Category Archives: Church

THE REFORMATION WE NEED

by Carl R. Trueman (First Things)

Numerous times over the last few years I have heard both Roman Catholics and Protestants express a desire for a new Reformation. For traditional Catholics, Francis’s papacy has brought a chilly realism to bear upon the legacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Moreover, the ongoing and ever-intensifying abuse scandal has yet to have its full impact upon the Church of Rome—both in terms of institutional confidence and public image. Among orthodox Protestants, divisions on social justice issues and debates over the Trump presidency are driving erstwhile allies apart even as denominational numbers stagnate or decline. Continue reading

ISRAEL FULFILLED IN THE CHURCH

PMW 2018-060 by R. T. France

Gentry introductory note:
In my last blog posting I presented several chapters from R. T. France’s important book, Jesus and the Old Testament. That posting dealt with the transitional function of Mark 13:32 and Matt. 24:36, showing Jesus shifting his focus on the destruction of the temple in “this generation” to the final judgment on “that day.”

In this posting post material appearing just a few pages later, showing that the Christian church typologically fulfills the hope of Israel. These few observation provide us with a wealth of understanding of the relationship of the Church to Israel.

The following is taken from p. 238 of France’s, Jesus and the Old Testament.

So without further comment, here is R. T. France on Mark 13:27/Matt. 24:31:

Continue reading

CHRISTIANITY IN AMERICA IS NOT DYING!

PMW 2018-021 by Lita Cosner (Creation Ministries, Intl.)

Gentry note: In 1897 Mark Twain was reported to have died, to which he supposedly responded: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” This response can be applied to the claim that Christianity in America is dead. Lita Cosner’s article makes some encouraging observations for us in this regard.

Lita Cosner article:

We’re used to hearing that religion is dying in America, secularization is inevitable, and that young people are leaving the faith in droves. But a new Harvard research study has great news for Christians. Previous research typically focuses on the massive increase in the proportion of people who claim atheism or ‘no religion’. But these reports generally don’t address where the decline is happening. This new research demonstrates that the decline is in ‘moderate’ religion. So it turns out that ‘religion’ isn’t dying, but the differentiation between believer and unbeliever is becoming clearer. Continue reading

CONSERVATIVE CHURCHES ARE GROWING

PMT 2017-039 by Kate Shellnutt (Christianity Today)

Amid the decades-long decline in mainline Protestantism in North America, researchers in Canada recently found an “elusive sample” of congregations whose growth has bucked the trend.

The key characteristic these exceptional Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and United churches had in common? Evangelical theology.

With fewer evangelicals and more secular surroundings than their brethren in the United States, Canada’s mainline denominations collectively lost half of their members over the past 50 years. Continue reading

CHINA’S REMARKABLE RELIGIOUS RESURGENCE

Interview of Ian Johnson by Rob Moll (Christianity Today)

Under Mao Zedong’s dictatorship, Christianity, Buddhism, and Taoism suffered persecution and near-extinction. In recent decades, however, they have each made an astounding comeback. In The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao, Ian Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who has covered China for The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, and other publications, offers an intimate look at this remarkable recovery. CT editor at large Rob Moll spoke with Johnson about the reasons for spiritual ferment among the Chinese people.

What spurred your interest in China’s religious resurgence?

When I first went to China in the 1980s, I thought there was probably no religious belief at all. Continue reading

CHRISTIANS MUST ENGAGE THE CULTURAL WAR

PMT 2017-029 by Michael Brown (The Stream)

Whenever I hear Christian leaders talk about the inevitable collapse of the church of America (or elsewhere) I ask myself, “But hasn’t Jesus risen from the dead? Didn’t He ascend to the right hand of the Father? Hasn’t all authority in heaven and earth been given to Him? And aren’t we commanded to go and make disciples in His name and by His authority?”

If so, how then we can speak of any inevitable collapse of the church (or, specifically, of Christian society), regardless of how inevitable that collapse appears to human eyes? Continue reading

THE REFORMATION OF WORSHIP

PMT 2017-023 by Glen J. Clary (New Horizons)

Doctrine and worship are mutually formative aspects of church life. What we believe determines how we worship, and over time the way we worship shapes what we believe. Accordingly, the Protestant Reformation was an attempt to reform both doctrine and worship according to Scripture and with respect for the customs of the ancient church. Unlike the Lutheran wing of the Reformation—which was reluctant to introduce extensive changes in worship—the Calvinistic Reformers sought to purge the church of all man-made rites, ceremonies, and ordinances that had corrupted pure worship with superstition and idolatry. For Luther, the Reformation was chiefly a war against works righteousness. For the Calvinists, the Reformation was primarily a war against the idols of Rome. Continue reading