Maurice’s Musings For Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Church News.  The big news recently has been the release of the annual lists of the 100 largest and fastest growing churches in America, a joint project of Outreach Magazine and Lifeway Research. You can download the list as a PDF here. Ed Stetzer of LifeWay shares some of his thoughts on the list and what it shows. One of the things it shows is the continued explosive growth of the megachurch model. A recent article by Outreach Magazine suggested 10 trends which are shaping the megachurch of the future. Another trend (unrelated to the annual list) among megachurches appears to be a movement away from “mega” facilities toward “multiple” facilities. In other words, from megachurch to multi-site church (one church in several locations). Does the success or failure of contemporary Christianity rest upon our use of social media? These guys seem to think so.  Books Worth Reading  Need some good reading material? A couple of ideas. First, I had the privilege of studying under Carl F.H. Henry for a summer school course in Seminary. He was a profound thinker who packed more into a lecture than many professors put into an entire course. I was recently reminded of his seminal work which, in many ways, gave birth to contemporary Evangelical Christianity.  Carl F.H. Henry, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism. Second, in The Gospel Call and True Conversion, Paul Washer challenges easy believism as he examines the real meaning of things like faith, repentance, and receiving Christ.

Postcards From The Edge Of A Post Christian Culture.

Mars Hill Senior Pastor Mark Driscoll is warning of darker days ahead for the church. If he is right (and I think he is), then I believe we are going to see a growing conflict which will challenge both our structures (how we do church) and our values (what we believe and why). On a related theme, I have argued that we are witnessing the death of private conscience if the expression of that conscience conflicts with the “politically correct conscience” of our culture. For example, broadcaster Craig James was recently fired by Fox Sports for views he expressed concerning gay marriage during a prior run for political office. Gay activists are training 50 people to work on convincing Evangelical Churches to re-interpret the Scriptures and change their views concerning homosexuality. The Catholic Church recently gave instructions to its military chaplains, barring them from participating in services and ceremonies for gay couples. And a young woman at Smith College is being vilified for suggesting the possibility of a “straight” sorority. On a positive note, Trevin Wax of The Gospel Coalition shares some excellent thoughts on people, church and our desire to remain unchanged by Jesus. And author Jessica Hong shares some reflections on the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. Few things in life are harder to refute than a politically correct scientific conclusion:  The Earth Hasn’t Warmed In 15 Years. Oopps.  Miscellaneous.  Having written a brief book on the seven churches of Revelation (“When Jesus Visits His Church” – available on Kindle), I was impressed by this summary of the seven churches by Kevin DeYoung. Well done! Finally, some things are just too good to pass up. Apparently, being a gorilla is no excuse for acting like an animal.

Quote Worth Remembering:  Words are cheap. It is by costly, self-denying Christian practice that we show the reality of our faith. —Jonathan Edwards
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