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Showing posts from May, 2022

“She died a hero trying to get help”: What we know about gunmen who carry out mass school shootings

  By Dr. Jim Denison - Posted at the Denison Forum : Amerie Jo Garza was a fourth-grader at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. According to her grandmother , Berlinda Irene Arreola, the ten-year-old was sitting in her classroom when a gunman came in. Arreola said, “The gunman went in and he told the children, ‘You’re going to die.’ And she had her phone and she called 911. And instead of grabbing it and breaking it or taking it from her, he shot her.” On the morning of the shooting, Garza had just received an award for the elementary school’s honor roll, her grandmother said. Arreola added, “My granddaughter was shot and killed for trying to call 911, she died a hero trying to get help for her and her fellow classmates.” There have been more than 210 mass shootings in the US so far this year. When children are murdered, our shock, outrage, and grief are especially deep. Reading about the Uvalde victims and seeing their pictures is heartbreaking. It is impossible not to want to

Abraham Kuyper and Common Grace

 By Uri Brito - Posted at Kuyperian Commentary : During the COVID era, I had the opportunity to deliver a few talks via zoom to men’s groups around the country on the legacy of Abraham Kuyper. One of the prevailing themes of these talks was a hearty focus on Kuyper’s doctrine of common grace. Kuyper made a distinction between special grace and common grace. “Special grace” had to do with church life (ecclesiastical matters) and “common grace” focused on things pertaining to culture and society. Kuyper believed that post-reformational theology focused almost exclusively on “special grace.” The basic features of their controversies dealt with the sacraments, church architecture, church polity, and issues regarding the clergy. Now, to be clear, the Reformers did deal with issues outside the church, but because they were fighting and continued to fight church/liturgical abuses in the 16th century, those topics carried the day. When Kuyper comes on the scene in the 19th century, he’s living

Hope and Comfort for Uvalde, Texas

By Angela Wittman, editor "Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.  ~Psalm 30, Verse 5 (NKJV) "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. ~Romans 12, Verse 15 (NKJV) As Christians, we are called to offer hope to a dying world and that hope is Jesus Christ. We are to pray, show compassion and to weep with the brokenhearted. But as followers of Christ, we also know with certainty that we have a Christian hope to be reunited with our loved ones who have died in the Lord, and that hope is to be shared with those grieving.  I sincerely pray that we will be lights shining in this dark world and that we will rise to the occasion by offering comfort and the blessed hope only found in Christ Jesus. News Links:  Outrage at Shooting Uvalde, Texas  (Veritas Domain - The Domain for Truth) SBTC dispatches ministers in wake of Uvalde elementary school  shooting ( Baptist Press) Gunman Kills 19 Children in Texas School Rampage  (AP - CBN) 19 Students

Reformation Nation

 By Rev. Benjamin Glaser - Posted at Thoughts from Parson Farms : In these United States we are well on our own way to destruction because we thought ourselves able to establish a non-established land and not “take sides” in the religious debate, and what has been seen, to quote a famous essayist, is if you choose not to decide you still have made a choice. ... Good Morning! In my Bible reading today I happened to be in Isaiah 20 which has to be one of the weirdest chapters found anywhere in Holy Writ. Kind of hidden in the story of the Assyrian general Tartan and his taking of the city of Ashdod is a statement that the prophet Isaiah has been walking around practically naked for three years as a sign against Egypt and Ethiopia. These two nations are being prepped for judgment by Jehovah through the instrument of this army of Sargon of Assyria. While neither the leader of Nineveh nor the residents of the Nile Valley were aware of what the Creator had in store it does not change that Go

SBC leaders express lament, ‘broken hearts’ over Guidepost report

 Posted at The Baptist Paper: As Southern Baptists process a nearly 300-page report released May 22 by the SBC’s Sexual Abuse Task Force outlining the SBC Executive Committee’s handling of sexual abuse cases between the years 2000 and mid-2021, many Southern Baptist leaders are expressing grief over the findings of the independent investigation conducted by Guidepost Solutions. The task force opened the extensive report with a statement, which reads in part: “As the task force, we grieve for what has been revealed in this report,” the task force said in opening comments. “We lament on behalf of survivors for how they have not been protected and cared for as they deserve and as God demands. “With broken hearts, we want to lead the way by publicly repenting for what has happened in our convention. We implore our Southern Baptist family to respond to this report with deep repentance and a commitment to the ongoing moral demands of the gospel as it relates to sexual abuse. “We must resolve

Should We Abandon “Evangelical?”

 By Tim Challies The word evangelical seems to have fallen out of favor, and perhaps for reasons that are understandable. Where the word once had a distinct Christian meaning, in recent years it has come to be conflated with politics as much as religion, with civil issues as much as spiritual. Many wonder whether the term is worth salvaging or if we should simply move on. Many wonder whether Christians should still consider themselves evangelical or whether it would better serve Christ’s cause to find a new self-description. Michael Reeves has wondered this as well and has written Gospel People: A Call for Evangelical Integrity to address the issue. “This is a book about being people of the gospel,” he says. “In other words, this is a book about what it means to be evangelical. I believe that there is a biblical case to be made for the importance and the goodness of being evangelical.” This is not to say that he will defend everything that calls itself evangelical since “across the w

Christianity, Politics, and Religion

 By Chris Reimer - Posted at Wings of the Wind : “Two things I don’t talk about are politics and religion.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this and I don’t know how many times I’ve wondered if anyone could get through a week without talking about something in either area. If they can, they are much more creative than I. This post was born from recent reading in Jeremiah, Wikipedia sources on Christians who hold certain conspiracy theories, and thoughts about the current war in the Ukraine. My thoughts concerning the title of this article continue to change as life rolls along but I want to share with you where I am right now. Just how does a Christian view the contrasting effects of politics and their beliefs about God in their daily lives? It is a question that could fill an entire book but I’ll attempt to make it short and sweet here using only a few realities in our world. The first reality is the war in Ukraine. If a Christian wants to hold a position or opinion about a war

The Dead Seriousness of Careless Words

 By Tim Challies A technician for an airline neglected to check the logs from previous flights and therefore failed to take action on a control problem that had recurred multiple times over the past days. His carelessness was one of the factors that led to the plane crashing on a subsequent flight. An engineer failed to set the brakes on parked tanker cars which soon begin to roll of their own accord until, out of control, they skipped the tracks and exploded. His carelessness led to widespread death and destruction. A truck driver became distracted by a problem with his trailer, failed to notice a stop sign, and sailed through an intersection at high speed, putting it immediately in the path of a fast-moving bus. His carelessness claimed the lives of many passengers and earned him a long sentence in prison. Each of these people was called upon to account for his carelessness, for his neglect, and for all the devastation that came from it. And rightly so, for carelessness is no small m

Christian Leaders and Controversies: The Case of Francis Collins

 By Jan F. Dudt - Posted at The Aquila Report: "In essence, what these people were saying is that Francis Collins is such a good scientist because you can hardly tell he is a Christian from his work. As a much younger biology professor at the time, I was aghast at this. A Christian has separated his religious views from his personal life. Why is that a good thing?" There is always a dilemma for Christians in best handling and reacting to the positions and counsel of Christian leaders. Often these are people we have grown to trust and respect as followers of Christ. Their convictions at times are consistent with Christian principles and biblical wisdom. They champion appropriate positions and defend causes from a historically Christian perspective. They gain traction and respect even among cultural, political, and religious opponents because of the internally consistent strength of their arguments and their winsome and gracious demeanor. And yet, it is impossible for any falle

Women settle suit alleging Liberty mishandled assault cases

 By Sarah Rankin - Posted at Baptist Press: RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit 12 women brought last summer against Liberty University accusing the Christian institution of fostering an unsafe environment on its Virginia campus and mishandling cases of sexual assault and harassment. A notice of dismissal filed Wednesday by the plaintiffs’ attorney, Jack Larkin, said the case had been settled but provided no details about the terms. In a statement Thursday, Liberty said a settlement had been reached with all the plaintiffs and all but two additional women Larkin represented. The university did not disclose the terms of the agreement but outlined a number of other changes it has undertaken in recent months to improve campus security and review how it responds to incidents of sexual harassment or violence. “Liberty University president Jerry Prevo made it clear when the Jane Does filed their lawsuit that, despite certain claims being potentially outside of th

Abortion and Our Lost Ability to Reason Morally

 By Tom Ascol - Posted at Founders Ministries: The inability or unwillingness of Christians to employ rigorous, biblical, moral reasoning to address public attacks on God and Scripture over the last few years has been as stunning as it has been revealing. From the unbiblical assessments of lawless rioting and flagrant theft to descriptions of legalized abortion the United States, many who name the Name of Christ—including those in positions of leadership—have fallen woefully short of speaking with the wisdom we desperately need. The recent attempt by the US Senate to codify the legal murder of unborn children further highlights how anemic Christian public theology is today. Forty-nine Senators voted to legalize the murder of babies up to the point of their birth. Everyone of them is a Democrat. Yet, Christian deplorables have been lectured by our betters for at least the last seven years on how and why we must make room for voting for Democrat candidates at every level of government.

The Tongue: A Matter of Life & Death

 By Bill Smith - Posted at Kuyperian Commentary : Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Proverbs 18.21 Disagree with someone, criticize his lifestyle, or question his choices and you might be accused of violence in present-day Western culture. “Words as violence” has become something of a trope for anyone who feels injured and wants to use the power of victim status to cancel another speaker. [1] While the “words as violence” weapon is overused by the thin-skinned narcissists in our culture, there is truth in the fact that words have power that can be used violently, even causing death. The apostle John sees the ascended Jesus, the Word of God, riding a white horse having a two-edged sword coming out of his mouth–words–to strike down the nations (Rev 19.13-16). Words can destroy. But words are equally powerful to give life. They can be used to instruct and encourage people to move in the right direction. Death and life are in the pow

Screaming in the Face of Death

By Zachary Groff - Posted at Reformation21: "The forces of this world, expressed through much of our current discourse surrounding medicine, education, celebrity culture, law, and politics deny the reality and inevitability of aging, dying, and death... It is difficult to tell if the countenance is grinning, scowling, or yawning open with insatiable hunger, but it seems that Death’s face is closer than usual as it stares out from the inky shadows at the edges of life. Death feels more present than usual right now. International headlines continue to report on disease-related and suicide death rates around the world as Russian bombs pound Ukraine. An unprecedented leak from the Supreme Court has foregrounded death in American political discourse in what is fast-becoming a new chapter of our commonwealth’s spotty history of securing the rights and privileges of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to ourselves and our posterity. On the personal front, two individuals of grea

University to pay $400K to professor who declined to address male student with female pronouns

 By Heather Clark - Posted at Christian News Network: PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — A university in Ohio has agreed to pay $400,000 in damages and attorney’s fees to a professor who was punished for declining to refer to a male student with feminine pronouns. Shawnee State University officials agreed to the settlement in light of last year’s ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals , which found that the professor had a right to sue for infringement of his free speech and free exercise of religion rights under the First Amendment. “Meriwether respectfully sought an accommodation that would both protect his religious beliefs and make Doe feel comfortable. In response, the university derided him and equated his good-faith convictions with racism. An inference of religious hostility is plausible in these circumstances,” wrote Judge Amul Thapar , nominated to the bench by then-President Donald Trump. “The effect of this … is that Meriwether must adhere to the university’s orthodoxy (or face pun

Female Ordination, the Gay Clergy, and the Crisis of the Modern Church

 By Uri Brito - Posted at Kuyperian Commentary:  The biblical arguments for male headship in the Church are vast, ranging from the man’s role under the creation order ( I Tim. 2), the qualification for elders (I Tim. 3), his function in the liturgical order and decency of worship (I Cor. 14), and his significative symbol under the new man, Jesus Christ (Eph. 4-5). These are taken as presuppositions in the history of redemption and exceptions are theological judgment imposed on God’s people. Additionally, the East and the West have carefully crafted the liturgical service with a man in mind. Christ is the perfect priest and he was enfleshed in a male body. Therefore, the liturgy starts with male vocal cords and ends with male vocal cords. The man gathers and calls and leads and protects. God decided on such things in the Old and New Testaments happily moving against cultural norms, pagan norms, emotional norms and sexual norms. God structures his creation in a Trinitarian fashion and th

Swimming with Sharks and Equality Vigilantes

By Justin Poythress - Posted at Reformation21: Thieves are typically pegged under one of two caricatures. The first is the burglar ruffian who picks your pocket, breaks into your car, or steals your Amazon package. The second is the white-collar fat cat, embezzling from his employees and clients or pulling the strings of a Ponzi scheme. Both are met with public condemnation, and both are hunted by the emblems of justice (i.e. the local police and the FBI). But what about the systemic, institutionally protected forms of robbery? These are forms of legal theft which break no laws, yet distort principles of just ownership. The motives and methods behind such thefts vary. Some prey upon the “haves,” others upon the “have-nots”—yet both are committing nothing short of swindling, depriving others to build themselves up. Sharks and Minnows We can see theft happening in the ecosystem of “Economic Sharks.” In true Darwinian style, these sharks prey upon the weak and poor — those who have few r

Lean Times in the American Church

 By Al Baker - Posted at Forget None of His Benefits: "And while straight up evangelism (open air preaching, door to door evangelism, investigative Bible studies), though fading from its place of prominence in times past, is hanging on in some circles, most churches have given up on that approach and insist that the better way to go is to pass out water bottles at Gay Pride events with labels which read 'God loves you.' They seem now to believe that our focus must be urging artists to use their church buildings to display their art and put on their plays, all with a desire to influence them for the gospel."   “Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, the very ends of the earth as Thy possession.” -Psalm 2:8 After returning last week from a week of ministry in a closed country where perhaps as many as 30,000 people each day are becoming disciples of Jesus, I could not help but assess where the American church is today. Bryan Wintersteen, Joe

Biden Justice Dept. challenges Alabama law banning puberty blockers for gender-confused youth

By Heather Clark - Posted at Christian News Network: WASHINGTON — Calling the procedures “medically necessary,” the U.S. Justice Department has filed an intervention to an existing lawsuit challenging an Alabama law that prohibits the use of puberty blockers and opposite-sex hormones on “transgender” youth, as well as operations removing healthy body parts. “This lawsuit challenges a state statute that denies necessary medical care to children based solely on who they are,” the complaint states. “[The ban] discriminates on the basis of both sex and transgender status in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” Senate Bill (S.B.) 184 , also known as the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, was signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey on April 8. It defines sex as “the biological state of being female or male, based on sex organs, chromosomes, and endogenous hormone profiles, … genetically encoded into a person

Unanimous Supreme Court: Boston violated free speech in denying Christian flag at city hall event

 By Heather Clark - Posted at Christian News Network: WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the City of Boston violated the Constitution in declining a request to fly the Christian flag outside of city hall during an event organized by a private, not governmental, organization. “Because the flag-raising program did not express government speech, Boston’s refusal to let petitioners fly their flag violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment,” the court declared on Monday. “When the government does not speak for itself, it may not exclude private speech based on ‘religious viewpoint’; doing so ‘constitutes impermissible viewpoint discrimination.'” The justices concluded that since the City allows a plethora of groups to temporarily fly their flags at the site throughout the year — from the flags of foreign nations, to homosexual pride banners, to flags acknowledging EMS workers — its “come-one-come-all practice” does not suggest government endorsem

Baptist Press: An Interview with Tom Ascol

By Jonathan Howe and Brandon Porter CAPE CORAL, Fla. (BP) – For more than 30 years Tom Ascol has been known as a leader with deep theological convictions through his work at Grace Baptist Church and Founders Ministries. While Ascol, 65, has never held an office as a trustee or board member of the Southern Baptist Convention, he has been an influencer, and his name is one of the most well-known in Southern Baptist life. “You’d have to ask the people who didn’t ask me,” Ascol joked when asked why he’s never served as an entity trustee or SBC committee member. “It’s never something I aspired to. I’ve always had plenty to do.” But Ascol’s name has been put forward by a number of people to be nominated as president of the SBC in Anaheim this summer. Over the last few years as debates over issues such as Critical Race Theory, the work of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and claims of liberal drift have permeated the SBC, and Ascol’s voice has been prominent—sometimes preeminen