Americans Feeling Better About Every Religion Except Evangelicalism

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2017-02-15 13:37:56Z | http://piczard.com | http://codecarvings.com

Fascinating article in Christianity Today about American attitudes toward various religions. The chart on the left tells the tale very well. Everyone — even atheists — are more highly regarded in 2017 than in 2014 — except for evangelicals.

A more detailed article is available at the Pew Research Center’s webpage.

It’s actually worse than the chart shows.

The ratings fall when responses from fellow evangelicals, who made up more than 1 in 4 of respondents, are removed: Just under a third of non-evangelicals (32%) have warm feelings towards the group.

Part of the reason for evangelicals’ middling ratings is lack of exposure. The proportion of Americans who say they know an evangelical dropped by 9 percentage points from 2014 to 2017, down to 61 percent today. (A 2013 study hinted at the lack of exposure: 1 in 5 non-evangelicals in North America said they did not personally know an evangelical.) Meanwhile, knowing an evangelical increases their rating by 12 degrees on Pew’s feeling thermometer.

Though a majority of Americans still know at least one evangelical, the group experienced the most significant decline in familiarity. Among non-evangelicals, millennials (45%) and African Americans (33%) were least likely to know someone who identifies as evangelical.

Now, it’s a complex problem in part because “evangelical” is a poorly defined and understood term. In fact, in my experience, it’s most commonly used by the press to identify white Christians who support Republican candidates. Black Christians with nearly identical views generally decline to be described as “evangelical.” Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 61 (the Law is holy)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Romans 7:9-11

(Rom. 7:9-11 NET)  9 And I was once alive apart from the law [Torah], but with the coming of the commandment [Sin] became alive  10 and I died. So I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life [immortality] brought death [loss of any hope of immortality]!  11 For [Sin], seizing the opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it I died [lost hope of immortality].

Who is “I”? Most commentators debate whether “I” refers to a non-Christian in need of the Spirit or to someone already saved but struggling against Sin. Certainly, most if not all Christians have experienced the tension between wanting to do right and being unable to do right — both before and after baptism. And the rest of chapter 7 could certainly be read either way.

But Wright believes that “I” refers to Israel or, more generally, mankind.  Continue reading

Posted in N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, Romans, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 60 (2 Cor 3, Part 2)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

2 Corinthians 3:4-6

(2 Cor. 3:4-6 NET)  4 Now we have such confidence in God through Christ.  5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as if it were coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,  6 who made us adequate to be servants of a new covenant not based on the letter but on the Spirit, for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Paul now makes the reference to Jer 31:31 ff explicit when he refers to the “new covenant,” which is always a reference to this passage. The “new covenant” is not based on the “letter” but on the Spirit. Continue reading

Posted in N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, Romans, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 59 (the new life of the Spirit; 2 Cor 3, Part 1)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Romans 7:5-8

(Rom. 7:5-6 NET)  5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful desires, aroused by the law [Torah], were active in the members of our body to bear fruit for death [the loss of the hope of immortality].  6 But now we have been released from the law [Torah], because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve [as a bond-servant or slave] in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code [Torah].

Here we hit a major turning point in the discussion. In fact, Paul has had the Spirit very much in mind going back to chapter 2, but he has been speaking in other terms — faith, justification, righteousness, death, sin, eternal life, and such — in order to set up the problem that can only be solved by God’s Holy Spirit. Continue reading

Posted in N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, Romans, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 58 (if her husband dies, she is free from that law)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Romans 7:1 -4

(Rom. 7:1-4 NET) Or do you not know, brothers and sisters (for I am speaking to those who know the law [Torah]), that the law [Torah] is lord over a person as long as he lives?  2 For a married woman is bound by law [Torah] to her husband as long as he lives, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of the marriage.  3 So then, if she is joined to another man while her husband is alive, she will be called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she is joined to another man, she is not an adulteress.  4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law [Torah] through the body of Christ [by joining in his death through baptism], so that you could be joined to another [that is, Jesus], to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God.

Paul is continuing the discussion begun in chapter 6. That is, he’s still answering why we shouldn’t sin so that grace may abound. In 7:1, however, he changes metaphors. He was talking about Christians as slaves to God. Now, he speaks of the “law of marriage” and freedom from this law through death.

Now, Paul is not teaching a lesson about divorce and remarriage. Rather, he is using marriage as an example to reason from — and he is making no effort to lay out a complete doctrine of marriage and divorce. His point is simply that death ends a marriage — which no one disagrees with. His point is not that only death can end a marriage. He simply doesn’t address that question at all in this passage, and we should not read more into the passage than is really there. In fact, the Torah allows divorce. Deu 24 is quite clear on the point.  Continue reading

Posted in N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, Romans, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

N. T. Wright’s The Day the Revolution Began, Romans Reconsidered, Part 57 (the gift of God)

dayrevolutionbegan

N. T. “Tom” Wright has just released another paradigm-shifting book suggesting a new, more scriptural way of understanding the atonement, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion. Wright delves deeply into how the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus accomplish our salvation.

Romans 6:19

(Rom. 6:19 NET) 19 (I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.) For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

Paul begins next to back away from the slave market analogy. He is speaking in “human terms” because of our fallen natures. We’ve been justified and reconciled to God, but we are still broken eikons — images of God. We’re still prone to sin, and our comprehension of spiritual truths is still difficult for us. Continue reading

Posted in N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, N. T. Wright's The Day the Revolution Began, Romans, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An email about the name “Church of Christ”

I get emails.

My question is could we break down our fortress walls among people by taking down signs that mislabel buildings etc. and put up simply “A PLACE OF WORSHIP”? (and times when people gather?)

This Church of Christ business has been a thorn in my flesh for a long time now. Isn’t “church of God,” used 8 time when referring to a particular congregation in scripture where as “Church of Christ” is not? My favorite is “church of the living God.” Why do Church of Christ advocates seem to semi-worship “Church of Christ”? Help me out with this. 

Well, it’s complicated but not all that complicated. These are the assumptions underlying our relationship with our denominational name: Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 18 Comments