Without Action, We Are Hypocrites

Jesus isn’t impressed by our feelings of moral outrage at injustice.

The influx of Jewish refugees into the United States during World War II led to a significant increase in the level of anti-Semitism in this country. The 1947 Academy Award winning film Gentleman’s Agreement confronted this blatant discrimination in areas such as jobs, housing, health care, and social structures.

Toward the end of the film, we see a conversation between Kathy and Dave, a life-long Jewish American. Kathy declared to Dave that she is not prejudiced, which she supported with the fact that she conceived of the writing of an article on anti-Semitism. She went on to reinforce her open-mindedness by telling Dave how offended she was when a man at a dinner party told a bigoted joke and used racial slurs.

Dave responded by asking Kathy what she did. She replied, “I wanted to yell at him. I wanted to get up and leave. I wanted to say to everyone at that table, ‘Why do we sit here and take it when he is attacking everything we believe in?’” Rather than responding, Dave repeated the questions and asked what she did. She replied, “I just sat there, I felt ashamed. We all just sat there.”

Kathy ultimately realized that sitting there condoned the prejudices. Without action, nothing would change.

Like Kathy, many of us just sit there when we are faced with the realization of the things that break God’s heart. We hear of prejudice or sexual slavery or poverty or of unsaved people, but we just sit there. Like Kathy, we may feel ashamed or get upset when people attack everything we believe in; however, many of us stay at the table and do nothing. We congratulate ourselves on our personal feelings of outrage or on our good intentions to do something—similar to Kathy’s ...

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Evangelism: A Traveler’s Perspective

Evangelism is inviting, encouraging, and inspiring travelers to journey with us to the City of God.

Over two decades ago, my friend, Raul, and I travelled to New Delhi, India, just for a day. We actually had no business in India, but going through India was the cheapest route to the Arabian Peninsula. Once we settled into our hotel, we hired a cab to the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, at the rate of $25 per passenger. We spent ten hours in the company of Divakaran, our taxi driver.

Admittedly, I was worried that Divakaran would rip us off on our way to the Taj Mahal. Perhaps I did not trust him because the hotel manager warned us to be very cautious of unscrupulous cab drivers. I reiterated that we should be brought to the Taj Mahal and not to some other location in India. After confirming our travel destination and total payment of $50, Divakaran expressed irritation! He turned around and looked at me and sternly chastised, “Look, if you don’t trust me, get out of my car and walk.” I refused to jump out, so I had no choice but to trust him.

We finally arrived at one of the most beautiful architectures in the world, the Taj Mahal. This beautiful tomb was commissioned by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned 1628–1658) in 1632, for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. What a wonder to witness this incredible sight.

We thanked Divakaran profusely as we returned to New Delhi. After seeing the Taj Mahal, I felt compelled to tell him about Heaven, described as the most beautiful place in the universe. As we were stuck in a vehicle, he had no choice but to listen to my stories and biblical descriptions of my heavenly destination. For almost five hours of our return journey, we spoke of Heaven as a place not just to see, but a place to permanently reside for eternity. I told him, however, that unlike ...

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One-on-One with Scholar and Researcher Mark Silk on the Future of Religion, Especially Evangelicalism, in America

Evangelicalism is now the normative form of non-Catholic Christianity in America.

Ed: Let’s start with the obvious question since that’s the title of the book: What is the future of Evangelicalism in America?

Mark: I think it’s pretty good as far as religious traditions go in America.

We make the claim that Evangelicalism is now the normative form of non-Catholic Christianity in America. The question that immediately arises, however, is, if that’s so, what are the norms? The contributors to our volume have somewhat divergent views of this.

If we look broadly, we’re talking fundamentally about white Evangelicalism, liturgical styles, a certain kind of approach to worship, and to thinking of oneself in the world. Evangelicalism does count as a broad tradition, which is holding its own in American society.

Ed: When you look at the numbers in terms of Evangelicalism, are the numbers going up, down, or remaining flat?

Mark: I like the approach that our sociologists and demographers take, which is to ask people to identify themselves rather than giving people a list of things to choose among. This approach is found in the series that we call the American Religious Identification Survey, or ARIS. One of the interesting things that emerged from that is the substantial shift between 1990 and the last ARIS survey, which was, unfortunately, almost a decade ago. Nonetheless, I think it still holds from the decline of people who identify themselves as Protestant and the great increase in the number who identify as just ‘Christian’ (a term for general Evangelical).

One of the interesting things we discovered is that a lot of people, including Catholics, will say they consider themselves Evangelical or born again, which is the political polling question.

Nobody who writes about this ...

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One-on-One with Author Mark Silk on the Future of Religion, Especially Evangelicalism, in America (Part One)

Evangelicalism is now the normative form of non-Catholic Christianity in America.

Ed: Let’s start with the obvious question since that’s the title of the book: What is the future of Evangelicalism in America?

Mark: I think it’s pretty good as far as religious traditions go in America.

We make the claim that Evangelicalism is now the normative form of non-Catholic Christianity in America. The question that immediately arises, however, is, if that’s so, what are the norms? The contributors to our volume have somewhat divergent views of this.

If we look broadly, we’re talking fundamentally about white Evangelicalism, liturgical styles, a certain kind of approach to worship, and to thinking of oneself in the world. Evangelicalism does count as a broad tradition, which is holding its own in American society.

Ed: When you look at the numbers in terms of Evangelicalism, are the numbers going up, down, or remaining flat?

Mark: I like the approach that our sociologists and demographers take, which is to ask people to identify themselves rather than giving people a list of things to choose among. This approach is found in the series that we call the American Religious Identification Survey, or ARIS. One of the interesting things that emerged from that is the substantial shift between 1990 and the last ARIS survey, which was, unfortunately, almost a decade ago. Nonetheless, I think it still holds from the decline of people who identify themselves as Protestant and the great increase in the number who identify as just ‘Christian’ (a term for general Evangelical).

One of the interesting things we discovered is that a lot of people, including Catholics, will say they consider themselves Evangelical or born again, which is the political polling question.

Nobody who writes about this ...

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Love2020: Q&A with Paul Cedar & Kathy Branzell

Love the Lord your God ... Love your neighbor ...

During Amplify 2017, I had the honor of giving Paul Cedar, Chairman and CEO of the Mission America Coalition, the lifetime recognition award for his commitment to evangelism. I am a big fan of Paul and thankful for his passion to see people reached with the gospel. Below I interviewed Paul and Kathy Branzell, who serves as National Coordinator of LOVE2020, an initiative of MAC. The two talk about LOVE2020 and its impact.

Ed: At Amplify 2017, the Mission America Coalition called upon leaders to mobilize Christ-followers to authentically love their neighbors. Why is love so important to the LOVE2020 evangelistic outreach?

Paul Cedar: Love is at the very heart of the LOVE2020 Movement. It is a clear call for followers of Jesus to love God with all of our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus was not making a mere suggestion when He gave us that invitation. It was a command to His followers, including us.

Studies show that most Americans look at professing Christians as negative, judgmental, and condemning. In contrast, Jesus said that His followers should be known by their love. LOVE2020 is inviting believers to return to our spiritual roots of Christian discipleship—to allow the fruit of the Holy Spirit to flow through us to others.

Ed: How did the Lord drop this vision into your heart, and what are your hopes for how our communities and country could be impacted?

Paul: LOVE2020 has followed sequentially from several other national initiatives that have been facilitated by the Mission America Coalition over the years, including the Lighthouse Movement and the ”Loving our Communities to Christ” initiative.

If just 10% of professing Jesus followers in the U.S. would begin to live the lifestyle of praying for ...

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