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  Church Web Research

An Incurable Lutheran Talks about the Secularization Thesis and Evangelicalism  6/28/2017 
Gregor Thuswaldner: Article  On hearing of the death of Peter Berger today I found this helpful article on how his thinking has changed.

Pastors as the New Public Intellectuals  6/28/2017 
David Sessions: Article  The super-rich are funding thought leaders to justify their wealth. Pastors who preach from the bible have a different function. A review of Daniel W. Drezner's book.

Faith Leaders Begin Fast to Oppose Trump Budget Cuts  5/22/2017 
Article  Trump is proposing to take $800 billion out of Medicaid, think of the people who will lose benefits, the people who will lose jobs. Big cuts proposed to programs for the poor. The rich get tax cuts.

In Emotional Service, Jesuits and Georgetown Repent for Slave Trading   4/20/2017 
Daniel Burke: Article  Here is something that should happen across America, explicit services of repentance and healing for the sin of slavery.

Islam and Christianity, the Great Convergence: Working Jointly towards Equal Citizenship Rights  3/16/2017 
Olav Fykse Tveit: Article  The General Secretary of the World Council of Churches speaks in Geneva about the meaning of believing in one God. It means we understand ourselves as 'one humanity'.

WCC Gravely Concerned Over Israel’s Travel Ban   3/9/2017 
Article  Dr Olav Fykse Tveit says new law is a shockingly regressive law against those calling for a boycott of Israel or its settlements.

National Council of Churches Condemns Trump’s Cabinet Picks, Policy Agenda  1/18/2017 
Jack Jenkins: Article  Pastors and congregations of historic Protestantism must now view themselves as a major support system for resistance movements against an illegitimate presidency.

No Historic Protestant Leader Will Appear at Trump Inauguration  1/13/2017 
Tom Gjelten: Article  Prosperity gospel heretics have been chosen by Trump to participate in inaugural events. Historic Protestants must turn against Trump for sake of both country and church.

Evangelicals Elected a Tyrant and a Demagogue Who Demonstrates No Christian Principles  12/30/2016 
Neil J. Young: Article  The public witness of historic, orthodox Christianity is being destroyed by so-called 'conservative evangelicals'. 81% voted for Trump, a racist, sexual pervert.

Putin Pays $175 Million for New Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Paris  12/21/2016 
Tom Heneghan: Article  Religion helps fill the ideological vacuum left by failure of Marxism. Putin: 'The revival of church unity today is a crucial condition for the revival of the lost unity of the whole Russian world'

Something is Terribly Wrong with the White Christian God of Fundamentalist Rural America  11/22/2016 
Article   Trump's election demonstrates that fundamentalist pastors in rural areas are preaching a false god which justifies racism, hatred, sexual immorality, anti-intellectualism, and extreme commercialism.

Pastoral Counseling Needed: Struggling White Voters Who Helped Elect Trump Are Headed for Some Serious Pain  11/22/2016 
Joshua Holland: Article  A lot of low-income voters believed Trump when he promised to make America great. They’re in for a rude awakening. Pastors need to get ready to help.

Protestants Support Standing Rock Sioux Nation in North Dakota  11/4/2016 
Article  A call to action on November 3, 2016, was issued by the Episcopal Church and others to help protect waters of the Missouri River from oil pipelines.

Economic Globalization is the 'Enemy' of Justice, Not Immigrants  7/5/2016 
Karen L. Bloomquist: Article  The World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, the World Council of Churches have all spoken out against neoliberal mandates causing loss of jobs and dislocation.

Lutheran Bishop Protests Donald Trump Speech at Lenoir-Rhyne University  3/16/2016 
Ed Knudson: Article  Since Lenoir-Rhyne is a Lutheran university Bishop Timothy Marcus Smith did not want anyone to get the impression Lutherans endorsed Donald Trump.

The Suicide of the Liberal Church  2/1/2016 
Chris Hedges: Article  Only about 36 million are now members of mainline Protestant churches. Right wing religion and business has been trying to kill these churches. Mostly, they seem to be killing themselves.

First Things First: Don't Blame Francis for Church's Divisions  1/29/2016 
Cathleen Kaveny: Article  The founder of First Things, Richard John Neuhaus, had a seriously distorted view of religious realities and commitments. Here is a very grounded, persuasive statement of progressive Catholic faith.

Pete Pero, Leading African-American Lutheran Scholar, Dies  11/20/2015 
Article  Dr. Pero was the first African-American professor at a US Lutheran seminary, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Cardinal Kurt Koch Tells WCC News: We have to Deepen Our Solidarity  11/6/2015 
Marianne Ejdersten: Article  At the Global Christian Forum in Tirana, Albania 150 high level leaders of various church traditions from more than 60 countries gathered in solidarity concerning the migrant crisis.

The Decline of White Evangelicalism in the South and Nation  4/21/2015 
Chris Kromm: Article  Within days of passing a bill allowing discrimination against gays, Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, is forced to change it. Anti-gay attitudes are declining along with the white religious right. Good

Making Christianity Our National Religion Would Be Terrible for Christianity  2/27/2015 
Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig: Article  Mike Huckabee and other Republican candidates appealing to the religious right have a false view of both Christianity and the history of the nation.

ELCA Seminary Leaders Respond to Open Letter Call to Action on Matters of Race and Social Injustice  2/6/2015 
Article  Here is a response from Lutheran seminary leaders to a statement from African-American presidents and deans in theological education.

Hundreds of Clergy Marched at Selma including Greek Archbishop Iakovos  1/13/2015 
Michael Varlamos : Article  The movie 'Selma' on the fiftieth anniversary of the famous rights march has increased interest in the legacy of Martin Luther King. Here is an account from the perspective of the Greek Orthodox.

Bishop Says Undocumented Workers are God's Chosen Ones  12/12/2014 
Dan Morris-Young: Article  'Much of the economic underpinnings for Washington state's economy is built on fraud' fostered 'by the very structure of our immigration laws,' said Bishop Joseph Tyson of Yakima.

Christian Right Has Major Role in Hastening Decline of Religion in America  3/26/2014 
C.J. Werleman: Article  Right wing Christianity is damaging the witness and outreach of the true church. A false gospel is being preached.

WCC: God of Life, Lead Us to Justice and Peace  10/10/2013 
Article  The assembly of the World Council of Churches will take place from 30 October to 8 November, 2013, in Busan, Republic of Korea. Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit calls for humility, honesty and hope.

Faith Leaders Strongly Oppose Government Shutdown  10/9/2013 
Michael McGovern: Article  Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical pastors, professors and leaders have called on congress to reopen government. The shutdown is seriously hurting low-income pregnant women and infants.

From Politics to the Pulpit, Faith Groups See 'The Hand of God' in Immigration Reform  8/8/2013 
Carrie Dann: Article  Eight out of ten undocumented workers are Christian, a fact Tea Party politicians should think about. Maybe God is on the side of the immigrants, not blind hatred.

Lutheran Church Elects First Openly Gay Bishop  6/18/2013 
Ross Murray: Article  R. Guy Erwin is the first openly gay bishop elected in the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Church in America. He is also Native American and a professor of historical theology.

Pope Benedict Resigns in Shocking Abdication  2/11/2013 
Adele M. Stan: Article  Amid new revelations of sexual abuse of children by priests Pope Benedict XVI, former Cardinal Ratzinger, is stepping down from the most significant position in Christianity.

No More Cheap and Easy Easters!  4/7/2012 
David Sylvester: Article  The killings would stop if Christians did on Monday what they say they believe on Sunday. We can't avoid the devastation of sharing Holy Saturday with Jesus.

Obama Should Go Visit His Own Pastor  3/13/2012 
Ed Knudson: Article  The mainline media have screened out the mainline Protestants, the tradition of Barack Obama. So the public sphere is skewed toward conservative religion.

WCC Denounces 'Doctrine of Discovery' which Permitted Enslavement of Indigenous Peoples  2/27/2012 
Article  Papal bulls going back to Pope Nicholas V in 1452 and legal claims under the doctrine are rejected, opposed to gospel of Jesus.

In Solidarity with the Churches of Syria  2/22/2012 
Article  Syria, now engulfed in violence, is the land whence St. Paul spread the good news of love, peace and justice to the world.

The Catholic Vote: Not What You Might Think  2/21/2012 
Stephen S. Schneck: Article  The idea of a Catholic bloc is patently ridiculous. Most Catholics want to think for themselves about moral issues. Latinos may be a majority soon.

Rick Santorum: Mainline Protestants are Gone from the World of Christianity  2/18/2012 
Alex Seitz-Wald: Article  A Roman Catholic presidential candidate has decided 45 million Protestants are under the sway of Satan. We Protestants should realize that we are seriously attacked today by the religious right.

Christmas Message 2011 from the General Secretary of the WCC  12/22/2011 
Olav Fykse Tveit: Article  A just peace is the theme of the message this year based on the work of the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation.

Occupy Movement is a Force that can Revitalize Traditional Christianity  12/5/2011 
Chris Hedges: Article  Were you there, the author asks, when they crucified the movement, a call to Trinity Church in NYC to allow use of an empty lot for the movement.

Occupy the Pulpit  11/15/2011 
Mark Engler: Article  More real pastors need to be at events of the Occupy movement, rather than just the theatrical Reverend Billy.

The Papacy in Schism: Benedict's War on the Church  7/14/2011 
Matthew Fox: Article  A major challenge to the authority of the pope is being expressed by this author, who encourages lay Catholics to take control of their churches.

Understanding the Protestant Church Today  4/14/2011 
Ed Knudson: Article  A 1990 article by Peter Berger on clergy in the 'New Class' stimulates thought about primary Protestants now and for the future.

The Protestant Academy: Retrieving the Reformation Heritage of Liberation  4/11/2011 
Peter Berger: Article  Protestants need to come together in new ways for substantial theological and biblical interpretation applied to current affairs for inspired lay leadership in the world today.

God of Life, Lead Us to Justice and Peace  2/22/2011 
Article  A theme is chosen for the World Council of Churches Assembly in Busan, South Korea, in 2013.

Conservative Politics Alienates Young Adults from Christian Faith  10/18/2010 
Robert D. Putnam: Article  Between 25% and 30% of twentysomethings today say they have no religious affiliation, much higher than previous generations.

Extraordinary Public Witness  9/24/2010 
Ed Knudson: Article  Three ordained lesbian pastors are offically received into the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. What a great witness for the church of Jesus Christ in a time of hatred and hostility.

Authority, Women, and Apostolic Succession   8/31/2010 
Rosemary Radford Ruether: Article  Women are being ordained in the Roman Catholic tradition by the Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community. Here is a good, brief history of apostolic succession and speaking gospel truth today.

New Global Church Forms  6/17/2010 
Article  The World Communion of Reformed Churches will come into being in Grand Rapids this month.

The Possible Future of Orthodox Unity in America  5/10/2010 
Peter Marudas: Article  In late May a meeting of potentially enormous significance for the Orthodox Church in America will occur in New York City.

Glenn Beck to Jesus: Drop Dead  3/10/2010 
James Martin, S.J.: Article  Glenn Beck tells his tea party listeners to leave their churches if they talk about social and economic justice. A Roman Catholic priest responds fiercely to the Beck comments.

Church Growth Movement Goes Wildly Political: New Apostolic Reformation  3/7/2010 
Bill Berkowitz: Article  Growth guru C. Peter Wagner has become the presiding apostle in spiritual warfare dedicated to taking over the country with Rick Warren and Sarah Palin as spokespersons.

The Ecumenical Movement of the Cross  2/24/2010 
Olav Fykse Tveit: Article  Sermon for the service of installation of Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit as general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Ecumenical Centre, Geneva, Switzerland, 23 February 2010.

Protestant Council Declares Prosperity Gospel is Heresy  1/6/2010 
Ed Knudson: Article  Joel Osteen is a heretic, as was Oral Roberts, and even such evangelicals as Rick Warren may qualify as heretics, according to a new report by the highest authority within Protestantism.

The Decisive Day was in Leipzig  11/12/2009 
Andrew Curry: Article  Patient Protestant organizing and protest led to big changes in East Germany twenty years ago. Here is a model for Protestant ministry in the United States right now.

Stirring Holy Disorder  10/26/2009 
Anli Serfontein: Article  Twenty years ago this month a prayer service for peace in an historic Lutheran church triggered events leading to the fall of the Berlin wall and East German communism.

Unchurched Believers  10/14/2009 
Article  Conservative religion is pushing liberals away from any organized religion. But people continue to believe in God and after life, though increasing numbers don't want to attend any church.

New General Secretary Elected by WCC  8/28/2009 
Article  Olav Fykse Tveit has been elected to lead the World Council of Churches. Here he tells his vision for the global church.

Charity or Justice: Church as the Most Important Democratic Counterweight  7/27/2009 
John A. Coleman: Article  A review of a book by Steven M. Tipton called 'Public Pulpits'. Churches have a key role in an increasingly culturally and socially divided world.

Migrant Narrative is at the Core of Religious Traditions  7/23/2009 
Melissa Sanchez: Article  Lutheran pastor David Vasquez is stepping into the shoes of immigrant workers for a year after last year's raid on an Iowa meat-packing plant.

Liberation Theologian Chosen as Envoy to Vatican  5/29/2009 
John L Allen Jr.: Article  Some call Miguel Diaz a 'Cuban liberation theologian'. This article discusses meanings of his appointment by Obama.

Pentecostal Corruption: Prosperity Gospel is a Scam  5/7/2009 
Pen Itent: Article  A teacher in a private school of the religious right shows how Pentecostal pastors are betraying their members.

Real Protestants are the Religious Left Today  4/8/2009 
Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou: Article  Debates over a 'religious center' actually fail to represent the truth of how religious leaders have changed history.

Secularity Gains, Primary Protestants Decline, Catholics Move  3/9/2009 
Article  Northern New England becomes least religious area according to a new report, the American Religious Identification Survey. The 'Nones' grow in every state. Only 76% of Americans now 'Christian'.

Martin Luther at Wittenberg: Rebuilding the Protestant Rome  10/29/2008 
Article  Germany, the birthplace of social democracy, was greatly influenced by Martin Luther. After 500 years Wittenberg wants to celebrate, but few Protestants are left.

Federal Budget as Moral Document  1/27/2005 
Article  Religious leaders send a letter to congress.

Religious Leaders Call on Bush to Lead on Middle East Peace  1/14/2005 
Article  Ron Young of Seattle coordinates the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace which appealed to President Bush to resume Middle East peace negotiations.

WCC Advocacy Week: 2005 will be a Crucial Year for Church Advocacy   11/29/2004 
Article  World Council of Churches advocacy includes reform of the United Nations.

Opposing the Religious Right  11/27/2004 
Ed Knudson: Article  It is now necessary to explicitly oppose the religious right, its leaders, its beliefs, its immoral political influence.

Why Lutherans Should Vote for Democrats This Year  10/7/2004 
Ed Knudson: Article  A Lutheran pastor explains why even Lutherans who are Republican should vote for John Kerry this year.

Pastors, People, and Economic Justice  10/4/2004 
Ed Knudson: Article  Pastors who want to protect their flocks should carefully consider economic issues in this election.

Faith Without Works: Bush Wants Votes But Fails to Deliver on Faith-based Programs  10/2/2004 
Ed Knudson: Article  Amy Sullivan in the Washington Monthly reviews the president`s promises and record on faith-based programs.

An Open Letter to President George W. Bush and Senator John F. Kerry  9/30/2004 
Mark Hanson: Article  ELCA Bishop Mark Hanson sends letter to presidential candidates just before their first presidential debate.

The Civic Gospel of Evangelicalism   1/29/2004 
Article  Six central beliefs of evangelical religious leaders reviewed by Martin Marty in Sightings column.

The Unchristian Coalition Exhibits Intolerance and Hate   3/25/2003 
Ed Knudson: Article  In its petition of support for President Bush the so-called Christian Coalition reveals how far it is from the real message of Jesus Christ. The Unchristian Coalition should be actively opposed.

Falwell Says It is Anti-American to Oppose War   3/25/2003 
Article  Leader of the religious right exposes his extremist views. If you question the Iraq war you are anti-American, he says. Falwell gets big money from wealthy Republican.

Postmodern Worship and Mission   11/7/2002 
Ed Knudson: Article  Robert W. Jenson writes of gospel mission and ecstatic worship in a world he accepts as 'postmodern' and thus lacking a narrative.

Welcoming the Stranger: A Public Theology of Worship and Evangelism   6/3/2002 
WebLink  A review of a book by Patrick R. Keifert

The Decline of Religious Orders   3/19/2002 
Comment  Garry Wills discusses the Jesuits.

World Citizens, World Church   10/12/2001 
Ed Knudson: Comment  Is it time for Protestants to go global?

Church Section

(See also the sections on The New Protestantism, 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, and Adult Forums)

There is a great need today to develop a concept of "The Protestant Church." There is a need for the primary Protestants to identify themselves with one another as Protestants. The primary Protestants are the Methodists and the Lutherans, the Presbyterians and the United Church of Christ, the Episcopalians and the American Baptists. The world simply cannot understand us Protestants if we stay separate in our religious ghettos.

Pastor Martin Niemöller, a German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor, is said to have spoken these prophetic words after the Second World War:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
Our many competing voices cancel one another out. The public nature of modern communications requires new institutional formats by which we make known our beliefs and commitments. The world needs what we have to offer but our many divisions means that the word doesn't get out. This is not another call for a revamped ecumenism, it is a call to form effective means by which to engage in the mission of the church in our time. We need what may be called a "Second-Stage Protestantism" in this country. We will be talking about this concept in pages in this section. After five hundred years of living separate lives it is time for Protestants to come together in a new second-stage of witness and ministry.

This section also contains material related to ministry, pastoral practice, congregational programs, and the public involvements and policy proposals of national and international church bodies. We are especially interested in what it means to be a "public church" in a divided and troubled world.

Our focus is on the major faith expressions we call the Primary Protestants: the protestant members of the National and World Council of Churches. When in various places we refer to the "ecumencial church" or the public church this is what we mean. Unfortunately, this means we believe that the efforts over the last decades to create unity with the Roman Catholic Church have been a waste of time, have failed, and have hindered the formation of a full Protestant Church. The Roman Church has now on social issues allied itself with a retrograde form of Christian faith, the religious right.

The religious right has been the energy of the backlash politics against the gains of black people and women in the 1960s. We believe that what has become known as the Religious Right in the United States, the Southern Baptists, the Assemblies of God, and related so-called non-denominational bible churches, have become an alien form of Christianity, not representing the historic and orthodox Protestant understandings of faith and life. They have become commercialized and Americanized forms of religious faith and have identified themselves with one political party to the degree that they fail to witness to the grace and mercy of loving God. They want to use the power of the state to coerce faith and ethics in ways totally against the central teachings of Protestantism. The modern media have had a large role in fostering the success of these television preachers and revivalist religion. The Primary Protestants must now clearly distinquish themselves from this false form of Christianity, especially now when the energy of backlash politics is petering out and a new era of cooperation and responsibility has come to the United States in the 2008 election.


Here are some web resources:

Sightings. The one best place on the web for current commentary on the church and public life is this regular column by church historian Martin Marty at the University of Chicago.

World Faith News. A data base of full text official news releases and other documents, including policy statements, from the news offices of national and world faith groups.

Ecumenical News International. Go here for latest world church news stories.

World Council of Churches. Includes directories of world church organizations and programs.

The Holy See. The website of the Vatican.

National Council of Churches in the USA. US directories of church bodies are available here. Access to leading Catholic magazines and newspapers, papal encyclicals, Church documents, helpful devotional services.

OpenSourceTheology. An interesting effort to rethink evangelical theology leading to an "emerging church".

Yearbook of Canadian and American Churches. This is the standard reference on church membership statistics.

Hartford Institute for Religion Research. One of the best places for research on religion in society.

Religion in American History. Teacher resources from the National Humanities Center.

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