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Mark Johnson

Over the years, the America of my experience has become more and more open, to the point where very little seems shocking. We have noticed it in almost every book, magazine, TV show, movie and especially in news stories. All of these, ever seeking to gain more attention, continue to ratchet up the level of […] Read More

As we look forward to Pentecost Sunday on May 31, I wonder why so many churches appear hesitant to put forward a clear emphasis on the dimension of God as Spirit.   Growing up in Baptist churches, I remember how comfortable we were with the story of Jesus from Advent through Easter and even loved […] Read More

Recent proposals by lawmakers in South Carolina and Florida to offer state-sponsored, overtly Christian license plates should have one group particularly offended.   And it’s not the atheists, secular humanists or other supposed antagonists to the faith. The group that should be most alarmed and the most vocal in opposition to these developments is the […] Read More

Prophets of doom were once a parody—these shoddily clad, long-bearded and crazy-eyed predictors of imminent peril wearing sandals and sandwich-board signs bearing the standard cliché: “The End is Near.” Now, they are the respected voices from a sub-group of the intelligentsia of our society.   One is Peter Schiff, president and CEO of Euro Pacific […] Read More

Best-selling author and megachurch Pastor Rick Warren is in a bit of a jam. First, while appearing on Larry King Live on April 7, he firmly denied any public statements endorsing Proposition 8 in the 2008 election on the California ballot and any personal animosity to gay rights. Now he is being confronted with earlier […] Read More

Once while serving in a church with a retired Army colonel and his native Korean wife, a conversation about the basics of the Christian faith led me to ask her, “Do you have any questions about our celebration of Easter?” She replied, “I get most of it, but what I don’t understand is, what is […] Read More

I am excited about the future of the church. While it seems to go against the grain of many national trends and predictions, I am noticing an emerging directional shift. In just one short week of normal pastoral ministry, these real-life examples offer a hint of something else awakening across our country.   A conversation […] Read More

On March 9, a wake-up call was issued to the church in America. That’s the day the new American Religious Identification Study was released. It revealed that the number of Americans who identified themselves as Christians had dropped 10 percent (from 86 percent to 76 percent) in almost 20 years (1990-2008).   The concern should […] Read More

The Bible begins and ends in a garden. While these images may have surprisingly originated from Persia (Iran)—given no pre-exilic prophet speaks of them—their powerful influence throughout scripture and upon Western civilization cannot be overstated.   Isaiah 51:3 looks forward to the messianic age, the very one we claim was inaugurated by Jesus, where the […] Read More

Of all ministerial duties, there is none as sacred or as vital as the care and comfort necessary for those facing death, separation and bereavement. Over the years, a constant word of comfort has proved helpful from the lengthy dialogue offered by Jesus in the upper room and found in the 14th chapter of John […] Read More