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Showing posts from April, 2018

How Much Does Common Core Misery Cost?

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By Denis Ian - Posted at Truth In American Education : How much does misery cost? “About another $12.1 billion over the next few years. Nationally exceeding $80 Billion since 2010.” That should be some first-class misery. And it’s on you. Your treat! Enjoy! The vulture capitalists can smell your misery from miles away … and they’re so ready to pick your wallets clean. Big Pharma, Big Oil, and Big Banks were just warm-up routines for Big Education. Your own schools … the ones you actually own … will be the investment oases of this new century … with a renewable stream of your own tax dollars until … until we all come to our senses. Or go broke. Common Core is mutating before our very eyes. Tutoring shops are popping up like nail salons … poised to teach your children the mathematics no one understands. And to teach them how to read a whole book … as you once learned. Think of them as educational repair shops where the madness of public education can be undone … or at least mitig

Keeping the Evangel in Evangelism: Why Evangelicalism Can’t Abandon the Old, Old Story

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By Dr. R. Albert Mohler - Posted at AlbertMohler.com : The Great Commission stands at the center of Christianity as the command of the risen Lord Jesus Christ for his church to proclaim the name of God in the world for the sake of all nations and God’s glory among them. The church fulfills the commission by making disciples of Christ, teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded his church to believe and obey (Matt 28:18-20). Evangelism that calls sinners to repentance and spreads the fame of God’s name, then, is at the very heart of the mission of God’s people. EVANGELISM IN A POST-CHRISTIAN WORLD Every culture and civilization embraces a certain set of assumptions about life, truth, significance, and what it means to be human. Without these shared assumptions, societal life would be impossible. Individuals within these societies may not give much active thought to these common assumptions, but their decisions, expectations, and general dispositions reflect the presen

More Christian Than Democrat or Republican

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By Bruce Ashford - Posted at 9Marks : Given the increased polarization of American politics and public life, the question is frequently raised as to whether Christians should identify themselves with either major political party or—by association—the political ideologies undergirding them. I answer that it is permissible and often wise to participate in party politics, but we must be circumspect in doing so, making clear that our allegiance to political parties is tentative in light of our allegiance to Christ. We should never allow our witness to be undermined by inordinate allegiance to a political party or inappropriate forms of activism on behalf of that party’s agenda. In order to make the case for this view, we must discuss the proper relationship between both religion and politics and church and state, before going on to discuss the legitimacy of affiliating with America’s major political parties and ideologies. RELIGION AND POLITICS “Never discuss religion or politics with

Interracial Marriage and the Ordinary Means of Grace

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By William F. Leonhart III - Posted at Credo Covenant : This post was originally published in October of 2014 in the wake of the death of Michael Brown and the subsequent riots in Ferguson. As I recall those days, they were very dark and trying times for our nation. The heart of every true Christian was aching over the deep ethnic divide that was being revealed in the kingdom of man in which we sojourn. Of recent years this divide, and those who would push for worldly definitions of it and worldly solutions to it, have begun to infiltrate our churches. Many pastors, with some alarm, are just beginning to take notice of the prevalence of this issue. Others seem to think it just a passing fad. We assure you it is not just a fad. At some point very soon, every church in America will have to deal with this issue. Not only is it not going away, but it is picking up steam. Soon, every pastor in America will start to have members and visitors in their pews using terms like “racial recon

“Cultural Evangelical” Is Now A Thing. It Shouldn’t Be.

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Posted at MattMellema.com : Okay, one more post about evangelical identity. At least until my next post. Some of us in the evangelical world were masochistic enough to follow the aftermath of the 2016 election. For we unhappy few, one number stands out: 81. That’s the supposed percent of white evangelicals who voted for Trump . Depressing? Sure. But I’ve already dwelt on that enough. Instead, I want to make a few points about the weirdness of polling “evangelicals.” First, the 81 number underscores a weird phenomenon–there are now cultural evangelicals. We’re all used to people who are “cultural” versions of other religious groups: culturally Catholic, culturally Jewish, culturally Greek Orthodox. Pretty much every religion worldwide has this–people who are raised in a culture where everybody is assumed to have the same religion, so they identify on a surface-y level even if they don’t follow any of the religion’s tenants. Continue reading...

World Evangelical leaders confer at Wheaton

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Wheaton College Billy Graham Center - Wikipedia By Giselle Gaytan - Posted at The Wheaton Record : A group of 60 evangelical leaders met on Monday, April 17 and Tuesday, April 18 in the Billy Graham Center to discuss the future of American evangelicalism in the context of the term’s current political associations. “I do think the name [Evangelical] has never been held in lower public esteem. And since we can’t really avoid it, we do need to reclaim the name if we can,” said well-known pastor and author Timothy Keller, who attended the gathering. “The name is tied to the behavior of visible churches and institutions and leaders who represent evangelicalism to the world.” The name can be reclaimed, Keller said, if the behavior of many of these representatives changes. Associate Professor Politics and Law and Director of the Center for Faith, Politics and Economics David Iglesias attended the evangelical consultation. He told the Record about the political factors that made the ev

Would Christ have had to die for the social justice gospel to be true?

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By John Hendryx - Posted at Monergism : So-called "progressive Christians" are all progressive and no Christian. The "social justice gospel" is all social justice and no gospel. "Nationalist Evangelicals" are all nationalist and no evangel. What do these movements have in common. They all fail to take into account the seriousness of the human condition. The missing element is regeneration: They are all law and no gospel. Human effort without new life. Take away their politics and social causes and they would have nothing to talk about and their movements would collapse in a week. Those in Christ, who are theological conservatives, on the other hand, by grace, recognize that man cannot extract himself from the morass he is in. He cannot save himself - his will is inflexibly and hopelessly corrupt. No amount of human wisdom or good works can save himself or others. The quick fixes offered by these other groups do nothing to change the nature

Why This Reformed Christian Will Not Be Charismatic In 2018

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : Tim Challies has published a list of predictions for the “New Calvinist Movement” for 2018. It has understandably provoked discussion. He writes, In 2018 we will begin to see wider practice of the sign gifts among those who hold to Reformed theology and this will bring some controversy. To this point the debate surrounding cessationism and continuationism has largely been theological, but it will soon become far more practical. We will see churches that are Reformed in much of their theology also practicing prophecy, inviting tongues-speaking, and founding healing ministries. As a matter of sociology Tim is probably correct. The attempted synthesis of some few aspects (see below) of Reformed theology with Charismatic and Pentecostal theology, piety, and practice will continue. This synthesis is part of a pattern that has roots in the 19th century. On this see the essay “Magic and Noise: On Being Reformed in Sister’s America” i

Oklahoma House Panel Advances Bill Protecting Religious Convictions of Foster, Adoption Agencies

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By Heather Clark - Posted at Christian News Network: OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — An Oklahoma House panel has advanced a bill that protects the religious convictions of faith-based foster and adoption agencies, in that they may decline to place children in certain households if the arrangement would violate the tenets of their faith. “To the extent allowed by federal law, no private child-placing agency receiving neither federal nor state funds shall be required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies,” reads SB 1140 . The bill was presented by Senate Majority Floor Leader Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Travis Dunlap, R-Bartlesville, and has already cleared the Senate 35-9. Continue reading...

Heads Up Illinois Parents

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By Angela Wittman In 1994 I was elected to our local school board on an explicitly Christian platform. Our greatest concerns (I'm referring to my Christian friends and supporters) was Goals 2000 (Outcome Based Education), Comprehensive Sex Ed and the general intolerance of Christianity. I served until the spring of 1999 and did not seek re-election due to the lack of support from my husband. Looking back I think he saw the physical toll the constant stress was taking on me. I also remember the ridicule my teenage sons saw directed toward their mother by the head of the local teachers union who was also their biology teacher; I felt a duty to resist the potential wickedness I believed was headed our way if we did not draw a line in the sand against unrighteousness as an administrative body. But I never thought I would be sitting here 19 years later warning Illinois parents that legislation was being proposed that would mandate schools to teach children LGBT history. Here is an

The Burden of All These Little Gods

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By Rachael Dymski - Posted at The Gospel Coalition : I’d shake your hand, but mine is full with all these little gods. They weren’t so big when they first caught my eye. They weren’t so ugly either. No, they were pretty, when we first met, these little gods and I. And they fit so comfortably to the shape of my hand, so smoothly in my grasp, it was as though I was meeting a dear old friend. Thus I put them on, like rings, just to enjoy for a little while, but they are rather reluctant to leave. So my hands are heavy, but aren’t they beautiful, with all these little gods? Continue reading...

Jailed For His Faith? American Pastor to Stand Trial in Turkey Monday

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By Amber C. Strong - Posted at CBN News : An American pastor imprisoned in Turkey will be at the mercy of that country's courts Monday. Pastor Andrew Brunson, 50, will stand before a court after being locked away and charged with espionage and "membership in an armed terroristic organization" among other things. Supporters say his actual crime is being a Christian. “Let me be crystal clear. He is on trial because he is a Christian. His faith is the crime. He is a hostage of the Turkish regime,” wrote Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice. The ACLJ, who have taken on Brunson’s case, says the South Carolina native had no prior run-ins with the Turkish government and had been sharing the gospel there 23 years. He has spent 17 months in prison already and faces up to 35 years. Continue reading... See also: Further on Pastor Andrew Brunson  (Renovate)

Evangelicals emerge as political force in Central America

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Source: Wikipedia Posted at The Gazette : Latin America remains predominantly Catholic, and Catholicism is the official state religion of Costa Rica. But Protestantism has been making deep inroads in the region... BOGOTA, Colombia — In tiny, peaceful Costa Rica, a country that lives on its reputation as a laid-back vacation spot, the political ascent of a conservative evangelical pastor has caught many by surprise. On Sunday, Fabricio Alvarado Munoz — who has said he’ll challenge the rights of same-sex couples, consider withdrawing from the Inter-American Human Rights Court and uphold the country’s rigid anti-abortion laws — hopes to win the presidency. His popularity is part of the growing tide of evangelical political power in Latin America — a force that is helping make Central America one of the most socially conservative parts of the hemisphere. Continue reading... HT: Christian in Canada

Sexual Abuse Survivor Support

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Darlene Pawlik - Public Speaker and New Creation in Christ Posted at The Darling Princess : SASS! That is so common in my home. We love to be spunky and lively in our conversations. Our playful banter is often a healing release for the grave issues we work daily to address. Sexual Abuse, Human Trafficking, and Abortion are frequent topics in our home and the focus of my work as a public speaker. Hard Story, Soft Voice I did a radio show with Savethe1 members and the renowned, Dr, James Dobson. The broadcasts, part 1 , part 2 , and part 3 were re-aired this January. I speak a couple of times each month. Nearly every time I speak about child sexual abuse, juvenile sex trafficking, or coerced abortion someone from the audience will approach me and tell me that they have experienced, at least some part of the things I’d shared from my own life. Since this was radio, one such response came in the form of an email. I will not share the email with you, but I do think the response

ChinaAid: Henan government requires religious practitioners to register, expands reach

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This notice, translated in full below, orders Christians, Buddhists, Taoists, and Muslims to register with the government. (Photo: ChinaAid) Notice  Residents who are Buddhists, Taoists, Catholics, (other forms of) Christian, and Muslims should register at the Neighborhood Committee located on the third floor of the Golden Vienna Community as soon as possible.  Pingyuan Neighborhood Committee: 5396862  April 4, 2018 (Anyang, Henan—April 11, 2018) A government order is demanding that Christians, Buddhists, Taoists, and Muslims register with the government in Anyang, a city in China’s central Henan province, ChinaAid learned recently. However, an anonymous Christian who spoke with ChinaAid on Thursday, said that the government is only persecuting Christians. “In the past two months, the government banned all Catholic churches and (Protestant) house churches, and that didn’t happen to any other religions.” Continue reading...

The Gospel Is The Remedy For Racism

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : Racism is sin . There can be no hedging or qualifying here. To regard another image bearer as inferior because of his ethnicity is sin and has no place in the church of Jesus Christ. God’s Word is clear about the only remedy for racism: the good news of Jesus Christ. But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:23–29

Bill Hybels Resigns from Willow Creek

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By Bob Smietana - Posted at Christianity Today : Former leaders have accused the church of failing to adequately address several allegations against Hybels, including inappropriate comments, private meetings with female staffers in his hotel room and at his home, intrusive hugs, and, in one case, an unwanted kiss. Megachurch pastor “accelerates” October retirement weeks after former colleagues went public with misconduct allegations. Bill Hybels has stepped down as senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, the Chicago-area megachurch he founded over 40 years ago, citing the controversy over recent allegations against him. Many in the wider Christian community have been confused by those allegations, he said, and the controversy has distracted his church’s leaders from their mission and has hurt the church’s ministries. “They can’t flourish to their fullest potential when the valuable time of our leaders is divided.” Hybels, who previously planned to retire in October

Rachael Denhollander: 'Few' Victims of Sexual Assault Find 'True Help' From Church

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By Leah MarieAnn Klett - Posted at The Christian Post : Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of sexually abusing her as a teenager, has encouraged survivors of sexual abuse to put their trust entirely in Christ, as "very few" victims have found "true help" from the Church. The former gymnast, who was a 15-year-old homeschooler when Nassar started abusing her nearly two decades ago, recently opened up about her experience during a conversation with Nancy Hill, Charles Bigelow professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, hosted by the Veritas Forum. When an audience member asked about moments she had doubted her faith, the lawyer and mother-of-three admitted there were "significant times of wrestling." "Ultimately, what happened strengthened my worldview," she said. "Ultimately, where that led me back to was the foot of the cross." When asked, "How

Social Media Testifies To The Covenant Of Works

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : In Colossians 2:8 Paul warned the Colossians Christians not to be taken captive by unbelieving ways of thinking (philosophies) nor by “the stoicheia (στοιχεῖα) of the world.” The noun stoicheia is usually translated with something like “elemental principles” or the like. That is a possibility but it leaves unanswered the question, what are the elemental principles? Sometimes it is argued that it is a reference to the principles of physics or natural science. There is a good case to be made, however, by analogy with his use of the same term in Galatians 4:3, 8 in a similar context, that by it he simply means “law”and specifically, in this case, natural law. The study of physics does teach us something about the existence of natural laws. If we drop a coin from a height it will do what it does, in the ordinary providence of God, by nature. According to the traditional Reformed understanding of Scripture, God instituted a law in t

Is the Moral Revolution Over?

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Posted at Reformation Scotland : What has happened to the #MeToo movement which followed the Harvey Weinstein controversy? It certainly gained huge prominence and publicly exposed the abuse that predators wanted to keep hidden. It was vitally important to hear such behaviour vilified. It was also refreshing to hear about any limits to our culture’s licentiousness. And yet it was only a matter of time before a backlash of liberal opinion re-asserted the “freedoms” of the sexual revolution. The liberty for anyone to do whatever they please. But we don’t seem to be hearing as much about it as we did. Was it just a moral panic in which the media has lost interest? Has the anti-#MeToo backlash won? But we need to recognise that the discovery of a moral sensitivity did not go remotely far enough. Our culture’s media and entertainment builds on abuse and promotes exploitation and objectification. No one seemed ready to acknowledge this. We desperately need a real moral revolution in rel

China bans online Bible sales in bid to tighten grip on Christianity

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Posted at The Christian Institute : China has prohibited buying the Bible from major online stores, whilst claiming the country promotes religious freedom. According to widespread media reports, Amazon China and two other large online outlets have dropped the Bible from sale. The BBC’s Chinese Service Editor Howard Zhang said it was the latest attempt by China’s communist leaders to seize greater control. Continue reading...

Review: Reformation Worship: Liturgies From the Past For The Present

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : Reformation Worship: Liturgies From The Past For the Present , ed. Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2018), 688 pages. $34.99 Survey Unless you are a member of a congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America (RPCNA, “the Covenanters”) or another similar denomination, in all probability the way your congregation worships today is not much like the way Reformed and Presbyterian congregations worshiped in the 16th and 17th centuries. If, however, you are like most other P&R Christians, you probably are not aware of that discrepancy. You might assume that the way your congregation conducts its public worship is the way the P&R churches have always done but, in fact, that assumption would not be justified. Indeed, it is likely that your session (consistory), presbytery (classis), and general assembly (synod) is not highly conscious of the changes that have taken place in

The First Thing Missing in Today’s Evangelical Church

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By Al Baker - Posted at Banner of Truth : ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ — Matthew 4:17 In what Biblical scholars call Jesus’ early Galilean ministry (beginning in Matthew 4:12), after his baptism by John and his temptation in the wilderness, Jesus began his ministry in Capernaum which was located on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. Matthew cites the words of Isaiah who says that those who were dwelling in darkness have seen a great light (Isaiah 9:2)/ So from that beginning Jesus preached, heralded, proclaimed the truth. And what was the first word of his message? It was the word ‘repent’. Mark records the same thing in his gospel, ‘The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel,’ (Mark 1:15). Which begs the question, what does the word ‘repent’ mean? The Greek word is metanoia which literally means a change of mind resulting in a change of behavior, speech, and values. Jesus uses the word repeatedly in the

The Nature of the Gospel Mission

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Posted at Christian Concern : In the first of his series on 'Churchianity' , Dr Joseph Boot argued of the need for Christians to develop a cultural theology grounded in the Bible. He continues his series by looking at two common faults among evangelicals' approaches to culture. Two dominant tendencies regarding the mission of God’s people It should come as no surprise that something is amiss amongst modern evangelical churches, whether Reformed, charismatic, pentecostal, baptist or any other stripe. They are not providing an adequate or consistent response to the challenges of an increasingly anti-Christian culture. On the whole, evangelical leaders seem poorly prepared to equip God’s people for the pressing task of applying biblical truth to all of life in an often hostile cultural context – indeed part of the problem is that not all are agreed whether we should apply scriptural truth to all areas of life and thought. I discern two common tendencies in respon

Wycliffe Associates Seeking to Make the Bible Accessible in 69 DRC Language Groups Using Rapid Translation Method

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Location of  Democratic Republic of the Congo  (dark green) - Wikipedia (Orlando, Florida, USA)—Wycliffe Associates, an international organization involving people in the acceleration of Bible translation, wants to launch Bible translation into 69 new languages of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The central African nation, which is suffering the devastating effects of decades of tribal violence and civil war, is home to more than 200 African ethnic groups. Excessive mortality rates due to AIDs also have taken a toll on the DRC, where the median age is 18.6 years for the nation’s population of 83.3 million. “It grabs at my throat to think about what the people have gone through in the DRC,” said Bruce Smith, president and CEO of Wycliffe Associates. “Generations of tribal violence . . . people hunted like animals . . . torture, mutilation, kidnapping, executions . . . fear and anger and utter, total despair that anything can ever be different.” But recently, five tri

Barna: 51% of Churchgoers Don’t Know of the Great Commission

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Posted at Barna.com : Matthew 28:18-20 is the most well-known biblical record of what is commonly referred to extra-biblically as “the Great Commission.” But despite the significance of these and other verses that call Christians to “go and make disciples of all nations,” a surprising proportion of churchgoing Christians in the U.S. are generally unaware of these famous words from Jesus. In partnership with Seed Company, Barna conducted a study of the U.S. Church’s ideas about missions, social justice, Bible translation and other aspects of spreading the gospel around the world, available now in the new report Translating the Great Commission . When asked if they had previously “heard of the Great Commission,” half of U.S. churchgoers (51%) say they do not know this term. It would be reassuring to assume that the other half who know the term are also actually familiar with the passage known by this name, but that proportion is low (17%). Meanwhile, “the Great Commission” does ring