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Showing posts from February, 2017

Sudan Releases Czech Aid Worker Imprisoned for ‘Espionage’

Posted at Morning Star News : JUBA , South Sudan  (Morning Star News) – Sudan released Czech aid worker Petr Jasek on Saturday (Feb. 25), nearly one month after a court in Khartoum sentenced him to life in prison for espionage and other charges, according to reports. Jasek returned to the Czech Republic on Sunday with Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralekj, who had arrived earlier to secure his release. Sudan President Omar al-Bashir reportedly ordered the court to release the aid worker based on Sudan’s Article 208, which gives the president powers to release anyone convicted of crimes that do not carry death penalty. Christian leaders in Sudan confirmed the release of the Czech aid worker. “Yes, he was released on Saturday,” a Sudanese Church of Christ (SCOC) leader said. The Czech Foreign Ministry had reportedly stated that the Jan. 29 conviction and sentencing of Jasek was without basis, and that he was in Sudan only to help Christians. Read more here.

Discernment and slander

By Mike Ratliff - Posted at Possessing the Treasure : 8 But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. Matthew 23:8-12 (NASB)  This discernment ministry stuff is not for everyone. I often wonder if I am cut out for it at all. I do not like conflict. On the other hand, God gifted me with the makeup that loves the truth and seeks justice because it is His truth and I am compelled, quite often, to speak out when false prophets besmirch His truth and the Gospel is treated as optional by certain “evangelicals.” However, there is a fine line between exposing that which is false and slander. That fine line has to do with intent and evidence. If we are obey

Revisiting the issue of discernment and discernment ministries

Posted at Daniel's Place - (Reformata et semper reformanda) : Back around the time when I first started this blog (2006), Christian blogs were proliferating and the notion of Discernment ministries was just forming. For good or for ill, I became involved with the discernment movement, which, as all movements are, are a mixed bag. The proliferation of discernment ministries, good as it may seem to be, ignores the fact that sin pervades all our thoughts, our actions, and even ministries. The Christian blogosphere became like the Wild West, totally unregulated, where everything goes. In the highly decentralized, naturally anti-authoritarian, radical egalitarian Western (especially American) societies, who has the right to tell another that he or she is not called or not qualified for discerning truth from error? Thus, what was to be a good thing did not turn out as well as it should. There was almost zero QC (Quality Control), and, as we sinners are tempted to do, personal emotio

Sudan Orders Demolition of at Least 25 Church Buildings, Christian Leaders Say

Posted at Morning Star News : Wider crack-down by Islamist government cited. Bahri (North) Khartoum in relation to Nile and capital area. (Wikipedia) JUBA, South Sudan (Morning Star News) – State officials in Sudan plan to demolish at least 25 church buildings in the Khartoum area, according to Christian leaders. A June 13, 2016 letter from the Executive Corporation for the Protection of Government Lands, Environment, Roads and Demolition of Irregularities of Khartoum State reveals the names and locations of 25 church buildings marked for demolition, most of them in the Sharq al Neel (East Nile area) locality of Khartoum North. The government reportedly claimed the churches were built on land zoned for other uses, but Christian leaders said it is part of wider crack-down on Christianity. The Rev. Yahia Abdelrahim Nalu, moderator of the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church’s (SPEC) Sudan Evangelical Synod, told Morning Star News the subsequent order was part of a syst

Barack Obama's Legacy

By Charles Scaliger - Posted at The New American : With Obama promising Democrats that he is not leaving Washington, but will fight to retain his legislation and legacy, it pays to know what that consists of. "Those who know Obama well know his sympathies. Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has characterized Obama’s voting record during his little-remarked stint as an Illinois state senator as “Marxist leftist” — a seemingly extreme choice of words, until Obama’s actions are taken into account. In 1997, for example, Obama voted against SB 230, a bill designed to stop the abominable practice of partial-birth abortions. Late in his career in the Illinois State Senate, Obama voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which would have extended life-supporting healthcare to children who survived the abortion procedure. Once Obama had left the Illinois Senate for bigger things, however, the bill was passed." In late 1995, a little-known Chicago politician named B

No King but King Jesus!

Compiled by Steve Lefemine - Declarations and Evidences of Christian Faith in America’s Colonial Charters, State Constitutions, and other Historical Documents during over 375 years of American History: 1606 to 1982 All Scripture quotations below are from the Kings James Version Bible, with Deity capitalized. “Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before Thy face.” Psalm 89:14 “… there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” “For he [the civil ruler] is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” Romans 13:1,4 [God’s intention for proper role of government] “… governors,… sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.” 1 Peter 2:14 [God’s intended purpose fo

Boy Scouts Christian Alternative Sees Uptick after Transgender Decision

By Adelle M. Banks - Posted at Christian Headlines : Since the Boy Scouts of America decided to accept transgender youngsters, there appears to be a growing market for a different kind of scouting group. The BSA does not require troops chartered by houses of worship to accept children who do not identify with their birth gender. Nevertheless, the website of Trail Life USA, which bills itself as a Christian alternative, has had trouble keeping up with the people checking an online locator map for troops across the country since the Jan. 30 announcement . “We’ve seen tremendous response,” said Trail Life CEO Mark Hancock in reference to the surge of membership inquiries. “Where many people would say that they’re leaving Boys Scouts, we have many others that are saying that the Boy Scouts left them.” Read more here.

Bad Theology Doesn't Matter, So Long as there are Miracles?

By Slimjim - Posted at The Domain for Truth : Last December I posted a review of audio book by Eric Metaxas titled Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life among other audio book reviews here . I have also posted my review on Amazon and yesterday I got an email of the following comment concerning my criticism that Metaxas could have been more theologically discerning. Here's the comment left on my Amazon review : "Keep in mind that the Bible supports the idea that people with bad theology can still do miracles. The Apostle Paul talks of people who do miracles for their own glory yet Christ is still preached so he is ok with it. (Phil 1:15-18)" So it doesn't matter if people with bad theology do miracles... so long as the Name is glorified. Is it true that "it doesn't matter if people with bad theology do miracles?" Here's my response: ... Read more here.

Flipping Sides on Roe v Wade: Norma McCorvey’s Repentance

By Clint Archer - Posted at The Cripplegate : Norma McCorvey passed away at age 69 on Saturday. Her journey to notoriety began in June 1969 when she attempted to get an abortion. Her lying failed to secure legal permission, and her scheme to obtain an illegal abortion also ended unsuccessfully. She then gathered a diabolical duo of fee-hungry attorneys to gear up for a protracted legal fight. Fortuitously, the baby reached full term before the menacing lawsuit did, and in 1970 the suit was filed under the alias Jane Roe. The Dallas County DA was Henry Wade, and thus the infamous case was christened Roe v. Wade . By the time the case popped out of the Supreme Court, the law was on the side of executing unborn people, a monstrous legality that began to rapidly and incessantly devour millions of unborn babies. Legally. The rest, as they say, is history. And a bloody one at that. But in 1994, Norma McCorvey flipped sides. She made the acquaintance of pastor Flip Benham who ran a pro-l

True Liberty’s Only Foundation

Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History : Attempts to found democracies, or rather, true lawful liberty, are doomed to failure unless they are built on a proper foundation. What follows is another article discovered today during my foray into an old dusty volume : THE FOUNDATION OF TRUE LIBERTY. Some time since an interesting Sabbath School celebration was held in a town in the interior of this State. On one of the banners borne in the procession, there was a beautiful tree, spreading its tall and stately branches in every direction, and beneath it was a volume, in which its roots were deeply fixed, and from which it derived all its nourishment and strength.—The tree was  Liberty , that volume the  Bible . The idea was not only  beautiful , but  true.  The Bible is the great protector and guardian of the liberties of man. There never has been on earth true liberty, apart from the Scriptures and the principles of the Bible. This remark is fully sustained by the his

The House Voted to More Easily Allow States to Defund Planned Parenthood

Posted at Relevant Magazine : The House of Representatives voted to halt an action that would keep states from defunding Planned Parenthood in their respective states. Given the makeup of the Senate and the executive branch, the effort is likely to succeed. Right as now-former president Barack Obama left office, he signed a bill that wrapped up Planned Parenthood’s funding in Title IX legislation, essentially keeping states from removing public family planning funds on the grounds of abortion. At the time, 13 states had defunded Planned Parenthood by keeping Title IX funds from going to the organization, which is the nation’s largest provider of on-demand abortions by far. Obama amended Title IX to take away state’s ability to do that. Yesterday the House voted 230-188 to overturn the new Title IX rule using what’s called the Congressional Review Act (the act, according to Vox, lets Congress fast-track or disapprove of newly introduced federal rules). Now the “resolution

Trump Retains LGBT State Department Official, Frustrating Christian Conservatives

By Lauren Marcoe and David Gibson - Posted at Christian News Headlines : President for less than a month, Donald Trump has come through for the overwhelming numbers of religious conservatives who helped put him in office — but not so much on LGBT issues. Conservative Christians in particular cheered his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and Trump’s promised “fix” for the Johnson Amendment, which restricts pastors’ ability to politick in the pulpit. But for the second time since his inauguration, Trump has decided to preserve an Obama-era initiative to protect sexual minorities. The State Department announced Monday (Feb. 13) that it would retain Randy Berry , the special envoy for the human rights of LGBTI persons. In 2014, the Obama administration created Berry’s position to support efforts abroad to protect gay people from violence and death. The conservative Family Research Council had made removing such “activists” a priority and as recently as December called

Complementarianism and the Gospel

Posted at Design of Providence : An unpopular subject these days is the role of the two genders, not only in society at large but especially within the confines of marriage. It gets especially difficult because you often have two extremes in the discussion: those of an egalitarian, feminist stream, and those of the "gimme a beer" woman stream. Some in the latter camp have even go so far as to say a husband should be allowed to physically discipline their wife, as they would one of their own children. A lot of egalitarians or semi-complementarians (ie., those who might want to be complementarians but are nervous about the doctrine) may use that one extreme to mock the entire concept, or present it as the reason why the entire concept should be dismissed. The thought occurred, in recent musings on the subject, that one problem with the presentation of complementarianism is that, insofar as marriage is concerned, it is presented in a simple dogmatic fashion rather than wha

The Beatitudes of the Heart: A Brief Reflection

By Austin Brown - Posted at Gentle Reformation : Blessed are those who feel the weight of their spiritual need. Blessed are those whose hearts break over sin and evil. Blessed are the gentle and humble of heart. Blessed are those who are thirsty and hungry for righteousness. Blessed are those who love to shower forth mercy. Blessed are those whose hearts are unstained. Blessed are those who mend relationships with the salve of peace. Blessed are those who suffer while following Christ. It’s such a simple observation, but when I write out The Beatitudes in my own words, wanting to feel what is being said afresh, I am struck by how heart-centered they truly are.  Rather than revolving around codes of dress or some other external manifestation, Christ plows deep into the soul of man, right into our beating hearts.  It is all about attitudes; and affections; and dispositions; the very deepest; the kind that not only swirl in the center but center on the whole- man in his to

Pastor in discrimination case to collect $225,000

By Scott Barkley/Christian Index - Posted at Baptist Press : ATLANTA (BP) -- A Georgia pastor fired from his government job over sermons alleged to be discriminatory will instead receive a $225,000 settlement from the state based on his own discrimination lawsuit. In 2014 the State of Georgia's Department of Public Health hired Eric Walsh, a lay minister, to serve as a district health director. Walsh accepted the offer but not long thereafter state officials requested samples of Walsh's sermons and searched online for others. Days later Walsh received a voice message from the officials requesting to speak with him about the position. Unintentionally, Walsh later noted, he learned of his firing when the callers mistakenly thought the call had ended and could be heard laughing and using phrases such as "you're out" on the voicemail. First Liberty Institute filed a lawsuit April 20, 2016, on Walsh's behalf, contending the state fired him because of the c

VP Mike Pence Cheers Trump on LGBT Rights – Ivanka Trump, Husband Jared Kushner Helped Sink Religious Liberty Executive Order

By Peter LaBarbera - Posted at Americans for Truth About Homosexuality : Pence praises Trump’s lack of ‘prejudice,’ implying opposing to homosexuality-based laws is bigoted Folks, the following is reprinted from an article I wrote for LifeSiteNews , a leading pro-family and pro-life news site [subscribe to LSN newsletter ]. The next few weeks could determine the course of this administration, which is now attempting to reconcile its commitment to both religious freedom and homosexual “rights”–a task that many longtime critical observers of the homosexual agenda believe is impossible. See both LifeSite videos on Trump’s prior pledges on marriage and religious freedom at bottom. Ivanka Trump, husband reportedly stopped religious freedom order; Pence affirms pro-LGBT rights move Peter LaBarbera, Feb. 9, 2017 ( LifeSiteNews ) — Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, are being credited in the media for sinking a potential Trump executive order

Responding to the Narcissistic Prayer Life

Posted at Pastor Dave Online : Proud people abuse prayer. Jesus teaches us that prayer is about communion with our heavenly Father. Prayer involves adoration, confession, intercession for others, expressions of gratitude, and more. The arrogant person knows nothing of these elements of prayer, rather prayer is all about them. Prayer is about getting from God, and using God, not communing with God. Correction of the narcissistic prayer life will mean speaking directly to three kinds of misuses. The prideful person views God more as a divine butler than the Sovereign Lord of the Universe. God exists to make them happy, and they pray, then, with an attitude of entitlement. They don’t request so much as demand. They pray with expectation, not in faith, but rather in the assumption that they deserve special, preferential treatment from God. He will answer their prayers because of how important they are. Such individuals need to be challenged to see their parallels to the individuals des

The Counseling of Homosexuals Should Not Neglect Educating to the Facts

By Dr. Joe Renfro - Posted at the Christian Observer: In an article from the WorldNet Daily entitled, “Counselor ordered to argue for homosexuality,” it brings out that counselors must not seek to help homosexual clients change their homosexual orientation in counseling sessions, but they must offer only “gay affirmative” arguments. This relates to counselors both in private and public schools, and it is a sad picture. For example, The council committee in Cincinnati, Ohio voted 7-2 to impose a city ordinance that would make reparative therapy for minors struggling with same-sex attraction or gender confusion illegal, whether the teenager wants the therapy or not and whether the youth’s parents want the therapy for their child or not; and the proposed ordinance would levy a $200-a-day, $6,000-a-month fine on any counselor who tries to help a sexually confused teen. (“Cincinnati imposes massive fines on counselors who help youth with unwanted gay attractions” – by Father Mark Hod

Jeff Sessions, Who Vowed to ‘Respect’ and ‘Follow’ ‘Unconstitutional’ Roe Abortion Ruling, Confirmed as Trump AG

By Heather Clark - Posted at Christian News Network : WASHINGTON — Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who had been nominated by President Donald Trump, was confirmed Wednesday night to serve as U.S. attorney general—making Sessions the leader of the U.S. Department of Justice, whose constitutional duty it is to protect and defend all Americans, including the unborn. He was approved 52-47 mostly along partly lines, with one Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, supporting his nomination. As previously reported , Sessions had stated during his confirmation hearing last month that while he believes Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional, he would respect and follow it as attorney general. “You have referred to Roe v. Wade as ‘one of the worst, colossally erroneous Supreme Court decisions of all time,’” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, noted. “Is that still your view?” “It is,” Sessions replied. “I believe it violated the Constitution, and really attempted to set policy and not f

Pence Comes Out in Support of Trump Decision to Retain Obama Order on Homosexual, Transgender Protections

By Heather Clark - Posted at Christian News Network : WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence defended on Sunday President Donald Trump’s decision to retain an Obama-era order banning groups that contract with the federal government from “discriminating” against homosexuals and transgenders in their business or non-profit organization. “I think throughout the campaign, President Trump made it clear that discrimination would have no place in our administration,” Pence said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” according to a transcript of the discussion . “He was the very first Republican nominee to mention the LGBTQ community at our Republican National Convention and was applauded for it. And I was there applauding with him.” “I think the generosity of his spirit, recognizing that in the patriot’s heart, there’s no room for prejudice is part of who this president is,” he stated. He had been asked by interviewer George Stephanopoulos about concerns from conservative g

Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyle: 'His Blood Baptized the Cause of Freedom, Conscience, and Pure Religion'

Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History : Earls, barons, lords and marquis — these titles are foreign to countless Americans. Yet to those in Scotland and England, they are the stuff of ancient times, with some left over to the modern age. We are interested in the last title, but only as it referred to the Marquis of Argyle, Archibald Campbell. From an early period in Scottish history, his ancestors played a prominent part. Vast domains were under their rule, with great power exhibited by this house. It was said, for example, that today’s subject, Archibald Campbell, could have fielded an army of twenty thousand soldiers. Well, you could imagine the gratitude of God’s people when Archibald Campbell joined the Covenanting Presbyterians at a General Assembly in 1638. At the first and last coronation ceremony in which King Charles II was crowned in Scotland, which we developed for our readers on January 1 , it was this Marquis himself who placed the crown on the head of Cha

Demonizing our Opponents

By John Hendryx - Posted at : Brothers and sisters, I am sure many of you have noticed that there is a significant group of people in the USA who have taken up a kind of mob mentality, who think that if you disagree with them on just about any issue you are either a bigot, a racist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, a white supremacist, a misogynist, or the like. Labeling people with these terms has become a common fear tactic as an answer to almost any argument. By charging your opponent with the ugliest, most dehumanizing slander ... by demonizing them and painting them in the most monstrous colors, the hope appears to be that you will realize you have committed the "unforgivable sin" and will drive you and the rest of society, through fear, in the political trajectory of the accusers. Sadly, I will be the first to acknowledge, that hate, racism, xenophobia and the like are real problems in our world ... problems that we need to face up to as a society, but whe

Crossing Over: An Intellectual and Spiritual Journey from Islam to Christianity

By Nabeel Qureshi - Posted at ". . . and the truth will set you free." Dear Seeker, I thank God Almighty for your devotion to the truth and your desire to lay aside personal comfort for His sake, for He is Truth. Your struggle to get closer to the truth—and thereby closer to God—will be rewarded due to your sincerity and purity of heart. It is for you that I write my testimony. I myself have always been dedicated to finding the truth, and many extraordinary events have transpired which led me there. I am certain that the miraculous occurrences in my life have all been due to that pure dedication which is readily available to all of us, and not in any way due to skill or accomplishment of my own. Praise be to God, for I asked, and He gave. I sought, and He helped me find. I knocked on the door of truth, and He opened it for me. My name is Nabeel. Born as a U.S. Citizen in California, I was raised by devout Muslim parents. My mother and fat

Congress proposes Johnson Amendment overhaul

By Tom Strode - Posted at Baptist Press : WASHINGTON (BP) -- Members of Congress have introduced legislation to enable churches and other non-profit organizations to endorse candidates or otherwise participate in political campaigns without fear of penalties from the Internal Revenue Service. The Free Speech Fairness Act -- introduced Feb. 1, the day before President Trump reiterated his intent to eliminate the so-called Johnson Amendment -- would free pastors, churches and other tax-exempt entities to intervene on behalf of or against candidates in an election campaign. The measure would still prohibit financial donations from such organizations to candidates or campaigns, a bill sponsor said. The Johnson Amendment, named after then-Senator and future President Lyndon Johnson of Texas, altered the federal tax code in 1954 to bar 501(c)(3) organizations "from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition

Is President Trump Being Played by Betsy DeVos and Jeb Bush?

By Erin Tuttle and Jane Robbins - Posted at Truth in American Education : Conservatives have been gratified by some of President Trump’s Cabinet choices but alarmed by others. Observers who remember the first Reagan administration may find parallels between the two presidents’ situations – Cabinet picks who went on to undermine the president’s agenda. Are the very establishment Republicans whom Trump ran against trying to out-maneuver him? The most obvious area of similarity is education. Candidate Reagan promised to eliminate the recently created U.S. Department of Education (USED), but as it turned out, his selection of Terrel Bell as secretary of education effectively nullified that commitment. Bell had once testified in support of the bill to establish USED. But upon his nomination Bell reversed course and professed to agree with Reagan that USED should be abolished. His subsequent tenure at the department, though, reflected his underlying desire to prevent, as one o

Boy Scouts' transgender policy 'sad,' 'predicted'

By Tom Strode - Posted at Baptist Press : WASHINGTON (BP) -- The Boy Scouts' decision to include girls who identify as boys in their programs is a tragic but predictable step, said conservative Christian leaders. "Tragically, the Boy Scouts seem to be continuing their trajectory toward embracing the moral priorities of the Sexual Revolution," said Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. "Many of us predicted that earlier decisions by the organization were the beginning of an organizational reinvention and hoped we were wrong. Those fears have now been justified. "The church must be absolutely clear about God's good and beautiful design for men and women, even when our most cherished public institutions fail to do so," Moore told Baptist Press in written comments. The Boy Scouts of America announced Monday (Jan. 30) it would accept transgender members. In a written statement, the BSA said it

A Softer Prosperity Gospel: More Common Than You Think

By David Schrock - Posted at 9Marks : While evangelicals have traditionally decried the prosperity gospel in its “hard” form, there is a softer form of this teaching that is all too common among us.[1] Often undetected by Bible-believing Christians, it assumes the gospel and leads its adherents to focus on things like financial planning, diet and exercise, and strategies for self-improvement. In contrast to the hard prosperity gospel, which offers miraculous and immediate health and wealth, this softer, subtler variety challenges believers to break through to the blessed life by means of the latest pastor-prescribed technique. Of course, matters of personal stewardship such as money, health, and leadership skills should be woven into a whole-Bible theology of Christian discipleship. The trouble comes when Christians, and especially pastors, place greater emphasis on these secondary matters. What we choose to preach or listen to says much about what we value. And what I see among so