02 Oct 2017

Spending Time Together in the Temple

Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple… (Acts 2:46a NRSV). This article is a continuation of a series of articles on Acts 2:41-47. The previous articles in this series can be found in the author’s archives. I teach classes on the Bible, world religions, and humanities at several community colleges in my area. Each semester I notice that students seem genuinely surprised when they learn about the Jewish roots of

Jarrett Dickey 0
20 Sep 2017

What Are Multisite Churches?

A growing phenomenon among American Churches is the multisite movement. Generally, multisite churches are Christian gatherings where a single church organization holds services at two or more geographical locations. Although you have probably seen a multisite (or two) pop up in your neighbor, few Christians know about the history, forms, and purposes of multisite churches. In fact, few church statisticians have truly begun to examine the multisite movement.1 In this article, I briefly outline the

Jacob Prahlow 1
11 Jul 2017

Reflections on a Mega Church Experience

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending Bethel Church in Redding, California. For those unfamiliar with this church, Bethel was founded in 1952 by Robert Doherty and grew steadily from the 1960s to the early 1990s. Following the call of current senior pastor Bill Johnson in 1996, Bethel underwent a time of divisiveness followed by a period of tremendous growth. Currently, Bethel has approximately 9,000 weekly attendees—easily categorizing it as a mega church—and

Jacob Prahlow 2
27 Jun 2017

What do we mean in Church when we say, “This is the Word of the Lord”?

As a lifelong American protestant, it has always been taught to me that the fundamental bearer of truth is the Scriptural text. If ever I had a question relating to theological matters, I was directed to the text of Scripture. I have been told all my life that reading Scripture in a daily morning devotional (followed by prayer) is constitutive of true “walking with God.” When Sunday came around, one critical aspect of discerning whether

Chad Kim 7
23 Jun 2017

May We Be Selfless

Loving God, Our walls are too high Our gaze is turned inward We avert danger at the expense of love We seek ourselves to the extent of losing identity We focus on living so much that we never truly exist May the example of your Son be seen among us May his life be dramatized in the play of our lives May we improvise according to the story of the suffering king May we be

Jacob Quick 0
09 Jun 2017

Sorrow and Stars

Last light is leaping from hill to hill spilling like liquid from an upset cup, A golden haze spreading o’er rock and rill until, until, until the valley has its fill and the glory thins and wavers and is taken up     The clouds’ creamy bronze hues drain clear, drop by drop—suddenly they run ashen grey in an eye-blink, in the drip of a tear giving way to darkness, uncertainty, and fear as the

1
07 Jun 2017

Because of joy I am exposed

Because of joy I am exposed 2 Samuel 6:16-23 When God has brought me home to Him by coming home to me, I will be unable to listen to you, even if you weep. I have to go and thank Him. God has come into the city of my soul; each breath is like an exile freed. The truth no longer grieves me. My laughter is like tambourines. I will continue to dance with swinging

Daniel Hyland 1
15 May 2017

Webber on the Purpose of Worship

“My longing for a more satisfying worship grew as each route I took in worship led me to a dead end street. But after giving up the evangelistic approach to worship and after the unfulfilling experience of educational worship, I didn’t know what to do next. I was running out of reasons for being at church (Webber, Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail).”1 In the opening quote above, Robert Webber’s personal experiences raise a legitimate question,

Jarrett Dickey 7
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10 May 2017

Soli Deo Gloria

Soli Deo Gloria    John 6:56-58 Soli Deo God alone gloria glory untouchable yet the light Comes down to this particular place all gathered and acclaiming With one voice one eternal song one renewal of one Face All light creating here that City without darkness this Word The City’s light Himself the small white votive candles and the liturgy Our prayers another voice the single Word resounding as light Giving each new birth each grace

Daniel Hyland 1
08 Mar 2017

Fit for a Cassock

Today we’ll see if I measure up, Or maybe it’s more fitting to say I’ll be fitted, But I have a feeling it’ll feel like fig leaves covering up the things that ought to be laid on the altar and burned instead of covered in black lamb’s wool. There’s nobody more fitting to do the fitting for a new skin than the one who made my first birthday suit, and was part of the pattern

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
06 Mar 2017

The Danger of Christian Primitivism

While writing my previous article that praised the virtues of Christian primitivism and its capacity to spark church renewal, it occurred to me that it would be appropriate to address the inherent dangers of Christian primitivism.  Simply put, Christian primitivism is an ideological viewpoint that attempts to restore Christianity to the original structures and practices of the New Testament Church because it is believed that the Church has strayed from its own foundation over the

Jarrett Dickey 8
03 Mar 2017

The Problem With J. I. Packer’s Opposition To Iconography

In Knowing God, J. I. Packer delivers a harsh criticism of the use of icons in worship. While Packer does not specifically target icons, he follows theologian Charles Hodge in denouncing any use of images in worship as idolatrous. Packer’s position is inspired by his reading of the second commandment: “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters

Jacob Quick 6
20 Feb 2017

The Beauty of House Church: Primitivism

This article is the fourth article in a series on house church. You can find the first article about my journey to house church here. The other articles in the series are about the communal nature of house church and the liturgy of house church. Throughout the history of the Christian church, believers have often found themselves drawn back to the New Testament Church as depicted in the book of Acts and the epistles. The

Jarrett Dickey 7
17 Feb 2017

The Telltale Heart

Do You Listen to Your Heart or Does it Listen to You? In our increasingly self-centered, self-satisfying culture we are propagandized by Hollywood happy endings and pop songs to listen to our hearts. When considering a new or an old relationship we are told to listen to our heart. When faced with personal loss we are expected to move on from it. The Roxette duo sings, “Listen to your heart / when he’s calling for

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16 Feb 2017

Round Table: The Purpose of the Local Church

Living in a post-Christian culture appears to be taking its toll on the local church. We no longer reside in small towns where people work together through the week and walk to church together on Sundays. We get in our separate cars from our separate neighbourhoods and homes, convene for an hour or two, and go home. Does this hour of the week change who we are? Does it connect us with the body of Christ?

Various 15
06 Feb 2017

The Beauty of House Church: Work of the People

This article is the third article in a series on house church.  You can find the first article about my journey to house church here, and the second article about the communal nature of house church here. Recently I was talking with a younger Christian friend about the cyclical nature of worship styles and preferences. Based on anecdotal evidence and personal intuition, I suggested that college-aged persons may be more and more drawn toward traditional expressions

Jarrett Dickey 2
13 Jan 2017

In Defense of Passing the Collection Plate

When I was in high school, I really started to get serious at my faith because of a Calvary Chapel church in my area. While as an Anglo-Catholic my faith is quite different now, I greatly appreciate my brief sojourn with Calvary Chapel. I was reminiscing about those days recently and was reminded that one of the major distinctives of Calvary Chapel churches is that they do not pass a collection plate. Instead, churchgoers are

Wesley Walker 0
07 Nov 2016

The Lost Art of Evangelical Weeping, Part 1

There is a mood and practice of forced buoyancy in American evangelical churches. In near Orwellian fashion, this frenzied gaiety tries to sanitize the church of any perceived negativity, sorrow, or grief. I have been in church services where the worship leader mounts the stage, “kicking off” the service with, “How’s everybody feeling this morning?” (implying the expectation of a positive reaction), followed by, “Oh, you can do better than that!” when the enthusiasm of

Timon Cline 4
28 Jun 2016

The Crisis in the Architecture of the Modern Megachurch and How to Fix It

Cookie-cutter houses and generic shopping centers are peppered across the fantastically unremarkable and uniform American suburbia. An appreciation of truly beautiful architecture has been jettisoned for the functionality demanded by a consumeristic culture. Alain de Botton, in his book The Architecture of Happiness, explains that “Bad architecture is in the end as much a failure of psychology as of design. It is an example expressed through the materials of the same tendencies to not understand

Wesley Walker 1
13 Jun 2016

Modern Liturgical Denial and UnBiblical Anthropology

I have been reading a lot about St. Benedict these days.  I’ve been curious about him for a while now, but I am now finding the need to immerse myself in his ways and his teachings.  For one, my family and I are coming into the Anglican fold and, in the process of seeking ordination, I am going to begin studying this fall at Nashotah House Seminary.  One of the incentives for reading St. Benedict

TJ Humphrey 3