Megachurch Faith

The Washington Post reports about a study conducted by researchers at Baylor University. Here’s what they found out about the beliefs of people who attend megachurches:

‘Baylor researchers found that megachurches tend to be more evangelical than small churches.

‘Ninety-two percent of megachurch members believe that hell “absolutely exists,” compared with just over three-quarters of small-church members, the survey found. And eight in 10 megachurch worshipers believe that the Rapture — when followers of Jesus Christ believe they will be taken to heaven — will “absolutely” take place, compared with less than half of those who attend small churches.’

Read the rest here:

“Big Churches Not Always Impersonal, Study Finds” – by Jacqueline L. Salmon (Washington Post)

The Tigers Beat the Tigers

The LSU Tigers put a whoopin’ on the Auburn Tigers tonight, and it was a great game. After seeing Florida put a shellacking on Tennessee and hearing Alabama lower the hammer on Arkansas, it was good to see a hard-fought game. I think that Tigers v. Tigers may have been the best game all day.

The SEC has four other teams ranked in the Top 10, and LSU will have to play all of them before the season is out. So this was a big win for LSU. One down and three to go.

One other thing. In terms of difficulty of schedule, compare LSU to USC. USC is the number one team in the nation and the darling of the media. Yet USC only plays 2 ranked schools all season, only one of which is a top 10 school. USC is really good, but let’s not pretend that their league or their schedule is anything like the SEC’s. When we set LSU’s 3-0 record next to USC’s 2-0 record, we are not comparing apples to apples.

Not that I’m biased or anything.

John A. Broadus: A Living Legacy

Michael Haykin edits a series for Broadman & Holman called “Studies in Baptist Life and Thought.” The volume on John Broadus was just released in August, and my good friend Mark Overstreet has an essay in it titled “Now I Am Found: The Recovery of the ‘Lost’ Yale Lectures and Broadus’s Legacy of Engaging Exposition.” Other contributors include Timothy George, David Dockery, Richard Melick, and Tom Nettles.

John Broadus is a towering figure in the history of Southern Baptists. Charles Haddon Spurgeon called Broadus “the greatest of living preachers.” Broadus served as the second president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition, Continue Reading →

Responding to David Gushee

I mentioned on Monday that David Gushee penned an opinion piece for USA Today in which he criticizes conservative evangelicals who support Sarah Palin’s candidacy. He writes:

“It is an uncomfortable fact that many of the theologically conservative Christians who have endorsed Palin’s nomination would not be willing to endorse her or any other woman for service as pastor of their church. Women cannot serve as pastors in groups such as the Churches of Christ, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Presbyterian Church in America, most non-denominational Bible churches, and an influential advocacy group called the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).”

I belong to two of the groups that Gushee lists as transgressors on the gender question: the SBC and CBMW. I know, therefore, a little bit about the biblical and theological basis for the complementarianism represented in these organizations (though I am not claiming to speak for either one of them). With that in mind, allow me to respond briefly to the series of questions that he puts forth in his article. His questions are in bold, and my response follows each one. Continue Reading →

What’s Happening in Louisville?

In my last post, I mentioned that I have been without power due to Hurrican Ike. Yes, believe it or not, we got hurricane force winds way up here in Louisville, Kentucky. As a result, the entire campus of Southern Seminary is without power. Moreover, about 300,000 homes and businesses in Louisville are still withouth electricity and will be for some time.

Governor Steve Beshear declared a state of emergency on Sunday in a press release. The governor has said that “This is the biggest outage on record in the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” and officials estimate that it will take 10-14 days to restore power to parts of the city that have lost it.

The good news is that Southern Seminary is doing very well. The buildings sustained no major damage, and no one was hurt. We have cancelled classes for the week, but we are still serving students who are living on campus.

On Sunday evening, students and other members of the Southern Seminary family met in Chiles Hall for an impromptu meal of hot dogs (served by none other than Dr. Albert Mohler and his wife Mary). The most memorable part of the evening was dishing out a huge inventory of ice cream before it melted. No one complained about that! The “Inside Southern” blog has a brief story on the evening, along with a picture of yours truly eating some of the soon-to-be-melted delicacies. In spite of everything, it was a great evening.

David Gushee Highlights ‘Inconsistency’

This is a no-frills post. I am writing this from my phone because Hurricane Ike has left me without electricity. So I apologize in advance for the raw links and the pictureless post.

David Gushe writes about the so-called “Palin Inconsistency” in today’s USA TODAY:

http://blogs.usatoday.com/oped/2008/09/the-palin-predi.html

We have already discussed on this blog the issues that Gushee raises. Nevertheless, I will try to respond more fully when I have electricity. For now, I will just say that it would really help if Egalitarians like Gushee would take Complementarians on their own terms. For years, Complementarians have been addressing the very questions that he raises. There is a biblical and theological rationale for the Complementarian response to Palin; Gushee, for whatever reason, simply doesn’t acknowledge it.

Ray Boltz

From Christianity Today earlier today:

Ray Boltz, who sold about 4.5 million records before retiring from Christian music a few years ago, came out of the closet Friday to announce that he’s gay. . .

“I’d denied it ever since I was a kid. . . I became a Christian, I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years and then at the end, I was just going, ‘I’m still gay. I know I am.’ And I just got to the place where I couldn’t take it anymore … when I was going through all this darkness, I thought, ‘Just end this.’

“This is what it really comes down to. . . If this is the way God made me, then this is the way I’m going to live. It’s not like God made me this way and he’ll send me to hell if I am who he created me to be … I really feel closer to God because I no longer hate myself.”
Continue Reading →

Hell and the Religious Right

Lisa Miller at Newsweek magazine has this to say about the beliefs of Sarah Palin’s pastor:

“The senior pastor of that church, in sermons that circulated online before they were taken down last week, preaches hell for anyone who isn’t saved by Jesus. America does not know enough yet about what Palin personally believes, but her church background—she now worships at a nondenominational Bible church—puts her squarely in the tradition of the old-school religious right.”

What is fascinating here is that Miller treats this as a newsworthy item—that Christians believe that there is such thing as hell. It says a lot about where we are as a nation that such a thing would even be considered “news.” In any case, Albert Mohler has some commentary on Miller’s piece that is worth reading. He concludes:

“What this article in Newsweek represents is the absolute confidence that discovering people who believe that those who do not believe in Christ will go to hell is supposed to be shocking.

“So we find in Sarah Palin’s pastor an evangelical who believes in hell and preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only means of escaping hell.  In other words, he is an evangelical preaching like an evangelical.  Alert the media.”

Here’s the rest:

“Alert the Media — A Pastor Believes in Hell” – by Albert Mohler (AlbertMohler.com)

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