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Showing posts from June, 2018

SOCIAL JUSTICE, THE GLOBAL CHURCH, AND CONTROVERSIES

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By Elizabeth Prata - Posted at The End Time : It has been dizzying this past 3 months in the evangelical wider world, and very worrying in the online evangelical world. The controversies have been deep and fervent. The lines between camps within visible Christianity have widened. Seemingly stable ministries have suddenly swerved hard. There have been numerous events and controversies which reveal that we are less than unified over Christian foundational beliefs. The April conference called MLK50 sparked a division in how we as Christians are to approach race discussions. TGC and GCC's coupling for a west coast conference titled "Enduring Faithfulness" sparked a discussion about how far to delve into the culture and which topics are truly Gospel centered. Agreement was not reached and the two entities uncoupled. Beth Moore's Letter to Brothers charged the global church with misogyny and threw gas in the cultural #MeToo movement, which in turn and inflamed the e

Court ruling to help Christian teachers, supporters say

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By Tom Strode - Posted at Baptist Press : WASHINGTON (BP)-- Christians and other teachers in public schools, as well as the school-choice movement, stand to benefit from the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today (June 27) that public-sector unions may not require fees from nonmembers, supporters of the ruling say. In a 5-4 opinion, the high court ruled against such mandates by government and public-sector unions and overturned a 41-year-old Supreme Court decision in the process. The justices decided such a requirement on workers who refuse to join the union is a violation of free-speech protections in the First Amendment. "States and public-sector unions may no longer extract agency fees from nonconsenting employees," Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the court's opinion. A union procedure that automatically deducts fees from a nonmember's wages "violates the First Amendment and cannot continue," he said. "Neither an agency fee nor any o

Political hostility escalates: “Is America headed toward a civil war?”

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By Dr. Jim Denison - Posted at The Denison  Forum : “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” This is how Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) urged protesters in Los Angeles to treat Trump administration officials in public. This after White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant last Friday. That same day, Florida attorney general Pam Bondi was bullied at a movie screening in Tampa by hecklers who had to be deterred by her security personnel. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was jeered at a restaurant, as was White House official Stephen Miller. The rancor may not stop with political officials. MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch : “If you vote for Trump then you, the voter, you, not Donald Trump, are standing at the border, like Nazis, going ‘you here, y

US Supreme Court Asks Washington Supreme Court to Revisit Florist Judgment in Light of Masterpiece Cakeshop Ruling

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By Heather Clark - Posted at Christian News Network : WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has asked the Washington State Supreme Court to revisit a ruling against a florist who was found guilty of discrimination for providing referrals to a regular customer who wanted her to furnish his same-sex ceremony, directing the court to review the matter in light of the high court’s Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, which found that hostility toward religion unfairly influenced the legal judgment. The Washington Supreme Court will now need to examine whether or not Barronelle Stutzman of Arlene’s Flowers received a fair trial by the state courts. The U.S. Supreme Court had ruled earlier this month in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case that decision-makers must be neutral toward religion in contemplating whether or not a violation of the law was committed, not being prejudiced against it. “As the record shows, some of the commissioners at the Commission’s formal, public hearings endorsed the view

Al Mohler Expresses Concern Over Gay Christian Revoice Conference

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By Michael Gryboski - Posted at the  Christian Post: Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, has expressed concern about an upcoming conference centered on LGBT Christians. Called the Revoice Conference, the multiday event is scheduled for July 26–28 at Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri, with hundreds expected to attend. In an episode of "The Briefing" podcast released Friday, Mohler said his "biggest concern" about the conference is the event's apparent acceptance of the idea that sexual identity "becomes a defining issue that isn't changed by the Gospel and isn't transformed by sanctification." "I did not say that coming to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ results in any kind of immediate transformation of sexual desire," explained Mohler. Continue reading... HT: Sermon Audio

Revoice in their own voice

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Screenshot: REVOICE.US By Colin Smothers - Posted at ANCHOR⚓D: Much controversy has swirled around the upcoming Revoice conference being held at a PCA church in St. Louis on July 26–28. Here is its stated purpose: “Supporting, encouraging, and empowering gay, lesbian, same-sex-attracted, and other LGBT Christians so they can flourish while observing the historic, Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality.” A number of writers have signaled significant disagreements with the personalities involved with the Revoice conference: Steven Wedgeworth, A Critical Review of Spiritual Friendship , Mere Orthodoxy Kevin DeYoung, Words, Labels, and ‘Sexual Minorities’ , The Gospel Coalition Tim Challies, The Controversy Behind the Revoice Conference , Challies.com Denny Burk, What about the Revoice Conference? , DennyBurk.com Richard Phillips, Can the “Welcoming Church” Speak the Truth? , Reformation21 Todd Pruitt, For the Love of Those Fighting Against Homosexuality , Mortificati

Christian Death Toll from Herdsmen Attacks Mounts in Adamawa State, Nigeria

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Location of Adamawa State in Nigeria - Wikipedia Posted at Morning Star News : In area of growing religious conflict, judge sentences five Christians to death. JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslim Fulani herdsmen have killed at least 54 Christians this year in the northeastern state of Adamawa, Nigeria, according to area sources. In a state where predominantly Christian Bachama tribesmen have formed militias in response to violence by Islamic extremist group Boko Haram and heavily-armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen, Christians were slaughtered in the Numan, Demsa, Lamurde and Girei areas, the sources said. At least 15 Christians were killed in the Numan area on May 2 when Fulani herdsmen attacked Bang, Nyanga, Bonki and Nzomosu villages, area resident Harold Wilson told Morning Star News by text message. Continue reading...

If same-sex attraction is sinful, then what?

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By Denny Burk Recently, there has been much debate about sexuality and human identity. A great deal of it has been related to the upcoming “Revoice” conference  in St. Louis. That controversy is ongoing. As I have mentioned previously , evangelicals have not come to a consensus whether same-sex attraction is sinful and whether it is the proper basis for constructing an “identity.” Heath Lambert and I wrote a book back in 2015 arguing that SSA is sinful as it is a part of our fallen Adamic nature (see Transforming Homosexuality , P&R 2015). Our argument goes against some celibate gay identity proponents who argue that SSA may be a part of the brokenness of creation but is not itself sinful. They would say that SSA is fallen, but it’s fallen like cancer not like pride. Our argument also goes against those like Gregory Coles who suggest that SSA may have roots in God’s good creation design. In the book, we identify three components of sexual orientation—sexual attraction,

Let Them Eat Wedding Cake: The Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Colorado Baker (But Only Him)

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By Kevin Cain, J.D. - Posted at Apologetics Press : Justice Kennedy (who authored the 5-4 Obergefell opinion recognizing constitutional protections for gay marriage) strikes again authoring the majority opinion on the long-awaited Colorado baker and gay wedding cake case. 1 While many were looking forward to the Supreme Court addressing the issue of conflicting interests (gay rights versus free exercise of religion), the Supreme Court side-stepped this issue and resolved this particular case in such a way that it will have little impact on other cases in the future. Justice Kennedy was joined by six other justices with two justices dissenting, making the opinion a 7-2 split. This case involved a Colorado baker who refused on religious grounds to bake a cake for a gay wedding. The gay couple filed a charge against the baker alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. The Commission found that the baker discriminated ba

The Anti-Gospel of Immigration Activism and American Prosperity

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By Ariel Bovat - Posted at  Kaleoscope:  Several months ago, Time magazine published an article titled, Smugglers Inc. The author quotes a female coyote, which is another name for human smuggler, as she discusses her “work”: Other coyotes don’t care, they’ll just take the money and leave them, robbed or whatever. She flips through her digital ­scrapbook to find a woman who arrived in tears. “She had been raped, and had an infection.” A trip to the hospital was arranged. “And this blond woman says she was raped also. The coyote in the jungle separated her from the group and told her she couldn’t move forward until she slept with him. Latin American people, along with other ethnic groups, many of them women, risk their lives and pay large amounts of money to Latino coyotes to pay off the cartel. Once they do make it across the border, they are still at the mercy of smugglers, operating and moving them around the U.S. On June 14, 2018, special agents from U.S. Immigration an

Persecution in Turkey – From Polycarp to Fikret Böcek

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By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Place for Truth : If it’s true, as the ancient Tertullian said, that “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church,” much seed has been sown on Turkish soil, from the 2nd-century martyrdom of Polycarp to the massacre of Christian Armenians in 1915 (where 1.5 million Armenians lost their lives). And these are only the most notorious cases. In Turkey, persecution against Christians has spanned centuries, perpetrated first by the Romans and then by the Muslims. In fact, it’s still happening today. In every case, the justification is political: Christians are enemies of the state. A Turkish Pastor Under Fire A 1998 graduate of Westminster Seminary in California, Turkish-born Fikret Böcek moved back to his country in 2001 to plant a confessional Reformed church in Izmir – the ancient Smyrna, the persecuted city of Revelation 2:8-11 , where bishop Polycarp famously died for his faith. From the start, Böcek aimed to make his church

The Gathering Storm: A Split in the Reformed World

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By Todd Friel - Wretched TV Link: https://youtu.be/91jXXjkCKN4 Watch and listen to full episodes of Wretched Radio & TV for FREE: https://wretched.org

Truth, Power, and Pence at the SBC

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By Jonathan Leeman - Posted at TGC : I’m sitting here at the Southern Baptist Convention. Earlier today Vice President Mike Pence addressed the convention. We were told he initiated the offer to speak. I wish we had not accepted. Don’t misunderstand. I’m grateful to God for our nation. I want him to bless it. But here’s a question for my fellow Southern Baptists and evangelicals more broadly: can you name a place in the Bible where God sends a ruler of a (non-Israelite) nation to speak to God’s people? Is the pattern not just the opposite? Moses challenges Pharaoh. Daniel confronts Nebuchadnezzar. John the Baptist calls out Herod. And Paul appeals to Caesar. The biblical flow chart for confrontation occurs in Psalm 2: “Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.” The arrow moves from God’s people to rulers of the nations, not rulers to God’s people. Jonah didn’t invite the king of Nineveh to challenge him. He said, “Repent.” Permit me to remain neutral

North Koreans ‘betrayed’ by human rights omission in Trump-Kim agreement

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Posted at Voice for the Persecuted : ( World Watch Monitor ) North Koreans were “betrayed” by the failure of US President Donald Trump to include human rights provisions in his agreement with the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, following their historic meeting in Singapore, according to Human Rights Watch’s Asia Director, Phil Robertson. “The North Korean people have suffered for so long,” he told the BBC World Service , “and it looks like they’ll have to suffer for a little longer.” But after the meeting Trump said the many North Koreans currently being held in forced-labour camps were “one of the great winners today”. Responding to a question from ABC News ’s Jon Karl about whether North Korea’s oppression of its people was worse than any other regime on earth, Trump said: “It’s a rough situation over there; there’s no question about it, and we did discuss it today pretty strongly. “I mean, knowing what the main purpose of what we were doing is – de-nuking – but we did discuss it

Two Concerns About the Supreme Court’s Masterpiece Cakeshop Ruling

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By Shane Vander Hart - Posted at Caffeinated Thoughts : The Supreme Court released its much-anticipated ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission on Monday morning. The Court found in a 7 to 2 decision that Colorado Civil Rights Commission did violate the First Amendment’s free exercise clause. I am not surprised the Court found in Jack Phillips’ (the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop) favor ( the justices’ statements during oral arguments led me to think it was going to be a favorable ruling ), but that they did so with such a firm majority. I am pleased that the Court ruled in Mr. Phillips favor. This decision is a win. Had it gone the other way it would have been a terrible setback for religious liberty. So this is a victory, but this ruling is not the watershed decision many of us hoped it would be. It did not strike down Colorado’s SOGI law. It did not require an exemption for religious liberty or religious conscience. What the opinion says is that the

Pence to address SBC annual meeting

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By Lisa Misner - Posted at iB2 : Motion to replace VP with time of prayer fails on the floor Controversy arose Monday when the Southern Baptist Convention’s Order of Business Committee announced Vice President Mike Pence had been added to the Wednesday morning schedule. Debate online and in the convention hall centered on the appropriateness of having a political figure speak at time when the country and the denomination itself is experiencing so much disunity. Garrett Kell, a messenger from Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va., brought a motion to replace the Vice President’s address with a time of prayer. The motion called Pence’s addition to the schedule a source of disunity with minority brothers and sisters that suggests alignment with a particular political party and puts SBC workers around world at risk. Kell asked messengers to consider Romans 14:19. Committee on Order of Business Chair Grant Ethridge responded to the motion. “The Southern Baptist Convention aligns it

Sex Offenders Groom Churches Too

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By Kimberly Harris - Posted at Christianity Today : How predatory behavior goes undetected in congregations. A man who had long sexually abused children sat in front of his pastor, wanting to confess his crimes. He began cautiously, mentioning that there had been accusations against him. He got no further, as his minister broke in, “Well, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of,” the minister said quickly. “You’re the last person I’d believe that of. End of conversation.” This true account was shared in Anna C. Salter’s 1991 book, Predators, Pedophiles, Rapists, And Other Sex Offenders . As a psychologist who has spent over 20 years working with and studying victims and sexual offenders, Salter says that “many offenders report that religious people are even easier to fool than most people.” Rachael Denhollander, the courageous attorney who invoked her faith in her statement during the trial of her abuser Larry Nassar, warns , “It defies the gospel of Christ when we do no

For the Love of Those Fighting Against Homosexuality

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By Todd Pruitt - Posted at The Alliance : There is a great deal of discussion going on among Christiains these days about the moral status of homosexuality and homosexual desires. In my own denomination, the PCA, the latest dustup is swirling around the Revoice conference being held in St. Louis at Memorial Presbyterian Church (PCA). The stated purpose of Revoice is: “Supporting, encouraging, and empowering gay, lesbian, same-sex-attracted, and other LGBT Christians so they can experience the life-giving character of the historic Christian tradition.” Not surprisingly, this is causing a great deal of division and confusion within the PCA. The confusion is quite understandable. People inside and outside the PCA are wondering if the historically conservative denomination is now embracing homosexuality. However, the organizers and speakers of Revoice profess fidelity to the biblical position on sexual intimacy – that sexual intimacy is a gift of God legitimately experienced

CrossFit Fires a Christian After Gay Rights Activists Demand It

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By Erick Erickson - Posted at The Resurgent : The employee, on his personal social media feed, defended a CrossFit Box under fire for not having a gay pride event. I do not know Russell Berger well, though we attended Reformed Theological Seminary together. He was chief marketing officer for CrossFit until yesterday afternoon. That's when the gay mob came for Russell. He had the audacity to, on his personal Twitter feed, accurately declare celebrating gay pride a sin. He did so in defense of a CrossFit Box that had generated public outrage for canceling a gay pride event due to the owner's religious beliefs. Russell, again on his personal Twitter feed, defended the owners. This drew the gay mob into organizing mode to fire Russell. They were successful. CrossFit has every right to hire and fire who they want. But we should still point this out as it comes just a few days after the Supreme Court determined bigots against religion are trying to use the power of the sta

Why The Masterpiece Ruling Is Truly A Major Win For Religious Liberty

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By John C. Eastman - Posted at The Federalist : Despite years of case law emptying free exercise, the Supreme Court has now confirmed that government cannot apply laws in a discriminatory way against religious believers. Progressives’ prompt trivializing of Monday’s victory for religious liberty in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission is unsurprising, but that many conservatives have reacted in the same way is troubling. Two essays at The Federalist belittled the ruling; Catholic Vote called it a “very small win for religious liberty,” while the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board says the victory for religious liberty “may be short lived.” An essay at First Things , though, takes the proverbial cake: “Only profound naïveté can spin the majority decision as a victory for religious liberty.” If victory produces this level of lament, it is disturbing to contemplate how conservatives would have reacted to defeat. Conservative cynicism toward Masterpiece

The Pence Rule and Wisdom

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By Pastor Sam Powell - Posted at My Only Comfort : This topic keeps coming up. Again, I want to stress this. I do not at all care, nor have any issue whatsoever with what Mr. Pence does. As a high powered politician, he might have many reasons not to eat with a woman alone. My greatest concern is with false teaching. As Christians, we all want strong marriages. As Christians we despise sexual immorality, and seek to flee from it. For these reasons, false teaching sounds appealing and it is hard to put a finger on what is wrong with it. It isn’t that it is completely wrong. It’s that it is almost right, which in many ways is far worse. Almost right is more deadly than completely wrong. For example, here is a post today from Beautiful Christian Life: Why the Pence Rule Shows Wisdom . These five reasons listed are purported to be Biblical. But are they? Lets look at them... Continue reading...

Employees quit American Bible Society over sex and marriage rules

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https://www.americanbible.org/ By Yonat Shimron - Posted at Religion News Service : (RNS) — One of the oldest nonprofit organizations dedicated to distributing Bibles around the world will soon require all employees to adhere to orthodox Christian beliefs and heed a conservative code of sexual ethics. Employees are resigning in protest of the new policy, which will effectively prohibit sexually active LGBT people and couples in cohabitating relationships from working for the American Bible Society. But the organization stands by it as a measure intended to bring “unity and clarity.” In a statement issued in response to RNS questions, President and CEO Roy Peterson wrote: “We did this because we believe a staff made up of people with a deep and personal connection to the Bible will bring unity and clarity as we continue our third century of ministry.” He added: “We understand there are differing views on these matters.” He also said: “This decision does not signal inten

Supreme Court Rules for Colorado Baker Who Refused to Make Same-Sex Wedding Cake

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By Heather Clark - Posted at Christian News Network : WASHINGTON — While not completely solving the issue at large, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who was at the center of a case involving his right to decline to decorate cakes for events such as same-sex celebrations when doing so would violate his religious convictions, finding that he was wrongfully subjected to hostility because of his faith. Justice Anthony Kennedy, appointed to the bench by then-President Ronald Reagan, wrote the majority opinion, concluding that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission was “neither tolerant nor respectful of [the baker’s] religious beliefs.” “As the record shows, some of the commissioners at the Commission’s formal, public hearings endorsed the view that religious beliefs cannot legitimately be carried into the public sphere or commercial domain, disparaged Phillips’ faith as despicable and characterized it as merely rhetorical, and compared his invocation of

Preaching, Seeker-Driven Churches, and Unbelief

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By Chris Hutchinson - Posted at Tabletalk Magazine : The communion of which I am a member has from time to time experienced a lively debate between those who want to advance a more contemporary, “seeker friendly” worship style on the Lord’s Day and those who want to uphold the more formal, liturgical forms of traditional Protestant worship. It is a complicated discussion, and opposing camps often form too readily; thus, further strife over the subject seems almost inevitable. But perhaps most disturbing to me is the apparent assumption that those who support the “seeker friendly” style are more clearly on the side of grace than those who do not. The argument goes something like this: The gospel is about grace, and grace is about meeting people where they are. Therefore, in order to meet people where they are, we must remove all extrabiblical obstacles from their path to Jesus. Traditional worship forms and language are extrabiblical obstacles for most people in our culture.

Only 37% of Illinois Students Passed PARCC’s Reading and Writing Assessment

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By Shane Vander Hart - Posted at Truth In American Education : Fox Illinois reported earlier this month that only 37 percent of 3rd-8th graders in Illinois passed the PARCC’s reading and writing assessment. Nearly two-thirds of Illinois students in 3rd through 8th grade are not up to standard for reading and writing, according to the state administered PARCC test and some parents said it would be best to go back to the basics.  “Every student is different and my opinion is if you really want to show a difference in any kind of testing at all, turn the classroom back over to the teachers, let the teachers teach, get the testing out,” Mike Foster, parent of an Illinois student said.  But not all agree that the testing should be what the standard is based upon for students to be considered.  “Minimize the standardized testing. It’s ok to have certain guidelines and make sure they’re adhering to certain minimal guidelines. But overall just let the teachers teach,” Foster s