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Showing posts with the label Church and State

Three Congregations That Grew During The Covid Lockdown

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog: Published October 16, 2023  Three congregations that reportedly grew during the Covid lockdowns in 2020: Christ Church in Moscow, ID; Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA; and Trinity Church in Scottsdale, AZ. These three congregations have a few things in common. Each is led by a powerful personality: Doug Wilson , John MacArthur , and Mark Driscoll respectively. Each of these pastors has been controversial in one way or another, some of which have been chronicled in this space. All of them, to one degree or another, generated controversy over their reaction to the Covid mandates. All of them too took a very public stand in defiance of public health regulations. Comments in a recent article on Driscoll’s congregation in Scottsdale capture well what happened: Driscoll’s ministry in Phoenix grew rapidly during the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020. After just a brief closure in the pandemic’s earliest days, Driscoll made the decision to o

Social Welfare and the Biblical Remedy

Image Source:  FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS   By Al Baker - Posted at Forget None Of His Benefits: “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.” -2 Thessalonians 3:10 During the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920’s and 1930”s in New York City, a time where a rebirth of African American art, literature, and music occurred, many white celebrities frequented the Harlem entertainment centers, often staying there until after midnight. Invariably, without any fear for their safely, these white celebrities would walk the streets of Harlem without incident. The economist Milton Freedman, while a graduate student at Columbia University in New York City, often took his fianceé (later his wife) to dance the night away at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem without fear of being mugged or accosted. A black actress, after performing in midtown Manhattan, said that she would without fear take the subway back to Harlem and never

A Challenge to the “Spirituality of the Church”

 By Larry Ball - Posted at The Aquila Report: Believers can publicly call out the evil, e.g., in abortion, homosexual marriage, and transgenderism, and in so doing honor God and fulfill their obligation to call the civil magistrate to repent. The term “spirituality of the church” has become one of those phrases that often stops all further conversation about the relationship between church and state. Few Christians ever question the meaning of the phrase. It assumes that the church should remain silent about all political matters. Although the expression does not appear in any of our confessional standards, it has become a doctrine of Presbyterianism as sacrosanct as any one of the five points of Calvinism. No one is allowed to challenge it without being labeled with a pejorative term. It is my contention that rightly understood, it can be a useful phrase, but if contextualized in terms of either dualistic Greek thought, or in terms of present-day secular pluralism, it is not only fa

The Reformed View of Nations

 By Reformation Miami Ministries - Posted at YouTube : Description: Posted Dec 1, 2022 Pastor Aldo Leon discusses a reformed view of nations with Pastor Benjamin Glaser of Bethany Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Clover, South Carolina. ( . Our Podcast Archive is located at .

Iran’s Crisis and the Iranian Church

 By Hamid Hatami - Posted at TableTalk Magazine: Since September, the nation of Iran has been in a state of turmoil and pain. Iranian men and women, young and old, are in the streets crying for justice, freedom, and liberty from the dictatorship of the Islamic regime with one resounding slogan: “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi,” which means “Woman, Life, Freedom.” They have been motivated by sadness, anger, and grief. It is not the first time that Iranians have taken to the streets since revolution began in 1979. The current protests, however, are unlike any previous because they are not limited to a specific group or social class. Anti-regime protests have erupted in more than one hundred cities of all thirty-one provinces of Iran. These protests began in response to the death of twenty-two-year-old Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish girl who died in the custody of morality police after being detained for an alleged violation of improperly covering her hair. Over the course of the protests, revolutionary guard

Protecting Religious Liberty: Why Theonomy is Not the Answer

 By Dewey Dovel - Posted at Covenant Confessions: Growing up in the buckle of the Bible belt, I was always led to believe that the United States of America was “founded as a Christian nation.” While this misconception was rectified during my study of American history in high school, [1] the past ten years since graduation have revealed to me that many people in the South embrace this faulty conviction (especially in rural parts of Texas). Nevertheless, despite the competing opinions that exist regarding Christianity’s relationship to the founding of the United States, it seems inconceivable to identify twenty-first century America as anything remotely close to Christian. The legislating of gay marriage, [2] the promotion of drag queens at children’s birthday parties, [3] the prevalence of increasing racial hostilities, [4] and the disintegration of the nuclear family [5] are but a few alarming testimonies of rampant debauchery in America. If ever there was a time that the United S

“Christian Nationalism”: Dump the Term While We Still Can

By Larry Ball - Posted at The Aquila Report: I am opposed to adopting or using the term “Christian Nationalism” as a response to the present anti-Christian crusade. The term Christian Nationalist sends the wrong message to both those outside the church and those inside the church. Therefore, I simply do not use the term. I prefer the term Christendom. When I speak of Christendom, surprisingly most people in the church today have never heard of it. I find this ironic because America (with all her warts) at various times in history could be judged as an example of Christendom. We have been living off that borrowed capital for years, but it is hastily running out. America is at war—not literally as in the shedding of blood. At least, not yet. However, we have not been this divided since the advent of the Civil War. History does tend to repeat itself. It appears to me that total anarchy is on the horizon, and the 2024 presidential election could easily trigger this event. On the one

Fighting Over Prayer

 By Kyle E. Sims - Posted at Gentle Reformation: “District won't allow prayers over PA” was the headline article in our local paper. At odds were the school district administration and a state legislator over whether the school district could allow ministers to have prayer before a football game over the official Public Address system. This conflict spilled over onto social media. Many see it as an attack against freedom of religion, while others argue the First Amendment anti-establishment clause. Many of us grew up with this invocation being a regular part of the pre-game ceremonies. In recent years, I have seen this done before games at state universities such as Clemson and the University of South Carolina. Our school district stopped this practice in 2003 when the US Supreme Court upheld a legal challenge to the practice of official prayers at public school sporting events over the Public Address System. As you can imagine, there have been some strong opinions about this issu

King Charles III and Securing the True Protestant Religion

 By Kyle Borg - Posted at Gentle Reformation : Published September 10, 2022 With the death of Queen Elizabeth II the United Kingdom and a watching world are preparing for a lot of royal pageantry. It's a pageantry that comes with a lot of history and even a little bit of theology. This morning in London, according to an old tradition dating back centuries, King Charles III was officially proclaimed King in the presence of the Ascension Council. For the first time in history people were able to view the event and the simple but profound process by which this is done. With impressive activities and ceremonies the proclamation of the new monarchy will be made throughout the country. One of the first things King Charles III did — and it was his stated intention to do so at the first opportunity — was to make a formal oath to the security of the Church of Scotland. He did so in the following words: I, Charles the Third, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Nort

What “Separation of Church and State” Is Really About

 By John Stonestreet and Glenn Sunshine - Posted at Breakpoint : In response to the recent Dobbs decision and the Supreme Court’s clear, consistent support for religious liberty throughout this term, many progressives are warning of an imminent “Christian theocracy.” Among the loudest voices predicting our collective doom are mainstream media outlets. For example, a recent story in Reuters claimed, “ U.S. Supreme Court Takes Aim at Separation of Church and State .” What’s missing in virtually all of these pieces is a proper understanding of the “establishment clause.” The establishment clause is derived from the opening lines of the First Amendment which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” There are two ways this statement is commonly misunderstood. First, it is often described as establishing a “wall of separation between church and state.” In fact, those words are found nowhere in the Constitutio

Should Reformed Christians Be Supporting Putin?

 By Pastor Andrew Webb - Posted at Building Old School Churches: Recently I shared a request from ARP NEWS for prayer and donations to help the refugees who are fleeing the war in Ukraine . Earlier I had shared a prayer request asking for prayer for the people of Ukraine and had added my own request for people to please also pray for the Evangelical Reformed Seminary of Ukraine and their teachers, families, and students. Apparently, these two requests were too much for one of my Reformed Christian Facebook friends who sent me a message demanding to know why the ARP and I were praying for and supporting the Ukrainians who are, according to him, abortion loving, “Globohomos” instead of the Russians whom he characterized as a Christian nation under a Christian leader who had outlawed abortion and homosexuality. I wrote the following answer to him but was unable to send it as he blocked me soon after sending his message. Since I’m finding that there are many other Reformed Christians on F

Righteous Resistance to Individual and Government Tyranny

By Thomas F. Booher - Posted at The Tulip Driven Life: Luke 6:27-36 – Love Your Enemies – Sermon Outline Intro: How do we love those who hate us? Jesus teaches His disciples how to do so. Need: Jesus is speaking to His disciples in the context of persecution they will face for faithfulness. Theme: Christ’s kingdom ethic of love and mercy. I. Treat even your enemies as you want others to treat you. (27-31) A. Recall the Context of Jesus words, spoken to His disciples/apostles and the crowds who “hear”. 1. Christ is preparing His 12 apostles to take the Gospel, healing and teaching even as He has done. 2. Jesus has told them they are blessed by God when they are hated and reviled, now He is going to tell them how they should respond when hated and reviled and persecuted. 3. But He says this to all who hear, and so this application is more general/broad/true for each of us. 4. Should we return insult for insult, escalating the

Pushing Back Against Government Intrusion

 By Al Baker - Posted at Forget None of His Benefits: “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.” –Romans 14:22 James Otis[1] was eighteen years old when he graduated with his good friend John Adams from Harvard in 1743. Harvard at the time was a hotbed of Puritan theology which included a fervent resistance to tyranny, a theology built on the writings of John Calvin, John Knox, Theodore Beza, Samuel Rutherford, John Milton, et al. By 1761 merchants in Boston were highly indignant and incensed at the British law of Writs of Assistance. This law allowed for general search warrants by colonial customs officials to break open shops of business, cellars, and houses to search for prohibited goods and merchandise on which duties had not been paid. These searches could be made without having to consult a judge or describe the goods being searched for or their suspected location. They also did not require ev

The Rise of Tyranny in the Church

By Dewey Roberts - Posted at Vanguard Presbytery: French President, Emanuel Macron, recently specified the reasons for his country outlawing homeschooling. He said that too many homeschoolers were being taught about God and that has proved to be a negative thing for society. It is obvious to anyone that has eyes and ears that totalitarianism is on the rise throughout the world. Countries which have formerly permitted missionaries are now outlawing them. Nations that have had democracies are turning to socialism. Countries that have enjoyed freedom are imposing despotic laws supposedly to protect the citizens. Yet, the old adage remains true that any nation which chooses safety over freedom shall have neither. The same thing has happened in the modern church. Social justice has taken over many denominations in the US and North America. And with that social justice there has come tyranny for many. It seems unfathomable, but it is true. A movement that touts justice denies justice to mos

Texans to Vote on Whether Governments Can Limit Religious Services

By Alejandra Molina  - RNS - Posted at Christian Headlines : (RNS) — Texas voters will decide on Election Day (Nov. 2) whether state and local governments can impose limits on religious services, such as the public health orders that shut down houses of worship and businesses earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic. If voters approve the measure, known as Proposition 3, it would add a clause to the Texas Constitution forbidding state or local authorities from prohibiting or limiting religious services. The amendment has divided religious groups in Texas and has also amassed bipartisan support, passing both the state Senate and House of Representatives with a number of Democrats joining unanimous Republican support. Read more...

Church vs. COVID (part 1): setting up the issues

 By Joel James - Posted at The Cripplegate: Over the last year and a half, churches around the world have been severely impacted by government regulations related to the COVID outbreak. In South Africa where I pastor, restrictions have varied from banning all church services during seasons of high infection rates, to long-term limits on the number of people allowed to attend worship services (varying from fifty to one hundred people irrespective of the size of the meeting hall). Corporate singing and the serving of communion elements have been banned from the beginning, along with constantly changing prohibitions or restrictions on other fellowship events. Masks and social distancing have been required throughout. No doubt your church has experienced similar regulations, and it has left us all asking, “How do we respond when government regulations significantly impinge on biblical worship and fellowship?” Opinions are legion. Reponses range from, “The church should obey the govern

J. Gresham Machen: God’s Forgotten Libertarian

 By Lawrence W. Reed - Posted at the Foundation for Economic Education: Of the Presbyterian theologian J. Gresham Machen (1881–1937), Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and Nobel laureate Pearl S. Buck declared, The man was admirable. He never gave in one inch to anyone. He never bowed his head. It was not in him to trim or compromise, to accept any peace that was less than triumph. He was a glorious enemy because he was completely open and direct in his angers and hatreds. He stood for something and everyone knew what it was. Lest you be tempted to dismiss Buck’s praise as predictably biased because, after all, she was raised by Presbyterian missionaries living in China, consider the view of H.L. Mencken. Mencken was known for his caustic criticisms of Christians in general and ministers in particular. He described the Creator as “a comedian whose audience is afraid to laugh” and once wrote, “Shave a gorilla and it would be almost impossible, at twenty paces, to distinguish him from a he

Pastor Arrested for Holding Worship Service against COVID-19 Restrictions Shares Gospel with Police

Image Source: By Michael Foust - Posted at Christian Headlines: Published Monday, May 17, 2021 Another Canadian pastor was arrested Sunday for holding a church service in violation of COVID-19 health restrictions, making him the second minister this month and the third this year to be taken into custody by police for organizing a worship service. Pastor Tim Stephens of Fairview Baptist Church in Calgary, Alberta, hugged his wife and children before being placed in a police vehicle and arrested for violating local restrictions, which limit church services to a maximum of 15 individuals. In a blog this month, Stephens acknowledged COVID-19 is "serious" but argued the "cure should not be worse than the disease," pointing to problems of mental health and suicide. His church, he said, had not had a "single transmission" of COVID-19. Read more here.

Crosstalk America: State of the Church 2021

 Posted at Sermon Audio : Details: Since the outbreak of COVID-19, a transformation of the world has taken place. Businesses in America were forced to close their doors as the government determined who was "essential" and who wasn't. Schools were closed, relationships have been challenged, surgeries deemed "nonessential" were prohibited and more. It's not just the secular world that's been impacted. The church has had to adjust as well. Many churches were closed, ministries were forced to shut down and pastoral visits to the sick, lonely and those in need were forbidden. How this has impacted the church and how they've responded was the topic, as Ben Everson joined Jim for this important discussion. Ben is an international evangelist known for his a cappella singing and writing music. He's been traveling in revival ministry for 25 years along with his family. He was one of the first conservative Christian musicians to take advantage of You

Canadian Pastor Could Face 1 Year in Jail for Leading Easter Worship Service

By Michael Foust - Posted at Christian Headlines: A Canadian pastor says he could face up to one year and jail and a $100,000 fine after local police charged him for violating health restrictions by leading his congregation in worship on Easter Sunday. Jacob Reaume, pastor of Trinity Bible Chapel in Waterloo, Ontario, says in a blog post that local police, known as by-law officers, visited his church last Thursday to "hand deliver two new summonses to appear in court." One was for the congregation, while the other was for Reaume. "Our offence? We worshipped the risen Christ together on Resurrection Sunday," the pastor wrote . The charges could become costly if not overturned, Reaume wrote. This is the church's third summons and Reaume's sixth. "Each summons to the church carries a maximum penalty of $10 million," he wrote. "... Each summons to me carries a maximum penalty of $100,000 and one year in jail." Read more here.