by Robert Welsh
Christians who risk their lives for the Gospel always challenge me. Encountering heroic expressions of faith provokes me to question my own faith journey. Am I taking up my cross? If I were more courageous, would I take a different path? Should I be doing more “extreme” acts of faith? I had the opportunity to confront some of these questions as I studied Christians who risked their lives for the sake of making peace and bringing justice.
Continue reading Spirited Justice
by Tom Sine
My friend Ron Sider made some pretty harsh critiques about materialism in his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience. He tried to persuade his readers that a Christian worldview doesn’t begin with the materialistic values that are so popular in modern culture. And rightly so.
In 2009 the Barna Group reported that only nine percent of American adults possess a biblical worldview. I will explain why I believe that many sincere believers have allowed the economic values of modern society to define the foundation of their worldview instead of anything that came from scripture.
The single question I would like you to explore with me is “What seems to be the purpose at the very center of our world that, if we embrace it, will create a better future for all people?” There are two very different responses to this question among American evangelicals. One answer comes from modern culture, the other from ancient faith.
Continue reading The Scandal of the Evangelical Worldview
“When I tweeted about the need to address gun violence after the college shooting in the Roseburg, Oregon, a man named Bob pushed back. ‘Check out car accident deaths,’ he tweeted sarcastically. ‘Guess we should ban cars.’ Actually, cars exemplify the public health approach we need to apply to guns. We don’t ban cars, but we do require driver’s licenses, seat belts, air bags, padded dashboards, safety glass and collapsible steering columns. And we’ve reduced the auto fatality rate by 95 percent.”
Research shows that when young students are suspended or expelled from school, they are several times more likely to experience disciplinary action later in their academic career; drop out or fail out of high school; report feeling disconnected from school; and be incarcerated later in life.
It turns out that principled pacifism is not the sole province of Mennonites. Jay Beaman and Brian Pipkin have uncovered a wealth of documents that testify to the peace commitments of other American religious groups. They have compiled them in a sourcebook entitled Pentecostal and Holiness Statements on War and Peace.
by Pastor Eric Gabourel
“I don’t eat the flesh of animals, their by causing them pain…” wrote the man that was to become the first General Overseer of the Church of God (Cleveland, TN). A.J. Tomlinson’s story of facilitating the growth of an international Pentecostal denomination begins in the lonely hamlet of Culbertson, North Carolina.
Tomlinson, a native of Indiana, was no stranger to this part of the American South. He had been on missionary journeys to rural Appalachia before. Armed with the disciplines of fasting and prayer this journey was to be one that would make a lasting impact on 20th century Christianity.
Tomlinson moved to Culbertson, N.C. on October 16, 1899 with an Edenic vision in his heart. Tomlinson referred to himself and his cohorts as Bible Missionaries Living in Common. Their goal was not only to recreate the egalitarian vision of the early church, but to also restore a reality experienced in the Garden of Eden.
Continue reading A Case for Pentecostal Veganism
“Only in the insanity of corporate America can nonviolent animal rights activists be charged as terrorists while a white supremacist who gunned down African-Americans in a South Carolina church is charged on criminal counts. Only in the insanity of America can Wall Street financers implode the global economy through massive acts of fraud, causing widespread suffering, and be rewarded with trillions of dollars in government bailouts. Only in the insanity of America can government leaders wage wars that are defined as criminal acts of aggression under international law and then remain, unchallenged, in positions of power and influence.”