Several years ago, I had an honors class conduct a research project. We broke students into groups of four and sent them into churches of their own choosing in order to examine biblical content in worship services. All of the groups chose to attend services at large, contemporary churches, which are quite typical (in terms of worship culture) of christian churches across the country. Although I did not ask them to do this, the students took recording devices and produced complete transcripts of the services. Then, they produced reports describing both the quantity of scripture and the way that scripture was used...Read More
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, which offers Christians an opportunity to remember, give thanks, and celebrate the gifts of our incomprehensibly good God. But let us also remember that the season of Advent, a much more ancient tradition, begins this Sunday. I’ve just come across this very helpful video describing the Christian year – a classic means of grace and a wonderful way for Christians, young and old, to enter deeply into the biblical story with heart, soul, strength, and mind. Advent Blessings to...Read More
I’ve been thinking a great deal, in recent years, about expectations and the way that churches and other institutions play an enormous role in shaping them. Indeed, I worry that too many churches are promising too much and are therefore creating false, unrealistic, and even damaging expectations. What happens when every worship service has to be “powerful,” “moving,” and “entertaining,” every mission trip “life-changing,” and every sermon immediately “applicable?” How are Christians to develop classical virtues like perseverance, courage, and even faith when we are taught that the Holy Spirit should be identified, primarily, with exceptional experiences, great revivals,...Read More
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