Do You Conference Well?

Catalyst.   Drive.   Thrive.   Connect.   ARC.   T4G.   C3.   D6.   Orange.

Energy drinks? Herbal supplements? No these are the names of conferences, semi-randomly chosen from a very, very long list. Maybe it’s just another evidence of the aging process taking hold in my life, but it seems that the multiplication of Christian conferences is accelerating, and as I’ve watched this phenomenon grow over a number of years, I’ve often thought that we need a theology of conferencing to guide our participation. This article is an attempt to get us thinking in that direction.

Now, lest we get off on the wrong foot, let me begin by saying that conferences can be a good thing in the life of a pastor or layperson.… Continue reading

Don’t Give Up On Lent (pt. 2)

This is the second half of an article I wrote two years ago defending an evangelical practice of Lent. Yesterday I was prompted to post it here when a friend asked me for some feedback on our mutual friend Jesse’s attempt to steer fellow evangelicals away from Lenten observance. I count Jesse as a good friend and one of my favorite dialogue partners, although we don’t get to talk much anymore. This response is offered with the love and respect my brother has earned well over the years. You can catch up on part 1 here.

In this discussion of Lent I have attempted to answer some of the key objections evangelicals have raised as they observe other evangelicals observing Lent in some form or other.

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Don’t Give Up On Lent (pt. 1)

Yesterday my friend Jesse Johnson wrote an article suggesting that evangelicals stop trying to observe Lent. I, on the other hand, have come to appreciate the potential of Lent, and in 2015 I wrote a short series (for a now-defunct blog) defending an evangelical approach to the practice. We’ve decided to offer it in two parts here on PS23 for your consideration. Note that I wrote it in 2015, and I intentionally wrote it after Lent. Here is part 1:

Every February as Ash Wednesday approaches there is a surge of angst among some evangelicals: should we observe the season of Lent?

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Why Movie, When you can Spiritual?

“Why would we go to a movie when we could do something spiritual like pray, read our Bibles, evangelize, or serve the body?” Most of us have heard or used this logic before. I’ve heard (and used) other subjects instead of movies: television, video games, board games, sports, beverage choices, or any hobby. I certainly can remember using this line of reasoning too.

The Problem

The line of reasoning, on the surface, appears holy and god-exalting. I mean, when we really weigh reading Scripture and watching a movie, who would say a movie is godlier than Scripture? The problem often presents itself when this reasoning is used to denounce and judge a person for watching television, movies, or any other “fun” activity.… Continue reading

Accidental Hyper-Calvinists

One of the most common views of salvation in evangelicalism is an Arminian view of the place of God in initiating salvation in a person coupled with a non-Arminian understanding of God’s place in retaining salvation in that same person. In other words, under this view, God is not seen as the first mover in an individual’s faith in Christ, but he is relied upon to keep a person “once saved, always saved.”

The view that a person who is saved will always be saved is a biblical one. Scripture is filled with promises of God’s perfect hold on those who are believers in Christ (John 10:28-29).… Continue reading