One of the profound realities of theology and ecclesiastical enclaves in which American Christians live is each tribal subculture views the world as if Christianity begins and ends with their tribe. Evangelicals are a great example of this trend. Some evangelicals write as if they are the only Christians doing God’s work in the world.

For example, Joy Allmond recently wrote a perplexing article about New York City asking “Is New York City on the Brink of a Great Awakening?” Allmond, a web writer for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, lives in Charlotte, NC, and after reading her article one is left wondering if Ms. Allmond is at all familiar with the religious and Christian landscape of New York City. The narrative she constructs for readers is that change is coming to New York City because evangelicals have arrived. The article begins with a factual impossibility:

20 years ago, Eric Metaxas knew practically every born again believer in Manhattan. “It was like a spiritual ghost town,” the cultural commentator, thought leader and author recalled. Yet, over the recent decades—particularly this last one—New York has seen a surge in evangelicalism. Some cultural experts believe the Big Apple to be on the brink of another ‘Great Awakening.’

I am not writing as an expert on Christianity in New York City, but there is no way Metaxas “practically” knew the thousands of “born again” believers in the Manhattan, especially among the black churches in Harlem and the Dominican churches in Washington Heights, and so on, in 1993. It is unclear why Allmond would make such a fanciful claim but it speaks to the tribal blind spot that some evangelicals have about their own importance. Allmond mentions several evidences of this hoped-for awakening, including the presence of Socrates In The City, The King’s College (where I’m employed), Redeemer Presbyterian Church, and Brooklyn Tabernacle, to name a few. While these do signal increased institutional movements in recent years among evangelicals, they do not suggest that anything spectacular is happening in America’s largest city. Are evangelicals really that important? Here’s why I say this: there have been Christians in this city faithfully preaching the Truth in word and deed for centuries before any church or institution named in Allmond’s article arrived.

As written, Allmond’s article is naturally offensive to those Christians who have been faithfully laboring in the trenches in this city, Christians who are ignored and marginalized in her piece. What about the gospel-preaching black, Latino/Hispanic, Asian/Asian-American, and immigrant churches in sections of Manhattan like Harlem, Chinatown, and Washington Heights? What about the churches in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island? New York City is not necessarily a secular city and perhaps it would be better to speak about the ways in which evangelicals may be positioning themselves to have a seat at the table with all of the other religious communities that are active in New York. As of 2000 New York City’s religious plurality looked something like this:

New York had 7,550,491 Roman Catholics, representing about 39.8% of the total population. The same year, there were 1,653,870 adherents of Jewish congregations. Membership of leading Protestant denominations in included United Methodists, 403,362; Episcopalians, 201,797; Presbyterians (USA), 162,227; and Evangelical Lutherans, 169,329. About 39.6% of the population were not counted as members of any religious organization.

Because of diversified immigration, New York City has small percentages but significant numbers of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, and Orthodox Christians. There were about 223,968 members of Muslim congregations. Though exact membership numbers were not available, there were about 121 Buddhist congregations and 83 Hindu congregations statewide. There is also a wide variety of religious-nationalist sects and cults, including the World Community of Islam in the West, also called the Nation of Islam (Black Muslims), the Hare Krishna group, and the Unification Church of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon.

The questions is, where do evangelicals fit into this landscape? In 2010, journalist Tony Carnes launched a fantastic project covering the various religions in New York City and from his work the most accurate description of New York City is “post-secular.” In fact, one could argue that it is because of New York City’s religious pluralism that newly-arriving evangelicals even have a context in which to thrive. New York City is a very old and diverse city and it would be difficult to argue, if not presumptuous to even suggest, that evangelicalism, which comprises only about 4.2% of the city’s Christian population, is posed to catalyze the next “Great Awakening.” In fact, because New York City is 56% non-white one might suggest that if a Great Awakening is going to happen in the city it would likely happen among the city’s majority ethnic population–a population that evangelicals tend not to reach very well in the city.

After reading Allmond’s article one might get the sense only evangelical Christians are thriving in the city. But what about the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Mainline Protestant, traditional Black Church, Latino/Hispanic, and Asian/Asian-American congregations? Many of those churches have been far more active in New York since World War II than evangelicals have been. It seems to be if God was going to ‘awaken’ New York, or any major city west of the Mississippi River, he would do so by using a coalition of Christians across the traditions who are already there to bear witness to work and person of Christ. It seems that this is what Jesus hoped for in his high priestly prayer in John 17:20-23:

“My prayer is not for [the disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

  • pduggie

    Quite typically evangelicals really define their own theological distinctives as the gospel. So it matters not to them if there are lots of Roman Catholics (defined as a “fallen” church over the doctrine of justification by faith alone) or lots of Methodists (defined as lacking the Calvinistic “doctrines of Grace” that are crucial for a god-centered theology to Calvinists) or a lot of liberal prebysterians or lutherans (defined as not even being christian since the fundamentalist controversy as Machen’s _Christianity and Liberalism_ skewered liberal theology for tolerating denials of the virgin birth or Resurrection, or syncretism with other religions (no need for Jesus alone)

    So ISTM quite natural for evangelicals to make this assumption. and you can’t just prove them wrong by pointing to Methodists or catholics. You’d have to engage the reasons many evangelicals look askance at the adequacy of non-reformed forms of Christianity.

    (Now the ethnic churches, black and latino) would mostly be looked at askance because they would probably be weak on the “doctrines of grace”

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  • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

    From a leftist perspective, and I am saying this as an activist who comes in from Pennsylvania, evangelicals are seen as absent. This was very obvious during the OWS encampment and immediately following. Evangelicals, and Fundamentalists too, are so absent from leftist movements and causes that the prevailing thought among leftists is that religiously conservative Christians need to unconvert in order to see the light politically speaking. At the same time, when they run into religioiusly conservative Christians, they warmly welcome them and often talk about what the Bible has to say about those in need–at least that has been my experience.

    Understanding that this blog is more oriented around political conservatism, agreement on individual issues can become opportunities in which one can share the Gospel.

    • Laura Seaman

      I’m not following you. You’re saying that because conservatives Christians don’t show up en masse at “get togethers” like Occupy Wall Street the left assumes conservatives do not understand what scripture says about those in need? I had a conversation last year with a leftist activist who argued that they never see conservatives at THEIR soup kitchen, therefore they are hypocrites. I said that

    • Laura Seaman

      (Continued) …I said that its excellent that they are working in the field in which God placed them, but no, I won’t be able to leave my own field to work in theirs. They were unaware of any of the work that conservative Christians do, because…I don’t know. Why were they unaware? What is with the my-soup-kitchen-is-bigger-than-your-soup-kitchen rhetoric that endlessly streams from the left?

      • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

        Laura,
        The left sees to problems with conservatives. First, they don’t see conservatives speaking out for the poor and others. Second, conservatives defend or refuse to challenge the system that puts so many in need.
        The two problems are related. And the second problem shows that regardless of which field one is in, one is refusing to address a major source of the problem

        • http://www.acton.org/ John Couretas

          Curt, where do you come up with this stuff?

          Advancing Entrepreneurial Solutions to Poverty. PovertyCure is an international coalition of organizations and individuals committed to entrepreneurial solutions to poverty that challenge the status quo and champion the creative potential of the human person.

          http://www.povertycure.org/

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            John,
            I come up with it by listening to conservatives and reading their blogs. In addition, the site you just posted isn’t just not visible or know to many, it still fails on problem #2. Conservatives fail to challenge the system, something that even the Pope. And what is the conservative reaction to the Pope? Yous guys say that he needs to be more realistic. That response shows a failure to face the system and challenge it.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            By “the system,” I assume you’re referring to the global trade system that has lifted millions of people out of poverty over the past 100 years?

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Marc,
            I guess those rose colored glasses you’re wearing are very comfortable, aren’t they? I say that because by global, you mean businesses not workers, don’t you?

            If you want to look at the system globally, what we are seeing is a worm-like moving coup where corporations are gaining more and more control over governments, then we have to look at both who was lifted out of poverty and who was being exploited. So if you are referring to sweatshop workers as being lifted out of poverty, then please explain. Or if you are referring to Iran becoming more friendly to American Oil from 1953 to 1979, what about the harsh repression of its dissidents? Or what about the global free trade with India which sent many farmers into such deep debt that they began committing suicides by the tens of thousands? Or what about our subsidized agribusiness trading with countries like Haiti which caused their farmers to go out of business and thus crippling Haiti from being able to feed itself?

            I could go on but I rather you would. What I am referring to is the government assisted capitalist economic system that sees the greatest wealth disparity among industrial countries in its champion, the US, and is causing a consolidation of wealth to upper x%( pick between 10, 5, and 1), and a stagnation of income, if not a decline for the rest, that is the rest who are lucky enough to have jobs and homes–don’t forget the millions of foreclosures that occurred in this country as a result of the economic collapse. And also don’t forget the attacks on the environment both here and abroad.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            Yeah sure. That’s all the fault of free markets. Certainly there are no other factors that come into play.

          • http://www.acton.org/ John Couretas
          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            John,
            What I am referring to is globalization that is rooted in neoliberal capitalism. Thus what Marc did in citing his link is to conflate all globalized trading. And so his stats show this huge decrease in poverty in East Asia while the decrease in other regions was negligible. We should note here that many of the countries in East Asia to provide protectionist regulations on trade, which is one of those factors that is contrary to neoliberal capitalism. And if memory serves, the rise of our steel industry occurred during the application of protectionist measures.

            But you can check the statements I made. I believe that the mass protests over the economy installed during the Pinochet reign was in part because of the lack of collectivism as Pinochet installed a neoliberal capitalism in Chile. Ironically, it took harsh government suppression of rights to install their new economy. Argentina took a similar path in the mid 70s. Russia’s Yeltsin not only dissolved Parliament, he attacked its building in installing a neoliberal capitalist economy. And this is the pattern in many, though not all, countries where a neoliberal capitalist economy is introduced. And one of the measures used by this kind of economy is to all but eliminate trade regulations in developing countries so that their homemade products must compete with subsidized products from countries like the US.

            BTW John, you kind of missed the most important part of any socialist economy. While some look on a “forced” collectivism as the defining part of socialism, it isn’t. Though collectivism is not absent, the most foundational part of socialism is worker-owned and worker-run, using democratic procedures, workplaces. So why not compare both Maduro and Chavez according to both standards.

          • http://www.acton.org/ John Couretas

            Show us where this non-coercive collectivism has been put in place by popular demand and has been lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty for decades.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            It was prevented from being put into place by coups such as in Iran (’53), Guatemala (’54), and Chile (’73). In other words, such collectives were beginning in these countries and US interventionism stopped it. And there are quite a few other examples of this. So any collectivism that has been put into place through democratic measures is non-coercive. Our own Social Security system was put into place through democratic measures.

            But note, John, how you changed the focus. You are so hung up on collectivism while I am trying to point out that the foundational part of socialism is worker-owned and work-run, using democratic procedures, workplaces. You will find a collectivism in those workplaces as well. Unions were suppose to move businesses that way but they were corrupted by the same things that corrupted the owners of businesses.

          • http://www.acton.org/ John Couretas

            No, sorry. You’re the one who’s constantly prating about collectivism and identifying yourself as a leftist. Now you say that the U.S. has forcibly stopped collectivism. Well, if there were a genuine mass movement for collectivism — beginning in the United States — no one could have stopped it. Social Security is not voluntary. So your example fails. In fact, your ideology has failed everywhere it’s been tried. But I repeat myself.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            John,
            Certainly, the US has stopped collectivism when it has sprung up. There is no disputing the examples of Iran, Chile, and Guatemala, And all of those examples have been stopped for business concerns: oil interests in Iran, ITT in Chile, and United Fruit in Guatemala. In addition, look at our policies in Central America in the 80s. We supported Samoza in Nicaragua but violently opposed the Snadistas to the extent that we were found guilty by the World Court. We trained military and paramilitary personal for countries like El Salvador and do you know who they persecuted? They persecuted, and by persecuted I mean tortured and slaughtered, union leaders and religious leaders who advocated liberation theology. So yes, the US has a history.

            And since you think that Social Security is coercive, then isn’t democracy itself coercive? After all, Social Security was passed democratically and in response to the expressed needs of people. It certainly is a form of collectivism but you are going to say it is coerced because individuals can’t opt out? So again, are you saying that all of democracy is coercive?

            And no, my ideology hasn’t failed. Where it was working or where it was beginning has been overthrown not democratically, but by conservative or fascist forces. And don’t include the Soviet Union or Red China with my ideology as if collectivism was the only thing I cared about. Please note what I have been saying is the first mark of socialism. It is the extension of democracy to places like the workplace. The Soviet Union and Red China both rejected that. Like our current gov’t under either Bush or Obama, they had elite-centered gov’ts.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            It certainly is a form of collectivism but you are going to say it is coerced because individuals can’t opt out?

            Um, if individuals can’t opt out, then yes, it’s coerced.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Marc,
            So what is decided on democratically is coerced? What alternatives do we have to that?

            And should I ask, if my taxes going to support wars I disagree with are also coerced? Again, what solutions would you provide for my situation? After all, both both involve collectivism. Both involve collective benefits.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            So what is decided on democratically is coerced?

            Yes. And the alternative, at least in the case of Social Security and other social welfare programs like it, is limited government. This is another area in which I have serious doubts that you have ever been a conservative or have engaged in any real depth with conservative ideas.

            There are a couple of points that conservatives understand here that you don’t necessarily seem to grasp. First of all, conservatives understand the necessity of government. We understand that in order to have a functioning society that operates fairly and in an orderly fashion, there needs to be the rule of law. The government exists to provide that framework. We also understand that by its very nature, the government is a coercive force in society. The government is that part of society that can legitimately impose its will on you with the force of law. That’s why the police carry sidearms. That’s why a court can throw you in prison and deprive you of your liberty. The government is, by its very nature, coercive. And that coercive force is necessary in order to have a smoothly functioning society.

            But in the conservative understanding, it is equally important that the legitimate coercive power of the government be strictly limited in order to protect the freedom that we as human beings are entitled to. This is why most conservatives place a high value on the founding documents of the United States, which create a Federal government of certain enumerated powers, and which divides those powers between three different branches of government and reserves other powers to completely separate levels of government in order to place a check on the tyranny that can occur when the coercive power of government becomes concentrated.

            So you see, the alternative is to allow people, out in society, to handle their own financial affairs without being coerced into a system run by the government that provides a lousy return on investment and will likely go bankrupt in the relatively near future. This does not mean “abandoning” people to fend for themselves; it does mean allowing people to form their own associations, make their own contracts, use their own intelligence in concert with others, and make their own decisions that are in line with their own values.

            Matters of war, peace and national security are a whole other ball of wax that I just don’t have time to deal with at the moment.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            You missed the point, didn’t you. The question was what alternative are you seeking to democracy seeing that you view democracy as coercive. After all, any democratic decision that requires its citizens to follow is coercive to you. And that includes whether the collectivism involves sharing so the elderly and disabled don’t live in poverty or sharing a mutual military defense and offense.

            All you offer with limited gov’t is that people are out on their and those who need help can only hope to depend on the triumph of individualism to help others. And if enough individuals decide to help, that is fine. But what happens if not enough individuals help? And isn’t that what has been happening in the past and even now? And that is something you deny but is obvious. If all help and sharing is to be done voluntarily by individuals and not enough individuals volunteer resources and time, what other situation are people in than to fend for themselves?

            See, we live in an interdependent society, not on a bunch of islands. What we decide often affects the welfare of others. So what conservatives end up doing with their stress on individualism is to cut the boot straps of people while telling them to use them to pull themselves up.

            And no, matters of war, peace and national security are not a whole other ball of wax. It is still a collective benefit. And most of the time, that collective benefit goes to those with wealth while the rest pay the collective bill.

            The problem I see is that you exalt individual liberty to the point that social liberty, the ability of society to democratically decide how to live is relegated to obscurity. You reduce liberty to individualism and so democracy is minimized at best if not sacrificed.

            Again, we are not a bunch of islands where we can act without affecting others. Democracy gives us the liberty to decide how we will live when how we live affects others. And if you read the Founding Fathers, you will find that they were more concerned with central gov’t and control over democracy and liberty. In trying to sell the Constitution to the public, Madison wrote:

            Hence, it clearly appears, that the same advantage that a republic has over a democracy in controlling the effect of factions, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic–is enjoyed by a Union over the states composing it

            Realize that when they wrote the Constitution, they were strengthening government control, not limiting it. And they were doing that for the benefit of the elites who felt threatened, not for the people who were suffering.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            Curt: does government have legitimate coercive power?

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Marc,
            My question is this, is individual liberty the only liberty? Because if it is, then whatever binding decisions that are made through the democratic process, which is the expression of societal liberty, is coercive.

            But if individual liberty is the only liberty, then we leave ourselves open to the tyranny of the private sector elite.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            Answer the question, Curt.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Marc,
            First you insult and then you command, who do you think you are?

            If you understood my response, you would realize that I have already answered your question.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            Here’s the deal, Curt. I’ve asked you a simple question. In keeping with your typical practice, you have failed to provide a direct answer to that question, instead responding with another question that allows you to direct the conversation back to one of your favorite intellectual hobby horses. Not unexpected coming from you, but still tiresome.

            You seem to think that it’s some sort of scandal that a person could view Democracy as being coercive. You’re wondering what alternative to Democracy I’m looking for, seeing as how I have this apparently crazy notion that laws passed in a democratic fashion can be coercive.

            You also seem to be unable to understand that I am not seeking an alternative to Democracy. I’ve not mentioned that; I’ve not implied that; that has not been in my mind at any point during the course of this discussion.

            So let’s go back to my simple query of you: I’m interested in whether or not you are willing to acknowledge that the government is a legitimate coercive force in society.

            It’s a simple question that can be answered simply; I’m confident that you will be able to do it in one sentence.

            As to who I think I am: I’m a reasonable man who has, for some time, engaged with you on this blog. I am part of a staff of people who have been very patient with you as you repeatedly post the same tired arguments in thread after thread, allowing you a platform that, given the quality of your discourse, you really don’t deserve. And I think it’s safe to say that you have begun to try the limits of our patience. Following discussion with blog staffers, you should consider yourself on probation. Henceforth, your comments will be more strictly moderated. Should you wish to continue posting on this thread, you will need to provide a direct answer to my question.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Marc,

            Here’s the deal?

            Who do you think you are and to whom do you think you’re talking?

            Let alone, let’s examine the answer that seems to have offended you. You wrote:

            Curt: does government have legitimate coercive power?

            The first part of my answer was:

            My question is this, is individual liberty the only liberty? Because if it is, then whatever binding decisions that are made through the democratic process, which is the expression of societal liberty, is coercive.

            Now examine the second sentence. it is a simple conditional sentence whose premise is, “individual liberty is the only liberty.” BTW, we’ll assume that there is no coercion when exercises individual liberty. If the premise is true, then it follows that the democratic process is coercive. Thus, it follows from the conditional sentence that the answer to your question depends on perspective. Because if individual liberty is not the only liberty, then how are binding decisions made democratically coercive?

            Now, does the above imply that no laws passed democratically can be coercive? No. Because those laws that are made to benefit special interests rather than the populous and are not supported by the populous can cause the gov’t to use coercion.

            So, is gov’t the only legitimate coercive force in society? If so, then you will have deny the legitimacy of the American Revolution. But if not, then you possibly create a conflict with Romans 13.

            So back to my questions. First, is individual liberty the only liberty? Second, who do you think you are with the way insult and command and say, “here is how it is”?

          • Marc Vander Maas

            I’m part of an extremely tolerant staff of blog administrators that have put up with your repeated and tiresome trolling of this blog over an extended period of time, who have tried to engage you in direct debate, and who have grown weary of your antics. Your ability to post on this blog is at our discretion.

            As for whom I think I am talking to: I believe I am talking to a man who is probably very nice in person, loved by his family, enjoyed by his friends, but whose online presence in this forum amounts to that of a troll, and a rather belligerent one at that.

            Please enjoy your break from commenting on the PowerBlog.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Marc,
            Or are you trying to say that the free market has had no bearing on it?. What we are seeing now, such as with the TPP, is more sovereignty being centered to the private sector. We already saw that with the WTO. Some of our interventions are more controlled by the interests of the private sector than others, but all are significantly affected by the market and the private sector. So as Mossadegh was influenced by politics but it was important that the Shah gave favorable oil prices and bought American military products.

            For Chile, ITT stood to lose a lot of money if Allende’s nationalization plans went through and so it suggested and provided some advice to the US on encouraging a military coup. Following that coup came the institution of neoliberal capitalism against the desires of the people and so there was sharp repression of the people by Pinochet. Other countries that introduce quick changes to neoliberal capitalism also saw an attack on rights and democracy included Argentina and Russia.

            The 1954 overthrow of the Guatemalan government was for the sake of preserving the land holding of United Fruit. and there are plenty of other examples both before, see the writings of Smedley Butler, and after, see the writings of William Blum.

            As for India, there was no government overthrow and it was all free market as Indian farmers bought US agriculture goods to produce their crops only to later find that their market value was less than their production costs especially when competing with goods from other countries–remember that our agriculture goods are subsidized.

            I could go on, such as talk about the wealth disparity here, but if you want to say there are other factors, fine. I won’t disagree. But you will find that our present neoliberal form of capitalism plays at least a significant role in what I’ve listed.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            I’m saying that access to domestic and global markets and trading has played a key role – if not the key role – in lifting millions upon millions of people to a standard of living unheard of 100 years ago. That’s what I’m saying. I was asking if you agreed with that or if you deny it.

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            And I am saying that we have to look at the whole picture to see who was lifted out of poverty and who had to pay a steep price. In addition, I only saw unsubstantiated assertions in the links you left. Whereas you can research what the liberalization of trade did to Indian farmers. Below is a link to one piece of research:

            http://www.navdanya.org/attachments/Organic_Farming10.pdf

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Marc,
            Just a correction from my last comment to you, I was referring to the links provided by John, not you. But I noticed in the link you left, that most of the reduction occurred before 1985 and the biggest reduction occurred in Asia. Now the point about Asia is that don’t the nations in Asia tend to protectionist trade policies?

            In the meantime, I will check on those poverty rates.

          • http://www.acton.org/ John Couretas

            It was “all free market” in India? Seriously, Curt? Show some respect for the facts, please. Take off your collectivist blinkers, rub your eyes, and read the articles and watch the videos linked here:

            Why Growth Matters — How Economic Growth in India Reduced Poverty and the Lessons for Other Developing Countries. By Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya
            http://www.cfr.org/india/why-growth-matters/p29855?cid=nlc-publications-publications_quarterly-link13-20130507&sp_mid=41457596&sp_rid=&excerpt=0

            then read this review by Sadanand Dhume:

            Debating the Tiger’s Rise — India would have had 175 million fewer poor people by 2008 had it embarked upon free-market reforms in 1971 instead of 1991.
            http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324100904578404832410133390

          • Marc Vander Maas

            More food for thought from yesterday’s PowerLinks.

  • SGreen

    I cannot understand why the news that ministries of certain Christian sects are starting up and thriving in New York City should be cause for offense to other Christian groups that have already been there. Paul said, “The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice” (Phil.1:18). I grew up in New York City in the 60s and 70s, and lived there again for a few years in the 80s. I suppose I was one of those that Eric Metaxas didn’t know! But few things in life could give me more joy than hearing that God might be poised to move in the Big Apple. It so desperately needs it; the whole county so desperately needs awakening. We should all be enjoined to pray to ask God to make it so. Please do not promote the attitude of the elder brother in the story of the Prodigal Son, who asked his Father why no party had been thrown for him. Just join in the festivities.

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  • Eric Metaxas

    I’m afraid I find myself agreeing with most of what Dr. Bradley — whom I know and deeply respect and admire — says here. The idea that I knew everyone who was a born-again believer was meant as loopy hyperbole, though perhaps that wasn’t clear enough. Of course it’s a patently ridiculous statement. And although we didn’t cover it in the article, I firmly believe that it was the prayers of all of these “other” Christians over the decades that has led to the progress — such as it is — in Manhattan circles these last few years. Indeed, the great criticisms Bonhoeffer levied against the New York churches was limited to the white Protestant churches. It was only in “the negro churches” that he saw the Gospel preached and saw real spiritual life. So let me say here that I think this has largely been the case since 1931, when Bonhoeffer wrote it, and only very recently are the “white” churches beginning to show signs of real spiritual life — and that’s a dramatic development, one I do think newsworthy and one I think the direct result of the prayers and faithfulness of all those “other” Christians. Very sorry for any misunderstanding in how some of this was framed. It was certainly unintentional. SDG.

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  • Andrew Schatz

    Dr. Bradley – I found the article (http://www.city-data.com/states/New-York-Religions.html) you quote in the middle of your post describing the religious breakdown of NY State but do you have anything for the city, specifically? In 2000, there were 8 mn people in NYC and 18.8 mn in the state as a whole (http://tinyurl.com/qjcqppf) so I would expect the breakdown to be at least a little different if we exclude the 10.8 mn folks living to the north and east of us. Not sure it changes the point of your article but I’m curious what you know.

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  • Marc Vander Maas

    Soup kitchens are run by the left.

    What? You’ve got to be kidding me with this. Just to throw one organzation out there, Gospel Rescue Missions are run by the Left? Uniformly? I want to encourage you, Curt, to not say things that are just openly stupid and insulting to people on the other side of the ideological divide.

    You seem to have no problem that conservatives are not challenging an unjust system.

    Are you even capable of wrapping your head around the idea that people might legitimately disagree with your ideas about the justness or unjustness of a given system, or about the source of the cost problems in the old system?

    In addition, the system that conservatives buy into reinforces the notion that conservatives see healthcare as a privilege but owning a gun a right.

    Wow, once again the “former conservative” demonstrates a stunning lack of understanding of actual conservative positions. For instance, I do believe that all human beings, by virtue of the fact that they are created in the image of God, have the right of self-defense. That’s intrinsic to you as a human, much like your freedom to worship God as you see fit, your freedom to speak, and other freedoms of that type. You do not, however, have a natural right to an appendectomy or open heart surgery. Those things are social goods to be sure, and we should work to make them available as widely as possible, but social goods are not the same thing as natural rights. My wife is trained as a registered nurse and works at a local hospital. Please explain to me what “right” you have to her services. How do you plan to vindicate that right? If you were to receive some medical service from her or her colleagues, do you believe that you have any responsibility to compensate them? Or do you just get that for free, by “right”?

    • Marc Vander Maas
    • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

      Marc,
      Maybe it’s you who does not know what he is talking about and that accounts for you insulting behavior and dismissive attitude. Should I research more groups or should we note that the Left is a very small group in America as compared to liberals and conservatives.

      I know conservative positions but I also don’t need to after reading acton. I know conservatives who are involved with helping others on an individual basis or in groups. But what you don’t get is that the system you advocate creates or exasperates the need and you compensate for with the work of individuals or isolated groups. You know as well as I that conservatives value individual liberty over sharing. In fact, when conservatives do share, they look at it as a triumph of individual liberty. But the amount of help coming from conservatives does not compare with the need for help that the conservative emphasis on individualism in capitalism creates.

      • Marc Vander Maas

        Since there is no possibility of having any sort of rational debate with you, I’m just going to reiterate my statement that you should not say things that are just openly stupid and insulting to people on the other side of the ideological divide.

        • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

          Those who start insulting in a debate with words or in tone are the ones who abandon rationality in a debate.

          • Marc Vander Maas

            Your tone in your comments on this blog is consistently haughty and insulting toward conservatives. I’m not particularly interested in being lectured by you on “tone.”

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            Marc,
            Show one insult I gave to conservatives? Now consider what you just wrote, that you find it incapable of carrying on a rational discussion with me. That was a subjective judgment on your part. Note what I have written here about conservatives. I simply wrote that on an individual basis, they give and help. But their shortcoming is they don’t challenge an unjust system. Could you enlighten me on how that was insulting?

            BTW, I did say you were wearing rose-colored glasses. Why? It was your claim about global trade lifting so many people out of poverty, and btw, you conflated global trade there, while not mentioning its negative effects. But then again, compare my comment with your claiming that one can’t carry on a rational discussion with me.