This Kept Me From Abandoning The Church

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Not so long ago I was ready to abandon the Church, at least in all its institutionalized forms.

I had been hurt (no one’s fault but my own, really) and was confused by my “sense of call”. I couldn’t seem to get hired full-time at a church, even though I felt I had the skills and was being led that direction by God. Although it’s obvious to me now, I couldn’t understand why churches in my lifelong Christian denomination (Baptist) wouldn’t hire me. I came to faith in the Baptist church, was married in the Baptist church, and started my ministry in the Baptist church. It just turned out I wasn’t Baptist 😉

After months of interviews and no progress, I decided to take a non-ministry position in Arizona. I saw it as a chance to start fresh and figure out where I belonged. Nothing stuck. It wasn’t that I was looking for a perfect congregation, but going back to the drawing board allowed me to see a fundamental unbalance in the Evangelical landscape. Everybody seemed to emphasize one pet doctrine or worship style at the expense of everything else. Read More

Why I Consider Myself Charismatic

The Charismatic movement has been (often rightly) taken to task for excesses, abuses, and cultural flaws that obstruct the Gospel. Nevertheless the Charismatic renewal throughout the world has been in my estimation a mostly positive movement, and has given us a language and theology to describe the more experiential aspects of the Christian faith. Although in past I have been hesitant to use the label, I now embrace charismatic as a word that accurately describes one aspect of my faith practice. Here are three reasons I still consider myself a charismatic Christian:

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Why I Still Call Myself an Evangelical

Evangelicalism is quickly going the way of fundamentalism as far as being a useful term.

Although fundamentalism hasn’t always meant “religious person that hates others” it’s practically a lost cause to recover its original intent at this point…and I see the same thing happening with Evangelicalism.
Jesus Saves - Chicago, IL
This is unfortunate, not only because Evangelicalism has historically distanced itself from fundamentalism as a movement (even before the term became corrupted), but it has its own rich history and distinctives–some of which are well worth preserving. Read More

Why I say I am a Catholic Christian

It often surprises people when I describe myself as a Catholic Christian, because the association immediately goes to the Roman Catholic Church. In reality, Catholic is simply a word that means “universal,” and is particularly associated with the unity of the Church.
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One faith, one hope, one Lord, one baptism

When, in the Apostle’s Creed, we say “I believe in the holy catholic church” we are saying that we believe fundamentally, the church is one. Political and secondary theological issues aside, there is a unity in our common, core confession of Christ that binds all Christians universally into one church. All Christians are part of one catholic Church in this sense and should be able to say this part of the Creed without feeling uncomfortable.

There is another sense in which the word is used, however, and that is to refer to “the Catholic faith.” Read More