Christianity Today Magazine News and analysis from the world's leading Christian magazine.

  • Have Yourself a Bittersweet Easter
    by Todd Hunter on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    A typical Holy Week is out of reach this year. That's cause for lament—and celebration. A pastor friend lamented this week, “All our Easter plans are shot. We are gutted—our entire vision and hard work are down the drain!” Another colleague said to me that he openly wept on a staff Zoom call when he finally gave in to the realization that there was no way, given social distancing rules, to pull off the normal joys of Holy Week. He said, “This is unthinkable; it’s worse than the Cubs not playing baseball!” Many leaders I am talking to fear that Easter 2020 will whimper into a non-event, into an anticlimax that does not seem at all like Easter. This year we face a reality check. Kids standing shoulder to shoulder waving palms on Palm Sunday? That could get you arrested. Maundy Thursday foot washing? Are you kidding? Walking the stations of the cross or pinning a note of one’s sin to a cross on Good Friday? Nope. Saturday Vigil or Holy Saturday activities? No way. And then there is Easter, where the lament comes to its deepest, most profound level. This year we are something like our ancient exiled relatives who, with lovely memories of Jerusalem in mind, exclaimed, “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. … How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:1, 4). Today, the lamenting refrain from working pastors goes something like this: “On Slack we sat and wept when we remembered Easter last year. … How can we sing the classic songs of resurrection and preach the classic Easter passages in a foreign place called ‘online’?” The Songs of Zion glorified Yahweh's presence in the city of Jerusalem. But those songs seemed emotionally and spiritually distant and disconnected ...Continue reading...

  • Be Not Afraid
    by Timothy Dalrymple on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    Anxiety is not the enemy of faith but a passageway on the road to it. Today’s musical pairing is “Spiegel im Spiegel” by Arvo Pärt. Note that all the songs for this series have been gathered into a Spotify playlist here. “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”Psalm 27:1 “Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: they do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?’”Luke 12:11-26 Day 11. 926,095 confirmed cases, 46,413 deaths globally. Calling these anxious times is like calling love an emotion: true, obvious, and understating the experience. Soon we will crest a million confirmed cases and fifty thousand deaths. Tens of thousands of deaths seem certain in the United States in the month to come. Even when the contagion slows in one place, it will accelerate in another. What will happen when the pandemic devours cities with fewer resources than ours? How many will die in Kolkata and Karachi, Cairo and Lagos, Mexico City and São Paulo? Our hearts are tense. Our thoughts are restless. We find it difficult to concentrate. We read the streams of online content constantly and desperately. We devour the news and the news devours us. So many of us have lost friends and loved ones already. Others await the day. We tend to think of anxiety as a physiological and psychological ...Continue reading...

  • Bible Museum Criticism ‘Was Justified,’ Founder Says
    by Gordon Govier on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    Steve Green announces 11,500 more items will be returned to the Middle East. Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby and chairman of the Museum of the Bible, is returning 11,500 antiquities to the Iraqi and Egyptian governments. The ancient clay seals and fragments of papyrus do not have complete documentation and may have been looted or stolen. Green said he acquired the antiquities before the Washington, DC, museum opened in November 2017, when he didn’t understand the importance of proper provenance and trusted the word of unscrupulous dealers. “These early mistakes resulted in Museum of the Bible receiving a great deal of criticism over the years,” Green said last week in an official statement. “The criticism resulting from my mistakes was justified.” The announcement comes on the heels of a museum-funded investigation that found the 16 fragments of the Dead Sea Scroll on display at the Museum of the Bible are all forgeries, the latest in a string of controversies that cast a shadow on its collection. A year ago, the museum agreed to return 13 Egyptian papyrus fragments that were stolen from the University of Oxford. And in 2017, the federal government fined Hobby Lobby and ordered it to return thousands of cuneiform tablets and other objects, which were illegally taken from war-torn Iraq and brought into the US by a United Arab Emirates-based dealer who falsely labeled the shipments as ceramic tiles. Museum officials hope this closes the book on its collection’s controversial beginnings. “We understand that there’s been questions all along,” said chief curatorial officer Jeffrey Kloha. “We’d like to make the point that we’ve been involved in these conversations for two and a half years, three years. It simply takes time to work ...Continue reading...

  • أعدت اكتشاف قوة أنواع الصلاة الثلاثة في إيطاليا
    by René Breuel on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    كانت مزامير الرثاء تشعرك بالمبالغة في مشاعر الرثاء قبل  كوفيد 19 لكن وسط 000ر13 حالة وفاة فإن كنيستي المغلقة في "روما" تردد أصداء كلمات "داود" أكثر من أي وقت مضى. وباء كوفيد 19 غيّر الطريقة التي كان يصلي بها المؤمنون الإيطاليون ويعيشون بها حياتهم المسيحية وسط أمة تموج بأكثر من 000ر13 حالة وفاة ـ أعلى حصيلة في العالم ـ من بين 500ر110 حالة مؤكدة، محتلة بذلك الترتيب الثاني بعد الولايات المتحدة (بدءًا من 1 أبريل). لم يعد باستطاعتنا التجمع في أيام الآحاد أو في البيوت خلال فترة الإغلاق التام. الجلسات الاجتماعية والسفر وحفلات الزفاف معلقة مثل معظم الأشغال. لو تم ضبط شخص خارج منزله بدون سبب مقنع سيضطر إلى دفع مخالفة ضخمة. لكن فترة العزل هذه ساعدتنا في اكتشاف ثلاثة وجوه للصلاة كثيرًا ما تجاهلناها في أوقات الوفرة. صلاة الرثاء كانت مزامير الرثاء تشعرك بالمبالغة في مشاعرها منذ شهر مضى. فمثلاً شكوى "آساف" بأن الله سقاهم الدموع بالكيل كانت تبدو مبالغ فيها، وصرخة "داود" إلى الله "إلى متى تحجب وجهك عني؟" كان شعوراً متباعدًا وباردًا. ولأن كل البشرية الآن تكافح لتحتوي وباءً يثير الخوف والجزع، فإن الرثاء أو النواح يبدو قريبًا من كل واحد منا. في مارس 2020، يبدو المزمور 44 مناسباً جداً: استيقظ. لماذا تتغافى يا رب؟ انتبه. لا ترفض إلى الأبد. لماذا تحجب وجهك وتنسى مذلتنا وضيقنا؟ لأن أنفسنا منحنية إلى التراب لصقت في الأرض بطوننا. قم عونًا لنا وافدنا من أجل رحمتك. عانى عدد قليل من المؤمنين الغربيين من الفقر أو الظلم أو الاضطهاد. عادة تعكس عبادتنا الحالات المزاجية للأفراد الأذكياء في أوقات الرخاء والسلام: الهدوء والوسطية. إننا نعاني كأفراد لكن نادرًا ما تقوم عبادتنا الجماعية على الاحتجاج والحزن أمام الله. الرثاء هو صرخة ألم تحولت إلى صلاة. إنه عبادة أناس يشعرون بعدم التوازن والغربة. وتاريخيًا كان صلاة الأقليات والفقراء والمضطهدين ــ من قساوسة صينيين في زنزانات السجون وعبيد سود يغنون للعدالة ومجيء المسيح. وإذ كان الرثاء شعورًا غريبًا لمعظم الإيطاليين منذ شهر مضى، فقد وجد القساوسة أصداءً غريبة من قصص كتابية في الأحداث التي تجري في البلاد الآن. "رؤية زوجات لا يستطعن أداء طقوس جنازات أو توديع ...Continue reading...

  • أيها المسيحيّون، دعونا نُساهم في تسطيح المُنحنى، ولكن لِنبقَ "ديانة تهتم بالمرضى"
    by Brewer Eberly, Ben Frush, and Emmy Yang on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    أطبّاء يتأمّلون لاهوتياً بثلاثة مُساهماتٍ مسيحية فريدة لاستعدادات فيروس كورونا المستجد (كوفيد-١٩) خلال الأسبوع الفائت ركّز العالم انتباهه إلى التاج ذي الأشواك البروتينية، فيروس كورونا المستجد (كوفيد١٩). ومن النادر أن يعيش المرء هذه الحالة من عدم الاستقرار العالمي، حيث نجد أنفسنا كبشر نفكّر في نفس الأمر في الوقت ذاته. بطريقةٍ ما فإن ضوضاء الحياة العصريّة قد تم استبدالها بما سمّاه سي. إس. لويس "بوق الله" ويعني بذلك، الألم. المُصابون يموتون، والناس خائفون، ونجد نحن أنفسنا عالقين بين المستهترين المتباهين القائلين: "فيروس كورونا هو مجرّد نوع آخر من الإنفلونزا"، والمُرتابين المرتعبين القائلين: "نحن على حافة انهيارٍ ماليّ". وبعد حلقة يوم السبت من المدوّنة الصوتية "التجربة الإيطالية لفيروس كورونا"، حيث تحدّث أطباء العناية الفائقة من أمريكا وأستراليا بصراحة مع أخصائيين من أقسام العناية الفائقة الإيطالية؛ تقومُ معاهدنا الطبية بتهيئتنا للأسابيع التالية بنبرة جديّة غريبة ونادرة الحدوث، حتى بالنسبة لنا نحن العاملين في القطاع الطبّي ممن اعتدنا المعاناة وغرف الطوارئ وعدم اليقينية. لا بأس بأن يشعر المرء بالخوف، فنحن نخاف أيضاً. ولكن، كوننا مسيحيين نعمل داخل وخارج نطاق الرعاية الصحية، فإن استجابتنا في هذه اللحظة هي التي ستميّزنا كأشخاص نمارس ما كان يُسمّيه الوثنيّون القدماء "ديانة العناية بالمرضى". وبالنسبة لذلك، نريد أن نشارك ببعض خبراتنا مع وباء (كوفيد١٩) العالمي، كأطباء مُقيمين ومتدرّبين، وأيضاً كأعضاء في زمالة اللاهوت والطب والثقافة في كلية اللاهوت التابعة لجامعة ديوك التي تجمع متدرّبي الطب واللاهوتيين والقسس بهدف التفكير لاهوتياً ضمن وجودهم في الخطوط الأمامية للرعاية الصحية، حتى نُبرِز المُساهمات المسيحية الفريدة للتوبة والرعاية، والرثاء، في استعداداتنا لفيروس كورونا المستجدّ. التوبة وسط عبادة وثن الصحّة الصحّة أمر جيد في مجتمعنا، ولسبب وجيه طبعاً. تكلّم النبيّ إرميا عن وعد الله بأن يأتي بالصحّة ويشفي الجروح. وفي سفر الجامعة هناك دعوة لنا بأن نُسرّ بالصحة في أيام الشباب، والرسول يوحنا، ...Continue reading...

  • Online Tools to Maximize the Good News During the COVID-19 Crisis
    by Sadiri Joy Tira on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    Today’s technological advances have welcomed a new kind of gathering. In recent days, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau instructed Canadians living in diaspora or “scattered” in many regions of the world to “come home.” Further, he admonished all Canadians, except those in “front line services” to “stay home.” “Enough is enough,” everyone must lock down and lock in. Those returning to Canada are compelled to say goodbye to friends, relatives, colleagues, in-laws, pets, and favourite establishments left in temporary homes abroad. Upon arrival, everyone is ordered to self-isolate to protect themselves and others at home from the deadly Covid-19 pandemic. Most schools have abbreviated their school calendars. Teachers and students are now home-based. Some graduating students may receive diplomas without being hooded by their esteemed professors in grand auditoriums. Missing will be the on-stage thank yous and goodbyes. Goodbye, National Basketball Association. Goodbye, National Hockey League. Goodbye, ice rinks. Goodbye, professional football games. I imagine the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games organizers said to each other “Sayonara for now” (Goodbye for now). The Muslims say temporary goodbyes to their pilgrimages to Mecca and their community Eid celebrations. Hindus and Buddhists say goodbye to their regular gatherings in their temples. The Jewish people are saying goodbye to Passover parties (at least for those over five), and the Christians say goodbye to in-person Easter gatherings and adjacent large family dinners. Yet, amidst the goodbyes, today’s technological advances have welcomed a new kind of gathering. Arguably, the spreading of Covid-19 has this positive impact on the global church and local congregations: the ...Continue reading...

  • In Quarantine: What We Can Learn from the Early Church
    by Nick Hall on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    God calls the church for times just like the one we are living in. I have had the privilege of being a pastor and evangelist for many years. I am used to interacting with crowds of people on a daily basis. Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19), I can no longer host live events or attend church—which has gotten me thinking about what ‘church’ really means. These thoughts led me to the book of Acts, which tells the story of the early church. In Acts, we read about God working powerfully through followers of Jesus who were being persecuted by rulers and government officials. These believers often had to stay in their homes and have very small, secret meetings in order to worship together. They felt fear and anxiety amid uncertain and unsettling times—a feeling many of us are familiar with today. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic is not the same as religious persecution in Acts. But we can still learn from how the early church responded to adverse circumstances. Luke, the author of Acts, says the early believers: Devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47) Although we are prevented from physically being together during this time of crisis, here are several ways we can still ...Continue reading...

  • Women: Don’t Bury Your Leadership Gifts
    by Joyce Koo Dalrymple on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    That persistent sense of calling isn’t a fatal feminine flaw, but an invitation to walk intimately with God. In her book I Am a Leader: When Women Discover the Joy of Their Calling, Angie Ward shares her own struggle of questioning whether her leadership bent was a gift or a fatal feminine flaw. It is a familiar tension women face when they do not feel affirmed or encouraged by those in authority in their system. They end up either questioning their gift and their calling or questioning the system and the perspective of those in authority. For a while, Ward tried to not take charge and even prayed to be more meek and gentle. After a long season of prayer and anguish, she realized that the problem was not that she was a leader or a woman, but that she was denying who God had created her to be. Leadership is an essential part of her calling. She sees herself not as a woman who happens to have a leadership role but a leader who happens to be a woman. Vowing not to bury her gifts and her calling again, Ward wrote words in her journal that became the title and subject of this book: “I AM A LEADER.” A Lifelong Journey There are plenty of books that deal with theological views of the roles of women in congregational ministry. (Examples include Two Views of Women in Ministry from Zondervan’s Counterpoints series and Women in Ministry: Four Views, published by IVP Academic.) I Am a Leader, however, does not tackle this particular issue. Instead, the purpose of Ward’s book is to help women see themselves as leaders and live out their callings regardless of their theological positions or cultural contexts. Ward recognizes that some women may sense individual callings or hold perspectives on women in leadership that clash with prevailing views inside their organizations. For women in these situations, she lays out the options ...Continue reading...

  • Bloom Where You’re Quarantined
    by Clarissa Moll on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    Some of us were lonely well before the pandemic. How do we find God’s comfort now? This past Sunday, I took my children for a walk in a wildlife sanctuary on the edge of our small New England town. Sunday marked our ninth day of preventative quarantine from COVID-19, and after a busy week indoors adjusting to online schooling and working from home, we were ready to get outside in the fresh air. A shock of wintery weather had passed through Boston, so we pulled out hats and mittens, bundled up, and headed out to the Atlantic Ocean. When we arrived, my four kids tumbled out of the car and went ahead of me down the trail. They ran and played, swatting each other with grasses and zigzagging off the trail to race through the meadows. As I stood for a moment and watched them, I closed my eyes and drank in the silence as the ocean wind carried away my children’s voices. Then it hit me, like it has so many times over the last eight months: My husband is dead, and I’m here alone. Only a year ago, my husband Rob brought me on a date to these meadows. We bought cherry hand pies from a local grocery store and sat eating them as the sun set. We enjoyed the companionable silence that comes with 17 years of marriage. As birds returned to their nests in the dusk, quiet rain began to fall. It was a moment out of a Robert Frost poem: Come over the hills and far with me, and be my love in the rain. But for all my wishing now, Rob will never be here again with me. When he died last July in a tragic hiking accident, I discovered a dreadful aloneness that I’d never known before. In that moment when the chaplains came to tell me of his death, I lost my partner, my confidante, my co-parent, my lover, my advisor, and my best friend. I’d always been an independent person, an introvert, even, but I never wanted ...Continue reading...

  • Death Can Still Sting
    by Bonnie Kristian on January 1, 1970 at 12:00 am

    By fighting to save physical lives, the church imitates Christ. The shutdowns are worth it, said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, at a recent press conference. “And if everything we do saves just one life, I’ll be happy.” Bringing New York City to a grinding halt and risking national economic turmoil more severe than the Great Depression is all worthwhile, Cuomo argued, if it lowers the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic even a little. In an immediately controversial essay at First Things, the journal’s editor R. R. Reno roundly rejected Cuomo’s claim. “This statement reflects a disastrous sentimentalism,” he wrote. “There are many things more precious than life.” Anticipating allegations of hypocrisy citing his advocacy against abortion, Reno insisted these are dissimilar concerns. The “pro-life cause concerns the battle against killing,” he said, “not an ill-conceived crusade against human finitude and the dolorous reality of death.” The germ of this argument is clearly in the air. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, a Republican, argued that elderly people like himself should be willing to die of COVID-19 so their grandchildren can keep “the America that all America loves.” Radio host Glenn Beck made the same proposal. And in conversations with Christian family members about the value of social distancing, I keep running into similar logic. “None of us gets out of life alive,” they say, or, “The Lord will take me when he takes me.” Physical death is not something Christians need fear, they argue, because Christ conquered death itself (1 Cor. 15:54–57; 2 Tim. 1:9–10). Dramatic measures to control the deadly spread of COVID-19 aren’t a good thing. ...Continue reading...