We have all been there and seen them, individuals or churches as a whole who shun ex-inmates or those who do not “conform” to their ideal of the “perfect” Christian. Simply put that is Legalism and has no place in any CHURCH. Basically, they are saying Christ’s atonement was good enough for only those they chose. I want to be careful here and clearly state neither I nor the author is making a case for open widespread forgiveness when church disciple need be applied. That is clearly something different and greatly lacking in evangelical churches today.
The term cancel culture evokes images of screaming undergrads, de-platformed speakers, fired employees, and demanding protesters. However, the cancel culture ethic doesn’t simply exist “out there” in the larger culture; it has infiltrated our homes. Our dinner tables have become personal social media platforms…
One of the most important observations that I gleaned from one of Os Guinness’s books is that celebrating the acquisition of liberty and freedom (what we celebrate this weekend is our acquisition of freedom) is typical in the world’s history. But what is really unusual is sustaining freedom…
Earlier this month, in a piecefor The Atlantic, Joshua Coleman described an epidemic that’s not COVID but that’s also afflicting America: family estrangement. As a psychologist who specializes in family therapy, Coleman reports that his practice is flooded with older parents mourning the loss of contact with their grown children and with grown children angry and hurt by conflict with parents. “The rules of family life have changed,” he said…
A Christmas message came to my mind a few years ago as I stood shivering in the autumn chill at the grave side of Father Jerzy Popieluszko. Jerzy was a young pastor who once delivered the dynamic messages that stirred the Polish people to overthrow their Communist oppressors.
His theme was always the same: The Christian is called to defend the truth and overcome evil with good.
Man has a propensity to forget why he was put on the earth:
Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) Larger:
Q. 1. What is the chief and highest end of man? A. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.
Don’t Stay for the Applause
A few years ago, a popular Christian singer ended her set by leading the audience in “O Come All Ye Faithful,” even though it wasn’t Christmastime. By the time the song was over, and the crowd’s attention was pulled back to the stage, the singer was gone. While it was her concert and not a church service, she hoped to point to God and not herself. When it was time for her well-earned applause, the singer was out of sight…
Today’s BreakPoint: QAnon, Conspiracy Theories, & the Church
Faith and Fear Don’t Mix
JOHN STONESTREET WITH SHANE MORRIS
At a press conference a few weeks ago, a reporteraskedPresident Trump about the conspiracy theory QAnon. Started a few years ago by an anonymous user on the message site 4chan, QAnon claims, among other things, that a ring of Satan-worshiping pedophiles is running the government, Hollywood, the media, and the Democratic Party.
The President’s response when asked about this emerging online “cult” was not helpful: “I understand [QAnon followers] like me very much, which I appreciate,” he said, and then added: “I’ve heard these are people that love our country…”
America has long been fertile ground for the creating and spreading of conspiracy theories. Sadly, however, this particular fear-based narrative is finding fertile soil in churches. In a recent pieceat Religion News Service, Kaitlyn Beaty quoted pastors from around the country who say QAnon and other obsessions have gained influence in their congregations. Not only are these pastors worried about their members’ credibility and witness, it’s a particular challenge when it comes to reaching the next generation…
This is a brilliant cooperative idea, and the churches and ministries participating are to be commended. I just wonder however if they can open their doors why the schools can’t? – Mike
Today’s BreakPoint: Public School … In a Church?
JOHN STONESTREET WITH MARIA BAER
Most public schools across the country are either attempting to hold school remotely or, in some hybrid form, brings kids back in the classroom in a limited way, keeping the numbers low. And that’s just for now. The plan has already changed in many districts and will likely change again before all is said and done. The only sure thing, when it comes to this school year is that it is not going to be a normal one.
For a group of churches and ministries in Ohio, this is an opportunity to, in the words of the prophet Jeremiah, seek the welfare of the city. A few months ago, public school districts in Columbus asked local churches to provide additional space for students who have working parents, and whose school would not be opening for in-person instruction. Looking for places where students could access tech devices and the internet, be under adult supervision, where food could be provided, churches in Columbus opened their doors…
COVID-19 has caused a myriad of problems in the U.S. and around the world. The obvious physical attacks on the human body, the loss of income from inability to work but an even greater ISSUE is the toll it has taken on the mental health of a large number of children and adults.
There have been renewed calls from certain parties for further lock-downs, but is this wise? The bible saysProverbs 18:1 ESVWhoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. I would say whomever forces said isolation theybreak out against all sound judgment.
Today’s BreakPoint: COVID Is Causing Increase in Suicidal Thoughts and Decrease in Mental Health
JOHN STONESTREET WITH ROBERTO RIVERA
According to recent reportfrom the Centers for Disease Control, “40 percent of American adults have reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse” during the COVID-19 pandemic. One-third reported feelings of anxiety and/or depression, and one-quarter said that they were struggling with trauma-related issues. One in eight reported either developing or increasing substance-abuse problems.
Worst of all, 11 percent reported that they seriously considered suicide in the last few months. Two years ago, by comparison, that number was just one in twenty-five. And, the CDC study revealed that certain segments of the population have struggled more than others. For example, one in five “essential workers” reported suicidal ideation, as have one in three unpaid caregivers for adults, and one in four 18- to 24-year-olds. And of course, there are others who don’t fit into categories like these, but who were already struggling with mental health issues before the pandemic…
A few days ago, a colleague shared comments he and his wife get when people find out they have seven kids: “Are they all yours?” “Were they all planned?” “What are you, Mormon?” And, most awkward of all: “You know what causes that, right?”
This kind of reaction to large families, which I’ve gotten with only four kids, reveals the assumptions about children that largely go unquestioned in our culture, even in the Church.
It is widely assumed, for example, that children are a choice. This was not always so. The introduction of reliable contraception, especially the pill, made it possible to divorce the inherent connection between sex, marriage, and procreation…