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Showing posts from February, 2019

Federalizing School Choice Could Be Trump’s Common Core

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By Inez Feltscher Stepman - Posted at The Federalist: The Trump administration now wants to take a successful conservative idea—school choice—and make it susceptible to getting strangled in federal red tape. In coordination with a bill to be sponsored by Sen. Ted Cruz, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has announced the administration’s support for a federal school choice tax credit, touting it as proof of President Trump’s commitment to opportunities for students. While school choice is critical and often undervalued, a federal school choice program reaches beyond the constitutional mandate of the federal government, and presents a real danger to private education in the future. If it passes, this latest example of federal overreach could be the Trump administration’s equivalent to the Common Core debacle, and worse, could taint one of the most important reforms advanced by conservatives in the states. Continue reading here.

The Difference Between Jesus’ Raising of Lazarus & Lukau’s Raising of Elliot

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By Eric Davis - Posted at The Cripplegate: He’s being called a modern-day Lazarus. This past Sunday, Alph Lukau of Alleluia Ministries in South Africa is reported to have raised a man named Elliot from the dead . Elliot was carried in his coffin from a hearse to Lukau for the miracle. The supposed dead man lies in the coffin with his mouth open. With onlookers gazing, mood music playing, and fans cheering, Lukau commands the man to rise and he sits up in the coffin. The crowd goes wild. Understandably, social media has been ablaze with the event. News outlets such as the BBC have covered it . But here’s the question: did it happen? Is Elliot, as some claim, a “modern-day Lazarus”? Here are some differences between Jesus’ raising of Lazarus and Lukau’s raising of Elliot. Read more here.

Worldliness: A Perennial Danger

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By Rev. Martyn McGeown - Posted at Reformed Free Publishing Association: There are two passages in the New Testament where the Holy Spirit explicitly warns us against the world. The first is James 4:4 where James calls Christians and church members “adulterers and adulteresses” because of their friendship with the world, adding that the one who will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. Earlier in that same epistle James says that “pure religion and undefiled” is (among other things) “to keep [oneself] unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). The other passage is 1 John 2:15, where John commands Christians not to love the world. The force of the Greek grammar is: “Stop loving the world.” The reason John gives is similar to James: “if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” I believe that we all know instinctively what worldliness is. We can sense it; we know it; and we are very quick to see it in others and to excuse it in ourselves. Worldliness is o

Supreme Court eyes 'flawed' church-state precedent

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By Diana Chandler - Posted at Baptist Press: WASHINGTON (BP) -- Religious liberty advocates including Southern Baptists hope the U.S. Supreme Court will establish a clear precedent Feb. 27 to answer a question regarding the separation of church and state in the public square. On the court's docket is the case of the 40-foot Bladensburg Cross World War I veterans' memorial on public property in Bladensburg, Md., ordered removed by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in support of the American Humanist Association (AHA). The upcoming ruling in the case of The American Legion v AHA would affect thousands of memorials nationally, supporters of the monument say. Justices could clarify decades of Establishment Clause precedent that federal judges and justices alike have variously described as "flawed" and a "hot mess." U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 2018 said the high court's "Establishment Clause jurisprudence is in disarray,&qu

Self-Care Sundays for a Self-Centered World

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By Sharon Sampson - Posted at Gentle Reformation: Perhaps you’ve heard of Meatless Mondays and Taco Tuesdays. I’ve just recently learned a new one – Self-Care Sundays. While reading an article in a popular women’s magazine, I saw a reference to this new-to-me idea. A quick internet search taking only .45 seconds returned 416,000,000 hits, and I realized this must be a real thing! What are Self-Care Sundays? I found many recommendations about activities I could be doing to make my Sundays a lot better for me – suggestions to help me to set aside my regular work and responsibilities and to relax; to help me to be better organized for the week ahead; to help me to enjoy nature; to help me to eat better, etc. There was some encouragement to spend time with others, but I’m really to focus on myself, including others only if I find it to be helpful. Music and reading were mentioned, and I was encouraged to keep a thanksgiving journal and to learn to love myself more – both body and s

The Guy On The Screen Is Not Your Pastor

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at Abounding Grace Radio: At AGR we are passionate in our commitment to the local church. We do not want listeners and readers to substitute AGR for the local, visible church. Unless you are in our congregation we are probably not going to be able to visit you in the hospital, nursing home, or meet with you for lunch to talk over a challenge that you are facing. Our goal is to try graciously to guide you toward a sound understanding of God’s Word and into a solid, confessional Reformed congregation. By confessional we mean a congregation that confesses the Belgic Confession (1561), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the Canons of Dort , or the Westminster Standards ( confession and catechisms ). We want you to find a solid, biblical, confessional Reformed or Presbyterian congregation and pastor. He will catechize (instruct) you and shepherd you. That congregation will care for you. Not everyone looks at ministry and the church that way. Recently

The Ugly Lie of Self-Identity

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By Barry York - Posted at Gentle Reformation : When Satan entered the Garden of Eden as a serpent, he used his craftiness to confuse Adam and Eve about their identity. After casting doubts about the Lord's Word, creating confusion over what God had actually said, and casting aspersions on the Lord's character, Satan then cut to the chase. Eat from this tree, he told them, and "you will be like God" (Genesis 3:5). He was telling them to determine for themselves what is good and evil, right and wrong. Satan is surely foisting this lie with great effect on this current generation. Consider five common ways people are trying to be like God today. Be like God and create your own identity. God alone is self-existent. His covenant name of Jehovah, translated as LORD in most English Bibles, means "I am who I am." As such, "He made us, not we ourselves" as the 100th Psalm testifies. Yet so many lost souls around us, denying the essential truth

What Is The Cost of a Home Visit?

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Home Visit - Truth in American Education By Cheri Kiesecker - Posted at Truth in American Education : Home visits by the government are apparently the new thing across state legislatures in the U.S. See below for a list of bills and why these could pose a risk to your family’s privacy. Before you put out the welcome mat and assume ‘Home Visits are great; it is helping kids’… Please consider this: What is the trade off? Services for newborns, pregnant mothers and children already exist without Home Visits to tell you about them. Home visits should not be a required, forced prerequisite to receive services. If you must hand over your citizenship status, your family’s personal medical and mental health information, marital status, income, race, answer questions about depression, family interactions, tobacco use, infant’s gestation, birth order, developmental delays, immunizations, etc. in order to receive services or information about services, this is coercive. Continue read

AL MOHLER’S INCOMPLETE APOLOGY: MY STORY

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By Janet Mefford  Published February 15, 2019 Dr. Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, apologized in the Houston Chronicle yesterday for his longtime support of a man the paper described as “helping conceal sexual abuses at his former church” and “for making a joke that (Mohler) said downplayed the severity of the allegations.” The supported man in question is C.J. Mahaney, the founder of Sovereign Grace Ministries and co-founder, with Mohler and two other pastors, of Together for the Gospel (T4G), a popular conference that bills itself as “standing together for the main thing—the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Mohler’s long-overdue apology, interestingly enough, came on the pages of the same newspaper that this week revealed devastating investigative evidence of hundreds of cases of sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches and further evidence that many of the crimes were not reported to law enforcement. Mohler now says he should have been more forcef

Is Boasting on Social Media a Sin?

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By Nathan W. Bingham - Posted at Tabletalk Magazine : Solomon wisely states that we should “let another praise [us], and not [our] own mouth; a stranger, and not [our] own lips” ( Prov. 27:2 ). Across cultures, social etiquette embodies the wisdom found here. We simply don’t enjoy the company of the braggadocios who always speak about themselves. We expect others to show some level of humility—even if it’s not sincere. Thanks to pervasive social media and instant messaging, more people today interact with others primarily from behind the screen of a laptop or smartphone. And as a result, many think Solomon’s wisdom can be ignored. Social etiquette doesn’t seem to apply to social media. For example, the Pew Research Center recently asked U.S. teens what they post online. At almost 50 percent, the overwhelming response was the sharing of their own accomplishments. For girls aged fifteen to seventeen, this number rose to close to 60 percent. Why is this? I call it the digital decep

More Than 1,000 Scientists Worldwide Sign ‘Dissent From Darwinism’

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By Heather Clark - Posted at Christian News Network : While not necessarily expressing an adherence to biblical creation, more than 1,000 scientists worldwide have signed on to a “Dissent From Darwinism” statement that expresses skepticism over the theory of biological evolution and calls for the “careful examination” of Charles Darwin’s teachings. “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged,” the statement reads. The list was first launched in 2001 by the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, and has now grown to 1,000 and counting. The organization has launched a site where other scientists can sign the statement. It includes comments from prominent professors and researchers who explain why they support the dissent from Darwinism. Read more here.

Cultural prophets vs corrupt priests

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Posted at Christian Concern: Has the Church today rejected God? Joe Boot argues that “faithlessness, disobedience, rebellion, sexual perversion and the misuse of God’s resources” marks “large parts of the modern egalitarian church” – much as in Samuel’s time. Joe looks back through Scripture to Hannah and Samuel and asks what we can learn from the lawlessness of Israel in Samuel’s time that we can use to bring “regeneration and reformation”. The period of the Judges in biblical history was frequently a time when God’s rightful rule and law was being ignored and all the people were “doing what was right in their own eyes” – God’s Word and promise was not important to them (cf. Jdgs. 17:6; 21:25). Consequently, in the sovereignty of God, Israel was afflicted by a corrupt priesthood and the oppression of the Philistines. In other words, there were problems within and without for a nation that had chosen to abandon the Lord. There are always consequences to rejecting the Lord. Yet

Asia Bibi stuck in Pakistan, frustrated and afraid amid threats

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Protesters demand release of Asia Bibi, in Lahore, Pakistan, November 21, 2010. (Photo: Mohsin Raza - The Christian Post) By Brandon Showalter - Posted at The Christian Post: A Pakistani Christian woman who was recently acquitted of all blasphemy charges after being imprisoned on death row for over eight years is still unable to leave Pakistan. Asia Bibi, 54, has been transferred from a secret location near Karachi after having been previously hidden away at another location near Islamabad, the nation's capital, The Associated Press reported Saturday. Aman Ullah, who has been a liaison between Bibi and European diplomats, spoke with Bibi Friday and said she is afraid and frustrated, unsure about when she will be able to leave the country. She told him that she's locked in one room of a house. The only time the doors open are during "food time." She is permitted to make phone calls in the morning and again at night. Bibi's husband is reportedly with he

Grieved beyond Words… and Resolved

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This collection of mug shots includes a portion of the 220 people who, since 1998, worked or volunteered in Southern Baptist churches and were convicted of or pleaded guilty to sex crimes. - Source: HoustonChronicle.com By Denny Burk The Houston Chronicle has published part one of an extensive investigative report on sexual abuse within Southern Baptist Churches (there will be two more installments in coming days). They uncovered 250 ministry leaders and volunteers who have been convicted as sex offenders and over 700 of their victims. Those numbers alone are horrid, but I agree with the report that there are likely many other such instances that were not uncovered by this investigation. The report reveals horrors that have long been out of the light of day. Without question, the most difficult parts to read are the testimonies from the victims. They are beyond heartbreaking. I can hardly imagine what some of these dear souls have been through and how difficult it must have

How to Heal from Theological Abuse

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By Costi W. Hinn - Posted at For the Gospel : It’s not uncommon for me to receive communication from people who God has graciously saved out from extreme charismatic abuses, prosperity gospel exploiters, and cultish movements like the New Apostolic Reformation. I find myself both overjoyed and heart-broken at the same time because on one hand it’s the beginning of the rest of their new life in Christ. Sadly, on the other hand, it’s often the beginning of a very painful journey through loneliness, despair, and confusion. People saved out of deception don’t know where to start. Imagine being in their shoes and having everything you ever believed and most everyone you ever trusted turn out to be predominantly false. Now, go even further. Your friends, social circles, and even family members ostracize you when you try to explain the truth to them. You get labeled as “rebellious” or “hateful,” are threatened with divine judgment, and anyone associating with you is warned not to join y

A Different Kind of Pleasure

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By Rebecca VanDoodewaard - Posted at Gentle Reformation : Our culture is obsessed with physical pleasure. Luxury, sex, and food are the three-fold preoccupations of the 21st century west. Vanity Fair is no longer a stop along the road to the Celestial City—it has set up shop along the entire route, from Wicket Gate to River. We have more, more easily than any other generation in history. But we are missing out. Our material wealth, mixed with carnality, has robbed us of other kinds of pleasure. Enabled by ubiquitous technology, it is set to rob our children even faster. We are a people who, captivated by physical pleasure, are impoverished of intellectual and spiritual pleasure. How did streaming services take over our evenings? Why is pornography such a snare? What has made obesity so prevalent, or household debt so high? Of course, the answer is that people are turning away from their Creator, without self-control, “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:4)

On Bothsidesism

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By Samuel D. James - Posted at Letter & Liturgy : American political culture has a nasty way of inspiring all of us to take something that is true and use or apply it in a way that makes it false. “All lives matter” is a great example. The sentence is 100% true; it is invoked almost exclusively for the purpose of rebuking someone who just said that a specific kind of life (black, immigrant, unborn, etc.) matters. Another good example is Whataboutism : The act of immediately responding to any fair critique with an example of how your opponent, or his tribe, have also failed in this category. Example: “It’s absolutely wrong for a President to talk about women or the disabled in such a derogatory way.” “ What about Bill Clinton?!?!” Bothsidesism is another example. It bears a close relationship to Whataboutism but is its own species. Bothsidesism is what you do when someone points out that a particular party or tribe is guilty of something. Rather than pushing back against the

Governor Northam, Pharaoh, and the Incredible Patience of God

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Israel in Egypt ( Edward Poynter , 1867) - Wikipedia By Jordan Standridge - Posted at The Cripplegate : By now, I’m sure you’ve heard Virginia Governor Northam’s evil statement encouraging infanticide . While they are disturbing to hear, these kinds of statements are shared by many in our country. Recently, the state of New York cheered the passing of a similar bill with applause. It wasn’t too long ago that a friend was preaching from Exodus chapter 1, and it really struck me just how patient God was with Egypt. From time to time while evangelizing, I get approached by an angry atheist, and it is fascinating to see them grasp at straws to explain away their hate for God. One of their most common accusations is to call God a genocidal maniac. In fact, the story of the angel of God killing all the firstborn men of Egypt tops the list as far as most mentioned examples of God’s genocidal tendencies. But, is it really so? Exodus 1 is fascinating. Egypt is committing copious a

Reconsidering Revoice & its Advocates

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By Pastor Jeffrey A. Stivason - Posted at A Place for Truth : As a pastor, more often than not I sit with people who tell me that the gospel of grace is not enough. It’s not enough to restrain their anger, subdue their addiction and comfort their loneliness to name just a few of the things that the gospel is apparently impotent to cure. Some might even take umbrage with my using the word cure at the end of the last sentence. Think about it, this is in part how the church has gotten itself embroiled in the whole attempt to revoice the gospel in our present culture. Late last year, Wesley Hill wrote in First Things, after last year’s Revoice Conference, “[I] knew the character of my same-sex desire…I was skeptical of the effectiveness of any therapeutic interventions.” [1] But the article isn’t just about the failure of therapeutic treatments aimed at homosexuality. Hill also seems to implicate the means of grace as useless instruments in the wreckage of failed attempts.

Bulgarian government backs down after evangelical Christians and others protest crackdown

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Posted at Barnabas Fund : The Bulgarian Parliament has agreed not to pass into law prohibitive amendments to the nation’s Religious Denominations Act after thousands of Christians protested against a crackdown on the religious activity of minority religions. The parliamentary Committee for Religion and Human Rights met 19 December 2018 to discuss changes to the Religious Denominations Act with representatives of minority religions, including members of the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance. The final vote on the changes, without the severe amendments, took place two days later on 21 December. Christians had gathered in Sofia on three consecutive Sundays on 11, 18 and 25 November to protest against oppressive amendments that would have placed limitations on evangelising, banned worship outside officially recognised buildings and restricted church leader training. Religious groups would also have needed 300 members before being officially recognised. Continue reading here.

Kidnapping, Torture in Egypt of Christian Woman from Sudan Highlights Convert Pressures

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Posted at Morning Star News : Muslim extremists also threaten to kill husband, daughter. JUBA, South Sudan (Morning Star News) – A Christian mother from Sudan had deep cause for fear last November when her Muslim brother went to her church in Cairo, Egypt with a photo of her husband and asked members if they knew his whereabouts. Muslim extremists from Sudan had kidnapped and tortured her less than two years earlier in Cairo, and they threatened to kill her husband and daughter if she refused to return to Islam. The 42-year-old Ebtehaj Alsanosi Altejani Mostafa was tied to a chair in a darkened room with no windows when her abductors gave her that ultimatum in February 2017, she told Morning Star News. “I will not go back to Islam – I hate Islam,” she told them, as they continued beating her, Mostafa said. She had fled to Egypt in 2005 after being jailed five times for her faith in Sudan. In Cairo she met a Sudanese pastor, also a convert from Islam, who would become her husband

Google+ is officially deleting consumer data starting April 2nd

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By Dani Deahl - Posted at The Verge : Better start downloading your data Last October, Google announced plans to shut down Google+ for consumers after a security flaw exposed users’ profile data. Shortly after, Google+ had another data leak, prompting Google to fast-track the shutdown for its social network, moving the deadline up four months to April 2019. Now, Google has formally released the timeline for how and when Google+ will go away. Read more here. See also: Expediting changes to Google+  (Google) Shutting down Google+ for consumer (personal) accounts on April 2, 2019  (Google) Editor's Note: I will no longer be posting to Google+ since it's being phased out. Please follow at Twitter or through Blogger. Thank you! AW