All posts from “Discernment”

Stupid Church Tricks: Fake Kidnapping

March 29, 2012 12:00 AM

Are you trying to develop a more hospitable, seeker-friendly atmosphere in your church? Here's the first step: Don't kidnap people at gunpoint. A church in Pennsylvania is under investigation for taking a lesson about persecution too far. Glad Tidings Assembly...

The Dangerous Pursuit of Pastoral Fame

February 13, 2012 12:00 AM

As my chiropractor was working me over yesterday, she was asking about the reading I’m doing for a degree I’m working on. After I rattled off the titles and subjects of a number of leadership books, she said, “Wow, what...

Celebrity Pastors, Bloggers, and Questions of Authority

February 2, 2012 12:00 AM

Shoot the Wolves from Harvest Bible Chapel on Vimeo. Above is a video from last year’s Elephant Room. The clip highlights a panel of popular pastors discussing the behavior of perceived “wolves” in the church and in Christian media. During...

Would You Attend a Same-Sex Marriage Ceremony? (Revisited)

October 19, 2011 12:00 AM

Last week I wrote a brief report about Al Mohler's dissatisfaction with Joel Osteen's answers during his CNN interview with Piers Morgan. Osteen said that while he would not officiate a same-sex marriage ceremony, he was open to attending one...

Would You Attend a Same-Sex Marriage Ceremony?

October 13, 2011 12:00 AM

Al Mohler is mopping the floor with Joel Osteen's perfectly quaffed hair. Last week Osteen and his wife were interviewed by CNN's Piers Morgan to promote his new book Every Day A Friday, How To Be Happier 7 Days a...

Should Pastors Marry Cohabitating Couples?

September 28, 2011 12:00 AM

A new poll conducted by LifeWay Research reports that 58 percent of Protestant pastors would perform a marriage ceremony for a cohabitating couple; 31 percent would not, and 10 percent were undecided. There was some variation between mainline and evangelical...

Ur Video: The Best (Or Worst) Prayer Ever?

August 3, 2011 12:00 AM

Pastors are often asked to offer a prayer at public events. But what sort of prayer is best for these gatherings outside the church? Pastor Joe Nelms has been getting a lot of press for the opening prayer he offered...

What Did Jesus Mean by "Judge Not"?

September 15, 2010 12:00 AM

What did Jesus mean when he said, “Judge not, and you will not be judged.” It’s one of the most commonly quoted verses from the bible (Luke 6:37). Many of us, and not merely politicians, invoke the verse as a...

Oh, Snap--Livin' the Dream

August 11, 2010 3:24 PM

Every once in a while, a post on a blog that I read elsewhere is so irresistible, I have to share it with you. This one comes from Mike Cope, one of my favorite minister-writers, from his PreacherMike.com blog. He...

Worship with Muslims and Jews?

March 12, 2010 12:00 AM

The pastor who coined the word “glocal” to describe his church’s approach to missions has led his Texas congregation to visit new territories: the synagogue and mosque down the street. In January, NorthWood Church in Keller, Texas, worshipped with Temple...

"Deadly Viper" Put to Death

December 4, 2009 12:00 AM

Last month a significant controversy arose around the book Deadly Viper Character Assassins: A Kung Fu Survival Guide for Life and Leadership by Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite. The accusation made by numerous Christian leaders in the Asian-American community was...

Ur Video: Perry Noble on Responding to Critics

November 18, 2009 12:00 AM

How should you and your church respond to critics? Perry Noble has some experience with the subject and some wisdom to share....

Preach Dirty to Me

June 2, 2009 12:00 AM

For a couple of years now, long-time pastor and theologian John MacArthur has been critical of Mark Driscoll's use of crude language in the pulpit. In the end, MacArthur believes Driscoll has crossed a line, and it's time for him...

Andy Stanley: Live (and Uncertain) at Catalyst West

April 24, 2009 8:49 AM

Ever faced a leadership decision, and didn't feel you had all the information you needed to decide? For instance, to hire or not to hire? To discipline or extend more grace? Andy Stanley opened the Catalyst West conference with...

The Body Broken for Who?

February 18, 2009 12:00 AM

Late in 2008, theologian J. I. Packer sat down with a few CTI editors to talk theology. Here's what Dr. Packer had to say when the conversation ranged to Communion. Do you believe that access to the Lord's Table should...

Rick Warren at Obama's Inaugural

December 22, 2008 12:00 AM

Unless you've been hibernating (which isn't a bad idea given the economy and weather lately), you know that President-elect Barack Obama has asked Rick Warren to pray at his inauguration. The news networks (apparently needing something controversial to fill up...

Review: The Blue Parakeet, Part 2

October 24, 2008 12:00 AM

In an earlier post, I outlined the content of Scot McKnight's new book, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking how you read the Bible. Here are a few reflections on what I consider the book's primary strengths and weaknesses. First the...

Review: The Blue Parakeet, Part 1

October 23, 2008 12:00 AM

While the majority of academics won't - or can't - write for a popular audience, Scot McKnight is willing and able. And in The Blue Parakeet (Zondervan, 2008), he opens the complex issue of biblical interpretation to the uninitiated...

This is My Low-Carb Body, Broken for You

June 6, 2008 12:00 AM

Imagine the scene. Jesus has gathered with his followers in the upper room. He takes the bread, breaks it, and gives thanks. Then he says, "This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me."...

Out of Context: John M. Buchanan

March 6, 2008 12:00 AM

"Preachers need to be very careful before claiming they are God's mouthpiece. I think the preacher needs to be suggestive and not declarative. There are times in history when people (like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King) were called with...

John Ortberg on Hope Management

February 11, 2008 12:00 AM

Ronald Reagan once gave this nugget of advice, "Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don't interfere." Recently, John Ortberg read the biography of another president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and through FDR's story he came...

Al Mohler is Too Cool for School

February 5, 2008 12:00 AM

Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, has a reputation for diving fearlessly into controversial issues. A visit to his Wikipedia page reveals his history of treading into cultural minefields and not leaving until...

The Rise of the New Bishops- Part 2

December 18, 2007 12:00 AM

In part 1, Chad Hall questioned the emergence of popular young church leaders. Through their books, conferences, and postcasts these "new bishops" are attracting a great deal of attention. Hall wondered if their status was the result of their genuine...

The Rise of the New Bishops

December 14, 2007 12:00 AM

After reporting on Rob Bell's tour last month, Chad Hall has been wondering about the influence of young Christian leaders like Bell. Are these "new bishops" the result of a generation searching for leaders outside traditional church structures, or are...

Thus Saith the Radio

August 23, 2007 12:00 AM

Sola gratia, sola fide, sola scriptura,?sola radio? The following conversation is based on true events. Church member: "Pastor, I'm very disturbed by something you said in your sermon yesterday." Pastor: "I'm glad you came to talk with me about it....

(Some) Sinners Welcome

April 12, 2007 12:00 AM

This week the New York Times ran a story about a controversy dividing a church in Carlsbad, California. Outside Pilgrim United Church of Christ hangs a banner that reads "All are welcome." Now that claim is being tested. In January,...

Nudity in Church 2: The Wrap-Up

December 14, 2006 12:00 AM

On Sunday morning Pastor Dan Kimball of Vintage Faith Church arrived at the coffeehouse where his congregation worships to discover three of the three hundred sketches decorating the space were nude drawings. After debating the nature of art, holiness, and...

Nudity in Church

December 11, 2006 12:00 AM

One of the most famous churches in the world, the Sistine Chapel in Rome, was originally decorated with dozens of nude figures on the ceiling. Painted by Michelangelo, the chapel is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Western art....

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: Clergy holiness codes miss the point

September 20, 2006 12:00 AM

Last week a study was released by economists called "No Booze? You May Lose." Researches found that people who drink alcohol make more money and may have an advantage in social settings. But does the same hold true for pastors?...

Protesting, Pirates, and Potter: our inconsistent outrage toward Hollywood

July 6, 2006 12:00 AM

The summer movie season continues. First Elizabeth Diffin confessed her affection for da Vinci. Then Skye Jethani thanked Hollywood for not marketing Superman to churches. And now Johnny Depp and crew blur the line between character and criminality. In this...

The President & The Pastor (part 2): more lessons from George W. Bush’s brave/reckless leadership style

June 15, 2006 12:00 AM

In May, NY Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani surveyed seventeen books written about the leadership of President Bush. Her article, which summarized what Bush’s fans and critics have observed about his leadership style, caught the attention of Out of Ur...

The President & The Pastor: lessons from George W. Bush’s brave/reckless leadership style

June 13, 2006 12:00 AM

In 2000, Bill Hybels invited President Clinton to speak at Willow Creek's Leadership Summit. The controversial move was based on the assumption that pastors could learn from Clinton's leadership experience - both his triumphs and his mistakes. Following this tradition...

The Poet of Ur: "Genus: Blog, Species: Comment"

January 31, 2006 12:00 AM

Wheaton College professor, and guest poet of Ur, Dan Haase has been watching our conversation from a distance. Dan sent along this short piece to help us pause and think. It has made me wonder, should this blog be seeking...

Expletive Undeleted: Dropping the F-bomb in Church

November 8, 2005 12:00 AM

Leadership associate editor Skye Jethani tells the story Mike Sares shared with him at a conference earlier this year. Tell us what you would do if you were Mike. A few days before Christmas, pastor Mike Sares got a call...

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