March 26th, 2013
09:47 AM ET
Like GOP, evangelicals look to rebrand
By John Blake
(CNN) - There’s been a lot of debate about the Republican Party’s need to rebrand after the 2012 presidential defeat, but could evangelicals face the same challenge?
The evangelical community, too, has been involved in some collective soul-searching. Evangelical leaders constantly warn that young people are deserting churches; pastors struggle to address changing views on homosexuality; and others wonder how evangelicals can remain relevant when a growing number of Americans refuse to identify with any religion.
Relevant magazine, an evangelical publication, tackles these issues head-on in its latest issue with an article titled “10 Challenges Facing Us in The Next Decade."
“The future is coming faster than ever," the article says, "with the tectonic plates of society, church, culture, technology, economy and environment shifting beneath us.”
How the church should change to meet this future is the thrust of the article. The magazine asked some of the nation’s top evangelical leaders for their take on the biggest challenges facing the church in the next decade.
Their answers varied, and some were surprising.
John Mark McMillan, a worship leader and musician, says religious entertainers can’t save evangelicals. Building more megachurches with slicker worship services that feature skits, live music and hip pastors in skinny jeans won’t do the trick.
“How will we avoid the temptation to simply draw crowds?” McMillan asks. “While a floating head on a Jumbotron can instruct us, I think we can only grow to maturity when we learn to love at point-blank range, where the messy aspects of relationship can’t be avoided.”
Another evangelical leader says making marriage relevant for a new generation is the big challenge. David Kinnaman, whose book "You Lost Me" examines why young evangelicals are leaving the church, says more youth see heterosexual marriage as outdated.
Relevant cited statistics from the Pew Research Center that show 44% of millennials (people age 18-29) say marriage is becoming obsolete.
“Millennials face many challenges when it comes to marriage,” Kinnaman says. "They have more financial pressure, more readily available sexual temptations, fewer social inhibitions with infidelity, not to mention overly distracted spouses who are working hard to get ahead or ‘screening’ away their valuable time.”
Shane Claiborne, author of "The Irresistible Revolution" and a founding member of an alternative community called the Simple Way, points to another challenge.
He says evangelicals must broaden the definition of “pro-life.”
Claiborne says we live in a nation where gun violence kills 10,000 people every year, dozens are executed under the death penalty, and the threat of nuclear annihilation looms.
Claiborne’s suggestion: Create a Life Party of Christians who “insist on protecting life in all its dazzling forms.”
“I hope that we can decrease and eliminate abortion, embrace the immigrant and orphans, end the death penalty in the U.S. and see poor people cared for,” Claiborne says.
Evangelicals can’t meet the future by simply altering the delivery of their message. The message will have to change in some ways as well, says Shane Hipps, author of "Selling Water by the River."
“The historic strength of evangelical churches to innovate methods without altering the underlying message will no longer have the same impact,” he says. “That’s because the cultural shift now under way is not merely about music preferences or the use of video clips in sermons.”
Hipps' solution for the future is to learn a lesson from the past. He cited Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor martyred by the Third Reich during the closing days of World War II.
“We must learn to embrace what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called 'religionless Christianity,' ” Hipps says. “These people will press beyond the tired religious categories of ‘liberal’ and “conservative.’ They will see the life and teachings of Jesus not as religious or even spiritual in nature, but rather as fundamentally human.”
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Love Jesus.Love Jesus.........
The quote at the end sums it up perfectly
"They will see the life and teachings of Jesus not as religious or even spiritual in nature, but rather as fundamentally human."
Jesus was nothing but a bro who saw that everyone around him had little to no morality and the only way to install morality in them was by fear. It's not his fault power hungry people after him exploited the idiots around the rest of the world. The one thing my man Jesus didn't think about was that God and Morality are contradictory. For example, who is the better person A.) A person who does a good deed because he/she knows it is the right thing to do or B.) A person who does a good deed because he/she will be rewarded with an eternal after life?
Person A is the obvious choice...
just as a comment on my own personal experience, the next religious conservative i meet who expresses remorse over the loss of sacred but iraqi life, civilian or military, in the iraq war will be the first. three cheers to extending our concept of pro-life
Please don't write like a Christian. Capitalize properly, use correct grammar, take the time to spell accurately.
No rebranding is necessary, per se. But focus on the original brand should be fervently embrassed and followed. America's founding principles are Christian. And while we are taught to respect all, even antheistic citizens should honor these founding principles, such as Honor, Respect, and the fundamental practices like the Pledge of Allegence... for Honor of America. In Matthew, true Christians are not to speak from the street corners and cast heavy words. A relationship with God and Christ is stated in scripture as a quiet and personal relationship; not one of broadcast and emmence churches.
I'm not aware of any culture in which honor and respect are not core values. In the countries I have travelled in in Asia they are gernerally even more central to the culture than they are in the west. As for the Pledge, I imagine you know the original version contained no reference to God.
Thanks for listening. Yes, quite my point on the Pledge... yet it has been removed from schooling due to its religious overtone. Freedom provides for self-determined choice within each of individual, community and nation. Yet, let it be not that bad choice be made good simply because there is freedom to do so. Freedom of expression while having such rights does not preclude the wrongs inflicted on another, nor should it overshadow the truth of the matter. Understanding, an educated result, provides one with ability to appreciate such infliction, its impact on common cause and its suffering on common good. If such is not held to be true, then it is hoped that others, a larger composition, embrace its concept and provide compassion to the inflicted, and further seek to redirect same future actions of the inflictor. Education of Freedom and its elements – Responsibility, Accountability, and Prudence of choice and action – is an absolute necessitation to individual and societal prosperity. Growth is the product of building up, not tearing down; construction, not destruction; support, not deport.
"yet it has been removed from schooling due to its religious overtone."
No, it hasn't. No one has required that all public schools stop having students listen to, if not recite, the Pledge.
Where do you get this stuff?
As for the rest of your posts, they strike me as having been written by someone for whom English is not a first language. I don't believe you grasped what Saraswati posted. The virtues you are citing are not unique to religion.
http://www.ted.com/playlists................might help Chad and the gang if you view them ALL........you know ?
Who is anyone to suggest Christians change the message of Christianity? What would happen if someone called for a change to the fundamental doctrines of Islam?
Jon, There are many interpretations of Jesus' message including the prosperity gospel and the fundamentalist fervor for setting social and political agendas. Some of that could easily be scaled back. They know they're becoming a drag on the GOP.
people do that ALL THE TIME, but you would never know that because you're too busy fantasizing about how great it was in the days that christianity itself filled its pews and wielded social power with the terrifying threat of physical violence
I call for a fundamental change in the values of Islam. Anyone who thinks girls should inherit equally as their brothers calls for that. If you haven't heard the calls you've been living under a rock.
... anyone who thinks girls should be able to drive and attend school calls for that.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
(The following paper was inspired by Bill O'Reilly whose TV show favors God Dumpers and not "Bible Thumpers." Quotes are from "Vital Quotations" by Emerson West.)
DANGEROUS BIBLE THUMPERS OF AMERICA
ROBERT E. LEE: "In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength." (p. 21)
DANIEL WEBSTER: "If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper." (p. 21)
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS: "I have made it a practice for several years to read the Bible through in the course of every year." (p. 22)
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: "I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Saviour of the world is communicated to us through this book." (p. 22)
GEORGE WASHINGTON: "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible." (p. 22)
HORACE GREELEY: "It is impossible to mentally or socially enslave a Bible-reading people." (p. 23)
THOMAS JEFFERSON: "I hold the precepts of Jesus as delivered by himself to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have ever been preached to man. I adhere to the principles of the first age; and consider all subsequent innovations as corruptions of this religion, having no foundation in what came from him." (p. 45)
THOMAS JEFFERSON: "Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would by now have become Christian." (p. 47)
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: "As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, is the best the world ever saw, or is likely to see." (p.49)
WOODROW WILSON: "The sum of the whole matter is this--that our civilization cannot survive materially unless it be redeemed spiritually. It can only be saved by becoming permeated with the spirit of Christ and being made free and happy by practices which spring out of that spirit." (p. 143)
PATRICK HENRY: "There is a just God who presides over the destiny of nations." (p. 145)
THOMAS JEFFERSON: "Material abundance without character is the surest way to destruction." (p. 225)
THOMAS JEFFERSON: "Of all the systems of morality, ancient or modern, which have come under my observation, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus." (p. 237)
GEORGE WASHINGTON: "The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low, that every person of sense and character detests and despises it." (p. 283)
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: "Here is my creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshiped." (p. 301)
CALVIN COOLIDGE: "The strength of a country is the strength of its religious convictions." (p. 305)
GEORGE WASHINGTON: "The perpetuity of this nation depends upon the religious education of the young." (p. 306)
Prior to our increasingly "Hell-Bound and Happy" era, America's greatest leaders were part of the (gulp) Religious Right! Today we've forgotten God's threat (to abort America) in Psa. 50:22--"Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver." Memo to God Dumpers: In light of Rev. 16:19, can you be sure you won't be in a city that God has already reserved for destruction?
/ Above article was spotted not long ago on the surprising web. Any reaction from anyone? /
It's funny, I've seen opposing quotes from some of these people that would seem to say they didn't believe in a christian deity and it's also a little amusing that two people on opposite sides of a war (Lincoln and Lee), both seem to think that the bible or their shared belief will see them through.
Funny that some of these people quoted here are noted as people who rejected christianity. Did these brilliant men contradict themselves, or is this yet another instance of religionist quote mining?
"America's greatest leaders were part of the (gulp) Religious Right"
Quoted for comedic effect.
I wouldn't be surprised if some of David Barton's fabricated quotes were among these.
All gods die.This is just the death throes of christianity.How many religions and gods has man created in our short time on this planet and how many have died?Christianity had it's run and has lost its purpose and been changed so many times since its formation.Mans true religion is power/control and money/goods and always has been.We just keep repackaging it and moralizing it,same crap in a different bag!
You don't get it, do you? Charitable love cannot die! That is why YHWH is not like the others.
Right...because there were never any other nice gods except the Christian god.
Take an anthro class.
Especially considering the Christian God is perhaps the most grotesque, petty, jealous and violent character of all fiction. Even when he starts calling himself Jesus and mellows out a bit in the sequel, he still peppers his loving-speak with sentiments like (and I'm paraphrasing) "bring he who does not believe to me and slay him before me."
....I am sorry that you believe this. My God lives and will never die. Death cannot hold Him for He holds the keys. Only false deities can die. But, Queequeg, I have to agree with your statement, with the removal of one word that falsifies the rest of the statement in my mind:."Mans true [I would remove this word] religion is power/control and money/goods and always has been.We just keep repackaging it and moralizing it,same crap in a different bag". These are all things people have grown to worship and make a religion...Bug Yahweh...El Elyon...is not a religion, but God whom wants a relationship. I will add you in my prayers and wish to show you no disrespect with giving my belief as I would hope you won't to me.
Sam: I wish you would see that God is Love, but just...just like a father is loving yet must discipline from that love. May I ask what you were paraphrasing? I only wish to understand, for I have not read Jesus saying anything close to that.
so their changing because society no longer excepts their hate,.. again...sounds to me like your god only care about people flattering him.
God cares most about us loving our neighbor as ourselves!
Shove it, Nii.
In the U.S. recently we learned of the head of Lutheran CMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.
One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.
One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".
One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.
One sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.
Some believe the Pope is the Anti-Christ. Some believe Obama is the Anti-Christ.
Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.
Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but don't understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease.
Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as time goes by.
....It is NEVER the word of GOD that is reviled........it is ALWAYS the interpretation of MEN......that fouls the love that GOD wants us to share. But when men want power over others, even the church of GOD can be hijacked. Be your own religion............Pray daily.......ask forgiveness.....and follow the WORD of GOD........with ACTS THAT GOD WOULD APPROVE. Do NOT pretend that YOU are interpreting GOD and your way is the ONLY way to GOD. Remember that GOD said............"VENGENCE IS MINE"........so stop the HATE..............and let GOD work his way.
T – I always find it amusing when a ranting, raving religious nut tries to tell others to stop the hate.
Sadly, you are right. There are a lot of splits within the same denomination. You have people contradicting what Scriptures states or they are interpreting passages differently. It does cause a rift, but that is the cause of Satan and our sinful nature. The truth is what Scripture says, not these beliefs that are fabricated. Only a few of what you stated could be biblicaly proven in one of the forms in which you spoke.
Prayer changes things
Really !!! – what "things" were changed
Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.
An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.
The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!
Again, misusing the word "liar" and putting it in all caps makes you looks like as much of an idiot as the OP.
"Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things"
That's why the data, has shown that atheists have happier and healthier lives than conservative Christians. Your post is built on a lie!
Lithium changes things...
Prayer is very powerful and I have witnessed its power. Now to those that speak about those jailed...that does not cause the power of prayer to be flawed. God answers prayer, if it aligns with His will. For some reason, even if we do not see it, the deaths that occur or people jailed will help his plan to unfold. There are many accounts of prayer being effective, but there is no point in posting those for people will still deny their validity .
I don't think they ll have too much of a hard time of it. Con men are masters of rebranding...Evangelicals are among the best liars on the planet...their wallets depend on it.
Only an idiot would think that "rebranding" poop will actually fool people into believing it's not poop.
John Mark McMillian has been slightly misquoted. This is what he actually said: "How will we make sure that the technologies we employ to serve people don’t actually prevent us from connecting with and loving real human beings? And as it becomes easier in the coming years to produce impressive [worship] experiences with new technology, how will we help people cultivate their own indigenous, genuine expressions? How will we avoid the temptation to simply draw crowds? While a floating head on a Jumbotron can instruct us, I think we only grow to maturity when we learn to love at point-blank range, where the messy aspects of relationship can’t be avoided."
Dear CNN, please quote people in the right context. Ta 🙂
"While a floating head on a Jumbotron can instruct us"
Why does this remind me of.....
"PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTIAN!"
Where's the misquote?
“How will we avoid the temptation to simply draw crowds?” McMillan asks. “While a floating head on a Jumbotron can instruct us, I think we can only grow to maturity when we learn to love at point-blank range, where the messy aspects of relationship can’t be avoided.”
"How will we avoid the temptation to simply draw crowds? While a floating head on a Jumbotron can instruct us, I think we only grow to maturity when we learn to love at point-blank range, where the messy aspects of relationship can’t be avoided."
Sorry, but I don't see the misquote.
There's no problem with context either. The whole point is that the faith experience needs to be deeper than gimmicky technology in megachurches or online.
The 'floating head on the jumbotron' reminds me more of the two-minute hate and Goldstein morphing into Big Brother on the telescreen.
I forgot about that on non-GOPer! That's funny too.
When is the next article by Mohler???? Move over Blake, we want Mohler to write some meaningful commentaries.
Way to MISQUOTE John Mark McMillan CNN. Way to go.
as per @tess above, in what way was McMillan misquoted?
This challenge: "2. We’ll need to expand our capacity to love at the same lightning rate of technological advances." is about not being seduced by gimmicky technology.
Actually the original article is much more interesting than the belief blog essay by John Blake. It challenges evangelicals to abandon their self-identification of faith==GOP talking points.
Essentially the recommendation is to replace old testament judgementalism with Christ's message of love for others.
Here is a brief summary of the article.
1. We’ll need to prove the value of the local church as a social inst!tution.
When non-Christians aged 16 to 29 years old were asked, “What is your current perception of Christianity?” here’s how they responded:
•75% too involved in politics
•70% out of touch with reality
•70% insensitive to others
2. We’ll need to expand our capacity to love at the same lightning rate of technological advances.
How will we avoid the temptation to simply draw crowds? While a floating head on a Jumbotron can instruct us, ...
3. We’ll need to reclaim the broken inst!tution of marriage.
•44% of 18- to 29-year-old Americans believe marriage is becoming obsolete
•In 1960, 72 percent of American adults were married. In 2011, 51 percent were married. If the trend continues, the number of married adults will become a national minority in the next few years.
... The 'sanct!ty of marriage" is the number one hypocrisy of American evangelicals.
4. We’ll need to pull the plug on cynicism.
5. We’ll need to answer the growing concerns about immigration.
•91% of Christians admit they do not consider the immigration issue through a faith perspective
•Immigrant churches are the fastest-growing segment of evangelical churches in the U.S.
6. We’ll need to push beyond conventional categories to engage the rise of the “nones.”
•1/3 of American adults under 30 state they have no religious affiliation
•88% of the religiously unaffiliated say they're not looking for a religion that is right for them
7. We’ll need to pioneer a third way forward in politics.
8. We’ll need to kick out the cliché of the fallen leader.
9. We’ll need to redefine climate change as not only an environmental issue, but also a human issue.
If nothing is done to prevent the expected rise of 2 degrees Celsius in global average temperatures by 2050:
•250 million people will be forced to leave their homes due to extreme weather disasters
•30 million people will go hungry as agriculture suffers
•1-3 billion people will suffer acute water shortages
10. We’ll need to inaugurate the “Pro-Life Movement 2.0.”
... Not focused on abortion, but inclusive of gun control, warmongering, immigration, and the death penalty!
So who is really telling us how to live our lives?.........The Media ....................media wins
if by "the media" you mean in this case "Relevant – the magazine on faith culture and intentional living" written by Millenial Christians for Christians, then, sure.
Go ahead and keep living in the stone age fred and your beliefs will continue to be less relevant every day.
I see, so you quote stone age scripture( How about "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.") not out of reverence but relevance?
...not out of reverence but relevance?
Sure, why not? I thought it relevant.
=>Must be somewhat relevant or you would not have quoted Matthew. Perhaps on your monument we could write here lays GOPer more relevant with every passing day. According to God the purpose for existence has not changed with the passing of time. That purpose was to bring redemption from the desires of men. All very relevant and important to all people equally.
Then there is the way of the godless where to be relevant one must submit to the then present desires of men. Sound like a fair trade? Would it not be better to be less relevant every day than submitting to greater and greater bondage to the desire of men?
so do you agree with the ten points addressed by Relevant magazine?
Do you agree that with statements like:
– "Christians, ... must recommit [them]selves to building others-oriented marriages that seek to serve others better—your spouse, children, church and community."
– "We now live in a culture that is characterized by spin. Politicians, pastors and Christian leaders lie, so what else is new?"
– "Christians must reclaim the conversation and refuse to allow [their] voices to be minimized and held hostage by political camps. [Their] challenge will be discovering ways to do so that supersedes the fray of political partisan bickering and uncivil, un-Christian discourse."
– "We live in a nation where gun violence kills 10,000 people a year, where the death penalty kills dozens a year to try and show that killing is wrong, where military spending is over 20,000 a second, where we have the capacity of 100,000 Hiroshimas in our arsënal. It is time for a movement of Christians to interrupt the patterns of violence with the love we see on the cross."
I thought the article was interesting and thought provoking – a challenge to evangelical Christians to embrace Jesus' words independently from the hypocritical political group-think of the religious right and raise their beliefs out of the political debate.
I have no problem with the 10 points I do have a problem with source of change in the body of Christ (Church). The source and layout of the points seem to come from man with a purpose to grow the social acceptability of the Church rather than grow the spirituality of the Church. What the Church generally lacks is the power of the Holy Spirit which is why we see typical human behavior and works coming out of the church and leadership.
The first place to begin is a revival in the hearts of believers. This does not come from top down marketing campaigns of man. It begins with prayer and a desire to have the Holy Spirit lead your life. We are speaking about every aspect of a person’s life. Few are willing to do this and so few exhibit the power of the Holy Spirit.
All changes suggested without the power of the Holy Spirit and led by God will simply be watered down version of the Chruch.
Just like you I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. However shouldn't it be clear to you that what the Church generally lacks is the Fruit of the Holy Spirit?
It is high time evangelicals focus on that cos that is true spirituality according to the Bible not gifts like tongues which you guys raise as the standard but is not.
Loving others as yourself, according to 1Cor 13, is the principal spiritual gift and a fruit of the spirit. If you practise it even your worst enemies back down.
That is what the article is saying in a nutshell.
I don't think most church leaders really understand the demographics involved or they'd be responding a lot more aggressively to the situation.
Couldn’t agree more!
Check out: http://livingontheedge.org/church-leaders/r12-church
In short it is applying Romans 12 in our own lives first. Then going out into the community and serving others not the church or self. This program has now gone world-wide to the Christian churches.
The pastors I talk to understand the demographics what they do not understand is using the way of the world to grow the church. You end up with feel good pastors like Joel Osteen who packs a stadium and sells tons of books. Some people may be drawn to that feel good belief then transition into the truth of God.
I still think if we want a social institution then churches should support that while keeping the Church (body of Christ i.e. believers) as Christ intended. That would be biblical and bring glory to God.
Oops – I mean what about WOT (below).
hey, say what you mean and mean wot you say
Look in your MIRROW then Judge! To all people, to serve the present age, our calling to full field, Most of us, who has the most to say, knows very little about the Word of God (BIBLE).
How about "Do not judge, or you too will be judged."
I"Your MIRROW" ?
What a dunce.
Laughing here because my mother-in-law says "mirror." But SHE knows that's not how it's spelled. What a ding-dong.