Salvation and the Christian Life – Doing Theology in the Era of Global Ecumenism, Part 3

John ArmstrongDiscipleship, Faith, Gospel/Good News, Lordship of Christ, Reformed Christianity, Roman Catholicism, The Church, Theology9 Comments

When Catholics and Protestants engage in the polemics of theological polarities they quite often misrepresent one another. In the process they miss the deeper fruit of real ecumenism in doing confessing Christian theology. Non-theologians often do this more poorly because they adopt the views they have been taught by their favorite teachers and then treat them as the gold standard. … Read More

God’s Plan of Salvation Is One

John ArmstrongAmerican Evangelicalism, Biblical Theology, Christ/Christology, God's Character, Gospel/Good News, The Church12 Comments

The cornerstone of the Christian faith is expressed in the Shema. In Hebrew the text of the Shema is only six words, but in English it reads: “Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.” The Shema is said at least twice daily by observant Jews. It is the first portion of Scripture that a Jewish child … Read More

John Newton’s Three Great Surprises

John ArmstrongGospel/Good News, Love, Personal9 Comments

The amazing John Newton (1725-1807), writer of the greatest hymn (Amazing Grace) of all-time, was a “slaver” on a ship that hauled African captives to Great Britain for sale. His life was debauched and depraved beyond excess. He had no use for God. He should have died at sea but God showed him great forbearance and mercy. He never got … Read More

Let Us Stop Judging

John ArmstrongACT 3, American Evangelicalism, Church History, Current Affairs, Evangelism, Gospel/Good News, Love, Missional-Ecumenism, The Church, The Future, Unity of the Church14 Comments

One of the most amazing autobiographical texts in all the letters of Paul occurs in the first chapter of his Epistle to the Philippians. Here we read a powerful and moving account of Paul’s personal circumstances. (The italics used in the text below are of course mine. I use them to draw attention to certain parts in this whole account.) … Read More

Those Who Are Not Against Jesus Are For Him

John ArmstrongACT 3, American Evangelicalism, Church History, Evangelism, Gospel/Good News, Missional-Ecumenism, The Church, Unity of the Church15 Comments

In my book, Your Church Is Too Small, I urge what I call “missional ecumenism.” This is a textured theological way of saying that we need to show the world our unity by what we do together, especially in talking and doing the mission of Christ in the world. I mentioned several American evangelists in my previous blog but I … Read More

The Light That Shines Upon Us

John ArmstrongChrist/Christology, Gospel/Good News, Jesus1 Comment

The Gospel of Luke reveals to us an angelic prophecy regarding the birth of John the Baptist that was given to Zechariah. I never read this text (Luke 1:5-25) without imagining what it would have been like to go about one’s priestly service in the days of Herod only to have “an angel (later said to be Gabriel in verse … Read More

Philomena – A Film That Reveals Gospel Grace and Forgiveness

John ArmstrongCurrent Affairs, Feminism & Women, Film, Forgiveness, Gospel/Good News, Personal, Roman Catholicism, Sexuality, The Church14 Comments

I saw the new movie Philomena last week. I was unprepared for how much this film would move me to the depths of my spirit. It is my “sleeper” film for 2013! I noted this weekend, with great joy, that it was nominated for the Golden Globe as “Best Picture.” (There are only five nominees. The Academy now has ten … Read More

Waiting for Another MLK – What Can We Do As Christians?

John ArmstrongACT 3, America and Americanism, Current Affairs, Film, Gospel/Good News, Kingdom of God, Missional Church, Race and Racism, The Church, The FutureLeave a Comment

My good friend Rev. Carlos Malave, the executive director of Christian Churches Together USA, shared a lovely meal with me in Louisville just a few weeks ago. Carlos was raised in the Seventh Day Adventist church but eventually became a Presbyterian minister. He was drawn to ecumenism while a student at Fuller Theological Seminary, where he was influenced by another … Read More

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama – The Legacy Lives (3)

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, Church History, Civil Rights, Freedom, Gospel/Good News, Leadership, Missional Church, Personal, Race and Racism, The Church, The FutureLeave a Comment

Birmingham pastor Fred Shuttlesworth (1922–2011) was known as a fiery preacher in the 1950s when he served the Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham as a young minister. Born in Mount Meigs, Alabama, Shuttlesworth was licensed and ordained as a preacher in 1948. He earned an A.B. (1951) from Selma University and his B.S. (1953) from Alabama State College. Shuttlesworth served … Read More

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama – The Legacy Lives (1)

John ArmstrongAmerica and Americanism, American Evangelicalism, Civil Rights, Gospel/Good News, History, Personal, Race and Racism, The Church7 Comments

Organized in 1873, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was the first black church in Birmingham, Alabama. Initially, the congregation worshiped in a small building but in 1880 the church’s meeting place moved to its present location at 16th Street and 6th Avenue North in downtown Birmingham.  A modern brick building was erected in 1884 that established the church’s presence in … Read More