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Gratefully in Christ, Elyce. Thanks for the time and deep thought you put into writing this. By the very fact that you gave it such, I can tell this is something that you are deeply passionate about. As a fellow millennial, I would like to respond to a few of your points. The church is not a perfect place, and while I agree that we should be continually measuring the traditions which have snuck into the Body over the past couple thousand of years, for many of your points, I feel as though you see brokenness and thus are trying to throw the baby out with the bath water.

These new solutions will yet be broken and will yet fall short of capturing the beauty of the gospel. For instance, I believed it to be actually quite important that our churches create clear visions and mission statments. We live in a world that is becoming more and more subjective, more than ever we need solid ground to guide our churches as we manuever this changing culture. Also, with preaching, our generation is becoming more and more biblically illiterate. Otherwise we will continue to malnourish off of mere milk. I believe us to be a passionate generation that wants to see action and authenticity and I love these traits about us.

However, we also have to recognize our weaknesses and learn to live outside of our comfort zones. If we truly say we love Jesus, then we pick up our cross and we follow him, even down the path of giving our time and resources to a messy conglomeration of people that come from completely different backgrounds and generations. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, friend. Know that I only respond because I think your words have power, and with that, we all need to be held accountable.

I am writing this as a boomer father of two millennial children who have left the church. Fortunately, I have a very good relationship with both of them. Thus, I am very hopeful and praying that they both return to Jesus. That said, I can relate to much of what you are saying in this blog and would love to have a dialog with you on this subject. I care very much what happens to the millennial generation and I realize that although no one is perfect, that it is incumbent on my generation to make the first move towards reconciliation.

About 10 years ago while traveling on tour with an evangelistic pantomime drama team I came to speak at a large youth gathering. As an actor on stage I try to take on the characteristics of the character I am portraying. Understandably, some roles are easier for me to portray than others. The roles where in real life I have nothing in common with the character on stage are the most difficult and least liked. Still we live in a sinful world and some of the characters portrayed are evil that someone has to play. All during this tour I was called upon to portray dark characters, among them an abusive father and a solicitor of a young runaway.

Needless to say I struggled with these characters. In my prayer time I asked God why I was called upon to play these roles. One night the answer came to me load and clear. I was to stand in the gap representing my generation to the millennial generation. I went on to ask them to forgive my generation for our sins. I also asked the youth leaders in the room to stand if they wanted to stand with me. I then encouraged the youth to look to those leaders as persons who loved them and cared about them.

This was a very high moment in my life that unfortunately over time I had forgot. I do not know what shape or form such a ministry will take now but I thank you for the reminder. Sam, Thank you so much for your article. I appreciate the points to pondering and the answers you provide.

She is on a journey seeking a living vibrant church. Part of the answer, as you stated, is the generations need to run together. But I really like the point that you made about church leadership needing to listen to the younger ones. We also need to do the stuff that we have been redeemed for. Thanks again for your words. They are important. Thank you, Rosemary! Bless you. How would you define it?

You tried to make a point with a broad sweep of the brush. It does not work that way. It has more ideas about how we can come together in unity. Of course, this was an over-generalization to make a point, but I explain further there. I would love to hear more of your thoughts around unity. In all seriousness though, this is a great read and I think you really hit the nail on the head.

My husband and I attend a small church where we are 2 of only 4 people under 30 aside from children and although it is a very loving and inclusive church, there are many things that could be improved to better attract our generation. I agree with many other commenters that many of these issues are not just affecting millenials, but church goers of all ages. Thank you for your honesty, and I hope this article can go a long way in improving the church moving forward. Hi Marissa! I KNOW. Yes, we should feed those in need, reach out to communities, be willing to serve, but if we have done that and not spoken the salvation which only comes through Christ,we have missed our goal and they have lost eternity.

Many for lack of understanding the awesomeness of Christ and many for having no apologetic background, thus falling prey to the things of this world or the devices of men, such as professors. Other than that I agree with your writing. Good article Sam. I am a 62 year old grandma. You have some good points. Let me share that I came to Christ at 23 years of age. At 30, my husband and I started attending a church and were there 23 years. We were mostly 30 somethings. We had 1 or 2 older people in the church.

So we had to learn as we went. I so longed to have someone teach me, an older woman, how to do this life. We made a lot of mistakes. I think each new generation has the same thoughts and questions and solutions that you have expressed. As I age, I realize that nothing lasts but that which is done for Christ. And we each just have to learn to love the Lord God with all our hearts, to love others as He has loved us, to spread the gospel. The results are left to God. He also told us the way is narrow, and there are few that find it. They want to tell you all they know.

But thanks for your great post, for letting me share too. May Chris draw us all closers to Him and each other. I get it. And there are churches working at it. My question…. And what are millennials willing to do to help make that vision happen?

Why Young Men are Leaving Evangelicalism

Hi Sam — great article! I came of age — professionally and personally — in the post Reagan years, which was similar to today in that my generation felt some of the same disillusionment. A not THE conclusion I come to is that there is a real disconnect between all generations in communicating. And the sad part is, neither side is listening. How can we change that? Because the truth is, no generation gets to remake the world into what it wants because it will always be sharing it with the generation in front of them and the one behind them.

We all want to be heard, and to feel respected. That starts with listening. You are very good at action planning. I would love to hear your thoughts on how we convince all sides to listen as well as talk, and to understand that we move forward through compromise with one another. Something our country and world would do well to understand. As for church, there are many of us older folks who want to see more mission and outreach work, but still feel comforted by traditional elements of church worship.

As for your suggestions on mentoring, I love them. But to mentor someone, they must be open and able to listen. So… my challenge: how do we get all sides to listen first and talk second? Thank you so very much for this article!! I cannot tell how how blessed I am by it. Late last year I started feeling like something was wrong or missing in my church and as I looked around I saw the HUGE need for us to reach out to the millennials in my church and our community.

To say that I am nervous and overwhelmed is an understatement but, I know this is a need and I want to step into it. I just got done reading your article literally, just now and feel a little more excited than nervous because a lot of what you talked about was what was in my heart it felt like confirmation. So this 42 yr. Again, thank you Sam for speaking truth, some of us really needed to hear it. Have you read some of his other posts? He is simply giving the point of view of many people in his generation.

It is better to respond to what is posted rather than attaching an assumed motive to what is posted. Ask questions or post a response, but please try to do so without judgement. As Christians, we should be setting an example for civil interactions when engaging in debate. You make some great points and the biblical references are clear. I see a list of changes that many churches need to make.

I have one question for you. This is a list of things that young adults want done for them. What are you prepared to do to help make those changes happen? Action produces action. I am gratful that you spoke up and spoke the truth. What is your next step? This is a little long, but worth reading.

I agree that the church does need to listen to millennials more, but older people are cautious about putting young adults under 30 in leadership positions based on experience. The truth is that people under 30 are less likely to be solidly committed in their faith. Older people feel disrespected by your generation as well. Many in your generation much like the boomers when they were young seem to have little respect for experience. Yes the world you were born into is messed up, but it has always been messed up.

It is simply that we have already considered and dismissed ideas that you may assume are new or original to you. We have previously made some of the mistakes that you are making now. If you want to be listened to as young people, than ask for advice from more mature believers. It shows that you respect our experience. The purpose of the institutional church is supposed to be to prepare, equip, and support believers so that they can carry out their God given purposes.

Each of us has different gifts. Most are called into direct service in the community but some are intended to be teachers, pastors spiritual guides , and prophets see Romans 12, 1 Corinthians Having said that, there has long been a problem with churches that focus so much on teaching and defining the mission that they never actually get to carrying out that mission.

Both are needed if we are to fulfill the mission. It is absolutely true that we need to be doing more to serve the poor. Somewhere in there the church has lost that focus. The church had it once. Boy scouts and girl scouts, the Y, and alcoholics anonymous were all started by churches or Christian groups. I too am tired of the culture being blamed, yet I sometimes find myself blaming it anyway. The truth is that most of us who are older have watched things go from bad to worse. Especially in terms of how people treat each other, especially on the internet.

It is frustrating and we sometimes express those frustrations in church. This problem kept me out of church for about 13 years. However, I found that eventually I needed to rejoin a church in order continue growing in my faith. I was only able to go it alone for so long. I totally agree with this. I think non-profits and government organizations should be required to do the same.

I agree that mentoring is for the most part more effective than lectures. While a sermon might be the best solution at times. I would love to see church services focused more on prayer and meeting the needs of those in the church congregation. While I agree that we should be serving our neighbors, we actually should be less concerned about public perceptions. The church is called to do what God has called us to regardless of the affect on public perceptions.

The times when the church has been the most counter-cultural is when it has been most effective. There may have been fewer butts in the seats, but the church actually functions more effectively with fewer false believers in the pews. The era of Christiandom from the 5th through the 17th centuries in europe were actually pretty bad because the either the church ran the government or the government ran the church and sometimes a combination of both.

That was the reason the US founding fathers put the 1st amendment in the constitution. Every generation has gone through the same thing when they are young. There always have been and always will be older people who complain about the younger generations. This is probably a battle best left alone. Despite what you may have heard, respect is actually an entitlement, though that entitlement is not actually recognized. There is the baseline respect that is due every human being simply because they are human. There is also a level of respect due to position usually of authority or experience which usually translates into older age.

The third type of respect is respect due to honor. Honor is earned. You can earn honor by acting with humility: be willing to start at the bottom and seek out and follow the advice of those with more experience even if you think you are capable of more or know better. God will see it regardless and in the end his opinion is the only one that matters.


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This includes responding to those who disagree with you as well as agree with you in comments on your blog. One of the lessons I have learned is that following God is not about me or any other human being. It is about following a path that God has laid out for me. I go to church because Jesus warned about neglecting to gather with other believers. If you feel that God may be leading you elsewhere then try another congregation or talk to some mature believers you know to see if any of them are being called to plant a new one which is more mission oriented.

Just make sure that you are acting under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and not on your own intuition. How hungry they were for hearing the word of God preached, if even it was a letter circulating through the church! Mentors and friends are great! But will they really preach and exhort you?

Evangelical Identity and Gendered Family Life

Dig under your skin sometimes? Will the mentor have the spiritual gift of preaching in a way that gives you focused descriptions of Scriptures and explain the meanings and implications of the text? Not that many friends and mentors have the gift of exhortation and expositing the Word like preachers do. To neglect something cherished and valued by faithful Christians for generations upon generations in favor of a mentor or friend seems very short-sighted and self-indulgent.

Blessings to you and your ministry. I think you misunderstood that point. I am saying we have access to more preaching than any generation that has ever lived. Which is awesome! I listen to sermons all the time on the Sermons on the Go app. Thanks for your reply. I think I understand what you are saying. I listen to podcasts, too, and really enjoy them.

He builds us up as a body, together. Listening to podcasts and video sermons, etc. But, I totally agree that outside of corporate worship, we need to build our community and faith through small groups and mentoring, which is what, I believe, you are saying. The corporate worship including the preaching is the foundation to the community and the deeper relationships we all crave. I was looking for something to describe my mixed feelings and this is exactly it!

So many of these rang true for me. I was ultra involved in the church up though high school. Most of my non-academic life in college was Christian related activities. Then after college it started to fade, until I was barely involved.

No one ever asked me. No one ever asks. The less often I attend, the less chance they have to ask. Especially when they move away from all things online my only reliable connection to church. I feel like the church is run by a secret group of people. Instead I tithe to charities that do the work I wish the church was doing. I will, of course, try. I would have you unbelievers repent and believe on the Son of God, God commands all of you to repent and believe on his Son, the one who shall judge the world, the one who is risen from death.

He told me that the one on trial Was guilty of blaspheming. How, I asked is this What is it he has done? And as I then beheld this man Who had been scourged and blamed I could not tell just what it was But, I felt so ashamed. For I could see within his eyes As he looked back at me, One who was a loving friend He was no enemy. And on the hill called Calvary Outside that city gate, They nailed him to his heavy stake Then they reviled with hate. I am 29 years old and I am one of the Elders of my church.

I would like to possibly have a chat with you and whoever else about why Millenials feel the way they do. My email is mcnarryd yahoo.

WHY WE ARE OPPOSED TO CONTEMPORA

Writer, readers: I have 5 children, 3 millenials, and involved in a range of ministries, have lived a lot of life, yada. There are a number of uber-trends emerging in this church-space. Here are some thoughts and patterns that have emerged:. They rail against true Christianity as if a demon railing against the creator, or, as if a child that is angry and disenfranchised that needs to lash out against a parent and now has a forum to do it.

The gaps in millenialism is not because of the faith, rather, it is due to self importance, a world system, driven by the Satan of old that has just found an ever changing deception that for the moment, is working. The eternal truths of God comment on this clearly in the scripture.

The author of lies is active and well and destroying millions. In the end, he still loses. We must return home. In the end, the elect will be in style…forever. Now, while there may be some truth in this research and some genuine intent from the writer, my challenge is to consider it carefully and examine it.

Where does an article like this and the movements like Steven Furtick leave us? As honestly and loving as I can tell you, something is unhealthy here. Come home. God has not moved or changed and never will. Look to the persecuted church around the world for a model of true faith and what it should look like.

Yes, the church of the west is failing and wayward. We know the answers. We have left our true love. View this post on Instagram. Sam is a writer, speaker, blogger and founder of Recklessly Alive—a suicide prevention ministry sprinting towards a world with zero deaths from suicide. Sam travels the country sharing his journey from suicide attempt towards abundant life and is passionate about helping everyone find a life that is fully and recklessly alive.

Currently residing in Minneapolis, MN, Sam is a little obsessed with Crossfit, teaching elementary school music, collecting vinyl records and trying every flavor of Oreos. Mayte September 29, at pm. Sam October 5, at am. Tawnya Kuhn December 6, at am. Andy Oldham December 26, at pm. Patricia Howitt December 27, at am. Gary Donley December 3, at pm. Dr Dave February 13, at pm.

Tony C September 29, at pm. Tony C October 6, at pm. Giselle September 30, at am. Bob McKenna September 30, at pm. Peter Kapsner October 2, at am. And if anybody has the learned zeal to help us embrace such a project — a transformed mind so we think as God wants, even about the issues of the day — again, Professor Keener can.

That is, over the course of the centuries, Bible scholars and publishers have increasingly added helps — all kinds of stuff to help us make the Bible easier to understand. His new-sounding understandings are, in fact alternatives to deficiencies. And in naming these oddball ways we mis understand and misread the Bible he is brilliant.

Blurbs on the back are long and rich themselves, by Walter Brueggemann and Mark Noll, who both commend it earnestly. This is deserving of being on any good list of the best books of the year. This is a book for nearly all citizens who want to get beyond the simple call to civility and to probe more deeply about how the structures of our society could enhance greater diversity, making room for faith-based differences even in how the government funds programming and more.

Insights from those who study civil society, the role of mediating structures and such will be glad for his appreciation of a multi-dimensional view of society. That is, society is more than just government and individuals and the questions for public philosophy need to be more than whether we want big government or small government. Yet, how do we get along when our fundamental vision of the meaning of government and the direction of social institutions are so very contested? This is a book celebrating this bold, American project — e pluribus unum. Yes, it has some political philosophy and some semi-scholarly studies of social structures and how to shore up faltering institutions.

But it also has lovely guidance about conflict, diversity, getting along with others — thriving, as he says, through deep differences. We are honored to name this as one of the most important books of As a matter of fact, I had considered trying my hand at doing this kind of a small group study, realizing the big hole in the market for Bible study on this topic. All Things New is an absolutely must-use, big-picture small group discussion guide that I believe will be transformative for many who use it. We have a lot of great small group Bible study books and discussion resources but there is simply nothing like this in print!

But where and in what place are we saved, and to what ends? This small group Bible study walks us quickly through this endlessly fascinating fuller, truer telling of the Bible story — from good creation through the disastrous distortions in every square inch of life caused by sin and idolatry to the blood bought salvation experienced by the death and resurrection of Jesus to how to live out the hope of the Kingdom coming, now and not yet.

There are many books about parish life and several that we sold well at church events written for leaders and pastors. This one, though, is by an author I really, really like, a man I esteem greatly, and has a rather unique formate which sets it apart as interesting and easy to read. And — believe me — readers get a lot for their investment here as there is tons of information, insight, inspiration in Ministry Mantras. It deserves to be touted as one of the very best books of the year and my pick for my favorite book in the area of congregational life and church leadership.

In a way it gets us to best practices, good stuff that makes a difference, but it gets there by way of these battle cries, heart sayings, ministry mantras. These are not cliches but truly insightful sayings that will stick with you and your team, you and your church.

We just cannot stop learning about how to worship well, what that means and could mean, and how to improve our liturgical practices. I hope this gets a wide readership. Greg Scheer is involved a bit in the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship which itself is legendary and greatly appreciated by folks across the theological and liturgical spectrum; he himself serves a liturgically, aesthetically and missionally aware CRC church in Grand Rapids and this book emerges from his decades of serving the gathered people of God.

He has worked in a Southern evangelical church, a mainline Presbyterian congregation, and this large, lively CRC parish. Highly recommended. And then there are books of prayers that are specifically designed to be used in public worship. Some are geared to the lectionary, others not. There are many such worship planning resources. Some, frankly, can be a bit stuffy while many these days are nearly flakey. To find eloquent and charm, clarity and theological substance in real prayers to be used in real services is quite an art and when we find one of this sort of substance and beauty we want to celebrate it loudly.

To get theologians and church leaders like Wells and Kocher working on this project and then to present their good, spirited words in such a handsome, slightly larger hardback, is a true gift. If you want more than their prayers for the Great Thanksgiving, you can see their thinking about prayer during worship called Shaping the Prayers of the People: The Art of Intercession which is very thoughtful. Thanks to Eerdmans for offering Eucharistic Prayers, a truly great liturgical resource volume, one of the best of its kind this year.

Earlier editions have sold over 1 million copies! The art and design of beautiful looking cookbooks these days is a joy to behold and when you combine this healthy, justice-oriented, simple-living vision with such a vivid, pleasing, design, and — most importantly — delicious recipes. Mary Karr has written another astonishingly perceptive, wildly entertaining, and profoundly honest book-funny, fascinating, necessary. The Art of Memoir will be the definitive book on reading and writing memoir for years to come.

Karr is a national treasure that rare genius who s also a brilliant teacher. This joyful celebration of memoir packs transcendent insights with trademark hilarity. Anyone yearning to write will be inspired, and anyone passionate to live an examined life will fall in love with language and literature all over again. It came out long before the election, but captured something brewing for years, now, coming to a head in this season — namely, that many good Christian folks are fearful that things are coming undone.

We are wondering about doctrine and the Bible and God and the future of our churches. Much of our anxiety revolves around the lack of civility in our civic discourse and the polarization that seems as bad as ever. What even is America a Christian country, or no? Who are we, what should we make of the political parties and our apparently deepening fractures?

Well, it would be silly to say that this book can put us at ease as it is obvious that we are in troubled times. It is, essentially, a caring pastoral letter offering guides to deeper faith even in our fearful times. He is, for what it is worth, an ecumenically minded rather centrist evangelical Baptist ethics prof who tilts to the progressive on most but not all social issues.

David Gushee is one of our most searching and important voices for public theology. He defies Christian stereotypes and divisions that have played a part in dividing America in so many other ways. And this book is a road map for discerningly, faithfully claiming the promise and redemption that are possible in this tumultuous national moment.

This would make a great primer for an adult ed class on book discussion group. Just a few months ago, Eerdmans re-issued an expanded and revised second edition of his magisterial, co-authored with the late Glen Stassen volume on Christian ethics called Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in a Contemporary Context. The Spirituality of Wine Gisela H. This great book looks at wine in the Bible, wine in religious customs, the abuse of alcohol, and, yes, offers lovely details of the growing of grapes, the making of wine, the world of wine tasting, marketing, selling, enjoying.

If you are a casual enjoyer or a serious connoisseur, you will love this thorough, serious work. This is a beautiful, wonderful book. This new one deserves an award if only for having such an audacious goal — to use the lens of trauma studies to get at the psychological hurt within the personalities of those who cooked up the dispensationalist theology that is, the uniquely US theology of reading the Bible in an odd and unique schema about being raptured away to heaven prior to an unleashing of an Armageddon with the anti-Christ.

I have never read a book like this although almost all of it was stuff I have heard, here and there, or in some cases have written myself. But the twist she gives, the pastoral insight coupled with clinical vignettes and psycho-spiritual biography around the topics of trauma, was fascinating to say the least.

Notice what practicing Christian psychotherapist James Olthius, Emeritus Professor of Philosophical Theology of the Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto and author of the amazingly rich The Beautiful Risk says of it and how his remarks point us to what it captures — it is both a historical study and a guide to deconstruct the dualism of modern evangelicalism that fails to be honest about hurt and pain and lament. A much-needed investigation of the relationship between Dispensational theology and the lives and times of its founding fathers. Their emphasis on the next life in heaven with a de-emphasis on present life in this world was a defensive strategy constructed to justify and excuse their diminishment of feelings and inattention to experienced trauma.

The real shame: the untold number of evangelicals who still fail to experience the joy and healing of their life in Christ because of continued inattention to suffered and unworked-through trauma. There is nearly a cottage industry these days writing books about those who are irritated at the church, those who no longer want to attend, or about those who have been hurt by religious shenanigans real and imagined.

What do we do when local church folks have hurt us — mildly so, or seriously so? What do we do when the Bride of Christ ends up like a manic bridezilla? I loved this book because it was both honest and yet a bit playful the authors are pretty cool young dudes and the cheeky title offers a hint at their style. They take the pain of those who have been hurt by toxic faith or abusive churches seriously but they also take the Biblical call to be in Christian fellowship seriously as well.

They are not emergent or progressive or whatever the latest term is for those who are re-imagining the church; that is, they are pretty traditional, pretty much loyal to the idea of the local church being an expression of the holy Bride of Christ and they invite us all to be committed to being a part of the local Body of Christ. Interestingly, both of these guys tell stories of being both wounded by the church and having wounded others in their own ministries.

It important stuff. Although there is also lots of wit on display and a bit of hip sarcasm. There are bunches of pop culture allusions, from a Rolling Stones joke in the epigram to a National Lampoon movie reference to what may be the only Iggie Pop quote in a Christian book, ever. You see, I just had to award this one. It is thick, wide-ranging, and remarkably well research and well-written.

There is history here, science, politics, all good background for the basic story this feisty reporter tells — the story of three Christian radicals who feel called to protest the making of nuclear bomb components throughout the country, but mostly at Oak Ridge Tennessee.

From Arkansas with Love: Evangelical Crisis Management and Southern (White) Gospel Music

If you have any interest in why people of faith do courageous and seemingly foolish things like getting arrested to make statements about faith and justice, this book will be illuminating. If you wonder how people come to the place where the dangers of nuclear holocaust consume them, and how they live with themselves facing decades of jail time, this study is brilliantly illuminating. If you need to be reminded of the grave moral threat that our weapons policies and budgets present to our culture and our souls, this book might be transformative for you.

In this year that Daniel died I read a remarkable collection of the prison letters written back and forth for half a lifetime by Dan and Phil. This book, though, is the best way to understand their legacy. Read it. Mitch the former engineer in the coal industry turned pastor turned creation-care activist is an old friend and Paul the weatherman and digital weather-tracking entrepreneur a new one, and together they hit a big home run, offering Biblical insight, good science, moderate political solutions and good ideas for individuals or churches to pursue in being the caretakers of creation we are called to be.

I love these guys and love this book! This book deserves to be better known, widely read, and seriously considered. Of the bunches of books on creation care that we shelved this year, this is the one we most want to honor as one of the most important books of You may recall that this book tells the story of Ruth Everhart being a student in the late s at Calvin College in Grand Rapids Michigan where she and her housemates were raped.

The story is told well, with enough pathos and tragedy to make it hard, at times how could it not but the criminal tragedy itself is not the only story being told. There are more academic ones, and we have them. This one, though, is practical and energetic. Happily, he is not unaware of the Biblical mandate to be agents of social transformation, seeking justice, being peacemakers, and working for racial reconciliation and the like.

Read it and get going! Creech is very good. There is a big one on the Ten Commandments offering ways to preach and teach and live by these texts within our contemporary setting. You get the picture, eh? And so it seemed a stroke of genius to recruit Walter Brueggemann to do this massive study of nearly every significant text in the whole Bible that deals with money and economics.

Although Walt is by training an Old Testament scholar and is passionate about the whole Bible, he has studied economics and social theory more than just about anybody I know including some who work in business and economics! He offers exegetical comment informed by the broad and wide church, naming what Church Fathers or people like Calvin or Luther or modern liberation theologians for that matter have said. For what it is worth it is hard not to honorably mention the other new, significant work released this year by Bruggemann, God , Neighbor, Empire: The Excess of Divine Fidelity and the Command of Common Good published in hardback by Baylor University Press.

As I said in our newsletter when I announced it earlier this fall, these were lectures given at Fuller Theological Seminary. Very, very impressive and certainly one of the great books of the year. Of course. The ground-breaking musical won the Pulitzer Prize for drama and this book gives readers an unprecedented view of both revolutions — the US one in which that the poor kid of the Caribbean fought against the British and this hip-hop once-in-a-generation theatrical piece that broadened the sound of Broadway.

This over-sized book tells the history of the show, features photos and excerpts of notebooks and emails, interviews with Questlove and Stephen Sonheim and over 40 other people involved in the production which has become a national phenomenon. We have only sold a few of these but what a blast showing it off and seeing the joy when customers realize we carry it.

This is a very important and truly handsome, fantastic volume that you will want to keep. This book not only invites folks to honor their own questions and doubts but, in fact, says it is an idol to pretend to have ultimate certitude. Good stuff, but perhaps supplement it with the more classic view of knowledge implicit in the Keller book below. Keller is probably their most esteemed alum and Pete is, well, their most notorious, having been fired there a few years back. This book is thoughtful, literate, serious, philosophically informed by winsome in its own way, inviting those who have an allergy to thinking about the plausibility of God to consider their skepticism and consider whether it is even sensible to think about God and religion as plausible.

Keller is always worth reading but maybe his firm apologetic could be soften by the more accommodating tone of Enns, above. It became a best seller for good reason — it is nicely written, creatively considered, lovely, a tiny bit edgy but utterly orthodox, despite what a few cranks said. Her two on Advent were devotional and handsome, too. This one, though, moves her prose to a deeper level as she offers a profound but not too heavy study of the brokenness we encounter, embracing our pain, moving into the realities of who we are as hurting people.

Christine Caine, naturally, raved. Her book about food — Bread and Wine — is a hugely popular book, one I adored. Niequist is a beautiful, contemporary writer, again, with a certain very honest, contemporary style, and she uses it to full effect here as she admits to being burned out, stressed, attempting to do too much, perhaps driven by an unhealthy perfectionism.

Brene Brown wrote the forward, which fits. It has changed my life. He now teaches religion and literature at Yale Divinity School. This is the first major compilation of selected poems and it seemed an obvious choice to honor this year. But what do we mean by that? Are we maybe too glib about that? How good are we at intuiting the ways of the Lord — even if we know our Bibles well?

Does faithful insight about daily living really matter and if so, how so? What does it look like and how can we deeper our formation in daily wisdom? These collected essays are fairly academic but there is no volume quite like this in print and some approach sheer brilliance.

Evangelist Billy Graham Has Died

Books like this are worth their weight in gold but sadly are often not given their due. Are we afraid to buckle down and study love? Do we not think that love is a way of life? This book should be better known among us. Does it not sing of Jesus Christ and grace and is it not lifted in praise of the living God?

How could something so popular and sincere be wrong? People have many misconceptions as to why someone would oppose CCM. Personally, I like new things better than old things in many cases. I stay at the cutting edge of technology, for example. But when it comes to my "religion," I do like it old for the simple fact that it is old. The newest part of my Bible and my Christian faith is 2, years old! Bible truth is not contemporary and it will never be considered cool by the world unless it is distorted. Thus I am committed to the old Bible and the old Paths that are taught therein.

It is by the old Standard that I must test every new thing. In this spirit, I have examined the contemporary music and the movement that it represents extensively and have prayerfully tested it with Scripture. Following are four of the reasons that we are opposed to it. Contemporary Christian Music is worldly music. Contemporary Christian Music is ecumenical music. Contemporary Christian Music is charismatic music. Contemporary Christian Music weakens the fundamentalist stance of a church. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" 1 John When Israel broke down the walls of separation and failed to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, the holy and the unholy, God judged them.

This is an apt description of the CCM philosophy. It puts no difference between the holy and the profane. All dress styles are holy; nothing is profane. God is the God of everything. Contemporary Christian Music openly and proudly uses any type music in the service of the Lord and refuses to separate from music that is openly used in the worship of the flesh and the devil.

What is worldly music? Worldly music is music that sounds like the music used by the world for sinful activities. John defined the world as "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" 1 Jn. Music that is characterized by these things is worldly music, and that is certainly true for blues, jazz, rock, rap, reggae, and other forms of modern dance music. This type of music has an intimate association with immorality, drunkenness, drug abuse, gambling, prostitution, and other evils, and it is impossible to disconnect the music from this association.

The chief component of the aforementioned types of music is the heavy back beat. It is called the anapestic beat. This is a poetic term that describes poetry using three syllables with the emphasis on the third -- da-da-DA, da-da-DA. In music, the anapestic or back beat emphasizes the off beat. This is in contrast with a "straight" or march beat, which has the emphasis on the first beat or on each beat equally -- one-two-three-four, one-two-three-four, or ONE-two-three-four, ONE-two-three-four. This backbeat is the chief characteristic of pop music. Consider these quotes: "I felt that if I could take a The rock musicians themselves describe their music as "sexy" and they claim that the sex lies in the heavy back beat.

It is a music which is basically sexual, unpuritan Chris Stein, lead guitarist for Blondie says, " Everyone takes it for granted that rock and roll is synonymous with sex " People , May 21, Rapper Luke Campbell of 2 Live Crew says, " The sex is definitely in the music, and sex is in all aspects in the music. It does disturbing things to your body. David Elkind, chairman of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study at Tufts University in Massachusetts, said: " There is a great deal of powerful, albeit subliminal, sexual stimulation implicit in both the rhythm and [the] lyrics of rock music " The Hurried Child , Reading, Mass.

Frank Zappa of the Mothers of Invention said, " Rock music is sex. Adam Ant says, " Pop music revolves around sexuality. Observe that most of these statements do not refer to rock music in general but to the rock back beat in particular. The sensual and sexy back beat has been the chief characteristic of worldly dance music since the beginning of the 20th century.

It characterized all of the streams of music that fed into rock, including ragtime, boogie woogie, jazz, honky tonk, and Caribbean. We agree with Dan Lucarini, former contemporary praise leader, when he says: "I am now convinced that God will not accept our worship when it is offered with music styles that are also used by pagans for their immoral practices. He is a jealous God.

It ought to sound different from the rock station, the easy listening station, the entertainment music. We can never portray the peace of the Lord with wild, discordant, violent sounds. We can never speak of the love of God with hateful music, the goodness of the Lord with bad music, the majesty of God with low class music, the power of God with puny music, the wisdom of God with stupid music, the holiness of God with unholy music.

We can never speak of godliness with ungodly music, of heavenly things with earthly, sensual and devilish music. And we can never speak of being a soldier if we use dance music" Alan Ives, "How to Tell the Difference between Good and Bad Music" A key biblical principle is that Christian music is to be spiritual or holy. The term "spiritual" has the same meaning as "sacred. There is no sense of separation, no sense of sacredness and holiness. There is much more that needs to be said about the worldliness of Contemporary Christian Music rhythms, but we have already done this in the DVD presentation "Distinguishing between Contemporary and Sacred Styles of Music.

This is available from Way of Life Literature. The worldliness of Contemporary Christian Music is also seen in that CCM musicians listen to every kind of secular rock music. They make no attempt to hide this fact and they have no shame for it. When asked in interviews about their musical influences and their favorite music, invariably they list a number of raunchy secular rock musicians.

The group often performs Beatles music. Cliff Young said one of his favorites is the foul-mouthed Alanis Morrisette. Rock star Edgar Winter was featured on the cover of this wicked album dressed as a homosexual "drag queen. Hendrix was a drug-crazed New Age occultist. Toward the end of their concerts dc Talk played the rock song "All Apologies" by the wicked secular rock group Nirvana, formerly led by Kurt Cobain, a drug-crazed young man who committed suicide. During their concerts, Jars of Clay has performed "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne, the filthy-mouthed former lead singer for the occultic rock group Black Sabbath.

Anyone familiar with the music and atmosphere at secular rock concerts should know that a Bible believer has no business there. If parents allow their young people to be influenced by the Contemporary Christian Music world or if they stay in a church that promotes Contemporary Christian Music, this is the type of worldly example they will have. Further, CCM musicians not only listen to and perform secular rock; they even use secular rock in worship to God. We have seen that contemporary Christian musicians love secular rock; they listen to it in their private lives and they perform it in their concerts and record it for their albums.

They even use secular rock in the worship of God. In a concert in Detroit, Michigan, lead singer David Lee Roth yelled out, "We are gathered in celebration of drugs, sex and rock and roll!!! During the Feb. The Beatles have been one of the most godless, wicked influences in modern society. It promotes the idea of being like the world to win the world. Briner suggests, for example, that Christians should have the goal of seeing our sons and daughters become the principle dancers in ballet companies instead of looking upon such things as wrong and immoral.

Briner says, "…instead of just hanging around the fringes of our culture, we need to be right smack dab in the middle of it…" It is obvious that the contemporary Christian musicians are "right smack dab in the middle" of modern culture. That is apparent in the way they dress. The women wear the same form-fitting, peek-a-boo styles that the unsaved wear.

The men have the same long hair or punked hair or tattoos or earrings or whatever that the unsaved have. Whatever look the world is promoting, that is the look that CCM follows. I have never heard a contemporary Christian musician warn about immodest or worldly dress in any sort of plain manner. If there is such a person, he or she is in the most extreme minority. To promote his first crossover hit, "Place in This world," Michael W.

Smith produced a video that was sensual enough to reach the top 5 on the secular rock cable television station VH The video was produced by the same company that created immoral videos for Prince. It showed "a dreamy Mr. Smith singing and playing the piano in the middle of the desert while a young, pouting, gorgeous woman wanders around in the sand; eventually the two find each other, hold hands, hug, and sort of nuzzle. Dan Lucarini, who was formerly a contemporary worship leader, warns: "When you combine the sensual dancing with the immodest dress of the women on the platform [in contemporary praise teams], you place a very large stumbling block in front of the men of the congregation" Confessions of a Former Worship Leader , p.

But we noticed that the artists, probably under the influence of their recording companies, imitated secular artists in music, concert performance techniques, dress, hairstyle and merchandising. Everything seemed to be geared to making money by winning fans. The poor teens were manipulated in the same way as when they were listening to their secular teen idols. And the teens followed along. The worldliness of Contemporary Christian Music is further seen in that the music is even owned by the world. Contemporary Christian Music is big business today, a half billion dollar a year industry.

The CCM industry sold nearly 50 million albums in , raking in more money than the jazz and classical segments of the music business. Revenues from sales of CCM have tripled since the mids. One-quarter of the sales in Christian bookstores are from music. This eventually caught the attention of the world, and most of the major CCM producers and distributors are now owned by secular corporations. A few years ago Word changed hands from one secular corporation to another. Chevrolet sponsored the Michael W. Smith worship tour in These are only a very few examples of a practice that is in direct disobedience to the Word of God.

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" 2 Cor. Therefore, the first reason that we are opposed to Contemporary Christian Music is that it is worldly, and this is a very serious matter and sufficient in itself to stay away from CCM.

Why would a "theologically liberal" Presbyterian church, which perhaps hates the old hymns about the blood and adds hymns about mother god and the social gospel to its songbook and which allows preachers to deny that Jesus is God and which thinks unrepentant homosexuals make fine church members, be attracted to contemporary praise music?

Why would a Roman Catholic who prays to Mary and who praises God for purgatory such as the popular charismatic priest Tom Forrest does be attracted to contemporary praise music? Twenty years ago there were many huge divisions between denominations. Today I think the walls are coming down. In any concert that I do, I will have different churches represented. Ecumenical terms that permeate the CCM scene include "anointed," "the body," "united," "John 17," "tolerance," "non-critical love," "judge not," "no finger pointing," etc.