Friday, November 26, 2021

Drain of Young Pentecostal Brains | Whose Fault Is It?

The following is my translation of a post originally made in Spanish by Fernando E. Alvarado,  a pastor in the Asambleas de Dios of El Salvador, and blogger at Pensamiento Pentecostal Arminiano (Arminian Pentecostal Thought).

It’s common to hear pastors and leaders talk about how young adults and adolescents are abandoning the Pentecostal church thicken the ranks of other movements: “The Calvinists brainwashed them.” “He became reformed.” “She became a Mormon (or a Jehovah’s Witness or some other sect). ”How sad! Too much study drove him crazy, he ended up abandoning the faith.” “They shouldn’t study theology, they turn into liberals and think they know everything, then become apostate.” I’ve heard these many times, along with many other excuses.

Friday, November 19, 2021

How can a book I don't really know be my authority?

I've watched a lot of discussion online recently about biblical inerrancy and the authority of Scripture. An article by Australian theologian Michael Bird caused no small amount of discussion when shared on a Facebook group for discussion among scholars in my national church fellowship.

A couple of days later, I read the following statement in an article about biblical authority and divisions in American Christianity:

Perhaps in certain parts of academia – and in ministerial training in some denominations – historical criticism caused some to question the authority of the Bible, but for more than a century after the Civil War, the reading preferences and church affiliation choices of millions of American Protestants suggested that respect for the Bible’s authority continued undiminished, even if biblical literacy was not quite what it had once been. 

Note that last phrase: even if biblical literacy was not quite what it had once been. 

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Dealing Gently with the Wounded

Not too long ago, I saw the following posted on social media:

Ultimately people don’t quit church because of bad Christians or churches.  They don’t stop eating out after they go to a bad restaurant.  They don’t stop going to the doctor even though doctors make mistakes.  No matter how much they blame others, Jesus said they quit the body of Christ because of themselves:

“Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”  (John 3:20-21) 

While it is true that ultimately each individual's decision whether to follow Christ or self rests with that person, those of us who claim to represent the King of kings do bear a great responsibility. In Luke 17, Jesus said:

Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves.

Monday, October 25, 2021

The Relationship between Peace and Gentleness

Recently, our senior pastor spoke to the leadership team of the Latino ministry at our church. After giving us several lessons about leadership he has learned in his 20 years as lead pastor, he told us about a couple of verses of Scripture the Lord has been impressing on him over the past year or so.

The first one he mentioned is Philippians 4:5:

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 

He went on to raise the question as to whether this gentleness is tied to the peace Paul mentions a couple of verses later in 4:7:

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I think my pastor is on to something here.