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Showing posts from November, 2017

On Still Small Voices And Allegories

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : He has nowhere promised to reveal himself privately, directly, specifically apart from his Holy Scriptures. God’s Word written is sufficient for the Christian faith and the Christian life. Sola scriptura. Everything we need to know, to believe, is revealed in his Word. Everything we need to know to live the Christian life, all the guidance we need is in his Word. One of the first things I learned when I became an evangelical Christian in 1976, the year America elected a self-proclaimed “Born Again” Christian (Jimmy Carter), was that every Christian should expect to hear a “still small voice” from God. I learned this phrase from the King James Version (1611) of 1 Kings 19:12 long before I ever learned the location of the phrase in Scripture and long before I learned anything about the context of the phrase. I entered American evangelical theology, piety, and practice entirely naive about the history of the revivalism and Pietism

If You Want To Drain The Swamp, Put Character First When Voting

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Swamp in southern Louisiana. Photo by Jan Kronsell, 2004 - Wikipedia By Georgi Boorman - Posted at The Federalist : You think it’s bad now? Wait ‘til you throw even a shred of a standard of decency out the window for the greater good of your tribe. Ben Shapiro responded Tuesday to D.C. McAllister’s argument justifying voting for immoral people because they can accomplish good things. He wrote, “[McAllister’s] best argument is her first: there are character flaws that matter, and ones that matter less; that there are ends that justify certain means; that an evil outcome may be so immediate as to justify using bad men to stop it.” True. Unfortunately, McAllister has put this type of moral decision in a box. She argued, “I’d rather have a [sexually immoral] hypocrite who will stop the murder of millions of babies than a virginal man who leads countless to the slaughter.” If that’s the last decision we’ll ever make as voters, and the outcomes were assured, of course we should v

Luther, Luther, Luther: He Didn’t Reform Christianity as Much as This Guy Did

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By Dr. Jim West - Posted at Christian Headlines : A few weeks ago Martin Marty, the religious historian, argued in an RNS column that Calvin deserves mention along with Luther during this “Reformation Jubilee Year” of 2017. And, sure, Calvin is important. But the fact is, in terms of theological “win,” it’s Zwingli who deserves top billing. Not as famous as Martin Luther or John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli is often treated like the red-headed stepchild of the Protestant Reformation. But Zwingli was neither late to the game nor insignificant in its playing. All year, we’ve been subjected to talk of Luther. I’ve read essays, blog posts, news reports and magazine pieces about Luther. The same tired myths were bandied around about Luther nailing theses to doors in 1517 and hurling ink wells at unseen devils and uttering sentences about standing in some place or other. By mid-September, I kept hearing “Luther, Luther, Luther,” in my head, as in the ’70s sitcom “The Brady Bunch,” when J

Don’t Dismiss Abuse: People Matter More than Institutions

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By Ed Stetzer - Posted at Christianity Today : No more prioritizing institutional protection over individual needs Unless we’ve been hiding in a box, most of us have started noticing a trend in our twitter feeds and daily news headlines: sexual harassment and assault have been running rampant. And it is far beyond Hollywood and Harvey Weinstein, though he seemed to open the floodgates. It’s also happening in our nation’s halls of power. The latest, Congressman John Conyers, is a member of the Democratic Party who chose to step down from his seat on the House Judiciary Committee after being accused of sexually harassing a female member of his staff several years ago. It’s evident that partisan politics simply don’t matter here. When it comes to the mistreatment of women, men on both sides of the aisle are to blame. Women are trying to speak out against these abuses, but certain politicians seem eager to make this about party allegiance instead of victim protection. This S

How Much Do You Love Your Local Church?

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By Andrew Kerr - Posted at Gentle Reformation : A Painful Question Are you cold, indifferent, angry, frustrated, intolerant, castigating or hostile towards your local church? Or are you warm, concerned, involved, sympathetic, committed, patient, and full of love, grace, hope and peace, in your relationships and dealings with your brothers and sisters in the blood-bought congregation of God? A Pauline Concern Paul’s own personal response to God’s people seems to have fluctuated with the ups and down of the churches, over which he was given charge, and to which he was bound with cords of compassion and love. A Pertinent Text The giveaway text comes at the end of the letter of 2 Corinthians. The Achaian congregations, contained many of his harshest critics. In this epistle, like no other, for the sake of the progress of the Gospel, and Corinthian spiritual growth, he has to defend His ministry repeatedly, from false accusations and disparaging charges. Yet, like a parent deeply i

Sexual Assault and the Scandal of Repentance

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By Trevin Wax - Posted at The Gospel Coalition : True repentance over sin is more than remorse over consequences. It is a change wrought in the depths of one’s heart. Sexual offenders no longer dismiss or downplay their actions. No longer do they blame the victims, retreat into defensiveness, or seek to discredit the men and women who come forward. The church calls the offender to agree in naming the evil deed and refusing to make any excuses for it. During his lengthy tenure as an evening commentator on CNN, Larry King often posed two questions to pastors and theologians who came on as guests. First, is Jesus was the only way to God? This was Larry’s way of seeing if the Christian representative would insist on the uniqueness of Jesus no matter how offensive that claim might come across in a pluralistic world. You mean good people from other religions might be condemned? The second question came from a different angle. Could a serial killer, or someone like Hitler, or a rapi

The Power Of Thanksgiving

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : Most adults probably know by now that the story of the first Colonial Thanksgiving was a little more complex than that learned as a child. To catch up see Robert Tracy McKenzie, The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning From History (2013). There are young people, however, who have learned an equally simplistic (and even malevolent) story in which the colonists and pilgrims were genocidal maniacs. Check your child’s history books. If one of them is Howard Zinn’s, A People’s History of the United States your child is being taught one of those discredited narratives. Apart from cultural and political arguments over American colonial history, however, Christians do well to appreciate the necessity and power of being thankful. Even among Reformed people gratitude as a motive for the Christian life seems to have fallen on hard times. One need not look far to see various alternatives being s

What Is Thanksgiving Day?

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By Stephen Nichols - Posted at Ligonier Ministries : Thanksgiving is an American holiday that stretches all the way back to a time long before America became a nation. The Pilgrims landed in 1620. They faced brutal conditions and were woefully unprepared. Roughly half of them died in that first year. Then they had a successful harvest of corn. In November of 1621 they decided to celebrate a feast of thanksgiving. Edward Winslow was among those who ate that first thanksgiving meal in 1621. He noted: “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we gathered the fruit of our labors. …And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want.” In addition to the fowl eaten that first Thanksgiving, the Indians also brought along five deer as their contribution to the feast. Presumably they also ate corn. Over the centuries,

The Roy Moore moment

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By Marvin Olasky - Posted at World Magazine : If we act toward Roy Moore as feminists acted toward Bill Clinton, we need to think about the message we’re sending to our children: Some are concluding that conservative evangelicals care more about political power than anything else. (The irony is that seeking political power now is the quickest way to lose it in an upcoming backlash election.) Our kids pay some attention to what we say. They pay much more attention to what we do. And many are absorbing lessons from what some evangelicals are both saying and doing regarding Senate candidate Roy Moore. I can set the scene by going back to politics-and-sex conversations of the 1990s, bookended by a 1990 GQ article lionizing Sen. Ted Kennedy and by the 1999 failure of the Senate to remove President Bill Clinton from office. Michael Kelly’s article in 1990 noted, “In Washington, it sometimes seems as if everyone knows someone who has slept with Kennedy, been invited to sleep with Kenne

WILL GUNS MAKE CHURCH SAFE?

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By    Peter Witkowski - Posted at WitkowskiBlog.com :  Though our protocols, security measures, and security personal are needed, these measures cannot be the source of our security and hope... And that just happened. An 80 year-old man shot himself and his wife while the couple was engaged in a conversation about the recent church shooting in Texas. And the location of the shooting was First United Methodist Church in Tellico Plains, Tennessee. The irony of the story cannot be missed. I suspect USA Today ran the story because the account fits nicely with the mantra that a guns do not prevent gun violence. While I have no wish to discuss the political nature of this news story, I think we should reflect on the story because it reveals a spiritual irony as well. As the very weapon that signaled safety was accidentally discharge, Christians were reminded of the futility of trusting in weapons for safety. Yes the deaths of the 27 church members in Texas troubles our minds. Chr

Jesus Is Not Your American Patriot

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By Ameen Hudson - Posted at The Gospel Coalition : No earthly nation, including America, has a monopoly on God’s favor and blessing. All of God’s promises and blessings are directed toward the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multinational body of Christ. I live in the South, where “God and country” is a popular sentiment. Despite the fact that America was reputedly built on Judeo-Christian values, this seemingly honorable motto is problematic. It fails to promote an ideology that seeks God’s glory and multinational kingdom while encouraging American citizens to submit to his will. Instead, it turns Jesus into a patriot. Such a mentality tends to confuse God’s interests with those of a political party. It makes the United States the center of God’s affections, above every other nation. Critiquing the sentiment is seen not only as an assault on the principles of American democracy, but on God himself. It conflates religion and politics, yielding a false god made in America’s ima

An Open Letter to Christian Supporters of Roy Moore

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By Dr. Jim West - Posted at Zwinglius Redivivus : Friends, I write as a Christian theologian to warn you that the path you’re walking is hazardous both to your spiritual health and to the reputation of your church and your faith. Many years ago the Apostle Paul encountered a group of people such as yourselves- supporters of immorality and willing to turn a blind eye to the evil being done in your midst and to your faith. Paul wrote those people these words: It is widely reported that there is sexual immorality among you, immorality of a kind that is not found even among gentiles: that one of you is living with his stepmother. And you so filled with your own self-importance! It would have been better if you had been grieving bitterly, so that the man who has done this thing were turned out of the community. For my part, however distant I am physically, I am present in spirit and have already condemned the man who behaved in this way, just as though I were present in person. Wh

The Great Lie We’ve Believed

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By Dana Hall McCain - Posted at The Dothan Eagle : I’ve been a Republican longer than I’ve been a Christian. I gave my heart to Christ at age 11, but by that time I’d already gone through a couple of years of conservative devotion. In grammar school, I found a stash of souvenirs from my father’s trip to the 1968 Republican National Convention and became enamored with an autographed 8 x 10 glossy of Barry Goldwater. I actually hung it on the wall beside my bed for a time. Other girls could have Scott Baio and Ralph Macchio. I had more serious concerns. Daddy explained to me why he was a Republican: he was a Christian, and he felt that conservatism aligned most closely with his Christian values, and Republicans aligned most closely with conservatism. In that order. But somewhere along the way we’ve gotten confused on the hierarchy of things. We had good intentions when in the 80s we founded the Moral Majority to harness the power of Christian voters and increase impact on gov

This Theologically Orphaned Generation

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Abandoned church in France by El Vagus By Jared C. Wilson - Posted at The Gospel Coalition : For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers . . . — 1 Corinthians 4:15a Setting – November 1992, an evangelical church in the American South. Concerned Voter: I don’t know. I can’t believe the American people elected this man. Unconcerned Voter: Ah, don’t worry. He’s a natural leader. CV: Yes, but some of the things he stands for, some of the things he says are in opposition to the way of Jesus. UV: He just knows his audience, is all. He says he’s a Christian. That’s good enough for me. CV: But does he actually live out what he says he believes? Lots of people are saying he’s a womanizer. Or worse. UV: Who are we to judge? Look, God can use anybody. Think of King David. He was an adulterer too. Aaaaand scene. The above scenario is entirely imagined. I say “entirely” because I cannot imagine that it actually took place in any conservative

A JUDGE AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

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By Angela Wittman "We now face a new moral crisis, a new crisis of conscience, for voters in the United States, specifically, this time voters in the state of Alabama. That's because on December 12 the voters of that state will elect a new United States Senator in a special election made necessary in order to fill the seat that had been vacated by the current Attorney General of the United States Jeff Sessions..." - Dr. Albert Mohler - President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary ( Daily Briefing 11.13.17 ) Dear Friends, There has been much discussion on the Roy Moore US Senate race and recent allegations of sexual impropriety and child sexual abuse made by women who claim to have been teenagers when these events took place. Those of you who follow my blogs know that I once was a supporter of Judge Moore and theonomy in general. However, I had a change of heart regarding theonomy several years ago (2013), and now I am no longer a supporter of Judge

Sorry Christians, We Can’t Blame the Media Any More

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By Karl Vaters - Posted at Christianity Today : More than ever before, we have an obligation to act in a Christ-like manner. Not just in church, bu t everywhere. Christians love playing the “blame the media” game. Not long ago, we might have had a legitimate claim that our reputation was bad because the media was against us. That’s not the case anymore. Oh sure, the media in general may still think negatively about Christians, if they think about us at all. But the days of blaming someone else for our bad press are gone. Do you know why Christians have a bad reputation today? It’s not because of CNN. It’s because of our own Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and YouTube videos! Every day, we confirm people’s worst suspicions about us. There’s no one left to blame but ourselves. Some Christians really act like jerks. No, I’m not going to qualify that sentence by changing it to “some so-calledChristians really act like jerks.” I’m talking about actual Christians. People who have a relati

Your Disgust for Roy Moore’s Evangelicals May Say More about You than the Actual Data

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By Ed Stetzer - Posted at Christianity Today : "But the fact that a handful of obscure pastors endorsed Moore, and some people in a poll said they were more likely to support him now, simply does not say what some would like it to say about evangelicals. They are not eager to vote for child molesters. They don’t want their 16-year-olds to date 32-year-olds. And all of their pastors are not endorsing controversial figures accused of child molesting." The accusations against Roy Moore are credible and Moore should step down. If he continues to maintain his innocence, he should still step down so he can fight to clear his name, for the good of his state, for the success of his party, and to end the embarrassment he is causing evangelicals. Now, what Moore is credibly accused of is horrific. Christians need to avoid even the appearance of ambivalence towards sexual assault and child molestation. The world is watching and the gospel demands us take a stand against such sin

Roy Moore imbroglio draws So. Baptists' comments

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By David Roach - Posted at Baptist Press : MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP) -- New allegations of sexual misconduct against Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore emerged as Southern Baptists offered a range of commentary on the embattled social conservative. Moore's wife Kayla posted on Facebook Nov. 12 an endorsement of her husband by more than 50 pastors, some Southern Baptists. But Alabama's AL.com news website noted the endorsement appeared to be a "recycled" statement from Aug. 15, well before two women accused Moore of sexual contact with them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s. Three pastors listed as signatories reportedly told media outlets the Moore campaign did not ask them if they still endorsed Moore before republishing the statement and asked that their names be removed. Meanwhile, Joe Godfrey, leader of the Alabama Baptist Convention's public policy auxiliary, told Baptist Press many of his state's evangelical voters are experi

Two Things That Should Be Obvious

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By Kevin DeYoung - Posted at The Gospel Coalition : Tis the season for allegations of men treating women badly. From Harvey Weinstein to Louis C. K. to Roy Moore to Aly Raisman’s testimony on 60 Minutes, the last two months have seen a number high-profile men accused of unwanted advances, sexual harassment, and much worse. To be sure, we should not presume guilt just because accusations are made. Of the dozens of allegations made public this fall, some have been owned up to, while others are still resolutely denied. This article is not about the specific accusations or the people involved, let alone about what should be done when athletes or politicians or media moguls have past sins uncovered. This post is about the bigger picture, about first things, about the principles that all Christians should agree on. There are two things that should be obvious to all Bible-believing Christians. First, men should honor women, not harass them; treat them as fellow image bearers, not sexual f

Sutherland Springs: Worship resumes with call to overcome

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Image Source: KSDK.com By David Roach - Posted at Baptist Press : Pomeroy, whose 14-year-old daughter was among the slain, said Nov. 12 in a brief address, "We have the power to choose, and, rather than choose darkness, like [the gunman] did that day, I say we choose life,"... SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas (BP) -- Pastor Frank Pomeroy's first message to the surviving members of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, was that they must overcome darkness with the light of Christ. Seven days after a gunman killed 26 worship attendees, Pomeroy -- who was out of town during the Nov. 5 attack -- delivered his message at a tent worship service blocks away from the church property. More than 500 people attended the Nov. 12 service, according to media estimates. That same day, the church building was opened as a memorial to the slain. Meanwhile, the North American Mission Board has conveyed to all 26 victims' families Southern Baptists' offer to co

Roy Moore's alleged pursuit of a young girl is the symptom of a larger problem in evangelical circles

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By Kathryn Brightbill - Posted at the LA Times : ...A Presbyterian Church in America, or PCA, pastor attempted to discipline a woman who warned home-school parents of the convicted sex offender in his congregation. (The sex offender had gone online to solicit a 14-year-old girl for sex.) Another PCA church allowed that same convicted sex offender to give the invocation at a home-school graduation ceremony. He wasn’t perceived as an attempted child rapist, and he was “repentant.” We need to talk about the segment of American culture that probably doesn’t think the allegations against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore are particularly damning, the segment that will blanch at only two accusations in the Washington Post expose : He pursued a 14-year-old-girl without first getting her parents’ permission, and he initiated sexual contact outside of marriage. That segment is evangelicalism. In that world, which Moore travels in and I grew up in, 14-year-old girls courting adult

9 Ways to Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse

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By Justin and Lindsey Holcomb - Posted at CCC Discover : 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men have been or will be assaulted during their lifetime. Heartbreakingly, many of the victims of this epidemic are children : 15% of those assaulted are under age 12, and 29% are between ages 12 to 17. Girls between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of sexual assault. We are often asked: “What are some practical things parents can do to protect their children from sexual abuse?” We ended our children’s book, God Made All of Me , with a note to parents and caregivers answering this question. Here are the 9 practical things you can do to protect children. 1. Explain to your child that God made their body. An explanation can look something like, “Every part of your body is good, and some parts of your body are private.” 2. Teach proper names of private body parts. It might be uncomfortable at first, but use the proper names of body parts. Childr

With Roy Moore, I’ve Seen Enough

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By Shane Vander Hart - Posted at Caffeinated Thoughts : I wanted to follow-up my article from Friday morning about the allegations about former Roy Moore, the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and Republican nominee in Alabama’s U.S. Senate race. At the end of my piece I wrote : This situation, looking at how Moore responded, leaves us ultimately with two possible conclusions. Either Moore is lying or the women and The Washington Post(by extension) are lying. In a nutshell, Christians should strive for truth. We should desire and pray for the truth to come out wherever it leads. If the accusations are true, Christian voters in Alabama should hold Moore accountable by pressuring him to drop out or by not voting for him if he doesn’t. If it isn’t true then the accusers and The Washington Post must be held accountable.  Our thirst for truth should override any loyalty to a candidate (or hatred of that candidate), as well as, loyalty or hatred/distrust of a partic

What Does a Modern Day Pharisee Look Like?

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Posted at Reformation Scotland : The Pharisees and scribes took great effort in making great outward profession of holiness of life. The truth is, however, that they only made conscience of outward obedience only (Matthew 5:21) and even then, only in relation to certain commandments (Matthew 15:3). ... No one wants to be a Pharisee. It’s the ultimate religious insult. No doubt we have our own idea of what a modern-day Pharisee looks like. It’s probably the type of Christian with whom we strongly disagree, their standards and convictions are far removed from ours. It’s easy to apply the Pharisee label without thinking much about it. We ought to be careful, however, before identifying others with the enemies of Christ. What was it about the Pharisees that Christ Himself opposed? This will tell us what we need to know about where the term applies today. Perhaps modern Christianity isn’t as immune as we might think from strains of the Pharisee virus. It’s possible for any type o

No, Christians Don't Use Joseph and Mary to Explain Child Molesting Accusations

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By Ed Stetzer - Posted at Christianity Today : Published 11.09.2017 Doing so is ridiculous and blasphemous. There are times when Christians bow our heads in prayer and lament. When we see unbelievable tragedy and suffering, we find ourselves asking how much longer God will wait. This past week, I found myself calling out to God in this respect in the wake of the Texas church shooting as I read more and more stories of faithful loved ones who lost their lives in a senseless act of violence. There are other times, however, when we shake our heads in response to the sheer foolishness from those who claim to represent him. Yes, this is again our reality, this time coming from a defender of Roy Moore. Today, allegations of sexual assault against Moore broke in the Washington Post . This time, the allegations involved sexual advances against a 14-year-old girl. Now, let me be clear. I know these are allegations and that everyone gets their day in court. I don’t write arti

Quotable Church History — “The blood of the martyrs…”

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By Wes Bredenhof - Posted at  YINKAHDINAY :  Today I’m starting a new series on famous quotes from church history. Most of the quotes will be familiar to anyone who’s been paying attention — but who knows? Perhaps you’ll learn something new. We’ll look at who said it, in what context, and whether it’s biblical. You may have heard it said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” It’s often said to point out that persecution, rather than diminishing the church, often has the opposite effect. It’s counter-intuitive. Where do we get this saying from? The original source is the early church father Tertullian (~155-~240 AD). He was an African church father based out of Carthage. He lived in the days of the Roman Empire and so was familiar with persecution and martyrdom. Tertullian’s most important writing is entitled The Apology, a work in which he provided a defense of the Christian faith to the provincial governors of the Roman Empire. Towards the end of the

Believers Are Not Out On Bail

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : It is useful to have some idea of the rudiments of the justice system in order to appreciate what God’s Word means when it says that believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have been “justified.”... In the American criminal justice system, for many charges, after one has been arrested and booked (photographed for a “mug shot,” fingerprinted, and paperwork completed) one goes to jail to await a preliminary hearing and after that a trial of the charge. The only way to be released from jail is to “post bond.” That is the process of paying a percentage of a substantial sum of money to the court as a guarantee that the person charged will appear as needed for hearings and especially for the trial. A person out of jail on bail, who has been charged with a crime, is in a legal limbo. Legal is still innocent but a cloud hangs over his head. He has been charged but he has not been either convicted or cleared. He is waiting for a future ad

Darkness & light at Sutherland Springs

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By Gary Ledbetter - Posted at Baptist Press : "The apostle Paul calls death 'the sting of sin.' Sin is another word for the darkness, the root cause of the darkness. Even so, the darkness cannot overcome the life that is the light of men. The believers killed on Nov. 5 were at church because they were expressing a heavenly hope that death is defeated by resurrection. Jesus is the proof and the first fruits of those who would rise after Him." GRAPEVINE, Texas (BP) -- John's prologue in the Gospels is my favorite Christmas passage, showing us in theological outline what happened in Bethlehem's stable. We know that Jesus is "the Word," the light that shines in the darkness. With somber joy we read that "the darkness did not overcome it." I thought of that passage as I've considered the darkness manifested at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs yesterday (Nov. 5). As I write this, hours after the event, pundits are talkin

The Worst Mass Shooting at Church in US History

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By Jim Denison - Posted at Christian Headlines : Yesterday was the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church . While Christians were praying for persecuted believers around the world, a shooter walked into a Texas church service and opened fire . At least twenty-six people were killed and twenty more were injured. Sutherland Springs , population 643, is in Wilson County, about thirty miles southeast of San Antonio. The First Baptist Church was holding morning worship services when a gunman identified as twenty-six-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley entered the church about 11:20 a.m. After attacking the congregation, he fled into neighboring Guadalupe County where he died. The New York Times describes the horrific scene: “Families gathered in pews, clutching Bibles and praying to the Lord, were murdered in cold blood on the spot.” The victims ranged in age from five to seventy-two. Among the dead were several children, a pregnant woman, and the pastor’s teenage dau

The Big Congressional Data Grab Is Underway

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By Shane Vander Hart - Posted at Truth in American Education : Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Foundations for Evidenced-Based Policymaking Act today which will create a national data clearinghouse that includes student data. Co-sponsors of the legislation also include House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-TX), and U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI). This bill follows the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking’s final report who recommended what Ryan argued for “a transparent, efficient, and well-designed data system that is both accessible by federal agencies and secure for those who contribute.” The key takeaways from the report are: Security, Privacy, and Confidentiality: The report outlines recommendations for improving access to data that protects peoples’ privacy without sacrificing the information sought in the process. The commission also outli

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

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By Eric Metaxas and Stan Guthrie - Posted at BreakPoint :  More Christians are persecuted today than ever before. Which is why we need to join in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. On a sunny day last May, several families climbed onto a couple of buses, happily looking forward to visiting a monastery together. They never made it. Instead, half of them, including ten children, were slaughtered. You see, these families were Egyptian Christians. Islamic terrorists dressed in military fatigues stopped the buses and ordered the riders off. As one eyewitness later said, “As each pilgrim came off the bus, they were asked to renounce their Christian faith and profess belief in Islam. But all of them—even the children—refused.” The terrorists murdered 29 Christians before fleeing. This Sunday is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. It’s a time to focus our attention on our brothers and sisters who are being arrested, tortured, murdered, and

The Danger of Becoming Battle Weary

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By Maurice Roberts - Posted at Banner of Truth : "When soul-sleepiness is widespread, men are all taken up with childish dreams and empty trifles. They make great sound and bluster about small matters of procedure and right order. But they may as easily overlook the great matters of justice, mercy and truth as those Pharisees who ‘strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel’ (Matt. 23:24). The cry of all – or almost all – is for more sleep, and woe be to him who tries to wake them!" There are not wanting here and there the signs that good Christians are suffering from a kind of spiritual mental-fatigue. In our fellowships iron rarely sharpens iron any longer. Much preaching that is orthodox lacks that ring of conviction which is needed to thrust it home into sinners’ consciences. A guilty tameness smothers our zeal. Prayers are hum-drum and predictable. The apostolic fire has died down and looks like dying away. The gospel, even where it is preached at all, is clothed w