American Christianity no longer resembles its Founder

In the United States of America the last few months we could see that there is much division in the country, with lots of people who call themselves Christian took on not only a racist attitude, but also used many awful words against the different peoples living in their state and against those who show that they do not agree with their favoured politician and presidential candidate.

In the 16th century there was a time many who fled to the New World carried a Dutch crescent-shaped Geuzen medal at the time of the anti-Spanish Dutch Revolt, with the slogan “Liever Turks dan Paaps” (“Rather Turkish than Papist“), 1570, indicating to be better a Muslim than to be a Roman Catholic.

An American writer who considers himself reformed in his thinking and faith, considers himself a follower of Jesus and believing all  Scriptures, though he looks like a papist (not in an offensive way) and does not seem to believe all words of Jesus and not to accept that God is only One, but that is not the issue in this writing.  Today we want to look at what he wrote already in 2012.

In his article The Best Argument Against Christianity he looked at “Some Disturbing Statistics” and wrote

David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group (a research organization focusing on religious trends and information), asserts that the primary issue that today’s culture has with Christianity is that it no longer resembles its Founder. {David Kinnaman, Unchristian, 2007, pg. 25. + The Best Argument Against Christianity}

In his book Unchristian, Kinnaman studied the Mosaic (born between 1984 and 2002) and Busters (born between 1965 and 1983) generations of the United States, which currently comprise approximately 77% of America’s population. With respect to Christianity, Kinnaman notes a growing tide of hostility and resentment, a statistic which is trending downward from a positive study that was done by his Barna group only one decade before. {The Best Argument Against Christianity}

Barna also describes the Mosaic Generation as “comfortable with contradiction”, “post-modern” and exhibiting “non-linear” thinking. All the contradiction going on in the New World many wanting to screw back into the past, makes it very chaotic.

The criteria for human value, to the world at large, has shifted from that of someone who champions high ethical standards at work, has personal integrity in his dealings, and who is committed to doing the right thing no matter what, to someone who, at work, is willing to do whatever can ensure the greatest commercial viability and his own personal security, and get away with whatever s/he can in their personal dealings. The more noble qualities of human nature are unwittingly being sacrificed on the altar of commerce. Most do not realize the cost: ending up as two-dimensional beings, mere cogs in the wheel of commerce without a heart capable of compassion.{Millennials: Escape the Credit/Debt Matrix}

For the blogger “evangelical” relates to Christianity, though we do not hope he wants to give the impression to his readers that ‘Evangelism‘ are the norm and does not use ‘Christianity’ in the same way as it is often used in Belgium when they speak of Christianity or of Christendom they mean ‘Roman Catholicism‘.

Most important to notice is the reflection of the spirit of the age. We have come in a time where atheists speak publicly more often about God than their in God believing counterparts. By the majority of the population there is a bad co-notation to the word ‘Christian’. In 2012 nearly half had a bad impression, and four year later we may say nearly three quarter of the population has a bad idea by the word ‘Christian’ and lots of them do find religion the cause of all the problems and all the wars.

Many non-religious people in the States and in Europe look at the works of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and see the similarities with the crusaders.  All those groups went killing and conquering territory, terrorising lots of people. Many non-religious people also hear the vile language of many who say they are Christian or are saying they are defending the Christian values. The 2016 American presidential election has been the example how the Christian manners shown to the world are not those of the master teacher, rabbi Jeshua, known in the States and many other countries as Jesus Christ.

In 2012 also

There were two things that Kinnaman’s study uncovered, and neither had anything to do with the theological teachings or doctrinal standards of the Church. First, unbelievers responded negatively to what they termed the Christian “swagger” – how Christians’ lives don’t match up to Christ’s, and the bark and bite that unbelievers say they see in Christians’ demeanor and action. {The Best Argument Against Christianity}

The immoral way of life by Christians, outsiders can see, is the most chocking to non-religious and other religious people. Muslims in particular are very disgruntled by the way Christian behave. Put out over their way of life no wonder several Muslim groups try to get Christians to their faith, trying to have them understand such a way of living is totally against the Will of God.

Lots of non-religious and non-Christian religious groups see as many respondents said that the charity and compassion of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels have been dismissed by Christians in favour of their selfish gain, combative and judgemental actions against what they believe to be threats against their moral positions.

In other words, as Christians, we have become famous for what we oppose and stand against rather than for what we are in favor of and champion. {The Best Argument Against Christianity}

But what are those American Christians are in favour for? What are their aims and what is their willingness to follow Jesus’ teachings and to have that same attitude as that master teacher? How peaceful do they want to be? In most instances we can see those American ‘Christians’ only considering their church or nomination to be allowed to have the label Christian. Very often they feel other denominations of Christendom are the false groups and consider that most of those people will land up in hell (for them a place of eternal torture). The exclusion of other people is the most problematic element the American population now encounters.

Many youngsters, particular the Millennials who had first difficulties in paying their studies and now have problems paying off the loan and need a place to live (besides with their parents), clothes on their back, food to eat and resources to care for their children, do not see any surplus a church or religion may give them. For them their focus is not at all on something which we cannot see or not fully understand. They are focussing on the material which might be in their reach if certain groups would not stand in their way. They want to have time and money for travel, doing fun things, but nobody standing in their way or confronting them with how they have to live or behave. At the moment they also have become very disappointed with the political system they are living in and want change. It is that carving for change what made many also to chose for Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States, which have become very divided now.

The neo-Nazis and the weapon lobby gladly backed Donald Trump, because in him they saw the man to clean up the country and to enable enough income by the promotion of weapons to determinate ‘the vermin’. Strangely enough lots of evangelist Americans and other so called Christians in those states do promote the carriage and use of weapons and do not seem to mind to shoot at an other creature of God.

When we do hear how those gun-lovers talk about them having to prepare against ‘the enemy’ and how they have to train their kids in shooting and defending themselves, we clearly can form a good idea how far away they have gone from the teaching of Christ. It has gone even so far that there are churches in America where in the service there are tombola’s for or weapons given to their members. There exist even crusader rifles of which so called Christians are very proud to have such gun, which has a cross engraved on it.

That is where the Americans have left the real faith and have also gone far away from the idea of defending and living in a free state.
Lots of American Christians have come to think their freedom is to limit the freedom of others and to oppress their way of thinking to others. For them all have to take on their ‘belief’ and their ‘faith’ and all people in the United States of America do have to live according to their religious rules. For sure that was not something the founding fathers of the New World had in mind. They just had escaped the tyrannising position of the churches in Europe. Today lots of Americans are trying to create that what the founding fathers of the United States of America had fled for and have no idea of their sayings.

It is getting time American Christian get back to reading the Bible and to listen what is written in it. They have to get back on track, finding the inner moral compass to resist unethical business practices, to show others they have a moral and ethical attitude according Judeo Christian values.

Once back on track they can give a good example how a Christian should live together with all sorts of people from all sorts of place and religions. than they can start to rebuild the shattered state they are living in now.

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Preceding articles

Scepticals of the Bible

Islamophobia Must be Fought and Defeated

God Isn’t a Republican

 

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Additional articles

  1. American Founding Fathers Sayings
  2. 2014 Religion
  3. Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church
  4. The 17th annual White Privilege Conference a militantly Christophobic conference held in Philadelphia
  5. Iranian preacher creating more hatred between religious groups
  6. Hamas the modern Philistines
  7. Refugee crisis, terrorist attacks and created fear
  8. Silence, devotion, Salafists, quietists, weaponry, bombings, books, writers and terrorists
  9. What Jesus Did – Misleading around the Messiah and the final assessment
  10. Running the battle
  11. Living in faith
  12. If You want to start winning the war
  13. Blinded crying blue murder having being made afraid by a bugaboo
  14. The clean sweeper of the whole caboodle
  15. Separation of church and state
  16. Demonizing families in poverty and misleading actions
  17. Right to be in the surroundings
  18. Which back voters in the US wants to see
  19. Christian values and voting not just a game
  20. Faith related boycotts
  21. Roman Catholic Church in the United States of America at war
  22. Ron Paul blames Neocons
  23. Jews the next scapegoat for Donald Trump
  24. The American clouds of Anti-Semitism
  25. Trump brand of migrant demonization #1
  26. Peppered Speeches at Republican National Convention
  27. Bumpy road to success
  28. Reluctance to act in Syrian civil war
  29. Al Qaeda regaining foothold in Middle East bubonic plague for American elections
  30. ISIL will find no safe haven
  31. The Crusader Rifle
  32. Conservative and Communist Climate Change Scam
  33. Bridge builder Obama
  34. Obama made in a cult
  35. Second term for Obama
  36. Children of Men
  37. Preparing for an important election
  38. Coming closer to the end of 2015 and the end for Donald Trump as presidential candidate
  39. Walls,colours, multiculturalism, money to flow, Carson, Trump and consorts
  40. When so desperate to hold onto power
  41. Are United States of America citizens going to show their senses
  42. Brexit No. 2 Blow-up
  43. Nigel Farage called Donald Trump’s victory ‘bigger than Brexit’
  44. Trump et al.— The Global Storm
  45. A strong and wise fighter who keeps believing in America
  46. Victims and Seekers of Peace
  47. Declaration of war against Islam and Christianity
  48. Discipleship way of life on the narrow way to everlasting life

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Further reading

  1. Millennials: Escape the Credit/Debt Matrix
  2. Fully Satisfied
  3.  Election 2016
  4. Election 2016 Afterthoughts
  5. On voting
  6. This American Life
  7. How America got Trumped
  8. they tried to bury us. they didn’t know that we were seeds.
  9. How the Hated Donald Trump Came to Power
  10. What Great Leaders Stay Focused #Leadership #SMB
  11. “love keeps us safe, not fear”
  12. … Focus on the Task at Hand , ObamaCraps [#Islamic Terrorism]…
  13. Lesson From Election 2016
  14. The Need to Focus and Not Be Scattered
  15. Blog 2016 046. 11/11/16 Evangelize like Jesus did! Ask questions to get to their motives.
  16. Racism in America or Amerikkka( as some might call it)
  17. Andrew Young: ‘This is our country. And it does not depend on the president to make it great’
  18. The ‘Theoretical’ Significance Of This Election
  19. Cacophony of lawsuits to follow Trump into White House
  20. How a major hate-watch group is preparing for President Donald Trump’s America and the alt-right
  21. The Power of Apathy
  22. Division: An open letter to my sons 
  23. Donald Trump Is an Icon
  24. Clinton Wounded the Party, Now Howard Dean Wants to Kill It
  25. Southeast schools take the streets of South Gate
  26. Trump Denounces Protesters In Tweet, Praises Them In Another
  27. Man Describes Brutal Attack; Crowd Yelled ‘That’s A White Boy Trump Supporter’
  28. The Transition
  29. Donal Trump, The New Miracle
  30. Millions Of Concerned Citizens Are Signing A Petition That Asks The Electoral College To Vote For Hillary Clinton
  31. PFW: Blowing the Rust off of Hillary’s America
  32. Rowan Blanchard Marches In ‘Not My President’ Protest With Powerful Sign — See Pic
  33. The media’s sanctimonious self-righteousness contributed to Trump’s victory
  34. Rural vs Urban: the Greatest Divide in Modern America
  35. Trumped up
  36. The traumatized Democrats
  37. Rainier Beach High Students Walkout to Find Hope, Optimism After Election
  38. Well, That Didn’t Take Long
  39. Call to ‘Lock Her Up’ Puts Trump in a Bind Over His Threat to Prosecute Clinton
  40. White Christians Who Voted for Donald Trump: Fix This. Now. | John Pavlovitz
  41. The TRUMPet Has Been Blown
  42. We Will Rise Above
  43. Post-Election 2016, cont.
  44. How Donald Trump Pulled It Off
  45. Confession of a watcher
  46. Things I’m Verbing: “We Reject the President-Elect” and a WPA for Journalism
  47. The Era of the Post-Truth Politician?
  48. The Ku Klux Klan has a Voice and a Leader in Washington
  49. Where Were They?
  50. Oh, Really? Omarosa Says Black People Should Educate Whites After Trump Victory
  51. Oh, Really? Omarosa Says Black People Should Educate Whites After Trump Victory
  52. Immigrants in U.S. gripped by deportation fears with Donald Trump election win
  53. Between Friends
  54. Hitlery’s terrorist youth demand a government overthrow
  55. The Other Side We Failed to See – 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
  56. Blanketing Fantasy With A Hint of Reality
  57. Here’s how to sleep with Donald Trump
  58. Voices: Reacting to Trump | ‘I will fight for my right to speak’
  59. Women Warned To Get IUDs Before Trump Becomes President
  60. November 11, 2016
  61. Trump commends protesters’ ‘passion’ after new night of rallies
  62. How Will a Trump Presidency Impact Your Health?
  63. The tweet of a narcissist 
  64. Episode 43: Welcome to Trumpdome
  65. Republican Age Of Austerity – ‘And Here We Go’
  66. The Wall
  67. Popped and Cultured: The Results Are In
  68. It’s time for a few hard truths.
  69. Usually liberals would have same opinions & views as the media & liberal social networking groups… really sad…
  70. The pitfalls of underestimation
  71. With the possibility of 11th-hour change, here are suggestions for Trump’s ‘national growth and renewal’
  72. A Rock and Roll Generation (Post-Election blues)
  73. Election Results 2016: Did Voter ID & Voter Suppression Help Elect Trump?
  74. Here’s What it Means to “Make America Great Again”
  75. Election vitory: Anti-Trump Protest enters day two
  76. The way of the world

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Depression, Anxiety, Pressure and megachurches

Big churches with many dreams but also with anxiety

In the church world many say because they are the biggest church they must be the church closest to the truth and the right church.

In the United States of America you may find lots of Mega Churches and Holland is not doing bas getting also more people in churches where all sorts of happenings attire lots of people with entertaining services. In those mega churches we also often find preachers who seem to be obsessed with religious rules and legalism and who try to make their flock afraid of what they do. Everywhere seems to be the devil looking around the corner. They preach about the Satan going to destroy them if they do not turn away from him and come to Jesus.

Those preachers are more obsessed with the sins and shortcomings of others and make it their obsession to point out their faults.

Preachers like Perry Noble, are known more for what he attacked rather than what he built up! But by Noble some change took place after he had taken a sabbatical year.

Perry Noble

To his mega church where he ministered for 12 years for a congregation which drew around 16,000 people every weekend, in 2012 he made it clear to them that he was committed to NewSpring, which he founded, and that he wasn’t leaving to figure out if he’s supposed to stay. His goal was to lead the church for another 20 years until age 60. That is when he wants to pass the baton to the next generation.

“In order for me to lead this church well for the next 20 years, there’s got to be some changes in me,”

he told his congregation in 2012 when he preached his final message before his break.

Layers to be peeled

“I noticed the closer you get to Jesus, he just peels back another layer on your life of something that you’ve got to work on.”

Noble has not shied away from admitting his weaknesses and how “screwed up” he was to his church. He was open about having battled depression just a few years ago.

“I’m not the perfect person but I am trying my best to pursue Jesus,”

he said.

Men of God and Burn out

That pastor may have been very passionate in what he was doing and had to face a burn out. A few thousand years ago, the prophet Jeremiah also suffered burnout. Decades of pronouncing judgement on an unrepentant Israel wore him down. In the book named after him, he begs for release from this horrible work, but God forbids him to leave it. Jeremiah’s battle against burnout reveals who he really is as a leader – a mixture of character traits and weaknesses we can all appreciate.

The man in the old times we can imagine, got very frustrated, having to speak about the bad things people do and having to pronounces only destruction.  Other prophets get to speak of magnificent future events but Jeremiah is confronted with a stubborn people (the Israelites) who could see what God had done already for them, but where not appreciative for it, and were not interested to change their way of living, so that the prophet also could not change his message.

Losing sight and falling in a pit

"The Prophet Jeremiah" (1968)

“The Prophet Jeremiah” (1968) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The great prophet demands to know why God has allowed him to fall into this pit. Years of throwing himself into his work without any results or reward has left him burned out and resentful. The problem, God tells him, is that he has forgotten his calling. Jeremiah must return to the original vision that launched his ministry.

Today, in the churches all over the world we also can find lots of people who have lost sight of the reason why they were called. Many when they were young were really looking for God, but found a stable home, were they could feel at ease by a certain church denomination. In that church they were comforted they could have a living and do not have to worry about their income, nor have to make steps themselves on their own to build places where they could preach and worship God.

To stay fresh and focused, many like to make sure that they have certain getaway rituals. By many ministers the attraction of a growing church, having lots of people coming to listen to them, brings them to put on shows or to present some sort of entertainment which can attract more people. They start losing track of their real purpose and do think it is best for church to have many people joining in. Most of them do prefer to control everything themselves; They forget that the body of Christ is one of many people doing different jobs in that body, the church. they themselves start thinking they have to do it all. They count on themselves (instead of on God) to do everything what is needed to make a big church, to solve the many problems, build products with too many features, and often they can not say ‘no’ to lots of thing of which they should be able to say “no” or “I can not”.

They forget that if they include every decent idea that comes along, they’ll just wind up with a half-[baked] version of their product.

Outside world

Prophet Jeremiah, Russian icon from first quar...

Prophet Jeremiah and the Scriptures – Russian icon from first quarter of 18th cen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If we say yes to all outside influences, including everyone else’s expectations, opinions, and criticisms, we shall end up with a half-baked, burned-out version of ourself.

Perry Noble made it his goal to catch people doing something wrong and condemn them and perhaps forgot to see the person he himself really was.  Instead of reaching out to them with compassion and a genuine concern he became judging them.

We also have to be careful not to judge others, and we certainly can damn them or threaten them with places of torture for indefinitely. According to the Scriptures no such place exist. The hell being spoken off is just the grave where we all shall end up. Even Jesus, who never sinned landed up in hell for three days.

Faith, Correctness and discussions

Today we may find many who do not like to associate with anyone or any group that does not acknowledge that he or she is completely correct in his or her view and for religious people this concerns also their interpretation of the Scriptures. On the internet but also in real life we see can  hear heavy discussions going on … and, if the other person does not want to think or see just like him he would attack and malign them as often as possible. (Kind of goes against what Jesus said in John 13:34-35)

Perry Noble admits he fell also in such a trap. He also remembers the very first time he ever had to deal with someone who told him they were struggling with anxiety and depression. He did not understand and could not relate-so, he told them what he thought was the typical “Christian” answer to all problems … they should pray more, read their Bible more and memorize more Scripture.

Instead of lessening the load he was unintentionally adding to it.

The person mentioned, their doctor had told them about going on a certain type of anti-depressant, to help out with their struggle, and so they asked his opinion.

He says now:

In a completely illiterate and uneducated manner I told them that people with “weak faith” are the ones that needed such meds, that godly people did not struggle with feelings of anxiety and depression and that taking such medication would essentially be screaming to God, “I don’t trust you.”

Coming through the storm by learning

He himself also got into a terrible state of not seeing any more where he could go. Through a series of situations in his life that needed to be changed, along with some intense and excellent Biblical counselling he was able to come through the storm that had dominated him for so long. From what he learned at his time of depression, many others can also learn. Today he is willing to share his experiences so that others can learn from it and avoid coming into such a mess he came into. For today’s believers it is not made easy either, because they are tossed about by every wind of “doctrine” because so few preachers seem to be preaching absolute Truth and sound doctrine. They also see what lots of those ministers or priest do in their daily life, not according to what they are preaching or demanding that their churchgoers would have to do.
So many people have become so frightened by other people, instead of knowing that human beings can not totally destroy an other person. He might kill him or her, but that will not solve the problem for the killer. For the one killed he might not have pain any more so the worldly problems would be solved.  A Satisfied Spirit does not have to fear. Most people also want to have the right in their hand and want to believe they are right in everything. In case they would be more humble and come to see that not one person can be right in everything, life would be easier. We should give each other much more “the right to be wrong about everything” and allow ourselves also to have mistakes and getting to learn form our mistakes.

> Please do continue reading about Depression and Anxiety, in:

  1. Searching for fulfillment and meaning through own efforts, facing unsatisfaction and depression
  2. Depression Is and When
  3. Anxiety’s Hold
  4. Believe What You Will
  5. When feeling sad, not sure of there being a Divine Creator
  6. Be an encourager
  7. Duty of encouragement

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Additional reading:

  1. When discouraged facing opposition
  2. Words to push and pull
  3. No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation
  4. Christendom Astray The Devil Not A Personal Super-Natural Being
  5. Satan the evil within
  6. Does God exist?
  7. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  8. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  9. Jesus Christ being dispatched as the Figurehead of a Religion
  10. Jesus three days in hell
  11. Parts of the body of Christ
  12. The task given to us to love each other
  13. Reasons to come to gether
  14. Testify of the things heard
  15. How should we preach?
  16. Good or bad preacher
  17. Who are you going to reach out to today
  18. Attitude to others important for reaching them
  19. Many churches
  20. Who are the honest ones?
  21. Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church
  22. Greatest single cause of atheism
  23. What’s church for, anyway? (by Marcus Ampe)
  24. Knowing where to go to
  25. Democratic principles for the church of today
  26. Church is a Hospital for sinners
  27. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  28. God is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him
  29. The Spirit of God brings love, hope and freedom
  30. Love for each other attracting others
  31. Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair
  32. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  33. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  34. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  35. Be humble like Christ
  36. Faith and trial
  37. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  38. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  39. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  40. Raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair
  41. If you want to go far in life
  42. Remember that who you’re being is just as important as what you’re doing
  43. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  44. Abhor evil. Adhere to goodness
  45. Kill the messenger
  46. Work with joy and pray with love
  47. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  48. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  49. You only lose energy when life becomes dull in your mind
  50. No good thing will he withhold
  51. Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism?
  52. Problems attracting and maintaining worshippers

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  1. Should Christians Take Medication for Mental Illness?
  2. 5 Practical Things to Consider Before Taking an Antidepressant
  3. One of the Most Powerful Leadership Principles I’ve Ever Learned
  4. The One Thing That Holds Most Leaders Back
  5. Why Are So Many Churches Hearing So Little of the Bible from Their Preachers?
  6. Preachers of L.A. Dressed to Impress, But Is Jesus Pleased?
  7. #PreachersofLA: As Real as It Gets
  8. Preachers Of LA’s Bishop McClendon Says He Was Set Up
  9. What if Modern Preachers Preached What Jesus was Preaching?
  10. A Plea for Sharp and Polished Preachers…
  11. In Have You Seen the Viral Videos of the ‘Pint-Sized Preachers’ Yet? (theblaze.com) you can see how children can be exploited and which impression some people have about “teaching” and “preaching” and what certain people do call a “sermon”.
  12. TD Jakes Disses Preachers Of LA
  13. Strange Fire Conference: Preachers or Witch Doctors?
  14. church oh church1
  15. Debating with theologians and preachers and their somewhat constricted views….
  16. Can Faith Ever Be Rational?
  17. Political Correctness and “Bashing”
  18. The one religion that’s not part of my spiritual quest
  19. Word Power
  20. The Right To Be Wrong About Everything
  21. A Satisfied Spirit Fears Not

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  • Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism? (blackchristiannews.com)
    The emergence of the megachurch as a model of metropolitan ministry is one of the defining marks of evangelical Christianity in the United States. Megachurches — huge congregations that attract thousands of worshipers — arrived on the scene in the 1970s and quickly became engines of ministry development and energy.
    Over the last 40 years, the megachurch has made its presence known, often dominating the Christian landscape within the nation’s metropolitan regions. The megachurch came into dominance at the same time that massive shopping malls became the landmarks of suburban consumer life. Sociologists can easily trace the rise of megachurches within the context of America’s suburban explosion and the development of the technologies and transportation systems that made both the mall and the megachurch possible.
  • Joel Osteen’s message of hope connects faithful, churches (ocregister.com)
    Osteen, senior pastor of the 50,000-strong Lakewood Church in Houston and nicknamed “the Smiling Preacher” for his toothy grin, travels with a crew of 30. Many in the audience Friday seemed to connect with the preacher’s observations, delivered in a lyrical Texan drawl, his interpretation of Scriptures and most of all, his positive energy.During his sermon, Osteen drew quite a bit from personal experience in his message about “redeeming time,” or making the most of our time in this world. He broke down as he talked about his mother’s valiant and victorious fight against liver cancer. He reminisced about the first time he met Victoria, his wife of 27 years, at a jewelry store while shopping for a watch battery.He told how the tragic death of his father, John Osteen, who founded the church at the back of an old feed store with 90 members, pushed a behind-the scenes guy into the limelight – as a preacher. In the last 15 years, Osteen has grown a congregation of 6,000 to the nation’s largest megachurch.
  • Has the Megachurch Lost Its Luster? (juicyecumenism.com)
    In the future, the 1990s and early 2000s may well be called the “Megachurch Era” by ecclesiastical historians. Suburban commuter culture, television broadcasting, the Internet, the book publishing industry, the rise of self-help gurus, digital media technology, and the contemporary sounds of Jesus People music all provided essential ingredients for enormous churches with a plethora of programs. All that the ingredients needed were men with the vision, initiative, and charisma to muster together like-minded individuals for a common purpose: planting, building, and increasing a congregation (well beyond the previous conceptions of a “large congregation”).
  • Huge Money Stolen From MegaChurch, But That’s Not The OMG Moment (crooksandliars.com)
    The Young Turk’s Cenk Uygur discusses the recent robbery at Joel Osteen’s megachurch, and the incredible amount of money they’re raking in there every single week.
  • How to Run a Megachurch: T.D. Jakes, Marvin Winans, and Others Provide an Inside Look (blackchristiannews.com)
    On just about any Sunday, as many as 10,000 people may fill the pews of Bishop T.D. Jakes’ Dallas-area megachurch. Some believers say he has an uncanny way of connecting with his audience anyway.

    “It doesn’t matter about the size,” says Faith Johnson, a 13-year member. “It’s almost like nobody else is in that church, but me.”
    It takes some help for leaders of the largest megachurches and national ministries to make believers reject the idea that a smaller church is more intimate and personable. A big staff of associate pastors and elders is indispensable.
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    Pastor Matthew Cork knew he’d have to rely more on his leadership when his nearly 6,000-member Friends Church in Yorba Linda, Calif., committed to building 200 schools in India over the next 10 years for dalit children, who are part of the country’s lowest caste. He’s also promoting a book and movie about the number of dalits who end up being trafficked as sex slaves.
    “We have a teaching team, so I’m not teaching every week, which gives me freedom to do some of the other things that I do,” said Cork, who speaks about twice a month at his church. “It’s worked great for me and my schedule.”
  • Fort Lauderdale Megachurch Pastor Resigns Over ‘Moral Failing’ (miami.cbslocal.com)
    “Bob Coy resigned as Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, effective immediately, after confessing to a moral failing in his life…Pastor Bob will be focusing his full attention on his personal relationship with God and his family. The governing board of the church is providing counselors and ministers who will help guide him through the process of full repentance, cleansing and restoration.”+
    “There should have been more accountability at Calvary Chapel,” he says.  “Pastor Bob shouldn’t have been put on such a high pedestal and he should have never had so much power. Whenever there is that, it’s a formula for disaster.”The popular church boasts over 20,000 members, has 10 campuses, and 1,000 employees.“You know he did a lot of good,” said Mitch Guertler a church member. “He helped out a lot of people and I’m just really sad but like he always said up on stage—don’t follow him, follow Christ. So, you know, he’s a sinner like the rest of us and it’s just too bad.”
  • Arguing over trifles while the world burns: Megachurch pays millions to leave nation’s biggest Presbyterian denomination – major rift over ‘Who Jesus is’ (sott.net)
    A California megachurch has voted to officially leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a Christian denomination that is the largest in the nation.Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, Calif., one of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s largest congregations, made the choice despite facing a $8.89 million cost for the church’s property and membership fees, Religion News Service reported.With 4,000 members, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Menlo Park’s decision is a major development in the lifecycle of a denomination that continues to experience ideological infighting over its more liberal stances on controversial issues.
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    In a document published by Menlo Park last year, leaders described their reasons for seeking a split with Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), noting that the church’s “evangelical identity around who Jesus is and our understanding of the authority of scripture are increasingly out of alignment” with the denomination as a whole.

    Specifically, the church expressed concern that many Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders do not believe in the deity of Jesus, nor do they embrace salvation through Christ. These are central tenets of most mainstream Christian churches, leading to a difficult ideological splintering.

  • Amazingly Elaborate Hoax Targets Megachurch Pastor (newser.com)
    Somebody has put a massive amount of work into a hoax claiming that pastor Joel Osteen has renounced his faith and is resigning from the Texas megachurch his father founded, the Houston Chronicle reports. The hoax includes a fake Twitter feed, a YouTube video from “ChristianityNews” containing mockups of news websites trumpeting Osteen’s loss of faith, and a fake website that looks similar to the pastor’s own site.
  • Dallas Megachurch To Encourage ‘Tweeting’ For Jesus During Sermons (dfw.cbslocal.com)
    You could call it “facebooking” for Jesus. One North Texas mega-church could soon be encouraging its congregants to keep their cell-phones on instead of turning them off during Sunday service.
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    “We have a pretty young congregation — the median age is 33 — and so many of them I deal with them on social media as much as I do in presence of them,” says Liberatore. “I just think this is a different way for people to connect with each other, to share their faith — and I think Jesus would make use of it.”
  • Study: Megachurches can trigger false spiritual highs (alanrudnick.org)
    worshipers at megachurches experience a greater release of oxytocin, thought to add to a sense of euphoria. That would lead us to believe that these types of megachurch worship experiences can trigger a false sense of a spiritual high.
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    like a rock concert, there is a degree of psychological multiplication that can be added with a shared emotional experience with light shows, loud music, and a celebrity presence. Perhaps megachurches can add this additional element to worship that causes this “spiritual high”.
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    So, is the spiritual high that Christians experience in worship just a chemical response or is it a part of the worship of God? Does worship in a megachurch lend more to a shared emotional or perceived than other types of Christian styled worship?
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