Daily Archives: December 27, 2014

December 27-28, 2014: Truth2Freedom Weekend Headline Alerts Collection

“Success and suffering will either darken your heart or make you wise, but they won’t leave you where you were.”—Timothy Keller

success and suffering


Islamic State Fighters are Moving Ever Closer Towards Israel :: Spyer in Jerusalem Post

by Jonathan Spyer
The Jerusalem Post
December 26, 2014
http://www.meforum.org/4940/islamic-state-fighters-are-moving-ever-closer


Egyptian man cuts down ‘eyesore’ Jesus on cross

An Egyptian man who moved into a house in Grossenzersdorf in Lower Austria told his neighbours the 60-year-old figure of Jesus on a cross outside his home was an ‘eyesore’ – so he cut it down with an angle grinder. Shortly after the man bought the house in Augasse, he was heard complaining to his neighbours about the two-metre high crucifix with the figure of Jesus that stood for several decades on the grass verge in front of his property. “I don’t want that. It has to go!”, he said, according to a report in the news daily Heute. Soon, during renovations to his house, he had access to an angle grinder, so he simply cut it down, slightly damaging the Jesus figure in the process. His neighbours weren’t happy. Local mayor Hubert Tomsic of the socialist Christian Democrats (SPÖ) said “I had a conversation with the man about repositioning the cross at a different location in the alley – at his expense.” More


India Becoming Third Largest World Economy

An interesting little point following on from the CEBR report into the size of national economies. Of course, as we would expect, reports from different countries about the same report note and detail different facets of said report. So we’ve a report out of SE Asia that looks at the way in which India is set, within the decade, to become the largest economy in the Commonwealth and the third largest overall. This is being seen as a sign of success, of their doing something right. Which is true in a trivial manner: but the greater truth is that this is a sign of the failure of previous policies. Here’s that report from Malaysia: The latest edition of Cebr Global’s World Economic League Table (WELT) will see the “unstoppable” rise of India as it surpasses Britain to become the largest economy in the Commonwealth in 2018 and the third largest economy in the world by 2024, according to a new global league table reported by the Press Association. In more detail, the predictions are: Its 2014 ranking puts the US first, followed by China, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, Brazil, Italy, India and Russia, in that order. By 2030, it forecasts that globalization will have reached its mature phase, with China installed as the world’s biggest economy ahead of the US and India in third place, followed by Japan, Brazil, the UK, Germany, South Korea, France and Russia. More


North Korea Blames U.S. For Internet Outage, Calls Obama A “Monkey”

More harsh rhetoric from Pyongyang tonight as the North Korean government pins blame for that country’s Internet shutdown on the U.S., the Associated Press reports. The state-run Korean Central News Agency said that a spokesman for the Policy Department of the National Defense Commission, North Korea’s top military body led by Kim Jong-un, said in statement, “Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest.” The rep also blamed the White House for the sporadic Internet shutdown that has hit North Korea this week, in the wake of President Obama promising the U.S. “will respond proportionally” to the cyber attack on Sony Pictures last month. “The U.S., a big country, started disturbing the Internet operation of major media of the DPRK, not knowing shame like children playing a tag,” the spokesman said, also threatening consequences. The White House has not commented on the latest salvo in the war of words. This isn’t the first threat to the U.S. from National Defense Commission. It’s the same entity that said last week North Korea would attack “the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland” is Obama followed through on a response to the Sony hack, which the FBI blames on North Korea. The government is peeved about Sony’s comedy The Interview, in which Kim is assassinated by a bumbling talk-show producer (Seth Rogen) and host (James Franco). The Kim-led group said December 21 it has “clear evidence that the U.S. administration was deeply involved in the making of such dishonest reactionary movie” and that it has “already launched the toughest counteraction. Our target is all the citadels of the U.S. imperialists who earned the bitterest grudge of all Koreans. Whoever challenges justice by toeing the line of the biggest criminal U.S. will never be able to escape merciless punishment.” More


Japanese economy begins to implode

When about a month ago it was revealed that Japan’s shadow economic advisor is none other than Paul Krugman, we said it was only a matter of time before the Japanese economy implodes. Terminally. We didn’t have long to wait and last night the barrage of Japanese economic data pretty much assured Japan’s transition into failed Keynesian state status. In fact, after last night’s abysmal Japanese eco data, we doubt even the most lobotomized Keynesian voodoo priests have anything favorable left to say about Abenomics: not only did core inflation miss expectations and is now clearly in slowdown mode despite Japan openly monetizing all gross Treasury issuance, not only did industrial production decline 0.6% missing expectations of an increase and record its first decline in 3 months with durable goods shipments crashing, not only did consumer spending plunge for the 8th straight month dropping 2.5% in November (with real spending on housing in 20% freefall), but – the punchline – both nominal and real wages imploded, when total cash wages and overtime pay declined for the first time in 9 months and 20 months, respectively. And the reason why any poll that shows a recently “re-elected” Abe has even a 1% approval rating has clearly been Diebolded beyond recognition, is that real wages cratered 4.3% compared to a year ago. This was the largest decline since the 4.8% recorded in December 1998. In other words, Abenomics has now resulted in the worst economy, if only for consumers, in the 21st century. More


Pharmaceutical employees arrested after causing 64 deaths with drug tainted with fungal meningitis

In what’s being called the “biggest criminal case ever brought in the U.S. over contaminated medicine,” U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz is flabbergasted at the negligence of a Massachusetts-based pharmacy, whose employees are now being held responsible for the deaths of a large number of people since 2012. According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart Delery, the pharmacy’s employees showed ”not only a reckless disregard for federal health and safety regulations, but also an extreme and appalling disregard for human life.” Since 2012, a silent outbreak of fungal meningitis has stricken over 750 people in 21 states. Sixty-four people have been pronounced dead since then, unable to recover from the debilitating fungal infection. What did all these people have in common? They received steroid injections from their local hospital. According to new federal allegations, it turns out that the pain medications were tainted with the fungal meningitis, and they all came from one place — a pharmacy in Massachusetts. More


Utah showdown with the feds as Dec. 31 deadline approaches for state to reclaim its land

An impending showdown between Utah and the federal government may set a precedent affecting future disputes regarding state vs. federal land ownership. In 2012, Governor Gary Herbert formally challenged the feds over the right to control 31.2 million acres of Utah land when he signed the “Transfer of Public Lands Act.” One of the provisions of the act demands that the federal government turn over the lands by December 31, 2014. At this point, the feds haven’t responded and it remains unclear exactly what will happen as the deadline approaches. The lands in question account for more than 64 percent of Utah’s total acreage. More


Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God

In 1966 Time magazine ran a cover story asking: Is God Dead? Many have accepted the cultural narrative that he’s obsolete—that as science progresses, there is less need for a “God” to explain the universe. Yet it turns out that the rumors of God’s death were premature. More amazing is that the relatively recent case for his existence comes from a surprising place—science itself. Here’s the story: The same year Time featured the now-famous headline, the astronomer Carl Sagan announced that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star. Given the roughly octillion—1 followed by 24 zeros—planets in the universe, there should have been about septillion—1 followed by 21 zeros—planets capable of supporting life. With such spectacular odds, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a large, expensive collection of private and publicly funded projects launched in the 1960s, was sure to turn up something soon. Scientists listened with a vast radio telescopic network for signals that resembled coded intelligence and were not merely random. But as years passed, the silence from the rest of the universe was deafening. Congress defunded SETI in 1993, but the search continues with private funds. As of 2014, researches have discovered precisely bubkis—0 followed by nothing. More


ISIS failing in attempt to establish Islamic Caliphate

The Islamic State’s vaunted exercise in state-building appears to be crumbling as living conditions deteriorate across the territories under its control, exposing the shortcomings of a group that devotes most of its energies to fighting battles and enforcing strict rules. Services are collapsing, prices are soaring and medicines are scarce in towns and cities across the ‘‘caliphate’’ proclaimed in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State, residents say, belying the group’s boasts that it is delivering a model form of governance for Muslims. Slick Islamic State videos depicting functioning governing offices and the distribution of aid fail to match the reality of growing deprivation and disorganized, erratic leadership, the residents say. A trumpeted Islamic State currency has not materialized, nor have the passports the group promised. Schools barely function, doctors are few and disease is on the rise. In the Iraqi city of Mosul, the water has become undrinkable because supplies of chlorine have dried up, said a journalist living there, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his safety. Hepatitis is spreading and flour is becoming increasingly scarce, he said. ‘‘Life in the city is nearly dead, and it is as though we are living in a giant prison,’’ he said. In the Syrian city of Raqqa, the group’s self-styled capital, water and electricity are available for no more than three or four hours a day, garbage piles up uncollected and the city’s poor scavenge for scraps on streets crowded with sellers hawking anything they can find to sell, residents say. More


Scientists zero in on how lung cancer spreads

Scientists have taken microscopic images revealing that the protein ties tethering cells together are severed in lung cancer cells — meaning they can break loose and spread, according to research published in Cell Reports December 24. The researchers at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute discovered that the ties which lash cells together — controlled by a protein called TIAM1 — are chopped up when cell maintenance work goes wrong. Healthy cells routinely scrap old cell parts so they can be broken down and used again. But this process spirals out of control in lung cancer cells, which scrap too many TIAM1 ties**. Targeting this recycling process could stop lung cancer from spreading by keeping the cells stuck firmly together. More


Coca-Cola Facing Major Financial Challenges As Sales Steadily Decline.

In recent years, consumers have been slowly but surely cutting back on things like soda, junk food, and GMOs, in favor of a more healthy diet. As we reported earlier this month, companies like Monsanto are losing millions as a result, and are struggling to maintain the long-term stability of their businesses. Very soon, these businesses will be forced to either change with market demand, or risk bankruptcy. Highlighting this trend, is the recent news that Coca-Cola is experiencing major financial difficulties as well. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Coca-Cola is cutting up to 2,000 jobs in an attempt to reduce their annual budget by $3 billion. Meanwhile, executives have been cancelling expensive parties and are reportedly no longer able to travel in limosines. The recent cutbacks were announced just after the company reported a 14% decline in third-quarter earnings. More


Illegal Immigrants Once Again Flooding Texas By The Tens Of Thousands

It doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon, and we’re prepared to receive them

McALLEN, Texas — After a brief lull, the surge of undocumented families passing through a temporary shelter set up by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley seems to be rising again. The spotlight may have turned away, but if the sense of crisis is gone, the people have not stopped coming.

“The numbers increased a lot this past month, almost to 100 every day last week,” said Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. “We have seen some that have already been caught and tried again. They have hope that they have a chance at a better life here.”

catholic-charities-rio-grande-undocumented-illegal-immigrants-numbers-swelling

Pimentel oversees the volunteer effort providing short-term shelter to some of the thousands of women and children who have trekked to Texas from Central America. About 52,300 families surrendered to the U.S. Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley during the 2014 fiscal year, an increase of more than 500 percent over 2013. About 50,000 unaccompanied children were caught or surrendered to border agents in the Valley in fiscal year 2014.

The number of unaccompanied minors apprehended, or who have surrendered, has gone down from about 5,460 in October and November of 2013 to about 3,220 during the same months this year. But the number of parents with one or more minor children has stayed about the same: 3,430 in October and November of last year compared with 3,360 this year.

“It doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon,” Pimentel said. “The Border Patrol considered the fact that we’re here and we’re prepared to receive them.”

Read the rest of the story on the Tucson Sentinel…

The post Illegal Immigrants Once Again Flooding Texas By The Tens Of Thousands appeared first on Now The End Begins.


Mars Hill Turning Over Pulpit to Rick Warren to Deliver Final Message Before Closing

(CN) — Mars Hill has accepted an offer from megachurch leader and author Rick Warren to deliver the final message to the congregation this Sunday as it closes its doors following the resignation of Mark Driscoll.

“This Sunday, December 28th, will be our final Sunday as Mars Hill Church,” the website for Mars Hill reads. “Our dear friend Pastor Rick Warren from Saddleback Church has graciously offered to preach the final sermon for us.”

Continue reading this story >>


Black Leader Says Teen’s Death After Pulling Gun on Police Reveals Sin, Not Skin Problem

(CN) — A prominent black Christian leader who works with youth says that our nation needs to stop pointing fingers at the police and start preaching the gospel following the second shooting in the Ferguson, Missouri area, which resulted in the death of an armed teenager.

At approximately 11 p.m. Tuesday night, a police officer with the city of Berkeley—just two miles outside of Ferguson—arrived at a local Mobil on the Run convenient store after receiving a report of theft.

Continue reading this story >>


Did King David Actually Exist? Extraordinary Artifact Confirms Biblical Account

(CN) — A nearly 3,000-year-old artifact currently on display in New York City confirms the historicity of King David and contradicts the secular belief that the biblical monarch never actually existed.

In recent years, some historians and archaeologists have claimed that King David of the Bible was an entirely fictional character. Others contend that the narratives of David’s kingdom found in 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles are inaccurate embellishments of history.

Continue reading this story >>


Man Who Shot NYC Cops Dead Posted Koran’s Command to ‘Strike Terror Into Enemies of Allah’

(CN) — The gunman who snuffed out the lives of two New York City police officers on Saturday in a revenge killing for the incidents in Ferguson and New York had posted text from the Koran on Facebook earlier this year, reports state.

Ismaaiyl Abdulla Brinsley has been identified as the suspect in the shooting deaths of officers Wenjin Liu and Raphael Ramos, who were shot execution style as they sat in their police car Saturday afternoon. Brinsley, who lives in Baltimore, Maryland, had shot his ex-girlfriend at approximately 5:45 a.m. in Owings Mills before traveling to New York in an intentional plot to assassinate two random police officers.

Continue reading this story >>


Top News Stories of Interest:

Prominent Black Pastor Launches National ‘Prayer for Police’ Campaign

‘Gay’ Porn Star Sentenced to Life in Prison after Murdering, Dismembering Lover

Christian Who Found Man’s Wallet Returns Money With Inspiration from Scripture

Ten Commandments Judge: City ‘Foolish’ for Allowing Atheist, Wiccan Prayers at Council Meetings


Obama Admin Spends Christmas Trying To Get Islamist Groups Off Terror Watchlist (VIDEO)

The Obama administration spent Christmas week trying to get two Islamist organizations off a foreign country’s terror list

The Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim American Society are both listed as Islamist organizations by the Islamist Money In Politics database, which tracks copious political spending by figures linked to the groups. The Muslim American Society was founded as an American-based Muslim Brotherhood front group.

CAIR and MAS representatives met with “senior U.S. government officials” just days before Christmas to discuss the groups’ inclusion on the United Arab Emirates’ official list of terrorist organizations.

“The two American Muslim organizations and the U.S. government pledged to work together to achieve a positive solution to the UAE designations,” the groups said in a joint statement.

The Obama administration’s State Department recently “affirmed that department officials meet regularly with representatives of CAIR and MAS,” according to the groups. source

The Terror Ties for CAIR:

The Terror Ties for MAS:

The post Obama Admin Spends Christmas Trying To Get Islamist Groups Off Terror Watchlist (VIDEO) appeared first on Now The End Begins.


ISIS Reportedly Selling Christian Artifacts, Turning Churches Into Torture Chambers

“Experts believe Islamic State’s trafficking in religious artifacts is both to make money and to culturally cleanse the region. The Islamic militants have converted churches in Qaraqosh and other Iraqi cities into torture chambers, according to the Sunday Times. One priest from the region, who gave his name as Abu Aasi from Mosul, told the newspaper earlier this month that prisoners were being held in the Bahnam Wa Sara and Al Kiama churches.”

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Seven Common Misconceptions Corrected

“Misconception 1: The Ten Commandments are the most important part of the Bible. Since I don’t know anyone who actually holds this view, and I have never seen this view expressed in print, it appears to me unlikely that this is a “common” misconception.”

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Missing The Point Of The Book Of Exodus

“The problem is the way the relationship between Moses and the God of Israel is presented. In the Biblical telling, Moses, like many of the other heroes of Israel, was compelled to pass through a long period of testing and purification in order to prepare himself to receive the divine word. Only when he had been sufficiently humbled and purified was he able to take in the presence of God and to accept the dangerous mission of liberation that God gave him.”

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New Tylenol Commercial Showcases Lesbian Mothers In A 4-Way Blended Family

This is the Beser Carr Schneider Musich Family’s story

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:” Romans 1:26

For 60 years, the makers of TYLENOL® have helped to care for families. To celebrate the holidays this year, the makers of TYLENOL® decided to put a modern spin on Norman Rockwell’s classic holiday painting Freedom From Want, to help illustrate how modern families come together to celebrate what matters most during the holidays. This is the Beser Carr Schneider Musich Family’s story:

Tylenol’s new television ad campaign is called “For What Matters Most”, and features a variety of families such as this blended lesbian family see in the video above. It is all part of the relentless push by the Liberals make homosexual family life seem as normal as possible. One look at this commercial and it appears as anything but “normal”.

Using the all-American imagery of Norman Rockwell is another slap in the face at mainstream America, and it’s values and religion so hated by the Left. But, as always, it’s the children who pay the price. Imagine the confusion generated by growing up in this family.

The post New Tylenol Commercial Showcases Lesbian Mothers In A 4-Way Blended Family appeared first on Now The End Begins.


Apologetics Headlines

To Witness Like Jesus, Use Logic and Reason

Seeing Jesus as an Intellect

William Lane Craig: The Evidence for Jesus

Guide to the Mystery of the Incarnation

The most common question Muslims ask Christians: Where did Jesus say, “I am God ! Worship me!”?


Cold Case Christianity: Resources to Help You Defend the Virgin Conception (Free Bible Insert)

During the busy Christmas season, it’s easy to get caught up in the cultural trappings of the holiday and forget the real reasons for the season. While most of us, as Christians, take the nativity narrative for granted, many of our unbelieving and skeptical friends reject the miraculous, virgin conception of Jesus altogether. The following articles will help you understand why the virgin conception is so important to Christianity and help you defend the virgin conception against those who argue against this miracle of God:

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Do Not Be Surprised… This ‘n’ That

As you sit today with your post-Christmas cocoa, or coffee, or tea, take some time to step away from your clean-up efforts and just relax as you enjoy your week in review (kind of):

  • Seriously, what is wrong with this guy?
  • John MacArthur preached an amazing sermon last Sunday that you won’t want to miss. It’s called, ‘Christmas Future.’
  • Well, I don’t see how this plan could possibly backfire at all.
  • Christmas, because it’s all about you, really.
  • Sometimes I don’t know how to introduce certain topics. Like the fact that Jane Fonda is building a shrine to herself.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Everybody loves a good flash mob, don’t they? Yeah…so do the Mormons, which is one reason why we must be careful what we are sharing around the Internet.
  • Oh, Pope Francis. You never fail to say something utterly foolish.
  • This weekend, Rick Warren will preach the final sermon at Mars Hill before it closes its doors.
  • As reader Jeff said, “If a monkey can have his miracle recorded, why can’t Benny Hinn?”
  • Martyn Lloyd-Jones preaches on Christmas Day, 1964:

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Weekly Watchman

The rise in homeschool education

Dec 23, 2014 08:49 am | A.Spreeman

Today we are talking about education, Common Core, and homeschooling. There are many new options for parents who are considering homeschooling, and many of you are considering it – or wish you had. If you’re a teacher, you may have gone into public education with the best of intentions, only to be frustrated by a […]

The post The rise in homeschool education appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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What kind of Justice?

Dec 22, 2014 09:03 am | A.Spreeman

What kind of justice are we seeing in the world today? Look to the police situation in New York City or to the mom in the U.K. who is being threatened for showing her kids a Christian movie, and you’d think the world has gone mad. (See, Letter: Child Protective Services Called on mom who […]

The post What kind of Justice? appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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UPDATE: Persecuted U.K. family receives Comfort from Living WatersDec 22, 2014 08:42 am | A.Spreeman

We’ve gotten dozens of prayers and letters of support for a mom who wrote to us about the persecution she is receiving for sharing the light of Christ with children. This weekend after we published the letter from a mom in the U.K. who got in trouble from her school district and child protective services […]

The post UPDATE: Persecuted U.K. family receives Comfort from Living Waters appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Letter: Child Protective Services Called on mom who showed the “180” film to her children

Dec 20, 2014 07:04 am | A.Spreeman

Dear Stand Up For the Truth,I live in UK and my children attend a Church of England Primary School, this is a state school where some form of Bible teaching is permitted, there are Bibles and crosses in each class, many school services take place at the local church, yet all the staff are unbelievers […]

The post Letter: Child Protective Services Called on mom who showed the “180” film to her children appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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This Week in Calvinism

  • Confessions of an ex-Calvinist.
  • Parts two and three of Roger Olson’s review of Deviant Calvinism: Broadening Reformed Theology.
  • Olson compares the Young, Restless, Reformed movement with the Bill Gothard phenomenon of the 1970s and 1980s.
  • David Platt discusses our obligation to the unreached.

Some Here, Some There — December 26, 2014

by Dan Phillips

Historically, the day after a major holiday (such as, oh, I don’t know… Christmas?) is a dead one at the blog. But hey, you clicked through, I hate sad and disappointed readers, so: it may be short, but it is an SHST, and it is just for you!

  • A day late in telling you, but our family appreciated Kevin DeYoung’s Do You Know Who He Was? on Christmas Day.
  • On Christmas: when I was a boy, and not even a Christian boy, I remember that Christmas-time would bring all sorts of respectful nods to Christ in the culture. The comics (then called “the funny pages”), TV, all over. Then as I grew and the culture shifted, I noted that the Christ-hating Los Angeles Times would always try to warm the holiday season by scraping the bottom of the moldy wooden barrels of academia, to find some PhD to tell us about how this or that aspect of Christian faith was ludicrous hooey.
  • Newsweek follows in this hallowed tradition. This year, their love-bouquet to Christ and His bride was The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin, by one Kurt Eichenwald. It’s a genuinely vitriolic hit-piece with zero redeeming value.
  • Not only that, but it’s got some pretty adorable chestnuts.
  • There are those who mock even raising an eyebrow over Piper’s apparently collegial reference to the Pope. This makes me wonder, not for the first time, what our leaders today do think is worth fighting over. For one thing, apparently it’s worth fighting over not fighting, since that’s what they like to squawk about. They don’t mock, ridicule, sneer at, isolate, and attempt to marginalize those who are purveying damnable heresies, or those who are compromising core doctrines. But those who do promote sound, biblical Gospel over against false teaching and false teachers? Oh, it’s open season on them.
  • As an exercise in empathy, I try to imagine myself reading some Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness leader saying how they really need to flood the world with their version of the gospel. And I try — seriously, I do — to imagine myself Tweeting, “In other words, we need to tilt the world with the Gospel!” You know, use it as a tie-in with my book-title, and in effect linking to their words. I try, I say… and it’s just not happening for me.
  • And factor in: if I already had my own massive instant-promotion machinery and legions of adoring, I-can-do-no-wrong fans…? Now I’m feeling like…
  • Now to funner things.
  • Re-reading Warfield’s masterful statement on the presence and presentation of the doctrine of the Trinity in the NT, I realized not all will have read it, and thought it worth sharing with you.
  • Over at Cripplegate, Jesse Johnson reviews Max McLean’s stage version of C. S. Lewis’ The Great DivorceSounds like a great experience.
  • That book, if I may digress, is one of these books that are (A) eminently profitable if you read it with a mind to “get” the points Lewis was set on making, (B) very troubling if your stance is OH MY GOSH! THIS IS LEWIS’ SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY AND IT’S TERRIBLE!!!1! Though he often noted he was no theologian and did not write as such, he did obviously touch on a lot. Sometimes he was muddled, sometimes downright bad, and sometimes absolutely amazingly wonderful. If you know how to eat a fish, you should be able to read Lewis with profit.
  • Douglas Wilson’s post Racial Animosity is so, so good. So much better than so many of the vaunted posts on Ferguson, Garner, and the whole lot. It’s the bottom-line truth of the matter. It should have been shared and tweeted broadly, more broadly than those which could be seen as fostering bitterness, resentment, hopelessness and anger. Was it?
  • In the spirit of the Peanuts/25 Or Six To Four video, if you haven’t seen this, you must. It’s absolutely brilliant, and buckets of fun:

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5 Things Jonathan Edwards Teaches Us about the Christian Life

For many of us, Jonathan Edwards is a skinny white guy who never smiled, except when talking about hell. If we know anything more, it’s:

  • that he wrote a lot of really dense books
  • that he talked a lot about the glory of God
  • that he was part of the Great Awakening
  • that John Piper likes him a lot.

And that’s about it.

But there are riches to be mined in Jonathan Edwards far beyond what you may have been exposed to. Reading Jonathan Edwards is not for historians and professors mainly, but for the rest of us.

Here are five things Edwards teaches us about the Christian life—your Christian life.

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The Infallibility of the Church?

by Reformed Reader

Systematic Theology, 3 Volumes The Roman Catholic Church teaches that “the infallibility of the Magisterium of the Pastors extends to all the elements of doctrine, including moral doctrine, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, expounded, or observed” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, III.1.3.3.1). In short, Rome teaches the infallibility of the Magisterial Church.

Charles Hodge (d. 1878), in Systematic Theology, gives five arguments against the infallibility of the Church of Rome: 1) it is founded on a wrong theory of the church, 2) it is founded on the false assumption of the perpetuity of the Apostleship, 3) it is founded on a false interpretation of Christ’s promise, 4) it is contradicted by facts, and 5) it is contradicted by the present doctrinal errors in the Church of Rome. Though Hodge’s arguments are all solid, I appreciate his third one:

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The Top Ten STR Posts of 2014

Here’s a look back at 2014 through the ten most popular posts of the year:

10. Christianity’s Uniqueness – “In reply to the critics who claim Christianity was just a copy-cat religion among the ancient religions, it’s helpful to take a look at how an ancient adherent of these pagan religions viewed Christianity.”

9. You’re Not Really Pro-Life Unless… – “The objection that pro-life advocates or organizations aren’t really pro-life because they don’t also advocate [fill in the blank] is one you’ll encounter. Scott Klusendorf responds to this ‘single issue objection’ in The Case for Life.”

8. Bart Ehrman’s Latest Book – How Jesus Became God – “[T]he basic explanation Ehrman gives for how Jesus became divine…[is] built on late dating the New Testament documents and citing precedents of such teachings. I found it implausible and completely unpersuasive.”

7. Lord, Liar, Lunatic…or Legend? – “[T]here’s a ‘quadlemma’ to answer, and Tom Gilson has written an excellent new article in Touchstone. He considers this fourth possibility in an interesting way.”

6. How Same-Sex Marriage Will Affect Friendships – “Matthew Franck explains the unintended effect same-sex marriage will have on friendships in our society.”

5. A Warning from the Death of Christian Britain – “Craig Hazen’s comments in Biola Magazine on a book by Callum G. Brown titled The Death of Christian Britain should serve as both a warning and an encouragement to us.”

4. The Myth of Hate – “The most common misconception about Christians and homosexuality is that Christians hate homosexuals. Though there are some things Christians have done to contribute to this impression, it’s largely untrue.”

3. What Would Polygamy Do to Society? – “Dr. Morse explains how equality and freedom suffer in polygamous societies.”

2. What’s Missing in Son of God – A review of the film: “One can’t leave out this aspect of Jesus, for it’s only when this strength and authority is present that we truly feel the impact of the unexpected grace He shows to the weak, the hurting, and the sinners—when He welcomes little children and heals unclean women. It’s commonplace to see a mother stoop down to bless a child. It is quite shocking when the King of the universe takes time out of His day to do it. The greater the condescension, the more striking the love and kindness. When filmmakers show only kindness and leave out authority and strength, much is lost.”

1. Gordon College Will Lose Accreditation over Behavioral Standards – (Please note the updates at the end of the post.) “[J]ust as having a sexual behavior standard for people with opposite-sex attractions is not an act of discrimination against heterosexual people, so having the same standard for people with same-sex attractions is not an act of discrimination against homosexual people. But the commission won’t see this because our culture is no longer capable of making a distinction between ‘sexual identity’ and behavior.”

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Top 14 “Rainer on Leadership” Podcast Episodes of 2014

Thanks to you, 2014 marked an incredible year of growth for Rainer on Leadership. The weekly podcast has grown so much that we are going to twice-weekly in 2015 with the second weekly episode focusing on specific practical ministry issues. So to end 2014, here are the top 14 episodes of the year.

  1. Episode 60 – Nine Rapid Changes in Church Worship Services
  2. Episode 70 – Pastoral Tenure & Expository Preaching with Alistair Begg 
  3. Episode 65 – Millennials and Worship Style
  4. Episode 69 – Why Church Members Don’t Invite Others to Church 
  5. Episode 71 – Six Symptoms of a Dysfunctional Church 
  6. Episode 72 – Leading from the Second Chair 
  7. Episode 64 – The Decline of Sunday Evening Services 
  8. Episode 55 – Dangers of Denial for Dying Churches 
  9. Episode 68 – 8 Warning Signs of the Most Common Factor in Declining Churches 
  10. Episode 74 – 15 Church Facility Issues
  11. Episode 59 – Pastoral Advice
  12. Episode 73 – Innovation and the Local Church 
  13. Episode 79 – 14 Traits Found in Toxic Leaders 
  14. Episode 53 – Autopsy of a Deceased Church Book Launch

Source


Video: The Bible and Homosexuality from Stand to Reason

Text taken from here.
There are many different opinions on this divisive topic in the Church today. So what does the Bible say?
So, here’s the thing. We totally get that there are important and controversial issues in the church today. We also get that there’s a huge temptation to simply avoid these “hot button” issues. After all, topics like homosexuality emotions can run high, making things really uncomfortable for everybody, so the temptation is strong to lay low and say nothing.  But is that the way Jesus wants us to live?  We don’t think so.
The problem is, there’s a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to homosexuality.  Mix that confusion with the understandably high levels of emotion and we have the perfect recipe for trouble.
At Stand to Reason, we’re convinced there’s a better way.  We call it “speaking the truth, in love” (actually, it’s not really our concept—we got it from Paul).  The idea is to take accurate biblical knowledge and temper it with wisdom.
Sure, we focus on the truth—that’s really important—but we do it in a way that shows respect for the people we differ with, giving the reasons, not just the rules.  It may not completely defuse every situation, but it helps us speak confidently and accurately about what God says about hard issues.
So what is the biblical truth on homosexuality?  Well, we can’t cover everything on the topic here, but we can give you the basics, then you can check out our other resources for more in-depth info.
First, let’s see what the Bible does not say.  It does not say that homosexuality is the worst sin ever. Instead, it’s one of a bunch of sins that many of the rest of us are often guilty of, too.  It also does not say we can’t have friends that are homosexual.  Paul said that if we avoided all the non-Christians because of their behavior, we’d never be able to reach them with Christ’s message of love and forgiveness (that’s in 1 Corinthians 5).  No, it’s not our job to look down in a judgmental way on nonbelievers.  We should befriend them, instead.  We know from Genesis 1:27 that everyone is made in the image of God.  That makes them special to God, and they should be special to us, too.
Probably the most important thing the Bible does say about homosexuality comes from Jesus himself.  I know you’ve heard that Jesus never said anything on the issue, but that’s not completely true.  Listen to this.
In Matthew 19:4 & 5, Jesus says, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh’?”
There it is.  Jesus makes it clear that God had a perfect plan from the beginning.  He made the woman to complement the man not just sexually (that’s what He means by “one flesh”), but for his whole life—to be the kind of partner that’s just right for him, for his whole life long.
Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 that we should be different from the rest of the crowd—holy, set apart, avoiding sexual immorality, that is, staying away from any kind of sex that distorts God’s good plan.
The thing that makes homosexuality bad is the same thing that makes any sex outside of marriage bad—it’s a way of saying “No” to the wonderful plan that God had from the start.  Which is basically the same as saying “no” to God.  Not good, in other words.
God’s original plan is the reason we see the passages about homosexuality worded the way they are.  For example, think of Leviticus 18:22-23. It says “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.” God says it’s wrong to use a man for the kind of sex God gave the woman for. Again, it’s the same as saying “No” to God. Notice that this verse is grouped with other verses about the misuse of God’s gift of sex, like adultery and bestiality.
We find the exact same reasoning in the New Testament, too.  When Paul speaks against homosexuality in Romans 1, he calls it a “degrading passion.”  Why?  Because, as he put it, “women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another.”
Paul’s point is that God made man for woman and woman for man sexually.  That’s why he talks about natural function, not desire. In one sense, we naturally desire lots of things God says we shouldn’t be involved in. Homosexuality (along with the other sexual sins) is just another way of denying the natural function—the purpose or plan—of the kind of the safe, satisfying sex God purposed for a man and a woman in lifelong marriage. Paul’s view, in other words, was the same as Jesus’ view.
That’s why in 1 Corinthians 6:9 & 10 Paul says that among those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God are the sexually immoral and adulterers, the thieves, the swindlers and drunkards, and…homosexuals, men who sleep with other men—all sinful ways of living that are characteristic of life without God.
Then Paul writes something amazing.  In verse 11 he reminds us that this is the way we used to be, too. That’s the way we were, but all of that has changed.  Now since we’ve come to know Jesus we’ve been cleansed and made right with God.  We’ve been freed from slavery to our old, dark ways.
That’s the good news.  Because of God’s mercy, we don’t have to be squeezed into the mold of this world.  Instead, as Paul tells us in Romans 12:1 & 2, we can offer ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. We can be transformed to an entirely new way of thinking, one that allows us to live according to the good, pleasing and perfect will of God.
Yes, it’s clear from these passages that the Bible does call homosexuality a sin, but there’s so much more in God’s plan—not just saying “No” to something bad, but saying “Yes” to something so much better.
There it is.  Knowledge and wisdom.  Truth mixed with a message of love and forgiveness and a new way of living.  That’s the way we deal with controversial issues at Stand to Reason.  And that’s the way we encourage you to deal with them.
Just like Jesus did.

Remembering the Holy Innocents

The gifts are packed away; the kitchen’s finally cleaned up. Maybe you’re relieved Christmas is over. But is it?
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Six Free Video Curriculum From 2014

One of the blessings of serving at a church that allows me to focus my attention on developing a robust counseling ministry is the opportunity to create resources that can be duplicated in our church plants and churches across the country/world.

This year we were able to create three programmatic seminars and three topical seminars to equip the church to care for another and their community.

Programmatic Seminars

Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm

This seminar contains three hours of presentation divided into a nine step model of facing depression-anxiety when the experience is primarily a form of suffering. This seminar is most effective when studies with a friend our small group. This seminar is meant to be tandem resource with the responsibility paradigm seminar.

Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Responsibility Paradigm

This seminar contains three hours of presentation divided into a nine step model of facing depression-anxiety when the experience is rooted primarily in our beliefs, values, or behaviors. This seminar is most effective when studies with a friend our small group. This seminar is meant to be tandem resource with the suffering paradigm seminar.

Gospel-Centered Pre-Marital Mentoring Curriculum

We want this page to provide everything you need to provide every engaged couple in your church with a mentor couple who can walk them through a comprehensive pre-marital program. We also want to see the experienced marriages in your church enriched as they invest in engaged couples who are just beginning their marital journey.

 

Topical Seminars

Burnout

Burnout occurs when the things that once gave us life and energy become discouraging and draining instead, sacrificing our pleasures and accomplishments to the continual onslaught of “next.” While a common danger for Christians who dedicate their efforts to God’s kingdom, burnout eventually makes us choose cynical numbness over the “caring exhaustion” of Christian service. How do we avoid this pitfall? Brad Hambrick argues that burnout is actually a consequence of our life management, and he shows us how to create a time budget to avoid living beyond our means with the time God has provided. He helps us remember to rest in God’s fairness rather than trying to gain his acceptance.

10 Keys to Ensure Caring Is Helping

When we care for one another wisely three things should happen: (a) the person being cared for should be blessed, (b) the love of Christ should become more tangible, and (c) our faith should grow. Sometimes our attempts of caring can be done unwisely, resulting in unintended consequences: (a) the person being cared for is enabled, (b) the love of Christ is misrepresented, and (c) the care-giver becomes exhausted.

Towards a Christian Perspective on Mental Illness

When engaging a difficult and highly personal subject, it is better to start with good questions than a list of answers. The better our questions are, the more responsibly we will utilize the answers of which we are confidant, the more humbly we will approach areas of uncertainty, and the more we will honor one another in the process of learning.

Article

From Telling Your Story to Being Known

Often, as churches, we do a better job of teaching people how to tell their story than we do at preparing people for what it will be like to have their story known. We help people share their experience of God’s grace in a way that highlights the goodness of God and the power of the gospel. This is good and needed.

But we also need to help people (a) assess whether this is a wise time in their journey with God to share a particular aspect of their story, and (b) prepare for the kind of unique temptations that arise after sharing your story in a public setting. These two points become more important the larger the church or venue in which an individual is sharing their story becomes, because the dynamics in play become more pronounced as the audience gets larger.

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Circular reasoning.

“Christians can’t use ‘circular reasoning’ by trying to prove the Bible by quoting from the Bible!”

The “circular reasoning” argument is absurd. That’s like saying you can’t prove that the President lives in the White House by looking into the White House. It is looking into the White House that will provide the necessary proof. The fulfilled prophecies, the amazing consistency, and the many scientific statements of the Bible prove it to be the Word of God. They provide evidence that it is supernatural in origin.

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The Infallibility of the Church?

The Reformed Reader

Systematic Theology, 3 Volumes The Roman Catholic Church teaches that “the infallibility of the Magisterium of the Pastors extends to all the elements of doctrine, including moral doctrine, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, expounded, or observed” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, III.1.3.3.1).  In short, Rome teaches the infallibility of the Magisterial Church.

Charles Hodge (d. 1878), in Systematic Theology, gives five arguments against the infallibility of the Church of Rome: 1) it is founded on a wrong theory of the church, 2) it is founded on the false assumption of the perpetuity of the Apostleship, 3) it is founded on a false interpretation of Christ’s promise, 4) it is contradicted by facts, and 5) it is contradicted by the present doctrinal errors in the Church of Rome.  Though Hodge’s arguments are all solid, I appreciate his third one:

The third decisive argument against the infallibility of the…

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Who are #the15 ?

Polemics Report

Who are #the15? People want to know. We want to tell them.

Mohandas Ghandi is often attributed with a quotation actually spoken by American union worker, Nicholas Klein in 1918. Both men knew a thing or two about resistance to overwhelming force, but it was Klein who actually penned the phrase,

“First they ignore you. Then, they ridicule you. Then, they attack you and burn you. And then, they build monuments to you.”

IGNORE: The larger force, the bully pulpit, the powers-that-be, first ignore the resistance. Any answering of their critics or acknowledging their existence only gives credence to concerns and grievances, they surmise. And why not ignore them? This works with most mortal men. Most men want to be acknowledged. No one wants to be made to feel invisible. No one wants to be blocked in social media and relegated to the status of ‘untouchable.’ From our leaders who…

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Eric Metaxas: does science make the case for or against God?

WINTERY KNIGHT

This is from famous writer Eric Metaxas, writing in the Wall Street Journal, of all places. He talks about whether recent discoveries have made the world look more created/designed, or more eternal/undesigned.

In the beginning, there was the naturalism, and the naturalism said that habitable planets are common:

In 1966 Time magazine ran a cover story asking: Is God Dead? Many have accepted the cultural narrative that he’s obsolete—that as science progresses, there is less need for a “God” to explain the universe.

[…]The same year Time featured the now-famous headline, the astronomer Carl Sagan announced that there were two important criteria for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star. Given the roughly octillion—1 followed by 24 zeros—planets in the universe, there should have been about septillion—1 followed by 21 zeros—planets capable of supporting life.

Then the…

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Jesus and the Buddha

The Reformed Reader

Siddhartha Gautama lived around 2,500 years ago in the area that today is called India and Nepal.  The story goes that Gautama was a very wealthy man who became disillusioned with temporary happiness.  He tried asceticism, but didn’t find happiness in it.  Then one day he was meditating beneath a tree where he purged his mind of all contamination and impurities.  From that time on he taught people how to find this state of tranquility (also called Nirvana).  Gautama is often called “the Buddha,” which means, “the awakened one.”

So what else do Buddhists believe about the Buddha?  The Buddha cannot take negative and ignorant thoughts from people’s minds.  He can’t “wash away our defilements with water.”  “The Buddha has impartial compassion for all sentient beings and cherishes them more than himself, so if he could have eliminated our suffering by his actions, the Buddha would have done so.”  Since…

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