Mayberry and Othniel

3-tissot-othniel2 America is not the country that it was fifty or sixty years ago. Instead of Andy Griffith patrolling Mayberry, we have Hobby Lobby in the Supreme Court. This happened within a generation, from fathers to sons. At the same time there appears to be a steady continuity, if not resurgence of conservative evangelicalism in America. We are witnessing not only a tectonic cultural shift, but also a profound divergence within American society. What is happening?

The book of Judges gives us some very relevant insight, proof that “there is nothing new under the sun.” Continue reading

Young Evangelicals Are Getting High

princeton chapel A friend of mine attended a Christian college where almost all of the students, including her, grew up in non-denominational, evangelical Protestant churches. A few years after graduation, she is the only person in her graduating class who is not Roman Catholic,  high Anglican or Lutheran. The town I live in has several “evangelical” Protestant colleges: on Ash Wednesday you can tell who studies at them by the ash crosses on their foreheads.

Young Christians are going over to Catholicism and high Anglicanism/Lutheranism in droves, despite growing up in low Protestant churches that told them about Jesus. It’s a trend that is growing, and it looks like it might go that way for a while: people who grew up in stereotypical, casual evangelicalism are running back past their parents’ church to something that looks like it was dug out of Europe a couple hundred years ago at least. It’s encouraged by certain emergent leaders and by other “Christian” authors whose writings promote “high” theology under a Protestant publisher’s cover. Continue reading

The Church Exists

You might not know it, but there are a lot of faithful ministers waking up this morning feeling very down about the state of the church. Last week, many denominations met to discuss the business of the church, and many of them didn’t do a great job. Through June, many Protestant denominations showed different weaknesses and struggles: the PCA wouldn’t reaffirm God’s special, immediate creation of Adam and Eve; the EPC opted for a night of skits and comedy instead of the usual worship service; part of the RCA is pushing against basic biblical morality — the list goes on.

In each of those denominations, few to many pastors who love the Lord and His Bride spoke up for truth, for the authority of Scripture, and for the great theological heritage we have had passed down to us through the centuries since the Reformation. Continue reading

Relevance Misconstrued

Churches long to be perceived as relevant. What makes a church relevant?

In our day relevance is commonly equated with two traits. The first is contemporaneity: preferring the new to the old. A Tampa, Florida church called advertizes that “the band brings it loud and strong… Expect lots of lights, video, and creativity. Then, expect to hear a Biblical message that is relevant to you and your spiritual journey.” Continue reading