Archives For David Roach

canned foodIt’s that brief season of the year when most people are still on track with their resolutions to eat more healthfully and lose weight. In pursuit of that goal, millions have consulted Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, online diet plans, calorie-counting apps and a host of other nutritional guides — most of which have great value.

But what about the Bible? Does it have anything to say about our eating habits?

Certainly it does. Incorporating Scripture’s wisdom into our New Year’s resolutions could mean the difference between success and failure

First of all, we should make a distinction between healthy eating and fasting. The Bible says a great deal about fasting, but that’s abstaining from food for a purely spiritual purpose.

Healthy eating habits are a different matter, which the Bible also addresses. For one, the apostle Paul calls the body “a temple of the Holy Spirit” and urges, “You are not your own … glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The context is an exhortation to flee sexual immorality and not profane the body that was created to honor God, but there’s an application to diet as well. Honoring…

Continue Reading

In recent weeks, bloody protests by Muslims, supposedly directed at an anti-Islamic film, have stretched from the Middle East to Indonesia and even Australia. In some cases, terrorist attacks accompanied the demonstrations. While some Muslims were simply using the film as an excuse for expressions of anti-American anger, it is clear that others were genuinely upset at what they perceived as denigration of their faith.

Christians rightly condemn the violence. Yet our response should go a step further by answering an important question raised by these events: How should followers of Jesus react when our faith is denigrated?

Thankfully, the New Testament is filled with material that helps us answer. Jesus predicted that his followers would face revile and slander, and he told us what to do under such circumstances. When the Apostle Paul encountered defamation (as, for example, in Acts 19:9), his responses served as helpful examples of how to live out Jesus’ instruction. From Paul and Jesus, several principles arise for handling the denigration of Christianity.

First, don’t let slanderous words intimidate you into remaining silent about the Gospel. In Athens, Paul countered mockery by leading people to the Lord (Acts 17:32-34), a response entirely in line with the words…

Continue Reading

He looked like the ideal youth minister — recommended by a friend of the pastor, personable, and leading a thriving ministry to teens at Wayside Baptist Church in Miami.

But looks were deceiving.

For months, he had been sexually abusing boys during sleepovers at his home. When the offense came to light, the church had its very existence jeopardized by a $6 million civil judgment in favor of the victims. Eventually the case was settled for an undisclosed amount, and Wayside determined to do everything it could to protect children in the future.

“Now we do criminal background checks on anyone who is volunteering, and they put glass in all the doors ,” said Carrel Youmans, a longtime member at Wayside who taught youth when the abuse occurred in the 1970s.

Wayside is not an isolated case, said Patrick Moreland, vice president of marketing at Church Mutual Insurance Company. Church Mutual averages four to five reports of child sexual abuse each week from its approximately 100,000 clients, the vast majority of which are churches. That includes roughly 9,000 Southern Baptist congregations.

Every church needs to have policies in place to protect its…

Continue Reading

Nearly eight in 10 Protestant pastors strongly disagree that eternal life can be obtained through religions other than Christianity, according to a survey by LifeWay Research.

The survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors asked respondents for their reaction to the statement, “If a person is sincerely seeking God, he/she can obtain eternal life through religions other than Christianity.” A full 77 percent of pastors strongly disagreed while 7 percent somewhat disagreed. Another 7 percent somewhat agreed, 5 percent strongly agreed and 3 percent were not sure.

“Rob Bell’s book Love Wins kicked off a discussion about the exclusivity of the Christian Gospel,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. “But most pastors are more in line with historic Christian beliefs than Bell, who suggested that other faiths lead to heaven.”

Pastors’ beliefs regarding the exclusivity of Christianity differ from those of their parishioners, according to a new study conducted for the upcoming book “Transformational Discipleship” by Eric Geiger, Michael Kelly and Philip Nation. When presented with the same statement, just 48 percent of adults who attend a Protestant church once a month or more disagreed strongly and 9 percent disagreed somewhat….

Continue Reading

pollThough almost all pastors feel privileged to be in ministry, a majority also experience loneliness and discouragement.

That is the finding of a new survey by LifeWay Research of 1,000 American Protestant pastors.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) — A full 98 percent agree with the statement, “I feel privileged to be a pastor,” with 93 percent strongly agreeing. Only about 0.5 percent of pastors disagree with the statement.

Yet more than half (55 percent) also agree with the statement, “I find that it is easy to get discouraged,” and 55 percent say being in pastoral ministry makes them feel lonely at times.

“Many oft-quoted statistics speak of miserable and unhappy pastors, but that’s not what we see when we actually ask them,” explained Ed Stetzer, vice president of research and ministry development at LifeWay Christian Resources. “There is discouragement and loneliness, but when 98 percent agree it is a privilege to be a pastor, we also know there is a great honor to being a pastor.”

Pastors 65 and older are the least discouraged age bracket. While 30 percent of those 65 and older…

Continue Reading

surveySurvey: Bible Readers Prefer Word-for-Word Over Thought-for-Thought Translations, saying they value accuracy over readability, according to a new LifeWay Research study.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) — Most American Bible readers prefer word-for-word translations of the original Greek and Hebrew over thought-for-thought translations.

The study encompassed 2,000 Bible readers who participated through a demographically representative online panel. To qualify, participants had to read the Bible in a typical month either by themselves or as part of a family activity and not merely in a church or group setting.

When asked whether they prefer “word-for-word translations, where the original words are translated as exactly as possible” or “thought-for-thought translations, where the translators attempt to reproduce the intent of the original thought rather than translating the exact words,” 61 percent chose word-for-word.

That includes 33 percent who strongly prefer word-for-word translation and 28 percent who somewhat prefer it. In contrast, 20 percent prefer thought-for-thought, including 6 percent with a strong preference and 14 percent who somewhat prefer it. Fourteen percent say both translation philosophies are equally fine, and 5 percent are not sure.

Regarding accuracy, respondents…

Continue Reading

applecoreBibleMesh.com is a new website that teaches the Bible as a single storyline focusing on Jesus. It is designed for churches to use as a discipleship tool, offering an educational curriculum for new believers and others who want to refresh or strengthen their Bible knowledge, providing a basic understanding of Scripture, its context, and implications.

Pastors can sign up for a free one-year subscription.

The initial course on BibleMesh covers the sweep of biblical history, by means of hundreds of short articles and teaching videos, and includes an interactive quizzing tool that helps people remember what they have learned. The site also features social networking for individuals and churches.

“BibleMesh is not just facts. It’s a whole-Bible theology approach to learning the Bible,” says Greg Thornbury, the project’s theological editor. He plans to use the site in Old and New Testament survey courses, biblical theology classes at Union University, where he is dean of the school of theology and missions, and in his adult Sunday School class at Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, Tenn.

Mark Coppenger, pastor of Evanston Baptist Church in Illinois, plans to use BibleMesh as a discipleship…

Continue Reading

marriageNASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–American Protestant pastors have widely varying standards for when they will and will not perform wedding ceremonies, according to a new survey by LifeWay Research.

The survey of 1,000 randomly selected Protestant pastors found that a majority (58 percent) will perform weddings for couples they know are living together. Nearly a third (31 percent) will not, and 10 percent are not sure.

The survey’s results, published in the summer edition of LifeWay’s Facts and Trends magazine, also found that only five percent of pastors will not perform a marriage ceremony if the bride or groom has been divorced. The majority (61 percent) will perform a ceremony for a divorced person “depending on the reason for the divorce” while 31 percent will perform a ceremony for a divorced person “regardless of the reason for the divorce.”

“Marriage is a much-debated topic today and we wanted to see how Protestant pastors handled marriage requests,” said Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research. “Like the churches they serve, their standards for whom they will perform marriages vary greatly.”

When it comes to cohabitating couples, pastors who consider themselves mainline are more likely to perform weddings then…

Continue Reading