The Ten Commandments – Filmul ‘Cele 10 Porunci’ in Limba Engleza

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Why Conservative Churches Are Growing- The Christian Post

In an April 26 guest opinion  post for the Christian Post, R. Albert Mohler explains why Conservative Churches are growing-

By the late 1960s, liberal Protestants began asking a rather difficult question. Why were the conservative churches growing? In retrospect, one aspect of the liberal Protestant crisis was reflected in that very question. The mainline Protestant denominations would have been better served by asking why their own churches were declining.

Commissioned by the National Council of Churches, researcher Dean M. Kelley set out to find out why conservative churches were growing, even as the more liberal churches were declining. In his 1972 book, Why Conservative Churches are Growing: A Study in Sociology of Religion, Kelley argued that evangelical churches grow precisely because they do what the more liberal congregations and denominations intentionally reject – they make serious demands of believers in terms of doctrine and behavior.

“Amid the current neglect and hostility toward organized religion in general,” Kelley noted, “the conservative churches, holding to seemingly outmoded theology and making strict demands on their members, have equalled or surpassed in growth the early percentage increases of the nation’s population.”

With amazing insight and candor, Kelley spoke for mainline Protestantism when he noted that it had been generally assumed that churches, “if they want to succeed, will be reasonable, rational, courteous, responsible, restrained, and receptive to outside criticism.” These churches would be highly concerned with preserving “a good image in the world” – and that meant especially within the world of the cultural elites. These churches, intending to grow, would be “democratic and gentle in their internal affairs” – as the larger world defines those qualities. These churches will intend to be cooperative with other religious groups in order to meet common goals, and thus “will not let dogmatism, judgmental moralism, or obsessions with cultic purity stand in the way of such cooperation and service.”

Then, Kelley dropped his bomb: “These expectations are a recipe for the failure of the religious enterprise, and arise from a mistaken view of what success in religion is and how it should be fostered and measured.”

Kelley then presented his considerable wealth of research and reflection on the phenomenon of conservative growth and liberal decline. “Strong” religious movements make demands of their members in terms of both belief and behavior. These churches demand adherence to highly defined doctrines that are to be received, believed, and taught without compromise. They also understand themselves to be separate from the larger secular culture, and the requirements of membership in the church define a distance from secular beliefs and behaviors.

The liberal churches are, by their own decision, opposed to these very principles. The mainline Protestant churches desired to be taken seriously and respected by the intellectual elites. They wanted the benefits of cultural acceptance and esteem. They lowered doctrinal and behavioral requirements and made membership more a matter of personal preference than of theological conviction.

Kelley concluded: “To the person who is concerned about the future of the ecumenical churches, this theory can offer little encouragement. The mainline denominations will continue to exist on a diminishing scale for decades, perhaps for centuries, and will continue to supply some people with a dilute and undemanding form of meaning, which may be all they want.”

In a recent column in The New York Times, David Brooks raised similar issues, this time in the context of a review of “The Book of Mormon,” a popular production on Broadway. In Brooks’ view, the show “ridicules Mormonism but not the Mormons, who are loopy but ultimately admirable.”

In the course of his column, Brooks made this observation:

Many religious doctrines are rigid and out of touch. But religion itself can do enormous good as long as people take religious teaching metaphorically and not literally; as long as people understand that all religions ultimately preach love and service underneath their superficial particulars; as long as people practice their faiths open-mindedly and are tolerant of different beliefs.

Hang in there – David Brooks is headed somewhere with this argument. He noted that many Americans “have always admired the style of belief that is spiritual but not doctrinal, pluralistic and not exclusive, which offers tools for serving the greater good but is not marred by intolerant theological judgments.”

And he is right, of course. This is an eloquent description of the religious disposition so well documented by Dean Kelley almost 40 years ago. This describes the mainline Protestant aspiration – to be seen as serving the public good without the taint of theological judgment.

But then Brooks dropped a bombshell of his own:

The only problem with “The Book of Mormon” (you realize when thinking about it later) is that its theme is not quite true. Vague, uplifting, nondoctrinal religiosity doesn’t actually last. The religions that grow, succor and motivate people to perform heroic acts of service are usually theologically rigorous, arduous in practice and definite in their convictions about what is True and False.

Further: “The religions that thrive have exactly what “The Book of Mormon” ridicules: communal theologies, doctrines and codes of conduct rooted in claims of absolute truth.”

Note that Brooks defined the “strong” profile of belief with terms such as “rigorous,” “arduous,” and “definite.” With considerable insight, Brooks informed his readers that rigorous theology “provides believers with a map of reality,” “allows believers to examine the world intellectually as well as emotionally,” “helps people avoid mindless conformity,” and “delves into mysteries in ways that are beyond most of us.”

Meanwhile, arduous codes of behavior and conduct “allow people to build their character.” Brooks explains that “regular acts of discipline can lay the foundation for extraordinary acts of self-control when it counts the most.”

Brooks concludes with a look at Africa, where conservative Protestantism is thriving. The Broadway show portrays the Africans accepting the liberal form of belief that would comfort the cultured antagonists of religion. Brooks knows that it is not so:

I was once in an AIDS-ravaged village in southern Africa. The vague humanism of the outside do-gooders didn’t do much to get people to alter their risky behavior. The blunt theological talk of the church ladies – right and wrong, salvation and damnation – seemed to have a better effect.

In the span of just a few paragraphs, David Brooks made the same argument that Dean M. Kelley made in his book-length report on research nearly four decades ago.

There is a wealth of insight in both analyses. In the present context, evangelical Christians face many of the same questions asked by the liberal Protestant denominations in the 1960s and beyond. The main question is always deeply theological: Do we really believe that the message of the Gospel is the only message that offers salvation?

At this point, the limits of sociological research become clear. A sociological analysis can distinguish between stronger and weaker forms of faith and belief and can measure qualities such as rigor, ardor, and definiteness. Sociology can trace developments and offer research-based predictions about the future.

What sociology cannot do is deal with the most important question of all – the truth question. That is where Mormons and evangelical Christians part company. Orthodox Jews, Jesuits, and Jehovah’s Witnesses all fall on the “strong” side of the sociological divide in their own way, but each has a completely distinct worldview based upon very different understandings of the truth. Mormons and Methodists have very different theologies, to say the least, but it takes a theologically informed Mormon and Methodist to know the difference.

Dean M. Kelley and David Brooks, each writing for a very different audience, have much to say to evangelical Christians. But, in the end, sociology can get us only so far and no further. The rigor, ardor, and energies of evangelical churches must not be held merely in a desire to hold to a form of religion that will grow, but in a biblical commitment to hold fast to the truth of the Gospel and to share that saving truth with the whole world.

We are left with what David Brooks described as the “blunt theological talk of the church ladies” in that African village – “right and wrong, salvation and damnation.” Such is the Kingdom.

Adapted from R. Albert Mohler Jr.’s weblog at www.albertmohler.com. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. For more articles and resources by Dr. Mohler, and for information on The Albert Mohler Program, a daily national radio program broadcast on the Salem Radio Network, go to www.albertmohler.com. For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to www.sbts.edu. Send feedback to mail@albertmohler.com. Original Source: www.albertmohler.com.



Strâng Cuvântul Tău în Inima Mea, Martin Adrian

De ce nu citim Cuvintul lui Dumnezeu?

Daca nu a-ti avut ocazia sa ascultati prima predica a fratelui Martin Adrian, o redau mai jos, dar mai intii cititi marturia lui aici:

Daca voieste cineva sa ma urmeze

Fratele Martin incepe cu citirea textului:

Marcu 8:34-38

34Apoi a chemat la El norodul împreună cu ucenicii Săi, şi le -a zis: ,,Dacă voieşte cineva să vină după Mine, să se lepede de sine însuş, să-şi ia crucea, şi să Mă urmeze.

35Căci oricine va vrea să-şi scape viaţa, o va pierde; dar oricine îşi va pierde viaţa din pricina Mea şi din pricina Evangheliei, o va mîntui.

36Şi ce foloseşte unui om să cîştige toată lumea, dacă îşi pierde sufletul?

37Sau ce va da un om în schimb pentru sufletul său?

38Pentrucă de oricine se va ruşina de Mine şi de cuvintele Mele, în acest neam preacurvar şi păcătos, Se va ruşina şi Fiul omului, cînd va veni în slava Tatălui Său împreună cu sfinţii îngeri.`

As vrea sa va spun o poveste adevarata; m-a marcat foarte mult., vorbeste despre un baietel care intra intr-un tribunal. Avea 14 ani si se apropie de bara judecatorului; era de fapt judecatoare si judecatoarea se apleaca frumos in atmosfera aceia glaciala si il intreaba: „Dragul meu, cu cine vrei sa ramii? Cu mama sau cu tata? Cu cine vrei sa ramii cu mama sau cu tata?”  Era vorba de partaj; unde trebuia sa ajunga acest copilas si mintea acestui copilas de 14 ani era ca si cum i-ar fi zis: „Ce vrei sa-ti taiem? Mina dreapta sau piciorul drept?” si spune in soapta: „Cu tata. Cu tata.”

Mai departe zdrobit, acest baiat creste si toata goliciunea lui, tot ce avea el in inima lui incearca sa-si gaseasca placerea, bucuria in altceva. Incepe un sport, si se gindea el ca daca o sa fie mare, daca o sa fie pe culmile inalte,va fi fericit, va avea bucurie. Si-ajunge si-n locul national si golul din inima lui tot mai mare era. Ajunge ca incearca sa isi gaseasca placerea si in alte relatii cu alte fete si incearca o fata si relatia cu acea fata nu il implineste si mai tare, mai tare golul din inima lui se mareste, si cuprins, cuprins de-acest dor de a-si implini dorinta inimii lui este impins de o ura extraordinara fata de parintii lui pentru ca nu i-au oferit ceia ce el considera ca merita -familie si o viata fericita.

Creste, se adinceste tot ai tare in pacat si la un moment dat in timpul colegiului se intimpla ceva uimitor. Se intilneste cu Domnul Isus Hristos. Se intilneste cu un baiat care-l marturiseste pe Domnul Isus Hristos si dintr-o data incepe sa il vada pe Dumnezeu, ca este iubit de Dumnezeu si ca golul din inima lui nu poate sa fie umplut nici cu medalii, nici cu relatii sexuale nepotrivite nici cu pacat, nici cu alcool si vede ca doar Domnul Isus Hristos poate sa implineasca acest lucru si se intoarce la Hristos.

Bneinteles ca tatal lui se impotriveste puternic. Se recasatoreste si impreuna cu mama lui vitrega incepe sa ii faca probleme. Colegii lui de la clubul sportiv incep sa-i faca si lui probleme. Incep sa-l injure. Incep sa-l scuipe, incep sa-l bata, sa-l batjocoreasca pentru ca il marturiseste pe Domnul Hristos.

Si la un moment dat, ce se gindesc ei? Ce-ar fi familia, ce-ar fi daca ne vom angaja un psiholog si-l vom trimite la acest psiholog sa vada ce s-a intimplat cu el ca a innebunit? Nimeni nu se mai poate intelege cu el. Nu mai frecventeaza barurile, s-a certat cu toate prietenele lui, parca se cearta cu toata lumea, trebuie sa vedem ce-i cu el. Si angajeaza un psiholog si discuta cu acest baiat si vin si spun: „Sa sti ca ai probleme mari.” Baiatul: „Bineinteles,n-am nici o problema. Pina acum am avut probleme. Acuma sint fericit, mintuit de Domnul nostru Isus Hristos.”

„Dar totusi noi credem ca ai probleme si uite iti dau un sfat: Eu sint psiholog si de-atita timp lucrez cu oamenii si eu te cred pe cuvint,” ii spune acestui baiat. „Eu te cred pe cuvint ca nu ai nimic, nu s-a intimplat nimic cu tine, dar, hai sa demonstrez. De ce nu vrei sa te duci, iti facem un control, te internezi 3 zile, luam analizele si vedem intr-adevar daca s-a intimplat ceva cu tine sau nu.

Tinarul nostru accepta, intra in acel spital. Isi face analizele si dupa trei zile,  frumos vine cu bagajele: „Pot sa plec, nu?” Mi-ati luat suficient singe, am dat suficiente teste de inteligenta. Cred ca n-am nimica; m-am intilnit cu Hristos.” In timp ce vroia sa plece, doi „bodyguards” la lift, il asteptau. L-au dat jos, l-au pus la pamint, l-au tirit pina-n camera lui, si au inceput sa-l lege de pat. Asistentele vuiau  in jurul lui, care cum sa-i faca calmantul, sa-i dea drogurile ca sa-l sedeze.

Si ultima imagine pe care tinarul nostru o vede este cu tatal lui care plinge in pragul usii si nu poate sa-i spuna decit atit: „Tata…tata…de ce m-ai parasit? Eu te iubesc atit de mult!..nu ma lasa aici,” si adoarme. Se trezeste, se vede imobilizat, camasa de forta, legat de miini si de picioare, reuseste cumva cu picioarele sa ajunga la un cutit. Il taie frumos, taie tot ce avea, ce era strins acolo, se duce la asistenta sefa, cutitul intr-o mina, camasa de forta. Le lasa frumos pe masa si spune: „Voi lua toate medicamentele pe care mi le prescrieti dar nu ma mai legati, ca nu sint nebun.”

Trec patru zile, patru zile-n care doua zile de medicamente sint din ce in ce mai ridicate. Incep sa-i spele creierul. Tinarul nostru cere sa-si vada prietenii.  I se accepta aceasta dorinta, iese din spital doar pentru citeva ore si prietenii lui il vad ca o leguma – sedat, plin de droguri, cu creierul plin de-acele medicamente si prietenii lui se sperie.

Tinarul nostru se intoarce, din nou i se spala creierul, ii spun ca: „Nu-i nici o problema. Te-am iertat.” Familia-i spune asa:”Stim ca te-au atras intr-o secta religioasa, si stim ca iti vei reveni.” Tinarul nostru, bineinteles, buimacit, nu realizeaza ce se intimpla cu el inca si spune:”Da, asa este, dumneavoastra ma iubiti, voi ma iubiti, am facut o mare greseala.”

Iese afara din spital, incep sa-i reduca dozele, pentru ca erau niste doze foarte puternice, tinarul nostru incepe, incepe sa-si revina. Mintea lui incepe sa lucreze din nou.

Si parca vocea Duhului Sfint vine si ii spune: „Nu esti nebun. te-ai intors la Mine. Nu esti nebun.” Si tinarul nostru se duce sa vorbeasca cu tatal lui, cu mama lui vitrega si gaseste prospectul medicamentelor si cind se uita mai bine, medicamentele erau prescrise pentru persoanele schizofrenice si epileptice. Si incepe in inima lui un freamat si spune: „Eu nu sint nebun. Eu nu sint schizofrenic. Eu nu sint epileptic. M-am uitat pe toate aceste lucruri pentru care sint prescrise aceste medicamente. Eu nu sint asa. Eu n-am nevoie de aceste medicamente. La care, tatal infuriat se uita la el si spune: „Auzi, daca cumva te mai impotrivesti, voi chema pe cei de la spital sa vine sa te ia.

Tinarul nostru, zdrobit, se duce in camera; 23 de ani si pune-n bagaje, suna fratii, fratii vin dupa el, il iau de acolo. Intre timp, tatal realizeaza greseala pe care a facut-o si fortat de imprejurari, pentru ca politia deja il cauta pe acest tinar sa ii ia carnetul, sa faca o ancheta sociala; il trimite in Italia.

In acest timp tinarul nostru se intareste tot mai mult, creste in intelepciune, in putere si se intoarce acasa dupa trei luni de zile. Tatal nici  odata nu-i spune: „Te rog frumos sa ma ierti,” desi realizeaza ca a gresit.

Tinarul nostru tot mai mult inainteaza, ajunge si predica Evanghelia si astazi se afla in fata dumneavoastra.

Poti sa asculti aceasta marturie, care este inregistrata in primele minute ale predicii de mai jos. Primele 51 de secunde, microfonul se pare ca nu a fost cuplat bine, va rog aseptati pina la primul minut si se va imbunatati sunetul.

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