Same-Sex Marriages Repealed in Maine

Posted in christian habits, christian thought, cultural relevance by Nathan Creitz on November 4, 2009

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Last night, Maine became the 31st out of 31 states to vote down same-sex marriage. On the other hand, six states have legislated (forced?) same-sex marriage on its constituents through the judicial branch or the legislative branch. Maine’s repeal brings the total number of states that have legalized same-sex marriage back down to five.

I also find it interesting that there wasn’t as much hype about this from grassroots organizations and churches as there was in California last year. It appears that this was a quiet victory for conservatism with not much need for controversial activism. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t happy with some of the behavior by church leaders in California but here in Maine it seems that the churches in Maine were more civil and fair.

It’s also important to note that this is the first New England state that has had an opportunity to vote on same-sex marriage and it was turned down. Four of the six New England states allow same-sex marriage but only because of judges and politicians, never by a state-wide vote.

So, here are some questions for ChurchETHOS readers:

Are Americans living in the Dark Ages or the Enlightenment on this issue? Is same-sex marriage a civil right or not? Has the church responded appropriately to this social issue? How has the church conducted itself in Maine (respect, fairness, intolerance, etc.)? How SHOULD the church wrestle with the issue of same-sex marriage (personally, publicly, politically, pastorally, etc.)?

Please be respectful in your comments whether you are in favor of or oppose same-sex marriages. I will delete your comment if I find it offensive to people on either side of this issue. Therefore, if you want your voice to be heard find a way to do it with respect and grace.

Here are some news stories:



Boston Globe


Is Jesus Really THE Truth?

Posted in christian thought, theology by Nathan Creitz on June 18, 2009

The ThinkerI am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

That statement is one of the most controversial and hated statements that Jesus ever made. This quote, and other statements in the Bible lead followers of Jesus to conclude that He is the ONLY way to know God. His Truth is the ONLY Truth. His Life is the ONLY way to live.

In a day when many people believe that truth cannot even be known in the first place, how can followers of Jesus suggest that they are right and others are wrong? Can they really claim that the Bible contains the Truth that will lead to eternal life with God?

There are three criteria that philosophers use to determine the trustworthiness of a statement or proposition. Since Jesus’ words are recorded in the Bible, it’s important to apply these criteria generally to the book as a whole and then return specifically to the statement Jesus made.

The Correspondence Theory of Truth

The Correspondence Theory of truth asks if a statement (or statements) corresponds to external reality. The Bible passes this first test. The Bible is externally consistent. In other words, there are no existing external realities that contradict any of the Bible’s claims – not one!

For example, for hundreds of years people couldn’t understand how Abraham was from Ur of the Chaldees in ancient times. Apparently, a town called Ur had been found that didn’t correspond to where the Bible seemed to indicate it should be. No problem, wait a couple of hundred years and someone dug up another town known as Ur of the Chaldees that was precisely where the Bible said it would be.

Or what about science. Sure, people got upset with the whole Galileo/Copernicus fiasco. Some had falsely interpreted the Bible and thought the earth was the center of the universe. Science seemed to be saying that the sun was at the center of our galaxy. How would you interpret, “From the rising of the sun, to the going down of the same, the name of the Lord shall be praised.”? Have you ever talked about the sun rising or setting? If you are living in the Dark Ages you might be tempted to think that the sun revolves around the earth, but when you know the truth you see that this verse is written from the author’s perspective and not from a scientific background. Today, we use the same language (does the sun really “set”?) but we know the sun isn’t the one rising or setting, we are the ones revolving around the sun.

The first example from archaeology shows how the Bible has proved accurate through the test of time and supposed inconsistencies have been explained by new discoveries. The second example from astronomy shows how science, archaeology, or history can make our interpretation of Scripture better, but doesn’t contradict anything that has been written. The author wasn’t teaching us a doctrine of geocentricity, he was talking about the worth and glory of God. Again, there is nothing in the Bible that does not correspond to external, tangible reality. Books have been written about the “discoveries” made by the Bible hundreds and thousands of years before geology or astronomy or archaeology got around to officially uncovering them.

The Coherence Theory of Truth

The Coherence Theory of truth asks if the statements being made are internally consistent.

The Bible is a collection of people’s glimpses of God through the ages. It is a compilation of 66 books written by about 40 authors who lived on 3 different continents over a span of about 1600 years using dozens of different literary forms. Somebody is bound to write something that contradicts someone else, right?

However, the Bible passes the coherence theory test. It is breathtakingly consistent internally. Outside of the Bible, I don’t know of TWO people writing in the SAME generation who display the same amount of internal consistency! For example, there’s no debate – by ANY scholar that I’m aware of – that the Old Testament predates the New Testament. Sometimes the books in the OT are over a thousand years older than the NT documents. Yet, the OT contains hundreds of prophecies. If just one of those prophecies proved to be untrue, the reliability of the entire document would be forfeit. Instead, we find that many of those prophecies have been fulfilled and all of them are precise in every way to actual events that happened hundreds of years later. On top of that, the overall theology of the Bible is internally consistent.

As we interpret the Bible, we sometimes disagree with others about various points of doctrine but that’s our fault not the Bible. We look at the Bible with cultural, social, and philosophical lenses that color what’s actually there. Again, our modern mistakes don’t disprove the Bible, it just drives us to be more careful with our interpretation and application of what we’ve been given. Which leads us to the final criteria for determining truth.

The Pragmatic Theory of Truth

Finally, there is the Pragmatic Theory of truth. This theory asks if a certain belief or set of beliefs really work. If you apply the truth to your life will it work for you? Again, the Bible passes the test. Incidentally, it could be argued that the world religions pass this test. People seem to be fulfilled in life when they pray to Mecca or help someone in need. Their religious deeds seem to make them happy.

Of course, followers of Jesus know from personal experience that the Bible passes the test because they are living it. We haven’t just taken it out for a test drive, we’ve invested our lives into owning it and driving it to work and to school and to social gatherings. The Bible is the only sacred writing that passes all three tests and it has been proven over and over again. The message of the Bible corresponds with external reality, it’s message is internally coherent and consistent, and it’s practical application brings contentment and joy to the one who trusts that message.

What about Jesus’ Words?

So that brings us back to what Jesus said. We can apply all three of these tests to the Bible generally but we can also apply it specifically to Jesus. Jesus’ path, message, and victory over death are all internally consistent with the broader theme of the Bible. His way, truth, and life all correspond with reality. Those of us who follow His way, heed His truth, and enjoy the abundant life He offers to everyone, recognize the practical implications of doing so: We now have a relationship with the God who caused the earth to revolve around the sun, who spoke to prophets hundreds of years in advance and told them His Son would be born in Bethlehem, and who has given us meaning and purpose and direction in life and has forgiven us for all the times we rejected Him, blasphemed Him, or ignored Him.

It’s ironic that some of the best news that could be heard is often misconstrued as bad news. Jesus didn’t say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” to stick it in your eye. Instead, Jesus is telling us exactly how we can know God and glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. He came in the flesh to prove God’s love for His creation. Jesus isn’t blocking people from knowing God, He’s showing them how they can. He endured torture, shame, and death so that all who believe in Him could know God and enjoy Him forever.

Related Posts: Paths to God ::  One God, Two Gods, Three Gods, No God ::  Subscribe

Are People Generally Good or Basically Bad?

Posted in book review, christian thought, theology by Nathan Creitz on June 16, 2009
DSB Logo

DSB Question 3 of 10

Michael Wittmer has asked some great questions in his book Don’t Stop Believing: Why Living Like Jesus is Not Enough. I’ve been reviewing this book chapter by chapter because the book closely identifies with the content of ChurchETHOS. I’ve been able to give away 5 copies of the book already and you can still get one for free here. So far, Wittmer has asked, Must You Believe Something to be Saved? and Do Right Beliefs Get in the Way of Good Works? In my posts I’ve tried to be fair to Wittmer’s thoughts and I’ve sprinkled the posts with some of my own responses to those questions as well. There have been some great comments so I hope you will go back and check out the conversation.

The Next Question

Today, I want to talk about chapter four of DSB. Wittmer asks, “Are people generally good or basically bad?”

The problem with this question is that we want to believe in the innate goodness of people. Since we want to believe it, we often do and we tend to ignore the more important  question of what God thinks about our goodness. This becomes a Big Assumption that holds us and keeps us from recognizing the truth that we are in desperate need of being rescued from ourselves (I don’t care how good you think you are).

There is certainly some goodness in our lives, but there is also some badness. In comparison to Bin Laden I’m a saint. In comparison to Mother Theresa I’m a sinner. But in comparison to God?

Universally Created By God to Enjoy Him Forever

The first question and answer of the Westminster Catechism is:

Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

There is something that all of us have in common: we were all created by God to glorify and enjoy Him forever. We were created in His image. Our first parents were placed in a beautiful garden. God looked at all that He had made and it was very good. Our common – and very human – love for life, for beauty, for creation, and for our fellow human are part of what it means to be human. Nothing we’ve ever done can remove those sorts of qualities (and others) from our human nature. I’m confident that I can find something good in ANYONE if I spent enough time looking.

Humans do good things. We write checks to charity. We help old ladies cross streets. We generally try and care for the defenseless, the helpless, the hopeless. People are generally capable of doing good.

Universal Rejection of God

We humans have all been created, therefore we are generally good, but we all have something else in common too. Wittmer writes, “Everyone possesses a relative goodness that enables us to help others. But when we lift our eyes above our natural level and compare our goodness with God, we confront a double problem: God’s higher standard and our sinful brokenness.” We were all created, but we also have ALL rejected God, something the Bible calls sin. Some do it willfully, some do it ignorantly, but the fact remains, we’ve all done it.

For those of us who have turned back to God and asked His forgiveness, we must realize that we are no better than anyone else. Wittmer encourages Christian humility and I strongly agree. Just because I’m forgiven and someone else isn’t doesn’t mean that that same grace and love and forgiveness isn’t extended to them by God too. God loves those He has created. He created all of us and He wants us to enjoy Him forever. He extends His grace to ALL who will receive it. He longs for us to be reconciled to Him.

The Fall is what happened when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Ever since then, humanity is living under a curse. Sure, we can do some good things every once-in-a-while, but we can also do some bad things. Some have more discipline than others and though they don’t know God they are able to listen more attentively to their God-given conscience and they restrain themselves from doing too much evil. But we all do it. We all have hurt someone. We’ve all let someone down. This world may be a better place thanks to you, but just barely. A lot of people feel like they’ve got to do more good to offset the bad that they’ve done. That’s noble and is advisable, but God is more concerned with your relationship with Him. You can make a bigger difference in the world if you obey Him.

Even though “obedience” doesn’t sound good what is God asking us to obey? Jesus summed it up into “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength…and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27) If you could do that perfectly, then you would truly be good with no shred of evil in you. Jesus is the only one capable of that kind of obedience. When we confess our disobedience to God and ask His forgiveness, He begins the process of healing us from the evil that permeates our nature. He begins to show us how to be good again.

So What Is Good?

A lot of people don’t want us to bring up sin and the Fall. They want us to simply celebrate the good that we find in others and accept the bad that sometimes happens. This weakens the need for forgiveness and lets us just live our lives however we deem best (and that’s often not as good as we think). That kind of goodness will never measure up.

Wittmer gives a good example of this:

Yesterday my six-year-old pounded out his first recognizable tune on the piano, and I made quite a fuss about it. “Landon, that is ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’! You are playing the piano! Good Job!” And it was – especially good for a beginner and far better than anything I can play. But compared to my wife or a concert pianist, it was not very good at all. Goodness is a relative term. It depends on what we are talking about.

Again, when we talk about good things people do, I think we can all agree that we are generally good, but in comparison with the God who created us, we all fall short. There is a chasm that we ourselves have dug with our sin that separates us from God, not because of God, but because of us! That’s not good.

Picture 1Wittmer quotes Tony Jones, another “postmodern innovator” who said, “a common metaphor showed God on one side of a diagram and a stick figure (you) on the other; the chasm between was labeled ‘Sin,’ and the only bridge across was in the shape of Jesus’ cross. But emergents ask, ‘What kind of God can’t reach across a chasm? Chasms can’t stop God!'” Wittmer replies brilliantly to this naive comment: “I am not sure what Jones is objecting to here, for the metaphor’s point is that while the chasm prevents us from coming to God, it does not stop God from reaching across. Perhaps he means that God should be able to reach us in some other way besides the cross? Or perhaps that our sin does not separate us from God?”

For those of us who believe the truth of the Bible, we can already see how God has reached across the chasm. Hey, I don’t like simplistic, cartoon versions of the gospel either but the basic truth is that we ARE sinful and we ARE separated from God. Thanks be to God that He HAS reached across the chasm to reconcile us to Himself!

Is Our Good, Good Enough?

We have to realize that we may do some good things but when it comes to loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves, we just aren’t cutting it. We are in need of an overhaul of our sinful system and God lovingly provides the answer through His Son Jesus. Our good may help a person in need, or bring a smile to someone’s face, but our eternal relationship with God depends on our willingness to give up and confess that we can’t do it without His help.

Wittmer writes, “People are created, and so we may unreservedly love them. People are fallen, and so there is a difference between those who are running their own lives and those who are striving to follow Jesus. Our common creation enables Christians and non-Christians to cooperate, and our response to the Fall explains why we often compete.” Let’s learn how to love each other God’s way. He is the only One who is ultimately Good. We need to be restored to Him and that relationship with Him will help us love others and enjoy Him forever.

Please Disregard Wiley Drake’s Foolish Remarks!

Posted in christian thought, church reform, social justice, theology by Nathan Creitz on June 5, 2009

ImageServerDB “I am glad George Tiller is dead.”

Those words were not uttered by Tiller’s murderer (to my knowledge). Instead, they were uttered by someone who claims to believe in the Bible. They were uttered by a former VP in the Southern Baptist Convention. They were uttered by a pastor of the First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, California. His church must be so proud. They were uttered by Wiley Drake.

Will the real Wiley Drake please sit down!

Who is Wiley Drake? I’ve been to maybe eight or nine Southern Baptist Conventions so I know a little bit about him. At the convention each year, resolutions are voted for or against. Some are good, some are bad, some are crazy.

Since it is a democratic process, anyone, and I do mean ANYONE who is in attendance as an official delegate to the convention from ANY Southern Baptist church around the world, can submit a resolution on the floor of the convention. I’ve heard Wiley Drake’s name for years because he is always proposing some resolution. His resolutions are always from way out in left field.

Though the SBC has been trying to redeem its reputation as a positive force for Biblical values and social justice and care for neighbor, Wiley Drake seems to be stuck in a hyper-fundamentalist funk. As far as the SBC has come in recent years, they still make mistakes. A couple of years ago, for some reason, the SBC voted to make Wiley Drake our 2nd VP of the convention. What?

For Drake to become an official officer of the SBC was amazing. For all those years I remember the following scenario played out many times:

Moderator: “The platform recognizes microphone #3. State your name, church, and resolution.”

Drake: “My name is Wiley Drake…

ALL SBC convention delegates: *sigh* *groan* *oh boy, here we go*

Except seven Drake supporters: *applause* *whistle* *hoot*

Drake: “I’m the pastor and messenger of First Southern Baptist Church, Buena Park, California.

ALL SBC convention delegates (except those same seven supporters): *collective roll-of-the-eyes*

Drake: “Be it resolved that the SBC and all Bible-believing Christians must overthrow the US government because they don’t know God. Let’s go get our guns people!” (this is a hypothetical example from my own imagination but trust me, the truth is stranger than fiction)

So what did we do? We elected him. WE ELECTED HIM! It was a beautiful strategy (some thought): Now, all of a sudden, for at least one year, Wiley Drake was unable to propose any resolutions because he was an officer of the convention. yeah!

The drawback was that now when he does something controversial and public (those very well may be his core values) he’s referred to in the news as “former Vice President of the 16 million member Southern Baptist Convention”. His title is given as if he speaks for all who call themselves Christian. As Richard Land said of Obama’s election recently, “Elections have consequences.” That was never more true than when the SBC elected Wiley Drake to be an officer of the convention.

So what did he do now?

So why am I talking about this today? Well, there was an Associated Baptist Press article about Drake’s interview with Alan Colmes. Many of his comments are disturbing. Drake had been praying for Tiller’s death because he thought some of the prayers David prays in the Psalms means God wants Tiller dead. Colmes asked him if he prayed those sorts of prayers about anyone else. Drake said, “The usurper that is in the White House is one, B. Hussein Obama.”

Colmes: “Are you praying for his death?”

Drake: “Yes,”

Colmes: “So you’re praying for the death of the president of the United States?”

Drake: “Yes.”

I want to ask: Are you praying for his salvation? his forgiveness? his family? his policy making? his soul? his redemption?

Here are a few more quotes from the interview: “I think it’s appropriate to pray the Word of God,” Drake said. “I’m not saying anything. What I am doing is repeating what God is saying.”

“I believe the whole Bible, Alan,” he explained. “I don’t just preach part of it. I don’t just preach the soft, fuzzy, warm stuff where we’re supposed to be nice to everybody. I preach the whole Bible.”

Does the Bible really say that?

Let me make a few points in response to Drake’s hate-prayers from the Bible of which he claims to know so well:

Romans 2:4 Do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? (HCSB)

The fact that God doesn’t immediately wipe EVERYONE off the face of the earth is a miracle. Now, why is He holding back? So they might repent and turn to Him.

John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (HCSB)

Jesus, for some reason, didn’t act vindictively against those who rejected Him. Maybe it was because of His love. In fact, when they nailed Him to a cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Did you get that, “forgive them“. Chances are, Tiller simply didn’t know what he was doing either. So, we pray for people’s souls and for their forgiveness, not for their death.

When someone takes matters into their own hands and murders someone like Tiller, they are taking away the possibility that Tiller might repent, turn from evil, choose good, and follow Christ. That’s why God restrains Himself. Imagine how many people are rejecting God and working against Him, even cursing Him. But does He want them dead? No, He wants them to repent!

Matthew 5:44-45 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (HCSB)

I’m not saying I have any enemies or that we should consider the Tiller’s of the world to be enemies, but what Jesus is saying is that it’s not enough to simply love your friends and family, if you are going to be children of God you have to act like Him and learn how to love everyone. I feel like loving people (not asking God to kill them) is a pretty strong commandment somewhere in the Bible…I’ve definitely heard it somewhere before…oh yeah: Matthew 19:19; 22:37ff, Mark 12:29ff, Luke 10:25ff, 1 John 4:21, Leviticus 19:18, etc.

An enemy of a Christian should receive more love and prayer and forgiveness than the friend of anyone else. An enemy of a Christian should benefit from that relationship in some way.

1 Timothy 2:1-3 First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (HCSB)

I could say a lot about this verse. Suffice it to say that a) prayers and thanksgivings should be for “those who are in authority”, not against. b) Wiley Drake isn’t modeling this passage. c) Drake’s actions aren’t leading anyone “to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (he certainly doesn’t seem to be living a tranquil and quiet life either). d) This doesn’t mean we can’t disagree with our leaders, but the focus here is on prayer for them and not on political activism.

Romans 13:1 Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God. (HCSB)

I disagree more often than not with what Obama does, but I recognize that he, along with Pilate (John 19:11), and Nebuchadnezzer (Jeremiah 27:7) AND King David (1 Samuel 16) before him were given authority according to the counsel of God’s own will. Good rulers and bad, through the history of the world (and I’m suspending judgment on which kind of ruler Obama will be) have come along and we are to pray for them and recognize that God has a plan in allowing them to be in positions of power.

A call for a response

I’m not sure how to get in touch with Wiley Drake but I encourage him to respond to this post. You can find my email address on this blog. I will even allow him to write a guest post for ChurchETHOS to explain more fully his remarks about George Tiller’s murder. I prefer to go to confront someone in private but when someone damages the faith so publicly I take it upon myself to make it known to MY friends and family that I am not a follower of Wiley Drake (or of King David for that matter). I am a follower of Jesus and I refuse to stand by quietly and let the name of Christ be stained so publicly.

A lot has been said about George Tiller’s murder in recent days. The only thing that needs to be said by children of God and followers of Jesus is that murder is wrong and that we will be praying for his family. Drake’s comments are careless, theologically misguided, and damages the churches reputation with the unchurched.

In all fairness I should say that Drake did make a few qualifying remarks; like the fact that he hadn’t been praying for Tiller’s murder, just his death. Not much better.

He also had this to say:

“This whole concept that we’re always to pray little, nice, soft, fluffy, prayers — that we’re not to pray imprecatory prayer — has been something that just, in all honesty, that Southern Baptists have lost, and we need to regain imprecatory prayer,” Drake said. “It is in the Bible, and we are proud to say as Southern Baptists that we believe the Book. You’ve got to believe the whole Book, brother, or you don’t believe any of it.”

You got one thing right, Wiley, most Southern Baptists, to their credit, have lost this judgmental sort of prayer life.

I ask for my reader’s forgiveness

I don’t usually call someone out for their errors in such a public way and I pray my readers forgiveness for this post, but I don’t apologize for what I’m saying. If Wiley Drake can so publicly defame the name of Jesus with his careless comments I will exhort him publicly to return to Christ-like love, forgiveness, and grace. Wiley, I will pray for you and I offer these comments for your edification, not your destruction. My prayers are for your repentance and not your death. I can only hope that those who desire to reply to this post on this humble semi-private blog will reply with more tact and grace than I have exhibited in my reaction to the story that is playing out much more publicly in media outlets around the country.

If someone knows how to get in touch with Wiley Drake for his comments, please send this post on to him.

Related Post: Terminating Tiller’s Life is Worse than Tiller Terminating Lives ::  Subscribe

Terminating Tiller’s Life is Worse than Tiller Terminating Lives

Posted in christian thought, politics, social justice by Nathan Creitz on June 1, 2009

art.tiller.kakeCNN reported Obama’s statements following Dr. George Tiller’s murder: “However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence.”


The senseless murder of an abortion doctor or of an unborn baby will not resolve our differences. Recently, Obama said we must find a common ground on this issue of abortion. Maybe our common ground should be that proponents on both sides of the issue would cease the heinous acts of violence.

Let me be clear, I believe most abortions are not justified and it is a huge problem in our country. I am pro-life with the understanding that a small percentage of abortions might be justifiable! Even Obama believes we should work to lower the abortion rate. Convenience should never be a motivation for an abortion (not saying that’s the only motivation, don’t misunderstand me).

On the other hand, as one who finds school and church shootings especially deplorable, and as one who thinks advocates for the unborn should be especially peace-loving and life-loving, and as one who sees martyring an abortion doctor as particularly unraveling to the anti-abortion cause: I am more outraged by the murder of George Tiller than I am of all the crimes against humanity Tiller has performed in the past 40 years of performing late-term abortions.

I am joining with the President, Planned Parenthood and other Pro-Choice activists as well as fellow peace-loving Pro-Life activists in condemning this act of violence. On the issue of abortion, this may be the first (and perhaps last?) time I will be in such whole-hearted agreement with these groups.

My heart goes out to Tiller’s family, to his church, and to his friends and community. You are in my prayers!

Twitter To-Do List to Make Twitter Useful Again

Posted in christian thought, social media by Nathan Creitz on May 26, 2009

failwhaleConfession: I am a church leader and I use Twitter.

Many pastors who use Twitter, for some reason want to also become a social media expert. I don’t. This will be my only post on the subject here at ChurchETHOS. I’m not writing this post to become recognized as a social media expert, I’m writing it so I can become a better leader in the church.

Why? Because I want Twitter to help and not hinder my ministry. Do I really believe Twitter has benefit to the kingdom of God? If it does, then how can I make the best use of the Twitter experience for God’s glory? If it doesn’t, then why am I wasting my time? Will my ministry get the “Fail Whale” thanks to Twitter?

I’m writing this post to develop my own theory for using Twitter. If it is helpful to you in your ministry then that’s bonus. At the end of this life I’ll be okay with a “Fail Whale” on Twitter as long as my Master has reason to say, “Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter your Master’s joy!” (Matthew 25:21 HCSB)

So here is my Twitter To-Do List to maximize Twitter’s usefulness for my ministry.


Picture 4 Determine the Value of Twitter

People use Twitter for a lot of reasons. Since I’m not trying to be an expert on social media I’m only going to list those qualities that bring value to me as one who is in ministry.


It’s not helpful to me to wade through everyone’s random status updates or pleas for recognition or shameless self-promotion. So what is valuable to me?

I’ve determined that the primary qualities I desire from Twitter are:

to network with like-minded people around the world.
to share ideas and links to relevant or helpful content.
to generate discussion about ChurchETHOS content.
to seek mutual encouragement and advice with other church leaders.

I’m trying to make entertainment and procrastination take up less and less of the time I spend Twittering. Which leads me to the next item on the Twitter To-Do List:

Picture 4 Determine How Much Time to Spend on Twitter

tweetdeckI use a Twitter client called TweetDeck to deliver my Twitter content and to organize my network into groups. I don’t know what a good balance of time might be to spend on Twitter, but I try not to have TweetDeck open all day long. If I can open it in the morning, again around lunchtime, and then later in the evening (and maybe one or two more times if I’m honest) then I won’t constantly be distracted by notifications every two minutes.

I may not read every tweet from my friends. Sorry. I will, however, answer all my @replies and DM’s. I also like to quickly scan through the past 100 or so tweets and see if anything jumps out. If you engage in a conversation with me, I will reciprocate.

The users on the other end of my TweetDeck are people not “tweeps” (I’m sorry, I just can’t use some of the lingo). Therefore, I want to benefit from our mutual relationship. All of that can be done during a few 5 minute tweet breaks, IF I make sure I’m disciplined enough to be focused on other work for the rest of the day. The minute Twitter is more a distraction than a tool is when I cease to use Twitter.

Picture 4 Follow People Who Add Value


So far, I’ve determined the value of Twitter (and tried to remove the extraneous), and set boundaries for myself as to how much time I will spend on Twitter. Now it’s time to actually look at who I’m following.

I want my network to be of value to my followers. I’m in the process of removing everyone that hasn’t followed me back (with a few exceptions). When I’m done with that I’ll go through and look at the profiles of my friends and fans to see if they add value to my Twitter experience.

So what am I looking for when I look at someone’s Twitter profile?

Common Interests
You can check out my bio to find out the top 4 or 5 things that are of interest to me. If you are following me just in the hopes that I’ll follow you back so that you can increase your popularity, don’t count on it.

An Expert Resource
Most of the people I follow are not experts, but there are a few people that I’ve hand-picked that provide expertise in an area that is of interest to me (and therefore, are probably of interest to my followers as well). I would rather have friends on Twitter and not fans or followers, but in some cases, I’m willing to follow someone who doesn’t follow me back simply because I respect him or her and recognize they are probably too busy to tweet me up.

Willingness to Dialogue
Other than a few “experts” who don’t follow me back I mostly want friends that are interested in dialogue. A profile that only has announcements and no @replies is a bad sign. Chances are you aren’t actually going to dialogue with me, you just want to type at me.

Opportunity for Mutual Benefit
An occasional retweet is expected among friends. I RT other’s content on maybe a 5:1 ratio before I hope someone will RT mine (I’d like that to be closer to 10:1). If we believe in what we are writing on our blogs then let’s do everything we can to help one another succeed. I assume that when a friend of mine on Twitter writes a post he believes what he’s writing. I want to give you a chance to get that message out to as large an audience as possible. I follow people who share this same value.

Thoughtful Questions
I love when someone is working on a blog post and they get the feedback or advice of their friends on Twitter before posting. Or maybe when you are working on a project or a sermon, how can we help you be the best church leader you can be? This adds valuable to my experience when I get to be a part of your research and hopefully it adds value to your experience because you get live feedback.

A Descriptive Bio and Picture
Okay, this is probably the easiest thing you can do to let people know who you are and what you are about. The 160 character limit helps clarify what you are passionate about. If we have anything in common, I’ll know it just by clicking on your name. Take the time or I won’t follow you.

If you aren’t willing to do a few of these things, then chances are I won’t follow you. Or, if I’m already following you, it might be grounds for unfollowing, which happens to be the next item on my Twitter To-Do List.

Picture 4 Unfollow People Who Don’t Add Value


I am in the process of unfollowing the following people (or not following them in the first place):

Incessant Self-Promoters
These are the people that are only on Twitter to drive traffic to their blog or website. There’s no rule against that, but I personally won’t be following you (unless it’s a really, really good blog).

Narcissistic Exhibitionists
You don’t want me standing outside your window watching everything you are doing. So why are you telling me about it? There are some people that just think we are all waiting to hear what you are eating for breakfast or how you lost your keys. It’s silly at best, and narcissistic at worst and a waste of ministry time.

There are even several people I follow who are big church leadership gurus and they often tweet about a conversation they are having in real-time with a real person. I’ve tweeted ONCE in the presence of a live human being. Whoever you are with, be with them and make the most of that interaction. If you have to tell me about the conversation, tell me about it later!

I also don’t want to know about things when you are driving. There have been too many accidents in the Boston area alone due to texting while driving. These are all grounds for an unfollow. The daily, trivial aspects of your life, just aren’t that interesting and if that’s the majority of your content, consider yourself unfollowed.

Bible Syndicators
I have a version of the Bible that I read each day. An occasional tweet about a verse that really struck you is one thing, but for those that tweet verse after verse all day long, stop it. I’m in agreement that the Bible is the Word of God, and I spend as much time as I can studying it and living it as possible but Twitter is not my source for God’s Word.

#hashtag Enthusiasts
A tweet that already is limited to 140 characters cannot be about 5 different things. Make your tweets relevant and focused. Two or more hashtags just make your tweet hard to read. If your tweet is about church planting give it the #churchplanting hashtag. There’s no need to also add #churchplants, #churchplanters, #churches, and #christians.

Ranting Provokers
There are some who just want to get on Twitter and do drive-by tweeting. They are angry at the church. They hate small groups, church buildings, Sunday School, etc. Whatever it is, they don’t like it so they type out an angry 140 character tweet and shoot a dozen of them out there. Then, if you try and respond with a differing opinion, they suck you into a 140 character per thought debate.

There are some discussions that don’t lend themselves to only 140 characters. Don’t get frustrated with me if I can’t understand you. Writing already is divorced from tone and gesture but add to that the brevity of these thoughts coming from near strangers and you can see why some conversations are better in person or on a blog where thought can be articulated more clearly.

Now that I’ve followed and unfollowed the people that add or subtract value from my personal network it’s time to tweet.

Picture 4 Prioritize Tweets

What will be the content of my tweets? I’ve tried to arrange them in the order of what I hope my tweets will be about:

@replies 40% // My goal is to engage in dialogue with other church leaders and not just overwhelm them with my own thoughts or content.

RT 20% // My network is always producing and discovering a lot of great content…more than I can produce myself. So, I promote their content by retweeting their stuff which is usually more valuable than mine.

Questions 20% // My goal is to use Twitter to get wisdom from others. The reason I follow people is to build a network of people I trust who are thinking and talking about the issues that I am passionate about. Asking my network questions helps me in my ministry.

Blog Posts 15% // NOW I can send you a link to my own content. After all the dialogue and questions and answers and useful links and retweets I can now add my own content to the mix. Hopefully that also adds value to my network but I don’t presume that my stuff is the only thing that’s valuable.

Random 5% // Okay, so every once in a while I do tweet the occasional irrelevant tweet that has nothing to do with ministry. I’m not trying to get people to weed out everything that’s frivolous, I’m just trying to come up with some of my own guidelines so that I can be disciplined when it comes to Twitter.

Well, there’s my Twitter To-Do List. Now I need to go and unfollow some people to make my network more meaningful for your sake and mine. Meanwhile, anything you would add to the list? Anything you disagree with?

Is God’s Word Living and Active?

Posted in christian thought, personal devotion, spiritual disciplines by Nathan Creitz on May 22, 2009

Romans 8.1This is going to be a very personal and transparent post.

Today I had such a meaningful time with God that I wanted to share it with you to encourage you.

Every once in a while I like to read through large chunks of Scripture in one sitting. This week I had two separate conversations about that practice with friends. In addition to that already being on my mind, this morning I had such a hunger for the Word of God that I sat down and began reading.

I’m currently reading in the gospels but I feel God led me to Romans to read today. I read the first eight chapters in one sitting. I can’t describe to you the joy and amazement I felt as I spent that time worshiping God. I wasn’t just meditating or reading, I was worshiping. His Word came alive in a fresh way.


Because it was the Word of God.
Obviously, God Himself is the One who makes His Word come alive. The words aren’t the objects of our worship but they are inspired words because they cause me to worship the living God. Not only do the words persuade me to worship but God’s Spirit opens my heart and mind to understand what God is saying to me. Today, my spirit was renewed, my mind was informed, and my heart was softened simply because it was the Word of God and I was reading it.

I love reading books and sometimes an author makes a point that grips my heart or encourages me to live out my faith in a fresh way. Those are good books, but nothing compels me to worship God like the Bible.

Because I was alone with God.
As if God’s Word alone wasn’t enough, there were a few other things that really made my personal time of worship special. Solitude is something we often miss. I can have a great time of worship while reading the Bible at a coffee shop, but what if His Word causes me to jump for joy, weep, or sing? I’m just not that public with my emotions so even if I am moved by the Spirit I might just sit there in silence.

Today there were too places that I broke down and wept/gave thanks to God. After 64 verses of God’s wrath being “revealed from heaven against all godlessness and and unrighteousness” I came to “But now…” How inspiring and captivating are those words:

But now, apart from the law, God’s righteousness has been revealed – attested by the Law and the Prophets – that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, since there is no distinction. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:21-24)

Reading Romans 5:1-8 brought the same kind of joyful and tearful response from my spirit:

For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person – though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us! Romans 5:6-8)

I’ve heard these sections of Scripture quoted aloud in front of an audience and people shouted and applauded to hear God’s Word. Listening and meditating on God’s Word prompts a response. When we are in seclusion we can be free to respond with joy, laughter, tears, sorrow, or spontaneous eruptions of gratitude. It’s a bit harder to do that at Starbuck’s or even at home if your not alone in a closed door meeting with God.

Because I was reading aloud.
I heard God speak today. God’s Words came to my ears and I heard them. We can’t always read aloud but when we do it adds something. The benefit of reading aloud is that more of your senses are activated to really understand that God is speaking to you. I wasn’t just thinking in my head, I was hearing God speak. He used my voice and His words to speak Truth to my heart.

Again, not something you can really do at Starbuck’s.

Because I matched the tone of my voice to the mood of the passage.
I would encourage you, when you read God’s Word aloud, try to get a feel for the mood of the passage. When I was reading, “This is why God delivered them over to degrading passions…” or “There is no one righteous, not even one” I read it with a heavy heart. Those 64 verses of God’s wrath shouldn’t be read with a big smile on the face.

On the other hand, how would you read this: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I read that section more rapidly with excitement, not to be dramatic as if it were a performance, but because that’s how I felt.

Reading the Bible aloud while matching my tone to the mood helped me to really hear God’s intended message to my heart. I can really grasp the passion or the emotion of a verse in its context.

For example, we all know that Romans 3:23 is bad news when quoted by itself: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But when you realize that this verse is in the context of God revealing His righteousness to those who believe, the mood has changed. Romans 3:23 becomes a part of the good news because we realize that God knows our condition (we are sinful) and that He has taken steps to change that (those who are sinners and who fall short of God’s glory “are justified freely by His grace…”)

This is a cause for celebration! When you read aloud the context, and match your tone to the mood, insights like that spring out of the text and into your heart. God’s Word is alive if we let Him speak to us.

Because of my choice in translation.
Okay, so this one is more preferential than the others. Some enjoy the beauty of the old King James language and that causes the Word to come alive. Others really like the readability of the NIV or the NLT. Still others are appreciative of the accuracy of the NASB or the ESV.

Since I’m describing my own personal experience, I can share that the Holman Christian Standard Bible removes a lot of barriers that might keep my devotions from being more inspirational. I’m not tripping over the grammar or stumbling over “thees” and “thous” but at the same time, the HCSB is also very accurate and less theologically motivated than other translations.

So, all of that to say, find a good translation that you are comfortable with and allow God to speak to you. I’ve found the HCSB to be a reliable choice but my point here is simply that you should find a translation for yourself that allows you to hear the Word of God.

How many chapters are there in the Bible?
What really struck me today after I was finished reading and after sitting there quietly for a few moments was that I had only read eight chapters. If I read that many chapters each day it would take me 5 months to read the entire Bible. There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible and I was overwhelmed after only reading 8! There are 1,181 MORE chapters just waiting for me to turn to them and feast on them. And I had read those chapters before and had been inspired and encouraged by them. The feast is always in front of us. I have the rest of my life in front of me to either squander by ignoring God’s Word, or to spend wisely by listening to and meditating on the very thoughts and will of God.

Is God’s Word really living and active? I can’t say that it always feels that way, but on days like today I’m reminded of the power of God and the truth of His Word.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they will be filled. (Mt 5:6)

What are the practices you have when spending time alone with God that makes those moments rich and inspiring?

Do Right Beliefs Get in the Way of Good Works?

Posted in book review, christian thought, social justice, theology by Nathan Creitz on May 19, 2009
DSB Logo

DSB Question 2 of 10

The second question that Michael Wittmer asks in his book Don’t Stop Believing: Why Living Like Jesus Is Not Enough is, “Do right beliefs get in the way of good works?”

Wittmer asks this question because he felt like his very conservative background “reduced the Christian life to little more than an information dump”. His church encouraged people to come listen to about three sermons per week but there was little action that transpired as a result. There was truth but not much love.

On the other hand, he contrasts the conservatives with the “postmodern innovators”. This group seems to be practicing a faith that is exciting. The only problem is they seem to have love but no concern for truth. Wittmer writes, “I appreciate this renewed turn to practice, but wonder why we must turn from doctrine to get there.

So, conservatives might answer the question, “No, our beliefs carry over into good works.” but their lives would not be a reflection of that “belief”. Postmodern innovators might answer the question, “Yes, right beliefs do get in the way of good works” and their lives would be a true reflection of their answer. At least the postmodern innovators are being true to their convictions. Sad, that the conservatives who strongly focus on right doctrine are often the ones being untrue to their convictions.

There’s “nothing that excludes faster than belief” in the minds of the postmodern innovators. They have even gone so far as to say that God’s love is accessible to everyone. The only ones He excludes are those who themselves exclude others or those who opt out and want nothing to do with God. This is seen as a loving position by postmodern innovators.

Wittmer illustrates the two positions like this:

DSB conservativesDSB postmodern innovators

As you can see the conservatives have strong, exclusive beliefs, but are they showing love? On the other hand, the postmodern innovators seem to be showing love to their neighbors, but do they really believe in anything? Peter Rollins, a postmodern innovator said, “When it comes to God, we have nothing to say to others and we must not be ashamed of saying it.” Rollins even eschews evangelism to be evangelized by others, as if other beliefs have as much (maybe even more?) value than does Christianity. Wittmer disagrees and says, “Those communities that downplay the specific, historic doctrines of the Christian faith in order to ‘share experiences and encounter God in other traditions’ will soon become a baptized version of a Rotary or Kiwanis Club.”

So is it really belief if you don’t act? Is it really love if you just accept?

Wittmer does a great job of showing the deeper love that comes as a result of true beliefs. Only Christians can express God’s love to others. He asks, “But what if love is broader than inclusion? What if it means to seek the best for the other, to sacrificially give of yourself so that the other might flourish, and what if the unique items of the Christian faith supply both the model and the motive for doing this?”

As Christians we should believe that we were once living in sin. We believe that God’s grace has rescued from that life of sin and He has forgiven us. This leads, not to another belief, but to an expression of gratitude to God. So, our beliefs have turned into an expression but it doesn’t end  there. This gratitude causes us, as Wittmer suggests, to ask “How am I to thank God for such deliverance?” We soon discover that good works are a natural way of showing our gratitude to God. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” What commands? Without a correct understanding of where we’ve been (sin, death) we will never adequately share with others where they could and should be (grace, life).

We’ve seen the mistakes of the conservatives and the postmodern innovators. So what should it look like to have good doctrine and good deeds? Here’s another illustration from DSB:

DSB right belief

Sometimes it is loving and necessary to exclude. Wittmer gives the example of parents who lovingly push their child out of the “nest”, a coach who demotes a player until she begins training harder, or a church that removes an unrepentant member from the privileges of membership. Sometimes, love excludes if love is acting in the best interests of the other.

Another example of mine is that I personally would hate to believe a lie, live for a lie, and die for a lie. Sadly, we must realize that with all the religions in the world believing all sorts of different things, someone is believing a lie. There is either no god, one god, or more than one gods. Only one of those can be true. The truth hurts but it is an act of love to help people to see the truth.

Our beliefs should generate loving deeds to our neighbor. If they don’t then we’ve got a big problem with our beliefs. Our love should be rooted in our belief that God has forgiven us and that He loves us. If it isn’t then our love is empty and worthless (filthy and rag-like I’m sure). Right belief produces right practice. If we leave one out then we don’t have enough respect for Jesus to follow Him the way we should.

This post is the third in a series of posts that will answer the ten questions that Michael Wittmer raises in his book “Don’t Stop Believing: Why Living Like Jesus Is Not Enough”. Learn how you can get a free copy of the book here.

Must You Believe Something to be Saved?

Posted in book review, christian thought, social justice, theology by Nathan Creitz on May 15, 2009
DSB Question 1 of 10

DSB Question 1 of 10

To my conservatively raised ears, this question really sounds irrelevant. Just off the top of my head I think of things like: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16 HCSB) and “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 HCSB) and finally, “if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9 HCSB)

So what’s the problem? Why ask that question?

In his book, Don’t Stop Believing, Michael Wittmer tells us why we have to ask this question. He brings up the question that all conservative Christians have been asked at one time in our lives. Like the father who asked “Would your God send my boy to hell because he never said, ‘Jesus save me,’ but he’d let Hitler go to heaven for saying the magic words?” To my knowledge, Hitler never did say “the magic words”, but this hypothetical scenario gets to the heart of what it means for God to be just. Is it really a few words spoken with sincerity that can make “the everlasting difference between me and the guy in the next cubicle”?

The question about Hitler was posed to postmodern Christian thinker Brian McLaren. He responded by saying that the man’s son “acted a lot like Jesus,” and that “God must be proud of your son.” All this because he did a good deed. Does Brian McLaren know the heart of the son? It seems to me that this enabled the father to conclude that Brian’s God respects good behavior – never mind about good beliefs. God doesn’t need that kind of PR because it doesn’t adequately respect who God is!

And by the way, my answer to the question about Hitler is that God has a track record of redeeming violently evil people. Think of the apostle Paul. What about Sam Berkowitz? To believe that God couldn’t save someone like Hitler shows a lack of faith in God. Had I been in Brian McLaren’s place I would’ve assured the father that God sent His innocent Son to die so that his son could live an abundant life fully in favor with God. Does that sound fair?

It makes me sick to think that a so-called Christian leader could dismiss the justice and mercy and the grand story of God so casually and make it sound like it’s up to your own good behavior to find favor with Him. Again, that’s not the kind of reputation that God Himself presents to us, so why would we spread those lies to others?

These are the reasons why we must answer the question: Must you believe something to be Saved? It’s because of people like Brian McLaren and Spencer Burke (who believes that we begin life accepted by God and that we “stay in his grace, unless we opt out”). Wittmer even describes meeting another influential “Christian” leader who said that we must update our theology to stay relevant to our culture.

There is nothing more relevant than the timeless Truth already given to us by God: We are hopelessly incapable of pleasing God, but God loves us and offers His Son as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Hitler doesn’t deserve that kind of forgiveness, but neither do I. I hate to say it, but without God’s grace and forgiveness, I would be closer in morals to Hitler than I would be to Jesus Christ. There is no comparison between my good behavior and God. That’s why good behavior will never be enough.

So why did God decide to let it be about belief and not behavior?

Why won’t He allow us into His kingdom if we can answer affirmatively the questions, “Did you experience joy in life?” and, “Did you help others to experience joy in life?” Why won’t He allow us into His kingdom if we simply follow a good path, but not necessarily the “Jesus path”? Why won’t He allow us into His kingdom simply because our good behavior outweighs the bad?

God made it about belief because His favor cannot be earned. He could’ve made it about love, or acts of kindness, or compassion, or mercy, but those things would then be a source of pride to us. Only belief says we are completely at His mercy. Only belief is humble enough to admit our own weakness and trust in His strength. No one can boast in their belief, as if they have more belief than another. Belief is belief. You either believe or you don’t believe. It doesn’t matter how much or how little belief you have, it’s not about you. Belief admits that it’s all about Him.

“For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift – not from works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 HCSB)

I guess some like McLaren and Burke can easily dismiss God’s revealed Word casually, but I can’t. Does that make me a fundamentalist? Well, according to Wittmer, I’m more of a postmodern conservative. I agree with him that it needs to be about belief and behavior, faith and works. Wittmer asks, “Doesn’t God demand right belief and right actions?”

What should we believe?

The part of this chapter in Don’t Stop Believing that I really like is the section on what believers must believe. We must believe that we are sinners and that it is through Jesus that we can find forgiveness. Not too complicated.

But Wittmer takes it a step farther by talking about the truths that a Christian must not reject: the Trinity, the deity and humanity of Jesus, and the “historical truth and significance of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and return”. Finally, he advocates for some truths that we all should believe: perfections of God, humans are the image of God, Church is Christ’s body, Bible is God’s Word, Biblical story of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. Of course, these beliefs may not be understood when someone first receives Jesus as Master of their lives, but if they trust Jesus enough to follow Him, these other truths will be easy to accept.

Wittmer writes, “Contrary to what some postmodern innovators believe, those who reject these foundational doctrines of the Christian faith cannot be saved, no matter how swell they are and how well they behave. Being good is not good enough. We must know and believe something – the basic facts about salvation – to be saved.” He is referring to the “must believe” and “must not reject” categories as essentials to being a Christian. Indeed, it is not enough merely to do good deeds. However, our faith leads to works. Because we recognize the love God has for us, we freely show others grace and compassion and love.

Good belief without good behavior is like mixing in all the ingredients for a loaf of bread but forgetting to put it in the oven. Good behavior without good belief is like putting a loaf pan in the oven without filling it with ingredients. Either way, the world doesn’t get to benefit from the Bread of Life because of our unwillingness to believe or behave in a way that brings glory to God. Belief isn’t really belief if it doesn’t inspire living like Jesus in the first place.

This post is the first in a series of posts that will answer the ten questions that Michael Wittmer raises in his book “Don’t Stop Believing: Why Living Like Jesus Is Not Enough”. Read my introductory post to the DSB series here, and then learn how you can get a free copy of the book here.

ChurchETHOS Book Giveaway

Posted in book review, christian thought by Nathan Creitz on May 13, 2009
DSB Giveaway

DSB Giveaway

In case you missed it, ChurchETHOS is giving away twelve copies of Don’t Stop Believing by Michael Wittmer! Special thanks to Zondervan Academic for providing eleven of those copies especially for ChurchETHOS subscribers. One book will be given away each week so keep reading and interacting on ChurchETHOS for a chance to get your own copy for free.

The first book will be given away this Friday!

Here’s what you do:

1. Subscribe to ChurchETHOS through a feedreader or by email.

2. Make a thoughtful contribution in response to any post here at ChurchETHOS.

3. After subscribing and contributing a comment, email me your address to officially enter the drawing.

Note: You only need to enter one time and each week you will be reentered in the giveaway. I will announce the winner each week on my blog.

Read my introductory post about the book here and stay connected with ChurchETHOS for the next eleven posts in the “DSB Series”. I will be writing responses to each of the questions Mike Wittmer raises in the book. The final post will hopefully be an interview with the author based on questions my readers raise in the comments to these posts.

I will be blogging about other topics other than the DSB Series over the next few weeks so at the end of the series I will do a recap post to collect all of the posts in the same place. You can also find links to each of the posts on my Book Review page.

Here are the links to all the posts in the DSB series:

“Don’t Stop Believing” by Michael E. Wittmer
Must You Believe Something to be Saved?
Do Right Beliefs Get In the Way of Good Works?