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    What to Give Up for Lent 2018? Consider Twitter’s Top 100 Ideas
    (UPDATED) On the first VaLENTine's Day since WWII, it appears chocolate and alcohol will be absent from many dates.
    God’s Message on ‘Ash Valentine’s Day’: True Love Dies
    When the first day of Lent falls on a romantic holiday, love and death meet up.
    Sovereign Grace Disputes Rachael Denhollander’s Remarks
    As former gymnast advocates for victims in the church, SGC calls her take on its past scandal “not true.”
  • News & Reporting

    Evangelicals from Max Lucado to Pat Robertson Urge Action on Gun Safety

    Influential Christians want to see bans on certain weapons as well as better mental health resources.

    Though white evangelicals are less likely than the average American to push for stricter gun laws, the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has prompted pastors to advocate for “sensible” gun restrictions to help prevent more attacks.

    Pat Robertson spoke out on Tuesday in favor of banning automatic weapons and bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic rifles to fire more quickly.

    “I've got no opposition whatsoever to shooting, but for heaven’s sakes, I don’t think that the general population needs to have automatic weapons,” said the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) founder, himself a politically conservative gun owner and a defender of the Second Amendment.

    “We can ban those things without too much trouble. And they have what they call bump stocks … that you hit and it goes automatic. We can stop that.”

    Robertson’s statement came just before President Donald Trump backed a ban on bump stocks.

    The host of The 700 Club also voiced his support for tighter background check measures around mental health and psychiatric concerns.

    Meanwhile, Max Lucado, Joel Hunter, and Lynne Hybels were among 15 evangelical leaders who launched a petition for gun safety in America days after the latest shooting.

    “We call on our fellow Christian believers, church leaders, and pastors across the country to declare that we will decisively respond to this problem with both prayer and action,” they stated.

    The petition cited a “biblical responsibility” to lobby for common-sense gun legislation, to encourage gun owners to secure their own firearms, and to help those with severe mental illness get professional help.

    Other initial signers include Dietrich Bonhoeffer ...

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    Where Protestants and Catholics Go When They Leave Their Churches

    Research shows 1 in 6 US Christians changed their religious affiliation over a four-year span, with nondenominational worshipers leading the way.

    Much of the switching in religious identity in the United States over the past several years occurred among the “nones,” specifically Americans who identify as agnostic or as “nothing in particular.” But the Christian landscape hasn’t remained static in the meantime.

    Though academics have long wondered whether the US will follow the secularizing trend found in most of Europe, the greatest shifts among believers have occurred within Christianity, not away from it.

    The three-wave Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES)—which surveyed the same individuals in 2010, 2012, and 2014, and started with 9,500 respondents—reveals how few Catholics and Protestants have changed affiliations and how many have moved from one denomination (or nondenomination) to another.

    During this period, Catholics remained pretty attached to their tradition; they were about half as likely as Americans on average to change their affiliation: 8.8 percent vs. 18.9 percent. When Catholics do switch, they largely shift toward having no faith, with 6.4 percent switching to agnostic, atheist, or “nothing in particular.”

    For Catholics, transitioning to another religious tradition is extremely rare. Of the 2,112 Catholics in the CCES sample, fewer than 50 left: 39 became Protestants, 6 became Orthodox Christians, and 3 became Buddhists.

    The Catholic sample declined by 1 percent between 2010 and 2014, though this does not suggest a decline in Catholicism as a whole. (This data only includes individuals who switch into or out of Catholicism as adults, and excludes birth or death rates, which also have a tremendous impact on the total number of adherents.)

    Protestants—the largest religious tradition in ...

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    Christian Parents and Schools Have 529 Reasons to Like New Tax Law

    A Q+A on how college savings plans can now be used to pay for private K-12 tuition.

    Parents now have another way to save for Christian school tuition—and this one comes with tax benefits.

    Thanks to the GOP-led tax reforms, the 529 college savings vehicle—so named for the relevant section of the Internal Revenue Code—can now also be used to save money to pay tuition at any “elementary or secondary public, private, or religious school.”

    CT spoke to George Tryfiates, director for government affairs at the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), to find out how it works. His office worked for months on this small section of the tax bill by visiting legislators, joining coalitions, and generating almost 9,000 calls to Congress, President Donald Trump, and Vice President Mike Pence from the ACSI community.

    How did this come about?

    Trump made such a priority of parental choice in education during his campaign that, immediately after his election, people began working on school choice proposals in earnest. All the ideas people have had over the years—education savings accounts, Title 1 portability, tax credit scholarships—got new life. So did expanding the 529 savings accounts.

    How does a 529 savings plan work?

    The 529 savings plans were created by a federal law but are administered by the states, so the benefits can be twofold—in other words, from both federal and state taxes (depending on the state).

    Parents create and put money into a 529 account, which is then invested in stocks and bonds, more like a 403(b) or a 401(k) than a bank savings account. They can select their level of risk: perhaps choosing a plan that invests in higher-risk options with higher rates of return for a child in first grade, then switching to safer options such as bonds as a child ...

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    Not an Act of God: Ministries Respond to Surge in Mass Shootings

    Christian counselors once focused on natural disasters now frequently address manmade crises.

    Chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) arrived in Parkland, Florida, within hours of Wednesday’s school shooting that killed at least 17 teens and faculty members.

    This is the fifth deployment this year for the ministry’s rapid response team, trained to provide emotional and spiritual support amid crises.

    Each 2018 deployment has been gun-related.

    “Our hearts break for the parents who sent their children to school, and are now with them in the hospital, or living a parent’s worst nightmare,” said Jack Munday, international director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, in a statement.

    “So many lives have been forever changed by this evil act. As we pray for the students, faculty, and families, we know God can bring hope and comfort, in Jesus Christ, in the darkest hours.”

    At times of tragedy, Christian churches and ministries rally to remind survivors of a God who the Psalms tell us “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

    For decades, they have been among the first on the scene to care for people in the wake of hurricanes, tornados, fires, and other uncontrollable natural disasters. In recent years, ministries increasingly find themselves consoling victims of manmade violence: shootings and terrorist attacks.

    BGEA president and CEO Franklin Graham first formed the rapid response team in the wake of 9/11, and its chaplains have since responded to hundreds of crisis events, including last year’s major shootings in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas.

    Of the 26 shootings that BGEA chaplains have responded to in the US, more than half have taken place since 2014—including the 5 so far this year. Gun violence now makes up about ...

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  • Women

    The Hard Truth About Mr. Right
    An excerpt from “Party of One: Truth, Longing, and the Subtle Art of Singleness.”
    God’s Message on ‘Ash Valentine’s Day’: True Love Dies
    When the first day of Lent falls on a romantic holiday, love and death meet up.
    We Lost Our Baby, but We Didn't Want to Lose Our Marriage
    Men and women tend to grieve differently; understanding those differences helped us make it through.
    Blessed Are the Unsatisfied
    We often assume that loneliness and dissatisfaction are symptoms of spiritual failure. But what if they’re signs of healthy faith?
  • CT Music

    Interview: Creating Worship Songs for a Welcoming Community
    Isaac Wardell’s latest collaborative project, The Porter’s Gate, marks a change from Bifrost Arts.
    Interview: Don’t Miss Steven Curtis Chapman’s Point
    Even his happiest, most heartwarming music has been fueled by tragedy and pain.
    Review: Crowder Goes Hog Wild
    "Neon Steeple" is a throwback and a step forward at the same time.
    Review: The Musician Is a Master
    To understand why Phil Keaggy is receiving ASCAP's Golden Note Award, you really need just one album.
  • CT Movies

    Review: Joy
    The film is uneven, but Joy knows just who she is.
    Review: The Revenant
    In the 1820s frontier wilderness, survival is a bear.
    Review: Concussion
    Hollywood tries to turn a clash between science and a powerful institution into an immigrant doctor's "such a time as this."
    Review: 45 Years
    When the ground beneath a marriage is shaken, can it hold up?
  • Most-Read Articles

    The New View of Heaven Is Too Small
    Our recent emphasis on “kingdom work” misses the real hope of the afterlife.
    My Larry Nassar Testimony Went Viral. But There’s More to the Gospel Than Forgiveness.
    Former gymnast Rachael Denhollander spent years discovering God’s perspective on sexual abuse. Then her advocacy for survivors cost her her church.
    What Made Mental Illness a ‘Sin’? Paganism
    And how psychiatry and psychology came to be seen as anti-God.
    The Hard Truth About Mr. Right
    An excerpt from “Party of One: Truth, Longing, and the Subtle Art of Singleness.”
The Radical Christian Faith of Frederick Douglass
The Radical Christian Faith of Frederick Douglass
The great abolitionist spoke words of rebuke—and hope—to a slaveholding society.
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