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Church and Mission

Powerful Witness from a Position of Weakness

The past decade in American politics has caused evangelical Christians to realize the extent to which we have been decentered socially, culturally, and politically. While we have seen some incremental progress in our advocacy for the pro-life position, we are experiencing consistent regression on other significant issues, such as religious liberty, human dignity, race relations, [ Read More ]

Where Do We Go from Here? (A Colson Center Online Symposium)

This week, I participated in an online symposium consisting of 12 very brief post-election answers to the question: “What has the 2016 election revealed about the state of the Church and its place in American culture, and how ought we (the American Church) move forward from here?” The other contributors and I (Bruce Ashford,  Hunter Baker,  [ Read More ]

I Am an Alien Resident of the United States of America

In the midst of the turbulent times we are now facing in our nation, Americans are advocating any number of responses ranging from ordinary to outrageous: making peace with the status quo, walking away from public life in resignation, expressing outrage via social media flash mobbing, calling for revolutions, and urging anarchy. These responses are [ Read More ]

Building a “Great Commission” Seminary (3 Core Convictions, 5 Academic Competencies, 5 Faculty Expectations)

[Note: This post provides a glimpse into the life of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where I serve as Provost and Professor of Theology & Culture. Written as the opening presentation of our 2013 Faculty Workshop, it gives voice to Southeastern’s aspiration to be a “Great Commission Seminary.” The first portion of the essay articulates 3 core convictions [ Read More ]

Make America Happy Again (Or, How the Beatitudes Slay the 7 Deadly Sins)

Recent surveys have confirmed what we already know: Americans are not happy. Anger, anxiety, and depression are on the rise in our country. An NBC News survey revealed that half of Americans are more angry than they were last year, and a significant percentage of Americans become angry at least once a day because of something they saw on the news. And the anger is bipartisan: both Republicans and Democrats both feel this way.

Other surveys reveal that Americans are also depressed, as indicated by a rise in suicides and in prescriptions for depression medications, and anxious because of stagnant wages, deteriorating 401(k) retirement plans, lost wars, racial unrest, terror acts, an increasingly polarized society, and the toxic nature of our public discourse.

In the midst of our anger, depression, and anxiety, Jesus offers the Beatitudes. “Beatitude” is the blessedness, the deep happiness, of being in right relationship with him and allowing him to work in and through us, even in the midst of the worst of circumstances.
[ Read More ]