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December 31, 2009Leadership

Top Ten Theology Stories

I am a bit of a wonk when it comes to theology, and I like a good top ten list. So, when Christianity Today's Collin Hansen does a "top ten theological story" list, I think it is worth sharing. And, since I am now a contributing editor for CT, it seems only right that I use large portions of their copyrighted text in my blog posts. ;-)

Collin gets it (mostly) right. You can read his full list here. Below some of the stories and some of his comments. My comments are in italics after his. In order to avoid a nasty letter from the CT attorneys and a rebuke from editor Ted Olsen, I am not reproducing all of it on my blog, so be sure to go to the magazine website and read it in full.

Here is his list with my comments:

1. Both NIV and TNIV Will Be Phased Out

This is a major story. Glad that he indicated that this story has just started (again). The work of the translation committee will be followed closely. I am pleased the committee has promised openness.

2. SBC Seeks a Great Commission Resurgence

Old rifts were healed. New vows were made. There was a lot to cheer when the Southern Baptist Convention created a task force that would explore how to faithfully fulfill the Great Commission. Other denominations will be watching to see how the task force streamlines mission agencies that have been cutting back due to the economic downturn. The GCR Declaration drafted by Johnny Hunt and Danny Akin deserves a wide reading among evangelicals.

I have been told many times: As goes the SBC, so goes evangelicalism. Thus, the evangelical world rightly watches the SBC. The SBC has had some dramatic shifts over the last five years. Honestly, I have been surprised (pleasantly) at so much of what has happened. But, this story is also unfinished. The next convention is in Orlando and it will answer not one, but two very important questions: will the SBC approve the recommendations of its GCR task force (I predict yes) and will it elect a President who continues down the current path being set (I predict yes).

3. and 4. (Go read Collin's article-- I can't duplicate it all right here!)

5. Manhattan Declaration Prods Culture, Invites Pushback

Collin has described it well.

I would make some additional observation. Some of the signers of the Manhattan Declaration were critical of signers of the Evangelical Manifesto and the Common Word statements. Now, they are being criticized for signing a different document.

Although I have chosen to not sign the document, I understand the position and passions of those that did. And, I share all their concerns for social justice and the need to stand for biblical morality and values.

6. Adoption Push Gains Steam

I think this is a great movement, and had the privilege of speaking at Together for Adoption, but I am surprised it made a top ten list. I look forward to the day when orphan care is just a normal part of local church ministry.

7. Rick Warren Prays at Obama Inauguration

I would have put this one closer to the top.

First, I think Rick Warren continues to make headlines at an unprecedented level. And, those headlines often flow from the inaugural prayer.

Second, the fact that it is news shows how out of touch so many are with American culture. As LifeWay Research has shown, 48% of Americans are willing to say that homosexual behavior is sinful (45% indicated it was not sinful). Read the rest of the research here.

America is divided on the issue, but Rick Warren's position is mainstream (not to mention orthodox) even if it is not affirmed by the media.

8. I don't think number 8 was a big a story as Collin does.

9. Split Widens Between U.S. Episcopalians and Anglican Communion

Number 9 is big news although it seems like old news. It is not. Just last Friday, there were more developments. And, increasingly, it appears that the Episcopal Church (the historic Anglican presence in North America) may soon have a second-tier status within global Anglicanism.

Don't think that the new Anglican alignment in North America is waiting. They are planning to plant 1000 churches. (And yes, for full disclosure, I will be joining Archbishop Robert Duncan and other leaders at the launch of that initiative.)

10. 'Coming Evangelical Collapse' Predicted

I was asked by three different periodicals to write a response to Michael Spencer's article on the coming "collapse" of evangelicalism. I declined for several reasons that I won't list there, but I did make a brief comment on my blog. And, I do look at the numbers in an article in the January issue of Christianity Today.

The articles Michael wrote are here. The shorter (but more widely circulated) article is in the Christian Science Monitor here.

Leith Anderson wrote a response, "The Coming Evangelical Future." It was generally helpful, though his introduction was unnecessarily personal and, I think, unhelpful.

It was a major story. And, even though I do not think there is an imminent evangelical collapse, I do believe we are in a season of evangelical malaise. It is my hope that this will drive us to prayer, the gospel, and the mission... but that is for an article on another day.

While on the subject, let me add that the author of the article, Michael Spencer (aka Internet Monk) is very ill with cancer and just returned from the hospital yesterday. Please be praying for him.

Collin, a helpful list. Thanks for the writing it and giving me the opportunity to interact with it!

Feel free to weight in with your thoughts below...

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Top Ten Theology Stories