A recent call to investigate the Executive Committee over abuse responses is the latest issue up for debate. Opposing factions in the SBC both say its future is at stake.
In the two years since Southern Baptists gathered as a convention, tensions around racial and political issues escalated. But just a couple weeks before their upcoming annual meeting in Nashville, another topic has taken center stage, as new documentation alleges high-ranking leaders in the denomination resisted its efforts to address abuse.
Some Southern Baptists are calling for an investigation of the Executive Committee (EC) after a series of leaked material has suggested that its leaders—one of whom is the conservative pick in the current race for SBC president—worked to hamper efforts to hear from victims in their own terms and to investigate churches with credible claims of cover-up.
“What those docs did kind of reoriented and shifted what the conversations and priorities were going to be going into the convention this year,” said Tennessee pastor Grant Gaines, who along with North Carolina pastor Ronnie Parrott announced plans to make a motion at the June 15–16 meeting calling for a third-party investigation into the EC.
Over 16,000 Southern Baptists have registered to come, double the attendance at the 2019 conference and the largest crowd at an annual meeting in a quarter century. And outsiders are paying attention to what happens among the country’s biggest Protestant denomination because many of the issues at hand reflect broader divisions in the church and the US at large.
The recent revelations shared online could cause some Southern Baptists to scrutinize the place of prominent figures in SBC leadership and demand greater accountability for the body tasked with handling denominational business outside the convention. Or, as the newly formed Conservative Baptist Network brings ...
As “mosque planting” and “unmosqued youth” increasingly resemble patterns in the church, evangelical experts reflect on implications for faith and witness.
The American mosque increasingly resembles the American church.
New data released in the US Mosque Survey 2020 reveals a plateau of conversions, a shift to the suburbs, and a challenge with “unmosqued” youth.
“Muslims and their mosques are becoming more integrated into American society,” said Ihsan Bagby, the lead investigator, “and more adjusted to the American environment.”
Released every 10 years, the survey aims to comprehensively dispel misconceptions about the locus of Muslim community in the United States.
How might the findings guide American evangelicals?
Begin with the contrast: the increase in the Muslim equivalent of church planting.
The survey counts 2,769 mosques in the US, an increase of 31 percent since the 2010 report. The prior decade had a growth rate of 74 percent, with 1,209 mosques counted in the 2000 report.
They increasingly appreciate a nice backyard.
The share of mosques in large cities has dropped from 17 percent in 2010 to 6 percent in 2020, while the share in small towns has dropped from 20 percent to 6 percent. The survey found that 8 in 10 Muslims now live in a residential or suburban area.
“As we begin to share the same neighborhood, engaging the Muslim community is no longer just the domain of missionary specialists,” said Mike Urton, the associate director of Immigrant Mission, a ministry of the Evangelical Free Church of America.
“It is now the domain of the local church.”
The now mostly suburban Muslims also “tithe” similarly to their Christian neighbors.
Including contributions toward operating expenses and the obligatory zakat charitable giving to the poor, the survey calculated average mosque income to be $317,140, compared ...
In 2020 I experienced a massive stroke and was confined to hospitals for close to six months. There, I lived with suffering patients and various medical personnel. Many hospital staff were new Canadians and minorities from all over the globe—assisting me were medical staff originating from the global south (Asia, Africa, and Latin America). They were physicians, nurses, laboratory technicians, dietitians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, porters, and other vital staff.
Many had left their homelands because of suffering, including political oppression, regional conflicts, and natural calamities. Many had migrated to North America seeking better economic opportunities and educational advancement and were here contributing to the building of a strong nation.
Of course, they saw me in pain, and with tears, but they also heard me pray and praise God for my life. At the hospitals, particularly the University of Alberta Hospital, I also witnessed patients who transitioned peacefully to eternity, even to the very end expressing their faith in Jesus Christ. I was surprised that, often, the patients and the staff were open to talking about spiritual life.
In the course of my time in the hospitals, I was given the opportunity to talk about Jesus to several of the staff who worked with me. I thanked them for their compassion, care, and competence. Before my discharge from the hospitals, I gifted them with DVDs of the Life of Jesus in the Gospel of John. They gladly received the gifts and my thank you cards. They even let me pray for them. One of the supervising nurses and unit managers said to me, “Tira, thank you for bringing light and joy into this unit.” Other nurses, originating in Somalia, Rwanda, Tanzania, ...
New faculty position to expand scholarship on biblical evangelism.
A new faculty position to expand scholarship on biblical evangelism
Wheaton College announced today the establishment of an endowed chair of biblical evangelism. The Jean Kvamme Distinguished Chair of Biblical Evangelism will reside in the College’s School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership, and will provide an academic bridge between scriptural text and biblical evangelism. It will also help Wheaton graduate students engage more deeply with the gospel message and its contextualized proclamation in the broader world.
“We are honored to recognize Jean Kvamme in this way, and we thank her husband, Floyd Kvamme, and her family for generously providing an enduring extension of Jean’s legacy of studying and sharing scripture—especially the New Testament,” said Wheaton College President Philip Ryken. “She led a life dedicated to sharing the love of Christ in word and deed, and this endowed chair will serve as a perpetual, inspiring reminder of Jean’s commitment.”
Chair endowment funds will provide for an eminent scholar of special distinction in the field of biblical evangelism and provide support for study abroad and immersion experiences at key sites, libraries, and other germane institutions.
Jean Kvamme was President/Director of The Jean and E. Floyd Kvamme Foundation, which funds Christian organizations, as well as cultural, educational, and medical institutions. Jean died in 2020, leaving a rich Christian legacy for her family and many charitable organizations.
In 1997 Jean and Floyd purchased a ranch in Felton, CA to follow her dream of riding and connecting with horses. In 2015, Jean established and directed Lichen Oaks Adaptive Riding Center (LOARC), providing therapeutic riding ...
For international schools, the pandemic offered new opportunities for public witness around the world. It also resulted in staff shortages and unpredictable enrollment.
Andrea Dugan, the superintendent of Mountainview Christian School in Indonesia, was on vacation last year when she found out from a local newspaper that one of her students was hospitalized with a suspected case of COVID-19, among the first in the area.
She returned home to Indonesia to extend the school’s quarter break before eventually making the call for her 210 students to go virtual for the remainder of the semester, just days before the Indonesian government closed all schools. Virtual learning continued through the 2020–2021 school year, with just four in-person weeks in the spring before rising cases sent them back to the screens.
From March to May, she remembers feeling “flooded with adrenaline” as she kept up with local government orders and ran the school while also ensuring her own children learned online.
“We’re the international school,” she said. “We’re going to be seen. Whatever we do, people are going to know.” For Dugan, leading a Christian international school meant that following government orders and strict COVID-19 protocols with integrity mattered not just for safety but as a witness to the local community.
Multiple school families returned to the United States in March after the local US embassy strongly encouraged all citizens to leave the country. They’re still unable to return to Indonesia. Limited visas are also blocking new staff from coming for the next school year.
“Even though I have teachers intending to join my staff come August, I’m holding my breath to know whether or not I can actually legally get them in the country because [of] the visa process,” Dugan said. “How do I staff my school next year if I ...
Leah Boyd represents a new generation of women in ministry, bringing a sense of humor and hope to theological debates.
Going to seminary was Leah Boyd’s “Plan F.” A music education major, performer, and pageant winner, she had planned on becoming a professional opera singer. But now Boyd’s seminary education has become the most prominent thing about her—at least among the 17,000 followers who know her as “Sassy Seminary Student,” @LeahBSassy on Twitter.
The Mississippi State University alumna and student at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary shares reflections on theology, evangelical culture, and gender dynamics with one-liners, pop culture riffs, and memes through her popular account, which launched in February 2020.
“How I, a seminary student, know exactly how to fix every issue in the church today and I can’t believe no one has thought about this stuff before: a thread 1/245,” read one sarcastic tweet.
Sassy Seminary Student began as a way to inject humor into online evangelical debates, and her approach worked, boosted by her sharp wit, Gen Z sensibilities, and lighthearted approach to everything from politics to contemporary worship.
Boyd responded to a new Christian dating site that dismissed singleness as a gift and promoted women’s dominion as “housemakers and helpmates” with a picture of her dressed as a “a docile 1 corinthians 11 woman” in a long dress and shawl.
And, of course, her tweets reference telltale markers from church and youth group culture.
As a recent seminary graduate, I see her as representing a larger trend: While many of our predecessors in theological education had to fight to be taken seriously in evangelical spaces, sometimes the only one or ...
One court yields keys to colonial-era worship site, while another issues verdict for prominent pastor facing proselytism charges.
Algerian Christians finally have something to celebrate.
Amid a rash of church closures the past two years, the North African nation’s Council of State returned a historic worship site in Mostaganem, a port city on the Mediterranean coast, to the Algerian Protestant Church (EPA).
The EPA loaned the building, which dates to the French colonial era, to the Ministry of Health in 1976. But in 2012, when the site’s medical clinic changed locations, the local governor gave the facility to an Islamic charitable association.
The EPA sued, and the case was decided in its favor in 2019.
That year, however, marked an escalation against Protestant churches. Three of Algeria’s largest congregations were shut down, and the Mostaganem authorities failed to implement the court decision.
Now they have.
But with 20 other churches ordered to cease activities—and 13 sealed completely—Algerian Christians remain cautious.
“Just because we have the keys,” said Nourredine Benzid, general secretary of the EPA, “doesn’t mean the case is over.”
Benzid’s Source of Life Church in Makouda was among those closed in 2019. Located in the mountainous Tizi Ouzou district, the area is home to many of the nation’s estimated 100,000 Christians.
By contrast, the Mostaganem church was empty when it was loaned to the government. But today a pastor and believing community are in the city, and the EPA intends to reopen the building for worship.
Founded in 1974 and officially recognized in 2011, the EPA serves as an umbrella organization for Algeria’s Protestant community. But while a 2006 ordinance guaranteed non-Muslims the protection of the state, it also stipulated that worship can be conducted ...
The Biden administration support of religious school exemptions is making news, but the Equality Act is still a major concern.
In a court filing Tuesday, June 8th, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said it intends to “vigorously” defend the religious exemption for religious schools allowing them to practice according to their belief.
This was a surprise to many, but it may be an encouraging one.
The court filing came as a response to religious schools and organizations feeling that their “interests will not be adequately protected” by the present administration. The DOJ hopes to assuage some of those concerns by affirming that their “ultimate objective is to defend the statutory exemption and its current application.”
Taking this in the best light, we can commend the current administration for making this nod in the direction of religious liberty. At a time in our society where many demean political compromise as betrayal and heresy, the commitment to listen to one another and find common ground is our only pathway out from our culture war nightmare.
As I always do, I try to support good things from whatever administration is serving. Yet, we also need to realize this is a complex situation with many nuances. This has been a trending topic on Twitter, with many strong opinions noted, particularly during Pride Month. (The Biden administration has been strongly criticized by LGBTQ+ advocates.)
Scripture is a door and a feast if you ask the right questions.
When I started leading a Bible study at my church, I had the daunting task of choosing the first book for us to study. I don’t remember exactly why I chose Jeremiah, but I vividly remember the face a fellow seminary student made when I told her. “You’re going to have to warn them,” she said, “that it’s such a difficult book.”
So when I announced that we were spending the next six months in Jeremiah (because that is how long it takes to study 52 dense chapters), I said something I’d heard many Bible teachers say before me: “I know this book is boring. But we’re going to learn something.” I think I was trying to lower the stakes for them—or maybe for me. I was setting the bar low so that if Jeremiah held their interest even a little, that was a success.
But looking back, I regret saying it. It’s not true. Jeremiah isn’t boring. The Bible isn’t boring. Even the parts that people always say are boring are weird, gripping, and awe-inspiring. If we let them, they will absolutely command our attention.
There are books of the Bible that get a bad reputation for being tedious. We know we’re supposed to think that Leviticus is important or that the prophets are still applicable today, but we also know that everyone will nod in agreement if we admit we think they’re “a bit hard to get through.”
After years of Sunday school and youth group, the parts of Scripture I let get labeled “boring” took up a surprising amount of the whole. There’s Numbers, which starts out with a census; and Chronicles, which seems to just repeat Kings; down to Revelation, which everyone “knows” is just bizarre. In my church, ...
With the end of Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, new needs challenge Christian ministries helping migrants.
When the Honduran woman got to Alma Ruth’s studio apartment in McAllen, Texas, she took a shower.
She was nine months pregnant, and it was the first real shower she’d taken in more than a year and a half, since a day in 2019 when she and her husband and their toddler fled the violence that has wreaked havoc on Central America.
She thanked God for the clean, hot water, and for the people who had helped her along the way.
“God is always surprising us with his miracles,” she told CT in Spanish. “The rest of my life will not be enough time to thank him for all the miracles he has done for my family and for me.”
The woman, allowed into the US in March, is one of an estimated 68,000 asylum seekers who now have permission to wait for their court hearings in the United States, as President Joe Biden reversed Donald Trump’s “Migration Protection Protocols.”
The former president’s policy, known as MPP or the “Remain in Mexico” policy, was suspended in January. The Biden administration officially ended it last week in a victory for asylum seekers—including the woman taking the shower, who asked that her name not be used because her asylum case is still pending—and their advocates, like the shower’s owner, Alma Ruth.
But Ruth, founder and president of Practice Mercy, is worried about the new challenges asylum seekers will now face.
“They finish one Via Dolorosa,” she said, using the Spanish phrase for the “path of sorrow” that Jesus took on the way to the cross, “and they start another one.”
The migrants in the makeshift refugee camp in Matamoros found themselves in a kind of no man’s land, neither “here” ...
The mission of our church is to minister to the spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional, and environmental needs of all people by spreading the good news of Christ's redeeming gospel through the preached word and outreach ministries and activities. Christ has called us to seek and to save all those who will believe and call on the name of Jesus and accept Him as Savior and Lord!