Monthly Archives: January 2007

Makes Sense in Some World

This is just a bit scary. Could give new meaning to “blended worship.”


What is an Evangelical?

USA Today had an interesting article on the “evangelical Christians” yesterday. Cathy Grossman considered whether the E-word can be saved. What was interesting is that this is not so much an article discussing the political impact of evangelicals, but one exploring the question of what evangelicals need to believe to be considered and evangelical Christian. You can’t expect in-depth coverage in this mcpaper, but even in this brief piece we can see that its not just us theologically fundamental, conservative types that have seen a change in Christian beliefs. The whole concept of “evangelical” has been watered down. Grossman writes: “The term has become so diluted and covers such a wide spectrum of believers that it no longer clearly identifies specific leaders, programs or ideas.” In other words, it seems that the word, once meaningful and expressive of core beliefs, is now meaningless so “Christians” who use it to describe themselves and what they believe may be describing someone who is not even saved.

The article points to the research of George Barna who found that 38% of the US population consider themselves evangelical Christians yet when Barna defined evangelical more specifically using nine characteristics (see here scroll to “research details“) that number shrinks to 9%. And Barna’s 9 points don’t include belief in the virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, or even that Jesus rose from the dead.

According to Barna: 

The most striking differences relate to the beliefs of each group. Compared to the 9-point evangelicals, those who say they are evangelicals are: 60% less likely to believe that Satan is real
53% less likely to believe that salvation is based on grace, not works

  • 46% less likely to say they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs with others
  • 42% less likely to list their faith in God as the top priority in their life
  • 38% less likely to believe that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth
  • 27% less likely to contend that the Bible is totally accurate in all of its teachings
  • 23% less likely to say that their life has been greatly transformed by their faith
  • We’ll duh! Most “evangelicals” are not Christians beyond label only. Maybe we need to go back to the fundamentals (as politically incorrect as that label has become). USA Today had the five fundamentals in a sidebar to this article … and they got them right. I have to wonder how many “9-point evangelicals” would agree with the fundamentals. I’m guessing there might be fewer followers of Jesus out there than we think. 


    The Strength of Preaching One Verse at a Time

    Matt at Expository Thoughts has some excellent thoughts on consecutive exposition of the Scripture, which he believes is the best method for a preacher who is in the pulpit on a regular basis. I agree with Matt. (Probably not a surprise to anyone who knows me since I cut my ministry teeth under John MacArthur and I’ve worked for the last 21 years with Jerry Mitchell, the Senior Pastor of our church – both of whom are consecutive expositors going verse-by-verse through the Scriptures, book-by-book.)

    I like this post because it outlines some of the benefits to preaching in this manner as opposed to the primarily topical method that so many would hold forth as the model for today’s church. In fact, the author of a book I’m currently reading holds that one of the reasons men don’t come to church is because of preaching that is too academic or demands too much of the hearer – you know, expository preaching.

    I tend to do “random exposition” when I have opportunity to preach – mainly because I don’t preach regularly. Though I did do a ten-year series on 1 Peter – just taking the next section of the book each time I filled the pulpit for Jerry. The amazing thing was how well people seemed to remember the context of the book and the flow of the argument, even when there were months between messages. I’d do a recap of sorts to set the context every time – something learned from Dr. MacArthur. Even that less than perfect continuous expostion of the Scripture demonstrated Waymayer’s reasons numbered 2 through 8. By the way, just so there is no confusion, I’m not in the same league with MacArthur or Mitchell when it comes to preaching. I do enjoy being on the team!


    Snap … a New Feature

    WordPress has added a new feature for websites they host. Just hover over any link on my site and a small thumbnailof the link will pop (snap?) up courtesy of Snap Preview Anywhere . Pretty cool. I sure hope WordPress continues to develop and give us toys to play with.


    Headlines from Around the World … Really

    Today’s Front Pages is just that … a collection of the front pages of almost 500 newspapers from around the world. For news junkies, this might just be the fix you need. You can browse through the thumbnails (hover and get a larger thumb, click and get a new window), use a map, or call up a list by regions. All views lead to a link that takes you to the paper’s website if you just have to read about the United Kingdom’s take on the war in Iraq – or some other topic of interest. A cool site. You could waste some time here.

    Similar but different: Life Magazine has a cover search of 70 years worth of covers. As a child, I remember always being intriqued by this magazine and the pictures. I think it was the best 25 cents my parents spent every week.


    Some Links of Potential Interest

    Cliche Finder is an interesting tool. Just cut and paste your writing into the text box and click the button. Your text will be compared against the Associated Press Guide to News Writing list of cliches. Just don’t try it against my writing.

    Askville is a new beta site by Amazon.com. Might have some interesting uses if they can keep the smart-alecks out. Depending on the questions it might open some opportunities to share truth about Jesus. There are a few questions under some of the more “christian” tags.

    43 Things gives some insights into the motivating desires of people. The idea is to list 43 things you want to do with your life and link up with others that might have the same things on their lists. Since it is funded by Amazon.com and has Google ads I’m sure there is a hope that you might also find some resources for which you would be willing to put out some cash. Still it does provide some insight into the “desires of a man’s heart”. More info is here.

    Pixsy let’s you search millions of photographs found on the web. Be wise in what you search for.

    PDF Pad will fulfill a need for certain people who like paper, charts, lines, and such.


    Lost Box Found

    Jenny’s Mail

    This package was one of two mailed to my daughter in Scotland – 16 months ago. They contained important materials for her ministry with NeiuCommunities – books, curriculum, Alias DVD’s. Somehow they got lost and never made it to her flat in Glasgow. One of them was finally returned after 6 months or so. We figured the second one was forever lost. What a surprise when it showed up on our doorstep this week. Apparently it found it’s way to Belfast, Northern Ireland where it took up residence in the dead mail office. Someone must have been tasked to clean things up because here it is.

    Just a little reminder that God watches over the little things. He just takes a different view than us of how important they are ….

    “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:25-33, ESV)