I have done of few these retrospectives, over the years (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), on Veracity. But here is my stab at looking at some of the top stories of the year that have had (or will have) an impact on the Christian movement, and evangelical Christianity in particular.
- THIS JUST IN! : A Roman Catholic version of the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible is now available in the United States, complete with the Apocrypha, and it is called The Augustine Bible.
- Notre Dame Cathedral’s roof collapsed. But in a secular Europe, where Christianity has been collapsing for decades, why would they care? This is an important question.
- Progressive Christian blogger, Rachel Held Evans died in 2019, tragically at age 37. The future of progressive mainline Protestant Christianity rests with those who wish to honor her legacy. Meanwhile, the number of “Nones” continues to quickly increase among those from a Christian background, primarily from mainline Protestant church backgrounds, who no longer prefer to identify as being “Christian.”
- Pope Francis changes the Lord’s Prayer.
- The legacy of slavery being introduced in 1619 is remembered, 400 years ago, at my nearby Jamestown, Virginia.
- Also back in 1619, and largely forgotten today, perhaps the only universal Protestant, ecumenical council was held in the Netherlands to resolve the Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate (in favor of Calvinism) at the Synod of Dort.
- Well-known Christian leaders publicly announce their loss of faith (or sincere doubts) about Christianity, on social media platforms. The case of Marty Sampson, a worship leader with Hillsong, raises a lot of questions about the lack of teaching of apologetics in a number of charismatic Christian circles (Does Marty not know about Veracity?). But the story of Josh Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, has a particularly personal twist to me (ask me about it off-line sometime).
- The 50th anniversary of the moon landing is remembered, where Buzz Aldrin celebrates the Lord’s Supper on the surface of the moon….. oh, but yeah, we also learn that more and more Americans, including a growing number of Christians, have concluded that the moon landing never happened, because, of course, the Bible inerrantly “teaches” that the earth is flat.
- The rise of anti-vaccine beliefs among Christians parallels the rise of social media.
- The seemingly never-ending culture wars between LGBTQ advocates and conservative Christians puts businesses, such as Hallmark and Chik-fil-a, that have catered to traditionally evangelical audiences/customers, in what appears to be a no-win situation for anyone. Are Christian boycotts the answer to such cultural challenges, or is there a better way for Christians to reach out to those who identify somehow as “LGBTQ?”
- Another Christian denomination drops their commitment to premillenialism from their statement of faith.
- An older generation of Christian leaders are moving onto glory (Moody Bible preacher Warren Wiersbe, apologist Norman Geisler, Intelligent Design advocate Phillip Johnson, New Testament scholar Larry Hurtado, and International Cooperating Ministries church planter Dois Rosser). But thankfully, a new generation of younger leaders are rising up to take their place, such as the YouTube apologists.
- In the Wall Street Journal, psychotherapist Erica Komisar has advice for parents who no longer believe in God: To tell your kids that God does not exist, is not psychologically healthy for your kids. Instead, you should lie to your kids and tell them that God does, in fact, exist….. I have a better idea: How about investigating the truth claims of Christianity, be open to those claims yourself, and talk to your kids about that??
And now for perhaps the biggest story of the year….
…. Should President Donald Trump be removed from office, as a result of his impeachment? How should Christians respond to the current crisis in the American Presidency? Some, such as Franklin Graham, believe that Trump should remain in office, considering the fact that the President has done many things that many evangelical Christians wholeheartedly support, such as advocating for pro-life concerns, and defending religious freedom. Furthermore, many are concerned that the radical Left in America is completely opposed to nearly everything the President does. Other Christians, such as the editors at Christianity Today, believe that Donald Trump has demonstrated himself as being “morally lost and confused, ” and that out of “loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments,” the current President should be removed from office. Christianity Today‘s editorial reflects the same sentiment leveraged against President Bill Clinton, some 20 years ago, approximates the same call to repentance for President Nixon, some 45 years ago, and repeats many of the same concerns published just prior to the 2016 election. As Christianity Today is still regarded by some as the flagship publication of American evangelicalism, this is guaranteed to be a highly contentious issue among evangelical Christians, for some time to come.
I have a few more book review blog posts coming out before the end of decade, but that pretty much tops me out for the rest of the year! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
December 22nd, 2019 at 7:58 pm
The feedback generated by Christianity Today’s editorial, calling for the impeachment of Donald Trump, has been what I expected. Evangelicalism remains divided about how Christians should regard the display of morality, in the public sphere, especially when it comes to our elected political leaders:
Here is an open letter against CT:
Here is CT’s response to that open letter:
December 22nd, 2019 at 10:18 pm
If had known, I would have included this gem on this list: Bart Ehrman finds something good about Christmas!!
December 23rd, 2019 at 11:52 pm
More on the 400 anniversary of the Synod of Dort, by the former president of the seminary I attended, Richard Mouw:
Andrew Wilson reviews a new book on doubt:
C.S. Lewis as the Christian Grinch:
Tom Holland on Christian Influence on Western Values
Hebrew Bible on Death and Rez
Paul Vanderklay on the Evangelical Industrial Complex
Book review of Peter Williams book on Gospels reliability:
Various Philip Jenkins blogs:
Peter Williams on Judges 19:
Remembering Ulrich Zwingli in 1519:
December 24th, 2019 at 11:28 pm
My “quick take” on the CT editorial. It probably will not do much to change any minds, one way of the other. But this tweet by O. Alan Noble might prove to be prophetic. I suppose we must wait and see:
December 25th, 2019 at 9:50 pm
Wow, the plot just thickens on the CT editorial.
If you don’t like the CT editorial, you’ll be even more blown away by this piece by independent journalist, Julie Roys, the former Moody Radio employee, who blew the whistle on James MacDonald, a popular pastor in Chicago, who has since lost his church, due to corruption.
If Julie Roys is right on a lot this, it calls into question CT’s impartiality, but in way you would never expect:
Wow. Just wow.
December 28th, 2019 at 9:17 am
Interesting summary of the Synod of Dort, by Ligonier Ministries. Order of doctrine matters.
January 2nd, 2020 at 3:57 pm
I am on a quest for truth here: Who is telling the truth? Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son, or one of Billy Grahams’s grandsons, Aram Tchividjian?
January 2nd, 2020 at 8:13 pm
January 9th, 2020 at 7:55 pm
I am going to smuggle this into a Veracity comment, mainly because I believe Alan Jacobs has an excellent way with words:
January 10th, 2020 at 5:04 pm
More from Mark Galli, about his now (in)famous Christianity Today editorial:
February 6th, 2020 at 3:18 pm
National Prayer Breakfast, a day after the impeachment acquittal, two days after the State of Union address:
February 7th, 2020 at 10:43 am