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Showing posts from October, 2018

Asia Bibi Acquitted, Christian Mother Speaks Out After 8 Years on Death Row: 'I Can't Believe It'

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By Stoyan Zaimov - Posted at The Christian Post : Asia Bibi, the Christian mother of five who has been on death row for blasphemy since 2010, has been acquitted by Pakistan's Supreme Court. Although the decision was made back on October 8, it was held hidden from the public until its announcement on Wednesday. "The appeal is allowed. She has been acquitted. The judgement of high court as well as trial court is reversed. Her conviction is set aside," Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar declared in the 56-page judgment . "Her conviction is set aside and she is to be relieved forthwith if not required in other charges," he added. The ruling related to a 2015 appeal against the death sentence for Bibi, who in 2009 was accused by a group of Muslim coworkers of having insulted the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Read more here. See also: Video: Radicals protests Asia Bibi’s release, Pakistani Christians request our prayers  (Voice of the Pe

Locusts, Jefferson, and Me—Living with a Promise

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Our Front Porch - Christian Heritage Fellowship By Stephen A. Flick - Posted at Christian Heritage Fellowship: One of the favorite places Beth and I used to sit and share in each other’s lives was the swing on our front porch. Handcrafted by Amish Dutch in western Pennsylvania years ago, it was brought to our home by Mom Flick when she came to live with us in Mississippi following her diagnosis of terminal liver cancer in 1998. But since this past summer, that porch swing which has been a silent observer of so much of our family’s history is now—for the most part—unoccupied, no longer witness to our hopes, dreams, and disappointments. While the patterns of life have enormously changed over the last three months, there is one thing that has not changed; I am still living with a promise! The Promise of God Not long after our accident that claimed the life of my precious wife, Beth, I selected a screen saver on my computer that allowed me to insert a portion of Scripture. Th

3 Ways October 31, 1517 Affected Your Life Today

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By Clint Archer - Posted at The Cripplegate: When Martin Luther pounded the 95 Theses on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, the effects rippled throughout space and time, changing the world then and there, as well as here and now, 501 years later. We may take for granted the impact that feisty monk’s actions had on Europe in 1517 and are still having on our lives this very day. We ought to be grateful to God for what he wrought in our lives with blunt instruments, Martin Luther, John Calvin, et al. 1. If you read your Bible today in your own language that’s because of the Reformation. Christians in 1517 did not have access to a Bible unless they had been schooled in Latin, a privilege reserved for the wealthy and the ecclesiastical order. So if you wanted to read the Bible you had to take a vow of celibacy, poverty, and obedience, and become a monk or priest. It was Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible into German that brought about the truth encapsulated

Is Education a Constitutional Right?

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By Laurence M. Vance - Posted at Tenth Amendment Center : An article in the September issue of The New Yorker makes the case that education is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution. It’s not. Public schools in Detroit are failing to educate students. Just like they are failing to do so in many large cities throughout the country. A case in the federal court system, Gary B. v. Snyder , filed by Public Counsel and Sidley Austin LLP on behalf of a class of Detroit students, argues that students in Detroit public schools who failed to learn how to read were denied their due process and equal protection rights under the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. The case was dismissed by a federal district court in Michigan in June, but has been appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The plaintiffs, as well as the writer of the piece in The New Yorker (Jill Lepore) cite the Supreme Court case of Plyler v . Doe (1982). In his book The Schoolhous

Parents Speak Out After ‘Drag Queen’ Included Among Literacy Day Speakers at Middle School

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By Heather Clark - Posted at Christian News Network: THORNTON, Colo. — Some parents of students at a middle school in Colorado are expressing objection after learning that a man who works as a “drag queen” was among the entities who spoke to students at a recent literacy day. According to reports, the man, who goes by the stage name “Jessica L’Whor,” appeared at Rocky Top Middle School on Friday, visiting various classrooms to talk about his profession and to read a book about acceptance. The man changed his name to “Ms. Jessica” for the occasion as he believed his full stage name would not be appropriate for children. He was one of over 100 visitors to the school for “Rocky Top Reads,” which included first responders, professional athletes, journalists, politicians, clergymen and others. The purpose of the event was to spotlight “the connection between literacy and a successful career.” Read more here.

Movie Review: 'American Gospel'

By Tim Challies - Posted at Challies.com : I would like to think we’re coming into a golden age for documentary film and television. There are many reasons for this, though most are related to the new digital economy. Not only does the internet provide new channels for distribution, but it also provides new methods for fundraising. Creating a film is extremely expensive, but crowdfunding (via Kickstarter or its many competitors) can defray that expense across hundreds or thousands of people. Meanwhile investors and other financial supporters are seeing greater promise in the medium. Filmmakers are responding by creating some excellent new works that may not have been possible even a decade ago. New to the field is American Gospel: Christ Alone , a film about what Americans understand to be the good news of the Christian faith. It asks, “Is Christianity Christ + the American dream?” It then tells “how the prosperity gospel (the Word of Faith movement) has distorted the gospel mess

Dozens of Christians Killed in Muslim Attack on Market in Kaduna State, Nigeria

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Location of Kaduna State in Nigeria (Wikipedia) Posted at Morning Star News : JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Muslims attacked a market in Kaduna state, in north-central Nigeria, on Thursday (Oct. 18), killing dozens of Christians and burning a church building, sources said. Area residents said a Muslim at the market in Kasuwan Magani, 36 kilometers (22 miles) south of the city of Kaduna, began yelling “Thief!” in the late afternoon in a move calculated to cause pandemonium ahead of an attack on Christians and their homes and businesses. “A Muslim raised a false alarm about a thief in the market, which caused stampede, and then other Muslims started chanting ‘Allahu Akbar [the jihadist slogan, God is Greater],’ attacking Christians, burning houses and shops belonging to Christians in the town,” area resident Kefas Mallam told Morning Star News. Read more here.

Closing the Facebook

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By Adam Parker - Posted at Reformation 21 : It's been two weeks since I deleted my Facebook account. I do not see myself going back. The reasons for leaving have nothing to do with cybersecurity or privacy - they have to do with what Facebook is doing to me as a person. I began using Facebook about a decade ago. Ten years ago my life was very different. My wife and I had lived in a different state for a stretch and recently had moved closer to home again. My life had been going through changes as our family had grown from 1 children to 4 children. As a young family, the idea of being able to share our lives online with family and friends was quite appealing: why not post photos for grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other friends we had made while living in multiple states to see? There was a stretch of time when I was quite happy with Facebook and found its utility to be helpful. My mom would "like" photos of her grandkids, I knew when my uncle or

What is Political Sovereignty?

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Posted at Reformation Scotland : Political sovereignty is not usually a widely and hotly debated topic. Yet the question of whether the EU undermines sovereignty dominates discussion. How do we define sovereignty and does it matter? We can get some help from past thinkers who have helped to shape our constitutional heritage. Our ideas of political power and its limitations were significantly shaped by Reformed writers. Such principles helped the Covenanters to resist autocratic rule. They remain relevant today. Samuel Rutherford published a key statement of these principles in Lex, Rex (The Law and the King). This book is a hammer blow against state claims for absolute power. It contained such a powerful argument that Charless II ordered it to be burnt by the hangman. Rutherford was charged with treason, dismissed from his post and placed under house arrest. He only escaped execution through being seriously ill. Rutherford said that “he would willingly die on the scaffold for t

Turkey Arrests Another Pastor Just Days after Pastor Brunson is Released

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By Kayla Koslosky - Posted at Christian Headlines: After releasing pastor Andrew Brunson just days ago, Turkish authorities detained another U.S. missionary. According to Middle East Concern , missionary David Byle, who has been preaching in Turkey for 18 years, was arrested in Ankara on Saturday by the Anti-Terror Police Department. Byle was reportedly released Sunday afternoon, soon after he was interrogated. The missionary was then ordered to leave the country within the next 15 days. "[We] have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support, not only from believers here in Turkey, but from literally all around the world. It means a lot to us and encourages us greatly to know we're not alone, that we're a part of such a great family, God's family," Byle and his family shared in a message. The Christian Post reports that Byle has been arrested several times while he has been a missionary in Turkey. Read more here. HT: Worthy News

Sen. Collins Remarks on Judge Brett Kavanaugh and Homosexual Marriage and Abortion Give Social Conservatives Pause

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Sen. Susan Collins, Wikipedia By Peter LaBarbera - Posted at Americans for Truth About Homosexuality : Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is largely credited with helping save the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice–with her reasoned speech Oct. 5 on the Senate floor in his defense. But what many conservatives papered over during the confirmation battle, especially after it turned very ugly with a serious of uncorroborated sex-assault claims against Kavanaugh, is Collins’ assertion that he can likely be counted on uphold both the Obergefell v. Hodges and Roe v. Wade rulings. Those decisions effectively imposed homosexuality-based “marriage” and abortion on all 50 states, respectively. Below is the excerpt of Collins’ speech dealing with these two social and “culture war” issues. It should be remembered that three former SCOTUS Justices appointed by Republican presidents–Anthony Kennedy (appointed by Reagan), Sandra Day O’Connor (also appointed b

Christian Leaders, Home Church of Pastor Andrew Brunson Celebrate His Freedom

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By Brandon Showalter - Posted at The Christian Post : Christian leaders and the home church of Pastor Andrew Brunson are celebrating his return to the United States, saying the development is a hopeful signal for the persecuted and is another reason why evangelicals support Trump. Brunson, a native of Montreat, North Carolina, spent the past two years in a Turkish prison on terrorism charges. Christ Community Church, his home parish in nearby Black Mountain, gathered on Sunday for a service to celebrate his release. A spokeswoman for the church said members and staff were "doing the happy dance and shouting hallelujah" on Friday upon hearing Brunson had been freed, according to the Asheville Citizen Times . "Today's sermon highlighted being faithful ... and waiting for the Lord in difficult times," she said Sunday. Read more here.

Crack-Down on Christians in Iran Continues with Two More Prison Sentences

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Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran. (Wikipedia) Posted at Morning Star News : JERUSALEM (Morning Star News) – Rights groups learned last week that two Christians in Iran have been sentenced to prison, the latest in a series of convictions on fabricated charges. Saheb Fadaei, already serving a 10-year prison sentence in Tehran, and Fatimeh Bakherti, both converts from Islam, were sentenced on Sept. 22 to 18 months and 12 months respectively for “spreading propaganda against the regime,” a common charge, according to Miles Windsor, advocacy and development manager of Middle East Concern (MEC). “It is essentially used along with charges such as ‘acting against national security’ as a broad charge against Christians,” Windsor said. “And it will relate to innocent activities as members of a house church.” Read more here. 

Pastor Andrew Brunson Freed in Turkey

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By Stoyan Zaimov - Posted at The Christian Post : American pastor Andrew Brunson has been granted his freedom in Turkey after a court convicted him of aiding terrorism but sentenced him only to time already served. The Washington Post reported on Friday that the court ordered Brunson's immediate release, bringing an end to his ordeal that started in October 2016 when he was placed under arrest. The pastor, who served at a Protestant church in Izmir for decades before his imprisonment, was charged with providing assistance to groups the Turkish government accused of being involved in a failed coup in 2016. Brunson, alongside persecution watchdog groups around the world, insisted that he was innocent, and argued that he was being punished for his Christian faith. Read more here. See also: Turkey Releases Detailed Ruling on Brunson Imprisonment (Persecution.org)

The Plight of Churchless Christians

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By Eric Davis - Posted at The Cripplegate : Sadly, it’s become a norm within American Christianity. Incredibly, it’s a regular thing amid evangelicalism. Embarrassingly, it’s widely accepted among many professing Christians. “I’m a Christian, but I don’t really go to church.” Churchless Christians. Flockless sheep. Bodyless body-parts. First century Christians would not have had a category for such a thing. It would’ve been one of the more bizarre phenomena imaginable. Professing Christians have many reasons for persisting in detachment from a New Testament church. “We’ve been burned.” “We’re still looking.” “We do church on our own.” “There’s no verse that says I need to go to church.” “I haven’t found a good fit.” “I’m too busy.” You could cite more. This is something that we should lament as the family of Christ. It’s no small matter. I’m not referring to Christians who would love to plug into a local church, but are prevented by trying circumstances (e.g. debilitating health,

Beyond cage stage: Beware of being a Nurmagomedov rage phase Calvinist/Apologist

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Posted at The Domain for Truth : I don’t watch UFC or MMA fights but I want to talk about something to make a spiritual point. This weekend’s UFC 229 became big news and trending on social media because of the Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Conor McGregor fight. If you didn’t know Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Irishman Conor McGregor. I’m no fan of McGregor; he’s vulgar, crass and plainly has no class. I’m happy he was defeated. I’m sympathetic with Nurmagomedov. But Nurmagomedov then did something shocking. After his victory he spit at McGregor. He then threw his mouth piece and jumped out of the octagon to attack someone on McGregor’s camp. Chaos followed. Sadly so many times in moments of passion and rage people don’t think about the consequences beyond the heat of the moment. He might even be stripped of his victory. I saw this headline that “ Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father says he’ll punish son ‘tougher’ than UFC does .” I know in a lot of today’s news headline th

High Court hears Asia Bibi’s final death sentence appeal, but holds back verdict

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Posted at Voice of the Persecuted : Published October 8, 2018 ( VOP ) There is much speculation about the outcome of Asia Bibi’s final appeal heard today by a special three-member bench of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel. They will decide whether or not to confirm the death sentence of Asia Bibi. The chief justice warned the media and those present against commenting on or discussing the case until the court’s detailed judgement has been issued. No date is given when the Supreme Court will announce it’s decision. Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of 5, was accused of blasphemy in 2009. In 2010, she was sentenced to death by hanging and spends her time in solitary confinement cooking her own meals to prevent an assassination attempt. Asia firmly denies the blasphemy allegations against her. If you are unfamiliar with the charges and details of her case, please read: What you need to know about A

Christians, churches under scrutiny as China increases persecution

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Pastor Su Tianfu (Photo: ChinaAid) Posted at ChinaAid: (Zhengzhou, Henan—Oct. 7, 2018) Persecution across China escalated as officials recently cracked down on churches in Henan, Guangdong, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang. Nearly 200 government-run churches in Xuji County, Xinyang, Henan, have been shut down, leaving only three such congregations in the area. In addition, those that are not under the government’s control, termed “house churches,” are facing steep challenges. “House churches are not allowed to get registered and hold worship services now,” an anonymous Christian said. “The government sends police to patrol every village, so local churches have to move the worship to 4:30 a.m. so that it can be over before the patrol.” “In fact, it becomes a heavy burden to the police station,” another local Christian said. Read more here.  

A Fiery Gospel: The Battle Hymn of the Republic

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By Richard M. Gamble - Posted at New Horizons/OPC.org : The new Trinity Psalter Hymnal includes only two hymns under the topic “The Nation.” The first is national only by implication. It pleas for “God the all-terrible” to have mercy and grant “peace in our time.” The second appeals to the “great King of nations,” again to show mercy to a repentant, humble, and needy people. Neither is specific to America. Both can be sung by Christians in any land. The OPC/URC psalter-hymnal takes an appropriately cautious approach to the nation’s place in public worship. But that caution has not always characterized Presbyterians in the United States. A century ago, songs about America and America’s wars provoked controversy among Presbyterians, in part due to the nation’s intervention in World War I and the desire evident among many pastors and congregations to mobilize themselves for earthly warfare. J. Gresham Machen still had one of these hymns in mind in 1933 when he reviewed the new hymn

Does Calvinism Lead To Domestic Violence?

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog : Few bogeyman frighten Moderns as much as Calvin apparently does. He has been frightening them since about the onset of the European, British, and American Enlightenment movements and has served as a bogeyman for longer than that. He was caricatured during his own lifetime. One of earliest was by a theological opponent, Jerome Bolsec (d. c. 1584), a former Carmelite (Romanist) monk who converted to Protestantism about 1545. He married and became a physician. 1550 finds him in Geneva, a city of refuge for many Protestants looking for safe harbor. He did not impress the Genevan authorities who, in an October 1551 letter wrote, “one of those strolling physicians, who, by habitual deception and trickery, acquire a degree of impudence which makes them prompt and ready in venturing upon anything whatever.”1 He became especially notorious in Geneva when, early 1551, at the Friday night Bible Study in St Pierre Church, he stood up—thinkin

Thanks for Nothing

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By Justin Peters - Posted at The Statement on Social Justice & the Gospel : That our society is permeated by an entitlement mentality should be manifestly evident to all. Most people, it seems, believe themselves to be victims in one way or another and are, therefore, entitled to various benefits even if said benefits are not earned and come at the expense of others. This entitlement mentality is both the foundation of and fuel for the social justice movement that is sweeping through evangelical churches. [1] The evangelical church, though, should be the one bastion in which any sense of entitlement and victimhood finds no quarter. Upon being confronted with sin, human nature’s inclination is to blame shift. Upon being confronted with her sin, Eve blamed the snake. Adam blamed God. Cain deflected. We, as their spiritual progeny, do the same. We all have the tendency to point the finger at someone else to explain away our own sin or our lot in life if it is not to our sati

Five Signs My Church May Have Become an Idol

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By Jeff Christopherson - Posted at Christianity Today : Most of us have misspent precious time on WebMD. We’ve developed a peculiar malaise and launched our own investigative examination (with unquestioned personal expertise) to secure a speedy and satisfying diagnosis. Although we were troubled by our original symptoms, we soon become suspicious that we’ve contracted a far more exotic condition. After a few hours, that tickled throat is now proof-positive of a chronic, excruciating death-sentence just around the corner. We close our computer, draw a deep breath, and pray that a real doctor has better news. Symptoms are funny things. To some, they are in themselves the problem. Heroic efforts are braved in order to mask the evidence of a deeper and more malignant issue. To others, symptoms are snubbed. With clenched teeth and firm resolve, we soldier on, feigning as if nothing is out of the ordinary. Still to others, symptoms become a source of paralysis. With fear and dread we

Book Review: 'Girl, Wash Your Face'

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By Tim Challies - Posted at Challies.com : My assistant put me up to this. She does a first pass on most of the emails I receive and recently called to say, “There’s a book out there called Girl, Wash Your Face, and you’re getting multiple emails about it every day. You need to review it.” I looked it up on Amazon and noticed it has accumulated nearly 6,000 reviews averaging 5 stars. That is no small feat for a book authored by a professed Christian (Rachel Hollis), published by a Christian company (Thomas Nelson), and widely read and distributed in Christian circles. So I ordered a copy and gave it a read. I’ve chosen to focus this brief review not on the many details of the book, but on its big point and central message. Many Lies, One Truth Rachel Hollis is the founder of a tremendously popular and successful lifestyle blog targeted at women. Though she has written a few novels and cookbooks along the way, Girl, Wash Your Faceis her first non-fiction work. The conversatio