Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Review

The Fall of the Evangelical Nation, by Christine Wicker.

Wicker is a solid reporter, and knows the religious landscape of America pretty well. This work is an account of what has happened among the evangelical wing of the family the last decade, and what the next few decades may hold. I found it refreshinlgy balanced and fair.

She calls churches on their inability (unwillingness?) to report honest attendance figures, and focuses on those "leaving out the back door" as much as she does on those "coming in the front door." She commends the modern church for still being able to change lives, and commends mega-churches for the good things their size enables them to do.

There are some problems in the book. Wicker struggles to define her terms, as anyone who has tried to define "evangelical" has struggled. She fails to distinguish strongly enough between evangelicals and fundamentalists and charismatics and pentecostals, which are all distinct groups and strongly disagree on a range of issues. She also seems to harp on the "literal view fo Scripture" as an identifying mark of evangelicalism, where the broader "inspired" or "taking Scripture seriously" would be more accurate.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful for the Apostles

From a devotion by James H. Kurt:

I thank God today for Andrew and his brother Peter, their brothers James and John, and all brothers and sisters in the Lord. I thank God especially for their answering His call, their readiness to respond. They immediately abandoned their nets and became His followers.

And so strong in the Lord they would become, and so clearly their words would be spoken of Him who is risen from the dead, of Him in whom our hearts trust, of Him of whom we now speak.

A joy fills me this day, and should fill us all, for the beauty of the apostles and their call. For now our ears ring with the love of our Jesus, the truth of the ages.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

N.T. Wright on the value of resurrection

From Surprised by Hope:

"The revolutionary new world which has begun in the resurrection of Jesus, the world where Jesus reigns as Lord having won the victory over sin and death, has it's front-line outposts in those [of us] who have shared his death and resurrection.

The intermediate stage between the resurrection of Jesus himself and the renewal of the whole world is the renewal of human beings -- you and me! -- in our own lives of obedience here and now."

Thursday, November 01, 2012

For All The Saints

Back when the primary (if only) pathway to sainthood was martyrdom, this day for commemorating and honoring all of the anonymous martyrs of history, those who died in groups or whose identities were not known. As time passed, and the nature of sainthood changed, the day has come to honor all the saints. Among Protestants who observe the liturgical calendar, "saints" is considered in its New Testament usage, meaning all believers. They have thus reinterpreted the feast of All Saints as a celebration of the unity of the entire Church.

Whatever take one has on Sainthood and the Feast of All Saints, it is a day to honor those who have gone before us, those examples of the faith who have demonstrated heroic virtue.