Guaranteed Pure by Timothy Gloege

UnknownI just received notice of the publication of Timothy Gloege’s, Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism (The University of North Carolina Press). Here is the publisher’s description:

American evangelicalism has long walked hand in hand with modern consumer capitalism. Timothy Gloege shows us why, through an engaging story about God and big business at the Moody Bible Institute. Founded in Chicago by shoe-salesman-turned-revivalist Dwight Lyman Moody in 1889, the institute became a center of fundamentalism under the guidance of the innovative promoter and president of Quaker Oats, Henry Crowell. Gloege explores the framework for understanding humanity shared by these business and evangelical leaders, whose perspectives clearly differed from those underlying modern scientific theories. At the core of their “corporate evangelical” framework was a modern individualism understood primarily in terms of economic relations.

Conservative evangelicalism and modern business grew symbiotically, transforming the ways that Americans worshipped, worked, and consumed. Gilded Age evangelicals initially understood themselves primarily as new “Christian workers”–employees of God guided by their divine contract, the Bible. But when these ideas were put to revolutionary ends by Populists, corporate evangelicals reimagined themselves as savvy religious consumers and reformulated their beliefs. Their consumer-oriented “orthodoxy” displaced traditional creeds and undermined denominational authority, forever altering the American religious landscape. Guaranteed pure of both liberal theology and Populist excesses, this was a new form of old-time religion not simply compatible with modern consumer capitalism but uniquely dependent on it.

I would love to read this work while I am enjoying an American Church History class at my church on Sundays. However, it will have to go into the summer reading pile.

Todd Wilson on Rights

“If we are going to faithfully follow Jesus we are going to have to become increasingly comfortable with releasing rights for the cause of Christ.”  – Todd Wilson, “Giving Up Rights to Gain Rewards,” on 1 Corinthians 9, April 19, 2015.

In this morning’s sermon, Todd mentioned reconsidering (my term) the absolute rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. I think Christians give up the right to rights when you say “Yes” to Jesus’ summons to salvation. As Todd asked, “What if Jesus had demanded rights?”

All “rights,” as “claims on other people to treat you a certain way” (Wilson), are not germane to humanity or necessary for a peaceful society. A Christian ought to be wiling to sacrifice any legal right for the sake of the Gospel.

Thank you, Kevin DeYoung, for speaking clearly, courageously, truthfully, and boldly on homosexuality

Unknown@RevKevDeYoung

If you have not picked up a copy of Kevin DeYoung’s, What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? (Crossway), you should pick up a copy immediately. Kevin, in as simple, sensitive, and nice terms as possible, lovingly dismantles pro-homosexual arguments and rhetoric that make up our current common attempts at moral discourse. Especially significant is his chapter, “What About Gluttony and Divorce?” Before you allow someone to attempt to silence your efforts to label homosexual behavior “sin” by suggesting that believers ignore other sins, read this chapter.

Thank you, Kevin, once again, for giving us a tool to help us speak Christianly and intelligently both inside and outside of he church.

New Book by MBI Student: Cora Perdió su Maní

71WgxHMt3lLI am excited for my undergraduate MBI student, Casey Zoppa, on the release of her co-written, bilingual children’s story, Cora and the Lost Peanut: Cora Perdió su Maní (CreateSpace). Casey served as a storywriter and as the illustrator. The book began as an extra credit project. I hope you will support Casey and her team by purchasing copies of the book.

Congratulations Casey!

I look forward to many other works to come from your pen and crayons!

Baptist Press Article: Baptist College “Ground Zero” in Gay Marriage Debate

Originally posted on Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.:

Bapt. college ‘ground zero’ in gay marriage debate

by David Roach, posted Wednesday, March 18, 2015

“For reasons only known in the heavenly realms, American Baptist College has” become “ground zero for this battle over same-sex marriage in the Baptist church,” Dwight McKissic, co-coordinator of the National Baptist Fellowship of Concerned Pastors, said at a March 17 press conference in Nashville.

The fellowship is a coalition of pastors who minister at congregations in cooperation with the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., America’s largest predominantly African American Baptist denomination.

Other pastors present at the press conference alongside McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone…

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A DEFINING MOMENT FOR THE NATION AND THE NATIONAL BAPTIST CONVENTION

Originally posted on Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.:

A DEFINING MOMENT FOR THE NATION AND THE NATIONAL BAPTIST CONVENTION

Ten Reasons Why American Baptist College President Forrest Harris Should Rescind Lesbian Bishop Yvette Flunder’s, Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Invitation

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Discussions, deliberations and decisions, regarding the legality and morality of same-sex marriage—have wound their way through courts of justice, halls of Congress, city councils and county governments, local school districts, voting booths and the office of the President of the United States. These discussions have been a part of American families’ table talks for many, many years, because many American families are impacted personally by an immediate or extended family member who is engaged in a same-sex relationship, or contemplating and evaluating their sexual identity.

The Supreme Court of the United States of America is scheduled to debate the legal fate of same-sex marriage in the United States on April 28 (http://www.wsj.com/articles/supreme-court-to-hear-same-sex-marriage-arguments-on-april-28-1425573877).  They are likely to…

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From Lisa Robinson: On Loving the Body…even when we think it doesn’t look right

I am re-pressing this WordPress post by Lisa Robinson: On Loving the Body…even when we think it doesn’t look right.

At the end of 6 1/2 years of seminary in Dallas, I can tell you that I look a bit different than when I started.  I put on quite a bit of weight, more than I am comfortable with. There are certain parts that just flat out embarrass me, which is why I try to take pictures from certain angles. These are the parts that have really been impacted by the weight gain, like my middle section. I hate what it looks like and long to be back to a certain weight. I want my body to look a certain way, at a certain size and it just doesn’t.

megachurch_2Well, if you are a Christian and reading this I think you know where I’m going with this analogy. If you are committed to a particular church model/structure/paradigm, we might find that there are those practices that are out of step with Scriptural faithfulness. When I consider my very eclectic doctrinal journey through varying church paradigms, I confess to having a two-fold reaction. On one hand, I cringe at some of the stuff I’ve been exposed to and foundation for abusive tendencies. On the other hand, through that journey, I’ve been privileged with the example of so many who sincerely love the Lord and want the best for His church, even if I thought the methods were not supported by Scripture.

I came across this post a while back, What if a Presbyterian minister gave a good, old-fashioned altar call? Now that I am in a Presbyterian church, I can’t imagine this ever happening. Just mentioning altar calls (and other forms of experientially oriented “worship” tactics) reminds me of the many years of emotional manipulation I observed. But I was sobered by the balance of the article;

Therefore Reformed friends, take it easy on our Christian brothers who call people to Christ after their prefered traditional manner. Cut them some slack and quit throwing the “Regulative Principle” in their face. Joshua called people to “choose this day whom they would serve.” Jeremiah called people to “circumcise themselves.” John the Baptist called people out into the wilderness to be baptized afresh. And Jesus commanded people to publicly and boldly proclaim their faith before men. Sure, any religious rite, ritual or traditional can become emotionally based, man-centered, and manipulative, but this does not necessary mean all are wrong in their practice because some are wrong. God has done some very good work through altar calls andinvitations given by his ministers in his evangelical church.

And now a word to my Non-Reformed friends. Come on, take it easy on your Christian brothers who call people to Christ after their traditional manner. I am fairly sure Jeremiah did not have a wooden pulpit and an altar/platform with steps. I am fairly sure he did not ask individuals to raise their hands or throw a stick in the fire. And I am absolutely sure they did not sing, “All to Jesus I Surrender” fourteen times. Jeremiah was not influenced by Charles Finney, and therefore he was comfortable calling people to repent according to his own cultural manner. So my fundamentalist and broadly evangelical friends, please do not consider your Christian brothers to be worldly compromisers who care not about calling people to Christ simply because they issue forth God’s call in a different manner than you and your tradition prefer.

What a unifying message! Not because he’s saying that church practice and liturgy does not matter, but because he recognizes the core message is turning to Christ. Even if the altar call can be manipulative, it still serves a purpose for those who genuinely experience regeneration and truly repent. Sure it might produce some false conversions, but more importantly, for those who genuinely experience regeneration, their steps to the altar reinforce this conversion.

I confess, I’m quite quick to get on my soapbox about the benefits and faithfulness of Presbyterian worship as I wrote about in Refreshment for the Soul. It is mainly born out of a desire for Christians to experience worship that I believe truly invokes rest in Christ and provokes love of God and neighbor. But I also realize I am not alone in my commitment to what I think is faithful ecclesiology born out of convictions from the study of Scripture and church history.

church stage_emptyBut at the same time, given the increasing number of Christians who have been so worn out from bad church experiences that they want nothing to do with it, that there is some kind of commitment to corporate worship should be applauded and encouraged even if it promotes a model we don’t agree with. Sure they may be participating in a paradigm that we don’t think is the most faithful to Scripture, but given the reality of increasing abandonment of any type of church structure, I fear that too much “bashing” will just reinforce the disinterest and work against the church that Christ said he is building.

I also grieve at the insistence that those who adhere to a particular paradigm must ALL be like X, as if faithful, pastoral types are exclusive only to their own model. I particularly find this true with those who reject any kind of institutionalism or hierarchy citing abuse and manipulation in the structure. So any leader from that model must be the same and people are not really getting shepherded. On the flip side, you have adherents of higher church models dismissing home church gatherings as those who aren’t serious about Christ or his church. While we may maintain that our own model is faithful to Scripture, where do we get to judge that those who participate in other models must not be taking their shepherding role serious? We don’t and we shouldn’t.

The bottom line is that Jesus said HE will build the church. If our eyes are on him we may be able to relax them when they land on others.