Through the years I’ve been an on again, off again reader of Christianity Today, often referred to these days as Christianity ‘Astray’. A few years ago I tried another subscription that gave me hard copy and online versions because id seemed like a good deal and after all, there was an occasional article that still contained sound doctrine. When my last renewal came around I opted for just the online version from which it was easier to extract information and save it in digital format for future reference. This week I received my May edition and if I could get a partial refund of the remaining issues due me I would – trust me. Here is a sampling of what CT had to offer:
1. Beyond Bono and Eugene Peterson: The Most Searched and Shared Psalms
Thanks to some earlier advertising I knew this one was coming. Fuller Theological Seminary is using the above two men, one an entertainment idol and social gospel guru, and the other the author of The Message Bible (not even a good paraphrase), to encourage people to read more of the Psalms.
2. Christians Can Hold Their Bladders and Still Shop at Target
This was a piece advising us to ‘consider the missional implications before you boycott’. If Target loses profit some peoples’ jobs could get cut. We shouldn’t b about boycotts, but about the gospel, which is true. It talked about other ‘Christian’ boycotts that had little impact on anything, which is also true. What the article didn’t address is the myriads of people who sign up to boycott Target (and other businesses) because the privacy and safety of their wives, sisters, and daughters is at stake. There’s a HUGE difference between getting upset about a store not saying “Merry Christmas” and biological men posing as women (call it what you will) using the women’s restroom. Anyone who cannot see that has lost the capacity for intelligent thought!
3.What Jen Hatmaker Gets Right about Christian Love:
Jen Hatmaker’s article was about loving LGBT people, which we certainly should do. At the same time, to tell an LGBT person “You are loved, but……is a no-no. Instead our message should be:
“LGBT gang and all those who love you: You are loved and special and wanted and needed.”
In other words, we are not to tell people trapped in a sinful lifestyle (LGBT or otherwise) that there is sin to be dealt with. Sadly, minimizing sin just might be one of today’s evangelicalism’s main endeavor’s. We are supposed to just ‘love’ people into the kingdom because when they feel SOOOOOO loved they will embrace Jesus. It was hard to tell from the article whether or not she was ‘affirming’ LGBT lifestyles, but it sure sounded like it.
4. Remembering Prince: A Pop Music Priest in a Secular World:
Here’s the lead-in: “He seemed to defy mortal boundaries, but in fact, he showed us the glory of simply being made in God’s image.” The rest of the article was a glowing tribute to his music and his persona. The article finishes with:
“Prince took the raw material of the created world around him and made it into something new, and when he sent that new thing back into the world, it made us smile, made us want to fall in love, made us want to dance. Today, especially, it makes us weep.”
There were a couple of articles from Christian sources that while acknowledging Prince’s musical talent also remarked with sadness his having been a 7th Day Adventist turned Jehovah’s Witness (both are cults), as well as the morally challenging nature of ‘sexuality’ that Prince espoused. CT completely failed in using the death of an icon to make any sort of ‘gospel’ point.
5. Cover Story: Inside the Popular, Controversial Bethel Church: “Some visitors claim to be healed. Others claim to receive direct words from God. Is it ‘real’–or dangerous?”
This was the kicker, if you will. This one was nine pages recounting a visit to Bethel by a Canadian man (PCA member in Canada) interspersed by some of the history of Bethel and it’s Pastor Bill Johnson. Sprinkled in were accounts of some of the ‘interesting’ things that happen at Bethel and accounts of tingly, fuzzy feelings. To be fair, some of the current criticism of Bethel was also included. and there was a short side article about the ‘theology’ that drives Bethel by none other than the Editor of CT, Mark Galli.
So why am I dumping Christianity Today? Perhaps it’s just because I’m old and don’t yet suffer from Alzheimer’s. I remember well the CT of thirty years ago. CT has gone from being a beacon of orthodox Christianity and Biblical evangelicalism to being….well, spiritual milquetoast, if not downright junk food.
From a Wikipedia article about Christianity Today:
“The first issue of Christianity Today was mailed October 15, 1956, and the opening editorial, Why ‘Christianity Today’?, stated "Christianity Today has its origin in a deep-felt desire to express historical Christianity to the present generation. Neglected, slighted, misrepresented—evangelical Christianity needs a clear voice, to speak with conviction and love, and to state its true position and its relevance to the world crisis. A generation has grown up unaware of the basic truths of the Christian faith taught in the Scriptures and expressed in the creeds of the historic evangelical churches." “
Sadly, today’s version is almost completely void of anything seriously doctrinal or theological. It contains a plethora of intellectually vacuous material devoid of, or afraid of taking a Biblical stance on anything! The article about Bethel didn’t even offer any scripture references for the reader to use for critically examining some of Bethel’s doctrine or practices. The short article about Bethel doctrine only offered one of the ‘proof’ texts ripped out of context used to support signs, wonders and miracles as normal for every believer.
“Is it real or dangerous?” – Give me a break!
Of course there were other other articles including some I didn’t take time to read. Even if one or two contained decent theology, the overall tone of CT is an affront to orthodox Christianity and the precious gospel of Jesus Christ.
Well,. I’ve said my piece. I needed to get it off my chest. I feel better now.