Guest Views

CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

Posted 4/2/12 at 2:17 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Dear Pastor: From a Black Female Congregant

By Trillia Newbell

The topic of race and church life has been billowing about in the blogosphere. Maybe there is a renewed interest because of the release of John Piper's book Bloodlines and the subsequent features on Desiring God. Whatever it is, I'm thankful. I'm thankful that there seems to be an open dialogue about race particularly as it relates to black and whites worshiping together. With that said, I do believe after reading books, articles, and blog posts I find one element of the black experience missing-that is the black female experience.

My pastor kindly asked me to read and review Bloodlines for him. His interest wasn't merely in the book, rather he wanted to know how he could serve his congregants better, which I applaud and am most grateful for. Ever since reading Piper's book I have been thinking about my experience at my local church and in my Christian walk. I have always been one of the few black females in my church, though I will say there are a growing number of young college females. The purpose of this article is to outline some of the thoughts I have had that I haven't seen considered. I don't presume to speak for all reformed black females but I do think these issues need to be addressed or at the least looked at by white pastors. I am black, female and reformed which makes me a bit of a "rare breed". FULL POST

Posted 3/30/12 at 2:19 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Four Reasons I Came Back to Church

By Christian Piatt

I've written a couple of pieces lately that have gotten a lot of attention about why younger people tend to walk away from church. If you haven't seen them yet, here are the links:

Seven Reasons Why Young Adults Quit Church

Four More Big Reasons Why Young Adults Quit Church

It was suggested that I might also post a piece about why young adults come back to church. Though I can't say for sure why ALL young adults in church do so, I can share a few reasons why I, as a young adult, went back after ten years.

I Found a Community that Defied Christian Stereotypes: I left the church as a teenager on less than good terms. My youth leader threw a Bible at me for persisting with my questions, and the only image of Christianity I saw regularly in college was the guy in the student union standing on a box with a bullhorn, yelling at passersby about how we were doomed to hell without him.

Fortunately I found a new community in my late twenties that represented something different. We met on Sunday evenings, gathered in the round, wore whatever we wanted, and never once did I feel judged or scrutinized by the others in the group. I was welcomed for who I was, not what I could do or give, and I was included in gatherings outside the Sunday evening service as well. FULL POST

Posted 3/29/12 at 5:06 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Are Your Sermons Too Long?

By Denny Burk

Here's a bit of wisdom from the Prince of Preachers on sermon length:

Brethren, weigh your sermons. Do not retail them by the yard, but deal them out by the pound. Set no store by the quantity of words which you utter, but strive to be esteemed for the quality of your matter. It is foolish to be lavish in words and niggardly in truth. -C.H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, p. 71

There is no intrinsic value in an overlong sermon. Nor is there anything to boast about that a congregation has become conditioned to endure them. What constitutes a long sermon is a relative term anyway, isn't it? In any case, a long-winded preacher is just as capable of wispy words as a short-winded one. Likewise, a short sermon is just as capable of filling a room with hot air as is a long one. Twenty minutes of gospel power would do far more for a congregation than forty minutes of gospel lite. Likewise, forty minutes of Biblical exhortation would hold the attention of God's people far more than twenty minutes of pointless patter.

Sometimes congregations expect preachers to keep it short, and those congregations need to be conditioned over time to allow longer expositions. But sometimes preachers value sermon length as an end in itself, and they may need to measure their sermons more by the pound than by the yard. FULL POST

Posted 3/29/12 at 2:49 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Four More Big Reasons Young Adults Quit Church

By Christian Piatt

There has been a surprisingly positive response to the article I published yesterday called "Seven Reasons Why Young Adults Quit Church." And as I noted, it was hardly a comprehensive list. There were several others I thought were worth noting if I'd had the room, so I thought I'd continue with the same theme today.

And as I said in yesterday's article:

  • Although the answer(s) vary from person to person, there are some general trends that I think apply in most cases, and;
  • In the list below, when I refer to "we," "I" or "me," I'm referring to younger adults in general, and not necessarily myself.

We Don't Want to Be "Talked At" Any More: There's a very strong case that can be made for the value of sermons. Jesus did it. There are times when someone in a position of expertise has something they need to share with a group, and the best way to do it is didactically. But what if people stop listening?I asked a friend of mine, who is a minister, if he was planning to attend an upcoming conference. He said no, not because the content was off-base, but because he said he couldn't tolerate more passive learning environments where he sat back and was a receptacle for more information. FULL POST

Posted 3/29/12 at 2:17 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Trayvon Martin and Loving the Truth

The email contained a photo of what appeared to be archaeologists standing around a massive, partially unearthed human skeleton whose skull was the size of a small car. The story, which had been forwarded to me from a Christian I sincerely admire, insinuated that this "discovery" was evidence of ancient giants referred to in Genesis as the Nephilim. Why news of such a monumental and sensational find hadn't broadcast worldwide was one of a number of questions that evoked my suspicion. It took little time and effort to find that indeed the photo was a hoax, though I must admit, an impressive one.

The ubiquity of such Christianized urban legends makes me wonder how much we, who claim that truth matters, really care about truth. I'm confident that the brother who sent that email had no intention of propagating what he knew was false. His lack of discernment was generated by his desire to bolster the faith of fellow believers and commend the faith to those who need Christ. We tend to relax our critical powers when assessing what appears to confirm the narratives to which we're deeply committed.

February's tragic killing of Trayvon Martin and the events that have ensued, have me asking once again, "How much do we really care about truth?" Actually, it's more a question of how much I really care about truth. This essay would have been very different had I written it even a week ago. Based on what I knew or thought I knew then, I engaged in a passionate exchange with a friend, incredulous that he couldn't see the clear racial motivation behind Trayvon's killing and the Sanford Police Department's handling of the case. FULL POST

Posted 3/28/12 at 5:36 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

10 principles to leading young pastors

By Ben Reed

I serve on staff with a team of young pastors. I love the guys and girls I get to do ministry with.

Our lead pastors (Ron Edmondson and Chad Rowland) know how to lead younger pastors unbelievably well. In fact, one of our pastors, Ron Edmondson, wrote a post yesterday on raising up young leaders that articulates some of the practices he uses with guys like me.

I know there are some pastors wondering, “How do I lead younger pastors?” I also know there are some younger guys frustrated because their pastor has no clue how to lead them well.

Here are some important principles I think will help older leaders to guide us young guys well.

Things to stop

Quit telling us what to do.

Nobody wants to be micromanaged. Especially high calibre leaders. The more you direct our every step, the more we’ll balk at your leadership. Lead us by doing hard, creative, meaningful work with character. Instead of telling us what to do, do the work and invite us into the process of planning, dreaming, and scheming you go through. FULL POST

Posted 3/28/12 at 4:07 PM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Make Those Who Apologize Apologize for Apologizing

Commentary by Rev. Austin Miles

Who else is sick and tired of seeing and hearing someone make a comment and then apologize for making it? The continual cacophony of whimpering non-ending apologies, diluted with a mixture of dribble, scribble and gnashing of teeth, can scrape the nerves of even the strongest of the species. Especially when almost everybody in America, it seems, is making sniveling apologies to the world for saying something that someone doesn't like.

One cannot even make a disparaging comment about our enemies without flack. We must speak kindly of them don't you know. Perverting this issue even further, Obama apologized to Muslim leaders for "the arrogance of America," after making a deep waist-bow to them, demonstrating submission of not only himself, but the country he supposedly represents. Obama did NOT apologize to America for apologizing to Muslim leaders for America being America.

It should not be considered verbal suicide to offer an opinion on these shores. The last time I looked, this is still The United States of America. It is time for a new movement: make those who apologize, apologize for apologizing. Now THAT would be constructive. FULL POST

Posted 3/28/12 at 11:57 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

What to Expect at Supreme Court on Obamacare This Week

By Ken Klukowski

This week, the Supreme Court will hear a case likely to shape our destiny as a nation when it considers whether parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act-called the ACA in legal circles and Obamacare to the rest of the country-are unconstitutional. The case, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, showcases an unprecedented coalition. Twenty-six states are suing the federal government over the constitutionality of a federal law, the first time a majority of the states of the Union have joined together to take the national government to court. These states are joined by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), as well as several NFIB members who are self-insured business owners who object to purchasing insurance that they do not need.

The justices will consider four issues in this historic case.The first is an esoteric debate on whether the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) does not allow federal courts to decide the constitutionality of Obamacare's individual mandate until 2015. The AIA does not apply to Obamacare, for several complex and arcane reasons that will make your eyes glaze over if you're not a lawyer. But the Court wisely ordered the issue explored, thereby foreclosing any jurisdictional doubts that could cast a cloud of illegitimacy on what will be an extraordinarily consequential ruling. FULL POST

Posted 3/28/12 at 11:39 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Are You Equipped to Respond to the Prosperity Gospel?

By Trevin Wax

I recall a class discussion in seminary about the prosperity gospel and its popularity in North American churches today. The conversation jumped from Benny Hinn to TBN to Joyce Meyer in just a couple of minutes. The class consensus was that hardcore prosperity teachings were so “out there” that they would easily be dismissed by the church members we would be serving. Our professor pushed back: “You’d be surprised at how much prosperity-tainted teaching is in conservative churches.” He was right.


Posted 3/28/12 at 11:29 AM | Christian Post Guest Voices

Nothing is Wasted with God

By Michael Kelley

God, in a sense, is a miser.

Not the sense in that He is cheap with giving good gifts to His children. We know that God has held nothing back from us in Christ, for if He gave up His Son for us, how would He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things (Rom. 8:32)? And we know that in the gospel, God has already given the Christian every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3).

No, not in that sense. In the sense of experiences. God is an experience miser, for nothing is wasted with God.

We don't typically think that way. We have seasons of life that feel like a waste. We resonate with the children of Israel, wandering around in the desert for day after day, not sure where we're going professionally, spiritually or relationally. From our perspective, it seems like an arduous, long, gigantic waste of time.

But it's not. Nothing is wasted with God.

As a case study, I hold up to you two men mentioned only a couple of times in Scripture: Bezalel and Oholiab. These are the guys who God Himself assigned to take the lead in the construction of the tabernacle – the movable structure that would house the Spirit of God.

Yeah, it's a pretty important job. FULL POST

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