Theology & Church Issues Category

How a Revolutionary Prayer Can Make You a World Changer (Part 3)

I’ve met a lot of world-changers and activists in my life. And one thing I’ve noticed is that they all need to be focused in one specific direction in order to be most fruitful! That’s why I think learning to pray the Serenity Prayer as a way of life is so revolutionary.

How a Revolutionary Prayer Can Make You a World Changer (Part Two)

Reinold Neibuhr’s serenity prayer is revolutionary! These three short petitions about serenity, courage and wisdom create a prayer that can be a life-changer. Praying this prayer will make you more peaceful and productive. Who doesn’t want that?

Enemy Love: A Lent Reflection

What's one thing I can do this week to imitate Jesus' attitude toward me, proactively and creatively loving and blessing all kinds of people - even my enemies?

3D: The End of Dual Identities

Many Christians, especially missionaries, around the globe have lived under the stress of having dual identities or being "undercover" for Jesus. In this video, Rick Love tells his personal story, what he's learned about this, and why we at Peace Catalyst place such high value on having one message that makes sense to everyone who listens to us.

I Was Never Taught to Build Bridges!

I was never taught to build bridges. We always focused on our beliefs and the differences between us and others. We want to share our faith but never learned about building bridges of truth and love...

Prince of Peace Primer

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we rejoice in proclaiming the Prince of Peace. Yet at times the centrality of peace as a theme at Christmas can feel distant from the world we live in. From armed conflict to family strife to internal turmoil, no matter how much we may love peace it can feel like just a far off ideal. In a recent sermon about the Prince of Peace, Pastor Steve Grusendorf of Princeton Alliance Church in New Jersey provides a very helpful introduction to how Jesus bridges this gap.

Pastors and the Peacemaking Paradox

I don't know a single local church pastor who doesn't believe in peacemaking. And yet, there is a clear gap between U.S. church leaders' stated support of biblical peacemaking and our actual pursuit of peacemaking in our ministry initiatives.

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

One of the most radically Jesus-centered Christians I know of was Charles de Foucauld, a Catholic monk who took the presence of Jesus to the heart of the Sahara desert around the turn of the 19th-20th centuries. The Muslim Tuareg tribes grew to love him, referring to him affectionately as the "White Father." Interestingly, Charles was not motivated by mere humanitarian concern; it was his complete devotion to what he called the "bleeding heart of Jesus" which inspired him to go to those he considered farthest from the gospel, the nomads of the Sahara.

Video: End Times Theology

Many people object to working toward peace, in the Middle East for example, because of various End Times beliefs. In this video, Rick Love addresses this objection and discusses an approach to peacemaking in light of End Times theology.

Exclusive Truth Claims and Inclusive Love Aims

Many Christians struggle with the balance between holding onto exclusive truth claims and at the same time loving people inclusively. In this video, Rick Love talks about this apparent dichotomy and offers way forward.

Video: Plank Removal

Why is it so hard for Christians to apologize first in conflict? In this newest video, Rick talks about the concept of dealing with our own sin and wrongdoing BEFORE confronting others about their sins. This is the key to reconciliation and to personal healing.

Video: Total Depravity vs. Common Grace

We've been hard at work creating new videos! This week, Rick Love talks about the presence of common grace in all cultures and nations of our world - despite the reality of total depravity and human sinfulness.

Co-existence and the Common Good

Whenever I speak at churches about Christian-Muslim relations, I find that usually people respond in one of two ways: people want to convert Muslims, or they fear them. For many evangelicals, our relationship with Muslims can be summarized as one of two polar opposites: conversion or conflict. It is either world evangelization or the clash of civilizations. But are those really the only options?

Three Half Truths that Cripple the Church: The Problem with Sound Byte Theology

I love twitter. It forces me to be concise. It is a great discipline to weigh one's words carefully and express oneself precisely. The sound byte helps us wade through the torrent of data bombarding us. It aids us in finding the right info in a glut of information. But sound byte theology has its limitations...

Lessons Learned from a Muslim Evangelist

As I wrote about in my last post, there were some uncomfortable moments when the former Christian, now turned Muslim, tried to convert us. Overall, though, I appreciate the opportunity to have experienced what it's like to be on the receiving end of evangelism. I learned some things. Here are some lessons I learned from the Muslim evangelist.

Growing Pains, Cultural Diversity & Gifting Fit: Three Challenges for Leaders

There is a fascinating account about wise leadership and conflict resolution in the early church. Acts 6:1-6 describes three kinds of challenges that face leaders continually. The church was growing, cultural diversity was increasing, and old structures were creaking. I'm going to look at this text and address three key questions for us in our leadership roles today.

Peace in the Middle East? The End Times and Obedience to Jesus

"You shouldn't work for peace in the Middle East, because the Bible teaches there will never be peace there. What you are trying to do is contrary to Scripture. The Bible teaches that the end times will be an age of horrendous persecution and spiritual darkness. Your efforts are useless!" I hear stuff like this all the time. What bothers me is that people don't just apply it to the Middle East. They apply it to all of life. Society is sinking into the cesspool of sin, and there is no way out.

Following the Radical Jesus: Why are Christians so bad at loving the “other?”

"Christians do very well as compared to the rest of society. They are neighborly, forgiving and caring for the poor...." So writes Bradley R.E. Wright. This is good news. But even this positive book acknowledges that Christians, on the whole, still don't like people of other races, religions, and sexual orientation. Christians struggle with loving the "other."

Are Jesus-Centered Peacemakers Teaching Chrislam?

A recent blog accused me of being a proponent of "Chrislam," the syncretistic blending of Christianity and Islam. This type of accusation is nothing new. In fact, those of us who love Muslims or make peace with Muslims are often accused of compromising our faith. This blog stated that I was at the forefront of compromise with Islamic Theology. Wow! Serious allegations. So I think I should respond.

A Tale of Two Princes: The Dark Side of Peacemaking

During a formal lecture on peacemaking, someone raised their hand and said, “Rick, thank you f...

Christian Dispensationalists and Muslim Mahdists: Unlikely Bedfellows

Iran has been prominent in the news once more over the past few weeks as the Iranian government continues to press its nuclear program. It seems like Iran offers another antagonistic tidbit of information into its progress every week. Given its past stated hostility toward the nation of Israel through the mouthpiece of its firebrand president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Israel and the United States have justifiable concerns about the true nature of Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Common Grace, Common Ground, and the Common Good (Part 2)

Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) ignited a non-violent civil rights movement based on Jesus's command to love your enemy. At least that's what most people think. Jesus's command, however, provided only half of the ethical basis for this world-changing peacemaking effort. King's belief in the "image of God" (common grace) provided the other building block.

Common Grace, Common Ground, and the Common Good (Part 1)

How do we make sense of the many good deeds done by those who do not follow Jesus? The way we answer this radically impacts how we relate to people and how we engage culture. That's why I consider it an indispensable issue for peacemakers.

God Consciousness and a Better World

If you live in the UK, you will certainly have heard of physicist Ziauddin Sardar (b. 1951, Pakistan), one of Britain's top 100 public intellectuals, according to Prospect magazine. With over 45 books in print and hundreds of articles, he edits the journals Futures and Critical Muslim. Sardar is a university professor, a journalist of great repute, and a broadcaster. His most recent work is a three-part documentary, The Life of Muhammad, for BBC2. Sardar's latest book, Reading the Qur'an: The Contemporary Relevance of the Sacred Text of Islam was published this year by Oxford University Press. I highly recommend it to you. It's a fascinating introduction to the Qur'an and a captivating window into how one influential thinker reads it.

Dispensationalism and the "Christian Soldier" Mentality

A favorite author of mine once mused, "I pictured semi-trailers on American interstates bearing slogans like 'There is No God But Allah and Mohammed is His Prophet' or a big blue Star of David with '˜That Jewish Carpenter Wasn't Our Messiah." This author was pointing out the double standard that seems to exist among Christians about the right to publicly proclaim one's faith tradition, rooted in the perception that Christianity is in danger of extinction in American society.

Incarnational Churches: Seeking the Peace of the City

My friend, Pastor Jay Pathak was talking to the mayor of Arvada. Jay wanted to know his vision for the city. After sharing a number of things, the mayor confessed, "I guess I want people to be good neighbors." Jay assured the mayor that he could help with that one! Since then Jay has mobilized and worked with more than fifty other churches in Colorado to encourage their people to "rediscover the art of neighboring." They are taking the love commandment seriously by pursuing relationships with their neighbors.

Don't Let the Good Stuff Get in the Way of Jesus

My friend Carl Medearis tells an enlightening story about teaching at a large church in Texas. He asked the group, "what is the gospel?" and then made a list of the students' answers on the chalkboard. They answered, "the free gift of God, freedom from sin, eternal life, grace, unconditional love, healing and deliverance, redemption, faith in God, new life." Next he asked the class if they missed anything. The class sat silent for a minute. Then a girl raised her hand and asked, "How come none of us mentioned Jesus?"

Left Behind: Dispensationalism and Following Jesus

It seems as if I receive weekly emails from my evangelical friends and Bible Study classmates that lament the role that Christianity currently plays in the American public square. For example, a number of my friends have made it a point to wish me, electronically, a “Merry CHRISTmas” – an obvious reference to their perception of the inability of Christians to be true to their religious faith during the Christmas season for fear of being “politically incorrect."