Tag: critical thinking

"Many people today, some well-intentioned and some not so much, are doing their best to soft-pedal the gospel in order to widen its appeal. But in reality, they're doing the exact opposite. When we make following Jesus a tag line, or view it as just something we add on to our lives without sacrificing anything, we are actually diminishing the value of the gospel. We do the gospel an injustice when we don't call people to sacrifice and give their entire lives to Jesus, because in doing so, what we're really saying is that following Jesus is not really all that important."
~ Leighton Flowers
"There seems to be conflict with how some churches approach ministry. You have the 'felt-needs' crowd, who are all about appealing to where the surface level needs are. And then you have those who are totally against that, who say 'We only preach the Bible over here.' I believe there's a third way...where the proper preaching of the gospel actually unearths deeper longings in people than the surface stuff they may feel they need. Good pastors, preachers, and teachers, need to start with the 'felt-need', but then go underneath that to show the deeper needs that the gospel is actually intended to fulfill. When we do that, we actually expose and challenge some of the lies that our culture presents regarding how to meet the surface needs."
~ Trevin Wax
"Success seems to be the 'golden calf' of the American church. These days, we measure the success of a church by the 3 B's...buildings, bodies, and budget. When those 3 things reach a certain number, we equate that with a successful ministry. But if we measured Jesus' earthly ministry by that standard, He would be considered an epic failure. That should tell us something about our definition of success."
~ J.R. Briggs
"I think we have the wrong idea about God's grace. God's grace isn't you seeing what you can get away with and still go to heaven. There are plenty of things you can do that you won't go to hell for, but that your life will still suffer from."
~ Tye Tribbett
"No church can truly be the church if its pastor or congregation are unwilling to speak hard truths to each other and to themselves. To think of the pastorate as primarily a helping profession, and the church as only a therapeutic community whose main goal is to make us feel better about ourselves... ...instead of giving people what they actually need to be healthy... ...is a betrayal of the gospel and the church's mission."
~ Ron Dreher
"I think we have really hyper-individualized Christianity. We are comfortable with pastors laying out the implications of being a Christian in our personal lives, maybe even our family lives...but not our social lives. When you group people together into communities, such as a neighborhood or national government, for some reason, we tend to keep God out of those arenas today. Why are so many churches scared to tackle social issues like gun violence, education reform, racism, abortion, and so on? Why have we so privatized our Christianity?"
~ Skye Jethani
"In the beginning (New Testament times), the church was a gathering of men and women around the person and mission of Jesus. Then it moved to Greece, where the church became a philosophy. Then it moved to Rome, where the church became an institution. Then it moved to Europe, where the church became a culture. And it's finally come to America, where the church has become an enterprise. The reason for this is that as the church has moved throughout the world, it has taken on the forms/structures that were dominant in whatever culture it went. In the early church, the dominant organizing principle of the culture was the household...the family."
~ Richard Halverson
"Believe it or not, the breakdown of character in our society has actually caused us to be more legalistic. The decline of character is being compensated for with more laws. So now you can't say something is wrong anymore if it's legal, no matter how morally wrong it may be. The focus then has shifted to making better laws, because as a society, we're losing the ability to make better people. That's what society used to look to the church for."
~ Phil Vischer
"Much of Christianity now in America is really moralistic, therapeutic deism. We appeal to people with the idea of making your life better...that the goal of the gospel is to make you better, to make your marriage better, your finances better, your circle of friends better, and to make you more happy and fulfilled. But Jesus didn't come and die for any of those things...He died to save us from our sin. Those other things are simply potential fringe benefits."
~ Christian Smith
"We live in a time where a lot of people in our society want everything to be 'gray'...where there is no inherent right or wrong, no clear 'black or white', but rather simply a difference in perspective. And yet, we also live in a world where groups such as ISIS exist. And when talking about issues such as terrorism, we want to make a clear 'black and white' case and say that 'this is right, and this is wrong'. So, we think that 'black and white' only applies to those outside of our sphere...and everything morally within our culture should be 'gray'. I don't think we can have it both ways."
~ Skye Jethani
"I believe one of the reasons why so many today are rejecting what Christians have to say is because they sense that a lot of Christian talk nowadays isn't authentic. We as believers today don't do a good enough job of thinking and listening before we speak. We are quick to tell people that 'Jesus is the answer' when we aren't even listening to the questions."
~ Jason Thompson
"Sometimes, we're quick to dismiss constructive criticism because of who it's coming from. Whether we like it or not, there are times where our 'enemies' are actually RIGHT about us... ...and we need to be humble enough to admit that God can use someone who's against us for our good."
~ Skye Jethani
"If we're honest, most of us have a double standard when it comes to God and the problem of evil. We are quick to complain about the problem of evil when others are doing evil that affects us...but we don't have that same complaint about the evil we freely choose to do that brings us pleasure. It's inconsistent and hypocritical to say that we always want God to stop one but not the other."
~ Greg Koukl