Last night, I participated in a dialogue between Roman Catholics and evangelicals at Taylor Seminary in Edmonton. The main speakers were Dr. Brett Salkeld (Catholic) and Dr. Jo-Ann Badley (evangelical). I was one of two respondents. In my comments, I echoed a point touched on by Salkeld, namely that while “Roman Catholic” is a clearly […]
Does God call all people to the same church?
Over the last few months, I have defended ecclesial pluralism a couple of times in my interactions with Catholic apologist Trent Horn. I have made my case by way of a straightforward argument that appeals to God’s work in the life of two individuals, Mother Teresa and Billy Graham. In this article, I will unpack […]
Drown the Pastor! Or, beware the angry evangelical congregation
On September 15th, the Daily Courier, the newspaper in my hometown of Kelowna, B.C., published the latest article from columnist Tim Schroeder. As teaching pastor at a large evangelical church, Trinity Baptist, Schroeder’s columns are usually pithy expressions of pastoral wisdom run through a grid of evangelical theology and social conservatism. But this article was rather […]
What is Mere Christianity? Part 6: James Anderson Answers
Our final installment in my series on mere Christianity comes from James N. Anderson. Dr. Anderson is Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, and an ordained minister in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. He is the author of What’s Your Worldview?: An Interactive Approach to Life’s Big Questions, Why Should I […]
Does the systemic sexual abuse among Catholic clergy undermine the Catholic Church itself?
Yesterday, a Pennsylvania grand jury released a report chronicling the crimes of more than three hundred priests throughout Pennsylvania, predators who raped and traumatized more than one thousand children and young people dating back to the 1940s. The grand jury further chronicled how dozens of people in the church covered up the crimes, acting in essence like a […]
Hymns vs. Choruses: Are the Worship Wars Worth Fighting?
This article is based on a section from my book What’s So Confusing About Grace? In a 1960 interview on Meet the Press, Martin Luther King, Jr. famously observed, “It is one of the tragedies of our nation, one of the shameful tragedies, that 11 o’clock on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours […]
Pew Sitting as Performance
As a seminary professor I’m very adept at judging church performance: I’m at home formulating detailed critiques of the exegetical and homiletical quality of a preacher’s sermon and the relevance of the service’s liturgical form; I’m even happy to opine on the quality of the music … an area rather distant from my formal education. […]
The Church as Tabasco Sauce
A couple years ago I compared the Church to Tabasco sauce. In this short video I return to that spicy analogy:
To Shun or Not to Shun: That is the Question
Last year I addressed the topic of shunning fellow Christians in an article titled “Should we shun Christians that we believe are living an immoral life?” The crucial excerpt comes in Paul’s comments on church discipline in 1 Corinthians 5. The essence of his directive is summarized in verse 11: “But now I am writing […]
Sodden Dead Flies: How a bad experience at church can have long-term effects
Often when Christians encounter a person who is very negative toward the church and Christianity, their initial response is defensive. However, my response is curious: what is it about this person’s history that has led to them taking this dour attitude? More often than not, there is a story behind the hostility, and we can learn […]
When you can’t believe, the church can do it for you
Yesterday while I was doing the Run for the Cure I listened to Krista Tippett’s interview with author and pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber. While the whole conversation is worth a listen, I was particularly intrigued by Bolz-Weber’s comment about the corporate nature of prayer and faith. In this excerpt she begins by noting that the call to […]
The complex ethical problem of the Mega-Church
The other day I had an interesting conversation with a friend who pastors a mid-sized church (approximately 400 congregants) in a major city in North America. I asked him about the impact that a new mega-church in that city has had on surrounding churches. By any conventional measure this church is a “success”. It has exploded from […]
On visiting Alcoholics Anonymous. A lesson for the church?
A friend of mine recently accompanied his friend (no, it wasn’t me) to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. My friend — let’s call him Dave — has no problem with alcohol. But Dave was deeply impacted by the group all the same, in particular the vulnerability, openness, humility, and welcome embrace extended by all those gathered. […]
Should we shun Christians that we believe are living an immoral life?
Christians disagree on a range of important ethical issues. Consider, for example, the fact that some Christians accept just war theory and believe that the call to follow Christ can be reconciled with the call to fight and kill state-enemies. Meanwhile other Christians disagree in the strongest terms whilst emphasizing the call to follow Christ […]