Tertullian famously said, the blood of the martyrs is seed. Indeed, the early church was built on the witness of early Christians with many giving their lives for their faith. Nor is persecution a thing of the past. Every year, thousands of Christians around the world are persecuted or even martyred for their faith. But […]
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:
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 you risk your children getting malaria … or affluenza?
In my most recent podcast, “Bringing the Gospel to the poorest nation on earth,” I interview Dr. Roger Chen, a missionary who works in Niger. Roger and his wife have two young children, and this prompted Ed Babinski to post the following comment: “When does missionary work also become child endangerment? It seems Dr. Chen […]
79. Bringing the Gospel to the poorest nation on earth
What does it mean to proclaim the Gospel? What’s that supposed to look like? Many evangelical Christians tend to think of evangelistic proclamation as proselytizing, a declaration of a set of truth claims about Jesus. While Gospel proclamation obviously includes words, this is surely only part of the message. As Ronald Sider noted some years […]
Rethinking short-term missions … and other forms of voluntourism
Short-term mission trips are big business. According to a recent article in Relevant Magazine, every year in the United States more than 1.5 million people spend close to $2 billion going on a short-term mission trip. Indeed,over the last several years these trips seem to have become something of a rite of passage for young Christians […]
A More Christlike God: A (very long and detailed) Review
Bradley Jersak. A More Christlike God, A More Beautiful Gospel. (Pasadena, CA: CWR Press, 2015). The back cover of Philip Yancey’s book What’s So Amazing About Grace? includes the following epigram: “There is nothing we can do to make God love us more. There is nothing we can do to make God love us less.” […]
71. Can the Church Be Saved? A conversation with Philip Kenneson
Last year while on vacation in the United States my family visited a church. As we walked into the building we were greeted by a large sign welcoming the visitor with this simple but striking message: “You are awesome.” Wow, that’s a good start, right? We walked into the church and sat down in the sanctuary. People […]
19. Mark Buchanan on becoming an Acts church
This time on The Tentative Apologist Podcast we sit down with pastor, author, public speaker and professor Mark Buchanan. After pastoring for 17 years at New Life Community Baptist Church in Duncan, BC, Buchanan moved to Calgary, Alberta in September 2013 to become Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Ambrose Seminary. Buchanan is perhaps best known […]
If inclusivism is true does believing in Jesus still matter?
My defense of inclusivism prompted Jason Thibodeau to comment: “If believing in Jesus is not necessary for salvation, then Christians should focus on the stuff that is necessary. Call that ‘having the appropriate relationship with Jesus Christ’ if you wish, but clearly this can be accomplish [sic] without believing in Christ.” Is Jason correct here? If […]
Are the missionaries bringing bad news? A misbegotten objection to inclusivism
In my article “Why inclusivism makes sense” I explained why, er, inclusivism makes sense. I defined “inclusivism” as the view that “cognitive awareness of Christ is not necessary for salvation by Christ.” Walter replied: “If the unreached are automatically saved, then missionaries are doing people no favors by statistically increasing their chance of experiencing an […]
Would Christianity die out if Christians stopped witnessing? And if it did would that mean Christianity was false?
John Loftus just came up with a new argument against Christianity. He summarized it like this: 1) If Christianity is true then the Christian faith will probably not die out if Christians stop proselytizing. (2) The Christian faith will probably die out if Christians stop proselytizing. (3) Therefore Christianity is false. It is, if nothing else, […]
Does universalism undermine Christian mission?
It is a common objection to the doctrine of universal salvation. And Walter expresses it well: the Christian message loses its urgency–less pews would be filled, less tithes collected, and less need for dangerous missionary trips if everyone makes it to heaven. To put it bluntly: fear of a terrible hell fuels the growth of […]