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Showing posts from September, 2018

Where Has This Lindsey Graham Been?

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By Shane Vander Hart - Posted at Caffeinated Thoughts : I’ve not been able to watch the entire hearing with Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh as I was traveling yesterday. I did view the opening statements when I got home. I listened to approximately two-thirds of Dr. Ford’s testimony while I drove to Omaha. I saw lots of talk about U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) time questioning Kavanaugh, so I wanted to watch it. Wow, where has this Lindsey Graham been? I like this Lindsey Graham. I was willing to hear Dr. Ford because I think people who make accusations like these deserve to be heard. Listening to her testimony, it’s easy to have sympathy for Dr. Ford. That said, my standard has always been corroboration. We can’t just depend on an accusation that has been unverified. Read more here. See also: Transcripts of Brett Kavanaugh’s Interviews with Senate Judiciary Committee Investigators  (Caffeinated Thoughts)

10 Things You Should Know about Scientism

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By J.P. Moreland - Posted at Crossway : Scientism is at the very foundation of our secular culture, and its nature and weaknesses should be the first priority in this area of church teaching. This article is part of the 10 Things You Should Know series. 1. Scientism is a philosophical thesis that comes in two forms. Scientism is a position in philosophy, not science. The claims of scientism are assertions about science, not of science. Strong scientism is the view that the only knowledge we can have about reality are those that have been properly tested in the hard sciences (especially physics and chemistry). All other claims—e.g. theological, ethical, political, aesthetic—are mere expressions of emotion and private opinions. Weak scientism allows that there may be modestly justified beliefs outside science, but the settled assertions of the hard sciences are vastly superior to claims outside science. 2. Strong scientism is self-refuting. A statement/sentence is self-refutin

Revoice and God's Design for the Family

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By Todd Pruitt - Posted at Mortification of Spin : If you are a regular reader of this blog then you have probably read my previous piece on the Revoice conference. Revoice has been the source of great division in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the denomination in which I serve. That is because although Nate Collins, the conference organizer is a Southern Baptist, the church which hosted the conference belongs to the PCA and several of the speakers are office holders in the PCA. As I have written previously, I am thankful that those connected to Revoice have repeatedly affirmed their belief in the biblical ethic that sexual intimacy is to be shared between a man and woman in the bonds of marriage. There are no special congratulations for affirming what the Bible teaches. However, lest anyone mistakenly conclude that the speakers and organizers of Revoice advocate the normalizing of homosexual acts, I want to be clear that is not the case. Unfortunately, the position

Socialism and Secular Humanism

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By Mike Ratliff - Posted at Possessing the Treasure : God saved me right in the middle of the 1980’s. I remember that time very well. After God had mercy on me I was changed radically. When I was in my car I listened to Christian talk radio all the time. I was starving for the truth. During that time I remember how many, if not most, of the commentators I followed were taking issue with the fact that the leadership in not only our churches, but also in our Christian institutions were rejecting something called a “Christian World View” and were replacing it with one centered in “Secular Humanism.” Let’s fast forward to 2016 and the Presidential election. Everyone I knew and all those in the know were 100% confident that Hillary Clinton, an avowed Secular Humanist, would easily defeat Donald Trump and continue the Socialistic reforms that had been taking place in our country since end of Ronald Reagan’s last term in office. Think about that. He was in office for 8 years and even th

Rebel Force Attacks Churches in Burma

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A United Wa State Army (UWSA) militant begins toppling cross on church building in rebel-held territory in Shan state, Burma (Myanmar), in photo circulated on Facebook. (Morning Star News via Facebook) Posted at Morning Star News :  Extremist militants aim to restrict missionary activity, sources say. YANGON, Burma (Morning Star News) – Ethnic Wa rebels this month shut down churches or destroyed their buildings and temporarily detained several clergymen in eastern Burma (Myanmar), sources said. On the border with China, soldiers of Myanmar’s largest ethnic rebel group, the United Wa State Army (UWSA), attacked the churches in the rebel’s autonomous region in Shan state, according to Christian leaders. “We confirmed that at least 12 churches have been destroyed or closed as of Sept. 20,” a Christian leader who has lived in the Wa region for several decades told Morning Star News. The Wa people worship ancestral spirits, and the move by the UWSA was meant to hamper Christian mis

Conspiracy Theories Are Bunk

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : Henry Ford (1863–1947), founder of the Ford Motor Company, famously said, “ History is bunk .” That may be sometimes true. Historians do make mistakes. This is why all histories must be read with a critical eye. Not all theories of history are equally valid. Some of them do not do what any good theory must do, namely, explain the evidence. Still, some theories are attractive because they offer a comprehensive explanation of the past (or the present) and they are relatively simple to grasp and they do not require a lot of work. E.g., One popular historical theory says that most things are the result of the dialectical struggle between classes. According to this theory most historical phenomena can be explained by the ongoing attempt by the upper classes to oppress, for their own benefit, the working classes. Frankly, given such a theory one need not pay a great deal of attention to the facts in any particular instance because, we

Still Protesting: The Protests of the Spirit

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By Stephen Unthank - Posted at Place for Truth : Five hundred years ago the Protestant Reformation changed the theological and ecclesiastical landscape forever. And yet, was that something that only made sense in their historical context? Is the Reformation over, a quirk of history, only brought up in Church History classes? Perhaps we should we put down our picket signs and end the long forgotten protest? No one cares anymore; the world has moved on to other things. But the more I read Calvin, the more I see the need for reclaiming that forgotten motto of Protestantism, semper reformanda (always reforming). One of John Calvin’s great reformation insights was his insistence that the word and Spirit always go together. This was a theological dictum aimed at the twin errors of Rome on the one hand and Zwickau on the other. Roman Catholic theology had institutionalized the Holy Spirit, “locking him up”, says Sinclair Ferguson, “in the institutions and instruments of the church.

But who are we?

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By Jared Olivetti - Posted at Gentle Reformation : In a new case of the tail wagging the dog, recent research indicates that Americans, whose political views were previously driven by their religious and ethnic identities, are now seeing those religious and ethnic identities being driven by their politics. Reporting on a paper by Patrick Egan , the website 538 summarizes : ...people shift the non-political parts of their identity, including ethnicity and religion, to align better with being a Democrat or a Republican...Increasingly, the political party you belong to represents a big part of your identity and is not just a reflection of your political views. It may even be your most important identity. This also seems to match the sea change in how many in the American church view the personal ethics of political leaders . In 2011, 30% of white evangelicals believed an "elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill

We Need to Change How We Pray

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By Jordan Standridge - Posted at The Cripplegate : I didn’t have much of a prayer life growing up. I was your typical kid who only prayed before meals and tests, and asked God to make food that was bad for me actually make me healthy and to help me remember things that I never actually studied for. Over the years, some events happened that have helped to shape my prayer life. I remember one time, in the Southern Baptist church I attended in high school, that a lady told the church that she had terminal cancer. So on a Sunday night, the elders of the church laid their hand on her and one of them was asked to pray. I will never forget his words: “Lord, we know that you will heal Susan. We look forward to hearing the doctors declare that this is a miracle, that you will be glorified by restoring Susan to full health.” I remember being bothered by that prayed. The bother became anger only a couple weeks later when she went to be with the Lord. I wasn’t angry at God, but I was angry a

Did America Have a Christian Founding?

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By Mark David Hall - Posted at The Heritage Foundation : Abstract: Did America have a Christian Founding? This disputed question, far from being only of historical interest, has important implications for how we conceive of the role of religion in the American republic. Mark David Hall begins by considering two popular answers to the query—“Of course not!” and “Absolutely!”—both of which distort the Founders’ views. After showing that Christian ideas were one of the important intellectual influences on the Founders, he discusses three major areas of agreement with respect to religious liberty and church–state relations at the time of the Founding: Religious liberty is a right and must be protected; the national government should not create an established church, and states should have them only if they encourage and assist Christianity; and religion belongs in the public square. In short, while America did not have a Christian Founding in the sense of creating a theocracy, its F

The Ethics of Evangelism

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By Bob McEvoy - Posted at The Salty Scrivener : Text. Matthew 10:8b-15 Jesus has called his disciples, and now they get some really practical good advice for ministry, part of their ‘Seminary Evangelism Module’ – and its not just good advice for them, but for us also as we seek to represent the Saviour in this godless world. 1. Wisdom in Accounting. If there’s anything that causes scandal in the church it’s MONEY. Ministry is a ‘Not for Profit’ exercise. Freely you have received, freely give One doesn’t become a minister to earn a living, despite the fact that there are some denominations that pay their ministers exceedingly well – our salvation was a free gift, and while we are warned here that a labourer is worthy of his hire, we are never to charge people to hear the gospel, never to turn ministry into a ‘good living for a living.’ Evangelism doesn’t employ bribery. Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, . You won’t need your money! Encou

Who Picked the Committees at the Constitutional Convention?

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Signing of the Constitution by Louis S. Glanzman, 1987. (Independence National Historical Park Collection) By David O. Stewart - Posted at the Journal of the American Revolution : Through four months in the summer of 1787, passionate arguments over political principles filled the Pennsylvania State House while hard-nosed political horse-trading buzzed in the taverns and drawing rooms of Philadelphia. Fifty-five American politicians were writing a new charter of government for the United States, the Constitution. They produced the longest-surviving constitutional republic in human history, and that summer has drawn the rapt attention of historians and legal scholars ever since. One part of that constitutional story, however, has proved elusive. Although the debates among the delegates sometimes were electrifying and often were important, many of the most difficult questions were resolved by specially-appointed committees of a few delegates.[1] Because key constitutional p

Church raided amid escalating crackdown

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Plainclothes officials raid an unregistered church in Guizhou. (Photo: ChinaAid) Posted at ChinaAid : (Xuzhou, Jiangsu—Sept. 12, 2018) A church in China’s southeastern Jiangsu province was raided by the local religious management department and public security bureau on Friday. The officials entered Dao’en Church on Sept. 7 and alleged it had not registered with the government before holding religious events, rendering their activities illegal. In China, regulations specify religious devotees may only hold services in state-approved venues, but such buildings are monitored by the Communist Party, which reviews all teachings before they are preached for statements arbitrarily deemed dangerous to its rule and imposes propaganda. Dao’en Church’s leaders negotiated with the religious affairs bureau, but the authorities refused to relent and forbade Christians from gathering there. Out of the church’s five branches, three of them have been forcibly closed, and government departments

A society without Psalms

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By Andrew Roycroft - Posted at Thinking Pastorally : When contemporary poet Edward Clarke turned 40, he set himself the task of reading through the Authorised Version of the Bible in one year – half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening. The outcome of this was a project which takes the Psalms as a poetic starting point, and from them reflects on life, God, guilt, the future, and the nature of meaning. Some of the processes involved in writing, and the poems which have emerged from it, were broadcast on Radio 4, in a fascinating and discombobulating programme, part personal log, part reflection on society (it can be accessed here ). Away from the aesthetic and artistic concerns articulated in ‘Clarke’s Psalter’, there are some important points raised about the place of Scripture, and specifically of the Psalms for our wider world. As Clarke spent time in the Bible he shared that ‘one does feel enthralled to something greater’, and that while he is not a regular c

Psalm 91 on 9/11

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By Shane Vander Hart - Posted at Caffeinated Thoughts: Psalm 91 has always been framed and displayed in our home to remind us of who is our shield, our refuge, and our hope. God is our protector and provider. He is our ever-present help in time of trouble. I think it is apropos to read Psalm 91 as we remember 9/11. We need not be afraid when we rest in the shelter of the Most High God. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. Read more here. 

Persecution escalates in Henan since beginning of September

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A church meets in this undated photo. (Photo: ChinaAid) Posted at ChinaAid : (Zhengzhou, Henan—Sept. 8, 2018) Authorities across Henan have been taking escalating measures to suppress Christianity since the beginning of September, violating the rights of Christians and closing down churches. One of the churches, located in Tanghe County, Henan, is experiencing government harassment as officials go to the church every day to confiscate its property. One of the Christians who attends the church said that the authorities do not have any warrants permitting them to enter or seize the property. This is part of an ongoing attempt to squelch Christianity and force Christians to adhere to Communist Party ideals. Some of the acts committed to obtain this goal have been unprecedented since the Cultural Revolution, such as removing crosses, banning Christian families from displaying crosses and Christian couplets on their doorways, coercing believers to join government-censored church

SOCIAL JUSTICE STATEMENT SPURS ‘PRODUCTIVE CONVERSATION’

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By Marsha West - Posted at Christian Research Network : Baptist Press has a piece on the battle brewing over a recently released statement titled Social Justice & The Gospel. As a result, “productive conversations” are now taking place by those in the evangelical community who land on different sides of the social justice discussion. John MacArthur, a conservative evangelical who spearheaded the SJ&G statement, strongly disagrees with Russell Moore, a progressive evangelical who believes that “the Gospel is a Gospel … of both justice and justification.” We shall see how this all plays out. Top tier signatories of the statement include John MacArthur, Voddie Baucham, Phil Johnson, James White, Tom Buck, Anthony Mathenia, Michael O’Fallon, Tom Ascol, Darrell Harrison, Craig Mitchell, Justin Peters, Jeremy Vuolo and Josh Buice. Over at SH&G, Phil Johnson clarifies what the signers of the statement believe to be the true Gospel of Jesus Christ in a piece he wrote ti

Persecution of Christians

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Posted at The Biblical Way : “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22).” Today we hear of ‘ethnic cleansing’ which is an extreme form of persecution. The people who organise and bring about these atrocities may be motivated by their religious beliefs or ideologies. They oppose others whom they hate, because they don’t subscribe to their beliefs or ideologies. This would appear to be the case in Myanmar where the military have forced Rohingya Muslims to leave their homes and villages and flee to Bangladesh. There they endeavour to survive in vast refugee camps with little hope of returning to their homeland. Their villages have been razed to the ground by burning. Some are left with nothing, apart from terrifying memories of horrific atrocities, murders and rape. The photographic evidence and testimony of survivors is clear and indisputable. Consequently the United States has called upon the U.N. Security Coun

Americans are changing their relationship with Facebook

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By Andrew Perrin - Posted at Pew Research Center : Significant shares of Facebook users have taken steps in the past year to reframe their relationship with the social media platform. Just over half of Facebook users ages 18 and older (54%) say they have adjusted their privacy settings in the past 12 months, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Around four-in-ten (42%) say they have taken a break from checking the platform for a period of several weeks or more, while around a quarter (26%) say they have deleted the Facebook app from their cellphone. All told, some 74% of Facebook users say they have taken at least one of these three actions in the past year. The findings come from a survey of U.S. adults conducted May 29-June 11, following revelations that the former consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had collected data on tens of millions of Facebook users without their knowledge. Read more here. HT: Sermon Audio

The Gospel Is Not Social

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : Every culture and generation has been tempted to capture Jesus for their own agenda. The Gnostics portrayed Jesus as a second-century figure (a dead give away) who was a Gnostic opposed to the church and the Christian gospel of free salvation from the wrath to come through faith alone in Christ alone. The Constantinian (post-4th century) church often portrayed Jesus as such a fearsome king and judge that the church began to search for other saviors and mediators. In the Modern era, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) re-made Jesus into his own rationalist image—he produced his own version of the New Testament stripped of supernaturalism. In the Carter 1970s and the Reagan 80s, as the baby-boomer-dominated culture turned inward, Jesus became a facilitator for our personal sense of well being. Now, with the rise of the Millennial generation, the product of the war against terror and a Carter-esque economic malaise, the concern is ostensib

The Bible Condemns American Slavery

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By Jesse Johnson - Posted at T he Cripplegate : In my first semester at seminary I came across a Douglas Wilson poem which implied that the American institution of slavery was good and noble (“The Experiment” in Untune the Sky ). In fact, the noun used in the poem to describe the supposed goal of the American South was “virtue.” Later I came across another work by Wilson, this one coauthored by Steve Wilkins, Southern Slavery as it Was . While ostensibly opposed to the “racism” of the South, the book struck me as a nothing other than a thorough defense of antebellum Christians who were slave owners. As a product of a secular university (and certainly a secular culture), I was floored to see a well-known Christian leader defending slavery. Since then, I have found many other Christians who believe the same thing: that the Bible not only permitted the American slave trade, but that those slave owners in the South who claimed the name of Christ and yet profited from the buying and