Monthly Archives: September 2016

September 30, 2016 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

img_0423


Sep. 30, 2016 |

BLOOMBERG

The two top Republicans in Congress said they’re prepared to rewrite legislation allowing victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia — less than 24 hours after Congress took the extraordinary step of overriding President Barack Obama’s veto of the measure to make it law. Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the measure could have unintended consequences — including the fact that it could leave U.S. soldiers open to retaliation by foreign governments.

The U.S. short-term financing markets and the $2.6 trillion money-fund industry are grappling with one of the most chaotic quarter-end stretches since the financial crisis. But this quarter, the movements are out of the ordinary, partly because of the looming Oct. 14 deadline for the overhaul of rules governing money funds. Treasury repo rates have reached the highest since 2008.

India said it attacked terrorist camps just across the border in Pakistan, the biggest military escalation since a standoff 17 years ago, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi retaliated for a deadly strike against Indian soldiers earlier this month.

Ferrari NV sold out a $2.1 million open-top version of its LaFerrari supercar before its public debut, underscoring the marque’s allure even as the former unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV widens its line-up with more affordable models.

Electric car sales stalled in the U.S. last year as gasoline prices fell 5.8 percent on average and demand for the motor fuel rose for the first time in six years.

Colombians vote Sunday on whether to accept a peace deal under which Marxist guerrillas hand over their weapons to the United Nations in return for seats in Congress, agricultural reform and reduced punishment for crimes. Polls indicate they will approve.

AP Top Stories

Shimon Peres was laid to rest on Friday in a ceremony attended by thousands of admirers and dozens of international dignitaries – in a final tribute to a man who personified the history of Israel during a remarkable seven-decade political career and who came to be seen by many as a visionary and symbol of hopes of Mideast peace.

A somber Ukraine on Thursday marked 75 years since the Nazis slaughtered 34,000 Jews on the outskirts of Kiev during one of the worst single massacres of the Holocaust.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey told a House of Representatives panel on Wednesday that the police tactic known as “stop and frisk” is an important tool when used right. Comey told the panel that police who search citizens without stating the reason should explain after the encounter why they decided to do so.

The United States warned Thursday that it is on the brink of ending talks with Russia over the assault on Aleppo, where the United Nations says a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding unlike any witnessed so far in Syria’s brutal five-year war.

An Egyptian court suspended a previous ruling freezing the controversial transfer of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, which had provoked protests when announced earlier this year.

The mayor of a small central Pennsylvania town is being asked to resign over racist posts on his Facebook page, including two depicting apes with captions referring to President Barack Obama and his family, and one referring to lynching.

The Obama administration finalized rules requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave to employees and expanding the type of data employers must provide on their pay practices. U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez told reporters in a phone call that the sick leave rule would directly affect more than 1.1 million workers. Effective Jan. 1, it will require companies working on federal contracts to provide up to seven days of earned leave.

Japan’s problem-plagued new passenger jet on Thursday completed a flight to the United States for testing, its maker said, after aborting two earlier attempts.

U.S. consumer spending unexpectedly fell in August for the first time in seven months while inflation showed signs of accelerating, mixed signals that could keep the Federal Reserve cautious about raising interest rates.

BBC

Italian police have recovered two Van Gogh paintings stolen during a dramatic raid on an Amsterdam museum in 2002.

Three Chinese fishermen have died in a fire after their boat was boarded by the South Korean coastguard. The men, who were suspected of illegal fishing, were caught in the blaze after the coastguard officers threw a “flashbang” or stun grenade into part of their boat where they were hiding. It is believed they died of smoke inhalation.

Four US states are challenging government plans to give control of core internet administration functions to the non-profit group Icann.

Australian sports stars are being urged not to stand for the national anthem during this weekend’s major rugby league and Aussie Rules finals, as a protest against racism.

Europe’s Rosetta probe has ended its mission to Comet 67P by crash-landing on to the icy object’s surface.

France has begun air operations over Iraq from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, reports said.

WND

Top women chess players are threatening to boycott the world championship in Iran because they will be forced to wear hijabs. Female Grandmasters will risk arrest if they do not cover up to compete in the strict Middle Eastern country due to host the knock-out tournament next year.

Iraqi media outlets reported on Wednesday that a malfunction caused an explosive belt to explode and killed 16 members of the Islamic State (ISIS), including senior leaders, during their meeting in Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk.


Top News – 9/30/2016

Jedi scientists freeze light in midair to bring quantum computers a step closer to reality
The researchers used a vaporized cloud of ultracold rubidium atoms to create a light trap, into which they shone infrared lasers. The light trap constantly emitted and re-captured the light.

…terrifying orgy trend where mystery HIV carriers are invited to take part in unprotected sex parties may be spreading across Europe
Psychiatrists and psychologists have branded the disturbing behaviour as a form of self harm or even suicide. In the bizarre vernacular of circles where this is enjoyed “bugchasers” are the negative individuals. “Gift-givers” are the HIV positive individuals who have unprotected sex with the aim of infecting the chasers. Behaviour at so called circuit parties can demonstrate a reckless attitude towards STI infection rather than an active desire to contract the illness.

California warns of possible stronger quake after earthquake swarm in Salton Sea
The California Office of Emergency Services has issued an earthquake advisory for Southern California following a swarm of small quakes in the region earlier this week. The advisory warned residents and officials in Ventura, San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles, Kern and Imperial counties that there was a greater possibility of a major earthquake through Oct. 4

Swiss Muslims claim burka is NOT required under Islamic law as they WELCOME proposed ban
PROMINENT Muslims in Switzerland have welcomed a proposed burka ban in the country and said the full-faced veil is NOT required under Islamic law.

Iceland’s Pirate Party poised for power on wave of public anger
Icelanders to vote in Oct. 29 parliamentary election; Pirate Party leads opinion polls, could form government, riding wave of public anger over perceived corruption; this would deal another blow to Europe mainstream politicians.

A Christian and a Muslim just produced a new version of the Quran — with a twist
A Christian and a Muslim have come together to produce a unique version of the Quran — a full-text English edition of the holy book, but with a twist. “The Qur’an With References to the Bible” relies upon 7th century classical Arabic and comes complete with parallel verses from the Christian Bible.

Pope embarks on peace mission to Caucasus
Pope Francis set off Friday for Georgia and Azerbaijan on what Vatican officials billed as a mission to promote peace in a troubled part of the world, three months after he visited neighboring Armenia.

Popocatépetl spews volcanic ash up to 7.3 km (24 000 feet) a.s.l., Mexico
Volcanic ash produced by the eruption of Mexico’s Popocatépetl volcano has reached 7.3 km (24 000 feet) above sea level at 14:37 UTC on September 29, 2016. According to the Washington VAAC, ash cloud is moving to the west and northwest of the summit.

Hurricane Matthew grows to Category Two in Caribbean
Hurricane Matthew strengthened to a Category Two storm early Friday as it churned through the Caribbean near the island of Curacao, US weather forecasters said. The hurricane was packing winds near 100 miles per hour (155 kilometers per hour) with higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center said. That makes it a Category Two storm on a scale of one to five, with five being the strongest.

Jewish leaders react to Rodrigo Duterte Holocaust remarks
Mr Duterte said he would kill as many addicts as Hitler did Jews in his crackdown on users and dealers. “Hitler massacred three million Jews… there’s three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he said.

Middle East, Europe Will Be Swallowed in War of Gog and Magog, Warns Mystic Rabbi
Rabbi Ben Artzi, an Israeli rabbi who gained followers after rumors began to circulate of his prescient abilities in his youth, warned of the impending messianic war of Gog and Magog, which he said is a part of a spiritual process becoming clearly visible in the Middle East.

Earthquakes Rattle Two Caribbean Nations Four Times In One Month
Four earthquakes have rattle two Caribbean countries twice this month, according to The Seismic Research Centre at the University of the West Indies. The UWI Seismic reports this month indicate that Dominica and Saint Kitts and Nevis have been rattled twice by earthquakes.

Facebook artificial intelligence chief developed SURVEILLANCE systems
Facebook’s artificial intelligence chief worked on the development of systems which could one day help computers automatically spy on humans, The Sun Online has learned. Yann LeCun, leader of Mark Zuckerberg’s AI research division, contributed to academic papers exploring the creation of software which would serve as a “key component” in an automated surveillance network.

France ‘conducts operations against IS’
France has begun air operations over Iraq from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, reports say. A number of Rafale fighter planes took off from the carrier early on Friday, news agency AFP said. The Charles de Gaulle, France’s only aircraft carrier, was sent to the region earlier in September.

US invests $50m in Niger drone base for counterterrorism
The US is investing at least $50m in a military air base in Niger that will be capable of deploying drones. The US already has a presence in the capital Niamey, where it shares an airbase with France’s anti-Islamist force, Operation Barkhane. MQ-9 Reaper drones are stationed there.

NUKE FACE-OFF Pakistan threatens to DESTROY India with nuclear bomb as atomic enemies edge to the brink of war
PAKISTAN’S Defence Minister has threatened to “destroy” India – after India said on Thursday it had carried out “surgical strikes” on suspected militants preparing to infiltrate from Pakistan-ruled Kashmir. The strikes, which were a response to shots fired across the de facto border through the disputed Himalayan territory, could lead to a military escalation between the two nuclear-armed neighbours – risking a ceasefire agreed in 2003.

Putin and Assad Are Outdoing ISIS at Mass Murder
The all-out assault on Aleppo by Russian and Assad regime aircraft, targeting as it does aid convoys, hospitals, homes, market places, and mosques, seems to have mildly surprised and deeply upset senior American officials.

Risk of Zika-Related Birth Defects ‘Very Disturbing,’ Official Says
The risk posed by the Zika virus to developing fetuses is likely far greater than current estimates suggest, a top U.S. health official said Thursday. Microcephaly, a rare birth defect in which babies develop abnormally small heads, is one of many Zika-associated problems increasingly being seen in children born to mothers infected during pregnancy with the Zika virus.

Christians Shouldn’t Be Pacifists, Christian National Security Experts Claim; Unveil New Foreign Policy Declaration
Dozens of Christian scholars and theologians have signed a joint declaration on American foreign policy in a scholarly journal that outlines a thoughtful, distinctly Christian vision for engaging world affairs.

A Conspiracy Theory About Conspiracy Theories
One of the funny things about conspiracy theories, including false flag attacks, is how often they are proven to be true. You have to wonder how long the shame-inducing slam, “That’s a conspiracy theory,” will keep working.

The Run Begins: Deutsche Bank Hedge Fund Clients Withdraw Excess Cash
Deutsche Bank concerns just went to ’11’ as Bloomberg reports a number of funds that clear derivatives trades with Deutsche Bank AG have withdrawn some excess cash and positions held at the lender, a sign of counterparties’ mounting concerns about doing business with Europe’s largest investment bank.


The Briefing 09-30-16

Checks and Balances: Congress overrides Pres. Obama’s veto for the first time in his presidency

Electoral accountability: Elected state judges less supportive of LGBT rights than appointed ones

Today marks 40th anniversary of the Hyde amendment, which protects taxpayers from paying for abortions

New Ligonier and LifeWay study shows widespread theological confusion in America, even in our churches

The post The Briefing 09-30-16 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


 Frontrunning: September 30

  • Asia stocks slide as Deutsche sours mood, oil pulls back (Read More)
  • Deutsche Bank Drops to Record as Some Clients Reduce Exposure (Read More)
  • Deutsche CEO tries to reassure staff as shares plunge (Read More)
  • Oil falls as investors cash in on OPEC deal rally, dollar rises (Read More)
  • Three Chinese fishermen killed in confrontation with South Korea coastguard (Read More)
  • Och-Ziff Plea Stalls Rise of Hedge-Fund Billionaire’s Protege (Read More)
  • Qualcomm in Talks to Acquire NXP Semiconductors (Read More)
  • Syrian army, rebels wage fierce battles in Aleppo (Read More)
  • Euro-Area Inflation Accelerates to Fastest Rate Since 2014 (Read More)
  • Pakistan ‘completely rejects’ Indian claim of cross-border strikes (Read More)
  • Clinton says Trump may have violated U.S. law on Cuba (Read More)
  • Promontory Financial Group Signs Up With IBM (Read More)
  • Refiners Stung by OPEC Output Deal Face a Bigger Problem (Read More)
  • Global funds add to Japan, euro zone bonds, see no further sell offs (Read More)
  • Bulgaria bans full-face veils in public places (Read More)
  • Congress’s Retreat on 9/11 Saudi Bill Shows Fear of Backlash (Read More)
  • Samsung slammed by Chinese state TV over Note 7 recall ‘discrimination’ (Read More)
  • In OPEC Hotel, Dealmaker’s Gambit Wins Saudi-Iran Agreement (Read More)
  • Turkey pulls plug on 20 radio, TV channels in post-coup emergency decree (Read More)

September 29, 2016
CLIFF KINCAID — Of all the groups that Barack Obama bamboozled in 2008 and 2012, Catholics were the biggest suckers. They voted for Obama and now, according to the polls, they are backing Hillary. But evidence suggests that some people in the Catholic media are waking up. They are promising not to get fooled again. They could influence millions of Catholics to abandon the Democratic Party in this critical election year…. (more)

September 29, 2016

NEW YORK TIMES — Congress on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to override a veto by President Obama for the first time, passing into law a bill that would allow the families of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for any role in the plot…. (more)


September 29, 2016
YOUNG CONSERVATIVES — Today, Congress overrode President Obama’s veto of a bill that would allow families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for their alleged connection to 9/11. Definitely an embarrassing moment for Obama…. (more)

September 29, 2016

WASHINGTON TIMES — Congress headed off a shutdown showdown Wednesday, approving a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open through early December, after breaking an impasse over assistance for Michigan residents suffering lead-laced water…. (more)


September 29, 2016
BREITBART — For the third consecutive week, ratings for the National Football League (NFL) have plummeted, as players continue anti-American protests during the playing of the national anthem. This week’s drop-off also coincided with the Monday broadcast of the first presidential debate between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton…. (more)

September 28, 2016
NEWSMAX — Newsweek plans to release a story Thursday morning that Donald Trump did business illegally with Fidel Castro’s Cuba even while calling on the embargo on U.S. trade with the island nation to continue as he sought the Reform Party’s 2000 presidential nomination, MSNBC reports…. (more)

September 28, 2016
WASHINGTON TIMES — America was fixated by the presidential debate. Nielsen numbers released Tuesday revealed a record-breaking 84 million viewers tuned in to see nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face each other on stage for the first time on Monday night. Though the audience did not reach a predicted 100 million – – “Super Bowl status,” according to analysts – – the audience is huge compared to the first 2012 debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, which drew 67.2 million viewers…. (more)

September 28, 2016
WASHINGTON TIMES — The rest of the world saw pretty much the presidential debate American pundits did, with many foreign critics saying Republican Donald Trump proved less than ready for prime time but faulting Democrat Hillary Clinton for failing to put away her less experienced foe…. (more)

September 28, 2016
JOHN FUND — At the end of President Obama’s final State of the Union address, Donald Trump took to Twitter to offer what he viewed as a devastating insult: “Really boring, slow, lethargic – – very hard to watch!” The problem for Trump is that those words could be used to describe his debate performance last night. Yes, there were Trumpian moments where he effectively channeled voter frustration about trade and the loss of manufacturing jobs…. (more)

September 28, 2016
NATIONAL REVIEW — Donald Trump could learn a lesson from Pope Francis. The current pope, unlike his predecessor, has the gift of gab. But he has discovered, in his new role, that there is such a thing as talking too much. The secular media’s knowledge of the Catholic Church being what it is (read: nonexistent), the pope’s offhand comments are regularly interpreted as enunciations of doctrine…. (more)

September 28, 2016
TIMOTHY P. CARNEY — “But, judges!” This is just about the only argument conservatives can make these days when trying to convince other conservatives to vote for a pro-choice, thrice-married, serial-philandering, Clinton-donating, factually challenged, eminent-domain abusing, pro-corporate welfare, crony capitalist con-man Donald Trump…. (more)

September 28, 2016
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — House Republicans voted Tuesday to exempt former Obamacare enrollees from the individual mandate if they lose insurance due to the collapse of one of the federally-backed markets.And while President Obama threatened to veto the bill if it reaches his desk, 16 Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the bill, which passed 258-165…. (more)

September 28, 2016
PAUL BREMMER — Black rioters in Charlotte, North Carolina, ruthlessly beat innocent white people last week, even as their victims begged for mercy. Some rioters tried to throw a photographer into a fire, while another physically attacked a CNN reporter during a live shot…. (more)

September 28, 2016
DAILY SIGNAL — The 2012 presidential race in Virginia was decided by just 3 percentage points, as was the next year’s race for governor. In both 2005 and 2013, fewer than 1,000 votes decided contests for Virginia attorney general. Against this backdrop, watchdog groups have pushed local election officials in seven Virginia jurisdictions to reveal hundreds of noncitizens who are registered to vote. So far, they have found more than 550…. (more)

September 28, 2016
WASHINGTON POST — Two widely recognized trends in American society might have something to do with each other. Divorce rates climbed to the highest levels ever in the 1980s, when about half of all marriages ended in divorce. And in the present day, Americans are rapidly becoming less religious. Since 1972, the share of Americans who say they do not adhere to any particular religion has increased from 5 percent of the population to 25 percent…. (more)

September 27, 2016
BYRON YORK — As he prepared for the crucial first presidential debate, Donald Trump knew moderator Lester Holt would bring up the birther issue. He knew Holt would raise Trump’s tax returns. And his old position on the Iraq war. None are among the voters’ top concerns, but it was eminently predictable that they would be part of the debate – – not least because if Holt had not brought them up, Hillary Clinton would have…. (more)

September 27, 2016
WASHINGTON EXAMINER — In the immediate aftermath of Monday night’s presidential debate, Frank Luntz’s focus group of undecided voters handed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a victory, declaring her the “clear winner” of the first head-to-head matchup…. (more)

September 27, 2016
WASHINGTON TIMES — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, embracing his outsider’s credentials, said Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton was the candidate of the establishment and urged the country to move beyond the anti-terror and free trade policies he said have failed the country for decades, as they faced off in the first presidential debate Monday…. (more)

September 26, 2016

NEWSMAX — Donald Trump “didn’t do his homework” and spent his first debate against Hillary Clinton “coasting,” political strategist Dick Morris told Newsmax TV on Monday…. (more)


September 26, 2016
NEWSMAX — Donald Trump declared Monday that he had the judgment and temperament to be president – – and Hillary Clinton countered that her challenger should not have “his hands anywhere near the nuclear codes.”… (more)

September 26, 2016
ANDREW C. MCCARTHY — “How is this not classified?” So exclaimed Hillary Clinton’s close aide and confidante, Huma Abedin. The FBI had just shown her an old e-mail exchange, over Clinton’s private account, between the then-secretary of state and a second person, whose name Abedin did not recognize… (more)

September 26, 2016
GREG COROMBOS — Former Justice Department official Victoria Toensing says more and more evidence shows FBI Director James Comey made basic errors in the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information, and many FBI personnel believe his conduct has embarrassed the bureau…. (more)

September 26, 2016
THE HILL — Glenn Beck says he may have misjudged Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “For the very first time I heard Ted Cruz calculate,” Beck said about his interview with the Texas senator, where Cruz addressed his decision to endorse Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, according to Business Insider…. (more)

September 26, 2016
The choice we face is not ‘between Trump and Hillary’
ALAN KEYES — I often hear the argument that the 2016 election is a binary election, offering no choice but Trump or Clinton. If neither of the candidates represents you, this “binary” choice is no election at all. Yet representation is the defining practical goal of the U.S. Constitution. Turning voters into quantities that must go one way or another, according to the programming of an elitist clique that has abandoned America’s common good, reduces human beings to irresponsible objects, doomed to follow the dictates of their master programmers…. (more)

September 26, 2016

BILL FEDERER — Daniel Boone served with George Washington in 1755 during the French and Indian War, under British General Edward Braddock. In 1765, Daniel Boone explored Florida. He once exclaimed: “I can’t say I was ever lost, but I was bewildered once for three days.”… (more)


Top Headlines – 9/30/2016

Will peace be buried with Shimon Peres?

Obama at Peres funeral: Abbas’s presence reminds us of the unfinished business of peace

Obama: ‘the Jewish nation wasn’t born to control another nation’

Netanyahu talks peace with EU’s Mogherini, has warm meet with Bill Clinton

Obama, Netanyahu Take Icy Relationship to Peres Funeral

Jerusalem’s iconic King David Hotel evicts guests to accommodate world leaders

Obama arrives for Peres funeral leading 33-strong US delegation

UN chief, envoys gather in New York to commemorate Peres

Clinton on Peres: ‘When he spoke, it could be like listening to a psalm’

NY governor nixes trip for Peres funeral after New Jersey train crash that killed one and injured more than 100

Fearing disturbances, police nab extremists ahead of Peres funeral

Mahmoud Abbas Attends Shimon Peres Funeral, but Thaw With Israel Is Unlikely

Palestinian President Abbas shakes PM Netanyahu’s hand

Palestinians: Abbas’s participation in Peres funeral message of peace to world

Report: Arab Knesset Members to Boycott Shimon Peres Funeral on Grounds That Israeli Peace Champion Was ‘Hawk of Settlement Enterprise’

Arabs boycott funeral of Shimon Peres – their best partner for peace

Hamas slams ‘contemptible’ Abbas condolences to Peres family

In Tel Aviv, (not many) peaceniks gather to keep Peres’s flame alive

Netanyahu holds marathon of meetings with world leaders

Holocaust survivors to receive millions in frozen benefits

Mournful Ukraine marks 75 years since Babi Yar massacre of 34,000 Jews by Nazis

French Jews feel they can give their children a better future in Israel

Ehud Olmert Corruption Appeal Rejected, ex-Israeli Prime Minister to Serve Another 8 Months

Palestinian Activists Are Angry About Alleged Facebook Censorship

Palestinian dies in Islamic Jihad tunnel in Gaza ‘accident’

UN claims 75,000 children could starve to death in Nigeria after Boko Haram

Kurdish militia role in Raqqa offensive could trigger ethnic conflict

UN warns of ‘disaster’ once Iraqi troops take on ISIS in Mosul

UN official blasts Security Council for inaction on Syria

US ‘on verge’ of ending Syria talks with Russia, Kerry warns

Syria war: Russia rejects US calls to halt bombing eastern Aleppo

Russia, US trade blame over Syria quagmire

Russia Rejects John Kerry’s Demands on Syria, Accusing U.S. of Promoting Terror

Russia: U.S. controlling an “international terrorist alliance”

Russia accuses US of threatening support for nuclear attack

Syria war: How Moscow’s bombing campaign has paid off for Putin

Putin and Assad Are Outdoing ISIS at Mass Murder

Dabiq: First shots fired at site of Islamic State’s apocalyptic prophecy

The Iraqi housewife who ‘cooked the heads’ of ISIS fighters

Female Chess Players Are Furious About Having to Wear Hijabs at the World Championship in Iran

9/11 lawsuits bill causes Saudi Arabia ‘great concern’

Angered by 9/11 Victims Law, Saudis Rethink U.S. Alliance

Congress has second thoughts on veto override and may fix Sept. 11 bill

Comey’s Blind Eye: The FBI Director Can’t Defend Immunity for Hillary Clinton’s Aides – Which Says Volumes

USA Today thinks Trump is so ‘unfit for the presidency’ that it just wrote an historic anti-endorsement

Dismissing risks, Trump goes all-in on Bill Clinton’s past

New Bill Would Repeal Johnson Amendment, Protect Pastors Rights to Endorse Candidates, Political Positions

Obama Cabinet Official Says It’s A Good Thing Justice Scalia Died

Supreme Court cautious on new cases as term begins under cloud of vacancy politics

US prepares to cede key role for internet

State AGs sue to stop Obama’s internet transition

Meet the New Authoritarian Masters of the Internet

Facebook Chrome extension shows everything that the site knows about its users

Asian Shares Fall on Deutsche Bank Woes, OPEC Concerns

The Run Begins: Deutsche Bank Hedge Fund Clients Withdraw Excess Cash

Pressure is building for Germany to show it’s ready to rescue Deutsche Bank

Brexit: Italian PM Matteo Renzi warns UK over EU rights

Tony Blair ‘considered quitting as Prime Minister to join the European Union’

Philippines leader Duterte likens himself to Hitler in desire to kill millions of drug users

China armed forces warn Japan against South China sea patrols

Kashmir: Pakistan calls emergency meeting amid ‘deteriorating situation’

Lawmakers plan for extreme solar storm

Black moon set to rise this week in ‘rare’ lunar event – but what is it?

Rosetta mission: What is it and why will it crash into a comet today?

Queensland ‘asteroid’ sparks concerns over near earth asteroid monitoring

Is A Massive Asteroid Headed Towards Earth To Destroy It?

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Macquarie Island region

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Cusuna, Honduras

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Katsuura, Japan

3.2 Magnitude Earthquake Along Calaveras Fault Hits In Santa Clara County

Heavy earthquake activity in Katla volcano, high conductivity in glacier rivers

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 24,000ft

Ruiz volcano in Colombia erupts to 20,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 18,000ft

Colima volcano in Mexico erupts to 16,000ft

Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica erupts 15,000ft

Matthew grows to hurricane strength in Caribbean

Will We Reach 4,000 Days Since a Major Hurricane Strike?

Zika Might Spread in Sweat and Tears, Doctors Warn

Young women at ‘highest mental health risk’

Report says Obama administration failed to follow health law

Federal judge blocks Arkansas Planned Parenthood defunding

Activists Try to Overturn Hyde Amendment Which Restricts Abortion

The Hyde Amendment saved two million babies from death

Disturbing new trend sees teens risking HIV at ‘sex roulette’ parties

2 Women Accused Of Having Sex With 15-Year-Old At Pizza Party

Tennessee school counselor talks student with gun out of shooting

Michigan student successfully changes preferred pronoun to ‘His Majesty’ on class roster


 

DEVELOPING: Earthquake advisory for Major Quake issued for parts of S. California Following Swarm

Posted: 30 Sep 2016 09:00 AM PDT

The California Office of Emergency Services has issued an earthquake advisory for Southern California. Alerting several counties that the probability of a major earthquake is…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Mysterious Rash Spreads To Dozens at Lake Forest Schools

Posted: 30 Sep 2016 08:03 AM PDT

More tests will be conducted after dozens of students and staff members in an Orange County school district have reported mysterious rashes and bug bites…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Many Americans Believe in the Bible but Think Muslims Also Go to Heaven

Posted: 30 Sep 2016 07:54 AM PDT

Americans don’t know much about theology. Most say God wrote the Bible. But they’re not sure everything in it is true. Six in 10 say…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

USA Today Warns Trump “Unfit For President”

Posted: 30 Sep 2016 07:46 AM PDT

In the 34-year history of USA TODAY, the Editorial Board has never taken sides in the presidential race. Instead, we’ve expressed opinions about the major…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Green Gestapo Says You’re Mentally Ill If You Question Climate Change

Posted: 30 Sep 2016 07:38 AM PDT

Dr. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama at Huntsville annoyed the climate-extremist establishment a couple of years ago by describing them as “climate Nazis.”…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

First “Gay Pride” Flag Launched Into Stratosphere

Posted: 30 Sep 2016 07:36 AM PDT

Planting Peace, a nonprofit dedicated to “spreading peace in a hurting world,” launched the first Pride flag into the stratosphere on August 17 using a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

French gvmt announces plan to criminalize websites opposing abortion

Posted: 30 Sep 2016 07:32 AM PDT

The French minister for Families, Childhood and Women’s Rights is celebrating the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion with a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Student Sues Catholic School for $1 Million After Rejecting Same-Sex Homecoming Date

Posted: 30 Sep 2016 06:08 AM PDT

The assault on religious freedom by America’s LGBT bullies continues in Memphis, Tennessee, where an all-boys Catholic school is being sued for $1 million by…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Meet the New Authoritarian Masters of the Internet

Posted: 30 Sep 2016 06:04 AM PDT

Want a glimpse into who will have their hands in control of the internet? President Barack Obama’s drive to hand off control of Internet domains…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Protests over police shooting near San Diego turn violent…

Posted: 30 Sep 2016 05:53 AM PDT

Protests of the fatal police shooting of a Ugandan emigre at an El Cajon strip mall turned violent Thursday night, prompting the arrests of two…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Michigan student successfully changes preferred pronoun to ‘His Majesty’ on class roster

Posted: 30 Sep 2016 05:48 AM PDT

As Heat Street‘s Politics Editor Jillian Melchior reported this week, a new policy at the University of Michigan allows students to choose their preferred pronouns…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

UN News Agency Tweets “End Trump” Followed By Quick Delete

Posted: 30 Sep 2016 05:44 AM PDT

The United Nations News Centre — the official U.N. news service — tweeted, then quickly pulled, a post that called for “8 million Americans abroad”…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Urgent Warning From Perry Stone Regarding Looming Internet Takeover

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 08:16 PM PDT

(By Perry Stone Ministries) Hours remain before the Internet, which has been in control of the United States and under the authority of the U.S…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Islam May Be Removed From Tennessee Middle School Social Studies Standards.

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 07:51 PM PDT

In a time of rising Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bias, the Tennessee State Board of Education is poised to approve new social studies standards for middle…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

‘Human Dog’ sleeps in a cage, plays fetch and gets belly rubs from his master

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 07:47 PM PDT

Some friends like to meet in the pub for a drink, but two friends from Nuneaton have found a unique way to spend their downtime…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

China warns against US deployment of THAAD anti-missile system in S. Korea

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 05:59 PM PDT

The Chinese Defense Ministry has warned the US against deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea. On Wednesday, Washington released a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Last-Ditch bid to stop hand-off of internet control

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 05:54 PM PDT

Republican attorneys general are making a last-ditch bid to block the Obama administration from ceding U.S. oversight of the internet’s domain name system, filing suit…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Democrats ‘laying groundwork’ to torpedo conservative media

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 05:38 PM PDT

News industry heavyweight Fox News could be banished from coverage of American political races under a new strategy being developed by Democrats on the Federal…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Dow closes down triple digits after Deutsche Bank hits all-time low

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 05:26 PM PDT

U.S. stocks closed sharply lower on Thursday as concerns over Deutsche Bank sent its U.S.-listed shares to an all-time low and weighed on the broader…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mexico Sees Spike in Death Cult, Demonic Possession and Exorcisms

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 05:18 PM PDT

The incidence of exorcisms and Satanic deliverance rites in Mexico has risen sharply in recent months, reportedly driven by the growth of the cult to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Sheriff warns ‘zero- tolerance’ against creepy clowns…

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 05:15 PM PDT

One Mid-South sheriff is implementing what he calls a zero-tolerance policy against creepy clowns in his county. Tuesday, Cross County Sheriff JR Smith posted to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Cash Becoming Extinct In These Countries

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 05:09 PM PDT

(Reported By Lauren Comiteau)  My dad, a former Wall Street trader always advised me “cash is king” and to “hold on to it” when the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: Solar Storm leaving parts of world glowing from auroras

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 05:05 PM PDT

Parts of the world are expected to light up with a green glow tonight, as a strong solar storm continues to blast our atmosphere. The…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMORS OF WAR – Pakistan threatens to destroy India with nuke…

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 05:01 PM PDT

Pakistan’s Defence Minister has threatened to “destroy” India – after India said on Thursday it had carried out “surgical strikes” on suspected militants preparing to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMORS OF WAR – How North Korea Could Make Good On Its Promise To Erase The United States

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 01:05 PM PDT

(By James. H. Hyde) Many people complacently ignore the threats posed by the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK)—as if it’s a fourth-world country run…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Russia Accuses U.S. of controlling an “international terrorist alliance”

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 01:00 PM PDT

Russian officials accused the U.S. on Thursday of siding with “terrorists” in Syria, in a sign of escalating tensions between Moscow and Washington amid the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Mystery Signals Detected In Space

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 12:55 PM PDT

At the end of last year, researchers using Nasa’s Swift space observatory launched an investigation to study a group of mysterious radio sources first detected…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DAYS OF LOT – LGBT Activists Are Coming for Your Children

Posted: 29 Sep 2016 12:49 PM PDT

(By Michael Brown) Do you need to lock your doors and windows at night because a homosexual predator is coming after your kids? That is…

Read more at End Time Headlines.


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 In A Nutshell

Now, with regard to this rule of faith—that we may from this point acknowledge what it is which we defend—it is, you must know, that which prescribes the belief that there is one only God, and that He is none other than the Creator of the world, who produced all things out of nothing through His own Word, first of all sent forth; that this Word is called His Son, and, under the name of God, was seen “in diverse manners” by the patriarchs, heard at all times in the prophets, at last brought down by the Spirit and Power of the Father into the Virgin Mary, was made flesh in her womb, and, being born of her, went forth as Jesus Christ; thenceforth He preached the new law and the new promise of the kingdom of heaven, worked miracles; having been crucified, He rose again the third day; (then) having ascended into the heavens, He sat at the right hand of the Father; sent instead of Himself the Power of the Holy Ghost to lead such as believe; will come with glory to take the saints to the enjoyment of everlasting life and of the heavenly promises, and to condemn the wicked to everlasting fire, after the resurrection of both these classes shall have happened, together with the restoration of their flesh. This rule, as it will be proved, was taught by Christ, and raises amongst ourselves no other questions than those which heresies introduce, and which make men heretics.

Tertullian, “On Prescription Against Heretics,” Chapter XIIl


Ravi Zacharias explains the gospel in two minutes:


The Gospel on 5 Fingers

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.


Please take the time to watch this clip, so that you might understand the authentic Gospel


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

CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, 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 CanIKnowGod.com, 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.

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


The Perseverance (Security) of the Saints

Notice all the Scripture references!

It is not just a handful of texts that teach the perseverance of the saints: the entire gospel sustains and confirms it. The Father has chosen them before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), ordained them to eternal life (Acts 13:48), to be conformed to the image of his Son (Rom. 8:29). This election stands (Rom. 9:11; Heb. 6:17) and in due time carries with it the calling and justification and glorification (Rom. 8:30). Christ, in whom all the promises of God are Yes and Amen (2 Cor. 1:20), died for those who were given him by the Father (John 17:6, 12) in order that he might give them eternal life and not lose a single one of them (6:40; 17:2); he therefore gives them eternal life and they will never be lost in all eternity; no one will snatch them out of his hand (6:39; 10:28).

The Holy Spirit who regenerates them remains eternally with them (14:16) and seals them for the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). The covenant of grace is firm and confirmed with an oath (Heb. 6:16–18; 13:20), unbreakable like a marriage (Eph. 5:31–32), like a testament (Heb. 9:17), and by virtue of that covenant, God calls his elect. He inscribes the law upon their inmost being, puts his fear in their heart (Heb. 8:10; 10:14ff.), will not let them be tempted beyond their strength (1 Cor. 10:13), confirms and completes the good work he has begun in them (1 Cor. 1:9; Phil. 1:6), and keeps them for the return of Christ to receive the heavenly inheritance (1 Thess. 5:23; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Pet. 1:4–5).

In his intercession before the Father, Christ acts in such a way that their faith may not fail (Luke 22:32), that in the world they may be kept from the evil one (John 17:11, 20), that they may be saved for all times (Heb. 7:20), that their sins will be forgiven them (1 John 2:1), and that they may all be where he is to behold his glory (John 17:24). The benefits of Christ, which the Holy Spirit imparts to them, are all irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). Those who are called are also glorified (8:30). Those who are adopted as children are heirs of eternal life (8:17; Gal. 4:7). Those who believe have eternal life already here and now (John 3:16). That life itself, being eternal, cannot be lost. It cannot die since it cannot sin (1 John 3:9). Faith is a firm ground (Heb. 11:1), hope is an anchor (6:19) and does not disappoint us (Rom. 5:5), and love never ends (1 Cor. 13:8).

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, volume 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2008), 270.


Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer

This post was originally posted on:

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com

(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

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”

— Augustine

This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.

*Please note that the preceding blog post content is formed by my personal conviction, values, worldview and opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

The State of Theology: An Interview with Chris Larson and Stephen Nichols

“What do Americans actually believe? The State of Theology data set is rich with information useful for discerning the beliefs of Americans about God, salvation, ethics, and the Bible in a way that goes beyond simple labels and religious affiliations. Read some of our key findings below and explore the data for yourself.” –  The State of Theology

Tabletalk (TT): Why did Ligonier do The State of Theology survey?

Stephen Nichols (SN): One of the cardinal rules of giving a speech is “Know your audience.” Back in 2014, we partnered with LifeWay Research to conduct a survey of the theological beliefs of three thousand Americans. We decided to undertake the survey again in 2016 and expand the visualization of the data into a new website, TheStateOfTheology.com. Our ultimate purpose for this survey is to help churches, Christian ministries, and Christians live as the body of Christ in our place and in our time.

Chris Larson (CL): Dr. Sproul has said often, “Everyone’s a theologian.” And the point he is making is that everyone has an opinion on theological matters, but not all opinions are created equal. Some are right, some are not. This study demonstrates the stunning gap in theological precision and awareness throughout our nation. We are a ministry that seeks to serve the church by providing helpful resources that God’s people can use as they grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. This ongoing survey can be used to focus our aim as Christians as we proclaim the light of God’s truth to a darkened world. We believe it is essential to know the core beliefs of Americans and share those findings freely with pastors and church leaders.

TT: What were some of the key findings of the survey?

SN: All of the questions deal with crucial theological and ethical issues. Working through the results of all of the questions could be very worthwhile and revealing in terms of what Americans believe. The results of three questions in particular are telling. We kept most of the 2014 questions in the 2016 survey. One new question, however was this:

Modern science discredits the claims of Christianity

Only 40 percent disagreed with that statement, while 44 percent agreed and 16 percent were unsure. Admittedly, the margin is narrow, but the result is significant and the implication is even more significant. Americans think we know better now in the twenty-first century than the authors of Scripture.

Another one is this:

Even the slightest sin deserves damnation.

You need to look at the bar graph results for this question. Most of the answers are fairly evenly distributed along the “Agree Strongly” down to “Not Sure” scale. The answer scale on this particular question jumps off the page at you. “Disagree strongly” spikes to 61 percent. Another 12 percent “disagree somewhat.” Only 7 percent are not sure, which leaves only 20 percent who agree, and only 11 percent of them “agree strongly.”

Seventy-four percent of Americans do not grasp the true nature and consequences of sin. We cannot have a clear understanding of Christ and the gospel if we do not grasp our true need as sinners and the heinousness of our sin before a holy God.

A third question involves the identity of Christ. Actually, we can look at two questions and see some significant theological confusion. When asked if Jesus is truly God and has a divine nature and if Jesus is truly man and has a human nature, a strong majority of 62 percent agree. Six out of 10 Americans think Jesus is the God-man. Yet, consider this. When asked if Jesus is the first being created by God, 53 percent agree. This is a contradiction. To say Jesus is created by God is to deny His divine nature and to deny that He is truly God. To say that Jesus is the first created being is actually to repeat a heresy that echoes through the early centuries of the church, the heresy of Arianism. The answers to this question reveal that this old heresy is still prevalent. When put over and against the question that asks if Jesus is truly God, this question also reveals how confused Americans are on the essential issue of the identity of Christ. “Who do you say that I am?” was a question Jesus Himself asked. We must point people to the right answer.

In addition to what we can learn from these individual questions, likely the most significant overall finding of this survey regards church attendance. In some cases, the spread between regular church attenders and non-church attenders reaches as much as 30 percent. Quite simply, those who attend church are far more likely, by a significant margin, to give a biblically and theologically correct answer. Church attendance played a far more crucial role than any other control factor, including self-identifying as an evangelical. This finding stresses the imperative of the church and church attendance. Parents, go to church. Make sure your kids are there.

TT: How has the survey influenced the trajectory of Ligonier’s ministry?

CL: It intensifies our focus and reinforces the urgency of our task. In one sense, there are few surprises in the aggregate results. But it is interesting to dive deeper into the data to see how people from different denominational, socioeconomic, and ethnic backgrounds answered in differing ways. Furthermore, there is a disconnect between that portion of Americans who believe society is getting progressively worse and headed in the wrong direction, and those who overwhelmingly state that man is by nature basically good. If man is basically good, why is society getting worse?

The survey demonstrates that we do not know who God is and we do not know who we are. God is holy. We are sinful. We need the clear proclamation of the authoritative Word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The results of this survey tell us that we need to remain faithful to proclaiming the holiness of God in all its fullness to as many people as possible.

Now that we have conducted the survey twice in America, we are planning to do something similar in other areas of the world to serve the church there. Ligonier is seeing growing global interest in Reformed theology and we are moving more discipleship resources around the world through English and translated materials as quickly as we are able to do so as God provides.

SN: Faithful Christians can look at these survey results and lament and decry the state of theology in America. Or, we can look at these results and engage our Great Commission work with a renewed urgency and purpose. We are taking the latter approach. It is easy to get caught up in trends and apply our resources to chasing after current news cycles. This survey reminds us of the necessity of teaching the foundational truths, of teaching on God’s holiness, on Christ’s person and work, on humanity’s true need to be saved from the wrath of God, and on the Bible’s authority—even in the twenty-first century.

TT: What is the biggest take away for churches in light of the survey’s results?

SN: Since church attendance is a key factor in answering the survey questions correctly, we all need to renew our commitment to the local church and to worshiping together with God’s people on the Lord’s Day. We have so many activities clamoring for our attention. Youth sports programs have filled the weekend, including Sundays. We all have very full weeks, and the temptation may be to look at Sunday as the new Saturday. We must resist that temptation and give priority to being in church. Of course, there are employment or other circumstances that can come into play, but Scripture plainly teaches that the church is the institution that God has established.

Another takeaway is that while professing evangelicals answer better than Americans in general, the survey reveals some rather bad trends for the theological beliefs of evangelicals. Paul exhorted Timothy “to continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed” (2 Tim. 3:14b). The church must educate Christians. And Christians in turn must be men and women of conviction, holding firm to those beliefs.

CL: The sanctity of truth is a guiding principle for Ligonier because we stand on the Word of God. While there is moral collapse around us leading to pragmatic political and ethical solutions in society, the pressing issue Christians must emphasize is the collapse in orthodox Christian theology. Our crisis is profoundly theological in nature, not methodological.

TT: Why do you plan to repeat the survey every two years?

SN: We intend to repeat the survey every two years for, we hope, three more cycles at least. We think the longitudinal data collected over a ten-year period could reveal significant trends. We have already seen trends over this two-year period. What we are seeing is not only more wrong answers, but we are seeing the “strongly” column grow the most. The sad conclusion is this, not only are Americans evidencing increasingly wrong beliefs, they are growing more adamant in holding those wrong beliefs. Consider this one question:

An individual must contribute his or her own effort for personal salvation.

In 2014, 40 percent agreed strongly. In 2016, the number jumped 10 points, with 50 percent agreeing strongly. Here we are in 2016, on the eve of the five-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation. We see the parallels here to 1516, the eve of the Reformation itself. The Reformers faced a culture in darkness. So do we. May we, too, pray that again God will shine the light of the gospel into the darkness. The State of Theology is simply a tool that helps us see the greatness and the urgency of our task. We hope this ministry initiative helps the church to be confident in the gospel and renew our commitment to proclaiming it faithfully.

TT: How can people find and use this new resource?

CL: Visit the new website at TheStateOfTheology.com and use the data any way you would like. This isn’t “Ligonier’s data.” Freely share it with pastors, missionaries, researchers, seminary students, and interested laypeople. Encourage your family, friends, and colleagues to stay the course (2 Tim. 1:13). Continue to emphasize active participation in a faithful local church, the “pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). Pray that God would bring an awakening in America and around the world so that His elect would be gathered in to love Him and His truth.

Chris Larson is president and CEO of Ligonier Ministries. Dr. Stephen J. Nichols is president of Reformation Bible College and chief academic officer for Ligonier Ministries, and teaches on the podcast 5 Minutes in Church History.

Source: The State of Theology: An Interview with Chris Larson and Stephen Nichols

The 2016 State of Theology Survey

soff

“Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were , with no sense of direction, and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.”  J.I. Packer

While authentic believers recognize that theology is the preeminent measure of our understanding of who God is and who we are, Packer’s words truly reflect the bottom line risk.   Get your understanding of God wrong, and your life will be wasted and, more worrisome, your soul eternally jeopardized. This is what, friends, drives polemics. Of course, Scripture also commands us to contend for the faith, warning as it does of the increasing frequency of false teachers as time unfolds. Each believer simply must contend.

In 2016 Ligonier Ministries commissioned LifeWay Research to implement a survey tasked with, as much as surveys are capable, assessing Americans’ theological understanding. The survey quantified fundamental beliefs that have been key doctrines adhered to by two millennia of orthodox Christianity.

The results reflect what the observant believer already knows … error abounds. As false teaching gains footholds and favor, as churches forsake sound doctrine to instead scratch itching ears, the prevalence of error will continue to grow.   Ligonier’s survey highlights the most serious errors contemporary to us.

The 2016 survey is a repeat of a 2014 undertaking, with the current report reflecting a continued decline of adherence to the fundamentals of the faith. Questions ranged from belief in God, sin, salvation, heaven and hell, and the church. Also included were questions about Scripture, its authority and inerrancy.

“Faithful Christians can look at these survey results and lament the state of theology in America.”   (Source)

Perhaps the most noticeable decline in the two-year gap between surveys is the response to the statement:

“An individual must contribute his or her own effort for personal salvation.”

In 2014, 40% of respondents agreed with this statement. The 2016 survey found fully half (50%) in agreement. A similar survey question, “By the good deeds that I do, I partly contribute to earning my place in heaven,” found 52 percent of 2016 respondents agreeing fully or somewhat. Though not explicitly included in the query, one can only presume that walking the aisle, raising the hand, and/or repeating “the prayer” constitute some of their “own effort for personal salvation”  – those efforts, of course, glaringly absent from Scripture.

lig5

When churches, expected as they are to proclaim God’s truth, instead addend Scripture with damnable man-made fiction, the result is more serious that merely erroneous answers on a survey. False beliefs are eternally jeopardizing, as the previous question reveals. The crux of the matter, then, is Scripture.

Several questions in Ligonier’s survey focused on Scripture and the beliefs of Americans, including self-defined evangelical Christians, about it. The answers to all posed questions reflect a woeful, unorthodox view of the Bible.

94% of evangelicals agreed with the statement that “God is the author of Scripture,” but some 17% of them also concurred with the statement, “The Bible, like all sacred writings, contains helpful accounts of religious myths but is not literally true.”   Further disturbing among professing evangelicals are the 30% who agree that “The Bible was written for each person to interpret as he or she chooses.”

lig2

While it may seem laudable that 95% of evangelicals agreed, either strongly or somewhat, with the statement that “the Bible is 100% accurate in all that it teaches,” the evidence that the majority of them don’t know what it teaches is reflected by the following result. When presented with the statement, “Jesus is the first and greatest creature created by God,” a staggering 71% of evangelicals agreed. Obviously holding a correct understanding ABOUT the Bible is a far cry from gleaning correct understanding FROM it. (Andy Stanley is perhaps simply the most recently notable of efforts from WITHIN the church to deconstruct, disregard, and destroy dependence on Scripture.)

lig3The decline of Scriptural literacy is further evidence by the 54% of evangelicals who agreed with the notion that “everyone sins a little but most people are good by nature.” Calvinists will likely not be surprised by the 82% of evangelicals who believe “people have the ability to turn to God on their own initiative.”   So much for being “dead in trespasses and sins.” As to God being a “perfect being” incapable of making a mistake, 97% of evangelicals agreed with only 58% of all respondents in tow. But as to His sovereignty, 65% of evangelicals and 58% of all respondents agreed with, “God knows everything in the world but does not determine all that happens.”

In general, Americans have increasingly wrong notions of Scripture and its teaching. This can hardly be a cultural surprise. After all, it’s been over five decades since prayer and Bible reading were removed from the classroom. Prayer took the Supreme Court hit in 1962 in Engle v. Vitale. Bible reading came the subsequent year in Abingdon School District v. Shempp. The Biblically informed will recognize that talking to God and reading about God are destined to be anathema in the increasingly depraved world. The problem revealed by of this survey, however, is that correct teaching of Scripture within the professed “churched” community is waning.  One presumes that “if you teach it, they will know” is not a pulpit-friendly, pew-filling pursuit for many churches.

lig4

On contemporary hot-topic issues such as abortion and homosexuality, evangelicals tend to hold to a more Biblically-informed position than the general population. Over 99% of evangelicals agreed that “God created male and female” as opposed to only 72% of all respondents. But as to the “Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality,” 19% of evangelicals agreed that its stance is not applicable today, while 47% of the population as a whole concurred. As to abortion, 41% of Americans believe it to be a sin, with only 87% of evangelicals finding it to be so.

Concluding their commentary on the results of the study, Ligonier said:

Faithful Christians can look at these survey results and lament the state of theology in America. Or, we can look at these results and engage our Great Commission work with a renewed urgency and purpose. Ligonier Ministries is taking the latter approach. It is easy to get distracted by cultural trends and apply our resources toward chasing novel methodology. This survey reminds us of the necessity of teaching foundational truths: God’s holiness, Christ’s person and work, humanity’s true need to be saved from the wrath of God, and the Bible’s authority—even in the twenty-first century.  (Source)

The summarized survey report from Ligionier Ministries can be found HERE.

The complete report is available here: 2016-state-of-america-white-paper

Source: The 2016 State of Theology Survey

Flirting With Jezebel

The Bible warns us about many sins to avoid and while they all have eternal consequences, there are some that are particularly ensnaring. Throughout the scriptures we are warned to flee sexual immorality. Adultery, covetousness, lust, and envy are fruit of a person mired in this type of sin. While there are many sins contributing to immoral living, there is one that dominates the lives of many inside and outside of the church. Pornography is a sin that’s devastating the lives of men, women, families, and fellowships. The worlds affair with pornography is well known. Unfortunately, the same thing can be said about many in the evangelical church who are flirting with Jezebel.

Just as Jezebel led her husband King Ahab and others to worship Baal, her name is synonymous with sexual immorality in the New Testament. Jesus mentions the woman Jezebel and her immoral ways to describe what the church at Thyatira was tolerating and engaging in.

The scourge of pornography on society along with it’s devastating effects on individuals is well documented. All sins have ramifications well beyond the individual committing the transgression but pornography by it’s very nature, is a particular sin that quickly devastates everyone involved. It is a cancer that eats away at the heart, mind, conscience, and soul. It decimates marriages, families, churches, and if left unchecked, even souls. I understand pornography is a trap that a growing number of women are falling into as well, so even though I’m addressing men in particular, it’s my hope that women would be convicted and set free as well.

 Let’s examine the root causes, effect, and freedom from pornography in the light of scripture.

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Revelation 2:18-21

If we’re not careful, we can begin to read the Bible and before too long, we feel like we are simply reading words on a page. Please let this be a wake up call. Anytime you read the Bible, you are reading the very word of God. This is the case in Revelation 2:18 as the Lord Jesus Himself is warning the church at Thyatira and us about sexual sin. The holy Son of God, with eyes like flames of fire and feet like burnished bronze is warning us about ‘doing ministry’ all the while tolerating Jezebel as some engage in sexual immorality. It’s true that Jesus mentions the church at Thyatira church and their works, love, faith, and service. He also warns them and us that if they don’t repent, He would cast the church onto a sickbed.

There is a lot of talk in churches, fellowships, and small groups about authenticity and accountability. Unfortunately most of it is exactly that, a lot of talk. Pastors, elders, leaders, you can have highly organized programs, meetings upon meetings, and talk about accountability, all the while leaving God out of the picture completely. God is a God of order, but working in our own flesh, we can organize the Holy Spirit right out of a church or fellowship. Religious talk produces congregants, while living out the scriptures makes disciples. Many evangelical church’s small groups and Bible studies are no more than social clubs instead of Christian fellowship. That’s a shame because we have more important things to discuss than the next service project or Christmas extravaganza. Evangelism and discipleship are paramount. Discipleship would certainly include addressing sins and in this case, a pornography addiction.

I love fellowship so please understand, I’m not down on church or small groups because Christians gathering together is vitally important in order to stand and finish well. I’m simply jealous for the rightful place of ‘church’ and ‘fellowship’ in Christian life because many are becoming social hubs, not places of prayer, evangelism, and discipleship.

AA021518

How does accountability look within the context of a church or small group? It looks like a group with number of believers gathering together and doing the following: praying and confessing.

And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:15-20

If we want genuine authenticity, openness, and accountability, we must obey the Bible and practice what it says. The time for trite religious sounding small talk is over. Churches and small groups are the place for believers to gather together to pray and confess sin. Can you imagine how revolutionary it would be if we got together for more than just spiritual sounding talk? Am I advocating blurting out our sexual sins in front of the whole small group. No, because you or you and your wife may want to give a generalization of having marital problems in a small group setting as would be appropriate. That way the group could pray for the marriage. When it comes to confessing particular sexual sins such as pornography, it is wise to always have men confess and be accountable to other men and women to confess and be accountable to other women.

So what does this have to do with pornography? Everything, because instead of talking about going deep or being accountable, we are actually doing it! The Apostle James breaks down Christian fellowship by telling us to confess sin and pray for one another. Prayer and confession of sins brings things like porn addiction and engaging in sexual immorality while professing Christianity to the surface. This is truly doing life together, accountability, and authenticity. Love other believers enough to address real sin issues and refuse to go through the motions.

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:15-20

Before we continue, I want to give you a few statistics about pornography:

The Rand corporation reports that kids who viewed sexual images were twice as likely to engage in sexual activity within a year. 89% of web based pornography originates from the U.S. In 2001, 18 million Americans visited pornographic websites annually. Just eight years later, 78 million Americans visited pornographic sites at least once a month. In 2006, the porn industry took in 13 billion dollars which was more then the combined revenues of CBS, NBC, and ABC. A new pornographic video is created every 39 minutes on average. Everyday more than 68 million requests for porn are made on search engines which accounts for 25% of all internet searches which simply means, one out of four searches is someone looking for pornography. Over 100,000 websites offer illegal child pornography. Ultimately, pornography will destroy lives and souls. Pornography leads to other forms of sexual immorality including adultery. It leads to perversion including homosexuality, bestiality, and child pornography. It leads to violence against women including murder.

Ted Bundy confessed to murdering at least 30 women in the 1980s and in an interview he stated that pornography played a major roll in his appetite for violence against them. Pornography can and often leads males to abuse women physically.  A generation of young men is being brought up with the notion that it’s just boys being boys behavior when looking at sexual images. The world and media are dictating the standards on what is considered ‘entertainment’ and moreover, what is deemed as socially acceptable behavior and that’s frightening enough.

What’s more alarming are the statistics from within the church and self professing Christians. At least 55% of Christian men surveyed admit to viewing pornographic material at least once per month. At least 35% of these Christian men admit to cheating on their spouses in an extra marital affair. Sexual immorality and pornography addiction is rampant among a growing number of men in the church. In 2016, a survey of 3,000 pastors found the following: Among the pastors surveyed, 21% of youth pastors admit a struggle with porn while 14% of senior pastors admit issues with porn. 55% of these men live in constant fear of being discovered. Interestingly only 8% of pastors believe that pastors should have to resign their positions if they struggle with porn. In contrast, over 41% of adult Christians believe a pastor should be forced to resign or be fired if found to be using pornography. We need to quit coddling sin within the church and care for these men enough to confront them. The Lord may use that to convict of sin. It may open up godly sorrow that leads to repentance.porn-viewer

It’s time for elders and leaders to quit circling the wagons and get these men in the church the help they need. That goes for lay people and leadership alike. Regarding sexual immorality and porn addiction among church leadership, the Bible is clear in Titus 1:5-9 that they are indeed disqualified from serving in pastoral leadership or as an elder. This doesn’t negate the fact that all men who have been trapped in the sin of pornography can and should be restored to fellowship within the church and lead godly lives as an example of God’s mercy and restoration, provided they have repented of the sin. *Statistics from Barna Group Research, Josh McDowell Ministries, and James MacDonald/Harvest Bible Chapel*

Pornography leads to all sorts of sexual sins including: masturbation, physical/mental abuse, abandonment, adultery, fornication, dominating behavior, isolation, anger, rape, pedophilia, exploitation of children-women, human trafficking, and even murder. Intimacy in marriage, protecting and shepherding our wives, and testimonies before our sons and daughters are ruined. Divorce and broken families are often the end result of pornography addiction.

Christian men, let’s not fool ourselves and assume with pride that we are above reproach. If it weren’t for God’s grace, anyone of us including myself could be caught up in this sin of pornography and sexual immorality.

It hits closer to home when we quit playing games with God and call things for what they are. We can be self diluted to the point that we can rationalize and excuse behavior because we are under grace right? Yes we are under grace but that doesn’t give us a license to go on sinning. As I mentioned before, sexual immorality is a sin against one’s own body and God. Just as devastating are the lusts of the eyes.

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:16-17

Men, I’m writing to you as one who wants to build you up as a brother and exhort you in love. Let’s be truthful and acknowledge that there is an opportunity to fulfill the lust of the eyes almost everywhere we go. When we think of pornography, most of us think of the vile pictures and videos which expose the images of women that equivocate them as objects to be used or a means of self gratification. There is another type of pornography just as dangerous to your soul. It is on billboards, magazines, windows of Victoria Secret and other mall stores, and all over television. It is the dulling of men’s eyes, spirit, and conscience to look lustfully at women. I know it is impractical to walk around all day with a blind fold on, so here’s the deal. Make a covenant with your eyes not to look at a woman with lustful intentions. I mentioned this in a previous article but I will repeat the point that if the woman isn’t your wife, look away!100_0207

Sexual immorality is a sin thats been practiced through the centuries. With the onset of modern media like computers, television, and print, sexual morality is rampant. Walking through the local shopping mall is even dangerous to the eyes. There are half nude life size posters of people in every other store window it seems. Grocery store checkout lines are no better. There are revealing images on magazines that shouldn’t be seen by anyone. You can call this soft porn or whatever you like, it is still garbage.

When my sons and I are watching a football game and there is a closeup of the cheerleaders or a commercial with a woman with very little clothing on, I turn away or just get up. I explain to them that our eyes belong to our wife or future wife. As men, we are visual and I don’t want images of someone else to cloud my God given desire for one woman, in marriage, for life. I don’t think less of anyone who has cable but I pulled the plug a long time ago because you can’t control what is coming into your living room. Let’s set a godly example for our sons, our daughters, and other men in our lives by not playing the world’s games. Our eyes belong to the Lord and our wife. It comes down to either committing  adultery with our eyes in our heart or not. I want my daughters to know, this is how a true Christian man should treat you. I want my wife to feel precious above all women. I want my wife to know she is my best friend and treasure, not just another female among the 4 billion others.

I believe one of the reasons boys are becoming so desensitized to sexual images is because many ‘Christian’ men allow this filth to flow into their homes and perhaps even don’t see a problem with it. If this is you, this is not the way to bond with your son. Drop the silly man cave shows and lead by example. If you sit there and watch the sleazy Super Bowl Half Time Show complete with wardrobe malfunctions, and dirty dancing, what kind of message will it send? How can we expect boys to hunger and thirst after righteousness if we are watching Breaking Bad, Shameless, or Madmen? How can we expect boys to save his eyes and desire for his wife when we are staring at every woman we see? Don’t kid yourself because if you are living this way, your kids will see you as a Christian in name only.

 These young men need to know what the Bible says about sexual immorality and it’s ultimate road to death. Unfortunately, boys are finding porn in increasing numbers. We can and should highly filter our home internet connections and protect our kid’s minds at all costs. With this in mind we also need to realize that we can’t be with them 24/7. That’s why teaching them what the Bible says about sexuality is paramount. That doesn’t mean having ‘the talk’ with our son once when he turns twelve. We should show these values by word and deed throughout their time at home and beyond. child_watching_tv

You can’t watch a weather channel, cooking show, or home renovation show without some of the most vile, seedy, sexually charged images flashing across the screen during commercials. It makes me uncomfortable to see this filth portrayed as the new normal in front of my family. Men, images from sexually charged television shows and commercials can and will your conscience to the point that you won’t see anything wrong with what you are watching.

If the television is a stumbling block to your Christian walk, unplug it. If your computer screen is a portal to look at naked women and other pornographic material, take action. You can get accountability software, have the computer on only when your wife is in the same room, or if you can’t control your immorality, take a sledge hammer and destroy it. If you have a lust problem and can’t keep your eyes off of the pretty lady at work or quit confiding in her because you are “just friends” after all, quit your job. If you are in an adulterous relationship and your so called lover lives in the same area, move to a different town. Repent of your sin, tell your wife the truth, and get solid godly counsel.

Isn’t it time to quit making excuses for sin and always labeling it a personal struggle. Here is a good indicator about media viewing, if I’m nervous or secretive about what I’m watching and would feel busted or caught if my wife knew about it, it’s a danger to my soul. If we are truly Christians as we say we are, we need to be truthful with the Lord and call it what it is, sin.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. Matthew 5:27-29

Young man, just because you aren’t married yet doesn’t give you the right to masturbate, look at sexual images of women, or fornicate with your girlfriend in some secluded area. It doesn’t give you the right to share the same home and bed with your girlfriend either. She doesn’t belong to you. Love your woman enough to respect her enough not gratify yourself. Don’t have sex with her until you are married and if you can’t wait, then love her enough to marry her. Your high school or college girlfriend isn’t some cheap hand me down to be used, she is an individual with a soul. It’s time we start caring for and protecting women like sisters, because if you are a Christian, they are.

sacrament-of-marriageYoung and mature men alike need to stop making excuses for sinful behavior and get help. Be accountable to someone and get into a church or fellowship that actually practices godly accountability. There are churches and fellowships that will disciple you and show what a godly life looks like by example.

Friends, if you need help or prayer in this area, please write us here through our ministry contact us page. You don’t have to face this alone although Satan would have you believe that. There is no sin too large for God to forgive. If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us. He loves both men and women caught in this sin.  Below the article you will find links to several ministries that will offer help for pornography addiction.

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Romans 6:6

If you happened to stumble upon this article and you don’t know where you will spend eternity or if you will go to heaven when you die, please contact us or click on the ‘Are You Saved?‘ page. There is freedom from sin as you confess and repent, you can be alive to God in Jesus. He made a way so that we no longer have to be slaves to sin, including the sin of sexual immorality and pornography. Jesus is coming soon, quit flirting with Jezebel.

All for Him,

Howard

Resources and ministries for help with pornography addiction:

Be Broken Ministries

Blazing Grace

The post Flirting With Jezebel appeared first on .

Why Would A Good God Allow Evil? – Part 2 (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #73)

In this episode of the Cold-Case Christianity Broadcast, J. Warner Wallace completes his talk on the problem of evil. Are there good reasons why an all-powerful, all-loving God would allow his creation to suffer, or does evil demonstrate that God doesn’t exist? This presentation was excerpted from a talk given at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills.

Source: Why Would A Good God Allow Evil? – Part 2 (Cold Case Christianity Broadcast #73)

UPDATED: Are Young People Really Leaving Christianity?

58(Updated on September 30th, 2016)

Much has been written about both the illiteracy of teenage believers and the flight of young people from the Church. Many have observed this trend, and I too have witnessed it anecdotally as a youth pastor (and shamefully, I contributed to the trend for some time before I changed course). Some writers and Christian observers deny the flight of young people altogether, but the growing statistics should alarm us enough as Church leaders to do something about the dilemma. My hope in this post is to simply consolidate some of the research (many of the summaries are directly quoted) so you can decide for yourself. I’m going to organize the recent findings in a way that illuminates the problem:

Research Related to Spiritual Life of Teenagers:

Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers
Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, Oxford University Press, 2005

Book Findings: The majority of teenagers are incredibly inarticulate about their faith, religious beliefs and practices, and its place in their lives. The de facto dominant religion among contemporary U.S. teenagers is what they call ‘Moralistic Therapeutic Deism’: A God exists who created and orders the world and watches over human life on earth; God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions; the central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself; God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem; and good people go to heaven when they die.

Book Findings: Dean affirms what Soul Searching called ‘Moralistic Therapeutic Deism’ “If teenagers lack an articulate faith, it may be because the faith we show them is too spineless to merit much in the way of conversation.”

Book Findings: More teens are embracing a nebulous belief in God. Yet there’s been an “explosion” in youth service since 1995 that Lewis attributes to more schools emphasizing community service.

Research Related to the Attitude of College Professors:

Study Findings: “Nearly three-quarters” (72%) of faculty members describe themselves as politically liberal, according to 1999 data from the North American Academic Study Survey (NAASS), up from 39 percent in a 1984 survey by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Study Findings: About 25% of college professors are professing atheists or agnostics (5-7% of the general population is atheistic or agnostic). Only 6% of college professors said the Bible is “the actual word of God”. 51% described it as “an ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts.” 75% believe religion does not belong in public schools.

The Religious Beliefs and Behavior of College Faculty
The Institute for Jewish & Community Research Review – Staff (2007)

Study Findings: The study revealed several findings related to the political and religious views of professors, including the following key discoveries:

Most Faculty Believe in God, but Atheism Is Significantly More Prevalent among Faculty Than the General Public
The proportion of faculty who self-identified as atheist is over five times the proportion of people who self-identified as atheist in the general public.

Faculty Are Much Less Religious Than the General Public
The American public is much more likely to say that religion is very important in their everyday lives and to attend religious services more frequently than faculty.

Faculty Feel Warmly about Most Religious Groups, but Feel Coldly about Evangelicals and Mormons
Faculty have positive feelings toward Jews, Buddhists, Catholics, and Atheists.

Faculty Feel Most Unfavorably about Evangelical Christians
This is the only religious group about which a majority of non-Evangelical faculty have negative feelings.

Faculty Are Almost Unanimous in Their Belief That Evangelical Christians (Fundamentalists) Should Keep Their Religious Beliefs Out of American Politics
Faculty who are secular/liberal are more likely to favor separation of religion and government, and those who are religious and conservative are more likely to advocate a closer connection between religion and government.

Although Faculty Generally Oppose Religion in the Public Sphere, Many Endorse the Idea That Muslims Should Express Their Religious Beliefs in American Politics
Faculty are far less likely to endorse Evangelical Christians expressing their beliefs in American politics.”

Compromising Scholarship; Religious and Political Bias in American Higher Education
George Yancey (2011)

Book Findings: “Religiously conservative academics are at a distinct disadvantage in our institutions of learning, threatening the free exchange of ideas to which our institutions aspire and leaving many scientific inquiries unexplored.”

Research Related to the Decreasing Christian Population in General

American Religious Identification Survey
Barry A. Kosmin, Egon Mayer, and Ariela Keysar (2001)

Study Findings: The number of people who identify themselves as Christian has dropped from 85% in 1990 to 76% in 2008. About 52% of American adults identify themselves as Protestant or other non-Catholic Christian denominations, according to the. That’s down from 60% in 1990.

Research Related to the Flight of Young People from the Church

Southern Baptist Convention Data
Pinkney, T.C., Remarks to the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, Nashville, Tennessee (2001)

Study Findings: Data from the Southern Baptist Convention indicates that they are currently losing 70-88% of their youth after their freshman year in college. 70% of teenagers involved in church youth groups stop attending church within two years of their high school graduation.

Study Findings: The results indicate that teens are more religious during their early teen years, and that religiosity begins to decline as teens near adulthood. When asked, “How important are your religious beliefs?”, 63% of 13- to 15-year-olds answered “very important,” compared to 52% of 16- to 17-year-olds. Church attendance also drops during the teen and young adult years and begins to climb as adults age. Fifty-four percent of teens aged 13 to 15 reported having attended church in the past seven days, as did 51% of 16- to 17-year-old teens. The figure drops to 32% among 18- to 29- year-olds but rises again to 44% among 50- to 64-year-olds and 60% among those aged 75 and older. 69% percent of 13- to 15-year-olds report being members of a church or synagogue, compared to 59% of 16- to 17-year-olds, 60% of 18- to 29-year-olds, 72% of 50- to 64-year-olds, and 80% of those aged 75 and older.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Family Life Council
Southern Baptist Council on Family Life report to Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (2002)

Study Findings:  88% of the children in evangelical homes leave church at the age of 18

Revolution
George Barna, Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, IL (2005)

Book Findings: If current trends in the belief systems and practices of the younger generation continue, in ten years, church attendance will be half the size it is today.

Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers
Christian Smith and Melinda Lundquist Denton, Oxford University Press (2005)

Book Findings: Students leave faith behind primarily because of intellectual doubt and skepticism (page 89). “Why did they fall away from the faith in which they were raised?” This was an open-ended question there were no multiple-choice answers. 32% said they left faith behind because of intellectual skepticism or doubt. (“It didn’t make any sense anymore.” “Some stuff is too far-fetched for me to believe.” “I think scientifically and there is no real proof.” “Too many questions that can’t be answered.”)

Study Findings: A majority of twenty-somethings – 61% of today’s young adults – had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged.

The Last Christian Generation
Josh McDowell,  David H. Bellis, Green Key Books (2006)

Book Findings: 63% of teenaged Christians don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of the one true God. 51% don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead. 68% don’t believe that the Holy Spirit is a real entity. Only 33% of churched youth have said that the church will play a part in their lives when they leave home.

Assemblies of God Study
Dayton A. Kingsriter (2007)

Study Findings: At least half and possibly over two-thirds of Christian young people will step away from the Christian faith while attending a non-Christian college or university. Between 50% and 66.7% of Assemblies of God young 
people who attend a non-Christian public or private university will have left the faith 
four years after entering college.

LifeWay Research Study
LifeWay Research and Ministry Development (2007)

Study Findings: 70% will leave the faith in college. Only 35% eventually return. 7 in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 – both evangelical and mainline – who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23. 34% of those said they had not returned, even sporadically, by age 30. That means about one in four Protestant young people have left the church. “The most frequent reason for leaving church is, in fact, a self-imposed change, ‘I simply wanted a break from church’ (27%).” “The path toward college and the workforce are also strong reasons for young people to leave church: ‘I moved to college and stopped attending church’ (25%) and ‘work responsibilities prevented me from attending’ (23%).”

Unchristian
Barna Research Group director David Kinnaman, Baker Books; (2007)

Book Findings: Christians in their 20s are “significantly less likely to believe a person’s faith in God is meant to be developed by involvement in a local church. This life stage of spiritual disengagement is not going to fade away.”

Rethink: Is Student Ministry Working?
Steve Wright, InQuest Ministries, Inc. (2007)

Book Findings: 63% don’t believe Jesus is the Son of the one true God. 58% believe all faiths teach equally valid truths. 51% don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead. 65% don’t believe Satan is a real entity. 68% don’t believe the Holy Spirit is a real entity

Book Findings: Among American adults, emerging adults are significantly less religious.
Generally speaking, the importance and practice of religion declines among young adults. No more than 15% of the total emerging adult population, embrace a strong religious faith. 30% tend to customize their faith to fit the rest of their lives. They often have strong religious upbringing but tend to be more discriminating about what they will adopt. A smaller group, about 15%, believe in some higher power but are not sure what that is or means. About 25% of the emerging adult population may claim to be religious or even appreciate religion—but it simply does not matter. 5% of all emerging adults have had little to no exposure to religious people, ideas, or organizations. 10% of emerging adults are  skeptical of religion and reject the idea of personal faith. They tend to hold critical, derogatory, and antagonistic attitudes towards religion.

Book Findings: 90% of youth active in high school church programs drop out of church by the time they are sophomores on college.

Already Gone: Why your kids will quit church and what you can do tostop it
Ken Ham, Britt Beemer, with Todd Hillard, New Leaf Publishing Group/Master Books (2009)

Book Findings: Church youth already are “lost” in their hearts and minds in elementary, middle and high school – not in college as many assume.

Book Findings: “Unless religious leaders take younger adults more seriously, the future of American religion is in doubt.” The proportion of young adults identifying with mainline churches, is “about half the size it was a generation ago. Evangelical Protestants have barely held their own.”

“Spirituality in Higher Education”: The Higher Education ResearchInstitute at UCLA
Alexander W. Astin, Helen S. Astin, and Jennifer A. Lindholm (2010)

Study Findings: 52% of college students reported frequent church attendance the year before they entered college but only 29% continued frequent church attendance by their junior year.

Study Findings: Current data seems “to suggest that about 40-50% of students in youth groups struggle in their faith after graduation.”

Book Findings: The departure of young people from the Church is acknowledged and several categories of “leavers” are identified, including “Post Modern Leavers”, “Recoilers”, “Modern Leavers”, “Neo Pagans”, “Rebels” and “Drifters.

Book Findings: Nearly three out of every five young Christians disconnect from their churches after the age of 15.

Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood
Christian Smith with Kari Christoffersen, Hilary Davidson and Patricia Snell Herzog, Oxford University Press (2011)

Book Findings: Young adults are unable to think coherently about moral beliefs and problems. Young adults have an excessive focus on consumption and materialism as the good life. The prevalent lifestyle of young adults includes routine intoxication and drug usage. The sexual encounters of young adults are not practiced in an environment of physical, mental, or emotional health. Young adults appear to have an inability to care about, invest in, and hope for the larger world through civic and political participation.

Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity
Larry Taunton, Fixed Point Foundation (2013)

Study Findings: Taunton interviewed members of atheist college groups (the Secular Student Alliance and Freethought Societies). “These college groups are the atheist equivalents to Campus Crusade: They meet regularly for fellowship, encourage one another in their (un)belief, and even proselytize. They are people who are not merely irreligious; they are actively, determinedly irreligious.” Taunton eventually recognized an emerging pattern in those he interviewed, and he identified several characteristics of young “determinedly irreligious” college students:

1. They had attended church at one time
2. The mission and message of their churches was vague
3. They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life’s difficult questions
4. They expressed their respect for those ministers who took the Bible seriously
5. Ages 14-17 were decisive
6. The decision to embrace unbelief was often an emotional one
7. The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism

America’s Changing Religious Landscape
Pew Research Center (2015)

Study Findings: “The percentage of adults (ages 18 and older) who describe themselves as Christians has dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years, from 78.4% in an equally massive Pew Research survey in 2007 to 70.6% in 2014. Over the same period, the percentage of Americans who are religiously unaffiliated – describing themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – has jumped more than six points, from 16.1% to 22.8%. While many U.S. religious groups are aging, the unaffiliated are comparatively young – and getting younger, on average, over time… One of the most important factors in the declining share of Christians and the growth of the “nones” is generational replacement. As the Millennial generation enters adulthood, its members display much lower levels of religious affiliation, including less connection with Christian churches, than older generations. Fully 36% of young Millennials (those between the ages of 18 and 24) are religiously unaffiliated, as are 34% of older Millennials (ages 25-33)… As a rising cohort of highly unaffiliated Millennials reaches adulthood, the median age of unaffiliated adults has dropped to 36, down from 38 in 2007 and far lower than the general (adult) population’s median age of 46.4 By contrast, the median age of mainline Protestant adults in the new survey is 52 (up from 50 in 2007), and the median age of Catholic adults is 49 (up from 45 seven years earlier).”

Choosing a New Church or House of Worship
Pew Research Center (2015)

Study Findings: In this seemingly unrelated study, researchers surveyed religious “nones” (78%) who said they were raised as a member of a particular religion before shedding their religious identity in adulthood, and asked them to explain, in their own words, why they no longer identified with a religious group. They discovered the following themes:

About 50% said a “lack of belief led them to move away from religion. This includes many respondents who mention ‘science’ as the reason they do not believe in religious teachings, including one who said ‘I’m a scientist now, and I don’t believe in miracles.’ Others reference ‘common sense,’ ‘logic’ or a ‘lack of evidence’ – or simply say they do not believe in God.”

About 20% said they were in “opposition to organized religion in general. This share includes some who do not like the hierarchical nature of religious groups, several people who think religion is too much like a business and others who mention clergy sexual abuse scandals as reasons for their stance.”

About 18% said they were “religiously unsure. This include(d) people who (said) they (were) religious in some way despite being unaffiliated (e.g., ‘I believe in God, but in my own way’), others who describe(d) themselves as ‘seeking enlightenment’ or ‘open-minded,’ and several who (said) they are ‘spiritual’ if not religious.”

About 10% said they “may hold certain religious beliefs, but they (were) not currently taking part in religious practices. And most of them simply (said) they (didn’t) go to church or engage in other religious rituals, while others (said) they (were) too busy for religion.”

Exodus: Why Americans are Leaving Religion—and Why They’re Unlikely to Come Back
Betsy Cooper, Ph.D., Daniel Cox, Ph.D., Rachel Lienesch, Robert P. Jones, Ph.D., Public Religious Research Institute (2016)

Study Findings: “Today, nearly four in ten (39%) young adults (ages 18-29) are religiously unaffiliated—three times the unaffiliated rate (13%) among seniors (ages 65 and older). While previous generations were also more likely to be religiously unaffiliated in their twenties, young adults today are nearly four times as likely as young adults a generation ago to identify as religiously unaffiliated. In 1986, for example, only 10% of young adults claimed no religious affiliation. Among young adults, the religiously unaffiliated dwarf the percentages of other religious identifications: Catholic (15%), white evangelical Protestant (9%), white mainline Protestant (8%), black Protestant (7%), other non-white Protestants (11%), and affiliation with a non-Christian religion (7%).”

“In the 1970s, only about one-third (34%) of Americans who were raised in religiously unaffiliated households were still unaffiliated as adults. By the 1990s, slightly more than half (53%) of Americans who were unaffiliated in childhood retained their religious identity in adulthood. Today, about two-thirds (66%) of Americans who report being raised outside a formal religious tradition remain unaffiliated as adults.”

CARA National Study
Mark M. Gray, Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (2016)

Study Findings: (While CARA only surveys young Catholic believers, their results parallel the findings of Christian surveys as reported in this article). “The first CARA study, commissioned by Saint Mary’s Press, involved a survey with a random, national sample of young people, ages 15 to 25, who had been raised Catholic but no longer self-identified as such. The second CARA study, made possible through funding from the John Templeton Foundation, involved a survey of a random sample of self-identified Catholics, ages 18 and older, and focused on matters of religion and science.” Most young people said they left the Church by the age of 13: 63 percent said they left between the ages of 10 and 17. 23 percent say they left before the age of 10. Those who left cited the following reasons:

“Because I grew up realized it was a story like Santa or the Easter Bunny.”

“As I learn more about the world around me and understand things that I once did not, I find that the thought of an all-powerful being to be less and less believable.”

“Catholic beliefs aren’t based on fact. Everything is hearsay from back before anything could be documented, so nothing can be disproved, but it certainly shouldn’t be taken seriously.”

“I realized that religion is in complete contradiction with the rational and scientific world, and to continue to subscribe to a religion would be hypocritical.”

“Need proof of something.”

“It no longer fits into what I understand of the universe.”

While this survey of books and studies is less than complete, it does provide us with powerful cumulative, circumstantial evidence supporting the claim that young people are leaving the Church in large numbers. In addition, it appears that many of these young people are leaving based on their experiences in college. Studies related to the attitudes of University professors may account for this, and many ministries have tried to develop a response to the dilemma. Some studies have attempted to isolate potential responses that can be employed by parents and Church leaders:

Research Related to Potential Responses to the Flight of Young People from the Church

Book Findings: There appears to be no shortage of teenagers who want to be inspired and make the world better. But the version of Christianity some are taught doesn’t inspire them “to change anything that’s broken in the world.” Teens want to be challenged; they want their tough questions taken on. “We think that they want cake, but they actually want steak and potatoes, and we keep giving them cake,” Churches, not just parents, share some of the blame for teens’ religious apathy. “…The gospel of niceness can’t teach teens how to confront tragedy. It can’t bear the weight of deeper questions: Why are my parents getting a divorce? Why did my best friend commit suicide? Why, in this economy, can’t I get the good job I was promised if I was a good kid?”

Book Findings: Parents are the most crucial and powerful socializers in the lives of their adolescents. The adolescent years are not the time to disengage as a parent. Growing adolescent independence often necessitates negotiation. If adolescents experience parents who are religiously withdrawn and functionally absent, then the faith of an emerging adult likely will also be vacuous, directionless, and empty. The more adults involved in the lives of adolescents, the better off they will be. This will mean that ministries to youth and families must find ways to incorporate loving, agenda-free adults into the lives of the ministry. Ministries to youth matter now more than ever. With the breakdown of the family and the systemic erosion of adult support, congregational youth ministers are more necessary than ever before.

Book Findings: Parents of students who did not leave the church emphasized religion twice as much as those who students who left the church. Students who stayed in church through college said that the first thing they do when they have doubts or questions was to talk to their parents and then read their Bibles.

Book Findings: Nearly 25% of the 18- to 29-year-olds interviewed said “Christians demonize everything outside of the church” most of the time. 22% also said the church ignores real-world problems and 18% said that their church was too concerned about the negative impact of movies, music and video games. 33% of survey participants felt that “church is boring.” 20% of those who attended as a teenager said that God appeared to be missing from their experience of church. Many young adults do not like the way churches appear to be against science. Over 33% of young adults said that “Christians are too confident they know all the answers” and 25% of them said that “Christianity is anti-science.” 17% percent of young Christians say they’ve “made mistakes and feel judged in church because of them.” Two out of five young adult Catholics said that the church’s teachings on birth control and sex are “out of date.” 29% of young Christians said “churches are afraid of the beliefs of other faiths” and feel they have to choose between their friends and their faith. Over 33% of young adults said they feel like they can’t ask life’s most pressing questions in church and 23% said they had “significant intellectual doubts” about their faith.

There you have it; a short summary of some of the research being done on the exodus of young people from the Church and some of the reasons they give for their departure. Can a case be made that young Christians are leaving the Church in record numbers? Yes. Can a case be made that many of these young people are leaving because the culture around them has impacted them deeply and caused them to question the truth claims of Christianity? Yes, again. So, what are we going to do about it? What can be done? That’s a topic for my next post.

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, and God’s Crime Scene.

Source: UPDATED: Are Young People Really Leaving Christianity?

News: Evangelicals’ Favorite Heresies Revisited by Researchers

Second study examines what Americans believe about 47 theological statements.

How well does the average American understand basic Christian doctrine? For that matter, how about the average evangelical?

Perhaps not all that differently. And perhaps it matters how the questions are asked.

Reprising their ground-breaking study from two years ago, LifeWay Research and Ligonier Ministries released an update today on the state of American theology in 2016. Researchers surveyed 3,000 adults to measure their agreement with a set of 47 statements about Christian theology—everything from the divinity of Christ to the nature of salvation to the importance of regular church attendance.

About two-thirds of Americans said that God accepts the worship of Christians, Jews, and Muslims (64%); around the same number agreed strongly or somewhat that there is one true God (69%), that he is perfect (65%), and that he still answers prayers (66%).

Of the 3,000 respondents, LifeWay identified 586 as evangelicals by belief: those who strongly agreed that the Bible is the highest authority for Christian belief; that personal evangelism is very important; that Jesus’ death on the cross was the only way to cancel the penalty of sin; and that trusting in Jesus is the only way to eternal salvation.

In the previous study, evangelicals identified themselves. The results revealed that they had a surprising level of confusion surrounding core Christian doctrine, including whether Jesus was fully divine, whether the Holy Spirit was a force or a personal being, and whether salvation depends on God or humans making the first move.

But this year’s study showed similar results, indicating that not only are those who self-identify as evangelical confused about the basic tenets of their faith, but so are those who fit the National …

Continue reading

Visit Website

The Self-Entitlement of Joyce Meyer’s Theology

images

Just earlier this month on September 13th, Joyce Meyer released her new book entitled “Seize The Day.” As it seems to be the case more and more every form of a distributor that can distribute anything seemingly “Christian” is jumping on the bandwagon of this nomenclature of sub-Christian literate.

Over the past couple of week’s Joyce Meyer has been releasing tweets on Twitter to draw attention to the publication of her book. She has been promoting her book with colorful, but often inaccurate statements.  One of those more theologically inept utterances was tweeted out on September 22nd. The shallowness of these 140 words pulls back the curtain and allows us to see one of the biggest lies in the Word of Faith theology and the movement itself — Self-Entitlement.

meyer_tweet

Teaching such as found above by Joyce Meyer in her tweet are sadly becoming more numerous by the day.  These statements by these false proclaimers of twisted truth, who worship a god, not of the Bible need to be exposed for what they are.  It is not only the tweets put out by false teachers like Joyce Meyer but her books that do extensive damage by deceiving countless numbers of people into thinking that they are following the God of the Bible, but in reality, they are following a God of their making.

As gathered from the above screenshot of Joyce Meyer’s “#SeizeTheDay” tweet we can see that it is problematic at best and heretical at worst. The meaning behind this tweet is duplicitous in its representation of God. The meaning behind this statement is simple. Joyce Meyer’s message takes and elevates man above God. It is this premise of self-entitlement puts God in the position of owning man something for man following God. In the simplest terms, it comes down to a mentality of “God owes us.”

This self-indulgent attitude towards our position before God is contrary to Scripture. We are told in Scripture (Matthew 5:12) our reward is eternal, not earthly. We are not told to “have what belongs to me as a child of God!” It is that very principle that undermines who we are in Christ. This self-indulgent attitude is a very commonly taught misconception among Word of Faith teachers and followers, the elevation of man’s position above that of Christ and even God. The Bible clearly states the opposite of what is taught by people such as Joyce Meyer. We better understand where we stand before Christ and God when we look at these verses, 1 Corinthians 7:22; Ephesians 6:6; and 2 Timothy 2:24. It is made evident in these verses that we are “bondservants to Christ.” The biblical position of man in relationship to Christ is quite different than that of the position held by Word of Faith teachers.

While Word of Faith teachers like Joyce Meyer promotes a man-centered theology that concentrates on the fulfillment of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  Biblical theology proclaims our need for a Savior and the need for our self-actualization to be found in not choosing an attitude of self-entitlement, but in on of humbleness towards our Lord and Savior. Those who understand their position before Christ rightly know that we are “slaves” to Him who has saved us. We realize that we are owed nothing here on earth, that our greatest “entitlement” here on earth is to pick up our Cross and follow Him daily.

[Contributed by Richard Haas]

See also:

Source: The Self-Entitlement of Joyce Meyer’s Theology

Satan’s Second Greatest Battle Tactic? Creating The God of Mistaken Identity

elevation-churchIt’s hardly an understatement to say that, in the 21st century, the effort of churches to accommodate your personal preferences as to worship “style” is unprecedented in history. There’s a good reason that worship has, perhaps until this current and its most previous century, been constant for those who know and honor the one true God. He determines what acceptable worship is … not us.

Thus, it’s possibly a pertinent consideration to make when assessing a church’s allegiance to Scripture, the book in which God reveals not only details about His nature, will, and plans, but also His expectations of His creatures. Acceptable worship is found therein; He’s told mankind throughout the ages what He accepts and what He rejects when it comes to worship. It ain’t about us; it’s about Him.

If, as many do, a church offers multiple services – increasingly called worship “experiences” – intended to reflect the desired styles targeted to the whims, wishes, and entertainment preferences of the participating pew-sitters, it may just be a clue that church cares little for the divine dictates regarding acceptable worship. Instead, for them, it’s all about you. Surely a Sovereign God rejects such man-centered, and falsely called, “worship.”

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”  Acts 2:42

Yet, while the enemy from Genesis is constantly engaged in his favorite and primary battle tactic – attacking the Word of God – he’s achieved some battle ground in the 21st century by playing on man’s depraved pride, encouraging worship on our terms rather than God’s. Doubtless, Satan cares nothing that you worship “God,” so long as it’s the wrong God as is evidenced by illicit, self-centered worship. When worship becomes about you, it is – by definition – no longer about Him.

“I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.”  Isaiah 42:8

The recent Ligonier Ministries research survey uncovered, however, the prevalence of another technique of the enemy that is increasingly gaining acceptance in the world, and within the church. If man-centered, style-driven worship isn’t bad enough, tweaking the focus of worship is deceptively equal. This Scripture-denying notion is that God accepts worship from all religions, and it’s a widely held notion.

rel

(SOURCE)

The research found that nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) agree with the statement that “God accepts the worship of all religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.” That finding alone may not be particularly surprising given the state of 21st-century American culture in which “tolerance” is the narrative of the day.

But broken out from within that research is a staggering result. Nearly half (48%) of professing evangelicals agreed that an indiscriminate God equally welcomes the worship of the Jew, the Muslim, and the Christian.  Put another way, all three worship, effectively, the same God.

Regardless of whether you view this as a half-full/half-empty cup, the result is the same … half! Come Sunday morning just consider that sitting around you will not only be the token goats but also perhaps professing believers who think that God equally accepts the worship of a modern Muslim or a modern Jew.

Such a notion is blasphemous.

Judaism is a dead religion.  It has no living God. We may like to think fondly of it because God created it and used it in His unfolding, progressive, Old Testament revelation, but the Jews of today, either genetic or political, are not standing in God’s favor. Like every other religion that rejects Christ, modern Jews have no preferential providence on which to rely. They have rejected the Messiah and now live in a gospel-void system of man-made works-righteousness. Evangelicals who agree that Judaism is a Scripturally-agreeable path to God may do so out of nobly intentioned nostalgia, but certainly not from Biblically-informed understanding.

God brought Judaism to a divinely decreed death in the first century with the coming of the promised Messiah. Christ is the new covenant. (Luke 22:20) So perspicuous was God in His plans to decimate the Judaic system that He allowed the complete destruction of its temple in 70 AD, as Christ predicted to His disciples.  (Mark 13:1-2)  There is no temple, because, with the rending of the curtain at Christ’s crucifixion, God would no longer be worshiped in one singular, holy place. He would become resident in all those whom He has chosen, and, since Pentecost, His Holy Spirit has been the guarantor of this better covenant. (2 Corinthians 1:22)  Christ took, once and for all, the position of great high priest. (Hebrews 14:1)  Jews today, in denial of Christ, have neither temple nor priest. God is not accepting their worship.

As for Islam, while it is viewed as one of the three preeminent monotheistic religions of the world, its “theistic” focus is not the God of the Christian Scriptures, nor is it the God familiar to us through the Old Testament revelation. Allah is not another name for God; it’s another name for a false god.

dome-of-the-rockArguably one of the most recognizable images in the world is the Islamic Dome of the Rock shrine currently occupying the former site of Judaism’s temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Islamic shrine on this perennially contested ground was originally constructed in 691, to be rebuilt in 1021 following the collapse of the original lead dome. The structure, beyond its gold-leaf-over-aluminum dome, includes several Quranic-sourced inscriptions describing the idolatrous target of worshippers within.

“In the name of God, the Merciful the Compassionate. There is no god but God. He is One. He has no associate. Say: He is God, the One! God, the eternally Besought of all! He begetteth not nor was begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him. Muḥammad is the Messenger of God, the blessing of God be on him.”

This Arabic text is included on the exterior and interior facades of the shrine, as well as in other locationsinside-the-dome-of-the-rock around it, including the lesser-known copper plaques at its eastern and northern portals.

But note what those words affirm. “There is no god but God. He is One. He has no associate … He begetteth not nor was begotten.”

Not only does this deny the Trinity, it also expressly denies the Incarnation. There is no begotten Son. Though Muslims will affirm a historical Jesus, it most certainly is not the Jesus of Scripture, not the “only begotten Son” of God familiar to Christians.  (John 3:16)

As with modern Jews who engage in a divinely deceased religion, so too for pagans who follow Islam: the one true God of Scripture is absent and distinctly variant from the one they each respectively claim to worship.  Jews, in their denial of Christ, worship an absent God while Muslims merely worship a false god.  Neither worships the Christian God of Scripture who, in these last days, has spoken to us by His Son. (Hebrews 1:1-4)  Monotheism, for Islam, is not a benefactor if that single God happens to be nothing more than false, pagan, and idolatrous. For Jews, monotheism is equally useless as the living God supremely, capitally executed their religion and they failed to follow Him when “the Word became flesh” and dwelt among them. (John 1:14)

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  Luke 9:23

The identity of the God we worship is not unrevealed.  He has, since Genesis 1:1, revealed Himself to us.  The apostle Paul affirms, for those far removed from those days of Eden, that God is not unknown to us, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.” (Romans 1:19)

But the enemy, in this battle for truth, prefers to make indistinguishable that very known God.  In modern churches – not too many days hence – will be services adroitly planned and performed on the basis of the desires, pleasures, and preferences of those attendant pew-sitters.  It’s a far cry from the Lord’s three-pointed exhortation from Luke’s Gospel.  If in our worship we choose not to “deny ourselves,” instead to cater intentionally to our wishes, how can it be said that true worship of the true God has occurred?  Certainly, the enemy loves to have it so.

The father of lies may be winning the worship wars in the modern evangelical church by encouraging us not to “deny himself” and to focus more on our stylistic preferences than on God’s expectations, but he’s not merely re-orienting worship away from God and towards us. He’s also deceiving many about exactly who is being worshipped. If this Sunday morning you’d have no problem if the worship tech wizard in your church’s control booth should synonymously and seamlessly interweave “Jesus” and “Allah” on the big screen behind the pulpit-free platform, you need to- for the sake of your very soul – follow the apostolically commanded exhortation, “Examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.” (2 Corinthians 13:5)

It’s one thing for the world to have no understanding of God, but it’s quite another for professing believers to misidentify Him. Perhaps if pastors and churches would spend less time on whiz-bang light shows, emotions-driven music, and stylized worship “experiences” and more in actually doing as they are commanded – Preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2) – professing pew-sitters wouldn’t be so inclined to mistake the pagan idol of Allah or the absent deity of dead Judaism for the Holy God of His fully-revealed Word.

God will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). Neither will He be merciful on the grounds of mistaken identity.  He has made certain that we can know Him.  He has revealed Himself to us through His Word. That Word became flesh, and that Word became Text.  We’ve no excuse.

This Sunday … skip “churches” where the 7-11 “praise” music, mantra-like contemplative it’s-all-about-you nonsense is choreographed for the benefit of your personal “experience”.   Go where “Preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2) is the spotlight of the show, where Christ in that Word is exalted,  and worship the One True God in reverence and awe. (Hebrews 12:28)  Jews and Muslims won’t be worshipping Him, but authentic Christians will … because we know exactly who He is.  (1 Corinthians 8:6)

[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]

Source: Satan’s Second Greatest Battle Tactic? Creating The God of Mistaken Identity

Our Blessed Hope: The Return of Christ

Christ could come at any moment. I believe that with all my heart—not because of what I read in the newspapers, but because of what I read in Scripture.

From the very earliest days of the church, the apostles and first-generation Christians nurtured an earnest expectation and fervent hope that Christ might suddenly return at any time to gather His church to heaven. James, writing what was probably the earliest of the New Testament epistles, expressly told his readers that the Lord’s return was imminent:

Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! (5:7–9).

Peter echoed that same expectation when he wrote, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers” (1 Pet 4:7). The writer of Hebrews cited the imminent return of Christ as a reason to remain faithful: “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb 10:24–25). He wrote, “Yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry” (v. 37).

And the apostle John made the most confident pronouncement of all: “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). When John recorded his vision in the book of Revelation, he prefaced it by saying these things “must shortly take place” (Rev 1:1).

The New Testament writers often wrote of Christ’s “appearing,” and they never failed to convey the sense that this could happen imminently. “And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming” (1 John 2:28; cf. 3:2; Col 3:4; 2 Tim 4:8; 1 Pet 5:4).

All those texts suggest that in the early church expectation of Christ’s imminent return ran high. A solid conviction that Christ could return at any time permeates the whole NT.

When the apostle Paul described the Lord’s coming for the church, he used personal pronouns that show he clearly was convinced he himself might be among those who would be caught up alive to meet the Lord: “We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord . . . . we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess 4:15, 17). He obviously looked for Christ to return in his lifetime.

He furthermore made it plain that a watchful, hopeful expectancy about Christ’s Second Coming is one of the godly attitudes divine grace teaches all believers:

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11–13).

How Could Christ’s Coming Have Been Imminent in the Early Church?

Some argue that Christ’s coming could not possibly have been imminent for the early church, given the obvious fact that two thousand years later, He has still not returned.

Skeptics often ridicule Christianity or challenge the inerrancy of Scripture on that very ground. After all, the verses cited at the beginning of this chapter do prove that James, Peter, John, Paul, and the writer of Hebrews all believed Christ’s return was very near—”at the door” (Jas 5:9); “at hand” (Phil 4:5;
1 Pet 4:7); “approaching” (Heb 10:25); “com[ing] quickly” (Rev 3:11; 22:7).

How can it be, then, that two thousand years later Christ still has not returned? Could the apostles have been in error about the timing? That is precisely what some skeptics claim.

What shall we make of such skeptical allegations? Does the passing of two thousand years indeed prove that Christ’s coming was not imminent in the early church era, and that the apostles were mistaken?

Certainly not. Remember the clear statement of Christ in Matt 24:42: “You do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” The exact time remains hidden from us, as it was from the apostles. But Christ could nonetheless come at any time. The Judge is still at the door. The day is still at hand. There are no other events that must occur on the prophetic calendar before Christ comes to meet us in the air. He could come at any moment. And it is in that sense that Christ’s coming is imminent.

In the very same sense, His coming was imminent even in the days of the early church.

I suppose it is also possible that Christ could delay his coming another two thousand years or longer. Given the rapid decline of society, I do not see how that is possible, but neither did the apostles when they surveyed the state of the world in their time. He still could delay His coming. That is why Christ taught us to be prepared, whether He comes immediately or delays longer than we think possible (cf. Matt 24:42–25:12).

In any case, the passing of two thousand years is no reproach whatsoever against the faithfulness of God or the trustworthiness of His Word. This is precisely the point Peter made when he anticipated the scoffers who would arise, mocking the promise of Christ’s return (2 Pet 3:3-4). Peter’s reply to those scoffers? “With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (v. 8).

The amount of earthly time that passes is of no consequence. It is certainly irrelevant from God’s timeless point of view. A moment is like many eons in His mind, and eons pass like moments. He is not bound by time as we are, and no amount of time can ever nullify His faithfulness. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (v. 9).

In other words, the real reason for the Lord’s delay is not that He is negligent or careless in fulfilling his promises, but simply because He is longsuffering and kind, delaying Christ’s coming and the wrath that will accompany it while he calls out people to salvation. And Christ will not return before the merciful
purposes of God are complete. Far from suggesting apathy or neglect on God’s part, the long delay before Christ’s appearing simply underscores the remarkable depth of His nearly inexhaustible mercy and longsuffering.

And therefore the fact that two-thousand years have elapsed is utterly irrelevant to the doctrine of Christ’s imminent return. Christ’s coming is still imminent. It could occur at any moment. The command to be ready and watchful is as applicable to us as it was to the early church. In fact, the return of Christ should be an even more urgent issue for us, because it is drawing nearer with the passing of each day.

We still do not know when Christ is coming, but we do know that we are two thousand years closer to that event than James was in those earliest days of the Christian era, when the Holy Spirit moved him to warn the church that the coming of the Lord was at hand and the Judge was already standing at the door.

Today’s post was adapted from Dr. MacArthur’s MSJ article entitled “Is Christ’s Return Imminent?” Click here to read the full article.

 

The post Our Blessed Hope: The Return of Christ appeared first on The Master’s Seminary.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-12 (NASB) 

As we study the Greek underlying our translations of Ephesians 6:10-20 pertaining to the “whole armor of God” we learn that Christians are commanded to ἐνδύσασθε or to put on the whole armor of God once-for-all and never take it off because it is to our benefit especially when we find ourselves in circumstances where we are in the minority standing firm as our Lord commanded. Why? The Church and God’s truth are continually under…

View original post 920 more words