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Piper: My Hopeful Response to Lecrae Pulling Away from ‘White Evangelicalism’

Lecrae’s decision has roots. And it has fruit.


My response to Lecrae’s interview with the thoughtful women at Truth’s Table is mainly thankfulness and hope. Why would anyone care about my response? I don’t know that they would. But here’s why they might.


This interview, along with the new album he just released (All Things Work Together), gives expression to Lecrae’s loosening his ties with “white evangelicalism.” There are echoes here of the same development recently chronicled about Jemar Tisby and the Reformed African American Network (RAAN). This loosening of these ties, considered by itself, is not the reason I am thankful and hopeful. But the loosening is not by itself.


Invitation to Hope


Lecrae’s loosening his ties with “white evangelicalism” has roots. And it has fruit. Part of that fruit is my response of thankfulness for Lecrae’s faith (and Jemar’s). As we will see, the roots have been painful. So their enduring faith, and my thanks for it, are not to be assumed.


Since I’m the only supposed native of this “white evangelical” tribe that Lecrae mentioned in his interview, I thought it might be helpful to say publicly how I respond to this loosening of ties. I would even hope that others in the tribe might join me in feeling more thankful than frustrated, and more hopeful than disheartened.


Roots of the Loosening


Roots can be very deep things. For Lecrae the roots that reach back to his mother’s passionate blackness seemed, for a season, to be severed. “When I became a believer I was taught to lay my black heritage aside.” Given his musical talent and mental sharpness, the inevitable happened — tens of thousands of young white Christians crowded his concerts, ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/zIF14xKgRcA/john-piper-lecrae-white-evangelicalism-gives-me-hope.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/79228.jpg?w=460
https://overcast.fm/+IkU79eRbY/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/all-things-work-together/id1273304414
https://www.yahoo.com/news/age-trump-tired-peacemakers-090023694.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/october-web-only/john-piper-lecrae-white-evangelicalism-gives-me-hope.html
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/zIF14xKgRcA
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Confessions of a Christian Prepper
« Reply #681 on: October 13, 2017, 01:00:55 AM »
Confessions of a Christian Prepper

My hope shouldn’t lie in survival skills and stockpiles.


“You could be forgiven for thinking apocalyptic thoughts,” writes The New York Times in response to recent disasters.


With multiple earthquakes, successive hurricanes, fires raging in the Northwest and California, as well as escalating tensions with North Korea, the last few months have brought an onslaught of natural and man-made chaos.


The less obvious threat for Americans is the vulnerability of our electrical grid—which, in the opinion of some experts, is imminently hackable.


Vanity Fair publishes regularly on the topic (see Michael Lewis’s latest story). Even Ted Koppel, the calm, unflappable former news anchor, says it’s a matter of if, not when the electrical grid goes down and leaves us suspended in a strange, uneasy darkness.


This “confluence of disastrous events” brings out our most basic instinct: the urge to survive.


The “prepping” trend has grown in response, from basic emergency preparedness (extra water and bags of dried beans) to fully furnished underground bunkers packed with freeze-dried rations. (Costco offers options for both groups.) According to Google Trends, searches for “prepper” and “survivalism” have reached record highs in the last few months.


At a deeper level, these dangers and disasters bring us face to face with the fragility of human life. Lurking beneath our well-socialized exteriors is an intense, primitive need to protect ourselves and those around us from existential threats. Parents fear the possibility that one day we’ll wake up and find ourselves unable to keep our kids safe from famine or fire. One way or another, we all have to contend with the fundamental tension between readiness and relinquishment: When ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/axrdjuzxnzA/confessions-christian-prepper-disaster-preparedness.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/79128.jpg?w=460
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/08/us/hurricane-irma-earthquake-fires.html
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/09/us/california-fires-evacuations.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=a-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0
https://www.nytimes.com/video/climate/100000005446132/hurricanes-earthquakes-wildfires-normal.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/07/department-of-energy-risks-michael-lewis
http://time.com/4082932/9-questions-with-ted-koppel/
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/business/prepper-survivalism-north-korea.html?mcubz=0
http://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/2017/10/01/costco-offers-1000-emergency-food-kit-that-lasts-25-years.html
https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=today%203-m&q=prepper
https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=today%203-m&q=%2Fm%2F019sl2
http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2017/october/confessions-christian-prepper-disaster-preparedness.html
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Don’t Be Overcome By Fear, But Go Forth In Faith
« Reply #682 on: October 14, 2017, 01:00:56 AM »
Don’t Be Overcome By Fear, But Go Forth In Faith

Start each week with this encouragement to show and share the love of Jesus.


Episode 35: Don’t Be Overcome By Fear, But Go Forth In Faith


Karen Swanson, director of the Institute for Prison Ministries at the Billy Graham Center, talks about overcoming fear when it comes to sharing our faith with others. How do we do it? What resources can help? What inspiration can we get from the Apostle Paul? We must remember that the Holy Spirit is with us and that God desires all to come to a knowledge of Himself.


Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.

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http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/79275.jpg?w=460
http://www.gospel-life.net/episode-35-gospel-life-podcast-series/
https://twitter.com/edstetzer
http://www.wheaton.edu/
http://www.wheaton.edu/bgce
https://edstetzer.com/mission-group/
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/october/dont-be-overcome-by-fear-but-go-forth-in-faith.html
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Academic Partnerships at Wheaton College and the Billy Graham Center—How, Why, and Your Organization

Wheaton College Graduate School partners with Every Nation and Propel Women.


Among the many ministries housed in the Billy Graham Center is the graduate-level education of students from around the world. Some of the students attend in the traditional way, taking courses according to their individual schedule. One exciting addition to this traditional approach is the introduction of cohorts of students pursuing a master’s degree in Evangelism and Leadership or Missional Church Movements.


You don’t have to be in a cohort, and can come in as an individual student, but I wanted to explain our cohorts as we will be launching more of these in the days to come—maybe one with your ministry. (Email us at bgc[@]wheaton[.]edu and we will get you more info.)


These cohorts are designed to accommodate 15 to 25 students. Each cohort takes their classes as a group. The educational plan follows a three-year track in which the students complete much of their school work at home, where they are heavily involved in ministry or other occupations. The cohorts gather about three times per year to learn from our world-class professors and to dialogue about evangelistic practices and principles.


Over the summer, I took a few pictures and decided to make them into a post about partnership.


The photos below highlight two of our cohorts: Every Nation and Propel. The first photo shows Dr. Rick Richardson leading a class of students here at the Billy Graham Center. Rick is professor of evangelism and leadership at Wheaton College and the director of the master’s in Evangelism and Leadership and the master’s in Missional Church Movements degrees.


Before coming to Wheaton, Rick was the national coordinator and then associate director for evangelism with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He worked in campus ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/UNCR8h1UEYo/partnerships-at-billy-graham-center-will-you-be-next.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/79291.png?w=460
https://www.wheaton.edu/academics/academic-centers/billy-graham-center/
https://www.wheaton.edu/graduate-school/degrees/ma-in-evangelism-and-leadership/
https://www.wheaton.edu/graduate-school/degrees/ma-in-missional-church-movements/
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/october/partnerships-at-billy-graham-center-will-you-be-next.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=UNCR8h1UEYo:wpUZP7q7Vr4:yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/UNCR8h1UEYo
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A Roman Catholic Appreciation of Justification by Faith
« Reply #684 on: October 16, 2017, 01:01:03 AM »
A Roman Catholic Appreciation of Justification by Faith

Both traditions can appreciate Luther’s famous dictum as a recovery, not a discovery.


Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk, famously broke with the Roman Catholic Church, primarily over the doctrine of justification. Luther insisted salvation came through sola fide (faith alone), but Catholic leadership disagreed and excommunicated Luther for his views. So, it certainly would have surprised Luther to hear that his name would be mentioned with approval at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Good Friday in 2016. On this day, sacred to all Christians, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the papal household, gave the Good Friday sermon to an audience that included the pope, cardinals, bishops, and thousands of the Catholic faithful. He said,



 

There is a danger that people can hear about the righteousness of God but not understand its meaning, so instead of being encouraged, they are frightened. Saint Augustine had already clearly explained its meaning centuries ago: “The ‘righteousness of God’ is that by which we are made righteous, just as ‘the salvation of God’ [see Ps 3:8] means the salvation by which he saves us.”… Luther deserves the credit for bringing this truth back when its meaning had been lost over the centuries, at least in Christian preaching, and it is this above all for which Christianity is indebted to the Reformation, whose fifth centenary occurs next year. [Emphasis mine] The reformer later wrote that when he discovered this, “I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.”



Fr. Cantalamessa went on to quote immediately from Paul: “When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, ...

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http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/79281.jpg?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/october-web-only/roman-catholic-appreciation-of-justification-by-faith.html
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“Playing the Long Game”: 3 Reasons Learning to be Content Is Critical in Church Planting

Contentment is a required spiritual practice for church planters.


Have you ever heard the phrase, “playing the long game”? My guess is we’ve each heard it thrown around in different venues. The saying is not new. It’s been used to describe throwing the football down the field or driving the golf ball toward the green. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying used to describe a person taking his or her time in pursuing someone for dating or by a certain financial planning firm hoping to drum up more business by sharing how unprepared we are for future retirement.


No matter where we might hear it, the phrase “playing the long game” generally means having a long-term plan, long-term goals, or doing things now that set you up for the future. Most church planters have a clear vision. Whether that is to be a multiplying sending church, a mega-church with big budgets and lots of resources to help advance the gospel, or a neighborhood church shepherding a community, serving and loving them toward gospel transformation, the vision is there.


The question is: When the mission becomes stale, when the money begins to run out and attendance seems to plateau, what will keep us focused on playing the long game? The answer might be in our ability to be content in all circumstances.


When my wife and I knew church planting was a reality rather than a dream, we started working on our strategic plan, our prospectus, and envisioning the type of church God would build. Being more of a visionary, entrepreneurial leader, like most church planters, this came easy and was energizing.


Even as we launched and first started doing fundraising, casting vision and dinner table planning was something I looked forward to each day. Most of our time was spent on planning the first two years of ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/F1lWIkAIevg/playing-long-game-3-reasons-learning-to-be-content-is-criti.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/79304.png?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/october/playing-long-game-3-reasons-learning-to-be-content-is-criti.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=F1lWIkAIevg:h7WwJV5Zg4g:yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/F1lWIkAIevg
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Bivocational Ministry as an Evangelism Opportunity
« Reply #686 on: October 18, 2017, 01:00:54 AM »
Bivocational Ministry as an Evangelism Opportunity

One-third of American pastors are bivocational.


One of the most vital yet understudied streams of church ministers is the bivocational pastor. This is that pastor who, either out of necessity or intentionality, works as both the pastor of a local church and in the secular marketplace.


Already, more than one-third of all American pastors are bivocational, and this number will probably grow.


Bivocational ministry offers a great opportunity for evangelism. Bivocational pastors are uniquely positioned to live out their pastoral calling as the lead missionary to their local community. As a well-equipped and gifted emissary of the gospel, these ministers can lead their congregations by demonstrating the power of evangelism to build the local church.


In a mission field that is moving in an increasingly secular direction, bivocational pastors are on the frontlines of gospel witness.


In focusing on how bivocational pastoring can facilitate effective evangelism, I will first argue that full-time ministry can potentially hamper cultural engagement. In light of these challenges, I will outline the role of bivocational pastors in leading the church into a season of fruitful evangelism.


The Challenge of Pastoral Evangelism


Evangelism is the work of testifying to the world of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ with the aim of converting those who aren’t trusting in Christ to repentance. This, of course, demands that we actually engage those individuals and communities we are trying to reach with the good news.


For most people, the proximity that we find in a work environment is an important outlet for evangelism.


Ironically, despite their call to lead in evangelism, church pastors are limited in this respect. Even as full-time pastors may desire to reach those who don’t know Jesus, ...

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Source: Bivocational Ministry as an Evangelism Opportunity

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http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/september/bivocational-ministry-as-evangelism-opportunity.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=RaKD9H83OSM:U8OApQ37UY0:yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=RaKD9H83OSM:U8OApQ37UY0:V_sGLiPBpWU
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=RaKD9H83OSM:U8OApQ37UY0:V_sGLiPBpWU
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=RaKD9H83OSM:U8OApQ37UY0:qj6IDK7rITs
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=qj6IDK7rITs
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Lecrae’s ‘All Things Work Together’ Is a Grace-Filled Mic Drop
« Reply #687 on: October 19, 2017, 01:00:55 AM »
Lecrae’s ‘All Things Work Together’ Is a Grace-Filled Mic Drop

On his Columbia Records debut, the rapper answers his evangelical critics while staying close to his true roots.


Late last month, Columbia Records released All Things Work Together, the latest offering from Christian hip-hop artist Lecrae. Popular among young evangelicals for putting theologically sound rhymes over catchy and well-composed beats, Lecrae has been working to move toward a more mainstream audience over the past few years. That work paid off when, in 2016, he signed a distribution deal with a major record label, Columbia Records.


This is Lecrae’s first album on Columbia, and he makes the most of the new resources a major record label provides: All Things Work Together features slick production and catchy beats crafted by some of the top producers in hip-hop like Metro-Boomin’, Go Grizzly, and Boi-1da.


Beyond providing access to some of the top producers in the game, however, Lecrae’s Columbia deal also provided another gift: freedom. It has given him the resources to walk away from the evangelical fanbase that made him a star, only to turn on him in the wake of his outspoken advocacy against police brutality and for racial justice after Ferguson. Lecrae has been around long enough to know that those who “rock the boat need a life raft.”


It’s probably no coincidence that Lecrae waited until he was on “prime time” to speak without restraint about racial injustice and the ways the church has been complicit or actively contributed to inequality. There are hints, however, that this so-called “new” Lecrae is in some ways who he always was.


In All Things Work Together, Lecrae talks about how his mother revealed to him the bias of his schoolbooks, which led to a different understanding of American history that included the Middle Passage—the route slaves took from Africa ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/DiQNf0o6Is4/lecraes-all-things-work-together-is-grace-filled-mic-drop.html
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=bcOpcFrp8Mo
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