If you wish to be equipped as a Christian, you need to have your Bible and your eyes wide open. In other words, 1. know the Word. 2. understand the strategy waged by the so-called “Progressive Christian” movement that is working overtime to make the Bible’s teachings. The following will help you with No. 2.
Review of Economic, Systemic-Solvency, Inflation, U.S. Dollar and Gold Circumstances
This Special Commentary was published to SGS Newsletter subscribers in June of this year.
We are opening this up to the public now, and you may find it of interest. It can be found at:
According to Paul Tripp, believers who suffer from what he calls “eternity amnesia” are holding on to a disillusioned and miserable form of Christianity. As belief in an afterlife declines, so does our ability to live a life of robust faith now.
We’ve got a jammed-packed program today, including some interesting articles to share with you about how the progressive side of Christianity is going to help “save Jesus” be showing you how to re-imagine Him. It’s a small group DVD series designed to get you questioning your faith, with Brian McLaren leading the voices in these lessons. Unfortunately, the age-old “Did God really say” conjecture is really nothing new under the sun, and is just one of the challenges facing the Church and Christians. It’s part of a bigger issue we’re exploring this whole week on how to share the Gospel in both Truth and Love. Many choose one over the other, but isn’t it “both and?”
First up though, we need to look at what’s happening in the volatile Middle East, as the situation in Israel is changing by the minute. Our special guest today is Laurie Cardoza Moore, founder of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN), a ministry to educate Christian believers about biblical truth as it relates to Israel. Her organization has the ear of the United Nations, and Laurie has been meeting with Israeli officials over the past week.
Churches are going to federal court to reclaim their freedom of speech after the city of Santa Monica, Calif., decided to end a nearly 60-year tradition of having Christian displays of the nativity in a public park due to an uproar caused by atheists’ anti-God signs.
Thanksgiving to God is the common element that links the early French, Spanish and English settlers as well as Americans of the Civil War period.
The Christian Post reports:
Despite the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church writing a pastoral letter to the members of the South Carolina diocese to stay, a majority of parishes voted to leave the denomination over its ordination of gay clergy and acceptance of same-sex unions.
Airport Security – This article takes a look at the unexpected costs of all the TSA is doing. “These days, the TSA’s major role appears to be to make plane trips more unpleasant. And by doing so, it’s encouraging people to take the considerably more dangerous option of traveling by road.”
Victory for Tyndale House – The headline from WORLD pretty much sums it up: “Judge temporarily exempts the Christian book publisher from the HHS contraceptive mandate, allowing it to operate its business according to its beliefs.”
Charles and Andy Stanley – CNN has a long article about the falling out and later reconciliation between Charles Stanley and his son Andy.
Literal Word – This web site has a couple of helpful features. You can change the way the ESV text is formatted so it appears in three different ways (including a literary format that removes verse markings). The search also helpfully breaks down and charts the use of a word across the Bible (see here). It’s a site worth a bookmark!
Disability Says Ugly Things – This is a powerful testimony from the recent Desiring God conference on disability. Krista Horning compares what disability says to her and what God says to her.
Seeds Family Worship – Seeds Family Worship has released a new album that looks at the character of God. You can download one of the tracks by clicking on the link.
It is not great gifts that God blesses so much as it is great likeness to Christ. —Robert Murray McCheyne
The Briefing List
An Outgunned Hamas Tries to Tap Islamists’ Growing Clout, New York Times (David D. Kirkpatrick)
Diplomats Try to End Israel-Gaza Conflict, Wall Street Journal (Charles Levinson)
Hamas Wants End to Blockade in Cease-Fire Talks, Official Says, CNN (Frederick Pleitgen, Sara Sidner and Kareem Khadder)
We’re Heading for Economic Dictatorship, Telegraph (Janet Daley)
Marijuana Legalisation In The US: Five Burning Questions, BBC News (Daniel Nasaw)
Future For Republicans Is Not So Bad, Washington Post (Chris Cillizza)
Blame Affairs On Evolution Of Sex Roles, CNN (Stephanie Coontz)
Hostess Brands Closing For Good, CNN Money (Chris Isidore)
Atheists’ Move Halts Christmas Tradition in California, Churches go to Court to Get it Back, FoxNews (Associated Press)
Sikh Religion Joining California Universities’ Curriculum, Los Angeles Times (Lee Romney)
Public Nudity Ban Eyed In Fed-Up San Fransisco, Huffington Post (Lisa Leff)
The Rockets’ Red Glare — Israel’s New Challenge
Israel, which has endured periodic rocket attacks and similar assaults from Hamas terrorists in Gaza for years, is now facing an escalated conflict and a new danger — powerful rockets that originate in Iran.
Hamas has obtained ‘Fajr-5′ rockets capable of hitting Israel’s major cities. How has Hamas obtained such advanced weapons? Bronner reports:
“The rockets are assembled locally after being shipped from Iran to Sudan, trucked across the desert through Egypt, broken down into parts and moved through Sinai tunnels into Gaza, according to senior Israeli security officials. The smuggling route involves salaried employees from Hamas along the way, Iranian technical experts traveling on forged passports and government approval in Sudan, Israeli officials said.”
This is a major development and a dangerous escalation in the risk of an open ground war in Gaza.
On Saturday, Bronner reported that the Israeli government and a majority of its citizens have come to the conclusion that Hamas does not want peace. As he explains:
“Their dangerous neighborhood is growing still more dangerous, they agree. That means not concessions, but being tougher in pursuit of deterrence, and abandoning illusions that a Jewish state will never be broadly accepted here. ‘There is a theory, which I believe, that Hamas doesn’t want a peaceful solution and only wants to keep the conflict going forever until somehow in their dream they will have all of Israel,’ Eitan Ben Eliyahu, a former leader of the Israeli Air Force, said in a telephone briefing. ‘There is a good chance we will go into Gaza on the ground again.’”
Over the past two years, Israel’s security has been threatened in new and ominous ways. I discuss these threats in today’s edition of The Briefing.
Hereditary Monarchy in the Modern Age — Badly Out of Step
Reports out of Jordan indicate that the Hashemite dynasty headed now by King Abdullah II may be in real danger. Crowds of young men and boys, numbering in the thousands, have surged through the streets of Amman, calling for revolution and “the toppling of the regime.”
Much of this is surely due to the so-called Arab Spring that toppled governments in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. But a larger part of this picture may be explained by the fact that a hereditary ruling monarchy is just badly out of place in the modern world. We can sometimes forget just how strange it is that the ruler of a people is simply the biological offspring of a previous ruler.
When protests against monarchy hit the streets like this, it seldom goes well for the monarch.
Mail Order Ordination — So What’s the Problem?
It seems that the issue of mail order ministers has become something of a problem in New York State, and probably elsewhere. As Vincent M. Mallozzi of The New York Times reports,
“An increasing number of couples are steering away from traditional religious and civil wedding officiants in favor of friends and relatives who become ordained through online ministries. But many couples are unaware that while New York State recognizes marriages performed by those who became ministers by the power vested in a mouse, there are five downstate counties where such officiants are not technically legal.”
The very existence of these mail order ministers is evidence of an increasingly secular age. As Mallozzi reports, the couples wanting their friends to officiate at weddings, complete with mail order ordination, simply do not want the presence of a recognized minister with “a lot of formulaic vows.” What they want is intimacy and secular affirmation.
The report reveals something of the extent of the mail order ordination business, with firms such as the Universal Life Church, the Church of Spiritual Humanism, and the Temple of Earth offering online ordination, for a fee.
New York State may be confused about who is and who is not a “real” minister, but the faithful church cannot be confused on the question.
The Twinkie is Terminated?
News out of Chicago indicates that the Twinkie, that iconic form of American snack food, is about to go extinct. Hostess, maker of the Twinkie, has decided to liquidate rather than face defeat by strangulation. The company’s labor unions have been strangling the company, which lost $341 million in 2011.
Labor unions held the company to 372 different collective-bargaining agreements, that required the company to offer 80 different health and benefit plans, dozens of pension plans, and more than $30 million in wage increases for next year.
The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal declared the death of the company a suicide. More than 18,000 Hostess employees killed their own company — and their own jobs.
According to The Chicago Tribune, the Twinkie was born on April 6, 1930 at Chicago’s Continental Baking Company. Hostess will attempt to sell the company’s recipes — including the recipe for the Twinkie.
I discuss all these and more in today’s edition of The Briefing: A Daily Analysis of News and Events from a Christian Worldview. Listen here. Links to all articles cited also provided.