Pornography most common sexual sin of Christian men

by Kirk Giles

Earlier this year, Angus Reid released the results of a poll that give us insight into the morals of men in Canada. According to this poll, 52% of men in Canada believe that watching pornography is always or usually morally acceptable. The report also indicates that 43% of Canadian men age 18-34 believe that buying sex is always or usually morally acceptable.

Kirk Giles is the president of Promise Keepers Canada
Kirk Giles is the president of Promise Keepers Canada

Sex seems to have always had a powerful hold in the lives of men. If we examine the Old Testament, we can read multiple stories of how men used women for their own sexual desires. It seems as though any man can become overwhelmed by their desires – from the common man to the king of Israel.

Today, the age of the internet has made it easier than ever for men to lust after a woman, and keep it a secret. In the work we do at Promise Keepers Canada, pornography is easily the most common form of sexual sin Christian men are participating in. There are men who are convinced it is sin, but they don’t know how (or even if they want) to get out. There are other men who are not as confident that viewing pornography is a sin, because it is private and they don’t feel like they are hurting anyone.

There are practical and biblical ways to address the sexual temptations confronting men when it comes to pornography.

Practically, men need to see that woman as somebody’s daughter or somebody’s sister. Something changes in a man’s thinking when he sees the woman on the screen as a person first. I have never met a man who is thrilled at the idea of other men lusting after their daughter or sister, but that is exactly what men are doing when they view pornography.
Continue reading Pornography most common sexual sin of Christian men

What counts as a flourishing congregation in Canada?

by Joel Thiessen

What counts as a flourishing congregation in Canada? What are the indicators of a flourishing congregation?

FlouishingCI LogoWhat would you say? Membership, baptism, conversion, or attendance figures? How “well” churchgoers love others? Good leadership? Strong community presence?

These are common and anticipated questions that our research team receives as we launch the new Flourishing Congregations Institute at Ambrose University.  In reality, flourishing is a combination of all of the above, plus a series of other variables.

Our team recently facilitated two expert panel gatherings with nearly 20 church and denominational leaders of flourishing Catholic, mainline and conservative Protestant congregations in Calgary. Soon we will travel coast to coast, speaking with 50-75 additional leaders of flourishing congregations – and later in the study we will conduct in-depth case studies of some congregations, followed by a national survey with leaders and members of flourishing congregations.

In our initial explorations we ask leaders this open-ended question: “What comes to mind with the phrase “flourishing congregation”?” We also summarize and then solicit their response to five traits that emerge in the literature on healthy and vibrant churches: a clear self-identity; strong and committed leadership; a culture that desires growth (numeric as well as spiritual); a hospitable community;band vibrant spiritual life (see our earlier article in Faith Today)
Continue reading What counts as a flourishing congregation in Canada?

An American and Canadian Evangelical Dialogue over our story: “Are American and Canadian Evangelicals Really That Different?”

At Faith Today, we thought we would carry on the conversation about American and Canadian Evangelicals generated by our May/Jun cover story. So here we present the reaction of an American Evangelical to that story, and the response from our writer Sam Reimer. 

by Dr. George Yancey

I want to thank Sam Reimer for his comparison of U.S. and Canadian Evangelicals. Such insight should be shared by Christians on both sides of the border.

Our blog writers are responding to the May/Jun cover story. Have you read it yet?
Our blog writers are responding to the May/Jun cover story. Have you read it yet?

It is encouraging to learn that we have so much in common with our northern brothers and sisters. It does make sense that theological similarity would unite us, given the social factors that have created the evangelical subculture that spans between the two countries.

Allow me to add another similarity that may not have been clear from the article. We Evangelicals in the U.S. are also astounded at the political success of Donald Trump. At least this is the case for those who take their faith seriously [as evidenced by church attendance]. For example, in the Missouri primary Cruz beat Trump 50 percent to 33 percent among Evangelicals who attend church at least weekly. On the other hand, among Evangelicals who attend church only a few times a year, Trump beat Cruz 48 percent to 29 percent.

So please do not accept the myth that Evangelicals in the U.S. are big supporters of Trump.
Continue reading An American and Canadian Evangelical Dialogue over our story: “Are American and Canadian Evangelicals Really That Different?”

Goodbye beautiful writer, our lovely friend

By Karen Stiller

This weekend Faith Today senior writer Debra Fieguth died, following a massive stroke. If you have read Faith Today over the years, you will have no doubt been influenced by Debra in your life and faith, even if you didn’t know it was her.  She wrote from the busy intersection between life and faith, the living out of our beliefs — because that is really where she shone.

Mama Debra, as she was known, fourth from right, passionately committed to biblical hospitality and one of her favourite topics to write about.
Mama Debra, as she was known, fourth from right, passionately committed to biblical hospitality and that was one of her favourite topics to write about.

To be a senior writer for Faith Today means that writer is a “go-to” person for us. It means that we can assign that person almost any story and know it will be done well. Debra was a go-to person in her work. She was also most certainly that in her life.

Debra was an activist of the faith. She was someone intent on making the crooked straight, setting right what had been made wrong.

Debra was a go-to person for countless numbers of international students who found a home through weekly dinners and I’m guessing endless drop-in visits to their home in Kingston. Debra and her husband Ian lived and breathed hospitality. It’s just what they did. She wrote a book about it.
Continue reading Goodbye beautiful writer, our lovely friend

Writing the difficult story of Gospel for Asia

by Karen Stiller

We first began to hear about the troubles facing Gospel for Asia through our readers.

We received several letters from Faith Today subscribers concerned that we were running advertisements from a charity facing serious questions about staff relations and financial issues.

A pile of Gospel for Asia research for the story "Tangled and Troubled Times at Gospel for Asia."
A pile of Gospel for Asia research for the story “Tangled and Troubled Times at Gospel for Asia.”

Of course, Faith Today has a clear “we don’t necessarily agree with all our advertisers” stance, but that answer only goes so far.

We started to dig and discovered that one of the world’s largest Christian charities was indeed coming under serious fire. We had a decision on our hands. Do we do this story? Or do we let it play out for even more time? Or do we ignore it altogether?

We chose to dig in.

We certainly weighed the seriousness of trudging into a story full of contradictory statements, unproved or not-yet-proven allegations, and named the potential risk and sadness of adding to the societal skepticism of Christians acting wrong with people and with money.

But of course, we aren’t given the task of making each other look good. It is our job to bring truth to light as best we can. Not to sensationalize or diminish. Not to make things bigger, nor to make things smaller than they really are.

So, I read, dug, listened, asked, confirmed, fact-checked, worried, asked more questions, worried some more. And then wrote.

Both sides checked in with me with concern at different times in the course of this story, wanting to make sure that I really got it, that I understood what was at stake. I think they wanted to know they were safe and that they were believed. The best answer I could give them, and I believe this to be sadly true, is that no one is going to like this story.

Karen Stiller is a senior editor of Faith Today. Sign up for a free trial subscription, and receive the May/Jun Faith Today featuring “Tangled and Troubled Times at Gospel for Asia.”

 

Honestly, some of my best friends are American Evangelicals

by Karen Stiller

The response was swift. The minute I posted the cover of the May/Jun Faith Today on my Facebook feed, my phone lit up.

You can see why. The colourful artwork with the provocative question: “Are American and Canadian Evangelicals really that different?” caught the attention of my friends.

Intrigued?
Intrigued?

One good friend, who is also a Canadian Evangelical (a pastor, even) posted “Um..yes” she says hopefully,” earning her an immediate three Facebook thumbs up.

We do like to think we are different.

I remember meeting my very first “American Evangelicals” years ago at Regent College, and thinking they were actually quite normal after all.  They didn’t fit my cultural, comfortable stereotypes. Some are good friends even to this day.

So, we will see what the response is to our May/Jun cover story written by sociologist Sam Reimer from Crandall University in Moncton. We shall see…

Karen Stiller is a senior editor of Faith Today. Would you like a copy of this story, with all the other great content in May/Jun? Try out our free trial subscription today. 

 

Nepal One Year Later

by Luke McKee

Rebuilding after tragedy has not been an easy journey for the country of Nepal. On April 25, 2015 the central region of the country was devastated by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake killing over 8000 people. It was Nepal’s largest earthquake since the 1930s. In the wake of such catastrophe, the world rushed to the country’s aid.

A family stands near the rubble of their home in Nepal.
A family stands near the rubble of their home in Nepal.

Since April 25, much of the recovery efforts have been focused on the heavily populated capital city of Kathmandu. Rebuilding broken buildings, landmarks and major roadways has been the focus of the work. As a result, the basic rhythm of the city seems to have returned to a relative “normal.”

Bhim Lal, the leader of Good Friends of Nepal (GFN), a ministry partner of Partners International Canada, shares that while the rebuild continues, there are still rural communities that have seen limited arrival of aid. These are communities tucked into the remote areas of Nepal where challenging roads and varying weather conditions create significant obstacles to delivering aid.

In these villages, Bhim Lal says that families continue to survive in make-shift tents, remaining unsure of what the future holds for them.

The church in Nepal is responding to these rural communities despite community opposition they have faced in the past. “The goal of our work is to share God’s love,” says Bhim Lal. “Many of our national workers have experienced difficulties in sharing the gospel, but the distribution of earthquake relief materials gave us an opportunity to practically demonstrate His great love.”

Continue reading Nepal One Year Later

Dear Fundraiser… A letter from Christians who give

Rod Wilson wrote our Mar/Apr cover story on the meaning of money. He challenged us to reconsider the role of money in our lives. Wilson works with philanthropists to help them grapple with  connections between giving and major themes like identity, spirituality, theology, community, and relationships. Faith Today asked Wilson to write a blog post for us, expanding on a theme around money. Here is an open letter from funders to fundraisers and the organizations they represent, asking them to remember 10 things.

by Rod Wilson

Patti Miller is our FT Interview for March/April.
Patti Miller is our FT Interview for March/April.

Dear Fundraisers,

As you meet with us, send us material, ask us for money, and present the needs of your organizations, please remember:

· We take you and your organization seriously, but many people approach us on a regular basis. There are times when you all start to sound the same and we wish for a creative presentation, a unique request, an unusual spin. Don’t be afraid to step out and take a risk, moving beyond the standard ways of asking.

· We are noticing the proliferation of non-profit organizations and we wonder why there are so many of you doing similar things. Does your organization really provide a value-added dimension that makes you unique? If so, let us know what that is so you can address our fear that there is extensive duplication.

· We want you to listen to our passion, not just speak about your own. Fundraising is not sales in that you have to convince us that your product is something we need. We are motivated and inspired by particular ministries and people groups and the key issue is whether our passions mesh with each other.

· We do not give money in order to receive thanks but we like to hear gratitude in response to a gift. If you spend an inordinate amount of time on the ask and very little on the appreciation, we begin to wonder if our giving met your sense of entitlement and you are not grateful.
Continue reading Dear Fundraiser… A letter from Christians who give

Praying doesn’t come easily. But it’s happening all around the world

By Brian Stiller

Prayer is tough when taken seriously. Praying doesn’t come easily. I can preach, organize, write, exhort, study, and create fairly easily, but praying is a discipline. For most, prayer is not our first choice—getting something done is, which presumes praying is not.

Subscribe to Faith Today before the end of April and receive Brian Stiller's latest book free.
Subscribe to Faith Today before the end of April and receive Brian Stiller’s latest book free. Join us for a webinar on April 20 when we interview Brian and tap into his global perspective on evangelicalism.

Yet people everywhere are gathering together for prayer: in homes, before the business day, online, and in parliamentary groupings. Towns, cities, and regions have annual prayer breakfasts. Prayer gatherings are different and varied, noisy and silent, bombastic and reflective.

The World Prayer Assembly is a confluence of streams finding their way to a delta of prayer. This one I was at was hosted by South Koreans—well known for their rigorous early-morning prayer gatherings—and by Indonesian prayer groups. It was a four-day pep rally on prayer. The music, dance, drama, and unabashed enthusiasm were all inspiring.

The genesis of today’s world prayer was in 1984 in Seoul. Vonnette Bright, who with her husband, Bill Bright, founded Campus Crusade for Christ, led the Lausanne Movement in its late-twentieth-century prayer gathering. Here they were joined by the Global Day of Prayer, a focus triggered by Graham Powers of South Africa.

The underlying mood of the World Prayer Assembly matched my boyhood camp meetings. Joy captured the moment, for what could be more satisfying for those assembled from the troubled spots of the world? Those often living under the heel of a religious or secular majority, who are despised at best and persecuted at worst, are gathered in praise and prayer. I applauded with thousands as six hundred Christians from China stood to be welcomed. Those from Indonesia know what it means to pray in a Muslim-dominated country, where on some of its islands, Christians have recently been killed and churches burned.
Continue reading Praying doesn’t come easily. But it’s happening all around the world

Why I rushed home and finally called my Member of Parliament

by Karen Stiller

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 3.01.16 PM
Contact your MP now. That was the advice given in the latest EFC webinar “Worse than we thought: physician-assisted suicide”

Today, I rushed home from work and called my Member of Parliament. It wasn’t nearly as difficult or stressful as I feared. To be honest, I don’t even know why I thought it would be. What was I so worried about?

Sometimes I host EFC webinars, and the most recent was on euthanasia and physician-assisted death in Canada. Specifically the recommendations made by the Joint Parliamentary Committee assigned by the government to study the issue and make recommendations around the new law we will have in Canada.

The most floppy of recommendations, as it turns out. If the door to physican-assisted suicide was open a crack in Canada before, the recommendations of the committee would rip the door off its hinges and leave a gaping hole in its place.
Continue reading Why I rushed home and finally called my Member of Parliament

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