Who’s in Charge of Monks Nailing Theses to Church Doors?

* A parody of this article in Christianity Today, inspired by a tweet from Thomas Horrocks (@thomaslhorrocks).

Luther95thesesThe rise of church doors in the early 1500s has yielded the genre of the “church reformer.” From the comfort of their studies, these heretical monks can pen lengthy criticisms of Catholicism and affix them to church doors for any passing peasant to see. This advent of literacy, printing and architecture has created a crisis of authority that we haven’t hitherto seen before.

One of the most prominent examples of this crisis involves the popular Martin Luther, who last year announced his opposition to selling indulgences for the absolution of sin. He was cheered by some and denounced by others. The Pope has called for his writings to be burned. Aside from the debate about faith vs. works, broader questions have emerged: Where do scholars like Luther derive their authority to speak and teach? And who holds them accountable for their teaching? How can the average peasant know whom to trust?

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Thinking About Community

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Image found at nesta.org.uk

In the past few months, I’ve come to a realization about the United States: We’re a culture of obsessive bean counters. For example, consider how most church denominations measure successful ministries. Number of baptisms. People in pews. Amount of tithes and offering. There are now church consultants who will show up to your Sunday meeting place and tell your pastor how he (or she) can get more visitors in the door. They talk about marketing, events, branding, website SEO–terms more commonly heard in the corporate offices of Apple and McDonald’s.

Rarely do we realize how much corporate culture affects our thinking and worldview. But it does. It permeates everything–including how we view ourselves and how we live our lives. Continue reading

Needed: A New Conversation on LGBT in the Church

light on stairsTwo weeks ago, Christian rock singer Trey Pearson came out as gay. His band, Everyday Sunday, had multiple albums and several #1 hits on the CCM single’s chart. Trey said he had tried for years to become straight, even marrying a woman and fathering two children, but nothing had changed. He wasn’t sexually attracted to his wife, was unable to meet her intimate needs, and felt burdened by having to pretend to be someone he clearly wasn’t. He and his wife had mutually agreed to separate, putting a plan in place for him to continue to be very involved in raising his children.

What shocked me about this announcement was the response to it. A fairly well-known Christian radio show host spat on Twitter that Trey was ungodly, and so were all the other CCM artists who had come out as gay in recent years.

Ungodly?

All Trey had confessed to was same-sex attraction. Not an affair. Not abusive behavior. Not breaking one of the commandments. Just “I like men.” Yet that statement alone was enough to erase his godliness and call his salvation into question.
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Driscoll’s “Confessions”: How to Grow a Church

confessionsSee my ongoing review in this series: Intro | Part 1

“I acknowledge that some readers may be turned off by my focus on numbers, even though we have a book of the Bible titled the same word. But every number is a person, so numbers do matter because people matter.” ~ Mark Driscoll

Driscoll wrote Confessions of a Reformission Rev. as a guide of sorts for other pastors to follow. So today, I want to talk about the church-growth philosophy and methods Driscoll puts forth in his book. Continue reading

Reviewing Mark Driscoll’s “Confessions of a Reformission Rev”

“If anyone buys my book, maybe some young punk will talk trash about me in a few years, and then I’ll know I’ve done something important enough to be criticized too.” ~ Mark Driscoll

Recently, I decided I would review Mark Driscoll’s book Confessions of a Reformission Rev. It is Driscoll’s second book, published by Zondervan press in 2006. As many of you know, Driscoll is the primary founder of the now-defunct Mars Hill megachurch in Seattle, WA–a church that fell to several scandals and allegations of spiritual abuse due to Driscoll’s actions.

Some may wonder why I would choose to review a book that is 10 years old and authored by a fallen pastor. There are a few reasons: Continue reading