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Showing posts from March, 2020

THE ONLY ABSOLUTELY SAFE PLACE OF SHELTER

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Posted at Reformation Scotland: Many countries are now under a stay-at-home order. We must hope and pray that a successful lockdown builds the capacity of the health system, slows the rate of Covid-19 infection and reduces potential deaths. It is an unprecedented experience that changes everything in society. A similar order given in the USA is sometimes called a “shelter in place” warning. The basic principle and purpose of safety is the same, but it carries additional associations of shelter from storm or violence. As we draw on the truths of Psalm 91 in prayer, these thoughts ought to draw our minds to the only absolutely safe place of shelter. It is not physical shelter but spiritual, found under the shadow of God’s wings. We can have strong confidence there. That is the only place of security and safety for our souls. A different storm (one of persecution) surrounded those who listened to Donald Cargill preach his final sermon in the Pentland hills. The verse he had chosen

The Lion Roars: Thoughts on COVID-19

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Image Source: Wikipedia By Dr. Joseph A. Pipa, Jr. - Posted at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary: I was asked by one of my students at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary to reflect on the current situation with COVID-19 (novel Coronavirus). First, we assert with Scripture that all that is occurring with this virus around the world and in our own country is part of God’s sovereign good purpose. God has foreordained all that comes to pass, and He executes His decrees by His providence (Daniel 4:34-35; Psalm 135:6). By asserting God’s universal decree, we do not rule out second causes, but confess the first cause is God’s good pleasure. This work of God embraces every illness and death; also, all the disruptions in society and in the economy. Moreover, Christ as mediatorial king is directing all things for the sake of His church (Eph. 1:22,23). The reality of God’s sovereign control over the novel Coronavirus and its spread has direct bearing on our thoug

COVID-19: HOW CHRISTIANS SHOULD RESPOND

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Source:  https://www.cdc.gov/ By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Core Christianity: Covid-19 can officially be added to the list of small things that have caused great upheaval. Since its onset, this tiny virus has not only attacked the health of over a hundred thousand people, causing thousands of deaths—it has also affected politics and economics, changed habits and lifestyles, and generated a flurry of emotions. As many other things today, it has easily infiltrated our political thought, causing discussions to become even more volatile. It has been said that the way we respond to disasters (including epidemics) has to do with our values and views of life, death, and humanity. If so, Christians who draw their values and beliefs from God’s given revelation should respond in a distinctive way. We know this. We know we should trust God and love our neighbor. As simple as it seems, the reality is often different and our knowledge is often difficult to translate in the appropriate

Calvinism in the time of coronavirus

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By Geoff Robson - Posted at Reformed Perspective : When I was about nine or ten, at the height of worldwide panic about AIDS, I stumbled across a newspaper article that outlined the symptoms of the dreaded disease. I can still recall reading, to my horror, that one of the telltale signs was “thick, white matting on the tongue.” You see, I had a few small but obvious patches of white matter on my tongue. And my ten-year-old self became utterly convinced: I had AIDS. The fact that I was in the world’s lowest-risk category didn’t matter, nor did the fact that I was asthmatic and regularly took large doses of medication that left white deposits on my tongue. For at least a week, I was convinced that my end had come. In my early 20s, it was a brain tumor. After all, I had a few really bad headaches on the way to university one week; what else could it be?! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become slightly more sanguine, but I’m still highly susceptible to fear setting in. Honestly, I feel l

The 245th Anniversary of "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death"

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By Phil Greenwalt - Posted at Emerging Revolutionary War Era : On this date, in 1775, Virginian Patrick Henry, a delegate to the Second Virginia Convention from Hanover County, Virginia sat in on the ongoing debate at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia. The 28-year old then stood to give his defense of his proposed amendments to the petition then being debated. Below is the last few lines of his now famous statement, with the last sentence being the one most remembered; “If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come. "It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of reso

Patrick Henry's Mother: No Greater Service

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By Rev. David T. Myers - Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History: The godly mother believed in taking advantage of all kinds of spiritual opportunities to instruct her second son in the things of the Lord, even if it meant a long journey home from church by their horse-drawn buggy. So she would quiz young Henry on the text and have the twelve-year-old summarize the long sermon by the Rev. Samuel Davies. And remember, the latter “Apostle to Virginia” usually preached an hour or two sermon at the Presbyterian meeting-house known as The Fork. Later, when grown up and active in the affairs of the Colony and later state of Virginia, Patrick Henry would remember those dozen early years under the ministry of Presbyterian pastor Samuel Davies. He stated his appreciation for sitting under the greatest orator he had ever heard. Now by no means are we inferring that Patrick Henry was a Presbyterian. His mother Sarah was a Presbyterian and a member of the church of which Pastor

WHY IS GOD ANGRY WITH OUR NATIONS?

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Posted at Reformation Scotland: These are unprecedented times, at least in living memory. Every area of national life is being disrupted and reduced. It will not be the same for quite some time. Everyone is asking how we respond to this. No one asks why it has happened. As with many nations, we are on a course of determined rebellion against God’s Word. This is the root of our national sins. Does God judge nations for national sins? Yes, the predicted destruction of Judea in AD 70 gives clear and solemn evidence (Luke 19:41-44). There are also many Old Testament examples such as Nineveh. One aspect of God’s wrath being revealed is when He gives people up to gross sins and a reprobate mind (Romans 1:18 and 24-32). Such spiritual judgements are worse than those on the economy, health and stability of a country. Is God judging our nation in this way, and if so why? This may sound like a bleak message, but there is hope if we give serious heed. During some periods in the past,

Reflections on the "Spanish Flu"

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Francis James Grimke - Wikipedia Posted at Log College Press : Between October 1, 1918 and February 1, 1919, over 33,000 residents of Washington, D.C. contracted what was known as the “Spanish Flu” — 2,895 citizens of the city passed away during that time period. It was a devastating time for the city as well as the rest of the world, leading officials to ban, among other things, all church services in Washington, D.C. for the month of October 1918. When the ban on such public gatherings was lifted, Francis J. Grimké , pastor of the Fifteenth Presbyterian Church, delivered a discourse on November 3, 1918 in which he offered his thoughts about the situation, which was published soon after under the title Some Reflections, Growing Out of the Recent Epidemic of Influenza That Afflicted Our City: A Discourse. There were several takeaways for Grimké that may well serve Christians a century later to consider as well. To begin with, it is good to be reminded of the power of God. Read

A Fisherman in Ireland: The Enduring Relevance of Patrick

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Image Source: Wikipedia By Jason Duesing - Posted at For The Church: For evangelicals, the enduring relevance of Patrick of Ireland (c. 390–460) lies in a sacrificial heart motivated by the Great Commission and burdened for the lost. Christianity likely arrived in Britain from European missionaries during the third century, though it did not emerge as an established tradition until the late fourth century while still under the rule of the Roman Empire. Or, as Malcolm Lambert has said, “Christianity came late to the province.” After surviving Germanic attack in the fifth century, Christians in Britain contributed to theological development by engaging with controversialists like Pelagius and Faustus, and they spread the faith to neighboring Ireland. And there we find the role of Patrick (the would-be saint), son of a deacon, who was first kidnapped and taken as a slave to Ireland when a teen. Read more... See also: Patrick and His Mission (Place for Truth)

WHY PANIC WON’T SAVE US

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By Samuel D. James - Posted at Letter & Liturgy: “Sometimes paranoia is just good sense.” So writes Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal . Her point is well-made. Everyone should take the COVID-19 virus seriously, listen to experts and make choices that take into account the well-being of others. These are high-stakes times. Churches and schools are shuttering for weeks; hospitals sit on the brink of being overrun. There are moments when wisdom and compassion look like overreaction, and right now is one of those moments. Still, I wish I could tell Peggy Noonan that panic won’t save us. It never does. The Bible has much to say about fear, and nearly all of it is either a promise or a warning. On the one hand, God’s people have boatloads of promises from our sovereign king that he is with us and fights for us. Fear, even fear of death, melts in the beams of eternal love and security. On the other hand, God’s people also have many warnings about misdirecting our fear.

Your Only Comfort In Life And In Death

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog: Introduction The Heidelberg Catechism is justly regarded as one of the finest summaries of the Christian faith ever written. First published in 1563, the catechism is used by more than a million Christians globally. The first question of the catechism is among the most beloved among the Reformed confessions and catechisms: 1. What is your only comfort in life and in death?  That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me, that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that all things must work together for my salvation. Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live for Him. This question and answer was

USPIE Response to Secretary DeVos and Kellyanne Conway Remarks at 2020 CPAC

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Posted at Stop Fed Ed: Remember Candidate Trump’s promise to get rid of Common Core? No matter what administration officials say, this is one promise made – promise NOT delivered. Common Core is NOT gone. It remains in every state, in every public school, in every charter school, and sadly in many private and home school programs. Some states pretended to repeal Common Core only to reinstitute it under a different name. Florida may be the first state to make significant progress in a true repeal of Common Core, but that remains to be seen. Additionally, there is risk Florida could lose its Federal education funds if the U.S. Department of Education determines the new standards do not qualify as “college and career ready.” Common Core remains intact despite the mounting evidence that the standards have destroyed student achievement. Where progress was made pre-Common Core, student achievement is now in decline. For example, before Common Core in Secretary DeVos’s home state of Mic

God will judge this nation (but do not fear it)

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Image Source: The End Time.org By Elizabeth Prata - Posted at The End Time: I attended a service where the preacher said, “Did you know that the Pilgrims founded New England on Christian principles and spoke of being “a city upon a hill”? This resonated with me, because I am a New England Native, of Rhode Island, the 13th of the original colonies. Our very first document of self-government aboard the Mayflower in November of 1620, known as the Mayflower Compact, said, “Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith…” Sixteen years later Harvard was founded to educate clergy. Its original motto was Veritas Christo et Ecclesiae “Truth for Christ and the Church.” It laid out the purpose of all education: “… to know God and Iesus Christ which is eternall life.” So the preacher got me thinking about that City upon a Hill. The Holy Spirit has kept me thinking on it. It is in Matthew 5:14-16. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill c

'I’m a Pediatrician. Here’s What I Did When a Little Boy Patient Said He Was a Girl.'

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By Michelle Cretella - Posted at The Daily Signal: “Congratulations, it’s a boy!” Or, “Congratulations, it’s a girl!” As a pediatrician for nearly 20 years, that’s how many of my patient relationships began. Our bodies declare our sex. Biological sex is not assigned. Sex is determined at conception by our DNA and is stamped into every cell of our bodies. Human sexuality is binary. You either have a normal Y chromosome, and develop into a male, or you don’t, and you will develop into a female. There are at least 6,500 genetic differences between men and women. Hormones and surgery cannot change this. An identity is not biological, it is psychological. It has to do with thinking and feeling. Thoughts and feelings are not biologically hardwired. Our thinking and feeling may be factually right or factually wrong. If I walk into my doctor’s office today and say, “Hi, I’m Margaret Thatcher,” my physician will say I am delusional and give me an anti-psychotic. Yet, if instead, I

WHAT IF THE CORONAVIRUS COMES TO YOUR HOME?

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Source: Wikipedia Posted at Reformation Scotland: It’s hard to avoid being at least unsettled by the constant focus on Coronavirus and its progress. It has been estimated that 40-70% of the world’s population will contract the virus this year. Whether or not they do, the impact in many other ways is likely to be significant. Suddenly, even praying for our daily bread can seem a far more immediate concern. We should, of course be concerned to preserve the life and health of ourselves and others carefully and lawfully. This is part of what the sixth commandment requires. What should be our response in a climate of panic and alarm when we don’t know what the future may hold? Perhaps we are inclined to shrug it off as hype and exaggeration. But neither panic nor carelessness are the right response. How do we express a confident trust in God’s sovereign care in a way that is not merely glib? Christians have been in similar situations before. It is important to recognise that Coron

PCA church hosts LGBT arts festival

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http://www.memorialpca.org/ Posted at CBMW.org: Should a PCA church host a “short-play festival and celebration of transgender, agender, non-binary, genderqueer, and genderfluid artists”? That may sound like an esoteric question, but this is apparently exactly what Memorial Presbyterian Church did this past week. Memorial Presbyterian Church, a PCA church in St. Louis, made news in 2018 when it hosted the controversial Revoice conference. The church’s pastor, Greg Johnson, spoke at Revoice in 2019 and is slated to speak again in 2020 . According to the event announcement accessed on Thursday, the Q Collective , which is an LGBT group “exploring the spectrum of gender, sexuality, and romantic orientation,” hosted its 2nd annual Transluminate Arts Festival at The Chapel of Memorial Presbyterian Church on consecutive nights, February 27 – March 1. Read more... See also: A PCA church is not neutral ground  (Reformation 21) Trans Memorial in an Evangelical Chapel?  (R

Intersectionality and the Church

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By Rosaria Butterfield - Posted at TableTalk: A few years ago, during an open question and answer session on a college campus, a student accused me of hate speech. She referred to something I described in my lecture, when in 1998 I was in my kitchen confessing to my transgender friend Jill that I was starting to believe that the gospel was true, that Jesus is alive, and that we were all in trouble. This student approached the microphone and blurted: “That’s hate speech! When you described your transgender friend putting her hand over yours as you shared your new faith in your kitchen, you mocked her! You actually said that your transgender friend had large hands!” I paused, perplexed, and asked, “So . . . it is hate speech to say that Jill’s hands are large?” The student practically exploded off the floor: “Of course it is!” “Jill stands six foot two without heels,” I explained. “I’m five two. My hands barely cover an octave on the piano. Compared to mine, Jill’s hands are large.

Made in Zambia: Meet Conrad Mbewe

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By Clint Archer - Posted at The Cripplegate: Zambia is not a country known for its exports. It’s not like you would ever find a “Made in Zambia” sticker on your kid’s Playstation. But if Southern Africa only shared one product with the world, it should be Dr. Conrad Mbewe. This statesman, scholar, preacher, writer is Africa’s premier expository export. He ranks as one of the most influential Reformed preachers and writers to come out of Africa since Athanasius and Augustine. (Although JRR Tolkien was born in South Africa, since Lord of the Rings is technically fiction, not theology, he doesn’t count.) While laboring in a copper mine, Mbewe felt called to the full-time pastoral ministry. Swimming against the cultural current that flows lazily along the path of least resistance, the young Mbewe jumped through the bureaucratic hoops and trappings of red tape to study internationally and acquired the MPhil (Practical Theology) and MA (Pastoral Theology) and eventually a PhD. He retur

A Wuhan Church Finds God’s Grace Amid Coronavirus Scare

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Map of the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak as of 2 March 2020 - Wikipedia By Gina Goh - Published at International Christian Concern : 03/01/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – The Root and Foot Christian Church (RFCC) is situated at the very center of the Coronavirus epidemic – Wuhan, China. When the outbreak happened, the church’s senior pastor decided to stay to care for his sheep, rescue the lives of unbelievers, and calm the fearful souls of Christians. In an online webinar, titled “Chinese Churches Standing Firm Amid the Outbreak,” hosted by the Chinese Congress on World Evangelization on February 27, pastor Huang Lei shared how his church has witnessed God’s grace in spite of the challenging situation faced by Wuhan residents. “The Wuhan Pneumonia (officially known as COVID-19) is a rarely seen disaster in human history, yet everything presents an opportunity to glorify God,” he said. RFCC has a few members who might have contracted the virus, but

A MinistryWatch Analysis: What Happened At Willow Creek?

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By Warren Cole Smith - Posted at Ministry Watch : In the 1970s and 80s, radio personality Casey Kasem would often punctuate his “American Top 40” program with the phrase: “And the hits just keep on coming.” The expression became a catchphrase of the era. It was the same era in which Chicago-area’s Willow Creek Community Church rose to national prominence. But Casey Kasem’s famous phrase could also describe the church’s decline: “The hits just keep on coming.” The first hit came in 2018, when whistleblowers accused longtime pastor Bill Hybels of sexual misconduct. The church’s leadership initially rallied around the pastor, who denied the accusations. And that may have been the church’s second mistake: to uncritically accept Hybels’ word against credible accusations , rather than investigate them. The early whistleblowers gave others courage, and the church’s denials made them defiant. Soon, the allegations we so numerous – and so credible – that Hybels was forced to resign.