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Showing posts from February, 2018

God's Love for Pastors

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By Eric Davis - Posted at The Cripplegate : The more young pastors I speak with, the more I realize that crushing experiences are the norm. It’s constant. “Didn’t think it would be like this.” In response, I’ve said it. “This is crushing.” “I’m crushed.” “God, you’re crushing me.” Everything I feel tells me so. Crushed in spirit. Crushed in body. Crushed from every direction. But I’m wrong. Feelings deceives. “I’m crushed” is bad theology for pastors. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed” ( 2 Cor. 4:8 ). If the apostle Paul was not crushed, then I certainly am not. The inerrant Bible is better at sensory than my senses. “Crushed” means something like, “irreparably shattered into many irregularly-shaped pieces due to an outside, destructive force.” But that can’t happen to God’s children. “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” ( John 10:29 ). God’s hand can’t be irreparably shattered. Nothin

Bible Burning in Southern India Shows Depth of Hostility Toward Christians

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Bibles burned by Hindu extremists in Telangana state, India. (Morning Star News) Posted at Morning Star News: Report denotes leap in anti-Christian attacks in 2017. HYDERABAD, India (Morning Star News) – Hindu extremists in southern India issued harsh threats to Christians distributing Bibles before snatching their car keys, taking Bibles out of their vehicle and setting the Scripture on fire, sources said. Christians associated with Gideons International, all senior citizens, told Morning Star News that their advanced age did not temper the vitriol they received in Singotam village, Nagar Kurnool District, in Telangana state on Jan. 21. “From now on, if any of you distribute Bibles, we will attack you brutally [till your genitalia are damaged],” one of the Hindus warned the Christians, according to a video the extremists took of the attack. “How dare you promote Christianity?” Continue reading...

The Economy and Defense Sustain Trump's Evangelical Support

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Donald Trump is sworn in as president on January 20, 2017: Trump, wife Melania , son Donald Jr. , son Barron , daughter Ivanka , son Eric , and daughter Tiffany  (Source: Wikipedia ) By George Barna - Posted at the American Culture and Faith Institute: Donald Trump holds onto Evangelical support despite the media thrashings. Donald Trump was voted into office on the strength of support from Christians. The final 2016 vote tally showed that 57 percent of all self-identified Christians backed the brash real estate magnate while less than half as many non-Christians (26 percent) gave him their vote. In contrast, Hillary Clinton’s main source of support was the non-Christian population. Overall, 62 percent of voters who are aligned with a non-Christian faith or who are among the religious skeptics (i.e., atheists, agnostics, and nones) voted for the Democratic Party nominee. She garnered just 37 percent of the votes cast by those who claimed to be Christian. At the beginning of th

Social Media Wars

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By Bill Muehlenberg - Posted at Culture Watch : In the ‘old days’ the newly created social media platforms like MySpace were designed to help people more easily connect with one another, share news, keep in touch, and so on. And like many new technologies, some did really well and some not so well. MS now seems to be a thing of the past, while other sites like Facebook continue to rise, or so it seems. But all the various big cheese internet media platforms, such as FB, Google, Twitter, YouTube, etc, have increasingly been becoming politically active and hostile to conservative and Christian values. When things like FB and Google have such a commanding monopoly, that can really become problematic, and one must start looking for alternatives as things get worse and worse. Of course if one uses these various internet thingees for quite innocuous purposes such as sharing a pic of the morning coffee you had, it may be no big deal. But if you have interests in posting or sharing somew

Jesus, Billy, & The American Way

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By Steve Griffin - Posted at Just Thinking (and writing) : I have gone back to the Bible to restudy what it says about the responsibilities we have as peacemakers. I have seen that we must seek the good of the whole human race, and not just the good of any one nation or race.  There have been times in the past when I have, I suppose, confused the kingdom of God with the American way of life. Now I am grateful for the heritage of our country, and I am thankful for many of its institutions and ideals, in spite of its many faults. But the kingdom of God is not the same as America . . .1 ~Billy Graham Rev. Graham uttered those humble, honest words in August of 1979. I too have changed my way of thinking since the summer of ’79. Back then I didn’t give much thought to peace-making or Christ’s kingdom. Yes, I believed in Jesus but I never considered the tension between Americana and Christ’s claims on my life. No, I didn’t hurt others but neither did I love them like I loved me.

Sexual Abuse, Brain Changes and the Gospel

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By Ariel Bovat - Posted at Kaleoscope: Years ago, when I worked at a crisis center for children, a five-year-old girl was brought in after being removed from her home due to allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of her caregivers, specifically, her mother’s boyfriend. Within days of her arrival, the counselors placed her on “watch” due to her habit of rubbing her genitals on table legs, chair legs and would attempt to rub her genitals on the legs of adult male care-workers after she demanded to sit on their laps. It became apparent that her abuser groomed her to the point of making her believe that love and affection were only evident through manipulation of her genitals through constant friction. Sexual abuse not only changed the way she interacted with the world around her, but also changed how she viewed herself in relation to her environment, the people close to her, and created sexual pathology that would take years of treatment to undo. Damage was done. It was not initia

Christian Evangelist Billy Graham Dies at 99 Years of Age

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During a 1953 rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Graham tore down the ropes that organizers had erected to separate the audience into racial sections. He recounted in his memoirs that he told two ushers to leave the barriers down "or you can go on and have the revival without me."[41] He warned a white audience, "we have been proud and thought we were better than any other race, any other people. Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to stumble into hell because of our pride."[42] (Billy Graham, Wikipedia ) More from Wikipedia: William Franklin Graham Jr . KBE (November 7, 1918 – February 21, 2018) was an American evangelical Christian evangelist , an ordained Southern Baptist minister, who became well known internationally after 1949. He was widely regarded as the most influential preacher of the 20th century. [2] He held large indoor and outdoor rallies; sermons were broadcast on radio and television, some still being re-broadcast into the 21st century. [3

Looming Debate Over SSA

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By Richard D. Phillips - Posted at Reformation 21: These days, it seems that almost every week social media uncovers another eruption along the Presbyterian Church in America's (PCA) volcanic fault line between social accommodation/compassion and biblical obedience. This week, a conference promoting strategies to address same sex attraction (SSA) has raised heads and provoked comment. This particular event seems to be a laudable attempt to balance the tension: while calling for a compassionate acceptance of SSA Christians it also makes clear statements in support of biblical marriage and takes a position against homosexual behavior that most people in our society would consider fundamentalist. Conservatives should therefore refrain from drawing the worst possible implications from what seems to be a thoughtful and responsible attempt to address this major cultural touchstone. While avoiding hysterical division, we can at the same time note that a major question mark hangs ove

A Further Counterresponse to Faith and Heritage

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Posted at Design of Providence : Introduction This is the second counterresponse to a response from Davis Carlton over at Faith and Heritage, who has been responding to some of my work on Kinism. His latest article was entitled A Question of Christian Ethics: A Further Response to Truth Tribune . I had started working on this response quite a while ago, but was delayed by the holidays, real life responsibilities, etc. Plus, as this portion deals largely with historical Christian doctrines, I wanted to make certain that I had researched enough to present a case that would be beneficial both to the reader, and honoring to Mr. Carlton's own time and person. (I've never been a big fan of the "write a quick response in twenty-four hours" strategy some bloggers have.) If you're just joining us, I would suggest going back and starting from the beginning, as you will otherwise be lost, or lose something in the discussion. Unlike previous articles, this will n

Samuel Rutherford and Kinism

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Posted at Design of Providence: Introduction There is a Faith and Heritage article by Nathaniel Strickland wherein Mr. Strickland provides some quotes from Samuel Rutherford's famous work Lex Rex . Mr. Strickland claims that, in Lex Rex , Rutherford "touches on the ethnic nature of the law of kin rule in Deut. 17:15." The "Law of Kin Rule," as I discussed in a previous article , is the Kinist notion that Deuteronomy 17:15 is a divine command for governments to be led by those who come from among the people's own ethnic lineage. In fact, to Kinism, to consent to someone ethnically different ruling over you is an act of treason against God: Even if a native ruler, under pretense of law, sold his people out to a foreign power, the people should not consent to it. To do so would be lawlessness and treason to the nation, and ultimately to God Himself, because it is God who designed mankind to live tribally and codified that order in the strictures of His

Shootings, Grace, and the Gospel: An Interview with Pastor Eddie Bevill of Parkridge Church on the Parkland Shooting

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By Ed Stetzer - Posted at Christianity Today: Parkridge Church met in the high school for 7 years—now they're hosting a vigil for those killed in the shooting. Another tragedy has struck our nation, this time at a high school in Parkland, Florida. According to reports , it’s one of the nation’s deadliest attacks at a high school. My heart dropped when I heard the news yesterday. Another community, and more families, wrecked by violence. I reached out to Pastor Eddie Bevill of Parkridge Church, which first met at the school, to learn how churches are responding. Ed Stetzer: Tell me a little bit about the background of the church, specifically related to that facility. Pastor Eddie Bevill : My wife and I founded Parkridge Church in 1992, and we met in the facility for about 7 years, until we were able to purchase land and build our first building, and we are now currently located about a mile or less from that school, and still have a strong relationship there. We

Nikolas Cruz: 5 Facts You Need to Know About Florida School Shooter

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By Stoyan Zaimov  - Posted at the Christian Post: A disturbing profile has been emerging a day after the horrific school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 19-year-old suspected gunman, Nikolas Cruz, killed 17 people and injured another 20. Cruz, a former student at the high school who was expelled for unspecified disciplinary reasons, set off a fire alarm to get students out of the classrooms on Wednesday, and opened fire with his AR-15 assault rifle through the halls. Reports are emerging that the FBI had been warned months ago about his stated intent to carry out a school shooting, with teachers at the school and classmates also attesting that his attitude and online postings were cause for serious concern. Unlike a number of other mass school shootings in the United States, Cruz was captured alive by police, and is being held in a secure location after being treated at a local hospital. Here are five key things to know abo

A Meditation After Violence

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By Jared Olivetti - Posted at Gentle Reformation We are the problem, not the solution. We kill generations of children and somehow are able to be shocked when our children take the same attitude toward human life. We are the problem, not the solution. We fetishize and celebrate violence yet are surprised when someone takes it just one step further. We are the problem, not the solution. We debase the human body through decades of celebrated pornography and yet can still summon the self-righteousness to wonder why so many are abused. We are the problem, not the solution. Continue reading... See also: School Shootings, Tragedy, and The Gospel  (WitkowskiBlog.com)

Why I Don’t Observe Lent

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By Roland Barnes - Posted at The Aquila Report Published March 3, 2014 The practice of self-denial is to be the daily experience of the believer. What merit or benefit is there in abstaining from something which God Himself has given us to enjoy and to bless our lives? If something is sinful, we ought to abstain from it, fast from it, every hour of the day, every day of the week, and every week of the year. If something is not sinful and not forbidden to us by God in His Word, then we are free to partake of it or not partake of it as our conscience is our guide. Given the faulty foundations upon faulty foundations upon which the practice of Lent was established, one wonders why such a practice is perpetuated. Several years ago I was encouraged to consider the practice of observing Lent as a preparation for the Easter celebration of the resurrection. Honestly, I did not give it much serious thought, one way or the other. I had other things occupying my mind and it seemed ha

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Lifts Ban on LGBT Staff for Some Roles

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http://www.cbf.net/ By Leonardo Blair - Posted at the Christian Post: The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship , a Georgia-based network of 1,800 churches with missionaries in more than 30 countries around the world, announced Friday that it has lifted an 18-year hiring ban on practicing homosexuals for some roles but will not consider them for leadership roles in the organization. "CBF is moving from a hiring policy focused exclusively on sexuality to a policy that focuses on Jesus and His work to transform the world," CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter said of the organization's new hiring policy. "We are a Fellowship, a big tent of faithful believers and autonomous, innovative churches in partnership. While we do not agree on everything, we have shown Baptists and others that we can come together in a relatively short amount of time, focus on what unites us and come of out it poised for a bright future." In the organization's previous hiring

Enneagram: The Road Back to You, Or to Somewhere Else?

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By Marsha West - Posted at Berean Research : In a piece I wrote over 10 years ago, Christians are mixed up in… mysticism , I dealt with the Enneagram. In a moment you’ll find out what this personality tool is all about from Kevin DeYoung. In a nutshell, the Enneagram is a form of modern psychology that categorizes people into nine basic personality types. Here’s an excerpt from my piece: The concept is rooted in several teachings such as the Seven Deadly Sins and the Kabbalah. Supposedly the Enneagram symbol, the enneagon, dates back to Pythagoras or even earlier, and is based on Sufi mysticism. This alone should be a red flag for Christians! As you will see, Christians have chosen to ignore the red flags which is the reason DeYoung felt it necessary to tackle yet another fad embraced by professing evangelicals. Continue reading...

What Is So Great About Social-Emotional Learning?

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By J.R. Wilson - Posted at Truth In American Education: Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) seems to be the rage in education these days. It sounds so great SEL easily seems to attract supporters and promoters, including legislators. Maybe it makes them feel good. Use your search engine and see what comes up when you search for “social-emotional learning.” Check things out for yourself. Dig into some of the hits that come up and see if there is any big money behind SEL. While I haven’t dug into the deep history of the SEL movement, as with many other ed reform issues, I wonder if this push has come from widespread parental request or from big money folks. Or have the parents been told to want this? Which comes first, feeling good about yourself so you can accomplish something worthwhile or accomplishing something worthwhile so you have something to feel good about? Which is it, the chicken or the egg? I recently read an article from ASCD ’s Educational Leadership magazine titled Acc

Forgiveness Does Not Trivialise Sin

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Posted at Reformation Scotland: Rachael Denhollander’s courageous courtroom statement needs to go on reverberating. It was heart-wrenching and harrowing yet God-glorifying. It was a testimony to God’s justice and grace in the face of horrifying evil. A paedophile and predator was forced to hear something of the destruction wreaked by his actions. This young woman went further and spoke of the eternal realities that lay behind all that was brought out in that Michigan courtroom. Her trust in God meant that she could speak of justice and absolute distinctions of good and evil. She could also speak of grace and forgiveness without in any way trivialising what sin is and what it deserves. She spoke to the judge of the need for the courtroom to hear a sentence that would “the greatest measure of justice available.” Yet she also spoke of “final judgment where all of God’s wrath and eternal terror is poured out on men like you…Should you ever reach the point of truly facing what you have

Idols in the Temple of God

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By Mike Riccardi - Posted at The Cripplegate : A long time ago, in a land far, far away, I began a series on whom the faithful Christian minister may legitimately partner with in ministry. First, I briefly surveyed the history of the ecumenical movement in order to vividly illustrate the terrible consequence of disobedience to Scripture on this matter. Then, I oriented us to the key text that answers this question, 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 , and considered the context in which it comes . Next, I considered the main prohibition of text itself , and explored what it means for Christians to not be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers. In the latest installment in this series, I considered how the text outlines precisely how believers are “unequal” to unbelievers. I mentioned that there were five fundamental differences between believers and unbelievers that Paul enumerates, and we looked at the first four in that post. Believers and unbelievers are governed by different rules of life,

Memories of Anita

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A photo, a box and a bottle of safety pins sat on a table at the memorial for Anita.   (Photo: Alden Woods/The Republic) Posted at The Christian's Report : "During numerous conversations with Anita over the course of 8 or 9 months while commuting to work on the Phoenix bus system, I experienced on each and every occasion an overwhelming sense that I was loved by this special person. She presented herself with matted and tangled hair, wind and sun blown face that looked like she had just climbed Mt. Everest, and shoes through which the bottoms of her feet met more pavement than shoe. But when confronted with the gaze of her blue eyes and the soft voice that conveyed gratitude for even the most insignificant of gestures, the particulars of her appearance faded into the background." I decided not to post either C. H. Spurgeon’s morning or evening devotional earlier today because they just didn’t feel right. I am going through a period during which God’s convicti

What Will Amazon Think?

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By James Faris - Posted at Gentle Reformation: Amazon.com, Inc. created one of the most recognizable and meaningful logos ever. The curved arrow points from the “a” to the “z” under the word “amazon.” The smirk it creates reminds you that Amazon can make you happy by delivering everything from “a” to “z.” The cardboard box smiles at you when the delivery man hands you whatever you ordered, and you usually smile back with excitement. Amazon deserves credit for a brilliantly simple mark. It works to make good on its promise. Indeed, I benefit regularly from its services. We should receive the good things of this life with joy. As Christians, we should remember with every Amazon package that lands at our doorstep that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega (the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet). He is the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He alone can make all things new. He alone can make us smile for eternity. Our trouble begins when we look to any earthl

Learning the Wrong Lesson

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By Shane Vander Hart - Posted at Truth in American Education: I read an article in the Grand Forks Herald today and it appears that North Dakota Superintendent of Public Instruction Kristen Baesler learned the wrong lesson about the number of homeschoolers doubling in her state. John Hageman reports : There were 3,025 home-schooled children in North Dakota last year, according to a recent report from the state Department of Public Instruction, up from the 1,470 in the 2008 school year. But state Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said the actual number of home-schooled kids is likely higher, given some blind spots in the data.  Lawmakers, national surveys, state education officials and home-school advocates offered varying reasons for the trend, including bullying at schools, frustration with Common Core standards and the availability of educational resources online.  North Dakota’s trend also appears to follow a national shift. A 2017 federal report estimated the number of ho

Black Dresses And Moral Confusion

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Posted at The Outspoken TULIP: Image Source: The Outspoken TULIP Published Feb. 2, 2018 Excuse me, but the newfound morality of the secular world (led by Hollywood) confuses me just a bit. Maybe I’ve been a Christian too long, and consequently I tend to reason from Scripture, but it seems to me that the world tries to have moral standards without being confined by moral standards. If that analysis doesn’t make sense, let me suggest that the liberal elitists don’t make sense. I just looked at some photos from this year’s Golden Globes Awards. In solidarity with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, most of the female actors indeed wore black gowns. A few of those gowns covered them well, but most were as revealing and suggestive as usual. I suppose the wearers would argue that men shouldn’t look at them as sex objects even when they show skin, and that a man’s unwillingness to control his sexual responses shouldn’t restrict them from dressing as they please. Continue reading...

The Foundation of True Liberty

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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 during a 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 history of the world. Go

Decerebrated Frogs, the Straight Line and Cultural Accommodation

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By Nick Batzig - Posted at Reformation 21: In 1869, the German physiologist, Friedrich Goltz, published a series of conclusions from tests he performed on frogs. In his book, Beitrage zur Lehre von den Functionen der Nervencentren des Frosches (Contributions to the Theory of the Functions of the Nerve Centers of the Frog) , Golz revealed that he had put a number of frogs in a pot of water and heated it to 78.8 degrees Fahrenheit. At that temperature, the frogs obviously made efforts to get out. Golz then slowly turned up the temperature until the frogs died of at 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit. When he ran the experiment on decerebrated frogs, Golz discovered that the decerebrated frogs remained calm until they were fully cooked in the boiling water. I relay this story at the risk of offending both PETA and little boys who love frogs, in order to draw an analogy. In "late modernity," believers are in danger of becoming just like decerebrated frogs in the kettle. As the tempe

Facebook Really Wants You to Come Back

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By Sarah Frier - Posted at Bloomberg.com: It’s been about a year since Rishi Gorantala deleted the Facebook app from his phone, and the company has only gotten more aggressive in its emails to win him back. The social network started out by alerting him every few days about friends that had posted photos or made comments—each time inviting him to click a link and view the activity on Facebook. He rarely did. Then, about once a week in September, he started to get prompts from a Facebook security customer-service address. “It looks like you’re having trouble logging into Facebook,” the emails would say. “Just click the button below and we’ll log you in. If you weren’t trying to log in, let us know.” He wasn’t trying. But he doesn’t think anybody else was, either. “The content of mail they send is essentially trying to trick you,” said Gorantala, 35, who lives in Chile. “Like someone tried to access my account so I should go and log in.” Facebook, which has more than 2 billion peop

China’s Rise and the Church’s Call

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By Brent Fulton - Posted at The Gospel Coalition: In the year 1900, 82 percent of Christians lived in North America and Europe. By 2015 that number had dropped to 35 percent. Today, according to the World Christian Database , the majority of Christians are in the Global South, where the church is growing at an estimated 1.9 percent, compared with 0.1 percent in the Global North. Much of this growth has taken place in China, which, according to some statistics , could have the largest concentration of Christians within the next 15 years. This shift in world Christianity reflects a larger rebalancing of global power relationships. Along with profound economic, political, and military implications, this reshuffling has significant ramifications for the Western church and its role in the world. Continue reading...