December 19-20, 2015 Christian Briefing Report


'Star Wars' can launch spiritual talks, 'Bible Answer Man' urges

‘Star Wars’ can launch spiritual talks, ‘Bible Answer Man’ urges

Posted on December 19, 2015 by Christian Examiner

Christian radio host and author Hank Hanegraaff says discerning Christians who enjoy the Star Wars movies can use the newest film as a way to discuss spiritual matters with their friends.

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Religious Colleges in 20 States Granted Transgender Student Waivers Based on Title IX

Religious Colleges in 20 States Granted Transgender Student Waivers Based on Title IX

Posted on December 19, 2015 by Gospel Herald

Nearly three dozen religious colleges and universities in 20 states received federal waivers that allow those institutions to not accommodate transgender students in admissions, housing and campus life, according to a report LGBT rights group obtained by Associated Press.

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Kentucky School Scrubs Charlie Brown Christmas of Christianity

Kentucky School Scrubs Charlie Brown Christmas of Christianity

Posted on December 18, 2015 by Tru News

Thursday’s theatrical performance of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” at W.R. Castle Elementary School scrubbed the biblical verses from the play.

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Minnesota School Holiday Concert Includes Chants Of ‘Allahu Akbar’

Minnesota School Holiday Concert Includes Chants Of ‘Allahu Akbar’

Posted on December 18, 2015 by Tru News

Parents at a Minnesota school are upset with decision to have students sing a Ramadan song that includes the words ‘Allahu akbar’ during a holiday concert.

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Exclusive Interview: Kirk Cameron Opens Up About Faith, Family, and How Christians Can Keep 'Christ' In 'Christmas'

Exclusive Interview: Kirk Cameron Opens Up About Faith, Family, and How Christians Can Keep ‘Christ’ In ‘Christmas’

Posted on December 18, 2015 by Gospel Herald

In an exclusive interview with the Gospel Herald, Kirk Cameron opens up about family, faith, and how Christians can best keep “Christ” in “Christmas”.

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52-Year-Old ‘Transgender’ Man Leaves Wife, Seven Children to Live as Six-Year-Old Girl   Dec 14, 2015 08:17 am

Paul Wolschtt-compressedTORONTO – A 52-year-old Canadian father who left his wife and seven children to live as a six-year-old girl now spends his time wearing children’s dresses and playing with the youngest grandchildren of his adopted parents. Paul Wolschtt is a Toronto man who believes he is female. Six years ago, when he was 46 years old, he decided to leave his wife and seven…

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‘I Didn’t Look and I Didn’t Care’: Satanic Temple Leader Blogs Her Thanksgiving Day Abortion   Dec 16, 2015 08:08 am

Satanic Temple Twitter-compressedPhoto Credit: Twitter DETROIT, Mich. — The leader of the Detroit chapter of the Satanic Temple recently blogged about her medical abortion, which she carried out on Thanksgiving Day. “I had a Thanksgiving abortion,” wrote Jex Blackmore on her blog “UnMother.” “This was good because I don’t care much for the holiday and was provided ample time off from life…

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Wheaton College Professor Comes Out Wearing Hijab, Quotes ‘Pope Francis’: ‘We All Worship Same God’   Dec 14, 2015 09:59 am

Hawkins-compressed (1)Photo Credit: Facebook WHEATON, Ill. — A professor at a prominent Christian university in Illinois posted photos of herself wearing an Islamic hijab this past week, stating that she was doing so to show solidarity with Muslims. Larycia Hawkins is an associate political science director at Wheaton College, one of the most renown Christian schools in the world….

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North Korea Sentences Canadian Pastor to Hard Labor for Life   Dec 16, 2015 07:55 am

Lim-compressed(Reuters) — North Korea’s highest court has sentenced a South Korea-born Canadian pastor to hard labor for life for subversion, the North’s official KCNA news agency reported on Wednesday. Hyeon Soo Lim, the head pastor at a Toronto church that is one of Canada’s largest, has been held by North Korea since February. He had appeared on North Korean state media…

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Muslim Woman Sworn in as New York Judge While Taking Oath on Koran   Dec 15, 2015 08:34 am

Diallo-compressedNEW YORK — A Muslim woman was recently sworn in as a judge in New York City, choosing to take her oath on the Koran instead of the Bible. After being elected to the position last month, Carolyn Walker-Diallo was sworn in last Thursday as a civil judge for the 7th Municipal District at Brooklyn Borough Hall. She wore a hijab as she repeated her oath with one…

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Ohio AG: Aborted Babies from Planned Parenthood ‘Steam-Cooked,’ Burned and Thrown Into Garbage Dump   Dec 12, 2015 01:11 pm

Stericycle DenverCOLUMBUS, Ohio — Aborted babies from three Planned Parenthood locations in Ohio were either “steam-cooked” or incinerated and then sent to landfills, the pro-life state attorney general announced on Friday. “Disposing of aborted fetuses from an abortion by sending them to a landfill is callous and completely inhumane,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine…

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Wheaton College Suspends Hijab-Wearing Professor Who Declared ‘We All Worship Same God’   Dec 16, 2015 08:09 am

Hawkins-compressed (1)WHEATON, Ill. — A prominent Christian-identified university in Illinois has suspended an associate political science director after she posted photos of herself wearing an Islamic hijab this past week, stating that she was doing so to show solidarity with Muslims. “Wheaton College faculty and staff make a commitment to accept and model our institution’s…

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Wheaton Students Demand Reinstatement of Hijab-Wearing Professor Who Declared ‘We All Worship Same God’   Dec 18, 2015 08:28 am

Hawkins ProtestWHEATON, Ill. — A number of students from a prominent Christian-identified university are demanding that school officials reinstate an associate political science director who posted photos of herself wearing an Islamic hijab, stating that she was doing so to show solidarity with Muslims. As previously reported, Larycia Hawkins posted to Facebook two photos of…

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‘About Jesus’? Hillsong ‘Sells Out’ Advertised Xmas Services With Dancing Elves, Santa, Mini-Skirt Flappers   Dec 18, 2015 11:40 am

Hillsong Carols-compressedPhoto Credit: Twitter LONDON — Hillsong London’s two advertised Xmas services that are said to be all “about Jesus,” but feature clips of Santa Claus, dancing elves, mini-skirt-wearing flappers and other concerning aspects, have both sold out. “#HillsongCarols is now at capacity for both services at 3pm & 7:30pm,” the congregation posted on Dec. 9. “There…

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Judge Rules Lawsuit Filed by Chief Fired Over Book Calling Homosexuality ‘Perversion’ May Proceed   Dec 18, 2015 08:27 am

CochranATLANTA — A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit filed by a Georgia fire chief who was fired earlier this year over a self-published book that included a paragraph citing homosexuality among other sexual behaviors that are a perversion of God’s design may move forward. As previously reported, Chief Kelvin Cochran was fired last year after being suspended for…

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The Messianic Impulse – Hal Lindsey

By Hal Lindsey

Human beings are always searching for a messiah. They have an inner sense that someone’s coming, someone who will change everything. They’re looking for a person who will transcend politics, entertainment, or whatever made him or her famous, and become the thing that fills the void deep in every human soul.

In politics, the tendency crosses party lines. Eight years ago, some Democrats saw Barrack Obama in a messianic light. In the “American Prospect,” Ezra Klein wrote, “He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair. The other great leaders I’ve heard guide us towards a better politics, but Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our highest selves, to the place where America exists as a glittering ideal, and where we, its honored inhabitants, seem capable of achieving it, and thus of sharing in its meaning and transcendence.”

That was Obama the candidate. No one talks about Obama the President in quite the same terms.

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The Daily Discovery (December 19-20, 2015)

(Click title to go to full article)

[Fire Away! Podcast] Episode 050 – Judge Not>: A Chat w/ Todd Friel – “On today’s show Landon and Nate interview the host of Wretched Radio and TV, Todd Friel, about his new book Judge NotHow a Lack of Discernment Led to Drunken Pastors, Peanut Butter Armpits, & The Fall of a Nation.”

7 Ways to Become a Better Sermon Listener – “How to listen to a sermon? you may think. What a silly subject. After all, it would be pointless to write on ‘how to watch TV.’ And listening to a sermon is even easier than watching TV, since I don’t have to deal with the remote control. It’s a passive activity, something preached to me, not something I actively do.”

5 Errors to Drop From Your Christmas Sermon – “This might seem obvious but bears repeating because it happens so often. The massive annual proliferation of Christmas cards, nativity scenes, and TV specials perpetuates these added details and gives the impression that they are facts.”

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? – “A statement made by a professor at a leading evangelical college has become a flashpoint in a controversy that really matters. In explaining why she intended to wear a traditional Muslim hijab over the holiday season in order to symbolize solidarity with her Muslim neighbors, the professor asserted that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Is this true?”

Did the Human Brain Evolve the Ability to Evolve? – “Chimpanzees, living in the 2037 world imagined by science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, have been reclassified as Homo and granted full rights as persons. An evolutionary worldview—the belief that humans and chimps are close cousins evolved from a common ancestor—is the basis of this fiction. Yet even in that fictional future, as now, chimps and humans differ radically in behavior and intelligence. If chimps and humans share a common ancestor, how did humans get their bigger, better brains? Enquiring evolutionary minds want to know!”


Paul Washer – “Come To Me” Isaiah 55


Voddie Baucham on CNN

Subtle as a Gun.

“All death can do to the believer is deliver him to Jesus.  It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior.” – John MacArthur

The post The Daily Discovery (December 19-20, 2015) appeared first on Entreating Favor.

This ‘n’ That

  • Ah, Wheaton College, thanks for demonstrating that you are absolutely undeserving of being called a Christian university.
  • I can’t…I don’t…forget it, I have no words.
  • Hey, good news for all you hipster, not-even-close-to-being-Reformed-even-though-you-like-to-say-you-are-“Christians”! Mark Driscoll is starting a new church! Break out the Mickey Mouse T-shirts!
  • A “daily conversation with the Virgin Mary,” huh? That sounds…creepy.
  • Don’t forget to tune into Grace Community Church’s Christmas concert this weekend!
  • Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
  • And His name shall be called.
  • Son of the Most High.
  • At the risk of dating myself, I grew up in the days of the Claymation Christmas special. For the record, claymation creeps me out. A lot. But I do like this clip of the Carol of the Bells.
  • WWJD?” must still be a thing.
  • Aside from making me a bit twitchy with his use of the phrase “you’ve got,” this article written last year by Tim Challies is a good reminder that we must be careful what we share online.

How Christmas solves the prophetic puzzle:

 Weekend A La Carte (December 19)

Daily Christian News Information Kindle DealsAgain, Kindle deals are a bit sparse today, but here’s what I tracked down: The Power of Suffering by John MacArthur ($2.99); Manhood Restored by Eric Mason ($2.99); A Theology for the Church edited by Daniel Akin ($2.99) (this is usually $30); HCSB Study Bible ($2.99).

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

Al Moher: “Hard times come with hard questions, and our cultural context exerts enormous pressure on Christians to affirm common ground at the expense of theological differences. But the cost of getting this question wrong is the loss of the Gospel.”

Must Christians Believe in the Virgin Birth?

Also from Dr. Mohler is an answer to this all-important question.

Teen Mania: Why We’re Shutting Down

Teen Mania is shutting down. Here’s the story.

The Changing Face of Bible Translation

With new technology comes new advances in Bible translation.

Why Every Kid in America Learns to Play the Recorder

And in Canada too. There are some great examples in there of people playing it right.

Tomorrow in 1899. 116 years ago tomorrow, preacher and evangelist D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was born. *

Think on These Things

We’ve released another Visual Theology infographic, this one on a favorite Scripture passage.

Stop Sending Missionaries

Quite right: “To be sure, the workers are few, and the harvest is great. But that does not mean that more workers are necessarily better.”

Mommie Dearest

With the Vatican announcing they are proceeding with making Mother Teresa a saint, it’s good to go back and read what Christopher Hitchens wrote about her.

The Perfect Christmas Gift For Your Pastor

Thanks to Books at a Glance for sponsoring the blog this week!

Links I like (weekend edition)

News: Orthodox Rabbis Say Christianity is God’s Plan, Vatican Says Stop Evangelizing Jews

Well, this is interesting:

In separating Jews and Christians, God was not separating enemies but partners with significant theological differences, the rabbis wrote. “Both Jews and Christians have a common covenantal mission to perfect the world under the sovereignty of the Almighty, so that all humanity will call on His name and abominations will be removed from the earth.”

A week later, the Vatican honored the Nostra Aetete anniversary by releasing its own statement, this time saying that Catholics should not evangelize Jews—at least in an organized way.

7 Ways to Become a Better Sermon Listener

Christopher Ash:

The authority of the preacher doesn’t come from his office (pastor, minister, or whatever) or his powerful personality. It is entirely a delegated authority. When he says what Scripture says, he speaks with authority; when he does not, he has no authority. A friend once said to me that when his pastor preached, he would have his Bible open and ask, “Where did he get that from?” It’s a good question. If I can see he got it from the passage, I should bow and repent and believe; if not, I shouldn’t.

What’s Wrong with Wheaton?

Dan Darling:

If Christ is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), if God has “in these days spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:12) and if “no one who denies the Son has the father,” then faithful Christians can’t conflate the Muslim conception of the divine with the Triune God of the Bible. Faithful Muslims not only reject the idea of the Trinity and the divinity of Christ, they are abhorred by it. To conflate the two religions is disrespectful to both Islam and to Christianity, says Thabiti Anyabwile, a former Muslim and author of The Gospel for Muslims. So while Islam and Christianity share some mutual characteristics, such as monotheism, at the most basic level, it is incorrect to say we “worship the same God.” As Trevin Wax says, “God is not God apart from Jesus.”

50 famous quotations (and what was really said)

This is interesting.

Are SBC Churches Unknowingly Funding a Cult?

This is a good discussion on the SBC This Week podcast to listen in on, regardless of denominational affiliation.

Did Jesus Even Exist?

Michael Kruger:

Well, its that time of year.  Christmas is almost a week away and we are already seeing various media channels releasing stories, articles, and documentaries on Jesus.  And when the dust settles, they all make the same point: the real Jesus is a lot different than you think.… This Christmas it is happening again with an article by Valerie Tarico, “Here are Five Reasons to Suspect Jesus Never Existed.”  But she takes things even further than most other Christmas articles on Jesus.  Rather than suggesting Jesus is different than we think, she is arguing that Jesus never existed at all.

Jesus And Allah: Do Christians And Muslims Worship The Same God?

Not only does Islam deny the deity of Christ and reduce him to an inferior precursor of Mohammad, it denies that he died on the cross—Muslims hold either the swoon theory or assert the Simon the Cyrene was crucified in Jesus’ place. Therefore, they deny the resurrection. In other words, as we consider the basic articles of the holy catholic (universal) faith as summarized in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (381) and the Apostles’ Creed, Islam rejects the core message of the Christian faith.

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Star Wars and the Ancient Religion

I believe there are good reasons for viewing this film. We can certainly respect its artistic and entertainment value. Galactic battle scenes and human drama are entertaining. But also, by seeing this movie, Christians can sharpen their understanding of both contemporary culture and their appreciation of the Christian faith, allowing them to see in antithetical clarity both the Christian message and the message of Star Wars in order to present the gospel in a fresh way for our time.

From Berean Research:

YodaPeter Jones of Truthxcange examines the pagan worldview entrenched in Star Wars. George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars saga, wanted to “produce a children’s fairy tale set in outer space as a ‘teaching tool’ for the re-creation of ‘the classic cosmic mysteries,’” says Jones. Lucas succeeded, big time. There’s no denying that his New Age worldview, which is decidedly pagan, has been embraced by many fans of the hit series. As a result of the film makers’ brilliant marketing strategy, most people in America have heard of Yoda, Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’d have to be living on another planet far, far away not to have heard the phrase “may the Force be with you!” Try as they might, parents know that it is almost impossible to shield their kids from the Star Wars marketing machine.

So with all this in mind, how should those with a Christian worldview handle Star Wars? Dr. Jones offers some excellent advice.

Star Wars and the Ancient Religion

Are We Missing Something About Christmas?

On Christmas, most of us will gather with family or friends, exchange presents, watch kids tear through wrapped boxes in record time, and eat way too much food. Others will be faced with loneliness, health or financial issues, a broken family, and some will consider suicide. But it’s “the most wonderful time of the year,” […]

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Can Hobby Lobby Buy the Bible? Article in the Atlantic

In just the past six years, the evangelical owners of Hobby Lobby have amassed one of the world’s largest private collections of biblical antiquities. Why?

In the January/February issue of The Atlantic is a provocative piece by Joel Baden and Candida Moss entitled, “Can Hobby Lobby Buy the Bible?” Without further comment, here’s the link:

Rick Warren And The Purpose Driven Plan To Destroy The Church Of Jesus Christ

In the past ten years a large percentage of churches in America, and in other countries have changed from a traditional New Testament church model to a contemporary Purpose Driven model, many with sorrowful results

“To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,” Ephesians 3:10 (KJV)

Contrary to Purpose Driven Church propaganda, millions have been leaving their churches after the change occurred. It is important that every church member know if their church is targeted for a Purpose Driven Church takeover. Initially, a small clique of church staff, possibly including the pastor or a new pastor, plans the change without telling the rest of the church membership.

Church Transitions, an associate of Saddleback Church in California, trains the clique initiating the change in eight published steps. The church membership is not to be informed of the transition until the fourth step. After the sixth step in the process of change, if there are some in the church who voice concerns, the following is suggested:

  1. Identify those who are resisting the changes;
  2. Assess the effectiveness of their opposition;
  3. Befriend those who are undecided about the changes;
  4. Marginalize more persistent resisters;
  5. Vilify those who stay and fight; and
  6. Establish new rules that will silence all resistance.

This means the church membership is not told until it is too late to make a difference. In other words, the church is stolen. Then the members either accept the changes, or leave the church, which they may have served and given to build. Dr. Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Church” and “The Purpose Driven Life” has boasted: “When you reveal the vision to the church, the old pillars are going to leave. But let them leave… they only hold things up.”

The Purpose Driven Deception – Exposing Rick Warren’s New World Order Agenda

Rick Warren is right in one way. It is the senior members of the church who do indeed hold a church up and keep it from falling into apostasy. While some PDC initiators may not implement the full PDC format, generally, these are the signs that your church is targeted for a Purpose Driven Church format:

  • Change in music to a contemporary rock style.
  • Removal of hymn books; eliminating the choir.
  • Replacement of organ and piano with heavy metal instruments.
  • Repetitive singing of praise lyrics.
  • Dressing down to casual and informal attire.
  • Eliminating of business meetings, church committees, council of elders, board of deacons, etc.
  • The pastor, or a new leader with a few assistants, usually four, takes charge of all church business.
  • A repetitive 40-day Purpose Driven Church study program stressing psychological relationships with each other, the community, or the world, begins.
  • Funded budgeted programs are abandoned, or ignored, with ambiguous financial reports made.
  • Sunday morning, evening, and/or Wednesday prayer meetings are changed to other times; some may even be eliminated.
  • Sunday School teachers are moved to different classes, or replaced by new teachers more sympathetic with the changes being implemented.
  • The name “Sunday School” is dropped and classes are given new names.
  • Crosses and other traditional Christian symbols may be moved from both the inside and outside of the church buildings. The pulpit may also be removed.
  • In accordance with Dr. Warren’s instructions, new version Bibles are used; or only verses flashed on a screen are referenced during regular services.
  • Purpose Driven Church films, purchased from Saddleback, precede or are used during regular services.
  • The decor, including the carpets, may be changed to eliminate any resemblance to the former church.
  • The word “church” is often taken from the name of the church, and the church may be called a “campus”. Denominational names may also be removed.
  • An emphasis on more fun and party sessions for the youth.
  • Elimination of altar calls or salvation invitations at the close of the services.
  • The elimination of such words as “unsaved”, “lost”, “sin”, “Hell”, “Heaven” and other Gospel verities from the pastor’s messages.
  • The reclassification of the saved and lost to the “churched” and the “unchurched”.
  • The marginalizing, or ostracizing, of all who are not avid promoters of the new Purpose Driven Program.
  • Closed meetings between the pastor or chosen staff members without any reports made to the general membership.
  • Open hostility to members who do not openly embrace the new program, or who may have left for another church.

What you can do to stop it:

If your church is in the initial stages of change (music or the first 40-day program), your church could be saved by talking with other church members, and with activist intervention by 10-20 percent of the membership. If nothing is done at this early stage, then by the time the program advances to step four, there is little that can be done except look for another church. Your church has been stolen and become a Purpose Driven entity in association with Saddleback Church of Orange County or Willow Creek of Chicago.

You must educate yourself, and others, so that you can mobilize the membership to effectively resist. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7.

The Purpose Driven Church books and most of the programs are published by Rupert Murdoch, who owns 175 newspapers worldwide, and a large percentage of the television and communications industry. He also owns several magazines, some of which have been classified as pornographic.

Billions of dollars pour into the Purpose Driven Church movement. Dr. Warren has stated he intends to send one billion Christians into the world to bring in the “Kingdom of Heaven”. The entire movement appears cultish. Don’t be fooled by the Saddleback Website. You don’t catch many fish unless you have a look-alike bait!

Copied from printed pamphlet from: Southwest Radio Church Ministries, Box 100, Bethany, Oklahoma 73008, 1-800-652-1144, 25 for $10 – 100 for $20 For more-in-depth information: “The Dark Side of the Purpose Driven Church”, by N.W. Hutchings – 1 copy for your gift of $15.

Additional source – Perfect Peace Plan

Wheaton, Islam, Christianity and Truth

The ongoing saga of the hijab-wearing Wheaton College professor is not likely to go away anytime soon. Indeed, it seems to be escalating, with various sides becoming polarised on all this. The prof has now been suspended by the Christian liberal arts college for her remarks that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. For background on this, see my original write-up about this story:

Wheaton obviously felt the pressure from many concerned Christians and decided this could not go on, so a suspension was announced – not of course for wearing the hijab but for her theologically worrying remarks. That she could equate the god of the Koran with the God of the Bible has many people quite shocked.

Simply put, Islam absolutely rejects the notion that Jesus is the Son of God whereas this is the very heart of biblical Christianity. If the claims of the New Testament are true, then the Koran cannot be. But I have looked at this issue in more detail in earlier articles. See these two especially:

And it is not just the denial of who Jesus is that is so problematic; the very character of God as found in the Bible bears little resemblance to the Koranic deity. As I concluded my first article mentioned above:

In sum, the Muslim must cower in fear before an inscrutable, harsh and remote deity. In Christianity, the believer is invited to run into the outstretched arms, and nail-pierced hands, of a loving saviour. The two could not be more different. So no, Allah is not the God of the Bible, and yes, it does matter how we describe and understand God.

Professor Hawkins appealed to Pope Francis in her original remarks, saying he was quite happy with the claim that we all worship the same God. Well I am certainly not happy with that claim. Sadly others have defended the pope – not unexpectedly, other Catholics.

One Protestant prolifer who I have long admired for his stance for life converted to Catholicism some years ago, and he too is now supporting the Pope on this. I refer to Francis Beckwith, who I often quote on the life issues. But as a Catholic, he is now bound to agree with the Pope, at least on things spoken ex cathedra.

As a Protestant I of course am not bound to any man, but to the Word of God. And in this case, the Bible – and the Koran – should both be more than sufficient to dispel this unhelpful and even dangerous idea that we worship the same God.

I could take some here time critiquing Beckwith, but others have already jumped into the debate, so let me simply utilise their remarks. Al Mohler had a very good piece on all this, so let me cite some of his recent remarks:

In making her claim that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, the professor claimed the authority of Pope Francis, and since Vatican II the Roman Catholic Church has become ever more explicit in its teaching that salvation can come without a conscious and explicit faith in Christ. This is simply not an option for evangelical Christians committed to the authority of Scripture alone and to the Gospel as defined in the New Testament.
Francis J. Beckwith, a leading Catholic apologist and philosopher, defended the claim that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. At one point, Beckwith argued that two people could have differing knowledge of Thomas Jefferson while knowing the same Thomas Jefferson as the third President of the United States. He continued: “In the same way, Abraham and Moses did not believe that God is a Trinity, but St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Billy Graham do. Does that mean that Augustine, Aquinas, and Graham do not worship the same God as Abraham and Moses? Again, of course not.”
But this line of argument evades the entire structure of promise and fulfillment that links the Old Testament and the New Testament. Abraham and Moses could not have defined the doctrine of the Trinity while they were on earth, but they believed that God would be faithful to all of his promises, and those promises were fulfilled only and fulfilled perfectly in Christ. And, going back to John 8:56-58, Jesus said: “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad … Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
Evangelical Christians understand that, theologically, there is a genetic link between Judaism and Christianity. That is why Christians must always be humbled by the fact that we have been grafted onto the promises first made to Israel. In terms of both history and theology, there is no genetic link between Christianity and Islam. The Qur’an claims that to confess Jesus Christ as the divine Son and the second person of the Trinity is to commit blasphemy against Allah.
Hard times come with hard questions, and our cultural context exerts enormous pressure on Christians to affirm common ground at the expense of theological differences. But the cost of getting this question wrong is the loss of the Gospel. Christians affirm the image of God in every single human being and we must obey Christ as we love all people everywhere as our neighbor. Love of neighbor also demands that we tell our neighbor the truth concerning Christ as the only way to truly know the Father.
We must also understand that the most basic issue is the one Jesus answered with absolute clarity. One cannot deny the Son and truly worship the Father. There is no question that the Muslim is our neighbor, but there is no way to remain faithful to Scripture and the gospel and then claim that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

wheaton 2Yes quite right. The authority of Scripture is at stake here, but more importantly, the very heart of the Christian Gospel. Truth matters, and in the interests of just getting along with people of other faith traditions, we dare not abandon truth for a mushy and harmful ecumenicism.

And if the Wheaton professor is well off track here, sadly too are some rather clueless students at this institution. A photo of some Wheaton students protesting her suspension tells us all we need to know about how dumbed down some Christian students can be.

One held a banner demanding “academic freedom”. Um, earth calling student: yes, academic freedom, properly understood, is important. And the truth claims of Islam or any other non-Christian religion or philosophy would of course be carefully covered at a place like Wheaton.

But that is not the point here of course. The point is a prof who teaches at Wheaton saying things which are simply not true biblically speaking, and which go against the very core beleifs of the institution itself. Indeed, Wheaton had to put out a press release saying this very thing:

Another poster really took the cake however: “Articulate love not hate”. Oh puh-leeese! This is the sort of mindless moonbattery we expect angry atheists to produce at a wild demo at say UCLA-Berkeley, or some such hotspot of radicalism. But at a Christian college?

No it is not hate to stand for biblical orthodoxy. No it is not unloving to affirm, even at great cost, the central tenets of Christian faith. No it is not unchristian to stand up for the very centre of New Testament truth. But it is unloving to allow falsehoods to go unchallenged, to allow cluelessness about Islam to go unchecked.

Ignorance of what Islam is really all about harms us all, just as ignorance of what Christianity is all about harms all believers. We must know what our faith teaches, and we must know what Islam teaches. And the two certainly are not compatible.

Indeed, on a related front, this was just sent to me: “The former Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday (17 November) criticised sections of the media for ‘dehumanising’ Islamic State. Instead, journalists should ‘attempt to understand our enemies’, Dr Rowan Williams, now Master of Magdalene College Cambridge, said, giving the 2015 Orwell Lecture at University College London last night.”

Um, here we go again, another clueless Christian leader displaying an appalling ignorance of what Islam is about. He might as well have said last century that we should be more understanding of Hitler, and should stop ‘dehumanising’ the Nazis. This sort of cluelessness only helps those who want to kill us.

The Wheaton prof may have good intentions to ‘show solidarity’ with Muslims. But doing this by mangling Christian truth and undermining basic biblical teaching is not the way to proceed. That in fact makes everything much worse. I hope that Wheaton will stand strong and resist the rather thoughtless critics.

Truth matters, and the gospel matters. We dare not short-change either one.

W4YW: Get More Sleep, Encouraging Others, & the Male/Female Brain

Wisdom For Your Weekend: your weekly installment of things we’ve been reading (and watching) around the web.

Articles of the Week

“The View” Shows Us 3 Ways to Approach Religion, Trevin Wax. We can only assume that Wax had his ear to the ground on this one because he’s an avid watcher of ABC’s (Emmy Award winning) talk show. But Wax is right: this little interaction serves as a good snapshot of the various ways we can approach religion. And all of it prompted by an interestingly evangelistic atheist billboard.

I Read the Bible and Feel Nothing. What Should I Do? John Piper. We’ve all been there: we open up our Bible, dutifully read what should be enriching, encouraging, and exciting…and are left cold. So what do we do when Bible reading becomes stale? Piper has wise words for those moments when the Greatest Story Ever Told becomes just another story.

Three Ways to Encourage People in a World of Negativity, Chris Martin. The world often seems like a negative place. Conflict garners headlines, so the news seems like one extended battle. Christmas is a time to be with family, but if we’re honest, that’s not always the most lovey-dovey place, either. And if you spend any significant time on social media, it’s easy to get sucked into a vortex of negativity (some might call it the captivity of negativity…not us…but some). So what’s a body to do? How can we cultivate a counter-cultural ethos of encouragement in the midst of negativity? Martin has three helpful tips.

There Is No Difference Between Male and Female Brains, Jessica Hamzelou. The interpretive applications of this study could go any number of directions. But this was simply too interesting not to share. We’re all used to hearing (and making) blanket statements about the way men’s and women’s minds work—usually by placing them on opposite ends of a spectrum. And while men and women are, in fact, quite distinct, the differences don’t arise from the gray stuff between our ears.

7 Ways to Love God by Getting More Sleep, Joe Carter. Chances are you already know that you should be getting more sleep than you are. You might even acknowledge that bad sleep habits are bad stewardship of what God has given you. So let’s move beyond the obvious and ask: what can we do about it? In certain seasons of life (say, with little tikes in the house), running on sleep-empty is unavoidable. But for all of us, there are some changes we can make to give our bodies the sleep they need. Carter’s list will have some new ones for you.

On The Lighter Side

Monkey Sees a Magic Trick. Watch. Laugh. Repeat.

Wisdom For Your Weekend is presented to you by Chris Pappalardo, with occasional guidance from J.D. Greear. This is our attempt to reflect Proverbs 9:9: “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”

Lay Aside the Weight of Slander

Lay Aside the Weight of SlanderGod hates slander (Proverbs 6:16, 19). It is evil. That’s why Paul lists it as a behavior of those who hate God (Romans 1:30) and why James calls it demonic behavior (James 3:15–16).

Slander occurs whenever someone says something untrue about someone else that results, intentionally or unintentionally, in damaging that someone else’s reputation. And when it occurs, it becomes a divisive, discouraging, and confusing weight that often affects numerous people — sometimes many, many people.

Because of its poisonous power, it is one of the adversary’s chief strategies to divide relationships and deter and derail the mission of the church. We must be on our guard against this closely clinging sin and frequently lay it aside (Hebrews 12:1).

The Subtlety of Slander

Sometimes saying something untrue and damaging about someone is bold and blunt. But often slander is insidiously subtle, especially since we have heard slander all our lives in almost every context and grown accustomed to it. This means we must heighten our sensitivity to it and lower our tolerance of it.

Slander can wear a hundred masks. I’ll mention a few common ones.

Sometimes we pass along slanderous information that seems almost like harmless hearsay, yet the effect it has on our listeners is to leave them with an unfairly negative perception of another. Sometimes we embellish with information or tone a negative report about someone in order to enhance our listener’s perception of ourselves.

Sometimes we have a very real concern about someone, but we share it with someone who cannot benefit from or help with the concern. We do this because we simply want our listeners to think worse of a particular person. Or if we share a concern with an appropriate person, we can sometimes indulge our speculations or presumptions, mixing them almost imperceptibly with facts for our listeners, distorting the concern in order to sway an outcome in a direction we desire.

The net effect of all forms of slander is to unjustly devalue another person’s reputation.

Slander Is Stealing

This devaluing is at the heart of what makes slander evil. The Bible tells us, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1). In this context, a good name represents a person’s character, which is the most valuable thing about their identity. A good name is who we are in the minds of others. And since relationships trade in the currency of trust, a reputation is a very precious asset.

So whenever we handle a person’s name — who they are in the minds of others — we are stewarding a treasure that belongs to them. If we damage a person’s reputation unjustly, we are stealing their good name; we are vandalizing their character. This causes very real, sometimes long-lasting damage to people, because restoring a devalued name is very difficult. Who knows what love, joy, counsel, comfort, and opportunities we take from people if we care for their name carelessly?

God knows. And he hates it. God hates when we speak evil of his name (Exodus 20:7) and when we speak evil of others (Titus 3:2). He will hold us accountable for every careless word we speak (Matthew 12:36). This is great incentive for us to “put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” (1 Peter 2:1).

Fight Slander First in Yourself

The foremost slanderer we must silence is the one inside us. Full of malignant pride, our sin natures are not interested in truth, but in self-glory. So they seek to manipulate others through slander (or flattery) for our own selfish benefit.

Sin (and therefore our demonic harassers) seizes on a concern for or an offense we’ve received from another and seeks to distort it into thinking evil of that person.

Thinking evil of another is assigning imagined or exaggerated negative qualities to them that don’t exist. Often this begins as private fantasies where we nurture our concerns or offense by imagining ourselves justified in our righteousness and others condemned in their evil. But in truth, all we’re doing is passing our own evil thoughts on to imaginations disguised as other people. That’s our sin nature’s slanderer talking. We are fools to listen to it.

And when our slander spills out from ourselves to others — and it will if we don’t catch it soon enough — it is both selfishly indulgent and cowardly.

Slander is indulgent because often what we really seek is the self-flattery buzz of our listener approving and admiring us more than the one we are slandering. We are robbing another’s reputation to get the drug of self-flattery.

Slander is cowardly because it’s a way of nurturing a concern or an offense and gaining sympathizers without doing the courageous work of bringing it directly to the source of our concern or offense. Our rationalizations for this can be countless, but essentially we don’t have the guts to deal with it head-on. This means our character is in serious question, since we are willing to vandalize another’s character to gain allies.

We must grow ruthless in ignoring and silencing our slandering sin natures.

Helping Each Other Fight Slander

When someone slanders another to us, we must remember that we are not mainly fighting flesh and blood, but spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12). Satan knows that slander deadens and splits churches, poisons friendships, and fractures families. He knows slander quenches the Holy Spirit, kills love, short-circuits spiritual renewal, undermines trust, and sucks the courage out of the saints. So our goal, particularly in the context of the church, is to help each other shed demonic weights and avoid satanic stumbling blocks.

So how do we do this? The best way is to become people who are not safe to slander around. We must ask each other questions like:

  • Have you shared your concern with this person directly? I’d be willing to go with you to talk to him.
  • Just to be clear, is this information I should know? Do you want me to help you pursue reconciliation?
  • Are you doing everything you possibly can to put away “all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander?” (Ephesians 4:31)
  • How can I help you guard this person’s reputation like a treasure? (Proverbs 22:1)

In other words, friends don’t let friends slander. Friends don’t let friends act like God-haters (Romans 1:30). The more we love people, the more we hate slander, because a slanderer hates his victims (Proverbs 26:28).

Let us remember that we are stewards of the treasure of each other’s good names. Let us resolve to avoid sharing information that is unnecessarily damaging to another person’s reputation and to repent to everyone affected if we do. Let us seek to silence the sin nature slanderer within and graciously give and receive others’ help when one of us slips, perhaps unaware, into slander. Let us do damage to Satan’s forces by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Let us lay aside the destructive sin-weight of slander.

A Word About Slander and Abusive Situations

There are times when it is necessary and not slanderous to discuss or share information that is damaging to a person’s reputation. Remember, slander is untrue damaging information. But sometimes a person’s real sins are of such a nature that they must become public for the sake of justice and individual safety. Here are just a few sample scenarios:

  • Reporting confirmed, documented sin and abuse to appropriate people in positions of authority who can do something about it.
  • Participating as an appropriate person in spiritual, and in some cases civil, authority in an investigation such as a report of someone’s sinful, perhaps abusive, behavior with the intent of either confronting that person or clearing their good name.
  • Discreetly, and without unnecessary details, informing others of another’s confirmed sinful or abusive behavior because, without this knowledge, someone might suffer real harm.
  • Seeking pastoral counsel regarding how to navigate a complex and ambiguous situation, doing everything you can do to guard the reputation of a person in question from unnecessary damage.

Jesus’s instructions in Matthew 18:15–17 must guide us in such difficult cases. And Jesus expects us to behave circumspectly in them, always seeking to preserve others’ reputations as much as possible, knowing that gossip and slander are always temptations crouching at our doors.

In an age of social media, that lacks the functional information-spreading restraints of past eras, let us be all the more slow to post (“slow to speak” — James 1:19) analysis, speculation, and commentary on information about another person or group, even if it has become public in our slander-saturated culture, that might eventually prove slanderous. All the serious biblical warnings about slander still apply, which should make us all, especially those of us with “platforms,” tremble.

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Our Time is Short

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

What is The Gospel?

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.

What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.

The Gospel on 5 Fingers

If you picked up a hitchhiker (not that I recommend doing that) and he saw a Bible on your car seat and said, “I’ve heard about this thing called the Gospel – can you explain it to me before you drop me off in one minute up the street?” What would you say?

Can you explain the gospel in 30 seconds? In one minute? In five minutes?

Here’s one way I have found helpful. The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:

1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension

Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:

1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.

2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.

3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.

4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).

5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.

That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.

That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.

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

Resource Links is a website inspired by, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.

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“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it…” – Martin Luther

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— Augustine

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