Revivalism was based on the ability to ‘sell’ evangelism. In the last twenty years, however, the market for this born-again product has declined in the United States and has all but collapsed in the United Kingdom. As evangelism as event and product has waned, it has been replaced by worship as the chief activity and emphasis for Evangelical Christians… Some of the faces have changed, and festivals such as Soul Survivor have burst onto the scene, but the culture of production has remained the same. The one key difference, however, is that now revivalism is selling worship and not evangelism, and intimacy rather than conversion.
- Pete Ward, “Selling Revival as Worship”
I see that in my own experience - churches which once focused on evangelistic initiatives are reinventing themselves as glorified record producers. Hillsongs has an awful lot to answer for. Read more about Pete Ward on selling revival as worship
I like the idea of reusing and rehabilitating words that have fallen out of fashion. At a time when others are struggling to call themselves “mission partners” or “overseas workers”, at least partially to avoid the “missionary” stereotype - pith helmets, white suits and a complete lack of cultural sensitivity - I happily call myself a “missionary” precisely because I want to butt up against that stereotype and make people think.
But I’m finding it doesn’t work for all words. Take, for instance, the word “denomination”… Read more about "Denomination"
…the people perish. At least, that’s what it says in Proverbs, (29:18) and so, despite the second part of the verse clearly reminding us that it’s talking about a vision of God, (in the Bible it’s a fair bet that most things are about God) hundreds of pastors have seen in this verse a Biblical mandate for them to construct a church Vision Statement.
Now having a Vision Statement and having a vision are two separate things - and if you want your church to have a vision of God it’s almost always better for them not to have a vision statement - but let’s leave that for the moment and have a think about what makes a good and what makes a not-so-good vision statement. Read more about Where there is no vision...
I was about to write something about how evangelical authors (I was looking particularly at Chris Wright, in his “Mission of God”) do not take canon formation seriously, because if they did, then Chicago-inerrancy gets a bit fuzzy and then they realise they don’t have a magisterium. All die, oh the embarrassment.
And then along came this quote, which is superb: Read more about Biblical Inerrancy once again
In this category, top marks go for an example which quotes out of context in such a way as to negate the meaning of the original context entirely. For instance:
I'm (thoroughly enjoying) writing an IT strategy for a large church, and one of the things I want to get across is the benefits of openness with information, whether that means blogging, Twitter, engaging in discussions and forums about church teaching. This is an idea that the leadership are apparently unhappy about, since they want to keep fairly tight hold on authority for teaching and doctrine and what gets said in the name of the church, and if people start questioning what the pastor says in his sermons then where will we be. (In other words, all that unpleasantness in 1517 didn't change a bloody thing.)
Evangelistic meetings, at least here in Japan, are a funny sort of performance art.
Evangelicals, I mean, and specifically American ones.
I mentioned earlier that I was going to write something about the “Scripture interprets Scripture” school of hermeneutics. I may not succeed, but I'm going to try to see if I can explain some of the problems I have with it.