Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Growing Backlash Against Overparenting

Time author, Nancy Gibbs, has written a hilarious and insightful article on the new American frenzy for driving kids to worldly success. In this one, she claims there is now a revolution rising against the extremes that have characterized recent thinking about parenting.

Research is accumulating rapidly showing how damaging the new ultra-materialism/prestige drive for kids. Gibbs cites some of this research and the top selling Nurture Shock contains more. That's next on my list.

This neurotic and evil trend in how to raise kids results in what college "deans described freshmen as 'crispies,' who arrived at college already burned out, and 'teacups,' who seemed ready to break at the tiniest stress," according to Gibbs. We encounter these kids in our student ministry constantly. They lack healthy relationships and have been trained to drop everything, including their allegiance to Jesus and their community for any opportunity for advancement in sports or academics--even trivial opportunities.

A recent case involved a high school sophomore who has struggled with drug use and sexual sin but made a second decision to get serious with Christ. He began making progress for the first time. Coming from a weak Christian family, he was urged to join a school sports team. Workouts extend throughout the weekend, after school daily, and even before school.

He's sinking dozens of hours into this sport, losing contact with the believers who were helping him to get away from his habits, and will likely drift back into his habits and lose the chance he had to break away. It's highly doubtful that wrestling will ever play a role in his life in the future. Meanwhile, if he goes back into partying and sex (like his team mates on the sports team) he may ruin his life.

All around us are examples in the millions of American young people who lose their interest in the things of God, as I've documented here before. In the face of this wholesale abandonment of the church and the Lord, the only thing many Christian parents can think of is pushing for yet another sport or learning mandarin in elementary school. Gibbs describes one insane scenario after another in her article.
One of the biggest hurdles for leaders in this area is simply convincing parents that something has changed. Even though the change is well-documented, parents look with skepticism at the data. Alissa Quart cites research from the U. of Michigan for this chart:
(Alissa Quart, Hothouse Kids; The Dilemma of the Gifted Child, 69, 70).

This chart shows a coincident increase in working hours for parents in America, according to Newsweek:

So we are confronted with a level of zeal for worldly advancement not seen in our lifetimes, and the saddest part may be the unwillingness of the church in America to call any of this into question. Eerie silence is all we hear from the Christian publishing world, while the biggest and most successful churches in our country embrace the prosperity gospel.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My New Book on the Church

I'm working on a big book with the working title:

Members of One Another:
Building a biblical ethos into your church

that could rock the church in America if people read it. I'm sure I'll get flack aplenty from this one.

I just got word that my recent book, Satan and his Kingdom has gone back for a third printing after being released in June, so that probably means I'll get an offer on this book, even if it is too extreme for some.

I've just finished putting up part two of a lecture from Acts 2 that contains some of the basic ideas I'm arguing in the book. Now you can hear Part 1 and Part 2

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Youtube Lecture

Here's the playlist for my lecture at Xenos Summer Institute.

This year the institute was on Call to Joy and Pain, inspired by Ajith Fernando's book by that title. My lecture argued that much of our voluntary pain in the Christian life results from spiritual warfare.

If you like it, be sure to share.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

OT Mosaic of Jesus

I just posted a new lecture on Acts that includes discussion of how OT typology in the temple, the festival calendar, and prophecy became like a mosaic, or encoded puzzle of Jesus on the cross. Understood only at the last moment, this mosaic could not have been a human creation.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Satan and His Kingdom

I'm starting to get pumped about the upcoming release of my new book, Satan and His Kingdom. I got the back cover this week.

Since you can't read it, here are some closeups of the blurbs--pretty good! These are respected reviewers. The others will be on the first page.

Have you ever wondered why the disciples had so much trouble figuring Jesus out? After all, they had all the Old Testament prophecies. Jesus was right there with them. Dennis McCallum's thesis?that all the data is in the Bible but it wasn't until after the resurrection that Jesus connected the dots?is most intriguing. It also explains why the devil so miscalculated the outcome of his plot to kill Jesus. Read with your Bible open and you'll learn how to gain victory in our contemporary war with darkness.?
Gerry Breshears, PhD, Professor of Theology, Western Seminary

Also my old buddy, Dave Early, who has taken on the leadership of the church planting school at Liberty.

"Stop reading these endorsements! Start reading this book! Dennis is a ministry veteran, a gifted leadership practitioner, and a diligent student of God's Word. His understanding of the power of the Cross and spiritual warfare is accurate and effective. Read it."
Dr. Dave Earley, Chairman of Department of Pastoral Leadership & Church Planting, Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary

"Dennis McCallum has written a balanced and thoughtful work on an often overlooked but essential topic: the reality of Satan and his practices as he misrepresents God's goodness and misleads humanity into believing in its own goodness. McCallum writes in a biblical and realistic way, using thorough research to answer vital questions effectively. The chapters on Satan and Your Ministry are especially helpful, and ring true to reality. Here is a well-done book full of vital truth."
Dr. Bill Lawrence, President of Leader Formation International; Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries, Dallas Theological Seminary

"We have long needed a lucid, biblically sound presentation of spiritual warfare and the satanic kingdom. This is it, and it is both readable and deep. Everyone should read it."
Grant R. Osborne, PhD, Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"Dennis McCallum writes about Satan and demons in a biblical, sensible way. I've read books about the spiritual realm that were sensational, opinionated, and extra-biblical. This book is different. McCallum stays close to the biblical text while writing an easy to read book. You will not only go away with a comprehensive knowledge of Satan and his kingdom, but you'll discover practical steps to overcome them."
Joel Comiskey, PhD, President of Joel Comiskey Group

I appreciate and thank all who took the time to read the manuscript, and for your kind assessments.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Essential Church has a Disturbing Message

Rainer and his son wrote Essential Church: Reclaiming a Generation of Dropouts based on a nationwide survey of those leaving the church in recent years. Their findings are interesting and provocative.

The American church is dying. Conversions are declining in almost every denomination. Even in some of the more relatively healthy denominations, conversions to Christianity have stagnated... Page 8

Perhaps most startling is the gravity of how many exit the church and the pace at which this exodus is occurring. Each generation that passes loses more than the previous generation. Shock does not begin to describe how we felt after reading the research results. The church is losing the generational battle. Not only are we losing our nation to the ways of the world, but we are not winning our own children in Christian families. Multitudes are dropping out of the church. Page 14
They stress like others, that the loss is greatest among the young:

The average church is losing the young generation, and those young adults are not returning. Page 8
More than two-thirds of young churchgoing adults in America drop out of church between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. Page 75

And their explanation makes sense, and squares with what I've seen:
The most glaring issue of estrangement for eighteen- to twenty-two-year-olds is the interminable gap between their personal beliefs and their church’s stated beliefs. … Only 53 percent of all young adult churchgoers state that they are in line with the beliefs of their church. To be blunt, God has converted our children, but we have failed to disciple them. Page 30

They document not only quantitative decline, but decline in quality:
One survey states that only half of churches feel that they do a good job of engaging the community and making others feel welcome. Additionally, only 40 percent of these churches feel that they have any real impact on the community of the world. This survey was taken among people within the church. So 60 percent of the people in our churches do not believe they are making an impact on their community. Page 55 56

They also confirm other sources indicating that the dramatic increase in busyness among Americans makes church involvement less likely:
We’re busy people. We bolt about our daily routine in a tornado of rapid activity. Time is a precious commodity and we fill our time with as many activities as possible. We cram one-hour tasks into fifteen minutes, and then we speed twenty-five miles over the speed limit to make up for the rest. We overcommit. We underplan. We procrastinate. We’re perpetually late. Then we complain about little sleep and no time for exercise or leisure. Americans spend their time like their money, using as much as they have (if not more) and saving none. Page 74
Through our research we were not surprised to learn that new and busy schedules often moved the church to a lower priority among the dechurched. Page 75
I was interested by their finding that those leaving don't feel bitter about the church, and still consider themselves Christians. They are leaving because they don't see any reason to continue.
Particularly with the younger generation, church is another time slot to fill. It is a check box on the weekly to-do list. The churches of the dropouts were not a place where they wanted to spend free time. It was the opposite. Church was just another time waster for them... droves of students are divorcing the church, and they do not cite irreconcilable differences. They do not leave mad. For many, no one compelling factor is pushing them away. They just want a little time off. They want their space. When they leave the church, there is no void. A gaping hole doesn’t form when they exit. They leave quietly, and the church continues on as usual. Page 75, 76
Apparently, a big part of this failure has to do with the lack of interest in college students on the part of churches.

Most churches do not have a college and career ministry for young adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. And the reason is not because these churches are located outside of college towns. Ten percent of the population in the United States is between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four. That’s more than thirty million student-age people! Page 81

To me, this is incomprehensible, althoug I've seen this myself. We find most churches have little or nothing going on with college students--the most promising age range for raising up workers who serve God long-term. I think it goes to show that churches are more interested in adults who pay the bills than in raising up workers.

This is a good book. Recomended.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Where do the Jews stand in the plan of God?

New Youtube Series Explores New Testament Teaching on Christians and Jews

Theologians have debated the status of Jews under the New Covenant since the beginning. By the second century, virulent antisemitism took hold of many church fathers, who had experienced persecution blamed on the Jews. This antisemitic attitude resulted in theologies where the Jews were "dealt out of the game" by God because of their rejection of Jesus.

Paul offers a refutation so such speculation, which may have already begun in his own day. Romans 10 and 11 are his best explanation of how God is working today, and how his ancient people play into that plan. This 6 part series on Youtube exposits these chapters. See it HERE

Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Utube Series

We've been putting teachings on youtube lately, and this new series is on the role of Suffering and Spiritual Growth.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Why I'm Writing on Satan

Why write another book about Satan? I was recently asked by more than one young Christian what they could read to get the story on the Evil One. I had to pause. Screwtape Letters? That's good, but it's fiction, and doesn't really cover biblical teaching. Weirsby's book, Satan's Strategy? That's good, but real short and old. Doesn't go into much depth. Most of the others have stuff in that I don't think is taught in scripture.

Where can we look for a good overall study of scripture's teaching on Satan that shows hermeneutical restraint? That doesn't assume information not revealed? That covers the whole Bible's material on God's enemy? I don't know. In doing this book, I read about 25 titles. Almost all were either exaggerated and full of phony stories and unbiblical claims, or understated, presenting Satan as someone we don't need to worry about.

I decided to write. This book will unveil the fascinating story of the collision of God's kingdom and the Evil One's kingdom--the battle that we find ourselves swept into. The fascinating plan of God and our part in it.

I hope people are ready for this one. It's coming out from Bethany House in a few months. If you're interested, you can pre-order a copy now on Amazon here.