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Showing posts from July, 2023

Nancy Mace, premarital sex, and the Bible

U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., speaking at the South Carolina Prayer Breakfast.  (Photo credit: U.S. Senator Tim Scott)  By Shane Vander Hart Congresswoman Nancy Mace believes premarital sex is something to joke about, not repent of, and, unfortunately, she's not alone. On Thursday, at the South Carolina Prayer Breakfast, hosted by U.S. Senator Tim Scott, R-S.C., U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., explained why she was almost late to the event. "When I woke up this morning at 7, I was getting picked up at 7:45, Patrick, my fiance, tried to pull me by my waist over this morning in bed. And I was like, 'No, baby, we don't got time for that this morning. I gotta get to the prayer breakfast, and I gotta be on time," she said. "A little TMI. He can wait, I'll see him later tonight," Mace added. Fox News reports that the group gathered "chuckled." The New York Post reported the crowd laughed nervously. (They also called South Carolina the "Tar

Breakpoint: 'The Rise and Fall of Evangelical America: Lasting Faith Needs Deeper Soil'

 By John Stonestreet and Shane Morris: Published July 25, 2023 Perhaps, given how quickly the evangelical bubble burst, part of the problem was that it was filled with shallow belief. In the parable of the sower, Jesus illustrated how the seed of God’s Word flourishes or perishes depending on the kind of ground it falls on. Some seeds fell on a path, and birds ate them. Some fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the seedlings. “Other seeds,” said Jesus, “fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away.” That rocky soil group aptly describes the rapid rise and decline of evangelicals in America in recent decades. Recently, political scientist Ryan Burge, co-author of The Great Dechurching , explained how, between 1983 and 1993, the share of Americans who identified as evangelicals exploded . In fact, at their height i

See What You See

 By Al Baker - Posted at Forget None Of His Benefits: Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; preserve me from violent men who devise evil things in their hearts. -Psalm 140:1,2 After the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658 the Puritan Commonwealth quickly began to unravel. Oliver’s son, Richard, was made the Lord Protector in place of his father, but he lacked the leadership skill of Oliver and lasted only nine months in that role. The Puritan army was not behind Richard. The pro-royalist populace saw an opening and quickly brought Charles II back from exile. King Charles II was a godless man who fathered at least 12 illegitimate children. He was restored to the throne in April, 1661 and quickly began to undermine the Puritan revolution. He was, perhaps even at this early stage, a closet Roman Catholic, and he sought to bring his subjects in Presbyterian Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as in England and Wales into submission. The “Anti-Puritan Purge” had begun. First, the Parliament pas

Pastor Confesses to Kidnapping and Murdering 8 Year Old Attending His Bible Camp

  David Zandstra / Gretchen Harrington / Photos courtesy of the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office By Jessica Eturralde - Posted at Ministry Watch: Published July 25, 2023 Nearly 50 years after the skeletal remains of a missing 8-year-old girl were found, a pastor confessed to police that he kidnapped and killed her. Authorities charged former pastor David Zandstra, 83, of Marietta, Georgia, on Monday with criminal homicide, murder of the first, second, and third degree, and kidnapping of a minor. According to the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s office , on August 15, 1975, Gretchen Harrington left her home at approximately 9:30 a.m. to walk to her summer Bible camp in Marple, Pennsylvania. The camp was conducted between two church campuses—Trinity Church Chapel Christian Reform Church and The Reformed Presbyterian Church next door. Zandstra was the pastor of Trinity, and Gretchen’s father was the pastor of Reformed Presbyterian. Zandstra led opening exercises at Trinity, and

Why I refuse to see “Oppenheimer”—and you should, too

Posted at the  Denison Forum: Published July 24, 2023 I wish I could see Oppenheimer, the Christopher Nolan movie that collected $80.5 million in its opening weekend. Its theme is fascinating: one of the most pivotal moments in history is brought to life through outstanding performances by superb actors. When Janet and I saw the previews while viewing another movie, we decided on the spot that we needed to see the film. Then I discovered that the movie includes scenes with explicit sex and nudity. The director explained that he wanted to show that the depicted romance transcended politics. But there is no moral way to justify immorality. And make no mistake: the scenes keeping me from seeing Oppenheimer are immoral. Continue here.

When Knowledge Misses the Point

 Posted at Reformation Scotland: We all need to be instructed in the truths of the gospel, because that is the way that we grow spiritually. But both preachers and hearers can be busy around the truth without really getting to the heart of the truth. John Carstares was a ministerial colleague of James Durham and wrote an extended endorsement of Durham’s book, The Great Gain of Contenting Godliness . Carstares picks up on Durham’s theme of “exercising yourself unto godliness” and points out that there are various ways in which we can be active and energetic – full of zeal – but it’s misdirected even though we have flickers and flashes of truth in our view. In the following updated extract, Carstares picks out some ways in which – whether as preachers or hearers – people miss the point and truth and godliness slip away from them. We should exercise ourselves to godliness knowingly and solidly, having a right understanding of its nature, and a thorough grasp of what it consists of, so tha

Post Christian Literary Great

 By Al Baker - Posted at Forget None Of His Benefits : “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” -Mark 8:36 Ernest Hemingway, the great American novelist, who wrote notable works like A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls , and the Old Man and the Sea was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He was reared in the evangelical Christian faith. He was baptized as an infant in an evangelical Congregational church and gladly professed faith in Christ as a child and early teen. His grandparents were missionaries and his father was a committed churchman and friend of the evangelist D.L. Moody.   Hemingway left home at age eighteen and joined the Red Cross and was an ambulance driver in World War I and was severely wounded in battle by shrapnel from an Austrian mortar attack. It was around this time that Hemingway walked away from the faith of his parents and childhood. Hemingway’s mother was very concerned for her son’s

A Response to “Shiny Happy People”

 By Davis Carman - Posted at Apologia: Published July 17, 2023 Amazon Prime Video is now streaming “Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets,” an exclusive four-part documentary that purports to expose the truth lurking beneath the wholesome Americana surface of reality TV’s favorite mega-family, the Duggars. The producers turn a spotlight on the Duggar family’s views and practices regarding modesty, music, dating and courtship, having children, home education and politics, with a particular emphasis on the family’s connection to the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) and its founder, Bill Gothard. The Duggars are presented in the series as the “shiny, happy” face of IBLP, and several clips are shown of parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar speaking to large gatherings of moms and dads at IBLP events. Meanwhile, the show explores the darker side of the fundamentalist organization and its longtime leader. A significant portion of the series is devoted to on-camera interviews with

Ministry Watch Report: Troubling ‘Rescues’ of West African Children by International Justice Mission

Image Source: IJM - Facebook  By Kim Roberts - Posted at MinistryWatch: Published July 18, 2023 A report by the Africa Eye section of the BBC claims to have discovered two documented cases where children were “traumatically and unjustly removed” from their homes and their relatives were wrongly prosecuted as child traffickers. The cases have ties to work by International Justice Mission (IJM) , a U.S.-based anti-human trafficking group that started in 1997 and claims to have “protected over 10.4 million vulnerable people from violence.” The first case took place in a small village in northern Ghana in September 2022. According to the report, Ghanaian police officers sped into the village after midnight and forcibly removed four children and arrested two of the children’s uncles. Known as Operation Hilltop, the raid was reportedly tied to IJM. Its model includes working with local law enforcement to rescue victims and bring perpetrators to justice. The children were separated from thei

What Anti-Trafficking Experts Think of the Hit Movie ‘Sound of Freedom’

 By Emily Belz - Posted at Christianity Today: Published July 12, 2023 Ministries and former law enforcement have some caveats to add to the film about Operation Underground Railroad’s Tim Ballard. In a field crowded with franchises like Indiana Jones, the unexpected box office success of the summer is a movie about child sex trafficking, Sound of Freedom . Based on the story of Operation Underground Railroad’s Tim Ballard, the small-budget film has earned $45 million since its July 4 release. The movie tells the story of Ballard (Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in 2004’s The Passion of the Christ ) becoming frustrated with his work as a Department of Homeland Security agent arresting pedophiles. He wants to rescue the children being sex trafficked, but he says at one point, “Most of those kids are outside of the US.” He quits his job and goes rogue to track down a brother and sister who have been trafficked, traveling to Mexico and Colombia. He and his assembled team try to set up an

Baptist Press: More states act to address transgender movement

 By Tom Strode Published July 14, 2023 NASHVILLE (BP) – More state legislatures have enacted laws this year to protect minors and women, as well as to ensure competitive fairness in sports, in response to the transgender rights movement. So far in 2023, the legislative effort to address issues regarding particularly children and young people who identity as a gender other than their biological sex include, according to the Movement Advancement Project (MAP): 17 new states have passed laws that prohibit gender-reassignment surgery and hormonal treatment. In all, 20 states have enacted such laws since 2021. Six states have enacted bans on the transgender use of restrooms and other sex-segregated facilities, bringing the total of states with such laws to nine the last three years. Four new states have approved laws that bar young people from competing in sports according to their gender identity instead of their biological sex at birth. A total of 22 states have approved such laws since 2

Perversion and Post Christian Kids

 By Al Baker - Posted at Forget None of His Benefits: “. . . God gave them over to a reprobate mind.” -Romans 1:28 A recent survey of students at Brown University found that 38% of them identify as LGBTQ+. That is more than double the number of students who identified in like manner in 2010.[1] I preached with my friends Geoff Kirkland and Tom Raborn at my first Gay Pride event in St. Louis in 2018. What immediately struck me was how many of the vast hordes attending the event were in their twenties or younger. And the phenomenon of “transgenderism” is now “hip and cool” with teens and twenty somethings. You no doubt know kids who grew up in your church, who gave strong evidence of true saving faith, but who now announce on FaceBook and Instagram that they are proudly homosexual. Some of them may say they still believe in Jesus and that they are very happy to still follow Him. I was recently listening to a lecture by the great Welsh preacher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones on “The Permissive Socie

Few Worship Leaders Avoid Hillsong, Bethel Songs — Despite Controversies and Scandal

 By Sam Smietana - Posted at Ministry Watch: A new study looked at how worship leaders pick music for services — at a time when a handful of megachurches dominate the market. (RNS) — For the past decade, a handful of megachurches have dominated worship music, churning out hits such as “Goodness of God,” “What a Beautiful Name,” “King of Kings” and “Graves Into Gardens.” And though churches like Australia-based Hillsong and Bethel Church in California have met with scandal and controversy, worship leaders still keep singing their songs. A new study released Tuesday (July 11) found that few worship leaders avoid songs from Hillsong and Bethel, two of the so-called Big Four megachurches that dominate modern worship music. The study found that most worship leaders connect with songs because they’ve experienced them firsthand at a conference or by listening to them online, or because a friend or church member recommended them — rather than seeing the song at the top of the charts or on a

Morning Star News: Arrested Christian in Pakistan Denies Sharing Facebook Post

Muslim leader advised complainant that content was not derogatory. Published July 12, 2023 LAHORE, Pakistan ( Morning Star News ) – Police in Pakistan on Saturday (July 8) arrested a Christian for allegedly sharing a post on Facebook even though his village’s Islamic cleric and other Muslims denied that it amounted to blasphemy, his brother said. Wasim Masih told Morning Star News that Sargodha police registered a blasphemy case against his 35-year-old brother, Zaki Masih of Chak 98 Shumaali village, after a local Muslim, Muhammad Awais, accused him of insulting Islam by sharing a post on Facebook. Police arrested Zaki Masih under Section 295-A of Pakistan’s blasphemy statutes relating to “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs,” punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine or both. He was also charged under Section 298 against hurting religious sentiments, punishable by up to one year in prison

Michigan Is Passing “Hate Speech” Laws, Don’t Use The Wrong Pronouns– or Else

 By Andrew Torba - Posted at Gab News: Published July 9, 2023 A recent bill passed by the Michigan state House has ignited a contentious debate surrounding the First Amendment and the criminalization of “intimidation” on the topic of gender identity. The bill, which would elevate such actions to the level of a felony, specifically targets “disrespectful acts such as intentional misgendering.” The legislation also aims to expand Michigan’s existing ethnic intimidation law, enacted in 1988, by granting prosecutors greater authority to address acts of vandalism targeted at places of worship. The Michigan bill secured a 59 to 50 vote in the Michigan House. Republican State Representative Steve Carra voiced concerns about the potential ramifications of the expansion, particularly in relation to free speech. While acknowledging the importance of combatting actual threats, violence, and crime, Carra expressed unease about constructing legislation solely based on an individual’s feelings of fe

Doug Wilson: The Ugly

 By Wes Bredenhof In the first part , we looked at what could be regarded as commendable. In the last instalment , we looked at some of the doctrinal concerns with Wilson. In this final instalment, it’s time to face some of what’s scandalous and ugly. This is going to be the longest and most controversial of the three posts. There’ll be those who think I’m mud-slinging. They’ll say I’m taking Wilson’s words out of context. I’ll do my best to present facts, as well as giving assessments of those facts. The reason I’m doing this is because, when considering Wilson’s influence, we do also have to consider the outcomes of his life. Is he blameless? Is there a pattern of unwise behaviour that might warn us away? Southern Slavery There is an infamous quote from a book written by Doug Wilson and Steve Wilkins, Southern Slavery As It Was. This quote has been circulated around for years: Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animo

The Sabbath at the Supreme Court

 By Zachary Groff - Posted at Reformation21: Published June 30, 2023 Over the past several months, I’ve been tracking the progress of what I call “Uncle Gerry’s Case.” Gerald Groff [1] is an Evangelical Christian of the conservative Mennonite variety hailing from beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania who has become a champion of religious liberty, the Christian Sabbath, and “reasonable accommodation” under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. While “Uncle Gerry’s” particular case is not quite over, significant progress has been made with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Groff vs. DeJoy, Postmaster General. The ramifications of this landmark decision may be far-reaching as lower courts receive careful (and unanimously endorsed) direction on how to assess “undue hardship” in the accommodation of religion in the workplace. Since the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, employers are prohibited under Title VII from discriminating against employees and potential employees on the basis of race, co

Intensifying religious persecution in India and the U.S. response

 By Sam Haymore - Posted at Baptist Press: In a joint statement released by the White House on June 22, President Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced several new technology, defense, and research initiatives that are set to bolster the economic ties between the United States and India. The statement came during Modi’s recent visit to Washington, D.C., signaling the Biden administration’s clear intent to further pivot U.S. foreign relations in the Indo-Pacific by privileging the nation which now boasts the largest democracy in the world with a greatly expanded trade partnership. Undoubtedly, this announcement will come as welcome news to many who are excited by the prospect of establishing India as a more reliable supplier of semiconductors to the U.S. and as a more militarily secure neighbor to the Chinese Communist Party. However, the announcement also raises concerns in light of recent reports that have exposed the increasingly dire state of religious freedom and human


Image Source:  Journal of the American Revolution (  By Ray Raphael - Posted at Journal of the American Revolution: Early in 1814, thirteen years into his retirement, John Adams received a bizarre letter from Thomas McKean, a former colleague in the First and Second Continental Congresses. “I will give you an historical fact respecting the declaration of Independence, which may amuse, if not surprize,” McKean wrote. “In the printed public journal of Congress for 1776, vol. 2 it appears, that the Declaration of Independence was declared on the 4th of July 1776 by the Gentleman, whose names are there inserted, whereas no person signed it on that day. ” (Emphasis added.) He then listed seven men whose names were affixed to the document but were not even present. McKean, on the other hand, had been “present in Congress on the 4th of July, & voted for Independence.” If others had signed it on that day, he certainly would have as well—and yet, mysteriously, his name

The Declaration of Independence: A History

Posted at The National Archives: Nations come into being in many ways. Military rebellion, civil strife, acts of heroism, acts of treachery, a thousand greater and lesser clashes between defenders of the old order and supporters of the new--all these occurrences and more have marked the emergences of new nations, large and small. The birth of our own nation included them all. That birth was unique, not only in the immensity of its later impact on the course of world history and the growth of democracy, but also because so many of the threads in our national history run back through time to come together in one place, in one time, and in one document: the Declaration of Independence. Moving Toward Independence The clearest call for independence up to the summer of 1776 came in Philadelphia on June 7. On that date in session in the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall), the Continental Congress heard Richard Henry Lee of Virginia read his resolution beginning: "Resolved

A Brief History of the Ideas behind Wokeism

By Adam S. Francisco - Posted at The Lutheran Witness : "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” These words, penned by the Swiss-born French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), capture the spirit of modern revolutionary thought. It argues that institutions and standards, even notions of goodness and truth, enslave people by binding them to a political system, social order and moral and theological tradition. True freedom can never be realized within these structures. Neither can real equality — where all are equal in every respect. Achieving these lofty (though undefined) goals of freedom and equality requires liberation from the institutions and standards of the past. Individuals and society must move past them and create new ones — ones that avoid the oppressive and exclusionary nature of those being replaced. How? In the past, force and even violence was the strategy. Think of the French and Russian Revolutions. There is, however, another way. Over the la