The actual title of the article published by the Pew Research Center is America’s Changing Religious Landscape. You can read that article here, at their own website, rather than second or third hand if you wish. The story was reported by media outlets, such as CNN, with attention grabbing headlines like “Millennials Are Leaving the Church in Droves.”
Russell Moore takes a different perspective, suggesting that actual faith is not in decline but rather the false pretense of it. People without true faith have quit going to church to make a show. He suggests people are no longer attracted to “almost Christianity” but that real faith is alive and well. There are not more atheists than there used to be, there are more honest atheists. Please do read his article here.
Ed Stetzer posted a similar story in USA Today, arguing that while Evangelicals make up a smaller percentage of the population than they did a few years ago their overall numbers have actually grown. While I think Moore’s article is better written, both make the point that raw data doesn’t tell the whole story. How we interpret that data is equally if not more important.
The Internet Monk website is alive and well thanks to the efforts of Mike Mercer and some other talented individuals. This week marks 5 years since the passing of the original Internet Monk Michael Spencer. Whether your in the fan club camp or have no idea who I’m talking about, check out this collection of Michael Spencer quotes from the iMonk archives. If you still want some more, check out Internet Monk every Sunday for a series of “Sundays with Michael Spencer.” Continue reading
It made news last November when a 90 year old man was arrested in Fort Lauderdale, FL for feeding the homeless. 33 cities have either banned or are considering a ban on giving food to homeless people. It is not illegal to be homeless and the thinking, which is flawed, is that by cutting off support homeless people will go away. I used to wonder as a child why starving children shown on television didn’t just go somewhere else, where there was food and water. The world is a little more complicated than that, but city leaders are apparently susceptible to that line of thinking.
Loving people, providing for the needy, feeding the hungry, giving to anyone that asks – just one more thing Jesus would be arrested for today. Continue reading
I read a lot of stuff. Each week I check out most of the links on Paul Wilkinson’s Wednesday Link List and Daniel Jepsen’s Saturday Ramblings. I visit Church Leaders .com several times frequently as well as subscribe to several WordPress blogs via their built-in reader. Baptist Press is the newsletter of the Southern Baptist Convention and it comes to my email inbox daily. I share relatively few of the many news articles and blog posts I read each day. Most of what I publish is my own stuff, the Master’s Table is more than an aggregator. My readers know how to find the Internet, duh. But every now and then I find something particular enjoyable, very informative or rather important and pass those things along in a bit I like to call The Read & Share File.
Ronnie Floyd has been the president of the Southern Baptist Convention for less than one year but has observed a few things. He also has a few concerns:
Lesson #1: Change is in the air
While many imagine that our convention never changes, this is just not the case. Churches, associations, state conventions and Southern Baptist entities are changing. Are they all changing? Probably not, but I would say many are changing because they know they must change to stay or become relevant. Some are changing rapidly, but most change is incremental.
Whatever level or pace, there is definitely a spirit of change in our convention. This is tremendous and highly commendable. Just a couple of years ago, resistance to change was probably more embraced than friendliness to change.
Let’s pray for one another to be so open to God’s leadership that we will change as He wills and directs.
Read the full article via Baptist Press. Floyd’s concern for the growth of healthy churches and the priority of evangelism are not unique to Southern Baptists.
There’s an old saying that goes something like this: People don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan. The goal of A Christian Survival Guide: A Lifeline to Faith and Growth by Ed Cyzewski is to help Christian believers make a plan.
Cyzewski points out in the introduction that former Christians that have left the faith are often most aware of the serious issues Christianity presents. The last book I reviewed by Mike Hamel asks serious questions that the author doesn’t have good answers for; while he hasn’t left the faith he is no longer as certain as he used to be about the tenets of the Christian faith. A Christian Survival Guide wants readers to anticipates issues that will arise and be prepared ahead of time. From the introduction: This book aims to help the saints persevere, and so we’ll focus on answering that last question—what will help you survive as a follower of Jesus? Surviving as a Christian depends on having the right beliefs, putting them into practice in community with other Christians, and most importantly, meeting with God regularly. If we fail to address basic survival matters such as understanding God’s story from Scripture, defeating sin, or living in step with the Holy Spirit, we run the risk of missing out on the abundant life Jesus promised us, if not losing our intimacy with Jesus and leaving the faith altogether. Continue reading
A very vocal critic of Ergun Caner once wrote to me via social media “If you are Caner’s friend you must be a liar too.” He further suggested I re-examine whether or not I am truly a born-again believer. Such is the foolishness that Ergun Caner has dealt with for many years.
I am going to politely suggest reading two pieces and strongly suggest, rather implore, that my Christian brothers and sisters pray for Caner and his family. The first is an article appearing yesterday in Baptist Press. This story not only provides background of the particular issues in an objective manner but attempts to set the record straight concerning conspiracies and cover ups. The second is a highly emotional plea from Bucky Kennedy to please put the issue to rest. Kennedy currently pastors First Baptist Church of Vidalia, GA and has previously served as President of the Georgia Baptist Convention and Chairman of the Board at Brewton-Parker.
Please read the linked articles. Please thoughtfully and prayfully consider how you will respond when you hear gossip and criticism. Please pray for Ergun Caner and his family. Thank you.
The full title is We Will Be Landing Shortly: Now What? The front cover plainly identifies it as “the spiritual musings of Mike Hamel.” The author is working through some things and is very transparent about that. His thought process is done on paper and at times he offers more questions than answers.
Mike Hamel has been through a lot, and the effects of tragedy have shaken his faith. He hasn’t lost it but after a lifetime of religious faith and pastoral vocation it doesn’t come as easy as it used to. After surviving three bouts with cancer, cancer treatments, a major car accident and seven surgeries, he was prepared to deal with his own mortality. Then suddenly and without warning his wife of 37 years died of a heart attack… on Thanksgiving Day. One section of the book is a collection of journal entries beginning that day and continuing over the next 12 months. Hamel is a writer’s writer and works through his thought process on paper. I sometimes do the same thing but then he publishes his for the world to read! Continue reading