Written by R. Todd Mangum Friday, 19 December 2014 00:00

An old superstition says that bad things happen in threes.

I don’t believe in that superstition – but I nonetheless am chilled by the slaughter of innocents this past week that occurred in three horrifying acts. First, there was the news of the Taliban in Pakistan reviving their notoriety for terrorism by carrying out a military style attack on a school, deliberately targeting and killing 132 children. Meanwhile, Boko Haram in Nigeria went on another rampage, again killing andtargeting women and children for kidnapping into sex slavery.

Then, as though to underscore that such terrors are not just in distant lands far away, right here in my home town of Souderton, a man, allegedly in a nasty custody fight with his ex-wife, murdered six people (including the children’s mother right in front of them), before fleeing to the woods and taking his own life

“Come on, God. Why must such horrors happen – at Christmas time no less?” I find myself praying.


Written by Philip Monroe Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

In sex trafficking, as with any scourge, there are two sides to choose from. Either you are on the side of the victims, or you are on the side of the traffickers. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to think that readers of this blog have already chosen to be on the side of protecting, defending, and freeing victims of sex trafficking.

The Well

But wait a minute, not so fast.

There is a way that believers can unknowingly choose the side of the traffickers. Complicity. To be complicit is to enable another to commit a crime. Some forms of complicity are intentional. We might allow a criminal to use our car to rob a bank. Others are unintended, but nonetheless result in aiding the criminal. We might know that abuse is happening in the house next door, but we turn away from what is happening, pretending not to know that someone is being harmed.

Sex trafficking happens in the Delaware Valley


Written by David Lamb Monday, 15 December 2014 09:21

Here’s my one sentence review — Exodus: Gods and Kings was better than expected, and less weird than Noah.

Exodus Movie

(Despite the weirdness, I liked Noah. In terms of the main point of Genesis 6-9 — God’s judgment on human violence — it was more true to the text than most of the crap we feed our children about Noah’s ark, and I’m not just talking about “twosies, twosies.” But I digress.)

Before going to see Exodus (released December 12, 2014), I decided to check out RottenTomatoes.com. The film was at 28%. Not good. We decided to go anyway, but with expectations sufficiently lowered.

If you’re interesting in film-making artistry, I will let you read other reviews. As a Bible guy, I will address two questions.


Written by Dr. Kyuboem Lee Friday, 12 December 2014 10:36

You may never have heard of the Homogeneous Unit Principle, but chances are your church life has been profoundly shaped by it.

Homogeneous Unit Principle

HUP is a key observation of the Church Growth Movement (which enjoyed its heyday in the latter half of the last century) that congregations which focus and tailor their ministry efforts on one homogeneous people group tend to grow numerically the fastest. Perhaps not surprisingly, somewhere along the way HUP transformed from just an observation and a description into a prescription, a strategic principle for churches who sought to grow numerically and for new congregations being planted. One could argue that many of the newer church plants of the last couple of decades were directed by the spirit of HUP.


Written by Dr. David Dunbar Monday, 08 December 2014 18:22

Study and meditation

In a previous blog I looked at the question of whether Christians should practice scripture meditation. In this entry want to think with you about how meditation can be distinguished from the study of the Bible.

To begin with, it is worth noting that the two practices need not be understood as mutually exclusive: study can include or lead us to meditation, and meditation can lead us to study. And yet they are different and should be distinguished.

The study of scripture is primarily an intellectual pursuit

In study we use a variety of methods and techniques to understand the meaning of the text. Linguistic analysis, historical-cultural backgrounds, theological reflection—all these have their place in opening our minds to the truth of God. Evangelical Christians have been particularly adept at the Bible-study approach, not just as a scholarly activity but as a popular aid to devotion and spiritual growth for the average Christian.


Written by Manuel Ortiz Monday, 01 December 2014 12:37

Being Missional

Should we be interested in the global mission of God here in North America, noting that by the end of the 20th century there were more Christians living in the Southern Hemisphere than in Europe and North America? As Andrew Walls asks, “Does it not seem that Africa may have a special place in God’s plan of salvation?” It seems to me that many of our Christian institutions are still functioning as though the world were static and operating out of a post-colonial mindset.

With the decline of Christians in North America and Europe coupled with the enormous growth of Christianity in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, it would seem that our appetite for learning from our brothers and sisters in the South should be enormous and that we would be quick to listen and learn. As Mark Noll comments, “Africa, Asia, and Latin America have more Christian students desirous of learning but have limited resources; while here in North America we lack students but have enormous resources.”

Now I ask you, how shall we become missional?


Written by R. Todd Mangum Tuesday, 25 November 2014 14:36

Trial in Ferguson

I don’t know what happened on August 9 in Ferguson, MO. I wasn’t there and know only what has been publicly released as testimony and evidence in the investigation.

There are some facts of the case that are undisputed. Michael Brown, known as “Big Mike” to his friends, was 18 years old, and was unarmed. He was black. Darren Wilson, a police officer responding to a report that a convenience store had a box of cigars shop-lifted, noticed that Michael Brown matched the description of the robber: a young, large, black male wearing a white t-shirt and a red hat.

There was an altercation between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson, beginning at the door of the police car, which Wilson had parked in position to stop the pedestrians, Brown and his friend, as well as traffic in both directions.


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