By: Tony Cartledge
Although many preachers prepare their own sermons, plagiarism has long been a common preacherly practice. Pastors and congregations must work together to ensure quality time for sermon preparation.
The Cyrus Cylinder has been called the world's first Bill of Rights. While Cyrus the Great was no human-rights advocate, he pointed us in the right direction.
A college degree in the humanities may not set you up for a high-paying job, but job preparation is not the only, or even the primary, function of higher education.
If the matter of women bishops remains unresolved and the conflict ratchets higher, is it possible that there could be a parting of the ways for the marriage of church and state in England?
With 48 percent professing affiliation in a recent study, Protestants became a minority. The biggest factor in the decline? More folks say they have no religious preference.
Relationships are challenging enough, but they can be even more complicated when electronic communication is thrown into the mix. Here are the dangers and the benefits.
A small fragment of ancient papyrus contains a tantalizing reference to Jesus as a married man.
Can you sum up the Bible's overarching message in 10 words or fewer? No matter how many or how few words we use, our expression of the biblical message will be incomplete.
A solid majority of Christian women feel "a lot" of joy, spiritual freedom and fulfillment, a new survey says. But you may be surprised by what many call their biggest struggles.
If younger adults were more aware of the fiscal realities facing the church, could they be persuaded to share more of the costs?
You may not know it, but your favorite hymn may be called "Faith's Review and Expectation." Find out who wrote it and what name it is better known by today.
College students are studying less but earning better grades. For colleges that depend almost exclusively on government-funded tuition, students with decent grades keep their schools funded.
Under the control of fundamentalists, Shorter University has seen its mission morph from education to indoctrination – and something very important has been lost.
We are becoming a lonely nation. People have fewer confidants and are more likely to live alone. What will it take for us to make friends and end our isolation?
Lots of people will tell you how to preach. But Lillian Daniel, senior minister of First Congregational Church in Glen Ellyn, Ill., recently shared tips on how not to preach.
As technology advances, we depend on computers to remember things for us. But during Lent, it's important to remember what God in Christ has done for us – without relying on our iPads.
Many criticize Thomas Jefferson for "picking and choosing" the teachings of Jesus he wanted to follow, but we all heed some parts of the Bible more than others.
The once-common practice of tithing is fading away, and sometimes with the encouragement of church leaders who fear that an emphasis on giving will chase away present or prospective members.
A conservative group is working to save us from the liberal bias in the Bible with their own translation using "powerful conservative words." It's ludicrous and dangerous.
God's own "personhood" is beyond gender. Although God created both men and women in God's image, some assume that male dominance is a divinely intended biblical value.
High-resolution images of the Dead Sea Scrolls are available online. Even if you don't read Hebrew, the website is worth a look so you can appreciate the painstaking way in which the Scriptures were copied through the years.
Women in Saudi Arabia may be allowed to vote and run for office in four years, but today they still can't drive cars freely. One woman even received 10 lashes for driving.
Palestinians who seek a safe homeland in the Mideast have been lied to and mistreated repeatedly, but that doesn't mean they can rewrite history by denying that there was ever a Hebrew nation in Palestine.
A book's missing chapter. Warning labels on books. Blog critics blast a book before it's published. A lot of people in religious circles have been worried lately about what you might be reading.
Only a tiny fraction of the population has any clue what the Septuagint is. However, understanding its history helps us understand the Bibles that we read and study today.
It's time for moderate Baptists who claim they support women pastors to quit paying lip service to the notion and actually call a woman. When will they be ready to give women a chance?
Owning a tower of Bibles or displaying a giant version for the coffee table may appear impressive, but the Bible's true message doesn't seep out by osmosis. We need to take time to read it.
It's clear that most Americans have an insular faith. On a pop quiz of religious knowledge, people who identified themselves as atheists and agnostics scored better than anyone who identified with a particular faith.
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina is seeking input on revisions to its foundational statements. However, those revisions mute some of the most distinctive aspects of the Baptist movement.
While there is a surplus of ministers wanting a shrinking pool of big-church jobs, many small churches have difficulty attracting a decent pastor. They could have an easier time if they didn't eliminate half the candidates.
A small church's life-size fresco of the Last Supper on the chancel wall offers the opportunity for reflection. And one of the disciples, Thomas, his arms folded, seems to ask "Why are you here?"
More than a third of adults who don't go to church say they've been hurt by an experience or person within the church, a survey found. Isn't it time for the church to start setting a better example?
Men with beards were regarded as trustworthy more often than their smooth-shaven counterparts, a study found. Should pastors and other ministers also grow beards in order to increase their credibility?
A conservative Old Testament scholar said Christians risk being branded a cult if they refuse to acknowledge the evidence favoring some form of evolution. The seminary he worked for handed him his walking papers.
A recent survey from the Barna Group revealed that less than half of Americans connect Easter with the resurrection of Christ. Meanwhile, 2 percent even thought that Easter was about Jesus' birth.
Should churches stop thinking of themselves as families? One consultant claims the metaphor can cause them to focus on themselves and lose sight of their larger mission.
The last seven generations of the Cartledge family have been Baptists. And it all started because of a seemingly unfortunate incident and a woman preacher's spirited defense in 1770.
A translation of the oldest known Hebrew inscription calls for sensitivity to slaves, widows, orphans and strangers. If accurate, it's a reminder of the importance of loving one's neighbor, especially the least fortunate.
Two 19th century Baptists remind us there's more than one way to be a hero. Lottie Moon sacrificed a comfortable life to share the gospel in China, and Crawford Toy refused to surrender his integrity to narrow-minded demands.
Newspaper circulation continues to decline, dropping 10.6 percent from this time last year. Sadly, Internet-savvy Americans don't realize what good newspapers do for them.
The lottery's no longer the only game in town in many North Carolina communities. Sweepstakes parlors, where patrons play online games hoping to win money, have been able to skirt the law.
A survey on Americans' spirituality reveals we can be do-it-yourselfers. Some are spiritual but not religious. More than a third are less religious than their parents. And 9 percent have found their own psychic powers.
A 13-year-old girl from the Netherlands wants to sail around the world solo. Her parents seem to think it's a great idea. Sometimes, children are better off when parents are willing to say 'no.'
A possible presidential candidate's words undermine Middle East peace. A pastor refers to a tornado as God's judgment against Lutherans. Two lessons in why we should think before we speak.
Freedom of speech is a corollary to freedom of religion, which Baptists have championed for 400 years. Some, however, abuse this right when they spread lies.
A global group of well-seasoned leaders, called The Elders, lends their voices to promoting peace and addressing the major causes of human suffering.
Southern Baptists have watched their baptism totals decline, and two seminary presidents know who's to blame. The birthrate has also been declining among Baptist families. These leaders think Baptists need to have more kids.
Two top university administrators in North Carolina resigned after their role in creating a cushy job for the former governor's wife came to light. The truth was revealed to the public thanks to the diligent work of newspaper journalists.
Charged with being "racist" for a remark she made in 2001, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was simply acknowledging that perspective can be important. Like every other justice, her experiences inform her perspective.
Newly declassified documents reveal that top secret briefings featured photos of military scenes overwritten with Bible verses. The men and women risking their lives in service to their country should not be turned into Crusaders.
Sri Lanka, an island country just off the coast of India, is still rocked by armed conflicts in which tens of thousands, including many children, have died. Although a truce was signed in 2002, violence has intensified in the past year.
A survey revealed that the percentage of Americans identifying themselves as Christians is declining. That may be a positive step. There's a huge difference between wearing a Christian label and living a Christian life.
A friend's daughter was driving on the interstate after midnight when her car broke down. She pulled over and waited for a patrolman or someone to help. For 15 hours, no one did. Where are our Good Samaritans?
Evangelicalism's fall is blamed on its overt identification with the political right and its insufficient roots in genuine faith.
Too many Christians buy into the idea that a vocal witness is not important and “words don’t mean anything,” Fred Craddock says.
North Carolina is among the states that are looking at "sin taxes" as a relatively easy means for increasing revenue – easy, so long as they can get by the powerful tobacco and alcohol lobbies.
As of Aug. 25, a group of more than 125 college presidents and chancellors have signed on to promote one of the dumbest ideas ever to emerge from an administrative office.
Worship and the so-called "worship wars" were on the agenda during the Baptist International Conference on Theological Education, held in Prague July 27-29.
I suppose every school has bullies. I remember running into high-school bullies who didn't like my nerdy appearance, or who took offense when I talked to a certain girl in Latin class. Almost the entire high school turned bully in 1968, the year a handful of brave African-American students became the first to integrate our all-white enclave. I saw cruelty up close, but don't remember any of the adults instructing us to be nicer. Some of us really needed an authority figure to spell things out for us.
Despite a sinking (some might say stinking) economy, sales of lottery tickets are up in North Carolina. While listening to North Carolina Public Radio, I heard chief hustler Tom Shaheen credit the improved sales to the bigger prizes being offered.
LifeWay Christian Resources' recent annual statistical study demonstrated in rather clear fashion that the Southern Baptist Convention, which had long defied the trends of mainline denominations by continuing to grow, appears to have peaked and begun a gradual decline. Baptisms continue a steep slide despite fervent efforts to prop them up, and even the amorphous "membership" category showed a dip in 2007.
A recent letter from International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin gave a few remaining holdout Southern Baptist Convention missionaries an ultimatum that finally spelled out what most folks have assumed all along. Failure to sign a statement affirming the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message has consequences, and the consequences are spelled t-e-r-m-i-n-a-t-i-o-n.