December 20-21, 2014: Truth2Freedom Weekend Headline Alerts Collection

Had any other condition been better for you than the one you are in, Divine Love would have put you there. —C.H. Spurgeon


America Just Lost It’s Very First Cyber-War With Sony Pictures Hack

US official states that North Korea responsible for hacking of Sony over The Interview film

Sony Pictures underwent a massive breach of their online systems in November, resulting in incredible embarrassment and the cancellation of various scheduled movie premiers.



Most analysts say it was North Korea who did the hacking to stop the movie “The Interview” from being released, and today various US experts say North Korea was aided by China. In any event, the fallout has been catastrophic on many levels.

Lost Revenue

Variety reported that Sony stands to lose upwards of $75 million on the cancelled release of “The Interview” alone. That figure includes the $44 million that Sony spent producing the film, as well as the $30 million it shelled out to promote it, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. One of those sources said that Sony had originally planned on spending $36 million to market the picture domestically and was eight days away from premiering it in theaters when it was shelved. That meant most of its billboards, posters, other promotional materials and TV ad spend were already in place.

Lost Standing

The Telegraph UK reports that the hackers who launched a cyber-attack on Sony Pictures praised the company’s decision to cancel the release of The Interview on Friday and said its data will be secure if they continue to comply, CNN reported.

It’s very wise that you have made a decision to cancel the release of ‘The Interview,’” the message said, according to CNN. “We ensure the security of your data unless you make additional trouble.”

Meanwhile, George Clooney started a petition calling for The Interview to be released immediately online, saying “we cannot be told we can’t see something by Kim Jong-un, of all —-ing people”.

The Hollywood star said it was “insane” that North Korea has been allowed to “dictate content”. “We should be in the position right now of going on offence with this,” Clooney told the Deadline on Thursday.

Where is the FBI in all this, or the CIA? President Obama vowed a “US response” to the action by North Korea, but if it’s anything like his “response” to the Benghazi terror attack on 9.11.12, we will be waiting a long, long time. “We will respond,” Mr Obama told reporters on Friday, declining to offer specifics. “We will respond proportionately and in a space, time and manner that we choose.”

The rest of the world is watching, and should Obama choose his usual socialist-passive response to this egregious act, then expect the number of cyber-attacks against America to skyrocket.

The post America Just Lost It’s Very First Cyber-War With Sony Pictures Hack appeared first on Now The End Begins.

ISIS Harvesting Human Organs From Live Hostages For Sale On Black Market

IS is hiring foreign doctors to harvest organs in hospitals in Iraq and Syria

The Islamic State has turned its hand to human organ trafficking to fund terror across the Middle East, it has been claimed. The jihadist group has until now filled its $2million-a-year war chest from a variety of shadowy sources including oil production, human trafficking and drug smuggling.


But it was revealed today that it has been recruiting foreign doctors for months to harvest the internal organs not only from the bodies of their own dead fighters but also from living hostages – including children – snatched from minority communities in Iraq and Syria.

The report went on: ‘Surgeries take place within a hospital and organs are quickly transported through networks specialized in trafficking human organs. Mosuli said that the organs come from fallen fighters who were quickly transported to the hospital, injured people who were abandoned or individuals who were kidnapped.’

Most of the organs are then smuggled out of Syria and Iraq into neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia or Turkey where criminal gangs sell them on to shady buyers across the globe, the Assyrian International News Agency reported.

Read the rest of the story on Daily Mail UK…


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Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder Declares Being Transgendered To Be A ‘Civil Right’

Attorney General Holder announced today that the Department of Justice will take the position in litigation that the protection of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to claims of discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, including transgender status.

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9,10

WARNING! Protecting Pedophiles Will Be Next: NYT writer: Pedophilic attraction a ‘mental disability’ that should be protected in law

Attorney General Holder informed all Department of Justice component heads and United States Attorneys in a memo that the department will no longer assert that Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex excludes discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender discrimination, reversing a previous Department of Justice position.  Title VII makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in the employment of an individual “because of such individual’s…sex,” among other protected characteristics.



“This important shift will ensure that the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are extended to those who suffer discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status,” said Attorney General Holder.  “This will help to foster fair and consistent treatment for all claimants.  And it reaffirms the Justice Department’s commitment to protecting the civil rights of all Americans.”

The Attorney General’s memo is designed to foster consistent treatment of claimants throughout the government and reduce confusion.  In addition to applying to the department’s civil obligations in defending federal interests, this memo clarifies the Civil Rights Division’s ability to file Title VII claims against state and local public employers on behalf of transgender individuals.  The Department of Justice does not have authority to file suit against private employers.

The post Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder Declares Being Transgendered To Be A ‘Civil Right’ appeared first on Now The End Begins.

Weekly Watchman


How did Christians Destroy Conservatism?

Is America in Serious Decline? What Should Christians Do About it?

The forecast calls for heat

Sharing truth and holding opinions lightly

Blocked from @Rick Warren on Twitter

A Duty To Resist

Gender Chaos: The Insanity (and Impossibility) of “Sex Change”

Of students and teachers

How did Christians Destroy Conservatism?
Dec 19, 2014 07:06 am | Scott Alan Buss

How did we end up with “conservatives” defending everything from Social Security and Medicare to State-controlled children’s “education”, which is straight out of the Communist Manifesto? How did we get a supposedly “right wing” political movement in America that is effortlessly molded and mobilized in support of one explicitly Socialist/Marxist policy after another, all while most of its members […]

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Is America in Serious Decline? What Should Christians Do About it?
Dec 19, 2014 06:55 am | mlemay

Six years ago Barack Obama became President of the United States and he promised to fundamentally transform the United States of America. Now regardless of what you think of the President’s policies, you cannot argue that he has been successful in his promise to fundamentally transform our nation in many aspects. If you lean progressive […]

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The forecast calls for heat
Dec 18, 2014 08:33 am | A.Spreeman

If you are someone who keeps up with news headlines and what’s going on with world governments, you probably have some theories about what will happen in the near future as we see those “chess pieces” moving. So today we’re asking all of us, “What should Christians look forward to in 2015 politically, socially and […]

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Sharing truth and holding opinions lightly
Dec 17, 2014 01:05 pm | A.Spreeman

As the famous 1980s theologians 38 Special sang, “Hold on loosely, but don’t let go.” It’s not easy sharing the Truth of God’s Word in a world that doesn’t want to hear it. It’s even harder sharing truth with those who have a religion but not an understanding.  We know that the Bible is God’s […]

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Blocked from @Rick Warren on Twitter
Dec 16, 2014 12:48 pm | A.Spreeman

Last night I saw a Facebook post about something that Pastor Rick Warren had tweeted. I haven’t looked at the pastor’s tweets in a while, so I clicked on the link, and found this: Curious indeed. I don’t interact with @Rick Warren, and the last time I posted anything with his name on it would […]

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A Duty To Resist
Dec 16, 2014 08:46 am | A.Spreeman

A little later we are going to respond to an email we got at the end of the program yesterday from Therese, who shared: I have been told I am losing my joy in the Lord because I have Been trying to wake up my family to the wolves in the church. We promised we’d […]

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Gender Chaos: The Insanity (and Impossibility) of “Sex Change”
Dec 15, 2014 07:35 pm | Scott Alan Buss

One of the more, um, flamboyant manifestations of the wrath of God pouring out upon a proud, unrepentant America, is our culture’s embrace of an “anything goes” approach to sexuality, which has metastasized into an anything goes attitude on the very concept of gender itself. We see it everywhere – in Starbucks commercials, Apple ads, […]

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Of students and teachers
Dec 15, 2014 08:52 am | A.Spreeman

Today we’re talking about the new normal for public school students, and the strange case of one teacher who went off the doctrinal rails a couple years ago. Up first,  student surveillance, and spying on our kids. plus training teachers to teach about racism and Ferguson, and a new twist on school lunch policies. We’ll […]

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TGC Spotlight 12.19.14

TGC Spotlight highlights TGC articles from earlier in the week, previews articles coming next week, and links to items around the web that you might have missed. 

Around the Web

President Obama Announces Changes in U.S.-Cuban Relations

Yesterday, President Obama announced that, “the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba.” He instructed Secretary Kerry to immediately begin discussions with Cuba to reestablish diplomatic relations that have been severed since 1961. High-ranking officials will visit Cuba and the U.S. will reestablish an embassy in Havana. He also instructed Secretary Kerry to review Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.

The President also says the U.S. will take steps to increase travel, commerce, and the flow of information to and from Cuba. Americans who travel to Cuba will be able to use American credit and debit cards on the island. U.S. financial institutions will be allowed to open accounts at Cuban financial institutions and exporters will be able to sell goods to the country.

Here are a few answer to questions about the policy change.

Can the President do all that?

Sort of. The president controls the State Department, but the Congress controls the money. Senator Rubio (R-FL) has said that he’ll do everything he can to block funding for a Cuban embassy and prevent an ambassador from being selected.

The trade embargo between the U.S. and Cuba also cannot be lifted without congressional approval. The executive branch has the authority under current law merely to issue licenses that permit US citizens and corporations to do business with Cuba, travel there, and send money to family members there.

Why the change now, after 50 years?

President Obama has wanted to normalize relations with Cuba since he took office. But according to news reports, the surprise announcement came at the end of 18 months of secret talks that produced a prisoner swap negotiated with the help of Pope Francis.

The United States sent back three imprisoned Cuban spies who were caught in 1998. They were traded for Rolando Sarraf Trujillo, a Cuban who had worked as an agent for American intelligence and had been in a Cuban prison for nearly 20 years.

Why is there an embargo?

The U.S. began imposing sanctions against Cuba after Fidel Castro seized power in 1959, nationalized the economy, and stole more than $1 billion in American assets on the island.

Diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba broke off in 1961 as tensions between the two nations increased after Cuba signed a trade agreement with the Soviet Union. Even though the Cold War ended, not much has changed in the relationship between Cuba and the U.S.

What does the embargo do?

The embargo prevents American companies from doing business in Cuba and prohibits most Americans from traveling directly there or spending money as tourists,

Will this change have an impact on the U.S. economy?

Not really. Cuba’s economy is too small to have much impact (at an estimated GDP of $71 billion, it’s about half the state of Iowa’s economy).

Quick Takes

• In case you missed it, Collin Hansen outlined the TGC initiatives of the years and listed his 10 favorite resources from 2014.

• How would humanity feed itself if a super-volcanic eruption blocked out the sun for five years? Here’s one answer: “We can convert existing fossil fuels to food by growing bacteria on top of it—then either eat the bacterial slime or feed it to rats and bugs and then eat them.”

• Christianity Today released their book awards for 2014.  A lot of great books, many from friends of TGC.

• Think Xmas means Christ-less? No so. R.C. Sproul explains what the X in Xmas really means.
(For even more links, see the “Remainder Bin” at the end of this post.)

Featured TGC Articles

Eat the Law and Live | William Ross

Paul says the law brings death (Rom. 7:10). So why does Psalm 19:7 portray God’s law as spiritually nourishing food? Could it be that God’s law is the answer for much of our spiritual malnourishment?

TGC Staff Cite Best Books From 2014 | Matt Smethurst

Still Christmas shopping? TGC staff members cite their favorite books from 2014.

How To Ruin a Moses Movie | Joe Carter

Here are few lessons Scott can teach future generations of filmmakers about how to ruin a movie about Moses.

3 Christmas Pitfalls For Parents | Lindsey Carlson,

If you’re looking to make a change in your children’s hearts this year, start by examining and humbling your own.

The Sacred-Secular Divide is Pure Fiction | Bethany Jenkins

It is pure fiction to say that there is a sacred-secular divide in our vocations because we all have on baptism, one gospel, and one faith.

Featured TGC Contributor Articles

How to Use the Back of a Napkin to Prove to a Jehovah’s Witness That Jesus Is God | Justin Taylor

Years ago I read the following simple but effective illustration from Greg Koukl on how to use a napkin, a pen, and a Bible verse to show a Jehovah’s Witness that Scripture teaches (even in their own translation) that Jesus must be God.

Top Ten Books of 2014 | Kevin DeYoung

This list is not meant to assess the thousands of Christian books published each year, let alone every interesting book published in 2014. I read a lot of books, but there are plenty of worthy titles that I never touch (and never hear of).


My 10 Favorite Reads of 2014 | Trevin Wax

Every December, I select the ten books that I most enjoyed reading during the year. I am not claiming these are the most important books of 2014 (since many weren’t even published this year).


A Model of Charity, Clarity and Courage in Pastoral Care | Thabiti Anyabwile

We pastors often find ourselves speaking during troublesome and difficult times. We address biblical texts with thorny truths that offend people. We appear at bedsides to comfort the dying and the grieving. We sometimes get called upon to help the wider community navigate calamity and crisis. Pastors speak. And there are times when not speaking amounts to a dereliction of duty.


Jesus is the Fulfillment and the Fulfiller | Ray Ortlund

Old Testament prophecy . . . needed only the coming of the One in whom all the prophecies of the Old Testament would be fulfilled, in whom all those themes of hope in the Old Testament would be gathered up and realized, the Fulfillment and the Fulfiller. . .


An Advent Prayer: The Weakness, Paradox, and Glory of Jesus’ Birth | Scotty Smith

Dear Lord Jesus, I am so thankful you came to fulfill everything mentioned in these hope-saturated words from Isaiah; and I’m in awe, once again, as I reflect on your humble entrance into our world. The contrast between your birthing and calling is staggering.


A Hymn | Jared C. Wilson

The LORD our God is Lord of Hosts. He holds all time within his hand. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost From all eternity will stand.


Coming Next Week at TGC

Joy to the World: A Christmas Hymn Reconsidered | Alyssa Poblete

Alyssa Poblete invites readers to interpret the class Christmas hymn ‘Joy to the World’ as an ode to Christ’s second coming, not his first.


Two Disgraced Women Who Changed the World | Rob Schwarzwalder

Rob Schwarzwalder on how Elizabeth and Mary changed the world.


Why You Should Read Bavinck | Derek Rishmawy

Derek Rishmawy offers six reasons you should read Herman Bavinck’s ‘Reformed Dogmatics.’


Upcoming Events

Albuquerque Regional Conference (March 20-22, 2015)

Assembled Under the Word: Preaching and Christ. Speakers include Alistair Begg, D.A. Carson, and David Helm.

2015 National Conference (April 1-15, 2015)

Heading Home: A New Heaven and a New Earth. Speakers include Tim Keller, D.A. Carson, John Piper, Mark Dever, Voddie Baucham, Philip G. Ryken, Ligon Duncan, and many others.

Remainder Bin

American Culture

Why aren’t there more babies? Cable TV access reduces fertility rates
Siri Srinivas, The Guardian

The US fertility rate is dropping, threatening future economic growth. But economists can only guess at the reason.

Iowa developing driver’s licence app

The US state of Iowa is developing an application to put residents’ driver’s licences on mobile devices.

What happened to work in America?
James Pethokoukis, AEI Ideas

The share of American men 25 to 54 years old who are not working has more than tripled since the late 1960s to 16%.

How modern art became trapped by its urge to shock
Roger Scruton, BBC

There are two kinds of untruth – lying and faking. The person who is lying says what he does not believe. The person who is faking says what he or she believes, though only for the time being and for the purpose in hand, writes Roger Scruton.


UK: Rules for babies ‘from three people’
James Gallagher, BBC

The rules for creating babies from three people – which state only two would be classed as parents – have been announced by the UK government.

If Fetal Surgery Can Save the Life of an Unborn Child, Why Do Some Oppose It?
Gabriella Morrongiello, The Daily Signal

Roughly three percent of babies born each year in the United States suffer from a complex birth defect, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Why the Abortion Rate Is the Lowest It’s Been Since 1973
Ryan T. Anderson , The Daily Signal

The abortion rate keeps dropping. The latest numbers from the CDC, released last week, show that the abortion rate is the lowest it’s been since 1973, the year the Supreme Court manufactured a constitutional right to abortion in Roe v. Wade.

Justices Let Stand a Ruling Blocking an Arizona Abortion Law
Adam Liptak, New York Times

The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a decision temporarily blocking an Arizona law that limits the availability of medicinal, nonsurgical abortions. As is its custom when it denies review, the court gave no reasons for its action.

Christianity and Culture

Racism Alone? – Reflections on the Current National Divide
Carl F. Ellis, Prophets of Culture

Some claim that these killings demonstrate the existence of racist structures that permeate our society. Others claim that these killings resulted from criminal behavior or “a lack of personal responsibility.” While both positions point to contributing factors, they both continue to ignore the elephant in the room, namely culture – a factor that dwarfs the previous two.

What Do Evangelical Professors Do, Anyway?
Owen Strachan, Patheos

I have a suggestion for a fun question you could throw out at your annual Christmas party. “Professors,” you could say vaguely. “What is it they do, anyway?”

A Black Church Wins the Hearts of Whites in Harlem
Samuel G. Freedman, New York Times

On a Sunday morning in September 2011, Eloise Louis stood on a street corner in Harlem, looking for a church. She was just hours off a plane from her native France, jet-lagged and buzzy with anticipation

CIA techniques report draws mixed reviews
Tom Strode, Baptist Press

Southern Baptist ethics commentators greeted a new report on interrogation of detainees by the Central Intelligence Agency with mixed reviews, some criticizing the report’s approach while others either condemned or supported the government entity’s practices.

Pastors Who Podcast
Ruth Graham, Slate

Whatever your theology, your denomination, your interests, and your appetite for cursing, there’s a Christian podcast for you.


Google Has Tagged A Vast Database Of Child Porn Images — Making Them Impossible To See
Joshua Barrie, Business Insider

Google is going to start using a database of thousands of pornographic images and videos of children to block people from searching them.

Drugs and Alcohol

What Percentage of Teens Use Marijuana? The Answer Might Surprise You.
Kate Scanlon, The Daily Signal

Marijuana use is down among teens, according to a new study by the National Institutes on Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan.

Congress ends federal medical marijuana ban
Brook Hays, UPI

The federal spending bill passed last week is full of buried provisions, allocations and defunding in its more than 1,600 pages. One of the quieter add-ins was a measure that essentially ends the federal ban on medical marijuana.

 Family Issues

It’s (Not Just) The Economy, Stupid: Why Is the Working-Class Family Really Coming Apart?
W. Bradford Wilcox, Family Studies

Without access to work allowing them to be good providers, men have often fallen prey to a kind of toxic masculinity.

Half of All Kids Are Traumatized
Olga Khazan, The Atlantic

And nearly a quarter experience two or more stressful childhood events, setting them up for worse physical and mental health later in life.

How the American Family Has Changed Dramatically
Belinda Luscombe, Time

The difference between the haves and the have-nots have never been this steep.

The death of the American family dinner has been greatly exaggerated
Roberto A. Ferdman, Washington Post

Maybe you’ve heard somewhere that no one eats dinner together anymore. There’s even some pushing the idea that instead of scrambling to eat dinner together, families should aim for breakfast. And maybe you believed that family dinners were dead, based on your household’s experience.

Government and Politics

Judge declares Obama immigration action unconstitutional
Lawrence Hurley, Reuters

President Barack Obama’s new plan to ease the threat of deportation for 4.7 million undocumented immigrants violates the U.S. Constitution, a federal judge found on Tuesday, handing down the first legal ruling against the plan.

Health Issues

Wealth, power or lack thereof at heart of many mental disorders

Donald Trump’s ego may be the size of his financial empire, but that doesn’t mean he’s the picture of mental health. The same can be said about the self-esteem of people who are living from paycheck to paycheck, or unemployed.

International Issues

Taliban assault on Pakistani school ends, 130 dead, mostly children
Jibran Ahmad and Mehreen Zahra-Malik, Reuters

At least 130 people, most of them children, were killed on Tuesday after Taliban gunmen broke into a school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar and opened fire, witnesses said, in the bloodiest massacre the country has seen for years.

The 15 Most Powerful Militaries In The Middle East
Amanda Macias, Skye Gould, and Jeremy Bender, Business Insider

A mixture of transnational threats like ISIS and domestic insurgencies from local militant groups, along with larger regional rivalries, all force Middle Eastern countries to develop their armed forces.

Father Christmas Is Now Better Known Than Jesus In China
The Economist

In the first decades of Communist rule in China Christianity was banned, along with other religions. Now there are tens of millions of Christians in China and faiths of all kinds are blossoming.

Marriage Issues

A Response to the Cohabitation Epidemic
Arland K. Nichols, Crisis Magazine

The proliferation of research and literature about the sexual and marital habits of “Millennials” is staggering. Research indicates a casual or cavalier approach to sexual intimacy and of marriage.

Religious Liberty

A New Movement Against Religious Persecution
Jonathan Sacks, Wall Street Journal

My prayer on Hanukkah: For people of all faiths to work together for the freedom of all faiths.

Religious Freedom Requires Rights
Greg Forster, Hang Together

Last month I gave a talk at the Evangelical Theological Society in which I defended the idea of human rights – not sham Rawlsian rights but real rights, grounded in objective claims about truth, justice and the nature of the human person. That is, rights as correlative to duties – I have a right to religious freedom because (and only because) I have a duty to worship God sincerely rather than insincerely.

Gay Weddings and the Shopkeeper’s Dilemma
Russell Nieli, Public Discourse

One option for pro-marriage business owners: obey the law and serve gay weddings, but make it known publicly that you believe that the law forcing you to do this is unjust, needs to be changed, and is obeyed only out of your respect for law and the democratic process.

Sexuality Issues

Fayetteville, Ark., LGBT law repealed
Tom Strode, Baptist Press

Voters in a northwest Arkansas city have overturned a pro-homosexual/transgender ordinance that many claimed posed a threat to religious liberty.

Christian Colleges vs. Hookup Culture
Kimberly Thornbury, Christianity Today

The good intentions behind conservative campus rules.

Porn Industry Loses Free-Speech Fight In Federal Appeals Court
Erin Fuchs, Business Insider

Two porn companies and a couple of adult film actors faced an enormous setback Monday in their fight against a Los Angeles law that requires adult movie actors to wear condoms.

10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Christian View of Sexuality
Glenn T. Stanton, On Faith

Why traditional Christians believe as they do regarding gender, sexuality, marriage, and the family.




Some Here, Some There — December 19, 2014

by Dan PhillipsNOTE: an important announcement about the conference is included below.

Here you go:

  • Last week I mentioned the “celibate gay” Christian Wheaton hired to be… well, I guess to be a “celibate gay” Christian, and I made and linked to commentary. Now see also Robert Gagnon’s comments.
  • Through the one-way glass: on the subject of “gay Christians,” Owen Strachan says much that we’ve said, and more, and very very well.
  • If you missed last Monday Music — well, for shame. And here.
  • Reviewing anti-Christian filmmaker (is that a tautology?) Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods & KingsBrian Mattson says that if Scott’s target had been Islam, he’d spend the remainder of his life in a bunker in an undisclosed location.
  • It is interesting to note how those brave Hollywood liberals (is that an oxymoron?) pretty invariably target those whose very religion prevents violent response.
  • I think of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary as the little (?) seminary that could and does. Were I seeking a seminary today, I’d look very closely at them. The DBTS journal is excellent, and its blog is always worth checking. In this article, Ben Edwards notes one of many TGC inconsistencies, this one relating to dispensationalism. You don’t have to be a dispie to nod. Another case of natural co-belligerents being split by the unreasoned prejudice (or elitism?) of one party.
  • BIG NEWS about the Sufficient Fire Conference. Providential turns have resulted in our moving the conference from the Berry Center to Copperfield Bible Church. The program is unchanged. But this move brought us substantial financial savings, which we’ve translated into offering free registration. If you already paid for your tickets, your money will be refunded in PayPal. The conference is not free to the sponsor, of course, and your financial support would be right and appreciated. But note carefully: only register if you will come, God permitting. Seating is limited, so don’t take the seat of someone who would come if one were available.
  • What is the one sentence pastors most dread hearing? Thom Rainer offers his opinion, explains it, and offers a solution. I think he’s made an excellent pick. Another would be when someone faults you for not accomplishing, in your sermon, what you never set out to accomplish — but I can’t reduce that to words. Like you’ve pulled out all the stops and poured your heart out to glorify God’s eternal gracious love, and someone says he didn’t see how that helps him be a better WalMart greeter, or something. What’s your nominee?
  • Do you know anyone who’s just too darned happy? Try sharing some Werner Herzog Inspirationals.
  • You may be aware that there was a panel discussion ostensibly on racial relations chaired by a very scary-looking Ed Stetzer. Here it is (a sort of registration is required). It evidently was called by Bryan Loritts; if you don’t know who Bryan is, you need to know this, and this as well. Anyway, it may quite astonish you — you particularly — to hear Loritts say, in the context of racial reconciliation, how he “wondered aloud, ‘Where are the conservative, evangelical voices?'”
  • If you were watching, you may have said back to the screen, “Well, I know where two of them are, at least: on Pyromaniacs! One recent post at least was a sweeping Gospel-centered address the whole situation. In fact, didn’t Thabiti Anyabwile say he was in agreement with that post?” Indeed he did:
  • So (I continue) you may have thought, “Pyromaniacs is high-traffic, hardly invisible. How can Loritts say ‘silent’?”
  • One could hazard a guess:
  • Re. Bell: as usual, you-know-where was well ahead of the curve, and more than once. Sadly, this gracious entreaty and invitation from Frank Turk was ignored.
  • Because, you know, the important thing today isn’t that these timely warnings, if spread and heeded at the time, might have prevented much misery and harm. The really important thing is not to note that fact, so that nothing will improve going forward.
  • Because nowadays people seem to celebrate folks who come on a burnt building and intone sage, measured, nuanced, judicious remarks about the ruinsmore than they do people who say of the still-standing building, “Say… I smell smoke.”
  • Because you know, these days, only shielding the elitist celebrity culture from even the most obvious criticisms and calls for accountability and reform is deemed conduct becoming us Christian serfs.
  • If you tweeted a snatch from a cult’s hymnody as if expressing your own words, wouldn’t you want to know? Yeah, me too.
  • On to another cult: on the 12th we reminded you that the Piano Guys were Mormons. A few days later Challies offered some very good expansions and warnings about Mormons and their prosyletizing methods. (I can’t call it “evangelism”; there’s no evangel there.)
  • So, amid the bad news, wouldn’t some good news be nice? Here you go: reader “Rowdie Jones” pointed me to a series of posts (beginning here) in which former Assemblies of God charismatic Dan Michael Cogan explains his journey from the mess that is charismaticism to affirming the sufficiency of Scripture.
  • Courtney Reissig has a good word for wives, but it works just as well for husbands. Be grateful for the 80%, trust God with the 20%.
  • Dear bro David Murray (who himself has a wonderful Scottish accent) shows us what “a depressed Scottish S’more” looks like:

Dan Phillips's signature

Do Not Be Surprised… This ‘n’ That

  • “Mormonism does not have to offer theology because it speaks to the realm of felt needs.”
  • “God Himself is fully manifest in the Person of His Son, who is none other than Jesus Christ.”
  • The Church of England has announced its first female bishop.
  • As soon as someone adapts this to be dairy and soy free, call me. I’ll be your taste-tester.
  • This is pretty sobering (no pun intended).
  • Um, okay, but what if it isn’t really God? Wouldn’t we be better off just reading the Bible?
  • It was brought to my attention that I recently offered you too many consecutive doses of feline adorable. With that, here is your weekly dose of (non-feline) adorable.
  • The Tel Dan Stele will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. My inner archaeological nerd is totally bummed that New York is so far away.
  • Why is it that Christians are the only ones who seem to be confused about the realities of yoga? Stop trying to ‘Christianize’ a pagan practice!
  • Did you know that the movie White Christmas was not the first time Bing Crosby sang that song on film? The song actually was first introduced in the 1942 movie Holiday Inn. Now you know.
  • Someone asked me this week for a recommendation of a good devotional. While a devotional ought not be a substitute for daily, in-depth Bible study, it can be a good way to focus our minds and hearts on the Word and the Christ who saved us. This is by far one of my favorite devotionals.
  • The Word became flesh:



Pyromaniacs: Short Christmas sermon: How not to find Jesus

BibleX: Why Preachers Struggle with Sermon Application

The State of Theology: Worshiping Alone by Stephen Nichols | Ligonier Ministries Blog

Best Books on the Best Sermon | TGC

Preempt The Next Newsflash: Reflections on #ATimeTo Speak

How to Use the Back of a Napkin to Prove to a Jehovah’s Witness That Jesus Is God | TGC

5 of the Best Free Bible Study Tools | Free Daily Bible Study

What Changes for a Church when Counseling Becomes Formal? | Brad Hambrick

14 Top Biblical Counseling Books of 2014

Sorrow, Depression, and the Holidays | The Cripplegate

How Do You Sleep?

How to beat the forces that keep low-income students from graduating | The Washington Post

Jesus and Moses – Reformation21 Blog


A Time to Speak Webcast Replay
We’ve heard and seen lots of secular pundits pontificate racial issues over the past few weeks. Here’s our opportunity to listen to a number of Christians discussing the same issues in a Christian spirit, with biblical content, and a Gospel focus. You may also wish to read John Piper’s reflections on this important event.

Darkness | Light | Life

Logic on Fire: the Life and Times of Dr. Martyn-Lloyd Jones

Introducing Indigenous Church Planting in the North of England

Email Brigade News Report


What doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. ~ Micah 6:8


December 20, 2014


And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.

~ Luke 1:35



Fight the spiritual forces of wickedness — and win!

Some of the news headlines this past week gave me reason for concern. …Satanism…religious liberty…beheadings…gender confusion…ecumenicalism. My tendency is to fret about such things, even though God reminds us in His Word: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Would the Son of God Contradict the Father?

Bethel Church’s “Apostle” Bill Johnson: A Comedy of Errors Part 1   Part 2




District Court Declares Obama Immigration Amnesty Unconstitutional—Andrew McCarthy

A federal judge in Pennsylvania has ruled that President Obama’s actions in decreeing effective amnesty — i.e., guarantee against prosecution plus the provision of positive legal benefits — violates the Constitution.     In a 38-page opinion, Judge Arthur J. Schwab held that the president’s action exceeds executive authority.


Out of the Washington fog: focused committee vows the truth on Benghazi scandal—Wes Vernon

Former CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson is the kind of intrepid reporter who will pursue the tough investigations no matter how many doors are slammed in her face.     These include the gun-running Fast-and-Furious scandal; the “Green Energy” taxpayer rip-offs; and the Benghazi Islamist attack and its computer-hacking cover-up. When she was blocked in pursuit of the Benghazi story, both “in-house” and by outside powers (and we do use that italicized term for its literal meaning), she quit her job at the pinnacle of success. Today, she freelances and continues to “go after the story.”




Churchywood – bigger than Broadway!

Behind the scenes of Prestonwood Baptist Christmas Pageant

FOX 4 takes you behind the scenes at Prestonwood Baptist’s huge Christmas pageant production.




House cybersecurity chairman warns: First Sony, next the electric grid, Wall Street


Sony defends decision to shelve release of ‘The Interview,’ saying studio ‘had no choice’


U.S. to Restore Full Relations With Cuba, Erasing a Last Trace of Cold War Hostility


Firefighters refuse to remove firehouse Christmas message


Japan scientist quits as cell research discredited






Holder Decrees Cross-dressing Protected Under Federal Law

This means that the Justice Department could now, for example, consider the decision by a school or church to not hire a transvestite as a violation of federal law. …


Arkansas Voters Repeal Local Law Allowing ‘Transgendered’ Men in Womens’ Restrooms


EDUCATION – Research Links


Virginia Attorney Wants Public Schools to Stop Renting to Churches


HOMOSEXUALITY — Research Links


The revolution of the family: the Marxist roots of ‘homosexualism’

Porn may be only place gay youth see gay sex portrayed ‘positively’: UK ‘sex health’ charity head

300 Articles You Have to Read to Understand Homofascism

Homosexual Promiscuity: Breeding a national health problem

Speaking of Homosexuality

Big ‘Gay’ Brother is Watching You

Truth-Telling and Homosexuality


LGBTQ “Future Pastors” to train, plan for the pulpit—Amy Spreeman

More evidence that our visible churches are soon going to be lead by homosexual pastors and pastrixes. Coming soon to Indiana, more than 50 LGBTQ pastors-in-training will meet to strategize and plan for what they hope will be future jobs behind the pulpit. At a retreat center this summer, a group of more than 50 “future pastors” have signed up to  become an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church.


Christian Asks Thirteen Gay Bakeries For Traditional Marriage Cake, All Deny Him Service




Trouble In Transtopia: Murmurs Of Sex Change Regret

Truth Matters In Ex-Gay Debate

Nine fallen ‘exgay’ leaders seek spotlight with therapy ban alliance

Why Gays Cannot Speak for Ex-Gays

120 EXhomosexual video testimonies



‘Nobody is born gay’ billboard stuck over Virginia highway until next year




Gergen: Obama’s Significant Foreign Policy Achievement is Climate Change


LIFE & DEATH – Research Links


Parents Release Photo of Daughter Born at 24 Weeks to Stop Late-Term Abortions

Amazing Video Shows Life Before Birth: “Everything a Newborn Baby Does, a Fetus Has Already Done

Abortion, Depression, Suicide



Suicide Rate for Women Having Abortions is Six Times Higher Than Women Giving Birth




Ryan Anderson explains why gay marriage doesn’t exist

Our last chance to save traditional marriage



Former director of ‘ex-gay’ ministry Love in Action marries same-sex partner






Pakistani Court Orders Arrest of Muslim Clerics After Mob Kills Couple Accused of Blasphemy


Christmas: God’s Glory Returns–Mike Riccardi




Why is biblical Creationism so important?

The Giraffe: God’s Outstanding Animal



Arizona Biology Teacher Mocks Jesus, Biblical Creation in Lecture Slide




Iraq: 150 women executed after refusing to marry ISIL militants




Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy- laden, and I will give you rest—Mike Ratliff




Where do Christians get solid food? From voices in their heads, intuition, imaginations, flights of fancy, signs, wonders? No. Solid food is consumed by feeding on the meat of the written

Word of God. ~ Sandy Simpson


Alcoholics Anonymous


New Booklet Tract: The Spiritual Truth Behind Alcoholics Anonymous–And Why Christians Should Think Twice About Joining A.A.



Disturbing History of AA—John Lanagan


Angels – Research links


Three Reasons You Should Not Try To Bind Satan

Unbiblical ideas About Angels


Ann Voskamp


Romantic Panentheism, a Review of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Christianized Version of “Sexytime” with Ghosts?


Beth Moore


Has so-and-so false teacher always been false, or did it just start now?

The Low-Information Evangelical, Part 1  Part 2

Examining Beth Moore’s teaching


“Blood Moons”


Is Jesus going to return during the blood-red moon of 2015?

Divine Sign for Israel? Hagee Explains Blood Moons

Will Lunar Eclipses Cause Four Blood Moons in 2014 and 2015?


Charismatic Movement


Strange Fire Q&A: Answering the Critics—Phil Johnson interviews John MacArthur

Where is IHOP Going? An interview with Sarah Leslie


Church Growth Movement/Seeker/Market-Driven


Straight Talk About the Seeker Church Movement

Why this pastor left the church-growth model

Who is Peter Drucker, and what did he do with our church?

Rick Warren’s Catholic television interview


Contemplative Prayer – Research Links


The “Tree of Contemplative Practices” – Is Your Church Practicing Some of These?

What Is Spiritual Formation and Why Does It Matter?

Contemplative Terms



Rick Warren’s Call for Christians to Unite With Catholics, ‘Holy Father’ Raising Concerns



Wisdom from the Holy Spirit—Mike Ratliff


Emergent Church – Research Links


McLaren’s CANA Initiative marks new era for Neo Emergents

Listen: Emergent Church finally shows its real intentions!

Emerging towards convergence

Emergent /Emerging Church Documentary



Let’s Stop Petting the Wolves—Amy Spreeman


Controversial pastor [?] Rob [No Hell] Bell and wife, Kristen, share new view on marriage


Hillsong Church


Hillsong NYC’s “biblical” silence about homosexuality

Hellsong – The Music of Hillsong – In Praise of Folly


“Jesus Calling” – Research Links


Changing “Jesus Calling”—Damage Control for a False Christ

In Jesus Calling: Jesus Contradicts Himself

Is Hit Book “Jesus Calling” Pushing New Age?

Articles and links exposing the New Age “Jesus” and New Age teachings

in Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling” devotional

One Woman’s Story About Jesus Calling: A Surprise I Never Expected That Changed My Life


Jonathan Cahn


“Rabbi” Jonathan Cahn’s Most Recent Duping of the People of God: “The Mystery of the Shemitah”


Joyce Meyer


The Prosperity Priestess and the Pied Piper of IHOP

Joyce Meyer’s teaching


Kay Arthur


Kay Arthur With Erroneous Contemplative Interpretation of Psalm 46:10

Christian Meditation: What’s Biblical and What’s


Mark Driscoll


5 Early Leadership Lessons from the Dissolution of Mars Hill Church

Part 1: “We Are Not ABANDONED”   Part 2: “Under the Bus” and “Off the Map” – The Out-of-Control Bus That Runs Over Sheep  Part 3: The Culture Which Gave Rise to Driscoll


“The Message” Bible


Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” is a parody of the Bible


Mormonism — Research Links


Mormon Church Admits Founder Joseph Smith Had About 40 Wives

Was Joseph Smith Really a Prophet from God?

What is Mormonism – What do Mormon’s Believe

The Mormon version of “Holy, Holy, Holy” is missing something



A big evangelical stood up to Glenn Beck


New Age Movement/New Thought/Spirituality — Research Links


The New Age Peale Factor: Norman Vincent Peale and the Occult, Part 1  Part 2

Mysticism & Global Mind Change


What is “The Secret”? What is the “Law of Attraction”?



Controversial pastor [?] Rob [No Hell] Bell and wife, Kristen, share new view on marriage


New Apostolic Reformation/Dominionism – Research Links


We have had enough of false prophets

Bethel Church’s “Apostle” Bill Johnson: A Comedy of Errors Part 1  Part 2

What is an Apostle?

Rick Joyner’s alleged visit to heaven where he claims he met Enoch




This Year’s Christmas Must Have A…Ouija Board–SUFTT


Roman Catholicism


Rick Warren’s Call for Christians to Unite With Catholics, ‘Holy Father’ Raising Concerns

The Papacy of the Roman Catholic Church

‘Secrets of the Vatican’ exposes moral crises facing Catholic Church’s new pope

Do eucharistic miracles really happen?


Social Justice/Progressive Christianity


Shameful Social Gospel

The Social Justice Gospel, Yesterday and TodayPart 2




Spiritual Seduction

Extraterrestrials, Noah’s Flood, Pseudo-Humans, Pseudo-Science,

Nephilim and Space Alien DNAPart 2


Vision Casting


Casting a Vision of Commandeering Control


Witchcraft – Research Links


Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel — Research Links


Bethel Church’s “Apostle” Bill Johnson: A Comedy of Errors, Part 1   Part 2

The True Origins of the Prosperity Gospel

T.D. Jakes and Joyce Meyer teaching word-faith “Little Gods” doctrine



Creflo Dollar Says Myles Munroe Came to Him in a Dream Three Days After He Died and He Was Leading His Own Funeral





Prof: ‘Elf on the Shelf’ conditions kids to accept surveillance state





Half of Dr. Oz’s health advice is bad, study finds

“Misleading at best, total nonsense at worst” is how Julia Belluz describes her gut feeling over the years about the accuracy of Dr. Mehmet Oz’s medical advice, she writes at



Pope Francis Revealed To Be Deal-maker Behind Obama’s Cuba Foray

Bowing down before the Holy Father

“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” Revelation 17:1,2

The stunning revelation comes today that Pope Francis held secret, closed-door meetings in the Vatican where representatives of the United States and Cuba placed themselves under his authority and allowed Rome to broker a deal for “peace” between the two nations that have not had relations for over half a century. Wow.


The Atlantic reports thatThe Holy See received Delegations of the two countries in the Vatican last October and provided its good offices to facilitate a constructive dialogue on delicate matters, resulting in solutions acceptable to both Parties.”

After the deal was struck, President Obama said “In particular, I want to thank his Holiness Pope Francis, whose moral example shows us the importance of pursuing the world as it should be, rather than simply settling for the world as it is.”

The book of Revelation says that the Vatican system is the driving force behind kings and nations, conspiring and creating deals to advance it’s kingdom and influence. The power that Rome will wield during the time of the Great Tribulation will be unprecedented in human history, albeit short lived. What we are seeing now is the re-awakening of papal power and the ascendance of Rome on the world stage.

Pope Francis is the “man with a plan”, and doing exactly what scripture has said the False Prophet will do.

“For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” Revelation 17:17.18

The post Pope Francis Revealed To Be Deal-maker Behind Obama’s Cuba Foray appeared first on Now The End Begins.

NEWS ALERT: 100 Reported Kidnapped, 33 Dead, in Wake of Boko Haram Attack

Boko Haram Militants Stormed Gumsuri Sunday, Killing 33 and Kidnapping 100, Including Women and Children

12/18/2014 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that at least 100 villagers, including women and children, were reportedly kidnapped from a remote village in Northeast Nigeria by Boko Haram militants during an attack Sunday.

Read more

Christian Refugees In Iraq Face Up To A Bleak Christmas

ICC Note: For more than 100,000 Christians, Christmas this year will likely be a time of morning, as they remember all that they’ve lost. They’ve been driven from their homes as jihadists from ISIS captured a large part of western and central Iraq.

Read more

Nativity Scene will Remain in Franklin County, Indiana this Christmas

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.,—On the heels of their spirited hearing this morning before U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, Thomas More Society has reached an agreement with the ACLU of Indiana that the Franklin County Nativity Scene will remain in place this Christmas. The agreement was reached on behalf of the two organizations’ respective clients-Franklin County and the Freedom from Religion .

Read more

Thanks to PC western leaders, it’s Happy Hunting for the Terrorists

When terrorists look in the rear view mirror after their latest slaughterhouse jihad in any land, they clearly see the cowardice of all western leaders and plenty of opportunities in what millennials would call “wiggle room.”

Read more

Christians Around World Under Siege

ICC Note: The reality is that in far too many countries Christians face incredible risk simply for their faith. Some make the headlines, but much more “is unseen by the world” and the daily reality of persecution that Christians face.

Read more

Bobby Jindal Draws Criticism Over Prayer Event Participation

Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal has stirred up a hornet’s nest, simply by making plans to kneel and pray. Jindal plans to be the headline speaker at a massive prayer rally scheduled for Jan. 24 at the Pete Maravich Center on the campus of Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, but it’s the sponsoring group of the rally that has everyone in a tizzy.

Read more

Fewer US-Born Americans Have Jobs Now Than In 2007

Fewer Americans born in the U.S. have jobs now than were employed to November 2007, despite a working-age population growth of 11 million. The amazing drop in employment highlights President Barack Obama’s slow recovery from the deep 2008 shock, but also spotlights many companies’ growing reliance on foreign migrant labor.

Read more

12 million home and business routers vulnerable to critical hijacking hack

More than 12 million routers in homes and small offices are vulnerable to attacks that allow hackers anywhere in the world to monitor user traffic and take administrative control over the devices, researchers said….

Read more

Headlines of Interest

David Auerbach: ‘The media fiddles while Sony burns’

Letter to the Editor: There is No Doubt That Moody Has Gone Contemplative – This Year’s Radio Programs Proves It.

Is Jesus the only way to be saved?

How To Make Bulletproof Coffee With Butter For More Energy

Everybody loves coffee and Dave Asprey – author of “The Bulletproof Diet” – says he has come up with a coffee that will give its drinkers a lot more energy.

Imagine No Religion: The Western Media and Islamic Terror :: Ibrahim in FrontPage

by Raymond Ibrahim

FrontPage Magazine

December 19, 2014


Love Came Down at Christmas

I’m guessing you’ve already had enough of “Jingle Bell Rock.” Good. I have a suggestion for Christmas music that will draw you closer to the mystery of God’s love.

India’s Christians Fear Further Persecution as Hindu Radicals Push for More Conversions

ICC Note:

As the Christmas holiday approaches, India’s Christian community begins to celebrate the holiday in a slightly more security conscious manner.  Attacks on religious minorities by Hindu radicals have increased dramatically over 2014 and many Christians fear these attacks will only increase during the Christmas holiday. Last week, a group of Christmas carolers were beaten in Hyderabad by a group of Hindus who claimed they were attempting to forcefully convert people. Also, massive re-conversion ceremonies have been planned by Hindu nationalist groups amid reports of forced or fraudulent conversions. Is religious freedom under threat in India? 

Read more


Pro-Homosexual Bakeries Refuse Christian’s Cake Order for ‘Traditional Marriage Celebration’

Over a dozen pro-homosexual bakeries refused to fulfill a Christian’s order for a cake bearing the message “Gay Marriage Is Wrong” in an experiment meant to see if such bakeries would accept orders against their beliefs just as they expect of Christians. As previously reported, in May of this year, Ashers Baking Company in Newtonabbey, North Ireland—founded by Christians and named after Genesis 49:20—was approached by a same-sex “marriage” supporter to bake a cake bearing the phrase “Support Gay Marriage,” which also was to feature the logo for the homosexual advocacy group QueerSpace. When the bakery declined, the customer reported Ashers Baking Company to the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland, which in turn sent a warning to to McArthur, stating that he and his bakery had discriminated against Lee. The bakery was ordered to either pay or face legal action. More

What Your Tongue Can Tell You About Your Health

Odd as it may sound, it is a fact that the condition of your tongue is a vital clue to your overall health status. Both ancient Chinese physicians and modern 21st Century physicians agree that a quick look at the tongue can often be enlightening. But perhaps this should not be surprising since doctors have long been accustomed to asking patients to stick their tongue out and say “ah.” More

1,200 Turtles Have Washed Ashore In Cape Cod, Mystery Remains of Cause

Weak, immobile, and close to death, the turtles wash limply on to the sand. The wind and waves draw them up to the shore, where their cold bodies — incapacitated by the frigid, late-autumn ocean — will lie prone on the beach, unable to move or defend themselves. Here, they can do nothing but await rescue. Each week since mid-November, staff members and volunteers from the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in South Wellfleet, Mass., have diligently patrolled the shoreline, both day and night, searching for these stranded sea turtles, which have washed up on the shore in droves this year — a mysterious event that has left wildlife experts scratching their heads. Every year, a few sea turtles — usually 200 at most, in recent years — linger a little too long in Cape Cod Bay after the rest of their brethren have drifted back out to sea in search of warmer waters. These turtles somehow miss their cue to leave and end up staying behind as the waters cool. As the autumn draws to a close, temperatures start to drop in the bay, and the turtles eventually become so cold that they’re unable to move. The natural movement of the ocean, helped by the wind, pushes these stiffened turtles up onto the beaches. So, wildlife experts in the area devote time each season to gathering up the stranded turtles and nursing them back to health. More

Flu outbreak spreading rapidly in U.S.

Flu season is picking up steam just in time to ruin a lot of people’s holidays. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports widespread flu activity in 29 states, primarily in the South and Midwest. That’s twice as many states as the previous week. Most of the patients who have been hospitalized with severe cases of the flu are either very young or the very old. In recent days flu outbreaks have forced schools in Ohio, Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina to close. So far this season, the virus has killed 11 children. More

Magnitude 5.9 earthquake hits Japan’s Honshu island

A 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan’s Honshu island on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, shaking Fukushima where crippled nuclear power plants are located, but local media said there was no tsunami warning. USGS said the quake’s epicentre was located 42 miles (68 km) east-northeast of Iwaki on Honshu. It was measured at a depth of 22.9 miles (37 km). A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power, which owns the nuclear plants, said no irregularities have been found at its Fukushkma Daiichi or Daini plants. More

Chaotic Situation That Led to Famed Pastor’s Resignation Has Prominent Church Expert Issuing a Major Warning

There’s no doubt that megachurches are growing in popularity and prevalence — facts that have led Christian consultant William Vanderbloemen to issue a warning to houses of worship, vocally encouraging them to more diligently prepare for their futures. Vanderbloemen, who has assisted countless megachurches with structuring and employment needs through his Vanderbloemen Search Group, told TheBlaze that being equipped to cope with possible shake-ups and calamity is paramount. He specially pointed to what recently happened surrounding Mark Driscoll, the former pastor at Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. More

Five dead, dozens ill from bacteria linked to caramel apples

Five people have died and 21 others have been hospitalized in recent weeks in a listeria outbreak linked to caramel apples, federal health officials said on Friday. A total of 28 people infected with listeria have been reported from 10 states, according to a statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The CDC warned consumers not to eat any pre-packaged, commercially-produced caramel apples, including those with other toppings such as nuts, chocolate or sprinkles, until more information is available. More

Russia’s Largest Bank Warns Of A ‘Full-Scale Banking Crisis’

Evgeny Gavrilenkov, the chief economist at the investment banking arm of Russia’s largest lender Sberbank CIB, has warned that actions taken by the Russian authorities to bail out Russia’s troubled banking sector could cause a “full-scale banking crisis”. “If the Central Bank of Russia continues to provide refinancing in exchange for non-marketable securities that banks can generate in almost unlimited amounts, the system will gradually ramp up to full-scale banking crisis,” Gavrilenkov said. More

‘Every Religious Organization Should Be Worried’: Kentucky Wants Ark Encounter to Hire Non-Christians

Ken Ham, the founder and president of the Kentucky-based ministry Answers in Genesis (AIG), is expressing concern over new demands that the state is requiring of its proposed Ark Encounter, namely its requirement that the ministry not engage in “religious preference” in its hiring—meaning that it can’t refuse applicants simply because they are non-Christians. “AIG as religious organization has the legal right to hire people who believe in our Christian faith—which is a right for any religious organization, whether Christian or not,” he said in the four-minute video posted to Facebook on Saturday. Ham said that the matter became an issue when the state asked his ministry to resubmit its application for a sales tax refund, since the scope for the theme park had changed, and will open its various attractions incrementally instead of simultaneously. “As we reapplied for the incentive, the state surprised us with two conditions not found anywhere in the law,” he said. “That is, one, we can’t show religious preference in our hiring, and two, we couldn’t share our faith at the ark.” More

Arkansas Voters Repeal Local Law Allowing ‘Transgendered’ Men in Womens’ Restrooms

Voters in Fayetteville, Arkansas have repealed a law passed by city council earlier this year that would allow men who identify as women to use womens’ restrooms and vice versa. By a vote of 52 to 48 percent, residents rejected Ordinance 119 approved in August by the Fayetteville City Council, which voted 6-2 for the controversial measure. In addition to making provision for “transgendered” persons to use the restroom of their choice, the law also prohibited landlords from turning away homosexual couples who sought to cohabitate on their property, banned employers from rejecting homosexual applicants, and disallowed businesses from refusing services that pertained to homosexuality. Non-compliance would result in criminal penalties. Following the passage of the ordinance, Duncan Campbell, an area pastor, formed a group called Repeal 119 and launched a petition drive that obtained enough signatures to warrant a special election over the matter. More

‘Every Religious Organization Should Be Worried’: Kentucky Wants Ark Encounter to Hire Non-Christians

(CN) — Ken Ham, the founder and president of the Kentucky-based ministry Answers in Genesis (AIG), is expressing concern over new demands that the state is requiring of its proposed Ark Encounter, namely its requirement that the ministry not engage in “religious preference” in its hiring—meaning that it can’t refuse applicants simply because they are non-Christians.

“AIG as a religious organization has the legal right to hire people who believe in our Christian faith—which is a right for any religious organization, whether Christian or not,” he said in the four-minute video posted to Facebook on Saturday.

Continue reading this story >>

Report: Islamic Saudi Arabia Passes Law That May Impose Death Penalty on Bible Smugglers

(CN) — Recent reports state that officials in the Islamic country of Saudi Arabia have passed a law that may impose the death penalty on Bible smugglers and any others distributing religious materials that are not of the Muslim religion.

“[T]he new law extends to the importing of all illegal drugs and ‘all publications that have a prejudice to any other religious beliefs other than Islam,’” Paul Washer’s HeartCry Missionary Society outlines in a post on their website. “In other words, anyone who attempts to bring Bibles or gospel literature into the country will have all materials confiscated and be imprisoned and sentenced to death.”

Continue reading this story >>

Arizona Biology Teacher Mocks Jesus, Biblical Creation in Lecture Slide

(CN) — A biology teacher who describes himself as “an open-minded skeptic” purportedly showed a slide in one of his classes that mocks Jesus and describes biblical creation as “magic.”

Christofer Bang is a lecturer at Arizona State University who teaches biology and ecology courses. According to his academic profile page, his areas of “expertise” include ecology, evolution and plant biology.

Continue reading this story >>

Atheist Who ‘Prayed’ to Mother Earth, Satan Denied Request to Open Palm Beach Meeting

(CN) — A professing Florida atheist who recently led an invocation to Mother Earth, Satan and other entities at a public meeting in Lake Worth has been denied his request to do the same at a commission meeting in Palm Beach County.

As previously reported, as Preston Smith of Miami stepped to the podium to deliver the invocation on Dec. 2, a number of commissioners–as well as Mayor Pam Triolo—exited the room so they would not be participants in what was about to take place.

Continue reading this story >>

Other Top News Stories of Interest:

American Pastor Imprisoned in Iran Remains Strong in Faith Despite Suffering ‘Severe Pain’

Officer Delivers Truckloads of Groceries to Grandmother Caught Stealing Eggs to Feed Toddlers

U.S. Army Reprimands Chaplain for Citing Bible in Suicide Prevention Training Session

Atheist Activist Group Threatens Lawsuit Over School Bible Distribution

Holder decrees cross-dressing protected under federal law

by Marsha West

According to Pajamas Media:

Attorney General Eric Holder has issued an edict, through a memorandum [PDF], that cross dressing and transsexualism is now protected under federal civil rights laws which were designed to protect women from sex discrimination. Existing federal law provides no statutory support for treating cross-dressers and transsexuals as the law treats female victims of discrimination.

This means that the Justice Department could now, for example, consider the decision by a school or church to not hire a transvestite as a violation of federal law.

Arkansas voters repeal local law allowing ‘transgendered’ men in women’s restrooms

by Marsha West

Christian News Net reports:

Voters in Fayetteville, Arkansas have repealed a law passed by city council earlier this year that would allow men who identify as women to use womens’ restrooms and vice versa.

By a vote of 52 to 48 percent, residents rejected Ordinance 119 approved in August by the Fayetteville City Council, which voted 6–2 for the controversial measure. In addition to making provision for “transgendered” persons to use the restroom of their choice, the law also prohibited landlords from turning away homosexual couples who sought to cohabitate on their property, banned employers from rejecting homosexual applicants, and disallowed businesses from refusing services that pertained to homosexuality. Non-compliance would result in criminal penalties.

Arkansas Voters Repeal Local Law Allowing ‘Transgendered’ Men in Womens’ Restrooms

George Clooney, Angelina Jolie, You, and Me

“It is only a matter of time before something like this happens to someone you know. At some point you may well be faced with the opportunity to go rooting through another person’s emails after they have been hacked and made public. So let me ask: Will you read those emails? Will you read your pastor’s emails if they are suddenly available to the public? Will you read your favorite celebrity preacher’s emails if they are just a click or two away?”

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Husbands, Make Submission Joyful

“Christ is the picture given to the husband to follow in leadership. He must be willing to give up the greatest personal comforts for the sake of his bride, just as Christ was. Therefore, the husbands concern in marriage is not his happiness and ease, but his wife’s.”

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Ten Historical Myths about World Christianity

Everyone loves a good myth-busting! Another ten items could easily be added to this list, but Stanley has given us a great start. Don’t be snowed by pseudo-history; read on and gird your loins against some of the more egregious myths about Christianity through the ages.

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Gospel Clarity vs. “The Fog,”

“When you walk into the churches in decline you are immediately brought into ‘the Fog.’ What is the fog? It is the inability to be clear about anything. . . . In the ‘fog,’ Jesus Christ is just one of many noble teachers in the world. In the ‘fog,’ the Bible is filled with contradictions and outdated commands. In the ‘fog,’ the pastor has learned through years of experience to spend 20 to 30 minutes talking, and say absolutely nothing of consequence about anything.”

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‘Twas the Night Before the Last Christmas!

Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer: The news/information headlines in this blog post are a service freely given so as to keep people informed about current events and discussions taking place within our church and culture. A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

2 thoughts on “December 20-21, 2014: Truth2Freedom Weekend Headline Alerts Collection

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