, 12:00:10 AM »
Boko Haram Executes Pastor Who Turned Hostage Video into Testimony

(UPDATED) Beheaded Brethren leader taken captive in Nigeria said he was at peace with death because Jesus “is still alive.”


Update (Jan. 21): Boko Haram has beheaded a Brethren church leader in Nigeria, according to the same investigative journalist who shared the pastor’s hostage video which encouraged many with its testimony [see below].


“To break some news items can traumatize. I'm battling with one of such. Reverend [Lawan] Andimi, abducted by #BokoHaram was executed yesterday,” tweeted Ahmad Salkida. “Rev. Andimi was a church leader, a father to his children and the community he served. My condolences go to his family.”


“Reverend Lawan Andimi was beheaded yesterday afternoon, the video of the appalling executions with that of a soldier was obtained at 2:42pm,” wrote Salkida. “I made sure that the family, the authorities and the church were duly informed before the news was put out to the public this morning.”


Andimi’s denomination, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN), confirmed the pastor’s death.


“This is horrific and truly a shame,” said Gideon Para-Mallam, the Jos-based Africa ambassador for the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students who spoke with EYN general secretary Daniel Mbaya about Andimi’s fate. “It strikes at the heart of efforts to build some form of religious harmony in Nigeria. But we are undeterred.”


The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) declared three days of prayer and fasting, and condemned the “brutal murder” of Andimi as “a shame to the Nigerian government.”


“The Church did everything within her reach to secure the safe release of this pastor gentleman,” stated Kwamkur Samuel Vondip, CAN director for legal and public affairs, “but it was not possible because they ...

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https://twitter.com/A_Salkida/status/1219530749587677184
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CFamily

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Supreme Court Reconsiders State Bans on Public Funding for Religious Schools

Could a Montana school choice case be the end of Blaine amendments?


When a Montana tax credit program for private school scholarships was accused of being discriminatory because religious schools were not eligible, the state eliminated the program outright rather than fight the case.


But now, the state has ended up at the US Supreme Court anyway, with a legal dispute centering around whether the legal basis Montana (and dozens of other states) uses to bar public funding of religious education is constitutional.


The justices will hear arguments Wednesday in Espinoza vs. Montana Department of Revenue, a case over a scholarship program for private K-12 education that makes donors eligible for up to $150 in state tax credits. Advocates on both sides say the outcome could be momentous because it could lead to efforts in other states to funnel taxpayer money to religious schools.


Montana is among 37 states that have provisions in their state constitutions that prohibit religious schools from receiving state aid, also known as Blaine amendments.


Legal advocates and Christian schools opposed to the restrictions say they discriminate against religious families by blocking them from government benefits available to others, or by favoring secular education. They also note that such prohibitions were historically designed to not to keep the government from endorsing religion—since a Protestant ethos was generally part of public education—but to deny support to Catholic (“sectarian”) schools in particular.


Like many religious freedom cases, this one floats the balance between the establishment clause—the government cannot support a particular faith over others—and the free exercise clause—it cannot prohibit citizens from exercising their religious beliefs.


In a brief ...

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https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/01/espinoza-montana-bigoted-laws/604756/
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CFamily

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Nous, le un pour cent des chrétiens, présentons nos excuses aux quatre-vingt-dix-neuf autres pour cent de chrétiens

Vous, les 99 %, n'existez pas pour aider les professionnels du ministère ?  accomplir le Grand Mandat missionnaire. C’est nous qui existons pour vous aider ?  le faire.


Assis en face d'un ami, Bill Pollard, je voyais son regard empreint d'un espoir qui cependant trahissait quelques doutes. Je venais de partager avec lui la vision du Mouvement de Lausanne de réunir plus de 700 leaders chrétiens du monde des affaires, venant de plus de 100 pays un peu partout dans le monde.


C’était une vision que Bill approuvait : mobiliser les chrétiens pour qu’ils soient des instruments de Dieu sur leur lieu de travail afin qu’un impact pour le Royaume puisse se faire sentir dans chaque sphère de la société. Toutefois, il se demandait si, aux yeux de certains responsables d'Église, l'efficacité de ce type de ministère par le biais de responsables dits « laïcs » était possible.


Ses interrogations reflètent une longue histoire au cours de laquelle le ministère chrétien a été considéré comme relevant de la responsabilité restreinte de "professionnels" tels que les pasteurs et les missionnaires. Des gens comme Bill ont contesté cette notion, montrant plutôt que le manteau du ministère appartient à chaque chrétien.


Bill avait été le Directeur Général de ServiceMaster qui, sous sa direction, a été reconnue par le magazine Fortune comme l'entreprise de services n° 1 parmi les 500 entreprises du classement Fortune 500 et a été reconnue par le Financial Times comme l'une des entreprises les plus respectées dans le monde. Pour Bill, son travail chez ServiceMaster était au service du Maître. Comme il le dit ...

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Sorry, James and David: Silas and Obadiah Are Today’s Trending Baby Names.

Weird Bible names are on the rise. What’s behind the trend?


You probably know someone who’s given their child, and especially their baby boy, an obscure biblical name. Sunday schools are increasingly filled with baby boys named Asher, Silas, Hezekiah, or Ezra. Meanwhile boy names like John, Michael, David, and James appear to be falling out of favor.


The numbers back up this perception. According to current data from the Social Security Administration, “unusual” biblical names are getting more common for baby boys, with historically “rare” Bible names rising from about 0.5% of boys in the 1950s to a whopping 6.5% of baby boys today. Of all baby boys given uncommon or unconventional names, 17% had uncommon biblical names—the highest share since 1880.


What’s going on? Why are there so many Obadiahs and Eliases underfoot? And how do these name trends reflect religious and cultural patterns in the United States?


To understand the picture, we have to go back in time and look first at the numbers. Baby boys born in 1982 were more likely to have biblical names than in any other year since 1880, driven by the increased popularity of names like David, Matthew, Joshua, Daniel, and Timothy. While biblical boy names rose steadily in prominence from 20% of baby boys in 1935 to more than 35% in the early 1980s, baby girls saw a different trend. From 1880 until 2018, the share of baby girls with biblical names has fallen steadily from 19% to around 6% today.


The rise in biblical boy names from 1880 to 1980 mostly included the monikers of major characters from the Old or New Testaments. In other words, parents gave their kids names that were generically spiritual: They referred to the Bible, but they weren’t too religious sounding. There were more Davids ...

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CFamily

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[Cfamily]What Does ‘Evangelical’ Mean?
« Reply #1541 on: January 29, 2020, 12:00:12 AM »
What Does ‘Evangelical’ Mean?

CT discusses key distinctives of evangelical belief, identity, and spirituality.


What does it mean to be evangelical? The term, without a doubt, is widely misunderstood and frequently misrepresented. In recent years, the term evangelical has become highly politicized, invoked to describe a voting bloc or as a blanket label for those with conservative or, perhaps, fundamentalist views. Meanwhile, some from within the movement have dropped the label or left evangelicalism entirely, coining the monicker exvangelical.


Since its inception, Christianity Today has been distinctly evangelical, bringing together a broad readership of Christians from across the denominational spectrum who find common ground in their shared faith in Christ, commitment to orthodoxy, and passion for proclaiming the gospel. Throughout the decades, CT has discussed what it means to be evangelical (such as in this 1965 cover story). In recent years, the conversation has continued with renewed vigor. What is really at the heart of evangelical identity? Here’s a sampling of articles from the past few years that dig deeper into what it means to be an evangelical Christian today.



In “Evangelical Distinctives in the 21st Century,” Mark Galli (CT’s recently retired editor in chief) launched a series of articles meant to “articulate what we [at Christianity Today] mean by evangelicalism—and more importantly, why we continue to think that evangelicals are a people whom God still uses mightily to reform his church and touch the world with the grace and hope of the gospel.” (You can read more of Galli’s columns on evangelical distinctives here.)



In “What Is Evangelicalism?” Bruce Hindmarsh, professor of spiritual theology at Regent College, puts forth four central ...

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[Cfamily]They Run a Hip Vegan Restaurant—and Give All the Profits to Charity
« Reply #1542 on: January 30, 2020, 12:00:10 AM »
They Run a Hip Vegan Restaurant—and Give All the Profits to Charity

How one NYC couple is aiming for a maximum return on investment in their business and life.


In the middle of Times Square, surrounded by Broadway theaters and Michelin-starred restaurants, sits an unassertive vegan restaurant that glows with pink neon lights above a marble bar. P.S. Kitchen is known for its splashy cocktails and upscale vegan fare, but more quietly, it is working to change lives.


Every business owner wants to achieve maximum return on investment (ROI), but maybe not in quite the same way as Graham Smith and April Tam Smith pursue it. They’ve borrowed tips and tricks from socially conscious business ventures and combined them artfully into one restaurant where every aspect of the business has a higher purpose—from the environmentally conscious fare to the intention with which they hire each cook or server.


The founders say that the restaurant’s revenue goes straight to organizations like ethical apparel brand Share Hope, anti–human trafficking nonprofit Restore NYC, and Justice Rising, which works to bring peace through education in war-torn countries. As a plant-based restaurant, the cuisine aims to be environmentally friendly and healthy. And, as a socially conscious restaurant, management hires people who struggle to stay gainfully employed. These three missions are what they call, as noted on the bottom corner of the menu, the “three PS’s.”


“It's like the end of an email,” April Tam Smith said. “I want to make sure people want to come because they find the food delicious and they love being here. It’s simply, by the way, we also do all of these other things. Like, oh, PS, we also give away all the profits. … And what’s really cool about the three PS’s is that [every employee is] really passionate about one ...

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Source: They Run a Hip Vegan Restaurant—and Give All the Profits to Charity

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[Cfamily]13 Christian Takes on Trump’s Peace Plan for Israel and Palestine
« Reply #1543 on: January 31, 2020, 12:00:16 AM »
13 Christian Takes on Trump’s Peace Plan for Israel and Palestine

(UPDATED) Evangelicals in Middle East and US debate if “Deal of the Century” is “generous” or “extreme.”


After three years of anticipation—and dread—President Trump announced the launch of his “Deal of the Century” to achieve peace between Israel and Palestine.


With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his side, he outlined details for a proposal that would recognize a Palestinian state following extensive land swaps and security arrangements.


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was not present, having broken off communication with the White House following several US decisions deemed biased toward Israel.


Abbas immediately rejected the plan, which Palestinians had long declared “dead on arrival.”


But Netanyahu’s acceptance was enthusiastic, declaring himself willing to begin negotiations with the Palestinians on such terms. A day earlier, Netanyahu’s challenger Benny Gantz also signaled his party’s agreement with Trump’s proposal.


With three Arab states lacking a peace treaty with Israel in attendance—Oman, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—Trump hopes there will be a regional push to implement his plan.


And with $50 billion promised as investment for the nascent Palestinian state, the president believes all the necessary pieces are in place.


“All previous generations from Lyndon Johnson tried and bitterly failed,” Trump said. “But I was not elected to do small things, or shy away from big problems.”



It only required he approach peace in a “fundamentally different” manner.


No Arab or Israeli would be uprooted from their home. This guarantees the preservation of all existing Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory.


Jerusalem would remain the undivided capital of Israel. At the same time, ...

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Source: 13 Christian Takes on Trump’s Peace Plan for Israel and Palestine

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