May 23-24, 2015 Truth2Freedom Weekend Christian Blog/Article Collection

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Launching A Missions Movement: Acts 1:8

What could be more unnatural than the act of leaving your comfortable home to go to a place you’ve never been, to speak a language you don’t know, to love a people you’ve never met. Acts 1:8 is not a story of super-disciples, but a story of a bunch of sinners, just like you and me, who through the power given to them by the Holy Spirit, did the unthinkable to glorify their Lord.

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Kirsten Powers Gets Its Dangerously Wrong on the Bible and Homosexuality

We are called to holiness more than to heterosexuality, and from Genesis to Revelation, from Moses to Jesus to Paul, the consistent witness of Scripture is that holiness can never be found in a homosexual union. No amount of Scripture twisting can make sexual relationships between two men or two women holy in God’s sight.

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Baptism and a Box of Corn Flakes

Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s.

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On Conservative Religious Activism, The Numbers Speak For Themselves

In 2009, overseas relief and development supported by American churches exceeded $13 billion, according to path-breaking calculations by the Hudson Center for Global Prosperity. (This includes not just evangelical churches but also Catholic and mainline Protestant congregations, and covers both direct missions work and donations to private relief groups.)

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Qualifying ‘The State of the PCA’

If I am to be classified as a traditionalist, here is my definition of it: I believe in a tradition that is derived from the Scripture and has been held by great names in church history. This Scriptural tradition has found its way into the great creeds and confessions of the Church, particularly the Westminster Confession of Faith. I hold to such creeds and confessions as secondary standards and as faithful expositions of the fundamental teachings of Scripture.

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United Methodist Body Votes to Change the Church’s Position on Homosexuality by Allowing Clergy to Be ‘Practicing Homosexuals,’ Perform Gay Weddings

The Discipline also says that clergy can neither bless gay weddings nor can non-celibate homosexuals be ordained.

At the UMC’s most recent general conference, held in 2012 in Tampa, Florida, a resolution introduced to change the Discipline’s language on these positions was voted down. But the controversy over the Mainline Protestant denomination’s position on homosexuality continued.

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8 Features of the Best Kind of Calvinism

The experiential Calvinist cultivates communion with God. … Experiential Calvinism cherishes communion with God and understands that this communion requires two things: that we “receive” His love and that we “make suitable returns unto him.” The Father’s love is received “by faith” through Christ. “The soul being thus, by faith through Christ, and by him brought into the bosom of God, into a comfortable persuasion and spiritual perception and sense of his love, there reposes and rests itself.”

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Lecrae Makes Music Concerned With The Soul

On embracing his faith within hip-hop: It’s interesting, because it’s such a phenomenon for a hip-hop artist to fully embrace his Christian roots and his faith. That becomes something that people almost need you to justify. What we’re communicating in our music is love and justice and service and community. But it’s rare that we’ll turn the tide and say, “Hey, justify why violence and misogyny and drug abuse is okay within hip-hop.” I think that’s tragic to some degree.

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Scouts President: Gay Leader Ban Unsustainable

Gates’ speech and his call for change is not a surprise. When the Boy Scouts decided in 2013 to allow homosexual youth into the program, critics of the change said then the decision was unsustainable. John Stemberger, who ultimately left the Scouts to found a group called Trail Life USA as a Christian alternative to the BSA, said then the new policy “creates a myriad of problems” for the Boy Scouts. Andrew Walker of the Heritage Foundation said the BSA’s 2013 policy of allowing gay boys but prohibiting gay men displayed “willed naiveté on this issue.”

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Five Reasons Some Pastors Are Loners—And Why That’s Not Good

“Jesus always got it right: He knew how to balance His time with the Father and with others. He called individuals, preached to the hundreds, and fed the thousands – all while also patiently investing in a few men. Even in his toughest moments (like the Garden of Gethsemane), He wanted men with Him.”

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Commemorating the Burning of Jan Hus

“Hus was an heir to the English church proto-reformer John Wycliffe, whose themes of personal holiness and direct reading of Scripture in native language he reiterated. Wycliffe died a natural death, but a quarter century later he was condemned at the Council of Constance, where a still very much alive Hus was tried for heresy, defrocked and sentenced to death.”

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The God of Typological Recapitulation

“Even though the prophets promise a time of restoration for Israel, theocratic Israel never experiences it. That’s precisely because it would only be realized in Christ. This has massive implications for our understanding how to read the Old Testament in a spiritually applicable way to ourselves today.”

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Learning Contentment

“Christian contentment means that my satisfaction is independent of my circumstances. When Paul speaks about his own contentment in Philippians 4:11, he uses a term commonplace among the ancient Greek philosophical schools of the Stoics and Cynics. In their vocabulary, contentment meant self-sufficiency, in the sense of independence from changing circumstances.”

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Duggars Reeling From Son Josh’s Sex-Abuse Scandal

“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends,” Josh Duggar, 27, said in the statement posted on the family’s Facebook page. “We spoke with the authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling,” the statement said. “I understood that if I continued down this wrong road that I would end up ruining my life.”

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The Episcopal Church: Undermining the USA from Within

“Refugees designated to migrate to the United States are advanced travel money by an arm of the U.S. State Department. They land here, and are placed in the hands of (among other agencies) Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM), which helps them relocate into specific communities.”

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International Mission Board Drops Ban on Speaking in Tongues

“Under the previous rules, candidates who spoke in tongues or had a “private prayer language” were barred. Under the new rules, speaking in tongues does not disqualify missionary candidates. Too much emphasis on charismatic gifts, like speaking in tongues, could still lead to discipline.”

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Definite Atonement and The Triune God

“Christ’s death is not limited in power, but limited only in its scope. Rather than making salvation possible for all people, Christ’s death actually saves certain people. Christ’s shed blood purchases and fully redeems the elect and there is no possibility that the atonement will not powerfully secure salvation for them.”

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The God Who Justifies (Book Review)

“The book is technical but it is not too difficult. One might be tempted to be discouraged by the number of times White quotes Greek or seems to split exegetical hairs to make a big point, but we shouldn’t be. He is doing the heavy lifting and careful reasoning to make us more confident in the doctrine of justification so that we may be better equipped to delight in and defend this glorious truth.”

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Why So Many Christians Are Just Done With Church

Comparing those who leave the church to political refugees, the authors write, “Refugees are people who’ve been forced from their homes—for fear of persecution. That describes the dechurched. If they stayed they would risk further estrangement from their spiritual selves, from God, and from a religion they still believe in.”

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New Book Sheds Light on Rifqa Bary’s Terrifying Conversion Journey

Sixteen-year-old Rifqa Bary made international headlines in 2009 when, newly baptized as a Christian and fearing her Muslim parents’ reaction, she ran away from her Ohio home and took refuge with a pastor in Florida.

Fearing a so-called honor killing, a controversial practice in some Muslim communities which calls on the family of someone who has in some way “dishonored” her family name or Islam itself—

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Apostate Churches Promoting Sin

by Bill Muehlenberg

I know I should no longer be surprised about these sorts of things happening, but it still leaves my head and spirit reeling: I will write about something so utterly clear in Scripture that no biblical Christian could differ, yet that happens anyway.

I will get bus-loads’ full of so-called Christian pastors, leaders and others absolutely foaming at the mouth at me and what I write. Instead of agreeing with God about clearly defined sin, they will blast me for daring to affirm biblical truth and morality.

They have imbibed of the world and its values for so long that they actually think they are doing God a favour when then effectively promote sin and unrighteousness, and attack those who dare to sound the alarm. Indeed I have now become convinced of this truth (paraphrased from something Dennis Prager recently said):

When you cease to resist evil, you will start to hate those who do.

We of course get this from the world all the time. But the really shocking and frightening thing is when people calling themselves Christians do this. I have had heaps of hate and abuse from “Christians” over the past two days because I have dared to challenge a “Christian” icon and a trendy social cause.

I committed the PC crime of daring to question the Christian credentials of Bono and U2 as they pushed the diabolical line that there is nothing wrong with sodomite marriage, but in fact is a good thing, and Jesus would fully support it, because it is all about “lurve baby”. That piece appeared here: http://billmuehlenberg.com/2015/05/23/fake-christians-fake-marriage/

But the number of people in Christian leadership who have attacked me on this, and who have defended Bono and U2 and homosexual marriage has just boggled my mind, grieved my spirit, rattled my soul, and reminded me once again how utterly apostate, compromised and carnal so much of the church has become.

When you have Christian leaders defending sin and attacking those who speak against it, then you know that we are in a very bad way. And of course I have lost count over the past few days of the number of times ‘Christians’ have accused me of every evil in the world, all the while telling me how sinful it is for believers to judge someone!

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Is the Christian Church in America Losing Its Influence?
May 22, 2015 06:48 am | Mike

Is the Christian Church in America losing its identity and influence?  Or simple learning to better relate to the secular world around us? Jesus commanded us to reach out into the sinful world and share the good news of the gospel of salvation.  But He also warned us to not conform to the deception and […]

The post Is the Christian Church in America Losing Its Influence? appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Heaven Is Fo Reals! (And other extra-biblical “revelations”)
May 21, 2015 09:08 am | Scott Alan Buss

People inherently love to learn about Jesus and Heaven. Not the real Jesus or the real (purged of sin and unrepentant sinners) world to come, of course, but the happy, fluffy, man-affirming versions that they’ve made up in their self-referential little heads. You know, smiling, happy, uncritical Jesus, and “everybody but Hitler will be there” Heaven. As for learning […]

The post Heaven Is Fo Reals! (And other extra-biblical “revelations”) appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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The Curse of Magic Christianity
May 21, 2015 09:04 am | Scott Alan Buss

Praying that God will do miraculously what we refuse to do through obedience Why do we pray for God to “magically” do what He has commanded and equipped us to do through His Spirit and Word? Why do we pray for God to “do something” to protect our children from the consequences of the very things […]

The post The Curse of Magic Christianity appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Christians Should Be Seen But Not Heard?
May 21, 2015 07:07 am | Mike

When I was a child one thing I would hear too often from my parents was “Children are to be seen, but not heard”.  We were to be submissive and obedient children but not express opinions when adults were in the room. Are we seeing this philosophy imposed on Bible-believing Christians these days?  Christians around […]

The post Christians Should Be Seen But Not Heard? appeared first on Stand Up For The Truth.

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Christians-Should-Be-Seen-But-Not-Heard_-guest-William-Murray.mp3 23.7 MB


Articles, Resources, and More . . . Oh My! (05/22/15)

23 Guidelines to Protect Your Purity in Dating

Randy Alcorn equips us with some wise advice as those of us who are single date and as all of us disciple others in this area.

How to Prevent Brotherly Love

Erik Raymond lists five big main things that hinder Hebrews 13:1 in the church: “Let brotherly love continue.”

10 Unforgettable Lessons on Fatherhood

Ray Ortlund wrote a moving tribute to his dad that has stirred the hearts of many in the Internet world.

I’m Divorced: How Does God See Me Now?

J.D. Greear: “I feel the need to be abundantly clear on this: divorce is not the unforgivable sin. As a Christian, the only scarlet God sees on you is the blood of Christ, which covers your sins and presents you before God as His blameless child.”

4 Principles for Finishing Well

The older I get, the more I’m learning that it’s truly not about how I started but how I finish. May we be found faithful to the Lord.

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Practice true spirituality

 

In our quest for a more simple spirituality it’s important to define the term. I’m writing from the belief that spirituality is the pursuit of God and the things of God, through Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit in accordance with God’s self-revelation (that is, the Bible).

The words of the apostle Paul in Colossians 2:16-3:2 provide inspired guidance on true spirituality. False teachers in Colossae were saying that spirituality involved not only the pursuit of God through Jesus, but also included the worship of angels and other types of mystical experiences. They taught a number of elaborate rituals and ascetic practices which anyone serious about spirituality was required to observe.

Paul admits that while “These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion,” in reality “they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (2:23). In other words, these activities may look like marks of true spirituality, but they’re worthless for changing one’s heart or relationship with God.

But then Paul directs us to the basics of biblical spirituality—“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that on earth” (3:1-2).

Related: In season and out of season – expository readiness by Don Whitney

Unlike the common belief that many people are “spiritual” by nature, notice Paul’s teaching that spirituality has a definite starting point—“If then you have been raised with Christ.” This is biblical language for being united by faith to Jesus Christ in His life, death and resurrection. Until a person comes to the place where spirituality begins and receives the benefits that flow from this union with Christ—namely eternal life and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit—that person has no real spirituality, regardless of his effort or desire.

Notice also that genuine spirituality seeks the things of God, or more specifically, “things that are above, where Christ is.” Any spirituality that does not seek things like the will and glory of God in everything, intimacy with and conformity to Christ, and love—and does not seek them above all other pursuits—is a false spirituality.

But true spirituality doesn’t just propel the heart toward the right activities; it also pulls the mind in the right direction. For in verse 2 Paul continues, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” True spirituality is characterized by a mind preoccupied with “things that are above.” And not “things that are above” merely as we might imagine them, but rather as God has revealed them in Scripture. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about earthly things, for Paul himself gives lengthy counsel about such matters just a few verses later, from 3:18 to the end of the letter. Rather the spirituality that flows from Heaven causes “things that are above” to become a magnet for the mind. So that no matter what we think about, eventually we relate it somehow to “things that are above.” For instance, we often find ourselves asking questions like, “What would the Lord have me do in this situation?” or “What is God’s view of this?”

Don’t be deceived by a complex spirituality that gives the appearance of wisdom but doesn’t start with “Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). And don’t become entangled in any spiritual practices that sound good but incline your mind and heart away from the “things that are above.”

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Donald S. Whitney serves as associate professor of biblical spirituality and also as senior associate dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary.  He is the author of six books, including Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian LifeYou can connect with Whitney on TwitterFacebook and through his website The Center for Biblical Spirituality. This article originally appeared at BiblicalSpirituality.org.


Articles of the Week

What Is Marriage, Exactly? Jen Pollock Michel. As a country, we’re asking this question a lot in terms of same-sex marriage. But that’s not Michel’s question (though her answer is relevant to that debate). Instead, she reflects on her own experience of marriage, and tries to counter a bevy of popular myths about what makes marriage, marriage. Here’s a hint: contrary to the wisdom of the Beatles, love isn’t all you need.

Clickbait Headlines Are Killing Your Soul, Stephen Altrogge. Journalism has always thrived on a quick pitch, and it’s nothing new for a quick pitch to become a deceptively sensationalized pitch. But the internet seems to have created space for something quite new: clickbait headlines. You know, “He asked Robert Downey, Jr. for his autograph. What happened next will leave you breathless.” We all know they’re annoying. But Altrogge points out that they’re also pretty damaging. After all, when everything is spectacular, nothing is.

Four Words Leaders Must Say Often, Eric Geiger. It’s not, “I love you, man” (though that may not be a bad idea…sometimes). Geiger boils down four traits of wise and effective leaders into a word apiece. These are about as simple as they are difficult. If you’re a leader, memorize them. After all, we’re just talking about four words, here.

Diagnosing Ethnic Fever, Bryan Loritts. “There’s a low grade fever running among many of our minority brothers and sisters working in white evangelical environments, and their fever is a result of varying factors that have left them vulnerable and exposed.  I cal this fever “low grade” because they can still function, yet if left undiagnosed and untreated, this ethnic fever will only escalate into a toxic sickness.  If we want to treat their condition, I find it helpful to look at the factors contributing to their ailment.”

Source


“Moore” fellowship with darkness.

By now, everyone knows that Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, leans socially progressive. Moore has, on multiple occasions, partnered with left-leaning organizations on behalf of the SBC in order to advance political, as well as theological, positions through government. Moore is well known for his collaboration with the apostate Roman Catholic church in his endeavors to promote traditional marriage, anti-abortion legislation, and more. So it comes as no surprise that Moore is now joining forces with the liberal Baptist denomination, The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, in order to push for legislation banning predatory lending habits by pay-day lenders.

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Letter to the Editor: Does Lighthouse Trails Believe Beth Moore is Going in an Emergent Direction?

To Lighthouse Trails: Good morning: this question is asked in sincerity, not contention. I believe I once read in one of your posts that Beth Moore was headed in the emergent church direction (or, perhaps it was in some sort of false teaching).


This Week in Calvinism – May 22, 2015

  • It seems we Calvinists follow a God who is “false, capricious, and arbitrary.” So says Tim Alleman, a guy who sounds like he has never spoken to a Calvinist in his life. Please, if someone can make sense of his rambling, let me know.
  • Identifying marks of New Calvinism, according to Gary Gilley at SharperIron.org
  • Henry Volk isn’t a Calvinist, but he thinks “we can expect more good things from the New Calvinism. God willing, it may even be the savior of American Christianity.”
  • Eight features of the best kind of Calvinism.
  • Jesus poured out his joy for you.

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Born Captive to Sin, Rescued by Grace

I was born into this world with certain sinful dispositions and inclinations, and neither therapy nor willpower could produce real change to my fallen human nature. God’s holy laws could only expose to me, as a fallen creature, my utter moral impotence and accountability to God (Rom 3:19, 20) but gave me no ability to obey them. The gospel, on the other hand, is not a simple call to behavior modification, but instead, the granting of a renewed heart, a new nature, which loves God’s commands (1 John 3:9, 5:1-4; Deut 30:6; Ps. 119:97; Ezek 36:26). And by grace I was declared righteous for Jesus’s sake, who fulfilled God’s law for me, not because I brought anything of my own to the table. As a result the gospel of grace awakens me to the fact that other sinners are also fallen human beings. So how can I look down on anyone, when God had such amazing mercy on a great sinner like me? I now only want to point others to the light of the gospel of Christ that they might also know Him.

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Falsified Radio – How Should We Respond to Josh Duggar?

Falsified Radio - How Should We Respond to Josh Duggar?

“I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions…I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.” – Josh Duggar

How should we respond?

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What should the Duggar scandal teach the church?

Russell Moore:

…sexual abuse in the context of the church must be handled in terms of both authorities responsible—both the church and the state. The state has been given the sword of justice to wield against those who commit crimes (Rom. 13:1-7). The church has no such sword (Matt. 26:51-53). This means that the immediate response to allegations of sexual abuse is to call the civil authorities, to render unto Caesar the responsibility that belongs to Caesar to investigate the crime. The church may or may not know the truth of the allegations, but it is the God-ordained prerogative of the civil authorities to discover such matters and to prosecute accordingly. When faced with a question of potential sexual abuse, call the authorities without delay.

A word to the journal writers and bloggers

Kim Shay:

For those who write in journals (and for those who blog with a lot of transparency), beware. Every thought does not need to be recorded. Instead of recording negative thoughts, write things that are good. Write about how proud you are of your kids, how much you love your family, the daily provision of God, the joy He gives. I can toss my journals aside in the garbage if I feel like they contain nothing edifying. Sure, pour out your thoughts to God, like the Psalmist did, but write with kindness and grace. Don’t be harsh.

More real

Great stuff from Ray Ortlund.

When You Fear the Future

Trillia Newbell:

I’m not sure if there is a greater fear for women than the fear of what’s to come (or what won’t come). You and I rightly pray for our husband, children, schools, and whether to pursue a career, but we don’t often come to God in peace. Instead we come anxiously awaiting our fate. Goodness will follow all the days of her life, or her life, or maybe her life, we might think, but surely not my life. It’s hard not to have control, and one thing that we can’t ever determine is what lies ahead. Thankfully, God’s Word is packed with sweet promises that smash all our fearful thinking.

Charles Spurgeon’s 9 Tips for Christian Readers

Grateful Kevin Halloran compiled these quotes.

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Why Christians Should Be Involved in Politics

In this brief video apologist Frank Turek makes that case that if you don’t think being involved in politics is important then you don’t think preaching the gospel is important.

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This ‘n’ That

  • There is no other gospel.
  • Michael Kruger looks at Psalm 119 and shares five things every Christian should be doing with the Word of God.
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable. (Thanks, Paula!)
  • Seriously, just call me when Driscoll does something that actually surprises us. Let’s be honest, we all knew this kind of thing would start happening, didn’t we?
  • And, this does not surprise me either.
  • Christine Caine must be using the Hillsong Revised Version of the Bible.
  • This is exactly why I am not a potluck person.
  • You’ll want to add this to the back of your Bible.
  • So, this is in the news.
  • Check out the latest issue of Credo magazine.
  • I don’t necessarily share the viewpoints here, but this is an interesting interview about the death penalty.
  • So if I want to blend in with my candy addiction, I need to move to Utah. Got it.
  • The real Mary Magdelene.
  • Fact: this is a bunch of bunk.
  • Why does evil dominate the world?

Source


Fake Christians, Fake Marriage

by Bill Muehlenberg

One good way to spot a phony Christian is when some crucial moral or social issue comes up. When they declare their hand, that usually tells us all we need to know about a person’s supposed Christian credentials. For example, if you get some guy claiming to be a Christian yet fully supports something like baby killing, you can call his bluff real quick.

Another clear-cut acid test of Christian commitment has to do with the issue of homosexuality. If you get someone trying to tell you that homosexual marriage is just peachy and Jesus would be fully supportive of it, then you know you got a religious fraud on your hands, and you should give him a very wide berth.

One so-called believer who has worried me greatly for years has in my eyes nailed his coffin completely by his recent support of sodomite marriage. Bono and U2 are going utterly brain-dead in supporting the Irish vote on homosexual marriage.

So if you think Bono is some sort of great Christian, you better think again. This comes from the U2 website:

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3 Ways Rising Secularism Affects Evangelism

by Daniel Darling

There has been no shortage of discussion and debate on the results of the latest Pew Research survey on the changing religious composition of the United States. Most researchers agree the data shows that Christianity as an identity is declining while confessional evangelicalism is either holding steady or increasing. While the number-crunchers debate the health of evangelicalism, we can all clearly see that secularism is on the rise. The old social compact that saw Christianity as good for the common good has been broken. While evangelical Christianity might continue to grow as Christ builds his church, it will also start to look even stranger to the rest of the world.

Much has been written about what this trend means for the shape of our public witness, but we haven’t given enough thought to what it might mean for personal evangelism. Here are three ways I think our evangelism strategies will change in a post-Christian age.

1. We need to assume less about people’s biblical literacy.

Many of our evangelism methods over the last several decades assumed an essentially Protestant or Roman Catholic understanding. Evangelism pursued a contrast between a works-based dependence on religion and a grace-based faith in the finished work of Christ. Evangelists could skip much of the Christian story and get right to a few verses in the Gospel of John or in Romans and clear up confusion about the biblical gospel. This may be why methods such as Evangelism Explosion or the Romans Road or the Four Spiritual Laws were so effective.

In a secularized society, though, core Christian beliefs can’t be assumed. We must still preach justification by faith through the death and resurrection of Christ, but we may start in Genesis rather than Romans. Increasingly, the people to whom we are delivering the gospel will not be former Roman Catholic altar boys or lapsed Lutherans, but people for whom the entire Christian story is foreign. Before we tell them what Paul says about their sin, we my need to tell them what sin is and why Paul matters.

In some ways this change is freeing. It allows us to do what we should have been doing all along…

FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE >>>

3 Ways Rising Secularism Affects Evangelism | The Gospel Coalition


WHY I’M CONCERNED ABOUT AMERICA’S YOUTH GROUPS

by Rachel Marron

Pew’s latest religion poll is out and while many headlines claim Christianity is declining in America, further scrutiny of the data suggests otherwise. The survey shows that nominal Christians (that is Christians in name only) are relabeling themselves as ‘no religious affiliation’ particularly from within the Catholic and mainline Protestant denominations. However, it appears evangelical Christianity is on the rise.

As an evangelical ‘science-rejecting, sexist, homophobic, right wing crazy’ who is looking for the best way to indoctrinate her children, this is good news. Since we’ve got 4 sons, my husband and I want to be sure the odds are in our favor.

But, if I’m honest, I’m a bit concerned with the where ‘youth programs’ in churches all across America are heading.

If you look around, churches everywhere are trying to figure out how best to reach the next generation. With an apparent goal of making church ‘fun’, the most popular tactics appear to be:

Change up the music; exchange the dull dirges for some R&B and alternative rock.
Give the youth someone they can relate to. Rather than an old white guy, try a young lumber-sexual, especially if they have tattoos to demonstrate they have a “past.”
Lots of trips are needed. Whether they are lock-ins or mission trips, kids love to vacation to the beach or a big city.
Here’s the problem. God already told us the instrument He wants to use to reach the next generation, and it’s not a youth program. It’s the family…

FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE >>>

Why I’m Concerned About America’s Youth Groups :: The Renewed Way


Why College students are Really Leaving the Church

Life in Progress Ministries

I’ve read several articles on the subject of “Why the youth leave the church.” Usually the articles give reasons such as, “They were never really saved,” or “they were never taught the importance of fellowship,” or “they weren’t discipled,” and the lists go on.

While I don’t think the points made in the articles are incorrect, I do believe most of the lists are incomplete and do not adequately address one of the biggest reasons people leave the church after high school.

It may be that, because they grew up in a culture that was friendlier to Christianity, church leaders don’t realize the need to prepare students for the intellectual challenges to Christianity in a deep way. Regardless, as someone who is much closer to college age than middle age I need to point out a harsh, possibly offensive reality:

Most churches — probably yours — have done and are doing a terrible job teaching people, especially youth, why they should believe Christianity is true. A lot of churches do a great job of teaching what the Bible says, but that does no good if a person does not believe or is later convinced that the Bible is not a supernaturally inspired book!

Now, this is article is no attack on my pastors or youth pastor. I imagine they did what they knew how to do and taught what they thought was important and followed the examples that they had. I would imagine that a lot of what I will say might be “greek” to you. But times have changed and I promise you that your under-30 crowd is dealing with these issues.

Your youth-group kids are going to enter a college-world (if not a high school) that is openly hostile to the Christian faith. Be assured, your students will be challenged to defend — using evidence — every aspect of their faith. And most Christians, regardless of age, don’t know what the evidence is; and many of those who do, don’t know how to explain it.

As I see it, there seem to be two options which are regularly tried:

1. Try to convince students and parents (for those youths in your church who are lucky enough to have Christian parents) to go to private Christian high schools and colleges where they will be sheltered for a few more years or home-school.

2. Try to convince the youth of your church who choose to go to secular schools to avoid the parties and find a church. Hope and pray for the best even though statistically 60–70% won’t be seen in a church again.

I would like to suggest to you a third option…

FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE >>>

Why Youth Really Leave | Life in Progress Ministries


Changed Quickly, Depart Slowly?

Q&A-chalkboard

Q.  1 Corinthians 15:52 states we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye.  Growing up, the preachers I listened to all taught we would disappear this quickly.  In studying this verse closely, it seems our bodies will transformed in an instant and we will put on immortality in the twinkling of an eye, but the verse doesn’t state we will be removed this fast.  My question is this;  Will our disappearance be as quick, or will those left behind visibly watch us depart?

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Eat My Flesh And Drink My Blood

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Q. I know that we are saved by the blood of Christ that was shed to pay the penalty for our sins. But what did Jesus mean in John 6:53 when he said if we eat His flesh and drink His blood we would have eternal life? I know we are saved by grace through faith. Was this intended for the Jews and not the Church?
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More On Hearing The Voice Of The Lord

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Q.  In your recent post “Hearing The Voice Of The Lord”, you referenced Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11-13, but Elijah was a prophet who heard regularly from God.  I am not sure that would apply to believers in general.  As far as you know, are there any instructions or similar examples for us in the New Testament about God speaking to a believer’s heart, other than to apostles, prophets, etc?  And if so, how would we know if an inner voice telling us something (like buy a new house, confront this person, look for a new job, etc) is actually coming from God, or merely us just having an idea and thinking about it?

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Don’t Eat The Forbidden Fruit!

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Q. I have a question, that has been on my mind for quite some time. Since God knows all, he knew Adam and Eve would not stay away from the tree of knowledge and that they would eat from it even though God told them not to. So why did he put the tree there in the first place? I don’t mean to be disrespectful toward God or even question what he does, because I believe he knows exactly what he is doing. I just wonder about things like this.

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Can’t Make It To Church?

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Q. Is it true that a committed Christian can go to hell if he or she does not attend Church every Sunday? When I say “committed Christian” I mean someone who has accepted Jesus as their personal lord and savior and who also refrains from sinning. I was wondering about this because I know a lot of committed Christians who don’t go to church because they lead very busy lives.

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The Harvest Of Rev. 14

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Q. In Revelation 14 it talks about reaping, but it appears to be two separate things. Verses 14 through 16 seem to be Jesus harvesting. Verses 17 through 20 are God’s wrath poured out. Is this first part (14-20) the rapture maybe, since the second part speaks of God’s wrath and I know we are not appointed unto wrath. What is your understanding of these scriptures and the difference of the man (Jesus?)on the cloud reaping the harvest versus the angel gather grapes to be crushed under the wrath of God? Thank you for your help.

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Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner?


“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime

9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.

The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?

There are many acts of extraordinary faith in the Bible. The one that has impressed me the most concerns the dying thief on the cross. We could take the approach that he had nothing to lose, so he decided to cast his lot with Jesus. But this makes absolutely no sense of the text and the context.
In this conversion we have a specific fulfillment of Christ’s first words on the cross. No sooner had Christ spoken the words, “Father, forgive them,” had the Father answered that prayer by turning a once-reviling criminal into a Christ-glorifying saint. While the soon-to-be converted criminal was not directly responsible for Christ’s death, he nevertheless joined with those who were and was thus indirectly addressed when Christ asked for God to forgive “them.”
Christ, the sinless one, was numbered with or counted among the transgressors (Isa. 53:12; Luke 22:37), all of whom have a bigger problem than the day-to-day sins they commit. They hate Christ, the God-man. Anyone who has a master other than the Lord Jesus hates him (Lk. 16:13; Gal. 4:8). That these two criminals loathed him is clearly manifested during the crucifixion: “And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way” (Matt. 27:44).
When the criminal who was converted was doing his worst against Christ, Christ was doing his best for this criminal.
The conversion of the one criminal was most extraordinary and testifies to the power of Christ’s prayer and the grace of God. Why?
This criminal’s faith did not come at a time such as when Christ turned water into wine; or performed miracles, such as walking on water, opening the eyes of a blind man, or raising Lazarus from the dead. No! The criminal believed on the Messiah while he was hanging as one cursed upon a tree. The criminal trusted in and boldly defended the one whose disciples had abandoned him. Jesus was at his lowest when this criminal asked to be remembered in Christ’s kingdom.
When he was on the cross, did anyone publicly cry out, as John the Baptist did, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn. 1:29)? But this is essentially what the dying thief did. Little wonder, then, that Christ should promise him a place in his kingdom: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43).
The criminal acknowledged he was guilty; he acknowledged that Christ was not (“this man has done nothing wrong”); he feared God; but, and here is the key: the criminal did not merely want to be in a better place. He wanted to be with Christ in a better place: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk. 23:42). The criminal believed “against all hope”.
Heaven is a better place because that is where Christ is. Everyone wants to go to heaven, but not everyone wants to go to Christ’s heaven. Not so with this criminal: he saw, with his eyes, Christ at his worst; but with the eyes of faith, he believed that Christ would soon be at his best, and so put his faith in a dying king.
Christ is always – always! – willing to save even the most miserable of sinners. A recognition of guilt (Lk. 23:40) and a confidence in him and not ourselves (Lk. 23:42) will always lead to the most assuring truth a sinner can receive: the Savior welcomes such into his paradise!
“One is saved, and we may not despair; the other is lost, and we may not presume.” Spurgeon
Source


Remember the thief.

It can be a difficult situation if someone you are witnessing to asks about the fate of a loved one who died and was not a Christian. Simply say, “Only God knows the eternal destiny of the person, and the Scriptures assure us that He will do what is right. So we can take consolation from that.” Some may be tempted to say that the loved one went to hell, but the truth is that we don’t know what happened minutes before their death. Remember the thief on the cross.


Our Time is Short

Read: Recommitting Your Life To God and Jesus Christ – Restoration and Forgiveness With God and Jesus Christ (Updated Version)


Ready to start your new life with God?

Who do you think that I am?

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more


Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!

30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.

New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.

Jesus Booklet
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.

About Christianity
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed


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(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist). “A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

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