Saturday, October 31, 2009


Scott McKnight shares a book review that has me wanting to go out and read the book. As a Facebooker who uses it for social networking and a little pastoring, I am intrigued. More to follow. McKnight writes ...

Anyone, and I mean anyone, who can help us think about how the gospel and the church and life itself is being reshaped (or influenced or revolutionized) by social media like Facebook is worth listening to. Jesse Rice's new book, The Church of Facebook: How the Hyperconnected Are Redefining Community , is not only worth listening to but it's worth church staffs reading together to discuss.

The Church of Facebook does not approach the subject with a holier-than-thou critical attitude, it doesn't bring in Bible and theology to make it sound Christian... the sort of approach that may sound right but be short on critical analysis. My summary statement:

Facebook is a spontaneous ordering of humans that both benefits us and is reshaping our sense of community and provides us with challenges ...

The Church of Facebook explains through (what I'd call) social psychology how the Facebook phenomenon arose (spontaneous order is his term -- great story to begin the book) and what it provides for 300 million people (connection, not to be confused with community) and how it is illuminating so many things about life (like relationships) and how we are adapting to it in so many ways ... and then he offers some warnings about how to live in a Facebook world as followers of Christ.

There's more to be said about Facebook, and more will be said over the next few years, but this is a fine book and one that penetrates deeply into the Facebook world and then comes out to explain to us what is going on in that world.

Read McKnight's original blog at ....

Friday, October 30, 2009


My grandson Jake went to the lake this summer-Smith Mountain Lake near Roanoke VA. For the past several summers, my wife Dianne's family has spent a week together strengthening their family ties and building memories by sharing a house on this beautiful lake. Jake got introduced to fresh water, swimming with his Mom Christi's younger cousins, and being the center of many photos. He's a little young for the memories to be as complete as those of his grandmother, Dianne--but he will have one powerful memory--a family that loves him.

What kind of memories are you building into your families or your other relationships? Memories in childhood often plant silent seeds that bear fruit for decades. Abuse or neglect create painful memories. Laughter and love build precious ones. What kind of memories will those who have been part of your life and under your influence possess?


With apologies to my Associate Pastor Barry, but Cliff Lee simply dominated the Yankees in the opening game of the World Series. Only Derek Jeter's scrambling and Jimmy Rollin's "getting cute" allowed the Yankees to score at all. Game One goes to the Phillies.

NOTE: A.J. Burnette was more dominating than Pedro. Barry's a happy man this AM.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


The front page of the Lancaster newspaper Tuesday night featured a shot of a line of people winding for several blocks around the Carter-Macrae Elementary School waiting for flu shots. The flu season has begun, this year being heightened by a virulent strain of swine flu that has many people on edge as it has proven deadly in some instances. As the lack of anywhere near sufficient doses of the vaccine have yet to emerge from the governments pharmaceutical pipeline, people (especially parents of younger children) are restive and worried. President Obama's approval rating has sunk into the 30% range. People in a panic are not very forgiving.

Yet there are good people who care about others, and seek to make a difference for people whose lives are difficult. In the Hempfield School District, senior citizens are permitted to volunteer in the schools and get a credit on their school taxes for their time. (GREAT PLAN, HSD!) At our church, we have a Gym/Multipurpose Ministry Center--that we make accessible to support the community. For the last two several years (this year again), we have given practice space to the Hempfield Junior Varsity Cheerleading Squad as they prepare for November competitions (there is not enough gym space nd practice time in the schools.) A grandmother of one of the cheerleaders is now volunteering in the schools and anonymously donating HER tax credit to an older widow in our congregation who finds it difficult to pay mounting school taxes.

Not all is right with our world, yet there are more people trying to put it right than many of us believe. Usually because acts of kindness and sacrifical servanthood.

What does the World Series between the Yankees and Phillies have to do with all of this? Except for its record-breaking potential--not much. But a whole lot of people take joy from their baseball (I being one of them) so for about the next 10 days Fox Sports will bring some nightly joy into people's living rooms. PLus, the head line got you to read the blog today about some really significant good news that will not appear on a Jumbotron in Yankee Stadium or Citizens Bank Field. Forgive me.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


The youth ministry at the Church of God of Landisville has taken a new direction. Under the leadership of Jeremy Moyer, we are focusing on teaching kids to be leaders and influencers in their generation. We emphasize the power to overcome instead of merely coping. Learning to take responsibility and engage in sacrificial servanthood. This past weekend 52 kids (many of them from our Agape Youth Center) had a weekend retreat at the church. Two service projects were built into the usual worship, fellowship, fun, food, and lack of sleep. One of those projects, which the kids carried out in the pouring Saturday rain, was to collect food for the nearly depleted Hempfield Food Bank. 458 pounds were collected. These are some GREAT KIDS.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


This past weekend our youth ministry (called "Burn") sponsored a retreat called "Catch the Flame." Under the direction of our youth director Jeremy Moyer and 14 volunteers, a 25 hour event was conducted for 52 teens. Worship, Bible study, games, and service projects were a part. One of the projects was to gather food for the Hempfield Food Bank, which they did in the pouring rain. One of the photos shows the collcted food at the altar of the church. I was deeply impressed by the maturity, involvement, and spirit of all the kids.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I admit it. I am a Star Wars fan. I know all the theological arguments about an "impersonal force" as a substitute for God and the dualism of the "dark side". I take Star Wars for just what it is--a series of great stories about a future where humanity and non-human races continue to struggle with the ideas of good and evil, freedom and tyranny, sacrificial servanthood and manipulative greed. A space western with a little philosophy thrown in.

My favorite character in the Star Wars saga is Yoda, the diminutive Jedi Knight. His appearance hides a powerful and penetrating intellect. The heart of Yoda's being and his purpose for living is WISDOM.

Wisdom and common sense are often confused in modern society. Wisdom asks the question, "Is it right?" Common sense says, "Does it work?" Wisdom presumes that their is a definitive answer,an authoritative response that we must embrace to be people of wholeness and integrity. Common sense says, "What are my options" and often results in a solution that serves first (and sometimes only) ourselves.

Wisdom is often rejected because it places boundaries on us. Common sense is often rejected because it is suspicious of our impulses.

The Bible has many, many things to say about wisdom. Perhaps the most important is this:'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom? Psalm 119.10

Andy Stanley once wrote about THE BEST QUESTION EVER. The question, "Is it wise?" By that he meant, does your action or decision reflect the will of God. If you think that you can be wise apart from seeing things through the eyes of God, life's Master Designer, you are ultimately destined to be unwise.


Don't forget to join us at the Black Knight in Landisville for the return of A GOD QUESTION. We will be in the upstairs room from 7:00-9:00 pm to talk about God, the Bible, Christianity, and our spiritual matters. I'll be there right after I eat a steak dinner downstairs. This is a SAFE PLACE to bring your questions and your friends who have questions--even if they do not see themselves as religious types. I promise you will not be asked to join anything or decide anything. We'll even make sure that no one else tries to hijack the conversation. There are no stupid questions, just questions for which you do not have an answer.


See you there - STEVE
Or as I am known to some of my congregation - DR STEVE


Monday, October 19, 2009


Jesus Christ has a good press these days. Even non-Christians admire him. Celebrities like Madonna appeal to him when declaring their positions on contemporary social issues. College students still line up to take courses about him and to debate his impact.

Yet often the cultural understanding of Jesus is a mile wide and an inch deep. Like so many other things, we use Jesus to baptize our positions and decisions instead of asking the a priori question, "What did Jesus say about Himself, His values, and the work He came into the world to do?"

In Colossians we read: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the first born from among the dead, so that in everything he might have supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or in heaven, by making peace through his blood shed on the cross." (Ephesians 1.15-20)

CS Lewis once famously stated in his book MERE CHRISTIANITY that, "“I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus Christ]: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that option open to us. He did not intend to.”

This Sunday at the Church of God of Landisville during both the 8.15 and 10.45 worship services, I will be answering that question, "Who Is Jesus Christ?" I hope you will consider joining us.


John Maxwell says, "Leadership is influence." Jesus says, "You are the salt of the earth ..." (Matthew 5) meaning we are called to provide seasoning to the world -- seasoning that comes from God's transforming love exhibited in human lives. In that sense, the church---Christians--are called to be leaders in their culture--not by political power or position--but by the influence on their neighbors of Christ's love working in and through us.

Less than earth-shattering question, "Will the Angels settle down and stop the Yankees?" Maybe sunny Southern California will be friendlier to their ambitions.

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Have you done something nice for your pastor lately?

I am gearing up for A Good Question, the religious discussion group I am leading at the Black Knight Tavern and Restaurant in Landisville on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month. The first is this Wednesday, October 21 from 7:00-9:00 pm. Even if the discussion is stimulating, they have a great special on steak on Wednesdays! (See my blog posting for October 13, 2009 for more details.)

My mother-in-law will be 80 years old at the end of this month. Still plays tennis, walks a couple of miles each day. We all should be as healthy as this woman when we hit fifty, let alone 80. Way to go Barbara Gordon!

I am on Facebook and have crossed the 100 friends barrier. Too bad I don't communicate with them more often, but you CAN waste some serious time on Facebook. Communication, however, is a key to good relationship--and Facebook is my attempt to have better relationships. If you are on Facebook, can you tell me your reason?

Friday, October 16, 2009


Fall has arrived in the Susquehanna Valley. (Actually fall appears to be making only a brief stopover.) I am not enamored by Halloween, so I am mentally gearing up for the next holiday--Thanksgiving. That'll barely be over and we will start focusing on Christmas. (I know people who have already gotten a good part of their Christmas shopping finished. In fact, I used to be one of those people.)

Came across this photo in my personal collection. It is my grandson Jake and it comes from his first Christmas. Jake was born on Easter. And it was my joy to celebrate Christmas with him. The developing new life and his personality and his ability to show love in his own unique way-these were among the most precious of gifts to me. Of course, I lavished a lot of gifts on him. I am, after all, his grandfather.

I suspect I was more blessed by the giving than was Jake. It allowed me to express my love for him. Any time we rise above our self-centered sin nature to show our love--we are getting a whole lot closer to the character of the God who created us and redeemed us. Catholic theologian Karl Rahner says that our ability--our desire to love--is our reminder that we were created in the image of God. And John tells us that our ability our ability to love and our desire to love is possible because God first loved us--long before even recognized it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


When you see a child whose hands are covered in paint, what is your reaction? "Oooo, let's clean those hands before they touch something important!" "Where did they find that paint?" "I'll be there's a mess." Those are probably the three most likely comments if you are an adult. Would you ever say, "Such beautiful colors, what kind of lovely picture can they create?" I hope, for your child's sake, you might say the latter.

Phillies over the Dodgers ... Yankees over the Angels ... Phillies in seven

Should Mr Obama have turned down the Nobel Peace Prize because it was too soon?

"We are not human beings, we are human becomings." - Tim Hansel


I read a question today by a theologian named Michael Kruse. Here's the question:

"Which is more valuable, a diamond or a bottle of water? Water is absolutely essential to survival. Go very long without water and we die. Yet many people live long healthy lives without ever owning a diamond. Surely a bottle of water is worth more than a diamond. Yet which costs more?"

How do we decide the worth of something? How do we deal with the fact that sometimes things have a worthy not tied to their utility or necessity? I'd be interested in what you think. - Steve

To the posting that asked me about the "extra gospels", I'll have a response in a day or so.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Classic definitions of Evangelical Christianity include this key element: "the centrality of the death of Christ on the cross as a substitutionary atonement." It is another way of saying that evangelicals believe in the absolute necessity of the Cross.

Contemporary culture steps way from this imagery as an imagery of violence, with some theologians calling such an idea "divine child abuse" inconsistent with a God of Love. Both are rabbit trails that take us away from several key elements of the scriptural understanding of God and humanity.

1. God is holy--perfect in His holiness.
2. Humanity is sinful--we may show flashes of goodness, but essentially we are people whose nature is to sin and we default to that constantly. This sometimes called Original Sin. The simplest demonstration of that concept is in a child. No one has to tell a child to hit his brother when he is angry. You actually have to tell him not to. No one has to tell a child to reach and take something he wants (like a toy) even when it belongs to someone else. No, you have to tell him--that does not belong to you--give it back.
3. Our sinfulness separates us from God because of His holiness. Our sinfulness will always keep us from having a true, intimate relationship with God unless we do something about our sinful nature. We are spiritually bankrupt.
4. Only God has the righteousness in Himself that can end that bankruptcy. Only can he pay the price that erases the bankruptcy our sin creates. I will never be good enough to do enough good works to be holy as He is holy unless he gives me that holiness as a gift.
5. The result of unresolved sin is separation from God--and death makes that separation eternal. God resolves my sin problem by accepting death on my behalf so that I am no longer under sin's penalty and when he deposits his righteousness in my account, I am no longer under sin's power either. I have the new righteousness needed to resist sin because I have the new nature that comes from the new life the Cross brings.

It is an expression of pride, destructive pride--to say that I can overcome my sin and its consequences on my own. It is an expression of love, God's unconditional love--to say that Christ dies for my sin, so that I can live with Him - both abundantly in the here and now and eternally with Him in the future. The Cross insures that I am never separated from God's love in its fullness.

Without the Cross, Christianity is simply one more self help movement living naively in the belief in ultimate human goodness. Our sin nature always turns that belief into a tragic lie.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Last summer and fall I led a group called "A Good Question." It met at Cafe on Main and more than 35 persons participated during its first season. Cafe on Main lost its lease, so we had to put it on hold but now, thanks to the cooperation of the Black Knight Restaurant on Main Street in Landisville-A Good Question is returning.


It is quite simply an open discussion/dialogue on Christianity, the Bible, God and Spiritual Things. I am a pastor, but it is not my intention to make a judgment on anyone’s position or beliefs—nor is it to persuade you to agree with my position or understanding of an issue. I simply intend to provide you information or a perspective that you might not yet know or have considered-- and help you think through the answers for these important questions for yourself. It is my firm conviction, born of my own faith, that truth has its own persuasion and validation for those who are intellectually honest and open-minded. I have been blessed by a faith that encourages me to ask questions, renew my mind, and be committed to a life of truth.

Please know that this is essentially a religious discussion group. That doesn’t mean you have to believe in God or anything particular to be a part of this discussion. It does mean that if your question or concern really has more to do with personal matters which are better suited to a counselor, I will simply offer to meet with you personally at a more appropriate time. In other words, we are not a therapy group or a support group—except a “support group” for seekers of the truth.

You may feel free simply to share your question as a part of tonight. If you’d like to send me questions for future evenings, please feel free to email me at

Yours seeking the truth that makes and keeps us free!

Steve Dunn

A GOOD QUESTION meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month at the Black Knight in Landisville from 7:00-9:00 pm. Come and go on your schedule, stay as long as your schedule or your questions permit.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Yesterday we celebrated Laity Sunday in the church I serve. LAOS, the Greek word from which we derive the English word LAITY means "people of God." The people of God is used to describe an identity and a purpose. The people of God are people who acknowledge the saving grace of God in their lives. This doesn't mean that they are themselves special people, whose personal merit makes them God's people--but they understand that God intends to work in and through them in demonstrating His love in all of its fullness to the world. And that this identity is actually a gift that they receive when they place their faith (i.e. trust) in Him to guide and empower their lives.

The people of God in many ways are ordinary people. They are all ages, all ethnicities, all genders, all walks of life. What distinguishes them is that they understand that they have been blessed by God's gift of new life in order to be a blessing to others around them by connecting to that same new life in Christ. It is God's love personified in the people of God that is their purpose. They don't need to be preachers or priests in the popular sense of the word--but they are all priests in that they point people to God by their lives and give people access to God by their relationships.

The people of God are humble and yet bold, sincere and caring, truth-tellers and truth embodiers. They are people who take God and His work seriously because they understand God took their lives and their destiny seriously enough to send Christ to end their alienation from God and to reconcile them to Him, so that they might experience and exhibit the full measure of His love.


In the classic definition of an evangelical Christian is the affirmation of need for personal conversion. John 1 says "to any who received Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God."

I believe that God has given us the freedom to chose Him. With any freedom comes responsibility. We ultimately have a responsibility to acknowledge that God is God, our Creator, our Redeemer, our Lord (Leader) to whom we are all accountable. We have a responsibility to cease the basic human idolatry that says "I can be my own God" and let God be our God.

Genesis 1:26 teaches that we are created in the image of God. This doesn't mean that we look like God--like you may resemble your human father or mother. It means we are created with God's spiritual DNA so that we can reflect His character and live according to His purposes.

Yet because of the Fall, because humanity has chosen to be like God on its own terms, we are born with a sin nature. That nature, which does not reflect the character of God is incapable of living according to the purposes of God. Our sin, which is not part of a perfect sinless God, separates us unless we let God do His work of making a New Creation out of us. We do not grow into being a Christian, we must be born anew as a Christian.

When someone makes the choice for us to be a Christian, we have no responsibility to live like a Christian. And our old nature, without the decision to surrender our lives to God and cooperate with God in making us a new Creation ... keeps us the old person who may do religious things but ultimately will not BE A NEW PERSON IN CHRIST.


They did not score a touch down but my much-maligned Cleveland Browns finally won a game. They defeated the Buffalo Bills 6-3. All of Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboy friends can take pleasure in that T.O. only contributed 44 yards to the Bill's losing effort. Not long until Owens throws his new teammates under the bus. Now if the Browns can only beat the Steelers (Some people say that is a sign that the end is near.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Emotions are a dangerous thing. They seem to create a disconnect between our brain and our behavior. Our emotions cause to focus on the moment as is that is all there is to our life. If our emotions are feeling good, then all is right with the world even when the world is about to foreclose on us. If our emotions are stirred up, we want to DO SOMETHING even if we don't have a clue what to do. If our emotions are in a pity mode, our eyes see no blessing.

I often say to people, "Don't trust your feelings--feelings lie to us." Romans 12:1 says that we honor God when we allow Him to renew our mind--which says a whole lot about how God values the mind in His design of a healthy humanity.

Emotional religion detached from a godly mind leads to all sorts of foolishness. At it also opens the door for religious manipulators to substitute a counterfeit of the faith for the real deal.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Labels are dangerous things. Being "labeled" can mean that you are identified with all the others who claim that label. And if you are mis-labeled, it can provide baggage that further complicates your life. For example, my father is a pastor. People used to like to disparage children of a pastor by calling them "P.K.'s" which was often made synonymous with a little bit wild and crazy. Or at the very least, a little bit odd. My Dad, mindful of PK's perjorative use called us "T.O.'s" or "Theologians' Offspring." It was a little more dignified.

In Christianity today we use many labels to identify the stream of Christianity from which a person comes--Mainline Protestant, Roman Catholic, Evangelical, Free Church, Emergent. All of these have both theological and political foundations and implications. But Christianity has become so many things that like the word "love" in the modern English language--a label can provide a little clarification that makes at least that particular expression of Christianity less confusing.

In an earlier post I shared Scott McKnight's observation about evangelicals:

"An evangelical is a Christian Protestant for whom the central ideas are the leading authority of Scripture, the necessity of personal conversion, the centrality of the death of Christ on the cross as a substitutionary atonement, and the importance of a life of active following Jesus, seen in such things as Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, and deeds of compassion and justice. That is the standard definition of evangelical. This definition summarizes those who care about getting this term accurate. It is not a definition designed to exclude some of whom they are worried. It's big tent definition, but it bears no ill-will toward others."

The media often uses this label to describe a Christian who is conservative, narrow-minded and judgmental, negative ... and Republican. If you have read McKnight's words carefully--none of that is to be found in the real definition.

I am an evangelical because I believe first in the authority of scripture. I do not understand the Bible to be man's invention but God's revelation. Timothy speaks of it as "inspired" or God-breathed. They are words that were given by God from His heart through the minds, experiences, and pens of human authors. These authors - Matthew, Paul, David, etc. were people committed to living as servants of God. I do not believe God robotically dictated those words. In the words of my own church denomination's doctrinal statement: "We believe God spoke, using the words of men to convey divine truth. Therefore, the Bible reflects the culture and environment of the writers as they studied and wrote. God was guiding in such a way that the written truth was his Word. It is thus the infallible authority in everything Christians believe and do." (From WE BELIEVE, p. 17)

Since God is the ultimate author of Scripture--and He is my Creator, Redeemer, Leader, and Judge--the Bible must take precedence and preeminence over all other authorities in shaping my life.

Evangelicals have typically believed in sola scriptura, scripture alone as their authority--as opposed to scripture and tradition, or scripture and culture, or scripture and human authority -- and certainly as opposed to cultural relevance. I believe such an understanding gives me an anchor in sometimes turbulent and certainly tumultuous times. The authority of the scriptures and the reliable foundation it provides are one of the reasons I am an evangelical.

Monday, October 5, 2009


The Tigers are still alive ... finally beating the White Sox 5-3. Verlander's seven awesome innings were overshadowed by an 8th inning nightmare, but my boys held on. Can they keep going in the right direction on Tuesday against the Twins in the Metrodome at Minneaspolis?

Our youth ministry and its director threw a party Friday night to connect with the community kids. 45 kids showed up! Well over a dozen joined us in church Sunday morning as we offered a prayer consecration for his ministry.

One more commitment to being a "safe place" as a church ... hand sanitizers now positioned in our halfways especially outside the gym. THanks Pete for helping us remind the community that we care about the WHOLE person.

The Kingdom of God is like a box of crayons ... and the greater the diversity of the colors--the richer the tapestry of our witness to the world of God's life-changing power at work in the world.

The church exists not for its members, but to give its life in reaching those who are not yet part of God's kingdom.

Best comfort food in the world ... cold milk and powdered donuts.

We have a "rockin'" worship band. Don't you just love the trumpets?

Prayer empowers me to preach ... and my personal prayer is "May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be your words, O God, from your heart to your people."

Finally ... fall (autumn) rates at the golf course? Now I can spend less money to make a fool of myself. Thank you, Jesus!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


I am an evangelical Christian. Now that I have said that, some of you will be deleting this blog. Unfortunately, the media has fostered the characterization of evangelical as - politically conservative, judgmental and negative, narrow-minded, concerned with "souls" but unconcerned with justice. Some persons who call themselves "evangelicals" help perpetuate the stereotype.

Recently persons within the Christian movement, but who reject some of these stereotypes have attempted to redefine "evangelical" into nice people that are non-threatening, who are all about "love"--again defined as "accepting of everyone's values and opinions" as equal to biblical values, and concerned about feeding the poor primarily, but confronting no one about spiritual matters.

I like what Scott McKnight says about this:

"To define "evangelical" we need to pay attention to those who have made it their life study to come to terms with this movement, and two scholars have done just that: Mark Noll in the USA and David Bebbington (The Dominance of Evangelicalism: The Age of Spurgeon And Moody (History of Evangelicalism) ) in the UK. They agree on this: an evangelical is a Christian Protestant for whom the central ideas are the leading authority of Scripture, the necessity of personal conversion, the centrality of the death of Christ on the cross as a substitutionary atonement, and the importance of a life of active following Jesus, seen in such things as Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, and deeds of compassion and justice. That is the standard definition of evangelical. This definition summarizes those who care about getting this term accurate. It is not a definition designed to exclude some of whom they are worried. It's big tent definition, but it bears no ill-will toward others.

Now my observation today: I'm seeing a baffling desire by many who almost never talk about any of the above four ideas (as central to what they believe) but for some reason want to be called "evangelical." They make a point to say they are evangelical. To be committed to justice or compassion as the central pursuit in life does not make one an evangelical, though evangelicals should be committed to justice and to compassion -- and shame on those who aren't. But what makes an evangelical is a commitment to the above four ideas (Bible, conversion, cross, discipleship)."

Steve continues ... in my next posting I will tell you I am willing to called an evangelical despite the bad press.