Church Life Articles

  • Kevin E. Lawson — 

    Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation in the Reformation Movement: Impact on Ministry with Children in Churches Today [i] , Part II As I shared...

  • Kevin E. Lawson — 

    Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation in the Reformation Movement: Impact on Ministry with Children in Churches Today [i] , Part I As most of you...

  • Sean McDowell — 

    As a parent of three kids, I am frequently trying to help them best navigate cultural voices vying for their hearts and minds. This is why I am thrilled about the new book, A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s World, by Brett Kunkle and John Stonestreet. They are both my good friends and ministry partners. But most importantly, they have written an excellent book. If you work with students in any capacity—parent, youth worker, teacher, mentor—this is a book you need to get. Read it, study it, and pass it on to other youth influencers. Here's a quick interview to give you a taste of how to help students best navigate culture ...

  • Octavio Javier Esqueda — 

    ​Cada año la importante revista Time selecciona a la persona que ha tenido más influencia en el mundo durante el año. La persona del año 2017 ha sido acertadamente y sin lugar a dudas las mujeres que rompieron el silencio y cuyas voces empezaron el movimiento #MeToo (yo también). Estas valientes personas han hecho públicas sus desgarradoras historias de abuso y acoso sexual las cuales abarcan todos los segmentos de la sociedad y lamentablemente también de las iglesias.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Politicians, civil leaders and concerned citizens continuously debate the causes and potential cures for the extreme poverty that has trapped many people-groups in a vicious cycle of impoverished lifestyle choices. Theologian Wayne Grudem and economist Barry Asmus have partnered to present a sustainable solution to poverty at the national level ...

  • Joanne J. Jung — 

    We are made in the image of God, an image that is tarnished yet has survived the fall. Who we are is intrinsically connected to who God is. Our spiritual depth, our being able to know ourselves, is linked to knowing God and who He is. This is where God’s word comes into the equation, because the Bible is one of the primary ways God discloses himself—what He’s done, what He’s doing, and what He promises to do. Spiritual depth is far more than how much you know the Scriptures or even how well you know it. It is knowing the Word of God and the God of the Word, the book and its author. We come away with a better, more thought-filled understanding of what He is like, what He says, what He expects of those who bear His image, and why, and how He empowers those who follow His son Jesus ...

  • Joanne J. Jung — 

    Symptoms of unattended souls are wide and many. Self-diagnosis is not difficult. Pridefulness and self-centeredness. Bitterness. Loneliness. The tendency to doubt. The tendency to compare. Regrets. Depression. Envy. Anger. Fear. Hopelessness. Guilt. Feeling insecure. Feeling unlovable. Being short-tempered with the people I love most. Being short-tempered. Experiencing waves of unworthiness. Fake. Empty. Motivated by peer approval. Inadequate. Controlling. Defensive. Engage in only small talk. Mask-wearing. Hold grudges more and longer. Waste hours on the computer or in front of the T.V. Intolerant. Unforgiving. Apathetic ...

  • Joanne J. Jung — 

    It is a sad but accurate appraisal that in our contemporary society we are held captive by television viewing, commercials, and the Internet. We are victims of a repertoire of fast-food menus, instant gratification, and overcrowded, conflicting, and unrelenting schedules. This entertainment-soaked culture, wrestling with boredom, thrills, and materialism, has contributed to the sensory overload common to urban life. Our addiction to and with information technology with its online connections, news and internet communication, websites, blogs, and streaming (to name a few) exacerbates the preexisting flood of intruding must-haves and must-dos that demand our time, attention, affections, and devotion ...

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Dr. Kevin Lawson (Professor of Educational Studies at Talbot School of Theology) recently co-edited and published Infants and Children in the Church: Five Views on Theology and Ministry in partnership with Dr. Adam Harwood (Associate Professor of Theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary). We wanted to learn more about this book, so we had Dr. Lawson respond to some questions ...

  • Andy Draycott — 

    Then Charlottesville, now Sutherland Springs. In contemporary America. Islamabad. Cairo. Worshippers gathered together are met with unprovoked lethal violence. And we mourn. We mourn as fellow humans, we grieve as fellow believers, we mourn as a world-wide church. We grieve as those who hope in the resurrection of the dead assured by our anointed King and Savior Jesus who will come again to establish righteousness and equity through judgment ...

  • Gary L. McIntosh — 

    A while ago, I received an email from Ed Stetzer asking if I knew when spiritual gifts inventories first became prevalent. I gave him a quick reflection based on what I remembered at that time, but his question created a curiosity that sent me on a longer investigation. While this is certainly not the final word on the question, it may serve as a beginning point for other researchers. Here is what I have discovered ...

  • Thaddeus John Williams — 

    The 16th century church was in dire need of a Reformation. What about today, a half millennium later? Is the 21st century church due for another Reformation, a Re-Reformation? Professor Williams shares his thoughts ...

  • Karin Stetina — 

    About half the world is made up of women. Books such as Half the Sky (Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn) and Half the Church (Carolyn Custis James) highlight how important it is for the Evangelical church to consider God’s vision both locally and globally for women. In the light of the Gospel, the church during the Reformation also wrestled with women’s place, in the church, marriage, and society. While the Protestant Reformers did not set out to define women’s roles, as they fleshed out their theological convictions of sola Scriptura and the priesthood of all believers, they were faced with addressing the question of how women are to participate in the church and the world as both receivers and conveyors of the Gospel. Did the Reformers’ responses result in “constraining” women by moving their ministry from the convent to the home (as Jane Dempsey Douglass argues), or did it provide them with “new dignity” (as Stephen Nichols suggests)? The answer to that question is complicated ...

  • Octavio Javier Esqueda — 

    La frase o “hashtag” #metoo (yo también) se ha hecho viral en las redes sociales en los últimos días. No es una frase nueva porque desde hace 10 años la activista afroamericana Tarana Burke intentó hacerla pública, pero no ha sido sino hasta estos días que su uso se ha convertido en una tendencia social. La frase indica un reconocimiento público que una mujer, principalmente y en su gran mayoría aunque también incluye hombres, ha sido víctima de cualquier tipo de acoso sexual o incluso violación. Ha sido desgarrador leer los innumerables testimonios de personas que han tenido la valentía de contar sus historias y hablar de frente, en muchas ocasiones por primera vez, sobre el abuso que sufrieron ...

  • Octavio Javier Esqueda — 

    The phrase or hashtag #MeToo became viral in social media in recent days. “Me Too” is not a new phrase; the African-American social activist Tarana Burke started using it ten years ago, but it became a media trending topic recently. This phrase represents a public acknowledgement that a person (although women are sadly the vast majority) has been sexually harassed or assaulted. It has been heartbreaking to read the countless testimonies of people who had the courage to share their abuse stories—many of them for the first time—with openness and frankness ...

  • Markus Zehnder — 

    I present these thoughts from the perspective of someone who grew up in and is familiar with the academic and spiritual situation on the European continent. My observation is that many of the trends that have eroded a robust Christian influence on European culture are very much active in the Evangelical world of the US in the current situation as well ...

  • Betsy A. Barber — 

    When my father died, I grieved. My father died on a Sunday morning, early. His hospital roommate told us that Dad had spent his last night—the whole night—praying softly for his family, person by person, before dying peacefully in the early morning. Even though we’d known that he would die soon from bone cancer, and knew that he was eager to be home with the Lord, it was still a shock. It was still too soon. Death is like that: it always surprises us and it interrupts our lives. We stop, and we grieve.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    A brief look back over the history over the world or turning on the nightly news will reveal the pain of people caused by the actions of others. It can be simply stated: People have caused the impoverished lifestyle experienced by so many in the world through harmful acts. Some cyclical poverty is the result of well-meaning assistance that has perpetuated dependency, unintentionally making things worse. Other people are trapped in communities of poverty through corrupt policies and a lack of rule of law. Worse, history is full of the evil of some to oppress, steal from and enslave people resulting in deadly poverty ...

  • John E. McKinley — 

    In the fourth verse of the popular modern hymn, “In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, we hear this line that poses Hell as our enemy: “No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand.” My ear has been catching a similar idea of Hell as a powerful enemy in several other contemporary worship songs. My guess is that songwriters are (perhaps) unwittingly drawing on Jesus’ statement in Matthew 16:18, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (NASB[1], NIV, NKJV). Other translations give “the gates of hell” (ESV, NLT, KJV; the Greek text has "Hades" not "Gehenna"). I prefer the RSV and NET that give “the powers of death” by interpreting the usage of Hades in line with Sheol of the OT, referring to the place of the dead, particularly for the wicked. The slip of meaning from “Hades” to “Hell” is understandable, but this causes a problem theologically that we need to pause and consider more closely ...

  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    My students in Exegesis In The Gospels (a second-year Greek course) were delighted to discover that (in the words of one news agency) “Christian conspiracy theorists have gathered clues that suggest the end of the world is nigh" ...

  • David L. Talley — 

    There is no end of opportunities to be blessed with the teaching and preaching of God’s word. Great preachers can be heard on the radio. Podcasts can be automatically downloaded to our phones or iPads. The teaching of God’s word is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on cable television networks. Christian bookstores are full of books by the greatest authors of our day. Electronic books can be carried with us everywhere with ease. Churches have program after program geared toward teaching God’s word, not to mention a worship service every week, which includes a Bible-based sermon. From the cradle to the grave, opportunities abound ...

  • Sean McDowell — 

    There has been a lot of discussion recently about why kids leave the faith. People have rightly drawn attention to the role of poor theology, the importance of kids owning their faith, the significance of intellectual issues such as the apparent tension between science and religion, and more. But there seems to be a core issue that is often overlooked—to develop a lasting faith, kids need to grasp their need for God. Let me explain ...

  • Octavio Javier Esqueda — 

    La compasión debe ser sentimiento esencial de aquellos que se dicen seguidores de Jesucristo. La palabra compasión significa “sufrir juntos” y es un sentimiento que se manifiesta al percibir y comprender el sufrimiento de los demás y, por lo tanto, produce el deseo de aliviar, reducir o eliminar este sufrimiento. Al ver las noticias, caminar por las calles o simplemente al conversar con personas a nuestro alrededor es fácil darse cuenta que muchas personas están sufriendo por diferentes circunstancias. La tendencia natural y tristemente común incluso en muchos de aquellos que se dicen cristianos es juzgar a los demás y asumir que sus circunstancias negativas son consecuencia de sus malas decisiones. Es fácil amar a los que nos aman y preocuparnos por aquellos que son cercanos a nosotros, pero una marca central de Jesús y sus seguidores debe ser amar y tener compasión por todos sin importar quienes son o qué han hecho ...

  • Sean McDowell — 

    I recently received a book in the mail called Everyone Loves Sex: So Why Wait? by Bryan Sands. Given that my father launched the “Why Wait” sexual purity movement in the 1980s, when I was in my early teen years, I was curious to see what approach Sands would take. And I was pleasantly surprised! His book is balanced, biblical, hopeful, and grace-filled. In fact, when young people ask me for a book on sexual purity, this is going to be one of the first books I will recommend. After thirteen years as a local pastor, Bryan has served as the Director of Campus Ministries at Hope International University in Fullerton, CA since 2011. He is also a public speaker who encourages students across the country. You can find out about his book at www.EveryoneLovesSex.org. I recently caught up with Bryan and asked him a few questions. Enjoy! ...

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Dr. Matt Williams (Professor of Biblical & Theological Studies) recently released a new DVD Bible study series titled The Forgiveness of Jesus (a DVD Bible study, in the Deeper Connections series). We were able to catch up with Dr. Williams to learn more about this exciting series ...