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APOSTASY in church, singers, actors, etcThe APOSTASY of the CHURCH
Pastors no longer have the backbone that they once had
2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
We have entered into a time where biblical prophecy can be found in the daily news paper on a daily basis. One of the things that is spoken of in scripture is the actions of the ‘social church’ in the last days. The ‘social church’ is not the true church as the true church will hold strong to the precepts of God. The social church will lean heavily towards what society accepts. Today’s society has accepted people living together without the benefit of marriage. In the social church this subject is very rarely talked about and many in that church are living together without being married. Today’s society has no problem with divorce for almost any reason. In the social church the divorce rate is actually higher than in the world. Society does not have a problem with alcohol and I have seen the social church actually serving alcohol on church property. Society is beginning to accept same-sex marriage and all that it brings with it. We have many denominations that are now ordaining practicing homosexuals to lead their churches.
These insane actions from today’s so-called churches do nothing but confuse the parishioners. When the Bible says one thing about a subject but the preacher teaches something entirely the opposite, this causes confusion. 1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” Now that we have verified where the teachings that are contrary to the Bible are originated we can understand why too many ‘churches’ are so far away from what the Bible teaches. When the church ignores the laws and precepts of God’s Word, the church becomes ineffective in the society that it exists in.
The church in America was the center of government, education and enforcement during the founding years. These churches relied on what God required and then acted accordingly. That philosophy created the greatest nation the world will ever see. It was only when the church began to allow the philosophy of the worlds system into the church that the church began to lose its influence in the society where it once flourished. No system of governing that man has devised has ever been successful. The fall of all empires, the Greek, Persian, and Roman and even Russia are perfect examples. America’s system, based on biblical principles, has been the most effective, prosperous and successful for its people than any form of government this world has ever seen. Yet, we no longer embrace the values taught in scripture. The decline was gradual until 1954. At that time then Senator Lyndon Johnson attached an amendment to an IRS bill that made it illegal for a 501(c)3 corporation to be involved in the political arena. When the church was taken out of the political arena, the influence of godly principles began to fall exponentially.
Today most pastors don’t know that the church was ever involved in politics. This is disturbing because when you study the Bible God always had a man of God in a position of influence to those in government, always. That should give some pastors a hint that this should still be happening. I have spoken with many pastors about being involved in the political arena by preaching the importance of godly men in office, something that our Founders were very strong concerning and they look at me with terror in their eyes because of the fear of losing their precious 501(c)3. The Bible tells us that we are to have godly men in authority over us: Exodus 18:21 “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:”. This is the verse the Founders used to establish the different levels of government; local, state and federal. Then we are told to pray for those in authority over us; 1 Timothy 2:1 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
(2) For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. What sense does it make to put ungodly men and women in authority over us and then spend all our time praying that they do godly things?
The church has been so slack in standing for the things of God that we have allowed our rights and freedoms to be taken from us mostly without a fight. In 1947 the Supreme Court reversed the meaning of the 1st Amendment stating that there should never be a biblical influence in government instead of never having governmental influence in the church and the church did nothing. In 1954 they stood by and let our freedom of speech and our right to participate in the political process be taken away and the church did nothing. In 1962 they made it illegal to pray in school and the church did nothing. In 1963 they took the Bible out of the school and the church did nothing.
Now there is a case before the Supreme Court that, if decided in the governments favor, will allow the government to tell the church who they can hire for ministers and even if they will allow a minister to hold certain positions in the church. Little by little we have lost our rights and freedoms because the church has refused to stand for what is right.
An evaluation of little-c christianity and Big-C Christianity
Chrislam, Churches promoting Islam - Spiritual treason!
Episcopal Church is apostate
HARBINGER WARNINGS - Isaiah 9 prophecy
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ZionsCRY NEWS with Prophetic Commentary
ARE SOUTHERN BAPTISTS DESPERATE TO ELECT MITT ROMNEY?
I present these thoughts from Wm Dwight McKissic, Sr., pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, TX. as food for thought:
Evangelist Billy Graham historically has been a highly respected figure in the Black Community. Long before it was popular, he insisted on his meetings being racially inclusive, befriended Black preachers (including Dr. King) and singers and publically disagreed with Dr. W.A. Criswell’s segregation views, prior to his “open door” conversion. Billy Graham was highly regarded in the home I grew up in and viewed as a man whose heart was in the right place regarding issues of race.
However, Billy Graham’s recent departure from his lifelong practice of not engaging in partisan politics, and his removing the Mormon Religion from his website as a cult has generated a lot of discussion among Black pastors. The impression Graham’s decision leaves is that for the sake of electing Mitt Romney as President, he is willing to declassify Mormonism as a cult and engage in partisan politics for the first time in 94 years of living.
The question many are asking is, “why”? And, why now? If nominal Southern Baptists as Bill Clinton and Al Gore occupied the White House at the curret moment, the question is would Billy Graham have made the same decision? Even Ed Stetzer and Richard Land have taken a softer view on labeling Mormonism as a cult. Why? Stetzer and Land want to label Mormonism a fourth great world religion. Why? Unbelievable! Are Southern Baptists that desperate to elect Mitt Romney?
The Southern Baptist Convention unanimously approved a resolution condemning President Obama’s position on gay marriage and his view of equating gay rights with civil rights—but refused to even bring to the floor for a vote a resolution condemning racism in Mormon documents. The question is why would Southern Baptists approve of one, while rejecting the other?
Could it be that on both sides of the racial divide, that our theology is driven more by race, culture and economics than it is by theology, righteousness and the common good? The SBC’s refusal to condemn Mormon racist text aligns itself with the BGEA declassification of Mormonism being a cult. Both decisions were driven by placing partisan politics above theological integrity and accuracy.
Millennials Harmfully 'Reworking' God's Image
Dr. Owen Strachan, assistant professor of Christian Theology and Church History at Boyce College in Louisville, Ky., told those gathered in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday that this "reworking" distorts historic Christianity. "Some of the so-called Millennial generation is finding the Gospel of Christ and the body of ethics it animates is a reproach. So God must be reworked," said Strachan. "The message of salvation through judgment that propelled the historic church to preach and act and love must be reworked into a declaration of God's absolute and total love without concern for its holiness." Strachan lamented that this reworking transforms God into "the great acceptor of all" without regards to matters of sin and forgiveness.
Bono Praises Students for Voting for Obama
Nov 2012 Bono, lead singer for the rock band U2, called Barack Obama an “extraordinary man” and congratulated young voters for supporting him (“Bono to Students,” The Daily Caller, Nov. 13, 2012). Speaking at Georgetown University on the power of social media, Bono said: “Congratulations are in order--not just for turning out in record [numbers] and forgetting politics for a minute, but for electing an extraordinary man as president.”
Bono is a professing Christian. In fact, he is one of the most acclaimed figures and one of the most influential voices in the emerging church. And he is right about Obama being extraordinary. He is extraordinary in his support for the murder of unborn children, in his zeal to legitimize homosexual “marriage” and to empower the practitioners of every moral perversion, and in his passion to bankrupt America and cripple its military and hasten some sort of one-world government.
Bono is extraordinary in his own right. He is extraordinary in his spiritual blindness and inability to rightly divide the Word of God and in his passion to call good evil and evil good and in his amazing capacity to claim allegiance to Christ while partying like the devil.
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!” (Isaiah 5:20-23).
From Ed Decker's email list...
Saints Alive and The Decker Report November, 2012
Dear friends, I will try to make this short and to the point. I have taken a different direction in my radio programming for the rest of the year. I will describe the new programming below in my message.
As we all now know, all the hype of the elections has brought us a continuation of the last four years and while Romney was defeated, the LDS church has made huge gains in their acceptability as a regular Christian group.
They have reworked their missionary program to now take kids right out of high school instead of giving them a few extra years to mature.
According to their own PR, this means that there will be up to 100,000 Mormon missionaries roaming the street of the world, bringing their message of false doctrine to the world.
In one news article, the LDS spokesperson stated that now was the time to take advantage of the "Mormon Moment" of national acceptability and hit the streets in the USA while people wanted to know more about Romney's faith.
This means we will be busier than ever responding to the folks who want to know more about what they "Really" believe.
If I said that we can really use some people to partner with us financially and in prayer, it would be a very real understatement.
Would you pray about helping us in the ministry outreach to those lost in spiritual darkness? It is a heavy load to carry. We need your help today.
Your brother in Christ, Ed Decker
Churchianity made a big mistake by openly embracing Romney, and putting the leaven of politics over the word of God. It was one thing to endorse Bush II, but this particular case is much different and far worse.
Gal_5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Philippians_1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
2 Th_2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
Census shows that Christianity in Britain is 'on the way out'
12/11/12 Professor Richard Dawkins, the leading scientist and prominent atheist, responds to the sharp drop in the number of people describing themselves at Christians in the 2011 census.
The drop in those ticking the Christian box, from 71.7 per cent in 2001 to 59.3 per cent in 2011, is highly significant. Even more dramatic is the rise in numbers professing “No religion”, from 14.8 per cent to 25.1 per cent.The two together represent a genuine shift of opinion, away from Christianity and towards unbelief. This is quite different from the increase in Muslims, which surely is due to demographics only: nobody could seriously suggest that any significant number of people in this country would actually convert to Islam. And, unlike Christianity, converting away from Islam carries certain penalties calculated to deter.
The exhilaratingly high figure of 25 per cent for non-believers – far more than any group except Christians – would be even higher if the census question on religion had been more intelligently framed. If they had asked “Do you have a religion?” instead of “What is your religion?”, polling data from the British Social Attitudes Survey confirms commonsense: the numbers of nonbelievers would have been massively higher. Non-belief is not a religion, and it is insulting to frame a question that presumes that everyone has a religion, in the same way as they have an age and a sex.
But in any case, do the 59 per cent who ticked the Christian box really believe in Christianity? Of course they are free to fasten any label they like to whatever it is they believe. But though they may call it Christianity, are bishops, priests and Christian lobbyists entitled to draw support from the 59 per cent? That depends on what the 59 per cent really do believe. To discover exactly that, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (UK) commissioned an Ipsos MORI poll in the very week after the census. We asked only those who ticked the Christian box a series of supplementary questions. The results should be devastating to anybody who wants to claim that this is still a Christian country, which should be run in accordance with Christian values.
Only 32 per cent of the census “Christians” believe in the resurrection of Jesus. Only 35 per cent could pick out the correct answer to “What is the first book of the New Testament?” when given a 4-way choice of Matthew, Genesis, Acts, Psalms. When asked why they had ticked the Christian box, only 28 per cent of those who did so said it was because they believe the teachings of Christianity. The most popular answer to that question was, “I like to think of myself as a good person.” What? You ticked the Christian box because you like to think of yourself as a good person? Are you serious? Do you think atheists, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists don’t think of themselves as good people?
Yet, when these “Census Christians” were asked where they turned when faced with a moral dilemma, only ten per cent said they turned to their religion. The majority turned to relatives or to their own inner moral sense, which of course is what good atheists do. So much for the cliché that you need God to be good. And those who think that our laws and governance should follow Christian values should be disconcerted by the following. Seventy four per cent of the Census Christians are secular in that they think religion should have no special influence on public policy.
After the 2001 census, politicians and clerics used the 72 per cent Christian figure as a weapon to argue for Christian influence in public life. This time, despite the poor wording of the religion question, they will not be able to pull the same trick. Not only has the official figure dropped to 59 per cent. The percentage of those self-identifying Christians who either believe in the central tenets of Christianity, or who think Christianity should be given special status in our national policy, is now very low indeed. Christianity is on the way out in this country. We must hope that other religions will go the same way.
Worshipping Jesus Has Never Been Any Sexier!
Founded in 2010, the company’s website features teen models giving the camera their best PG-13 “come hither” looks, often wearing little more than tees and tanks splashed with slogans like “A Date With J.C.”, “God Knows My Secrets,” and “Worship Crew.” OMG, with its Second Commandment-bending name, takes the seduction of young Christians in a new direction, with its products' odd syncretism between pop religion and hyper-sexualized pop culture. OMG’s website explains the mission: “We believe in sharing our faith & love through fashion while embracing our fun & characteristic lifestyle as well as giving back to the community.” The message I received from a tour of the website was that this fun and characteristic lifestyle is overtly sensual in nature. The imprinted messages splashed across the front of the tees baptize that sensuality in churchy language. It’s casual wear for the hot Christian girl or woman!
Young Earth Creationist Ministry's Biggest Critics: Christians
For 30 years, Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis has advocated a literal, straightforward reading of Genesis, the first book of the Bible. Interestingly, his staunchest critics have been fellow Christians.
Ham believes that God is the Creator of the universe and that it took six literal days for God to create everything. That view, he says, is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God as infallible. To reject that belief is to undermine that authority.
Yet many Christians, he laments, not only dismiss the literal reading of the Creation account but also feel embarrassed by it.
"In today's modern scientific age, many Christians believe it's an embarrassment to accept a straightforward reading of Genesis and that Christians should not reject the majority view in the scientific community that accepts millions of years and other evolutionary beliefs," Ham, whose ministry is behind the Creation Museum, told The Christian Post this week.
The Christian apologist recently blogged about the criticism his ministry receives from mostly within the church.
"The criticism from Christians happens so often that we (sadly) have now come to expect a steady stream of negative comments whenever we proclaim the truth of the history of Genesis," he wrote.
But it doesn't come as a surprise to him. In fact, the reason he founded Answers in Genesis 19 years ago was "to help bring reformation to the church and see Christians accept the full authority of the Bible, starting from its very first verse," he explained to CP.
One supporter of Answers in Genesis was stunned to encounter opposition to the literal six days view. The supporter, identified as J.C. from Boise, Idaho, described that incident to AiG.
"I was at the gym, in the locker room, telling a pastor how great the [Creation] museum was. Pastor Jack asked me, 'You believe in a literal 6 days?'
"'Absolutely!' I replied.
"Then out of nowhere, a man came around the corner who overheard our conversation said, 'Ken Ham is a piece of c-,'" J.C. recounted. "This man went on to tell me that he has four degrees, studies fossils, bends light, is a Christian, and is a follower of Reasons to Believe and its president Hugh Ross. But out of his same mouth he called a fellow Christian a piece of c-. There was no sign of the humble heart of a Christian.
"I can't believe that I have fellow brothers and sisters wanting to side with 'scientists.'
"This has been a real eye-opener for me."
Dinesh D'Souza, a Christian who authored The Roots of Obama's Rage and co-directed "2016: Obama's America," counted himself out of the "fundamentalist" Christian circle, saying last week in a debate in New York City that creation science is "nonsense."
He rejected a "fundamentalist," or in this case literal, reading of the Bible, claiming that only 3 percent of Christians subscribe to that.
"D'Souza clearly rejects the historicity of Genesis," Ham observed. "In response to evolutionist Dr. Lawrence Krauss, who said that the Bible is wrong because it teaches that light was created before the sun, D'Souza agreed with Krauss.
"[H]e continues to say that he does not appeal to the Bible to support any of the arguments he makes but argues on the basis of reason alone. But God's Word is true and illuminating, and human reason is flawed (Genesis 3). D'Souza is handicapping himself with that kind of strategy, and the debate is lost even before it starts."
D'Souza was arguing against the motion that science refutes God in an Intelligence Squared debate.
Answers in Genesis is largely known for advocating a young Earth view – that the universe is about 6,000 years old. That belief, Ham argues, comes from the Bible. If you start with the Bible alone, without considering any outside influences, you cannot come up with millions or billions of years of history, Ham states.
"However, the reason they don't believe God created in six literal days is because they are convinced from so-called 'science' that the world is billions of years old. In other words, they are admitting that they start outside the Bible to (re)interpret the Words of Scripture," Ham maintains.
"There aren't separate sets of 'evidences' for evolution and creation – we all deal with the same evidence (we all live on the same earth, have the same fossils, observe the same animals, etc.). The difference lies in how we interpret what we study."
Ham has made it clear that AiG's main thrust is not "young Earth" but simply biblical authority.
According to a study conducted by America's Research Group and published in Ham's Already Gonei, more than 40 percent of surveyed twenty-somethings first had doubts that all the accounts in the Bible are true during their high school years. Among those who said they do not believe all the biblical accounts are true, 14 percent said it was because "science shows the world is old."
More recently, a LifeWay Research survey found that 43 percent of Protestant pastors don't believe the earth is 6,000 years old while 46 percent do.
Genesis, Ham contends, is the most-attacked book of the Bible and he's hoping to get Christians to reclaim "the foundations of our faith," starting with the first verse.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Why Evangelicals are the new partners for immigration reform
1/8/13 Advocates for immigration reform should seek support from an unlikely source – evangelical Christians. Their political agenda is broadening as Hispanic congregants – documented and undocumented – increase and pastors speak of immigration as a religious concern.
Most Congress-watchers have low expectations for America's legislative branch over the next two years, and with good reason. The 2012 election again showed a divided electorate, and political stalemate and partisan rancor abound in Washington.
Despite this difficult climate, political support is rapidly building in favor of legislation that has confounded presidents and Congresses since 1986: comprehensive immigration reform. Advocates trying to build a winning coalition for reform should seek support from an unlikely source – evangelical Christians.
Evangelicals have been a key Republican voting bloc for several decades. According to exit polls, about 1 in 4 voters in November's election was a white Evangelical, and they voted overwhelmingly Republican.
Although most Americans associate theologically conservative Christians with cultural issues such as abortion and gay marriage, the evangelical political agenda is broadening. Immigration reform is one issue that has steadily gained momentum.
What might account for this change?
For one, pastors and religious leaders are talking more about the issue as a religious concern. Many scriptural passages relate to immigration – including the famous 40-year wilderness journey of the children of Israel to the Promised Land. But most evangelical churches and organizations have only recently begun to underscore the biblical connection to immigration.
New pro-immigrant movements are seeking to educate and activate evangelical clergy and voters by emphasizing themes of love, justice, and welcome for the stranger that resound throughout the Hebrew Bible and New Testament.
Another factor that explains increasing awareness of immigrant issues is simple math.
Much like the nation, evangelicalism is becoming more ethnically diverse. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 13 percent of Hispanic Americans describe themselves as evangelical Protestants. Immigrant churches are growing rapidly, and many denominations have created new structures and leadership posts designed to serve Hispanic congregants. Immigration – including illegal immigration – touches the lives of many in the pews, and church leaders want to help.
Also, greater numbers of Evangelicals are worshiping alongside documented and undocumented immigrants, getting to know them and listening to their stories.
Perhaps the strongest sign of Evangelicals' advocacy is the emergence of new organizations and coalitions focusing on the issue.
In October 2011, Cedarville University, a conservative Christian college in Ohio, hosted the "G92" immigration conference. Taking its name from the Hebrew word for immigrant, ger, which appears 92 times in the Hebrew Bible, the conference has spawned a new movement designed to mobilize Christian college students to advocate on behalf of all immigrants. Leaders are planning half a dozen events across the country in 2013.
The Evangelical Immigration Table, founded in June 2012 by nine heads of evangelical organizations, is networking with evangelical leaders from across the spectrum to support immigration reform. Founders include the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, a large umbrella group representing many denominations and associations; Richard Land, an outspoken conservative and Southern Baptist leader; and Jim Wallis, bestselling author and leader of the left-leaning social justice organization Sojourners.
**FYI, Richard Land is a CFR member!
In June 2012, the Table released a wide-reaching, seven-point plan for immigration reform that included a call for secure borders, protection of family unity, and a path toward legal status or citizenship. It also left out many of the thorniest details, such as what steps a pathway to legal status would include and who would be eligible.
Even so, as religion writer Lisa Miller said in The Washington Post, the plan is "a document of exceptional accord among groups that rarely find themselves on the same side of anything."
The week after the presidential election, the Table sent letters to President Obama and congressional leaders asking for a meeting within the first 92 days of the president's new term to move forward reform legislation. Change is clearly afoot.
Of course, evangelical voters are not monolithic, and their views on illegal immigration vary widely. Data from a 2010 Pew Research Center study suggest that grass-roots Evangelicals are divided, but a majority (54 percent) now favor policies that include some sort of pathway to citizenship.
This majority is likely to grow. Researcher Ruth Melkonian-Hoover's analysis of polling data suggests that white Evangelicals who worship alongside immigrants (she did not distinguish between legal and illegal) are less likely to view immigrants as a threat. When pastors preach positive messages about immigrants, congregants' opinions shift, and support for a path to legalization rises sharply.
Since the November election – heavily influenced by Hispanic voters – legislators have more political space to advocate for immigration reform. Some Republicans are joining the effort out of desire to reach Hispanics. Others who previously felt strong political pressure to avoid the issue now feel more freedom to advocate for reform.
Evangelical elites from across the ideological spectrum are beginning to come together to advocate for immigration reform. Millions of Americans in the pews may soon follow their lead, and, if so, wise legislators will pay attention.
Evangelical coalition seeks immigration overhaul HUH??
1/14/13 — Prominent evangelical leaders announced a new effort Monday to persuade conservative Christians and lawmakers they should support overhauling U.S. immigration laws.
Called "I Was A Stranger," the campaign asks churches to spend 40 days studying Scripture related to immigration, centered on the Matthew 25 exhortation to clothe and feed the stranger. Organizers hope to create a groundswell of support for changes that balance national security with keeping immigrant families together.
The coalition includes the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents about 40 denominations; the public policy arm of the 16 million-member Southern Baptist Convention; Esperanza, the Latino evangelical economic development group; pastor Bill Hybels of the influential Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois; and writer Max Lucado. Sojourners, the liberal-leaning evangelical advocacy group, is also participating.
"In the Anglo churches, there are so many more Hispanic people that we know and love," said the Rev. Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland church, which serves about 15,000 congregants in the Orlando, Fla., area. "There's a readiness, even in the Anglo churches, to address this."
Many evangelical leaders have actively supported reform in recent years as the number of immigrants has increased in their churches. However, rank-and-file congregants have been slower to take up the issue beyond demands for stronger national borders. In surveys, white evangelicals have generally ranked border security as their top priority. However, about four in ten have told pollsters they would favor an approach giving equal weight to national security and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
The evangelical push on the issue comes amid renewed interest in immigration reform from Congress and the White House. In the immediate aftermath of the November election, congressional Republicans suggested the time was right for reform talks. President Barack Obama, who won a record share of Hispanic voters, renewed his pledge to prioritize immigration reform.
Evangelical leaders said they are not backing any specific proposal right now.
Massive number of US cities abandon Bible
Feb 2013 In times of trouble, many people often wonder, “Oh, God. Where are you when I need you most?”
But with the nation facing drastic financial and social challenges in recent years, a new study ranking American support for the Holy Bible reveals an astounding 91 out of 96 U.S. cities – a whopping 95 percent – are not “Bible-minded.”
The study by the California-based Barna Group on behalf of the American Bible Society is based on 42,855 nationwide interviews, and defines “Bible-minded” people as individuals who typically read the Bible each week and who strongly assert Scripture is accurate in the principles it teaches.
Authors of the report say the definition captures action and attitude – those who both engage and esteem the Christian Scriptures, reflecting an overall openness or resistance to the Bible in the country’s largest markets.
“The overall picture that is painted depends on one’s vantage point,” said David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group. “The least sanguine way to analyze the results would be to emphasize the lack of Bible-mindedness in America. In 91 out of 96 markets, a majority of the residents are not Bible-minded.”
Walk as children of Light
(for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them
for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.
But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.
Should Christians Expose Error?
Exposing Error: Is It Worthwhile? By Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951)
Objection is often raised even by some sound in the faith-regarding the exposure of error as being entirely negative and of no real edification. Of late, the hue and cry has been against any and all negative teaching. But the brethren who assume this attitude forget that a large part of the New Testament, both of the teaching of our blessed Lord Himself and the writings of the apostles, is made up of this very character of ministry-namely, showing the Satanic origin and, therefore, the unsettling results of the propagation of erroneous systems which Peter, in his second epistle, so definitely refers to as “damnable heresies.”
Our Lord prophesied, “Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” Within our own day, how many false prophets have risen; and oh, how many are the deceived! Paul predicted, “I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch.” My own observation is that these “grievous wolves,” alone and in packs, are not sparing even the most favoured flocks. Undershepherds in these “perilous times” will do well to note the apostle’s warning:
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.” It is as important in these days as in Paul’s-in fact, it is increasingly important-to expose the many types of false teaching that, on every hand, abound more and more.
We are called upon to “contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints,” while we hold the truth in love. The faith means the whole body of revealed truth, and to contend for all of God’s truth necessitates some negative teaching. The choice is not left with us. Jude said he preferred a different, a pleasanter theme-”Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3, 4). Paul likewise admonishes us to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11).
This does not imply harsh treatment of those entrapped by error-quite the opposite. If it be objected that exposure to error necessitates unkind reflection upon others who do not see as we do, our answer is: it has always been the duty of every loyal servant of Christ to warn against any teaching that would make Him less precious or cast reflection upon His finished redemptive work and the all-sufficiency of His present service as our great High Priest and Advocate.
Every system of teaching can be judged by what it sets forth as to these fundamental truths of the faith. “What think ye of Christ?” is still the true test of every creed. The Christ of the Bible is certainly not the Christ of any false “-ism.” Each of the cults has its hideous caricature of our lovely Lord.
Let us who have been redeemed at the cost of His precious blood be “good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” As the battle against the forces of evil waxes ever more hot, we have need for God-given valour.
There is constant temptation to compromise. “Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” It is always right to stand firmly for what God has revealed concerning His blessed Son’s person and work. The “father of lies” deals in half-truths and specializes in most subtle fallacies concerning the Lord Jesus, our sole and sufficient Savior.
Error is like leaven of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.
Exposing error is most unpopular work. But from every true standpoint it is worthwhile work. To our Savior, it means that He receives from us, His blood-bought ones, the loyalty that is His due. To ourselves, if we consider “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt,” it ensures future reward, a thousand-fold. And to souls “caught in the snare of the fowler”-how many of them God only knows-it may mean light and life, abundant and everlasting.
Basically, shamanism is the belief system that utilizes shamans in order to make contact with the spirit world. According to the Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, traditional shamanism “is where the shaman functions as healer, spiritual leader, and mediator between the spirits and people.”1
Shamanism is found in most cultures. In Western society, Native Spirituality is the main venue, but it is not confined to Native Spirituality. The New Age movement began incorporating shamanistic rituals into their own New Age spirituality:
New Agers have felt attracted to shamanism for a variety of reasons. A major factor in this attraction is that, while the shaman is a kind of mystic, the focus is on the forces of nature rather than an otherworldy mysticism. . . . Other attractions are the use of mind-altering drugs, including peyote, and the romanticized images of nature. 2
Within Native Spirituality, shamans depend heavily upon drumming, singing, dancing, and chanting in order to get spirits to enter them and to help them. What many people probably do not realize is that shamanism is very dangerous.
In biblical terms, shamanism is the use of supposed spirit guides to attain spiritual power, knowledge, and healing, but the cost is ghastly, and the “dangers of shamanistic initiation”3 are many. Some of these dangers and symptoms would be identical to what happens in Kundalini, which is a dangerous and powerful energy coming from deep meditation. This list shows what can happen when demonic realms are accessed through deep meditation practices in Native Spirituality, shamanism, and the New Age movement. Shockingly, Christians are now practicing this occultic meditation through the contemplative prayer movement:
Burning hot or ice cold streams moving up the spine.
Perhaps a feeling of air bubbles or snake movement up through the body.
Pains in varying locations throughout the body.
Tension or stiffness of neck, and headaches.
Feeling of overpressure within the head.
Vibrations, unease, or cramps in legs and other parts of the body.
Fast pulse and increased metabolism.
Disturbance in the breathing—and/or heart function.
Parapsychological abilities. Light phenomena in or outside the body.
Problems with finding balance between strong sexual urges, and a wish to live in sublime purity.
Persistent anxiety or anxiety attacks, due to lack of understanding of what is going on.
Insomnia, manic high spirits or deep depression. Energy loss.
Impaired concentration and memory.
Total isolation due to inability to communicate inner experiences out.
Experiences of possession and poltergeist phenomena.4
Other dangers would include insanity and psychosis. What’s more, the use of shamanism in contemporary culture is widespread and the results are often devastating:
[S]hamanism often involves the shaman in tremendous personal suffering and pain (magically, he often ‘dies’ in the most horrible of torments) . . . it often involves the shaman in demon possession, insanity, sexual perversion, and so on.5
Such a terrifying perversion of God’s merciful ways is completely unnecessary, for Christ gives the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of love and goodness—to all who call upon His name and put their trust in Him (Romans 5:5).
Colossians 2:9-10 states the truth for Christians:
For in him [the Lord Jesus Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”
Muddy Waters, I’ll Never Go Back - by former shaman, Chief Shoefoot.
Many Christians are involved with this same kind of occult practice through the contemplative prayer movement.
Churchianity, believe it or not, is the one that endorses illegal immigration reform. But on the contrary, it's mostly the unbelievers that are AGAINST it?
It seems like whatever up is down, and down is up nowdays...
Majority of U.S. citizens say illegal immigrants should be deported
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than half of U.S. citizens believe that most or all of the country's 11 million illegal immigrants should be deported, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday that highlights the difficulties facing lawmakers trying to reform the U.S. immigration system.
The online survey shows resistance to easing immigration laws despite the biggest push for reform in Congress since 2007.
Thirty percent of those polled think that most illegal immigrants, with some exceptions, should be deported, while 23 percent believe all illegal immigrants should be deported.
Only 5 percent believe all illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the United States legally, and 31 percent want most illegal immigrants to stay.
Conservative evangelical Christians sign on for immigration overhaul pitch
After years of silence and even hostility to modifying immigration laws, conservative evangelical Christians have become unlikely allies in pressing for a path to citizenship for those here illegally because, they say, the Bible told them so.
A coalition of religious leaders in Texas and elsewhere, many with strong credentials as social conservatives, is engaging congregations in a coordinated call for Congress and the White House to deal with 11 million illegal immigrants.
“Circumstances culturally and politically have thrown evangelicals back on their biblical authority to ask, ‘What does the Bible really say about this?’” said George Mason, senior pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas. “There may be lots of political positions that differ on how we accomplish it, but they want to be on the side of God in their minds.”
While moderate and liberal religious groups have long been a part of the immigration debate, the increasingly active involvement of conservative evangelicals marks what Mason called “a sea change” by an important group that could help move Washington toward political consensus.
**Rev 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. Confused
“I can assure you our folks are strongly conservative — an overwhelming majority vote Republican and conservative in every way, socially and politically,” said David Fleming, pastor of Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston. “But this is an issue that transcends that category.”
Does this include pro-abortion, anti-gun, pro-gay rights people like Mitt Romney and John McCain? Rolling Eyes Oh - Bush I and II were Skull and Bones, and Reagan was a 33rd Degree Freemason. And Mormon Romney is pro-universal healthcare. WHOOPS!
“I’ve had people say to me and write me, ‘You’re going to get fired because you’re out of step with your people,’” said Fleming. “Look, I pastor these people. I know their hearts. And if you can show them from the Scriptures that we’re to be both just and compassionate and, practically speaking, must solve the problem, they’ll say of course we do.”
White evangelical Protestants have been among the least supportive religious groups on a comprehensive immigration approach. A Pew Research poll conducted six years ago found a majority of white evangelicals believe immigration to be a threat to American culture and a burden on the economy.
But a recent survey found considerable evangelical support for keeping families together and following the biblical injunction to welcome the stranger — two themes in a campaign by a national network of diverse religious leaders, the Evangelical Immigration Table.
Gospel of Matthew
The network has launched an effort featuring a passage from the Gospel of Matthew that includes videos, sermon notes, prayer guides and lobbying efforts in Washington to press a bipartisan solution that balances border security with respect for families.
Several thousand congregations in 40 states have been encouraged to read at least one Scripture a day pertaining to immigration. In one video, Southern Baptist leader Richard Land makes the argument that immigration reform can be consistent with conservative values.
The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, called the “I Was a Stranger” project linking liberal and conservative faith groups “historic” and “unprecedented.”
In his recent State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama made immigration reform a top priority for his second term. Both members of Congress and the White House have advanced ideas for providing a pathway to legal status, creating a guest-worker program and further securing the border.
Critics insist that security “triggers” be met before any path to citizenship is instituted. And there remains considerable resistance among conservatives to overhauling the law. At a town-hall meeting in a Phoenix suburb Tuesday, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, an architect of a bipartisan plan in the Senate, faced a hostile crowd demanding deportation.
“We are a Judeo-Christian nation,” McCain said, as the crowd shouted that illegal immigrants must never be allowed to vote or become citizens.
Fleming said the immigration debate has been held hostage to two polar opposite views.
“One was to grant everyone amnesty and throw away the law and let everybody do what they want. That didn’t seem like a workable solution and certainly didn’t conform to my biblical worldview,” he said. “But the other extreme was just as impractical, and that was to build a fence and deport 15 million people by tomorrow. Two different poles and both of them throwing rocks at each other.”
Politically, many Republicans have come around to the idea of an immigration overhaul following election losses in which the party has failed to attract a growing Hispanic voting constituency. Business leaders want changes that will provide a reliable source of low-wage workers. And local police have resisted acting as de facto border agents, which diverts resources from dealing with crime.
The effort to engage evangelicals is framed in biblical terms. The Evangelical Immigration Table dovetails with other groups, including the National Immigration Forum, an alliance of religious leaders, business and law enforcement, under the rubric “Bibles, Badges and Business.”
The goal is a system that’s both fair to immigrants who are here legally and compassionate to those who are not that provides eventual “earned” citizenship and border security.
“Dedicated Christians may disagree on what the solution is, but everybody acknowledges there must be a solution,” said the Rev. Rick Scarborough, an East Texas evangelist and head of the politically conservative Vision America.
Scarborough said he has been “conflicted” on the issue as both a socially conservative Republican and a Christian pastor. But he said if a solution couples border security and a requirement that illegal immigrants seeking naturalization go to the back of the line, “the majority of evangelicals will sign on.”
One caution, he said: “The majority of the Republican leadership has to understand that this is not going to win a majority of Hispanics to their cause. The Democrats have won that argument.”
When congregations hear a conservative pastor encourage support for immigration policies from the pulpit as a moral, not political issue, it can have considerable influence, he said.
“If not, we pastors ought to resign our posts,” he said.
Have these people even read the book of Matthew, by any chance?
Mat 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Mat 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
Mat 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Mat 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
College Hosts Sex, Masturbati0n Tutorial – Inside A Church
Allegheny College’s Ford Memorial Chapel was transformed into a boudoir of sorts Wednesday night, as professional sex educators advised students in attendance how best to touch themselves and their partners to reach orgasm in what was billed as an educational seminar.
The chapel, built and dedicated in 1902, is where Catholic mass and non-denominational services are conducted every week at the private liberal arts college in northwestern Pennsylvania. But all that took a back pew to Wednesday’s festivities, dubbed “I Heart the Female Orgasm” and hosted by a variety of student groups on campus.
Well, this "pastor" at this church was "concerned" that MANY of his congregants were couples co-habitating and no married - so he decided to do this free mass wedding ceremony where all of their expenses from the photographer to the food to the marriage liscenses, etc were all paid for for them(b/c supposedly these co-habitating couples couldn't afford them).
Uhm...doesn't this "pastor" know his bible? And if so, couldn't he show his congregants these passages?
1Cor 6:13 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
1Co 6:14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
1Co 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
1Co 6:16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
1Co 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
1Co 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
1Co 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
1Co 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
1Co 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
1Co 7:2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
And these couples having money problems et al?
Mat 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Mat 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Mat 6:27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
Mat 6:28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
Mat 6:29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Mat 6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Php_4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
1Tim_6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
Texas Church Encourages Couples to Marry with Free Mass Wedding Day
2/25/13 Frustrated that many of their congregants were living together but not legally married, a church in Argyle, Texas took it upon itself to get these people hitched.
As part of a mass wedding on Saturday, 21 couples were wed back-to-back in individual ceremonies all under the roof of Cross Timbers church.
On 12-12-12 Thousands of Couples Will Head to the Altar
“We realize we have lots of folks living together that aren’t married,” Pastor Toby Slough told the local CBS affiliate. “And were really big here at Cross Timbers of simply not just saying don’t do that but let us help you get in position for God’s best.”
According to research from the Pew Institute, “barely half of Americans over the age of 18 are married,” and the “overall number of married couples has declined by more than 20 percentage points since 1960.”
The reasons for the decline in marriages in the U.S. is manifold, but most of the Argyle couples said they had postponed their weddings for financial reasons. Bill and Diane Melder said they were waiting until they were “debt-free,” so they could have a “new start.”
In the U.S., the average wedding costs approximately $27,021, and New York couples can expect to spend $65,824, according to surveys done by wedding websites The Knot and Wedding Channel.
Cross Timbers paid the expenses for all 21 couples, everything from marriage counseling to the license and even the photographer. Though the term “mass-wedding” doesn’t exactly bring to mind an intimate ceremony, each couple received individual attention and use of the sanctuary. Bill Melder said the process exceeded his expectations.
Mass weddings aren't a new trend: on Valentine's Day, hundreds of couples were married on the steps of the Bexar County Courthouse in San Antonio, Texas, and the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon became famous for marrying thousands of his followers en masse in what he called "blessing ceremonies." But it’s not every church that literally puts its money where its mouth is and pays for its congregants to be married.
One groom expressed his appreciation, telling the local affiliate, “This was a big help. We appreciate the church caring enough to help us. We love each other and we wanted to take that next step.”
Sometimes I wonder how many of these Churchianity pastors are bankrolled by the Illuminati/FEMA. I know we're living in the last days(at least from what it seems), but nonetheless it seems like the average church in America is pretty rich financially. It's not like 1/2 of their congregants are millionaires either.
1Tim 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
1Peter 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
1Pe 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
1Pe 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
1Pe 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
1Pe 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
1Pe 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Christian Post.com site weighs in on Kim Kardashian and Kanye West and their unborn baby?
Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and the Christian Post?
Posted on February 24, 2013by Chrystal Whitt
Stand Up for the Truth posted an article from the Christian Post on Facebook and I had to address it here.
If you hop over to any entertainment website like TMZ or others, you will see articles about Kim Kardashian and Kanye West and their unborn baby. The title of the article would say something like, “Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Expecting a Girl!” As if that were really some sort of “breaking news” we should care about. But, when an article like that is found at the Christian Post, I start to scratch my head. Why are they celebrating this? Why are they reporting this in this manner? This is the question Stand Up for Truth is asking:
You’d expect the “Enquirer” to celebrate a still-married Hollywood woman getting pregnant by her Hollywood boyfriend after their 10-month adulterous relationship…but the Christian Post? (Online Source)
I read the article in the hopes that it would have an “Albert Mohler” feel to it where they Biblically address the problems and shame of a society who would celebrate a married woman’s adulterous affair. But they didn’t. They reported it as if it were actually something newsworthy that we should know about.
Read the article for yourself by clicking here. Still shaking my head on this one.
--> Kim Kardashian Baby Girl: Kanye West Overjoyed at Announcement About Daughter
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news...-video-90656/#8Vj3gPmSoWE2Uiu3.99
Controversy Erupts Over Explosion of Church, College Groups Gyrating to ‘The Harlem Shake’
3/7/13 A new dance craze that has become a fad around the world has now exploded among evangelical churches and Christian colleges nationwide, creating much controversy over whether Christians should be imitating the popular video.
The dance is called “The Harlem Shake,” and is part of a YouTube sensation that began last month and has resulted in over 100,000 replications. According to The Independent, the move actually originated years ago with a man named Albert Leopold Boyce, who would entertain the crowds during halftime at basketball games in the Harlem, New York area.
“He would be drunk, and when you went to get him to get off the court, he would start laughing and performing the shake,” explained friend Tony Arias.
The move became known as the the “Al B,” but as teenagers began imitating his moves, it was renamed “The Harlem Shake.”
Because Boyce struggled with a drinking problem, he succumbed to heart failure in 2006 and died at age 43.
However, his dance lived on and a 23-year-old DJ in Brooklyn incorporated “The Harlem Shake” into one of his club vibes called “Con Los Terroristas,” which is Spanish for “With the Terrorists.”
Last month, five teenagers in Australia decided to put together a short video to the song as humor. The video was filmed in the bedroom of one of the youth and opens with the declaration “Con Los Terroristas!” A sole individual is then seen dancing while wearing a helmet while the others seem oblivious to the gyrations in their midst.
When the song breaks into “Do the Harlem Shake!” the video cuts and shows the room filled with people in costumes dancing wildly.
Pa. pastor gets life sentence for killing 2nd wife
STROUDSBURG, Pa. — A former Pennsylvania pastor was sentenced Monday to life in prison without parole in the fatal bludgeoning of his second wife in 2008.
Arthur "A.B." Schirmer, 64, was sentenced in Monroe County Court nearly two months after a jury convicted him of first-degree murder in the death of Betty Schirmer. The conviction brought an automatic life sentence.
"My mom is finally able to rest in peace," Betty Schirmer's son, Nate Novack, said after the sentencing. "We do have some closure and it's a great day overall, even though the life conviction isn't going to bring my mom back."
Schirmer is charged separately with killing his first wife, Jewel Schirmer, in 1999. He awaits trial in that case.
Prosecutors said he clubbed Betty Schirmer on the head with a crowbar, then loaded her into their car and staged a low-speed accident in an effort to conceal the crime. The former Methodist clergyman took the stand in his own defense and testified that he was driving her to the emergency room for treatment of jaw pain when he swerved to avoid a deer and hit a guard rail.
A jury deliberated about 90 minutes before returning its verdict.
Local police initially believed Betty Schirmer's July 2008 death was the result of a car crash. State police began a more thorough investigation months later, when a man committed suicide in Schirmer's office after learning the pastor was in a relationship with his wife, the church secretary.
Authorities ultimately concluded the fender-bender could not have caused Betty Schirmer's extensive head and brain injuries. Police also found her blood on the garage floor, along with evidence that someone had tried to clean it up.
Schirmer's girlfriend and his two daughters with Jewel Schirmer said outside court Monday that they continued to believe in his innocence.
"I just didn't hear evidence that led me to believe that he committed a crime," said Julie Campbell, one of the daughters.
The investigation into Betty Schirmer's death led police and prosecutors to take another look at Jewel Schirmer's case. Arthur Schirmer has long claimed he was out for a run on April 23, 1999, when he returned home to find Jewel Schirmer's body in a pool of blood at the bottom of the basement steps.
He was charged last September with killing her. He has maintained his innocence in both cases.
"... The Harlem Shake originated on 125th and Lexington where gang bangers would shoot unsuspecting cripples with crutches. The staggering fall of these cripples created a signature move, adapted by gang-affiliates and introduced at local parties..."
|BornAgain2 wrote: |
|Controversy Erupts Over Explosion of Church, College Groups Gyrating to ‘The Harlem Shake’
A new dance craze that has become a fad around the world has now exploded among evangelical churches and Christian colleges nationwide, creating much controversy over whether Christians should be imitating the popular video.
The dance is called “The Harlem Shake,” and is part of a YouTube sensation that began last month and has resulted in over 100,000 replications. According to The Independent, the move actually originated years ago with a man named Albert Leopold Boyce, who would entertain the crowds during halftime at basketball games in the Harlem, New York area.
“He would be drunk, and when you went to get him to get off the court, he would start laughing and performing the shake,” explained friend Tony Arias.
The move became known as the the “Al B,” but as teenagers began imitating his moves, it was renamed “The Harlem Shake.”
Because Boyce struggled with a drinking problem, he succumbed to heart failure in 2006 and died at age 43.
However, his dance lived on and a 23-year-old DJ in Brooklyn incorporated “The Harlem Shake” into one of his club vibes called “Con Los Terroristas,” which is Spanish for “With the Terrorists.”
Last month, five teenagers in Australia decided to put together a short video to the song as humor. The video was filmed in the bedroom of one of the youth and opens with the declaration “Con Los Terroristas!” A sole individual is then seen dancing while wearing a helmet while the others seem oblivious to the gyrations in their midst.
Connect with Christian News
When the song breaks into “Do the Harlem Shake!” the video cuts and shows the room filled with people in costumes dancing wildly.
Topic: Eurogroup President Spooks Markets by Saying Cyprus Deal is a New Template. Topic: When so-called evangelical and pro-family leaders become politically correct. Topic: Hear the audio of Pastor Robert Jeffress calling Pope a Christian and praising his ministry. Topic: Brannon reveals the contrast between truth and error by quoting the Bible and then quoting the Catholic Catechism. Topic: Hear the audio of Pastor Robert Jeffress calling Bill OReilly a believer. Topic: Rick Warren endorses the book Catholics Come Home. Topic: The Southern Baptist Convention replaces Richard Land with Russell Moore. But what does Moore believe? Topic: The President of Focus on the Family, Jim Daly says homosexuality is not a super sin.
Evangelicals Back Obama's Faith-Based Council's Report on Ending Human Trafficking
The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has backed the new President's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood's report to Barack Obama, which is aimed at eradicating modern-day slavery.
"Human trafficking debases the God-given dignity of every person," said NAE President Leith Anderson in a statement, who serves on the Advisory Council. "It is time for the government, churches and all members of society to work together to bring trafficking in persons to an end."
The report, "Building Partnerships to Eradicate Modern-day Slavery," makes several recommendations to Obama, who has promised to take important steps to tackle the billion-dollar industry. More than 27 million people currently live as human slaves, more than any other time in history.
A summary of the recommendations the Advisory Council made are detailed on the White House website. One of the most important points they made is that the fight against human slavery must be elevated to an agency level and more steps need to be taken to raise awareness for this pressing issue.
"We are proud to stand with the President Obama and his Administration on this vital moral issue. We commit ourselves to working with our government, our houses of worship and community-based organizations, and our fellow Americans, to end slavery in our time," said Susan K. Stern, the Chair of the President's Advisory Council.
The NAE also reminded readers on its website of the 1999 Trafficking in Women and Children resolution, which calls on evangelicals to become more aware and more involved in victim assistance. The organization says that significant strides have been taken since then, but more work still needs to be done to combat human trafficking.
"Each year force and fraud bring as many as a million innocent victims into the international sex industry. There is a growing movement to oppose this horrendous degradation of women and children," NAE says in the 1999 resolution.
Other prominent evangelical leaders, such as Louie Giglio from Passion City Church in Atlanta, have also been heavily involved in the global fight to end human trafficking. Giglio has been on the forefront of promoting the "End It" movement, which raises awareness for the 27 million modern-day slaves and educates people how they can get involved.
Another issue that the NAE has agreed with the president on is the passing of the Arms Trade Treaty agreement by the U.N., which will now seek to impose international regulations on weapons and ammunitions.
Some conservatives had expressed reservation regarding the ATT over fears it might infringe on the 2nd Amendment, but the NAE, Obama and most world leaders argued that it is a necessary step in the global fight against human exploitation and violence that forces children to serve as soldiers and causes millions of deaths in undeveloped regions.
Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/n...icking-93672/#7JvDg2TT81WOHIDY.99
Why 50% Of Pastors Are Divorced & 70% Are Depressed
Several years ago I had the great blessing of having been selected as one of about 20 clergy who enjoyed an all expense paid self-care focused pilgrimage to Israel. At least for me it was life changing! I was shocked at what I learned (and now teach) about the lives of pastors.
Three of the major researchers into clergy life all voiced similar statistics:
The Barna Group reports that
90% of pastors report working between 55- 75 hours per week
50% of pastors report feeling unable to meet the demands of their jobs
70% constantly fight depression
50% of pastors starting out will not last 5 years
50% of pastors’ marriages end in divorce
70% of pastors do not have a close friend
Ellison Research reports that according to the results of their study:
71% of pastors say that they are overweight by an average of 32.1 pounds
52% say that they experience signs of stress on a weekly basis
Other statistics note that pastors’ physical health is comparatively worse than others in the areas in which they live, while pastor’s mental health is likewise riddled with increased symptoms of clinical depression, anxiety, stress and burnout.
This isn't a church, per se, but it's a self-professing Christian school - Baylor University in Waco, TX. First off, they don't hire faculty(and staff I believe too) unless they not only profess to be Christians, but are regular church-goers as well. Well, they SHOULD know that it's ONLY the LORD that looketh upon the heart - so if they think everyone they hire is Christians, they are very naïve.
1Samuel_16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
Anyhow, this person was a big standout BB star over at Baylor Univ(and has gotten a lot of publicity)...
Could Brittney Griner's Announcement Change Anything For Baylor And Its Gay Students?
After years of speculation about her sexuality, Brittney Griner -- the first pick in the WNBA draft and all-around game changer for women’s hoops -- casually told SI.com that she is gay. "It really wasn't too difficult. I wouldn't say I was hiding or anything like that," Griner said. “I've always been open about who I am and my sexuality, so it wasn't hard at all."
Given that there are numerous openly gay players in the league, the reaction to Griner's comment was muted.
But for administrators at Baylor, it could not have been a welcome announcement. Griner's alma mater identifies itself as a Christian university, and it has a long history and school policy against homosexuality. Its student handbook says that even advocacy of homosexual behavior is against its policy:
"The University affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality as a gift from God. Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm. Temptations to deviate from this norm include both heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior. It is thus expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching."
Griner brought a national championship to Baylor as well as revenue and media coverage because of her star status -- she won the 2012 ESPY Award for best female athlete -- so it is doubtful she would face anything but public silence or support from the administration. Her coach, Kim Mulkey, while noting that her star player had stood up to horrible taunting while playing, professed ignorance of any of her players' relationships when asked about Griner's sexuality in March.
Mark Osler, a former Baylor professor who has spoken out against the school policies on gays, sees this as a double standard, and one that Griner's announcement could help overturn.
"She's not just any student," Osler told ThePostGame. "Next to RGIII, she is the most visible Baylor athlete in the world. She won a lot of games for them. Without her, they would not be nearly the team they have been. So yes, [I think] they are glad to have her be their gay superstar. I doubt they would be so supportive if she was a ... gay woman with no other supreme talents."
Osler says maybe it's time that the school revise its thinking -- especially on a campus full of what he said are conscious and caring students that generally do not agree with the policy.
"As a lawyer and law professor, I believe rules matter," Osler said. "And if the idea about tolerance and understanding of people like Brittney Griner has changed ... it's time to change that rule as well."
Baylor did not respond to a request from The PostGame for comment.
For gay athletes and students at Baylor before Griner, coming out had much bigger consequences. In 2007, Emily Nkosi left the team and transferred because of her decision to come out. She told USA Today that Baylor operated on a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy and she feared losing her scholarship -- despite having been a strong contributor on the national championship team in 2005. (Baylor, for its part, denied to the paper that she would have lost the scholarship for coming out.)
"There's a lot of fear being driven into a lot of people,” Nkosi said at the time. “Not only is it sad (because of) the people who are saying, 'You can't do this because if you do this, this booster is going to pull out on me.' It's really sad because it's something you can hold over someone."
Nkosi did not immediately respond to ThePostGame’s request for an interview in light of Griner's announcement. But she did discuss a similar media inquiry on her Facebook page:
"A [reporter] just asked me 'What do you think of the "don't ask, don't tell" atmosphere that seems to be at Baylor with gay student-athletes?’; anyone want put their two cents in? And help me articulate the best possible message that will land in this community?”
The immediate response:
"Tell them it's **** ****---" one friend wrote on her wall.
Nkosi agreed. "What's wrong with it?" she wrote. " ...everything..."
Four years after Nkosi left, some students said that the school wasn't enforcing the official policy, but others told the campus newspaper, the Baylor Lariat, that many are still fearful to be open about their sexuality.
Homosexuals need deliverance from those demons
and they need Jesus - THE REAL LORD JESUS CHRIST
Church of Scotland Denies Jewish Claim to Land of Israel
Report Attacks Scriptural and Political Claims
A report by the Church of Scotland, published this week, denies any special privilege for the Jewish people in the land of Israel. The church, which in recent years has jettisoned its once philosemitic character, opened a wide rift with the Scottish Jewish community with the report. Among other controversial statements, the report argues that, “Christians should not be supporting any claims by Jews, or any other people, to an exclusive or even privileged divine right to possess particular territory.”
The report, titled “The inheritance of Abraham? A report on the ‘promised land’”, was prepared for the general assembly of the Church of Scotland, to be held in two weeks. It is the latest in a series of documents published over the last decade criticizing Zionism and the Christians that support it.
The report acknowledges the fact that the Church of Scotland was once a believer in the right of the Jews to the ancient land of Israel and a Scottish minister, Alexander Keith, may even have coined the famous phrase: “A land without a people, for a people without a land.”
However, the latest report makes clear such affection is a thing of the past. It analyzes the various scriptural and theological claims of Jews to the land and rejects those verses in which the land is promised to the children of Abraham. Furthermore, it dismisses the “belief among some Jewish people that they have a right to the land of Israel as a compensation for the suffering of the Holocaust.”
Read more: http://forward.com/articles/17592...h-claim-to-land-of/#ixzz2SHRB6iQm
Church of Scotland takes step to allow gay clergy
LONDON (AP) -- Senior members of the Church of Scotland voted Monday to let some congregations choose ministers who are in same-sex relationships - an important compromise that must still pass further hurdles before it can become church law.
The church's General Assembly backed a motion affirming a traditional conservative view on homosexuality, but permitted liberal congregations to ordain openly gay men or women if they wish.
The assembly's vote would require the approval of next year's General Assembly as well as votes by the church's regional presbyteries to become law. The process is complicated, and is expected to take at least two years.
Monday's decision came after a lengthy debate on the issue, which has divided the church of about 400,000 members for years. Two congregations have split from the church over the issue.
"This was a major breakthrough for the church but we are conscious that some people remain pained, anxious, worried and hurt," said Lorna Hood, the assembly's moderator. "We continue to pray for the peace and unity of the church."
Albert Bogle, who proposed the motion, said it was a compromise to move the debate between the traditionalists and revisionists forward.
"My motion is to be permissive and to allow those who want to do this to do it. But I want to affirm the position of the Church of Scotland in the historic tradition of the church," he said. "It will give everyone what they want but it will keep us together."
The General Assembly, held each May, consists of about 700 members and decides church policy.
Texas Mega-Church Welcomes Islamists to ‘Global Faith Forum’
The 3,000-member NorthWood Church of Keller, T.X. is holding a “Global Faith Forum” in November. In yet another Islamist-attended interfaith event, Christians will hear from a former Saudi intelligence chief, a former director-general of Al-Jazeera, officials from U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities and the non-Muslims who embrace them.
Pastor Bob Roberts. Jr. is known for his efforts to build-bridges with Muslims. He spoke at the “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference put together by Palestinian Christians at Bethlehem Bible College. So did Florida Pastor Joel C. Hunter, who has been negative attention for his association with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. Hunter is also critical of “Christian Zionists.”
An article posted on Hunter’s website reports how the “Christ at the Checkpoint” audience, including students from Wheaton and Eastern Universities, “were moved by the testimony of Palestinian men and women who shared the pain and suffering they experience on a daily basis caused primarily by the continuing occupation.”
Pastor Roberts reacted to the anti-Islam Innocence of Muslims video by suggesting that governments crack down on its distribution. He said, “There is a ‘clear and present’ danger the U.S. courts have ruled in regard to freedom of speech—I think that has to extend globally.”
In January, NorthWood Church hosted Azhar Azeez, Vice President of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). ISNA is an unindicted co-conspirator in a major terrorism-financing trial. Federal prosecutors labeled ISNA a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, a fact confirmed by the Brotherhood’s own secret documents.
In November, his church’s Global Faith Forum will bring the spotlight to his interfaith efforts and those involved in them. Event speakers include Rep. Kay Graner (R-TX), former South Carolina Governor David Beasley and Christianity Today editor Mark Galli, but they aren’t the main attractions.
The conference website’s home page proudly advertises Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. from 2005 to 2007, as a main speaker. Before that, he was the Saudi foreign intelligence chief from 1977 to 2001, making him a top figure in Saudi Arabia’s proliferation of Wahhabism around the world for over 20 years. He represented a Sharia-based government that persecutes Christians.
Faisal Bin Muammar was an advisor at the Saudi Royal Court and Secretary-General of the Riyadh-based King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue.
Safi Kaskas is a co-founder of East West University in Chicago and a “strategy consultant for a number of business organizations in the USA and Saudi Arabia.” He is a member of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists. A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo identifies AMSS as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends.” The memo says its “work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.” The AMSS is also closely linked to the International Institute of Islamic Thought.
Another main speaker is Professor John Esposito, one of the top non-Muslim supporters of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network. He is a frequent guest speaker at their events and was a witness for the defense in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation.
The aforementioned Azhar Azeez is again speaking. He is the Vice President of ISNA and has been on its Executive Council since 2002. He is also the senior National Director of Islamic Relief USA, a charity linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Wadah Khanfar was the director-general of Al-Jazeera from 2006 to 2011. Al-Jazeera’s extremism is well-documented. The Arabic station even gives Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi a weekly show.
Ayatollah Ahmad Iravani is President of the Center for the Study of Islam and the Middle East. He’s also been a teacher for 10 years at the Catholic University of America. He graduated from Qom, Iran and has taught Sharia Law in Tehran. He’s also participated in Catholic-Muslim dialogues called “A Common Word” that includes allies of Qaradawi.
Imam Zia ul Haque Sheikh is a member of the North American Imams Federation. Radical imam Siraj Wahhaj has served on the Board of Trustees. Its website lists Ashrafuz Zaman Khan as its President. Bangladesh has charged him with war crimes from his days in the Islamist group Jamaat-e-Islami.
Dahlia Mogahed is from the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and is a friend of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities. In 2008, she said that CAIR and ISNA were designated as unindicted co-conspirators by the federal government in order “to silence, you know, institution-building among Muslims. And the way o do it is [to] malign these groups. And it’s kind of a witch hunt.”
Suhail Khan is a former Bush Administration official and Senior Fellow for Christian-Muslim Understanding at the Institute for Global Engagement. He has been accused of helping U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities gain influence in the Bush Administration after 9/11 and of having Brotherhood ties himself. He denies that the Muslim Brotherhood even exists in America.
Rev. Jack Sara is President of Bethlehem Bible College and Pastor with the Evangelical Alliance Church in the Holy Land. The College put together the “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference and has a long relatonship with Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Pastor Roberts didn’t know who he was dealing with. After all, he cited Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi as a “key Islamic leader” condemning anti-American violence. The desire for interfaith credentials seems to surpass the desire to have a standard.
A New NAR Bible (Part 1) — ‘The Passion Translation’
Beware: An NAR apostle has come out with his own NAR translation of the Bible, called “The Passion Translation.”
Apostle Brian Simmons, of Stairway Ministries, is the lone translator of this “groundbreaking” project. To date, he has released four installments of his new translation:
Psalms: Poetry on Fire
Song of Solomon: Most Amazing Song of All
Luke: To the Lovers of God
Letters From Heaven by the Apostle Paul
Next in line is Proverbs, Wisdom From Above, due out in Fall 2013.
Simmons’ translation is endorsed by influential NAR leaders including apostle Che Ahn (Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California, USA), prophet James Goll (Encounters Network) and apostle Katherine Ruonala (Glory City Church in Brisbane, Australia).
Simmons claims he undertook this work because he saw a need for a more emotionally passionate translation of the Bible that speaks to the heart. He believes the leading translations of the Bible speak mainly to the mind and don’t adequately capture God’s passion. He describes his translation like this:
The Passion Translation Project is a groundbreaking attempt to re-introduce the passion and fire of the Bible to the English reader. God longs to have His Word expressed in every language in a way that would unlock the ‘passion’ of His heart. The goal of this work is to trigger inside of every English speaker an overwhelming response to the truth of the Bible as it is unfiltered by religious jargon – unfolding the deep mysteries of the Scriptures in the language of love, the language of the heart. Accurate to the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts, but passionately powerful in a contemporary form.
So, what’s the problem with his “passionately powerful” translation?
Simmons has taken verses of Scripture that have nothing to do with NAR teachings or practices and reworded them so they appear to support those very teachings and practices , such as “prophetic singing,” the “transference of an anointing,” and the issuing of “apostolic decrees.” In other words, despite his claim to unveil the truth of the Bible “unfiltered by religious jargon,” he’s actually exploiting his audience’s ignorance of sound textual criticism to smuggle in a heterodox theology along with a good measure of NAR jargon.
The bottom line? He’s changing God’s Word–a serious offense to God. I will look at specific verses he has changed in my next post.
But, for now, I want to point out that this translation is potentially one of the most disturbing developments in the NAR movement. Simmons is following in the footsteps of the major cults of Christianity who have released their own translations of the Bible, including the New World Translation used by the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Joseph Smith Translation used by some groups of Mormons.
By creating a new NAR translation of the Bible, Simmons is shaping the way a generation of NAR followers will read and understand Scripture–and also creating a divide between those who use the NAR translation and those who don’t.
It remains to be seen how many NAR people will make the switch to this NAR translation of the Bible. If a lot of them do switch Bibles, then The Passion Translation could truly–as its advertisements say–”impact the Church for years to come.”
– By Holly Pivec
It seems like in recent years, especially after Katrina - whenever these natural disasters would happen, the aftermaths would get used to *unite* communities...and guess who is playing a large role in all of this? As you all know, I lived in New Orleans when Katrina happened - and yes, clergy in that city acted as community organizer roles(ie-Emergent/WOF heretic leaders like Rick Warren, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, etc all stopped by - Warren even told a group of Baptist pastors that discouragement is the biggest sin in the bible, and that God would forsake us if we didn't put it aside to work together).
Twister heals Ala. town fractured over immigration
KILPATRICK, Ala. (AP) — For years before a tornado hit, few besides the immigrants who work at nearby poultry plants ventured down the pothole-rutted dirt roads of "Little Mexico."
The community, whose official name is Kilpatrick, comprises a large population of Latin American residents who previously mingled very little with the white, English-speaking natives.
Oddly enough, it was the twister, with its 125 mph destructive winds and home-wrecking fury, that began bringing the two groups together, even as it tore much of what they owned apart.
People began working together clearing away debris and wreckage after the storm without regard to language or culture, and folks suddenly were getting along better. Jacky Clayton, assistant police chief in Crossville, which includes part of Kilpatrick, doesn't know exactly what happened, but he said things seem less tense now.
"Maybe it's just a little more understanding of brotherly love," Clayton said.
Ivan Barrera, of Puebla, Mexico, the 31-year-old owner of a full-service Latin grocery store in the town, noted that for much of the seven years he has lived here, he has felt a certain "neutrality" between the immigrant and native communities. No blatant animosity, but no meaningful connection, either.
"I think things have gotten better since the storm," he said, speaking in Spanish.
The tearing down of cultural walls was a rather remarkable achievement in a state that two years ago passed the toughest anti-immigration law in the nation and is now bracing for the results of a protracted debate in Washington on immigration reform.
Located about 75 miles northeast of Birmingham in DeKalb County, Kilpatrick has drawn hundreds of immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala and other Latin American countries who moved to the rural area over the past decade to work in chicken-processing plants.
An estimated 2,000 immigrants live in Kilpatrick. An exact number is hard to nail down given the transience of some of the workers and the fact that many moved here without legal permission.
But their influence is unmistakable: The 600-student elementary school in nearby Crossville that many children from Kilpatrick attend is more than 60 percent Hispanic, unusual in a state where the population is only 4 percent Hispanic.
Driving through the area, it's not hard to see why so many people call it "Little Mexico" or, alternately, "Little Tijuana." Signs in Spanish advertise everything from $1 tacos at the El Taco Unico roadside stand to pastries, pinatas and Mexican spices at a Mexican bakery where Latin music plays quietly. On a main road a mile away, customers come and go from Barrera's grocery store.
On a recent sunny spring afternoon, families strolled down the road to a small neighborhood store while boys played soccer in yards next to bleating goats and clucking chickens. Most of the children spoke Spanish, with a little English sprinkled in.
Rosemarie Chavez is a bilingual native of Texas who moved into the area about 16 years ago when hardly anyone else was around and has most recently taken on the role of unofficial liaison between the immigrants and Alabama natives. She said the Hispanic population grew quickly once landowners began subdividing pastureland and selling acreage and mobile homes to the families who were moving in to take the poultry jobs.
The more the town grew, however, the more it became a target of the anti-immigration sentiment that had begun growing in the South and other parts of the country. For advocates of the tough anti-immigration law passed by Alabama's Republican-dominated Legislature in 2011, Kilpatrick was a prime example of unregulated immigration — many of the recently arrived workers had come to the United States without legal permission.
The new law allowed police to check immigration status during routine traffic stops and detain those who couldn't produce the right papers. The legislation also required schools to verify students' immigration status.
Police began to make Kilpatrick a focus of frequent traffic stops, and many residents were scared, said Chavez, who is also a community outreach worker for Quality of Life Health Care Services, which provides medical services throughout the area.
Many Hispanics left Alabama in the weeks after Gov. Robert Bentley signed the strict immigration law. They gradually returned, however, as courts gutted the measure's strictest provisions, officials relaxed enforcement, and the public's attention went elsewhere, Chavez said.
Still, their renewed physical presence did not translate into cultural assimilation. Kilpatrick's residents seldom veered far from the route that led to their jobs at the poultry plants and their native neighbors showed little interest in getting to know them.
That all began to change on March 18, the day two twisters plowed through DeKalb County, damaging 270 residences countywide. A total of 27 homes were destroyed, 19 of them in Kilpatrick, which was hit by an EF2 tornado, said Daryl Lester, deputy director of the DeKalb County Emergency Management Agency. Tornadoes are considered significant when they are rated EF2 or higher.
[size=12pt]Students and volunteers from English-speaking churches accompanied the police, rescue squads and fire departments that descended on Kilpatrick within hours, helping to deliver food, right overturned vehicles, pick up fallen limbs and rescue photos and other precious keepsakes from the wreckage of the homes[/size].
The immigrants were initially spooked by so many officials with badges, and some fled to the homes of friends and family instead of taking advantage of local agencies' offers of food and shelter, Chavez said.
But Chavez and others helped spread the word that authorities were there to assist tornado victims, not to arrest or deport anyone.
Both immigrants and natives learned valuable lessons that day and in the weeks afterward as they found themselves working side by side. The newcomers discovered that not everyone resented their presence in town. Alabamians with family roots reaching back for centuries discovered that the Hispanics down the road were a lot like them: family folks just trying to scrape by.
"We were helping a lot of the Hispanics and they were reaching out to help others," said Clayton, the police officer.
Barrera said that in the weeks since the twister, English-speaking firefighters and church groups have continued to help the Hispanic community by taking up collections. Just two weeks ago, a man who has sold land and mobile homes to residents in the Hispanic community dropped by Barrera's store to let him know that food and replacement furniture were available at a nearby church.
Miguel Gomez, 24, a native of Mexico's Michoacan state who has worked at the Guelaguetza Bakery in Kilpatrick for four years, said he felt a welcome change after the tornado, which did minor damage to the mobile home where he lives with his wife, child and mother.
"A lot of Americans came to offer us help, to offer shelter and food," Gomez said, speaking in Spanish. "It did surprise me a little to see it because not everyone tries to help the Mexicans."
Signs of the tornado are still evident: Blue tarps still cover damaged structures, and some of the mobile homes brought in to replace destroyed trailers appear ramshackle and rickety. Meanwhile, immigrants and natives are far from being the best of friends in Kilpatrick, where immigrant residents say they still see the occasional police car pulling over drivers whose legal status might be in doubt.
But few deny that important progress toward tolerance and unity has been made since the day the twisters landed.
"A great bridging has taken place," said Zach Richards, pastor at the local Union Grove Baptist Church. "It's beautiful to see."
Church of England gives up fight against gay marriage
Jun 2013 The Church of England has effectively accepted defeat over gay marriage signalling that it will no longer fight against a change in the law.
In a short statement, the established Church said that the scale of the majorities in both the Commons and Lords made clear that it is the will of Parliament that same sex couples “should” be allowed to marry.
The Bishop of Leicester, who leads the bishops in the House of Lords, said they would now concentrate their efforts on “improving” rather than halting an historic redefinition of marriage.
It represents a dramatic change of tack in the year since the Church insisted that gay marriage posed one of the biggest threats of disestablishment of the Church of England since the reign of Henry VIII.
And it comes despite a warning from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, that the redefinition of marriage would undermine the “cornerstone” of society.
End Time Current Events: 6-9-13–Part 1
» Harlem Shake Brings Spirit of Antichrist to America’s “Christian” Churches
» Abomination Alert–Churches Doing the Harlem Shake
Texas Mega-Church Leader Partners with Muslim Brotherhood Front
On June 9, the Clarion Project reported that the U.S. envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will be speaking at an Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) regional conference, sharing the stage with at least three Islamists. But there are some other featured guests: ISNA’s interfaith allies, including Pastor Bob Roberts of NorthWood Church in Texas.
ISNA is identified in a 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memorandum as one of its fronts. The U.S. government also listed ISNA as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity when it designated the group an unindicted co-conspirator in the Hamas-financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation. The so-called “charity” was another U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity that, in the words of Judge Jorge Solis, “operated from within ISNA.” ISNA denies it has “ever been subject to the control of…the Muslim Brotherhood.”
ISNA’s South Central Conference will be held in Dallas on June 15. The event will feature an interfaith panel that includes its Community Outreach Director, Mohamed Elsanousi, who attended a Muslim Brotherhood-linked conference in Mauritania last year.
This commentary from this pastor shows he's doctrinally flawed...
Gay Marriage Ruling Forces Pastor into Disagreeable Choice
Supreme Court Same-Sex Ruling Creates Quandary for Pastors
COMMENTARY | I love this country. I love my faith. I relish the principles of freedom Americans share. I also love the fact we can peacefully coexist in an environment of individualism. Presenting ideas and ideologies, winning each other to opposing views is what freedom is all about.
California's Proposition 8 and the federal DOMA law are two such examples. As late as 2008, the majority of Americans agreed with these measures. However, according to Gallup, that support has eroded. Ideologists have successfully changed the minds of many Americans.
Apparently, the Supreme Court has chosen to agree.
I'm a 55-year-old minister of a small evangelical church in Southern California, specifically Placentia, right in the heart of a conservative bastion. With my faith and beliefs, one would think I'd be at home living in this part of the country, but the Supreme Court's decision changes that. A cornerstone of my faith is the foundation of my church's belief system -- the Bible. And while I acknowledge there are countless disagreements over interpretation of the Bible, my faith tells me marriage is defined as union between a man and woman -- not just two consenting adults -- essentially agreeing with Proposition 8. My congregation follows and adheres to the judgments of the same faith.
I am at a crossroad: Do I preach on my faith's traditional definition of marriage or do I conform to the modern evolution mandated through the courts? I'm pressed to choose between love for my faith and my love for my country -- a simple, but difficult choice.
**How is this a difficult choice?
Mat_12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
In fact, the issue can get even more complicated in the future. Since the courts have chosen to define a same-sex union as marriage, there's been some question in California as to whether public opposition from the pulpit is considered to be "hate speech," according to SB 1234, legislation passed 2004. If a pastor cannot legally voice his concerns on a moral subject, it makes it all the more difficult for ministers to win back the hearts of the populace.
Eh - that's not the only issue where the lost world won't listen...
Mat 10:13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
Mat 10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
And we're supposed to preach the gospel to all...
1Cor_9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
Freedom of speech has the potential of being lost in the land of equality. And the quandary for pastors becomes greater in regard to speaking on the convictions of their faith. The Supreme Court's ruling favoring same-sex marriage forces pastors like me to make a disagreeable choice: love of faith or love of country?
Answer: Gal 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
F11.59 TIME is UP!
New World Order News, July 2013 emoaf.org
NWO manipulates world events in part to line up with "Bible prophecy?" Scripture'
Soros calls Israel a stumbling block. Huh? The bible says that! Zachariah 12.
Soros said the USA is the main obstacle to New World Order.
I dont think thats true now. I think Obama's destroyed USA.
One global society - Kontrolled by the Beast.
Was Morsi a pawn? Probably, just like Obama is a pawn.
Yeshua Jesus Christ and the early Church DID NOT teach a pre-tribulation rapture.
They were taught to die for Christ.
‘Disciples of Christ’ Vote to Embrace Openly Homosexual Members, Leaders
The general assembly of the Disciples of Christ has voted to affirm open homosexuals and transsexuals as members and leaders.
The resolution was passed this week in Orlando with the support of a number of representatives within the denomination, including Midway Hills Christian Church in Dallas, Texas; Foothills Christian Church in Wichita, Kansas; Bethany Christian Church in Gastonia, North Carolina and St. Andrew Christian Church in Berkeley, California. The GLAD (Gay, Lesbian and Affirming Disciples) Alliance was also a part of the move.
“[B ]e it resolved that the General Assembly meeting in Orlando, Florida, July 13-17, 2013, calls upon the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to recognize itself as striving to become a people of grace and welcome to all God’s children though differing in race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, marital status, physical or mental ability, political stance or theological perspective,” the resolution states.
“Be it further resolved that the General Assembly calls upon the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to affirm the faith, baptism and spiritual gifts of all Christians regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” it continues. “[A]nd that neither is grounds for exclusion from fellowship or service within the church, but we celebrate that all are part of God’s good creation.”
Makes me sick
Same Sex Marriage Act - time to separate religion from politics
The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill has passed with overwhelming support. It has done little more than re-brand civil partnerships, but symbolically its passing was a breath-taking moment of the zeitgeist, writes Keith Porteous Wood.
Even the leadership of the Established Church now recognise it as such, all the more so because it took place in the face of their implacable opposition.
More significant is the consequences of this shift of influence away from the churches. The hierarchy of both Catholic and Anglican churches staked their whole authority by insisting that the Government should not proceed with this legislation. And they lost, utterly.
Any religious group is at liberty to forbid its followers from entering into same sex marriages, but the Church went so much further: seeking to impose its dogma by law. It wanted to ride roughshod over the majority view in the country, and also against the religious/belief liberty of those of other denominations, such as Quakers and liberal Jews, who wished to permit such ceremonies.
The Established Church even came close to questioning the government's authority by stating with approval that "[m]any, within the churches and beyond, dispute the right of any government to redefine an ages-old social institution in the way proposed". Similarly, the most senior (and perhaps also now the most disgraced) Catholic in Britain, Cardinal O'Brien, announced less than a year ago with breath-taking self-importance that he had "suspended direct talks with the Scottish Government on the subject of gay marriage after relations between the two bodies became 'strained' by the proposals".
But I detect a new realism. Since his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury was announced, Justin Welby has courageously expressed his growing unease with the Church's position. And he was clearly bruised by the "noticeable hostility to the view of the churches" in Parliament over same-sex marriage, and with the Church's stance being "utterly overwhelmed".
This debacle should prompt a long-overdue reconsideration of the relationship between Church and state.
Paradoxically, Britain is both one of the least religious countries in the world and one of the most religiously diverse. Yet because, through historic circumstance, we have an established Church, religion is given disproportionate influence in public life.
The separation of religion and politics, the essence of secularism, is essential to democratic process and accountability. It is no coincidence that the worst known per capita incidence of institutional child rape occurred in Ireland, where the Catholic Church was virtually a department of the government (or was it the other way around)? Fortunately their PM has seen the light and the Church's influence over the Government is much diminished, to the extent that the Irish commentator Mary Kenny now refers to her country as "post-Catholic".
In England, public positions were reserved uniquely for Anglican communicants, and ecclesiastical courts formerly had wide powers, even jurisdiction to grant probate. As late as the 1840s, those unable to pay hefty fines for non-attendance at the Anglican Church faced a lifetime in prison. And in ensuing decades came the emancipation of those of other denominations and religions, despite the bitter opposition of the Church. The National Secular Society's first president, Charles Bradlaugh, was denied his seat won in four elections to Parliament in the 1880s because, as an atheist, he was not allowed to take the requisite religious oath.
But even now, from a constitutional perspective, Britain could hardly be less secular, given it is the only Western nation to give bishops the right to sit in its Parliament. Every session of Parliament, even in the Commons, starts with prayers. Being in Parliament gives bishops access to ministers, and the power to hold them to account. Bishops can table amendments, including on matters that directly benefit them. And whenever one of the Lords Spiritual rises to speak, even today, etiquette demands that everyone else immediately gives him precedence.
Probably because of the bishops' presence, England and Wales are the only Western countries to require by an old law a daily act of (normally Christian) worship on every school day in every school, including notionally secular community schools. The public purse pays the entire running costs of the third of schools which have a "religious ethos". And this in a country where less than 10% of those in any age group, including older people, regard themselves as "a religious person".
One would have expected a century of decline of church attendance to have resulted in a declining influence of religion in politics, but the reverse has happened. Until now, politicians have continued to buy into the Church's own delusions of its own importance to the nation, regardless of the evidence that for most people it is an irrelevance.
Usually governments try hard to avoid confrontations with the Church, but Mr Cameron clearly thought passing this legislation was the right thing to do. He showed courage rare in politicians in recent times by pressing on despite the bitter opposition from the Church's hierarchy, seemingly out of touch with its own followers. But it is unlikely that he or his party (or any party in the near future) will have the courage to grasp the nettle of disestablishment.
We know of plenty of Parliamentarians whose instincts are secular, who recognise the value and justice of separating religion from politics, but are – we think needlessly – worried about the electoral consequences of alienating religious voters. The time has come for them to be bolder and recognise that the dire consequences the Church threatens if it is defied is unlikely to come about.
The churches' days are numbered as a political force. Maybe the water can next be tested by the government introducing assisted dying legislation in the Commons. There is even strong support from the religious, but as in same sex marriage, the Anglican hierarchy are absolutely opposed.
Outspoken Atheist Seeks Position As U.S. Navy Chaplain
An outspoken atheist is generating controversy in his pursuit of a position as an official United States Navy chaplain.
In applying for the chaplain position, 38-year-old Jason Heap points out that he earned master’s degrees from both Oxford University and Brite Divinity School, with substantial experience in human resources. He also successfully completed the necessary paperwork and all the required physical tests.
However, in order to be accepted as a Navy chaplain, all applicants must receive endorsements from religious organizations approved by the military. According to the Department of Defense website, this list of “ecclesiastical endorsing agents” includes representatives from over 200 different denominations and organizations. Although the majority of agents would be considered Christian, several other religions are included, such as Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and Unitarianism.
Heap claims that because he is endorsed by the Humanist Society, he should be offered the chaplain position. However, the Navy does not recognize the Humanist Society as an endorsing agent.
The rise of the religious left
A new study shows that young people are increasingly moving toward progressive religious attitudes
When it comes to religion in politics, much of the national conversation has for years focused on the politically active religious right. That, however, might be changing, at least according to research that shows a growing religious left.
The study, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution, found that the religious right still makes up 28 percent of the country. The religious left only makes up 19 percent. ("Religious moderate" is still the biggest group.) Break it down by age, however, and the picture looks very different.
Older people are far more likely to be members of the religious right. Forty-seven percent of the Silent Generation, made up of Americans between the ages 66 and 88, are religious conservatives. Twelve percent of people in that age group are religious progressives.
Only 17 percent of millennials, on the other hand, are considered religious conservatives, while 23 percent of them are categorized as religious progressives.
This shift could already be having real-world consequences. Last month, a CNN/ORC poll found that more than two-thirds of people ages 18 to 34 support same-sex marriage. The Silent Generation? Sixty-two percent oppose it.
These changing attitudes have resulted in a slow march toward marriage equality that seemed implausible back when Bill Clinton was signing the Defense of Marriage Act into law in 1996.
Not that the GOP should be panicking — yet. For one thing, surely some young religious progressives will become more conservative as they age. And as Robby Jones notes in The Washington Post, the religious right is still a much more cohesive voting bloc, made up of 70 percent white Christians.
The religious left is a hodgepodge of white, black, and Latino Christians, as well as Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and "unattached believers." Rallying white Christian conservatives over a single issue is easier than doing the same with a diverse coalition of religions and ethnicities.
Still, Jones argues, the "analysis suggests a distinctly different future pattern...: the declining appeal of religious conservatism, coupled with the increasing appeal of both a diverse religious progressivism and religious disaffiliation."
The shrinking conservative Christian base could be why some members of the GOP are rushing to push restrictive new abortion laws, writes Slate's Amanda Marcotte, comparing them to "a bunch of people grabbing as many goodies as they can before they're kicked out the door."
|While it's unwise to write off the possibility of yet another revival of conservative religious mania — conventional wisdom would say that the young progressives will get more conservative as they age, [size=14pt]though that's not necessarily true — for the time being, the signs point to a simmering down of the religion wars in the U.S[/size].[Slate] |
PCUSA rejects popular hymn “In Christ Alone”
I saw this over at Denny Burk’s blog today. Apparently the reason the Presbyterian Church USA doesn’t like “In Christ Alone (one of my favorites), is because of that unpopular, un-politically correct word, “Wrath.” As we’ve pointed out many times here at SUFTT, the more sin is watered down, the less we have of the true Gospel. In other words – no sin = FALSE gospel. The PCUSA has been going down a concerning path for quite some time now, and it appears that this is just another symptom of the problem the devil delights in: a departure from Truth to appeal to the world.
Timothy George explains why the Presbyterian Church USA has recently rejected the hymn “In Christ Alone” from its new hymnal:
Recently, the wrath of God became a point of controversy in the decision of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song to exclude from its new hymnal the much-loved song “In Christ Alone” by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. The Committee wanted to include this song because it is being sung in many churches, Presbyterian and otherwise, but they could not abide this line from the third stanza: “Till on that cross as Jesus died/the wrath of God was satisfied.” For this they wanted to substitute: “…as Jesus died/the love of God was magnified.” The authors of the hymn insisted on the original wording, and the Committee voted nine to six that “In Christ Alone” would not be among the eight hundred or so items in their new hymnal.
There is no surprise in this news. Although not all PCUSA churches are theologically liberal, the denomination by and large is. Liberalism and wrath go together like oil and water; they don’t mix. And historically speaking, one of them eventually has to go. When wrath goes, so does the central meaning of the atonement of Christ—penal substitution. At the end of the day, the cross itself is the stumbling block, and that is why the PCUSA cannot abide this hymn.
You can read the rest of George’s article here. You can listen to the hymn and read the lyrics below.
In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.
“In Christ Alone”
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music
From politics to the pulpit, faith groups see 'the hand of God' in immigration reform
When lawmakers return to their home districts this August, they’re likely to hear strident opinions about immigration reform from local business owners, farmers, political activists, talk radio devotees and regular citizens engaged in the democratic process.
But many Christian leaders are hoping that they also hear the voice of the Almighty as well.
“It is very difficult to argue theologically that Jesus would be opposed to immigration reform,” says Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, the leader of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. “Beyond the issue of the public policy, the heart of God is for those that are suffering and for the oppressed and the marginalized.”
Rodriguez’s group – encompassing more than 40,000 evangelical congregations nationwide – is just one of many faith-based organizations hoping to influence the immigration debate this fall by invoking scripture and the compassion of God, from the pulpit and at political events.
Pro-reform Christian organizations trace their support for the overhaul from Biblical passages and parables; the most often-quoted is Matthew 25:35, which reads “ For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in.” Leviticus 19 is another common refrain: “The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
**Uhm, Leviticus 19, this very passage, was to ISRAEL!
But there are also very practical reasons for these organizations to engage in the pro-reform effort. Immigrants are increasingly a part of the fabric of American faith communities, advocates say – even those in congressional districts that are still overwhelmingly white. And when undocumented individuals face poverty, health problems and deportations, they’re turning to churches for help.
**This shows the rotten fruit right there of these church buildings - they're serving as community organizations more than anything else.
“Most evangelicals who are concerned about immigration aren’t concerned about immigration as an abstract issue,” says Dr. Russell Moore, the new head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. “They’re concerned about people in their pews who are facing a broken system. They’re concerned about families that are threatened with being split apart.”
The faith-based push is far from new, but it’s reaching peak volume as the effort to pass immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants is bogged down in the GOP-led House going into the August recess.
Some, like the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, are specifically targeting Republican members of Congress who are on the fence by appealing to members of their congregation to attend town hall meetings and visit district offices. Others are more focused on building support for the reform effort through prayer and community events.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is urging local dioceses to organize pilgrimages, devote masses and deliver sermons on the subject; it has also suggested Sept. 8 as a day of action for Catholics to pray for – and speak up about – immigration.
The “Bibles, Badges and Business” campaign, made up of diverse faith groups as well as law enforcement and business groups, is planning about 50 events nationwide, including roundtables, speeches and town hall visits. The Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition made of up many of the same evangelical organizations, aims to target about 80 congressional districts with in-person visits, phone calls and op-eds, according to Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, a national Christian organization focused on social and racial justice.
“When a pastor with 5,000 members calls his member of Congress, he answers the phone,” Wallis said.
The alliances between different religious groups – not always on the same page on other issues like sexual morality, war and the economy – also allow the pro-reform coalition to offer a consistent message to people of faith from born-again Christians and Mormons, who have supported Republicans overwhelmingly in past presidential elections, to Catholics and mainline Protestants, who are more evenly split between the two parties.
“The faith groups can reach to both sides of the spectrum,” said Kevin Appleby, the director of migration policy and public affairs at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “We have an ability to reach into offices where others may not be able to and make the argument that this is the right thing to do.”
Appleby acknowledges that the politics of immigration reform aren’t easy for some lawmakers, who may be hearing overwhelmingly from constituents who oppose the reform effort when they go home to heavily conservative districts.
Not all who hear the message are going to be convinced that creating a path to citizenship is the Christian thing to do. (Critics of the citizenship policy, after all, also cite the Bible, pointing to Romans 13: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.”)
“But,” Appleby adds, “it certainly doesn’t hurt for members to know that their church or their faith organization would support them on this, and thank them for it.”
Moore, from the Southern Baptist Convention, says that – although his organization doesn’t specifically organize political activity – the most effective way to influence lawmakers on the fence about the reform effort is simply to tell the stories of how the broken immigration system affects people in their own churches.
“As our congregations become more ethnically diverse – and they are, rapidly – our people are seeing the human element here,” he said. “Those stories are finding their way out of local congregations and toward elected officials.”
A May 2013 study by the Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project estimated that, over the last two decades, the United States has admitted about 12.7 million legal immigrants who identify as Christians. About 60 percent of new legal immigrants last year were Christian.
And among undocumented immigrants, the percentage of Christians is even more striking. More than eight in ten undocumented immigrants are Christian, the study found, translating to an estimated 9.2 million individuals living in the United States today.
“The future of the churches, all of them – Catholic, Southern Baptist, evangelical, mainline – the future of our churches are immigrants,” Wallis says. “They are our future.”
Rodriguez agrees, citing projections that show the majority of evangelicals in the United States may be Latino by the year 2030.
“The optics that guide the community in addressing immigration reform are not just morally driven – which is the most important – but are also about self-preservation,” Rodriguez says.
“The very future of American evangelicalism lies in the hands of the immigration reform debate. So it’s a matter of survival.”
So this is why they're dragging out this immigration bill for further debate until October(instead of taking a vote on it next week before Congress goes on a month long recess) - gives them additional time to target the modern-day churches, and get all of the "denominations" and different faiths on the same page, and ultimately get them on the path to this OWR.
Well, it looks like this worship song is CCM...
"In Christ Alone" is a popular, modern Christian song written by Keith Getty (Northern Ireland) and Stuart Townend (England), both songwriters of Christian hymns and contemporary worship music. The song, with a strong Irish melody, copyrighted by Getty and Townend ©2001 Kingsway Music Thankyou Music, is the first the two songwriters penned down in their partnership of songwriting. The music was by Getty and the original lyrics by Townend.
Yeah, there seems to be a Hegelian Dialectic going on within Churchianity circles as well - the modern-day churches will accept it, but the more Christ-rejecting, "Christian in name", churches will reject it - ultimately, this charade only increases the credibility of these wicked spirits.
Matthew 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
Mat 12:44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
Mat 12:45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
Atlanta finally strikes deal with church
06 Aug 2013 One house of worship down. One house of worship to go.
A day after breaking off talks with Mt. Vernon Baptist Church regarding a $6.2 million offer to buy a building that’s in the path of the new Falcons Stadium, the powers-that-be in Atlanta struck a deal with the other church blocking the planned construction site.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the agreed price is $19.5 million. That’s precisely the midpoint between the opening demand of $24.5 million and the opening offer of $14.5 million.
Now that a deal is in place with Friendship Baptist Church, talks with Mt. Vernon Baptist Church will reopen.
Now this is TOO much money right there! Amazing how the modern-day pastors can be hirelings at the worst...
Deception is VERY subtle! Must hear!
Ex-New Ager Warren Smith exposes "Jesus Calling" book
Is It Necessary to Believe in a Literal Adam and a Literal Fall?
Recently, I saw a headline that caught my eye. The secular journal Nature published an article titled “Genetic Adam and Eve did not live too far apart in time.” Now, secularists (and even some Christians) propose the idea that there was “Y-chromosome Adam” and “mitochondrial Eve”—basically the supposed ancestors of human beings.
According to the article in Nature, secular scientists have redated when they believe these two ancestors existed. But you know, these evolutionary scientists have the entirely wrong starting point on this issue, which the opening line of the article makes clear:
The Book of Genesis puts Adam and Eve together in the Garden of Eden, but geneticists’ version of the duo—the ancestors to whom the Y chromosomes and mitochondrial DNA of today’s humans can be traced—were thought to have lived tens of thousands of years apart.
Did you catch that—the “geneticists’ version of the duo”? From the outset, Nature’s report shows that these scientists have lifted man’s fallible ideas above God’s Word. Similarly the article later concludes that the Bible’s reference to “one man . . . is a bit of a misnomer because this Adam was by no means the only man alive at his time.”
Scripture tells us that Adam and Even were historical figures. In fact, together they were the progenitors of the entire human race. Genesis 2 recounts the special creation of Adam from the dust of the earth:
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
Eve was later formed from Adam’s side (Genesis 2:21–22). God completed both of these creative works on Day Six of Creation Week (Genesis 1:27, 31). So Adam and Eve were the first couple, according to the Word of the One who was there. The entire human race is related to them in some way (Genesis 3:20), just as we’re all related to Noah in some way, as he and his family repopulated the earth following the global Flood:
Now the sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated. (Genesis 9:18–19).
Sadly, it isn’t just secularists who reject this biblical history—many professing Christians do, too! When I began my teaching ministry over 35 years ago, I said then that if compromise on Genesis continued to spread in the church, then the church would eventually give up an historical Adam. Well, today we’re seeing more and more Bible scholars and church leaders denying a literal Adam and Eve as they attempt to mix evolutionary ideas with Scripture. In fact, the topic of their historicity is such a major one in the church today that it made the cover of a 2011 Christianity Today magazine:
So, why is it so important that the account of Adam and Eve be true? Because their existence is foundational to the gospel! Now, I want to make very clear that belief in a historical Adam and Eve is not a salvation issue per se, but it is a biblical authority issue and a gospel issue. When we deny the existence of Adam and Eve, then how do we explain the origin of sin and death in the world? And if we cannot explain how sin and death came into the world, or if we believe that it was always here, then what was the purpose of Christ’s death and Resurrection? Why was the atonement even necessary?
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. . . . For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:12, 17)
The problem with mixing evolution with Scripture is that it undermines the very foundation of the gospel. Can a person still be a Christian even while denying the existence of a literal Adam and Eve? Thank God, salvation is conditioned upon faith in Christ:
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
Rejecting a literal Adam and a literal Fall makes Genesis chapters 1–3 untrustworthy. In other words, it’s an authority issue—it undermines the authority of the Word of God. And from there, it’s a slippery slope to making even the gospel message untrustworthy. Personally, I just don’t see how someone truly and fully understands what it means to be saved if they don’t believe in a historic Adam and a historic Fall!
Of course, I do not want to have a person think that I question the legitimacy of their faith if they reject a literal Fall. But I do need to point out the inherent contradiction in such a compromise as it relates to the gospel message. Again, salvation is conditioned upon faith in Christ (cf. Ephesians 2:8–9). But, to deny a literal Adam and a literal Fall is to deny the origin of sin, isn’t it? So for such a person who denies the literal historicity of Adam and the Fall, what does Romans 10:9 mean to them anyway? Only God knows our hearts and the nature of our faith.
We can trust God’s Word when He tells us that Adam and Eve were the first humans.
For more information on mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosome Adam, as well as many other genetics questions, I encourage you to visit our genetics topics webpage.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Remember the hurricanes in Moore, OK back in May that got national attention b/c of the level of damage it caused. Nonetheless, yet another example of an Apostate Church trying to please the world, and not God.
For students in tornado-ravaged town, back-to-school will be 'new normal'
MOORE, Okla. — Students heading back to the classroom on Friday nearly three months after a massive tornado destroyed their schools will find a "new normal," their superintendent says, with some pupils attending classes in a church and others in a building loaned by a junior high.
Two elementary schools — Plaza Towers and Briarwood — were leveled in the May 20 twister, a rare high intensity storm that claimed 25 lives, including those of seven third-grade students who were hunkered down with their teacher.
“If you would have asked me, would we still be standing here today, I would have had my doubts,” Supt. Robert Romines said Monday.
“We are faced with a new normal. That new normal is about moving forward, rebuilding and doing what we need to do for this community, with the understanding that we won’t forget May 20.”
Immediately after the disaster, Romines and other school officials were determined that class would be back in session on Friday, Aug. 16. Their first task: Finding sites to house students for one year while their devastated schools are rebuilt at their old locations with tornado-proof safe rooms.
Within days, helping hands were extended. Officials at Moore’s Central Junior High School agreed to give up a building for Plaza Towers students. That has required constructing new classrooms, administrative offices and a teacher’s lounge.
Across town, Emmaus Baptist Church offered to open its doors to Briarwood students.
To prepare, the church has converted Sunday school classrooms that hundreds of parishioners fill weekly into rooms for teachers and students.
At the junior high school, teachers could be seen last week cutting out decorations for the classroom walls, and walking amid desks — provided for free by a nearby school district — topped with donated backpacks and other supplies.
“I have a little bit of anxiety … having the kids who lost their classmates,” said fourth grade Plaza Towers teacher Kimberly Martinez, who said she became emotional when she received her roster of incoming students on Friday and the names of the deceased pupils were missing.
In the aftermath of a similar-intensity tornado that leveled an elementary school in Moore in 1999, in which no one was hurt, students and teachers dispersed through the district. “It’s nice to be able to stay together,” Martinez, 26, said. “I feel like we have this special bond."
Enrollment for the two schools has dropped about 10 percent, or 150 students, Romines said, with many kids having to move away after their homes were destroyed. But they’ve suspended the district transfer policy so those students can return.
At Emmaus Baptist Church, teachers have worked to fit desks, cubby holes and supply shelves into tiny Sunday school classrooms. In a large vaulted room, one teacher said she would share the space with another instructor, so they have decided to make the best of it by team teaching. A physical education teacher will lead his classes in a chapel.
Associate Pastor Jim Lehew said Emmaus wanted to come “alongside” the community to help. The church is letting the school use the space for free.
“What this provides is a place for them to all to be together,” he said.
“Is it ideal? Probably not,” but, he later added, “it would be a greater tragedy for us not to open our doors.”
As librarian Teresa Schroeder, 53, stocked her shelves in a hallway of the church, she cried while talking about the aftermath of the tornado and finding the cart — which she identified by its bar code — where Briarwood students would scan and check out their books. She bought a new Eeyore doll, which used to sit next to the scanner, to make it look like the familiar setup.
“It’s definitely different,” she said, describing how she procured all of the encyclopedias, series books, and Newbery and Caldecott winners for her makeshift library. “But we’re going to make it.”
"new normal" seems to be a modern-day buzzword like a lot of the New Age terms...
Heb 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
I have an update on the church I'm going to - didn't go today(b/c my dad just got back from the hospital this evening). But we found out today that the pastor quit, and no one really knows why. This is the second week in a row he didn't come.
Pt I'm trying to make here is that for 99% of church buildings in America, HOW OFTEN do you see them change pastors, b/c the pastor quits for whatever reason? It just seems like for the average pastor, they have resumes at least a mile long, b/c they're going from church to church, claiming how "God is calling them to better opportunities" - but reality is is that they just happen to go to BIGGER(meaning in NUMBER and FINANCIAL) ministries.
And even worse in our present day - the older pastors that leave, they end up being replaced by younger or young pastors that got brainwashed with emergent/postmodernism junk in their modern-day churches/seminaries since the turn of the 21st Century.(ie-both of the youth ministers at my church went through just that, which explains why they see nothing wrong with "Christian" Rock and these "youth" devotionals)
John_10:12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
Joh_10:13 The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
“Reformation Project” Targets Churches to Make Them Gay-Affirming
Is your church “reformed?” It soon will be, if Matthew Vines has his way. In just a few weeks, Vines will reach thousands of people around the nation and train them to infiltrate Bible-believing churches like yours to attack the Truth.
Vines, a Harvard-educated gay Christian who sparked a great deal of controversy in the church community last year with his in-depth analysis on why the Bible does not condemn homosexuality, has launched a new leadership training conference aimed at teaching Christians how to lead LGBT-friendly churches and communities:
|In a video announcing the project, Vines says The Reformation Project will “train, connect and empower gay Christians and their allies to reform church teaching on homosexuality from the ground up.”
Vines gained a wide recognition and stirred controversy last year with his hour-long YouTube video, which has gained over half a million views, where he presented a detailed argument on why he believes the Bible does not condemn gay people.
The young Christian also did an exclusive interview with The Christian Post where he detailed how he arrived at his argument, which caused a great deal of discussion and debate in the Christian community. A number of theologians, such as Dr. Evan Lenow, assistant professor of Ethics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Dr. Robert Gagnon, associate professor of New Testament at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the foremost expert on the Bible and homosexuality, offered counter-arguments, rejecting Vines’ reading of the Bible.
The Reformation Project, which will take place Sept. 18-21 at Asbury United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Kansas, is aimed at tackling homophobia in the church, Vines says.
“Right now there are thousands of churches across the world where gay Christians have no voice – where coming out means getting kicked out and losing all support from family and friends,” he states in the video.
“As the Bible tells us, the stone that the builders rejected has and will become the Cornerstone.”
According to the project website, regional offices are being launched “in places where LGBT people have the least support” in order to “reform the churches there from within.”
“Soon, gay kids in Jackson, Mississippi and Kingston, Jamaica won’t just have to hear on YouTube that it gets better-they will have the personal support of outspoken, influential Christian allies in their communities who can ensure that it does.”
|“As the Bible tells us, the stone that the builders rejected has and will become the Cornerstone.” |
This is WHAT this passage of scripture SAYS...
Matthew 21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Mat 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
Mat 21:44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
President of Moody and Son Soft on Homosexuality!
Dr. Paul Nyquist, President of Moody Bible Institute and his son Carson appeared on Moody radio August 17, 2013 and basically announced that the Bible is an antiquated book since “millennials” don’t respond to it as past generations have. Carson is a Moody and Dallas Seminary graduate and is an assistant pastor in Wisconsin. He and his Moody-president-dad wrote Post-Church Christian, a book that is a travesty, published by Moody Press!
The younger Nyquist whines, “the church has deeply hurt us.” No, the church did not hurt him, it was people. Moreover, maybe Carson is a little too sensitive. Maybe he is relishing in his victimhood caused by the older generation. He is sure proud of being a “Millennial” and opines that “few generations before us are so quick to acknowledge failure.” Well, yes, but their failures are so obvious. The previous generation, as all generations, generated massive failures but then, we are all broken, sinful people. The “Millennials” are the same, only younger and more whiney.
Carson declares, as if anyone questions it, “Perfection is a standard no one can meet.” Did it take a few years at Moody and Dallas to comprehend that truth?
Carson assures us, “We value the environment and are the most socially conscious generation in recent history.” That trivial statement would make Congregational pastor, Washington Gladden, (stimulus for the social gospel in the late 1800s) stand up and cheer. Wow, surely Carson could, if he would, be a little more biblical than boast about tree-hugging.
Carson said, “Christian morals are not held as they once were…. In fact, I would argue, as many others do, that this [new morals] is exactly what the church needs.” He is getting ready to hit his stride with his main issue as he discusses morals: homosexuality. “The Christian reputation, established primarily by the previous generation, has been known to show judgment and doctrinal separation. Few would describe this conversation as loving.” But is it biblical? The Millennial and Emergent Church pitch is “don’t be judgmental” even if the Bible demands it. That doesn’t go well with his generation. Adjust, be flexible. “Don’t be so hardnosed” is their mantra.
Another string they constantly strum is their reproof, revulsion, and rejection of doctrine and doctrinal separation. All the loosey-goosey Evangelical groups detest the message of Paul: “Come out from among them.” The Millennials want to stay in and well, not fight but fellowship and fraternize with the ungodly. Might win one now and then. To what?
He adds that the church, because of its harshness and labeling homosexuality as “sin,” has alienated the homosexual community. “I want nothing to do with that reputation.” He writes about the church’s negative reputation in the “gay” community. He approvingly quoted a pro-homosexual blogger who was present at a “gay” pride rally: “I hugged a man in his underwear. I think Jesus would have too.” No, Jesus would have told him to get saved and put on some clothes. The man would have clothed himself as did the demoniac of Gadara. When people get right, they get dressed. The further away from God, the less clothing.
The blogger went on: “I spent the day at Chicago’s Pride Parade.” He and some friends wore shirts stating “I’m sorry that Christians judge you.” “I’m sorry the way churches have treated you.” “I used to be a bible-banging homophobe, sorry.” Well, since all Christians are to follow Bible commands, I wonder how such compromise can be defended in light of Gen. 19 when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain. Has God changed or has Moody changed?
Carson goes on: “Pietistic compulsion to share our convictions does not lead to relationship or reconciliation.” How about repentance? Repentance must precede relationship and reconciliation.
He then deals with the woman in Luke 7 who kissed Christ’s feet and wept. Carson is trying to make a comparison of homosexuals visiting a church and being rejected. Of course, Christ accepted her but Carson doesn’t seem to understand that she had repented and had been forgiven. He added, “What would others think if their community group welcomed a lesbian? Image management rises to the surface and trumps all.” No, truth trumps all and any lesbian would be accepted after repentance.
Some think this was Mary Magdalene but with no biblical reason. The woman in the passage was probably a heathen, a Gentile and maybe a prostitute. She kissed Christ’s feet which was not a Jewish custom. Polybius reported on ambassadors from Carthage who supplicated the Romans for peace in the early 200s B.C. With a humble and abject mind, they fell down and “kissed the feet of the council.” Kissing the feet was a heathen practice and was not part of a Jew’s practice.
Carson does not want to be connected to a faith that takes an anti-homosexual stand. Of course, many Millennials don’t want to stand for anything. He doesn’t want to be identified with that faith. I don’t think he has much to worry about.
Paul added, “We don’t want a watered-down version of God’s word,” however, that is exactly what the Nyquists have and evidently Moody Bible Institute, Moody Press, and Moody Radio have the same. The father declared on the radio program, “We both hold strongly to the biblical standards on homosexuality and any form of sexual perversion.” What a statement! Both men know what the Bible teaches about fornication, bestiality, homosexuality, necrophilia, so how could an honest person make such a statement? They are public apologists for abnormality.
Closing the program, Carson spoke of his tattoo (on his side) saying it was a spiritual experience! He defended tattoos by saying that most of his friends had tattoos and “It’s like wearing a tie.” No, it is not. According to one writer in the Pacific News Service, tattoos are a “new reverence for pagan beliefs.” Lev. 19:28 clearly commands “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” Carson’s dad, president of Moody Bible Institute said of his son’s body marking, “I am fine with that.”
The book is recommended by Glenn R. Kreider, professor at Dallas Seminary. It is not recommended by me! And neither is Moody Bible Institute, Publishing, or Radio recommended by me. And in quiet moments I wonder how any Dallas professor can recommend such a book.
Millennials want to break with their rigid past and have a warm, fuzzy, Christianity. They don’t like to be pressured into a pure, biblical life. They prefer to be uncommitted, unconnected, and unaccountable.
Their book deserves to be unread.
Copyright 2013, Don Boys, Ph.D.
|A day after breaking off talks with Mt. Vernon Baptist Church regarding a $6.2 million offer to buy a building that’s in the path of the new Falcons Stadium, the powers-that-be in Atlanta struck a deal with the other church blocking the planned construction site.
Falcons offer extra $8M for site
13 Sep 2013 The Atlanta Falcons are offering an extra $8 million to buy a church property that sits at the site of a proposed stadium.
The Georgia World Congress Center Authority would pay $6.2 million. The Atlanta Falcons would provide an additional $8.3 million.
Mount Vernon is one of two churches that will have to be relocated if the $1 billion, retractable-roof NFL stadium is to be built on the Falcons' preferred site.
A lawyer for Mount Vernon Baptist Church says the congregation will likely hold a meeting next week to vote on the proposal.
Reed has already reached a preliminary agreement with the other church.
Church: ‘Jesus had two dads’ sign causing buzz around town
9/18/13 NASHVILLE, Tenn (CNN) – A sign in front of a church in Tennessee is causing quite a buzz in the community over its message.
The sign at St. John’s United Methodist Church reads, “Jesus had two dads and he turned out just fine.”
People around town are now talking about the sign’s deeper meaning and whether or not it has to do with gay marriage.
According to WSMV, the sign was put up as a message to children of any blended family.
Pastor Bill Campbell said, “I think the assumption is we’re taking a stand relative to a position with regards to same sex marriage. For me, it’s more of a concern of what are we doing about families and a message to children.”
While Rick Warren may be playing a big part in all of this, it looks like for some reason, Churchianity seems to be buying into this gun control deception as well...
Will Rick Warren lead a Christian movement for gun control?
Sep 18, 2013
Bestselling author and mega-church pastor Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, have been pushing Christians on social issues for the last decade. They were among the first evangelical leaders to begin championing adoption, which helped turn it into an issue of top priority among the faithful. And through their P.E.A.C.E. plan, they’ve helped mobilize evangelicals to fight AIDS, a disease many Christians believed was God’s judgment on gays and lesbians only a generation ago.
“It may actually be shorter to list causes that [Rick and Kay Warren] have not dedicated time and energy to,” CNN’s Daniel Burke wrote on Tuesday.
But after the Warren’s interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan last night about their son’s suicide and other issues, many wonder whether the religious power couple might lead a Christian movement for gun control.
This past April, Rick and Kay’s son, Matthew, committed suicide with a gun he illegally obtained online. He had attempted to purchase a gun legally several times but was rebuffed because of a red flag on his background check for having been forcibly admitted to a mental institution.
“We’re grateful that the laws kept Matthew from getting the gun for as long as it did,” Rick Warren said in the interview.
At one point, Morgan brought up Washington Navy Yard shooting, noting it as part of a “constant tidal wave” of gun violence in America.
“Now that you’ve been so personally touched and you’re in such a position of authority, is it affecting what you’re going to be saying about this going forward?” Morgan asked the pastor.
“Well yeah,” Warren responded, “I mean it’s going to affect me in all three of those areas, not simply in gun control.”
He went on to add that when he heard news of the shooting, he fell to his knees and prayed for the victims.
What exactly Warren means when he says this will affect the way he engages the issue of gun control is unclear, but this isn’t the first time he’s expressed concern on the matter. Following the Sandy Hook shooting last year, Warren said on “Fox News Sunday”:
|There’s a mental health angle that you have to deal with, I don’t think we’re taking care of those struggling with mental illness like we need to in America. There is the civil safety issue, which is gun control and these assault weapons — they don’t call them ‘assault weapons’ for nothing. There is the social issue … students, by the time they’re 18, they’ve maybe killed 10,000, 20,000 people on video games without any remorse for it. It creates a culture of violence. |
If the Warrens decide to engage this issue, there are some indications that much of the Christian community is poised to join them. According to an August 2012 survey by Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), six-in-ten Catholics and religiously unaffiliated Americans (62% and 60%) favor stricter gun control laws. About 42% of mainline Protestants and 35% of white evangelicals said the same thing.
But the PRRI survey was conducted prior to the Sandy Hook tragedy that sparked a national debate on the issue. In January of this year, a non-scientific poll conducted by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) found that 73% of church leaders agreed there needs to be stricter gun regulations.
“Evangelicals are pro-life and deeply grieve when any weapons are used to take innocent lives,” said Leith Anderson, President of the NAE. “The evangelical leaders who responded to the NAE survey support the Second Amendment right to bear arms but also want our laws to prevent the slaughter of children.”
It’s difficult to tell exactly how many American Christians favor gun control at this moment, but one thing is for certain: If Rick and Kay Warren decide to prioritize it, we can be sure that the number—whatever it is—will grow. - See more at: http://jonathanmerritt.religionne...gun-control/#sthash.VyoXFU9X.dpuf
Rick Warren is NOT a Christian!
Rick Warren is NOT a Christian!
Rick Warren is NOT a Christian!
Christian Swingers? Even Progressive Pastors Are Shocked
Sept. 19, 2013
Christian Swingers, a new website, invites faithful couples to be unfaithful, but it is creating a veritable Battle of Jericho among even the most progressive ranks in the church.
The online dating service – which looks more like a porn site, with its maze of links to other sexually explicit sites and services -- says it gives "good Christians" the privacy they need to avoid getting a "bad reputation" at swingers clubs and meetings.
"For Christian swingers, things are not easy," reads the site's opening pitch. "Often other religious people judge you, out of ignorance or envy, telling you that your lifestyle and love practices are wrong. But the Bible teaches us 'Judge not lest ye be judged,' and there's that verse about the first stone. … This site is designed to cater to the needs of those like you: devout Christian couples who still want to have an active love life and share it with another, in good faith."
Christian Mingle.com and "finding God's match" this is not.
The Christian Post calls the "brazen" site an "oxymoron." And commenters on a Swinging Christians Facebook page called the concept "sick" and "ridiculous and disgustingly shameful."
Still, one of the sites proponents on Facebook waxed philosophical: "According to the book of Genesis, in the garden of Eden Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed. That was God's original plan. If that plan had gone forward, we would all be naked in a paradise world. Having sex with someone would be as natural as shaking hands or eating food together."
The advertised free service is not just limited to "swinging" couples. It also offers individual hook-ups, some with with gays and transsexuals, threesomes and "grannies." Ages range from 18 to 81. But on a recent check, the pickings seemed pretty slim – with no choices for couples.
Not so, says Infinite Connections Inc., the Plantation, Fla.-based company that owns the site.
A woman in the customer service department, who identified herself as "Peyton," said that the company owns "many" dating and adult websites. She said of its subscribers, "Most are Christians," as indicated by their profile descriptions.
"If you do not like what you see on our site, you can deactivate your profile and go somewhere else that suits you best," she said.
"My initial take was that this is a spoof and isn't real," said Christian author Craig Gross, 37, who is often called the Porn Pastor. "We do a lot of crazy stuff, but I don't know anyone in my circle that does or believes or thinks [swinging] a good idea. This isn't a helpful tool in marriage -- Christian or not."
Gross, a former youth pastor, helps Christians overcome their addiction to porn as part of the ministry he founded, the California-based XXX Church.
"I see this all the time -- there is something there from a business perspective -- targeting Christians," he said. "I am a little confused if it's for real. If you are breaking all the rules of marriage, to begin with, then why does it matter if you are a Christian or not?"
Christian Leaders Urge Churches to Back Syria Peace Plan
The World Council of Churches (WCC) urged its Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican member churches on Thursday to lobby their congregations and national governments to support a political solution to the war in Syria.
The Geneva-based WCC made the appeal after a meeting with international envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who both asked Christian leaders to help mobilize public opinion for peace.
The appeal by the WCC, representing about a quarter of the world's 2.2 billion Christians, follows similar calls by the Roman Catholic Church—which makes up over half of global Christianity—and many evangelical leaders.
"Churches must continue to raise their voice in their congregations and with their governments," said a WCC communique after the meeting near Geneva on Wednesday.
"We must strengthen the public outcry so that those in power will protect the common interest of humanity."
WCC General Secretary Rev. Olaf Fyske Tveit told Reuters there was "consensus in the whole Christian family" for a negotiated peace in Syria and Brahimi and Annan convinced church leaders it could happen "if there is enough political support."
He noted that even many United States evangelicals, who mostly backed earlier U.S. military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq, had spoken out against military strikes in Syria after a poison gas attack outside Damascus killed hundreds of people.
"I've seen no Christian leader voice support for those strikes," Tveit said. "The time has passed when anyone believed that one side could win. The only way forward is to support the political solution."
Christians Gather in Kan. to Discuss Homosexuality
A Kansas man whose online lecture about the Bible and same-sex relationships gained considerable attention has gathered about 50 Christians from around the country to delve into his belief that the Scriptures do not condemn homosexuality as a sexual orientation.
Matthew Vines, of Wichita, grew up attending a conservative evangelical Presbyterian church in the city and relies heavily on intensive study of the Bible for his presentations. He said liberal and moderate Christian churches have adopted more gay-friendly stances, but conservative churches remain steadfast in their opposition to homosexuality.
The 23-year-old Vines wants to bring change with his message that the Bible doesn’t actually say same-sex orientation is a sin or condemn loving gay relationships. Out of 100 applicants, Vines selected 50 people with ties to conservative churches to participate in his three-day conference, which started Wednesday in Prairie Village and ends Saturday.
“This conference is important because it really represents the next frontier of the LGBT movement, which is working to change the minds of conservative Christians about same-sex relationships,” Vines said. “Because I’m a gay Christian who grew up in a conservative church and still have a lot of friends and family in conservative churches, I’m trying to empower people to be able to stay in their churches that are not yet supportive.”
Vines delivered an hourlong lecture on the topic at a Wichita church and posted it to YouTube in March 2012. Since then, the video has garnered more than 600,000 views and 15,000 responses. And it has been translated into several languages.
“A lot of conservative Christians are willing to listen, but they don’t want to do it with someone who isn’t educated about Scripture,” said Vines, who has started a new organization, The Reformation Project, and written a book on the topic that will be published in March.
Evan Lenow, assistant professor of ethics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, wrote an extensive rebuttal on his blog about Vines’ online lecture and said Wednesday in a phone interview that Vines’ take on the Bible is not a faithful reading of the text.
“It seems to me he is attempting to read Scripture through his presupposition that homosexuality is not a sin,” Lenow said. “… Every time (Scripture) speaks of homosexuality it speaks of homosexuality in terms of sin.”
‘God Wanted Us to Be Rich’: Reality Show to Feature Millionaire Gospel Musician’s Lavish Lifestyle
A new reality show is set to launch this fall featuring a Gospel musician and his blended family, who claim that they were called by God to be rich.
Ben Tankard is a best-selling jazz musician, who has won 12 Stellar awards for his instrumental Gospel albums, and has received multiple Dove and Grammy nominations. The Nashville-based musician is now poised to have his own reality show called Thicker Than Water, which will give viewers a glimpse into his lavish lifestyle.
“This southern family integrates their strong religious conviction with their penchant for the finer things in life,” reads a description of the broadcast from the Bravo television network. “With the belief that ‘God wants us all to be millionaires,’ the Tankards aim to be the best and brightest in everything they do.”
The network has also released a trailer that gives viewers a sneak peak into the life and belief system of the Tankard family.
“We live life on the good side,” Ben Tankard states. “We live in a three-level mansion [with] seven vehicles to drive, plus I love my airplanes.”
His wife Jewel also explains that the family enjoys living large, and that she believes it is all a part of the will of God.
“[W]e will do everything big–his and her Mercedes, airplanes, houses,” she notes. “We’re just doing what God called us to do.”
Jewel tells the audience that she came to believe that God wants Christians to be rich after observing a well-to-do pastor and his wife who adhere to the “prosperity gospel.”
“The first time that I realized God wanted us to be rich I was a senior in college, and I saw this phenomenal man and woman standing up preaching the word, and honey, there was nothing broke about them,” she states. “And I said, ‘O Lord, this is the Jesus I know.’”
Son Benji Tankard also advises that he would like to surpass his father in riches one day.
“In five years, I can see myself being a multi-millionaire, probably owning a couple of hotels, two McDonalds, [and having] two or three kids,” he outlines. “I don’t want to be like my dad. I want to be better than my dad. I want to be the man.”
“Sometimes it bothers people,” Jewel admits, but adds, “Somebody’s gotta have it, so why not us?”
Reaction to the broadcast has been mixed.
“Love it!” one commenter wrote. “Jesus came to give life, and life more abundantly. This is abundant living in Christ.”
“God does not want everyone to be millionaires, or else He would not have said the love of money is the root of all evil,” another stated. “This family has their priorities out of whack. If they were true Bible-believing Christians, they would be spending their money on helping the poor, building churches, providing medical supplies for the needy in Africa, Indonesia and other third world countries. But no, they spend it on themselves.”
Thicker Than Water is set to air on Bravo beginning November 10th at 9 p.m. EST. A similar reality show, Preachers of LA, featuring six Los Angeles-area prosperity preachers, will also air this fall on Oxygen.
It seems like a growing number of churches have flat screen tvs behind the pulpits in recent years.
Pt being that the stage is behind set for the Antichrist, it seems, in these 501c3 Apostate Churches - and when he makes his appearance, he will do so on all of the media, including those tv screens in those churches.
Also - it should make any Christian feel uncomfortable having to read the hymn words off of those tv screens. Seriously - whatever happened to singing them off of those HYMN BOOKS? IOW, whatever happened to people READING off of those hymn books? It's as if they're spoon-feeding you by putting the words on those tv screens.
‘Pastor’ Says ‘Church Sucks’ for Focusing on Sin, Adds Katy Perry, Maroon 5 Songs to Services
A minister in Oregon has a launched a sermon series entitled ‘Church S*cks,’ and is announcing seeker-friendly changes to his Sunday services, as a way to attract people who dislike church.
Tony Crank, who leads One Love Church in Eugene, claims that churches talk too much about sin, and are not welcoming enough to visitors.
“Some churches have become the kind of place where you point the finger, and you condemn and rebuke and you’re really quick to do it,” he told television station KVAL. “And so, I think that is definitely lending itself to people not wanting anything to do with church and thinking church s*cks!”
Crank says that he doesn’t want to be considered a preacher, because he does not agree with preaching at people. He states he’d rather be known as only a pastor, and doesn’t want to “waste your time” on Sundays.
“I just like to have a conversation with everyone, just like I do at the coffee shop if we were talking one on one,” he told KTMR.
This past Sunday, Crank shared a story about how his dog urinated on his mother when she came for a visit. He tied the story into his belief that churches are too quick to make people feel bad about their sins. Crank also used the phrase “Don’t get your panties in a bunch” when speaking to the congregation.
One Love Church mailed out hundreds of flyers this month to homes throughout Lane County to announce the series. Crank has also made adjustments to the Sunday services, as sermons will now be kept short to thirty minutes and secular music will be sung at times to accompany the messages, instead of solely worship and hymns. Songs may include those recorded by Katy Perry, known for her hit pro-lesbian song, I Kissed a Girl, and Maroon 5, known for their song Doin’ Dirt.
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“There is a perception that to come into church you’ve got to be perfect. Sometimes what that allows people to do is to kind of judge people that we might perceive to not be that kind of stereotypical perfect person. It turns a lot of people off to what the ultimate message of Christ is,” Kyle Cunningham, worship leader at One Love Church, told reporters.
Reaction to the campaign has been mixed.
“First off, I commend this pastor for being open enough to see people that have been hurt by people that take the right to judge–God’s job–into their own hands,” wrote one commenter. “Paul said as long as the Gospel is preached he doesn’t care how it was done. Let’s demonstrate some humility and think of ways to get the unchurched to know Jesus.”
“The Church is the Body of Christ and this pastor says it s*cks,” another stated. “Jesus paid [for us] with His blood, the sinless Son of God, and this pastor thinks he is cool denigrating God in this fashion. You may give him a pass, but Paul would have plenty to say to this man.”
“How heartbreaking for this congregation,” a third remarked. “In his tired search for relevance, this pastor has made that local body like the world and therefore less relevant. My prayers go out to them.”
‘Reformation Project’ Recruits Volunteers Nationwide to Influence Churches to Embrace Homosexuality
A homosexual advocacy group is recruiting volunteers to influence churches nationwide to embrace homosexuality.
The Reformation Project describes itself as “a Bible-based, Christian non-profit organization that seeks to reform church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity.” Based in Wichita, Kansas, the organization aims to “accelerate the acceptance of LGBT people in the Church.”
Matthew Vines, 23, leads the effort, and organized a conference last month for 50 selected volunteers who will go into their churches and work to convince their congregations that homosexuality is not sinful.
“The Bible is not anti-gay. It never addresses the issues of same-sex orientation or loving same-sex relationships, and the few verses that some cite to oppose those relationships have nothing to do with LGBT people,” Vines asserts on the Reformation Project website. “Careful, persistent arguments about those passages have the power to change every Christian church worldwide, no matter how conservative its theology.”
A Global Slaughter of Christians, but America’s Churches Stay Silent
by Kirsten Powers Sep 27, 2013 5:45 AM EDT
Christians are being singled out and massacred from Pakistan to Syria to the Nairobi shopping mall. Kirsten Powers on the deafening silence from U.S. pews and pulpits.
Christians in the Middle East and Africa are being slaughtered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, beheaded, and forced to flee the birthplace of Christianity. One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so. The silence has been nearly deafening.
As Egypt’s Copts have battled the worst attacks on the Christian minority since the 14th century, the bad news for Christians in the region keeps coming. On Sunday, Taliban suicide bombers killed at least 85 worshippers at All Saints’ church, which has stood since 1883 in the city of Peshawar, Pakistan. Christians were also the target of Islamic fanatics in the attack on a shopping center in Nairobi, Kenya, this week that killed more than 70 people. The Associated Press reported that the Somali Islamic militant group al-Shabab “confirmed witness accounts that gunmen separated Muslims from other people and let the Muslims go free.” The captives were asked questions about Islam. If they couldn’t answer, they were shot.
In Syria, Christians are under attack by Islamist rebels and fear extinction if Bashar al-Assad falls. This month, rebels overran the historic Christian town of Maalula, where many of its inhabitants speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. The AFP reported that a resident of Maalula called her fiancé’s cell and was told by member of the Free Syrian Army that they gave him a chance to convert to Islam and he refused. So they slit his throat.
Nina Shea, an international human-rights lawyer and expert on religious persecution, testified in 2011 before Congress regarding the fate of Iraqi Christians, two-thirds of whom have vanished from the country. They have either been murdered or fled in fear for their lives. Said Shea: “[I]n August 2004 … five churches were bombed in Baghdad and Mosul. On a single day in July 2009, seven churches were bombed in Baghdad … The archbishop of Mosul, was kidnapped and killed in early 2008. A bus convoy of Christian students were violently assaulted. Christians … have been raped, tortured, kidnapped, beheaded, and evicted from their homes …”
Lela Gilbert is the author of Saturday People, Sunday People, which details the expulsion of 850,000 Jews who fled or were forced to leave Muslim countries in the mid-20th century. The title of her book comes from an Islamist slogan, “First the Saturday People, then the Sunday People,” which means “first we kill the Jews, then we kill the Christians.” Gilbert wrote recently that her Jewish friends and neighbors in Israel “are shocked but not entirely surprised” by the attacks on Christians in the Middle East. “They are rather puzzled, however, by what appears to be a lack of anxiety, action, or advocacy on the part of Western Christians.”
As they should be. It is inexplicable. American Christians are quite able to organize around issues that concern them. Yet religious persecution appears not to have grabbed their attention, despite worldwide media coverage of the atrocities against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.
It’s no surprise that Jews seem to understand the gravity of the situation the best. In December 2011, Britain’s chief rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, addressed Parliament saying, “I have followed the fate of Christians in the Middle East for years, appalled at what is happening, surprised and distressed … that it is not more widely known.” “It was Martin Luther King who said, ‘In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.’ That is why I felt I could not be silent today.”
Wolf has complained loudly of the State Department’s lack of attention to religious persecution, but is anybody listening?
Yet so many Western Christians are silent. In January, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) penned a letter to 300 Catholic and Protestant leaders complaining about their lack of engagement. “Can you, as a leader in the church, help?” he wrote. “Are you pained by these accounts of persecution? Will you use your sphere of influence to raise the profile of this issue—be it through a sermon, writing or media interview?”
There have been far too few takers.
Wolf and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) sponsored legislation last year to create a special envoy at the State Department to advocate for religious minorities in the Middle East and South-Central Asia. It passed in the House overwhelmingly, but died in the Senate. Imagine the difference an outcry from constituents might have made. The legislation was reintroduced in January and again passed the House easily. It now sits in the Senate. According to the office of Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the sponsor of the bill there, there is no date set for it to be taken up.
Wolf has complained loudly of the State Department’s lack of attention to religious persecution, but is anybody listening? When American leaders meet with the Saudi government, where is the public outcry demanding they confront the Saudis for fomenting hatred of Christians, Jews, and even Muslim minorities through their propagandistic tracts and textbooks? In the debate on Syria, why has the fate of Christians and other religious minorities been almost completely ignored?
In his letter challenging U.S. religious leaders, Wolf quoted Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed for his efforts in the Nazi resistance: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
That pretty well sums it up.
50 'Hand-Picked' Christians Trained To Convince Churches To Re-Interpret Scripture's Gay Boundaries
Fifty hand-picked Christians were part of a seminal conference last week planned by Matthew Vines, a 23-year-old gay Christian who believes Scripture allows for monogamous homosexual activity, in an effort to spread the idea in the American church over the next decade.
Vines says he has had success in convincing lay members of churches over the last year that monogamous homosexual activity is allowed by Scripture, but is encountering resistance from Scriptural scholars. He is likely to encounter much more, say theologians.
More than 100 people applied to participate in the four-day conference, though only 50 were accepted, and the chosen were required to rigorously study throughout the summer before the conference even began. Vines sent them 1,100 pages of dense, academic reading material, for example, to make sure they understood both sides of the issue before the event began last Wednesday.
"The goal of the conference was to be training Christians who are in churches that don't currently support LGBT people and to give them the biblical tools and knowledge that they need to go back to their churches and have constructive, persuasive conversations with other believers on these issues," Vines told CP.
Tattooed Jesus on Texas Billboard Has Residents Talking
By Barbara Schmitt
A billboard showing a tattooed Jesus Christ has stirred up quite a bit of buzz in the heart of the Bible Belt.
The ad, which is the work of the website Jesustattoo.org, popped up along a West Lubbock, Texas, highway, and it's got people talking. It shows a man, ostensibly Jesus Christ, with outstretched arms tattooed with such words as "Outcast," "Addicted, "Jealous."
"I don't like the picture. I think it's very derogatory," a local-area resident told the CBS affiliate KEYE-TV.
On the website, a video casts Jesus as a tattoo artist and shows several tattooed individuals approaching him to reveal their sinful markings. A woman with "Self Righteous" tattooed on her chest and a young disabled boy with the word "Outcast" tattooed on his body come forward.
ABC News' calls to the group behind the video and controversial billboard were not immediately returned.
While the billboard has drawn a lot of attention, not everyone finds it blasphemous or outrageous.
"I thought that it was cleverly done because, basically, it's a visual of Jesus taking the sins of people and covering them and taking them from an outcast or something and giving them a new start, which is what the gospel is about," David Wilson, a senior pastor at Southcrest Baptist Church in Lubbock, told ABC News.
Wilson said there's a great message within the billboard and video once one gets past its shock value.
"I looked it up, and I said … this is perfect because it just draws people in here," Wilson said.
Over the course of the six-minute video, Jesus goes to work on the plagued tattooed victims and changes each shameful or negative word or phrase into something positive. The woman in the video breathes a sigh of relief when her tattoo is transformed from "Self Righteous" to "Humbled." The young disabled boy shows pride as he goes from "Outcast" to "Accepted."
On their website, the filmmakers emphasize the uncomplicated nature of their message. "It really is as simple as it appears. We are a small group of people humbled by the love of Jesus. We are not a church. We are not selling anything. We encourage you to tell as many people as possible. That's it."
Wilson said the billboard and video are different ways to reach different people.
"You know, I use the analogy - I like to fish, and I use different baits for different fish, and to me this is fishing for people who would never walk in the door of a church."
Homosexual movement has PR campaign for its last enemy: the church
A pro-family Christian activist says there's a movement under way to re-define Christianity to fit the lesbian, "gay," bisexual and transgender agenda.
Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality notes that groups such as Not All Like That, and Truth Wins Out, have campaigns to promote the "gay Christian" message.
Political groups such as the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force have been engaged in Christian advocacy for a long time.
"This alternative Christianity movement is started by some of the most hateful, secular-minded people, even atheists, who live on the planet,” says LaBarbera. “And yet they are going to redefine Christianity for us?"
Pro-homosexual activist Matthew Vines has a campaign against religious “homophobia” and argues the gay-Christian message in evangelical circles. LaBarbera says that campaign seeks to place an "evangelist" for the homosexual lobby in each state.
LaBarbera, Peter"There's lots of money being spent on this and lots of activism,” says LaBarbera, “and I'm afraid Christians just have no clue that all this is going on.”
On his website, LaBarbera highlights a Youtube video that describes a homosexual sex club near Atlanta that caters to HIV-positive men. The purpose in exposing the video, he says, is to show the depravity of the homosexual lifestyle.
LaBarbera warns that pastors need to "stand by and defend the truth of the Bible on the homosexual issue."
The pro-family activist tells OneNewsNow that the LGBT community knows Christians are the last bulwark - and because of that, it's pushing against Christianity with even greater intensity.
- See more at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/culture...ast-enemy-the-church#.Ul3YmlNcU4c
Only 1 in 3 Young Born-Again Evangelicals Believe Jesus Is Only Way to Heaven, Apologist Says
Young American born-again believers are moving away from a biblically-centered worldview, with only one in three affirming that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, according to Steve Cable, senior vice president of Probe Ministries.
"We need to admit (that there's a problem)," Cable said on Friday at a session titled "What Do [Young] American Believers Really Believe and How Do We Save Them From Cultural Captivity?" at Southern Evangelical Seminary's 20th annual Christian Apologetics conference in Charlotte, N.C.
"Don't go around with your blinders thinking that everything is fine. We have a lot of people that aren't born again, so there's a lot of work to do. But then you look at the born-agains and see that we have even more work to do."
Cable, who recently published Cultural Captives: The Beliefs and Behavior of American Young Adults, focused the session on what he called "emerging adults," or young believers between 18-29 years old. He disputed arguments that evangelicals are well-positioned and that their numbers in America haven't changed much in the last 35 years, and brought up the work by sociologist Christian Smith, who is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society and the Center for Social Research at the University of Notre Dame.
Youth Groups Driving Christian Teens to Abandon Faith
A new study might reveal why a majority of Christian teens abandon their faith upon high school graduation. Some time ago, Christian pollster George Barna documented that 61 percent of today's 20-somethings who had been churched at one point during their teen years are now spiritually disengaged. They do not attend church, read their Bible or pray.
According to a new five-week, three-question national survey sponsored by the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC), the youth group itself is the problem. Fifty-five percent of American Christians are concerned with modern youth ministry because it's too shallow and too entertainment-focused, resulting in an inability to train mature believers. But even if church youth groups had the gravitas of Dallas Theological Seminary, 36 percent of today's believers are convinced youth groups themselves are not even biblical.
After answering three questions at YouthGroupSurvey.com, each survey participant received NCFIC Director Scott Brown's e-book entitled Weed in the Church: How A Culture of Age Segregation Is Destroying the Younger Generation, Fragmenting the Family and Harming Church as well as access to a 50-minute-long documentary entitled Divided: Is Modern Youth Ministry Multiplying or Dividing the Church? (Divided has been viewed by 200,000 people.)
The survey is still active online through Friday, Nov. 8.
Adam McManus, a spokesman for NCFIC, is not surprised by the church's deep concerns about youth groups.
"Today's church has created peer dependency," McManus says. "The inherent result of youth groups is that teenagers in the church are focused on their peers, not their parents or their pastors. It's a foreign sociology that leads to immaturity, a greater likelihood of sexual activity, drug experimentation and a rejection of the authority of the Word of God.
"Proverbs 13:20 says, 'He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.' The result is that the youth stumble, they can't see beyond their noses, and spiritual adolescence is prolonged well into adulthood. It's crippling the body of Christ. That's why it's time to return to the biblical paradigm and throw out the youth group structure entirely."
He continues, "I am greatly encouraged by the results of our survey. American Christians are finally waking up to the disconnect between the clear teaching in Scripture in favor of family-integration and the modern-day church's obsession with dividing the family at every turn. Age segregation, especially during the tender and impactful teenage years, not only hasn't worked, it's been detrimental. Even worse, it is contrary to the Bible. But the good news is that practices in the churches related to youth groups are changing dramatically. Twenty years ago no one was even asking this question."
McManus cited the following Scriptures to document his contention that it's God's will for the church to embrace the biblical model of families staying together in the service as the Word of God is preached: Deuteronomy 16:9-14, Joshua 8:34-35, Ezra 10:1, 2 Chronicles 20:13, Nehemiah 12:43 and Joel 2:15-16.
"Our fervent prayer is that God will raise up Spirit-filled, Bible-preaching, Christ-centered, family-integrated assemblies from the ashes of our man-centered, family-fragmenting churches," McManus adds. "Plus, the church needs to begin to equip Christian fathers to communicate the gospel to their families. Today, Christian parents are beginning to realize that they have not fulfilled their spiritual duties by simply dropping off their kiddos to Sunday school and youth group, allowing other parents to disciple their children by proxy.
"Let's not forget the powerful words spoken by Moses in Deuteronomy 6:4-7: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.'
"It is the parents' primary obligation to disciple their own children, impressing God's commandments upon them in the home on a daily basis."
Cameron Cole, youth director at Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Ala., says, "There is a propensity in our culture to outsource the development of our children. For intellectual development, we send them to school. For athletic development, we send them to Little League. And for spiritual formation, we send them to youth group. The church has done a poor job of communicating to the parents that they are the primary disciplers of their children. Parents don't believe this, but the reality is that kids listen to their parents far more than they're going to listen to a youth minister."
"It's time for the Christian father to take the central role which God has ordained," McManus concludes. "Gathered around the dining room table, the father needs to lead family worship once again, which had been standard behavior for a vibrant American Christian family for hundreds of years, dating back to the Plymouth, Mass., colony of 1620. Dad needs to read from and discuss the Bible, sing Christian songs and pray with his family, his little flock over which God has appointed him shepherd. Frankly, I'm not as concerned about what happens in Sunday school in church as I am with what happens in 'Monday school' and 'Tuesday school' at home with the family."
How a pastor built a multi-million dollar home
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In the beginning, Steven Furtick created Elevation Church. He started with 14 members. Eight years later, his congregation on a given weekend can top 14,000 members. In sermons, Furtick said he hopes to top 100,000 members in the future.
“He's a rock 'n roll star,” said Chris Rosebrough, who runs Pirate Christian Radio, a podcast. “He’s not a club band anymore. He’s a stadium band.”
Elevation Church has given more than $10 million to charity, and hundreds of thousands of hours of volunteer work. Furtick himself is one part preacher, one part celebrity. He’s also his own brand, profiting from book sales and paid personal appearances around the world. The man who calls himself Pastor Steven has become more popular than the church he built, with four times as many followers on Twitter as Elevation Church itself.
Now, Steven Furtick is spending a lot of that money on a 16,000 square foot house in Weddington. It has 7 ½ bathrooms, according to building permits, which put the contract value of the house alone just shy of $1.4 million. The land cost another $325,000, for a total cost of more than $1.7 million.
You can’t see the house from the street. It’s out of sight, behind a no trespassing sign off Providence Road in Weddington, in the midst of 19 ¼ acres of dense woods. Furtick’s name is not on the deed. Instead, it’s under the name of the Jumper Drive Trust. The trustee: James “Chunks” Corbett, Elevation Church’s executive pastor and Furtick’s right hand man.
“The pastor should be the servant of his people. He should be the one that is most transparent,” said Ole Anthony of the Trinity Foundation. “It saddens me to see what the church is becoming.”
Anthony belongs to a small church in Dallas, Texas, and believes preachers should give up their big houses and get back to the Christian church’s humble beginnings. “There, the pastors lived as the poorest of the poor, not the richest of the rich,” he said.
NBC Charlotte wanted to ask Furtick about his multi-million dollar home. For weeks, we sent emails, made phone calls, sent letters, and even met with Furtick face-to-face. He refused to speak publicly until Saturday, September 29, when he responded in his sermon.
“I've been feeling sorry for myself because they tell me there's this news reporter trying to do this story where he wants to make our church look bad,” Furtick said in his sermon. “Now me and [my wife] Holly, this year, we're building a house. We've been looking for a piece of land to build a house for our family for a long time. I'm real excited about it, but then I find out, this is crazy, the news is trying to fly this chopper over our house. I'm thinking to myself, first of all, it's not that great of a house. I'm sure there's better houses, if you've got to fly a chopper over somebody's house.
“It started to mess with me a little bit because I thought this ain't right. I didn't even build that house with money from the church. I built it with money from my books and I gave money to the church from the books and you start getting real defensive and being like this ain't right. This ain't right,” Furtick said.
“I’m sorry, but there’s something wrong with that,” said Rosebrough, who runs a protest podcast against preacher profiteers from his home in suburban Indianapolis. “There's no distinction between Elevation Church and Steven's books. The two get mashed together in a way that creates a real conflict because the job of the pastor is not to preach his book.”
Elevation Church paid for full page ads promoting the book, and paid to air sermons featuring the book on TV, including on NBC Charlotte. In a webcast, Furtick also gave away a backpack to a poor child for every sale of his book “Greater.”
Corbett told NBC Charlotte that “the books help the church tremendously” in three ways:
•First, Furtick arranges for the publisher to sell the books by the thousands to Elevation Church at his author’s discount. So, Elevation Church makes money on the book, but no one will say how much.
•Second, Furtick donates some of his own advance money to Elevation Church. Corbett says Furtick “is very generous,” although he won’t say much Furtick donates.
•Third, the publisher pays the church outright to produce slick videos marketing the book, although the church won’t say how much, all of which makes the church sound like a business.
“Is he not doing the exact same thing that the money changers were doing in the temple? Using God's house to make a profit?” says Rosebrough. “Do you know what Jesus did? He made a cord of whips and drove those damn people out of God's house. The church does not exist for this.”
How much did Furtick make from his books? No one will say how much. But he says the book of Steven paid for the house of Steven.
"I would also argue that it’s not exactly suffering for Jesus,” said Warren Cole Smith, an author from Charlotte and editor at The World, a Christian magazine. “That’s sort of the dirty little secret of these mega church pastors. They use this church as a platform and make a lot of money on the side.”
Yet, Elevation Church has asked volunteers and employees alike to sign a confidentiality agreement, which threatens to sue if volunteers and members disclose church finances. “If Steven Furtick's followers in the congregation at Elevation want to pay him these outlandish salaries and want to allow him to live in multi-million dollar homes, that's up to them," said Smith. "They're the ones contributing the money. But they should know that.”
Many churches believe at least elders or deacons should set the pastor's salary. But at Elevation, it’s a closely guarded secret. Wednesday night at 6 p.m., the I-Team reports on the men who set Steven Furtick's salary. None of them are members of Elevation Church.
Pastor's salary set by board, not congregation
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Pastor Steven Furtick made generous giving a cornerstone at Elevation Church, recently passing $10 million in giving to outside groups since the church’s founding eight years ago. But Furtick will not talk about his own compensation.
When NBC Charlotte started asking about it, he mentioned me in one of his sermons. “There’s an investigative reporter,” Furtick said during a sermon September 29. “He’s been calling around and people have been calling us.”
Furtick and his lieutenants refuse to tell the people who pay his salary, the congregation at Elevation Church, just how much he makes.
“We don’t know,” said Warren Cole Smith, who writes books about the evangelical church from his home in Charlotte, “and the reason we don’t know is because they won’t say. The real problem is there’s a lack of transparency.”
Furtick recruited a so-called “board of overseers” to set his salary. The board is made up entirely of other megachurch pastors, just like him. Smith said to him, the board looks like a paper tiger. “The financial well being of those guys are intimately intertwined.”
That means Furtick agrees to pay them to preach at Elevation, and they pay him to preach at their conferences or megachurches. “They attend each other’s conferences and are compensation for that regularly,” said Smith. When Furtick held his Code Orange Revival last year, three of the headliners, pastors Stovall Weems of Jacksonville, Fla., Perry Noble of Anderson, S.C., and Kevin Gerald of Seattle, were all board members at Elevation. Those are three of the five votes that set Furtick’s salary.
Executive pastor James “Chunks” Corbett told NBC Charlotte that pastors get paid for appearances at Elevation Church, but said the pay is “small in scope,” and he won’t disclose the amounts.
“These guys scratch each others’ backs. That’s not accountability.” said Chris Rosebrough, who runs a podcast called Pirate Christian Radio from his home near Indianapolis and is a critic of Furtick. “All of the accountability in Steven Furtick’s church goes from the top down.”
Elevation Church was founded by, got loans through, and gives missionary money through Southern Baptists. But unlike many Baptist churches, there are no elected deacons or elders here overseeing the church.
There is one man living in the Charlotte area who runs Elevation: Chunks Corbett. If you want to understand Elevation you have to understand his role. As executive pastor, Corbett is at the center of Furtick's organization. In 2005 he incorporated Elevation Church. In 2007, he incorporated Corban Properties Southeast - a for-profit company. In 2008, he signed on as trustee for the Jumper Drive Trust that owns the Furtick's home. And in 2009, he incorporated Sun Stand Still Ministries - another non-profit. All four list the same principal address: 11416 East Independence, Suite N, the location of the Matthews church.
Corbett declined to speak on camera to NBC Charlotte, but spent 90 minutes with me. He praises Furtick for his generosity with the church, but he refuses to release the church's audited financial statement or its bylaws.
That's in stark contrast to another local megachurch, Forest Hill, which spells out how it's elders are elected right on its website. “We then screen them, we interview them, look at their experience here in the church and their commitment to Christ,” said Steve Brown, the church’s financial committee chairman, who also releases the church’s audited financial statement. “We want people to see exactly what this congregation is giving.”
Many other evangelical groups, like the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and Samaritan's Purse, release their tax returns by law. So if you give, you might not completely approve of what Franklin Graham gets paid, but at least you know, and you get a say. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina puts a salary chart right on its website. You can look up what Baptist preachers get paid depending on the size of their congregations.
The highest pay here for churches over a thousand members is $231,000 per year. But megachurches like Elevation are in a category all their own. They hire compensation consultants to look at other megachurches. And no one is releasing those numbers.
What Is Religious Pluralism, and Why Is It Wrong?
Q. What is religious pluralism, and why is it wrong?
A. Pluralism teaches that there are many roads to God, and that no road can be said to be the exclusive one. In a modern culture that promotes acceptance and tolerance, pluralism is gaining in popularity. Pluralists give five basic arguments for their position:
1.Pluralism is a way to promote tolerance throughout the world.
2.Since the adherents of every religion have a viable world view, each one provides subjective satisfaction to its members.
3.Historically, all world religions have cultural/geographical roots. One is more likely to be a Christian in a Western culture; a Muslim in the Middle East; a Hindu on the Indian subcontinent; etc. Thus, pluralists view religion as cultural more than spiritual.
4.Those advocating exclusivism, like Christianity, fail to produce adherents that are universally ethically superior.
5.All religions, according to pluralists, teach the same basic truths.
What's Wrong with Religious Pluralism?
The problem with pluralism is, in spite of its claim to be tolerant, it is actually intolerant, particularly of Christianity, which promotes an exclusive view of its path to God through faith in Jesus Christ. However, it seemingly turns a blind eye towards Muslims, who force conversions through use of the sword, and Hindus, who persecute those who leave its ranks. Staunch adherents of such bodies are exclusivists as well.
Further, pluralism ignores truth as nonessential. All religions, in fact, do not teach the same basic truths. How can we reconcile monotheism (Christianity), polytheism (Hinduism), and atheism? If everything is relative and there is no absolute truth, then even that statement is not absolutely true. Common sense demands the existence of truth, and, beyond that, the fact that everything differing with that truth constitutes falsehood.
Third, the claim of subjective satisfaction is debatable. Many world religions practice self-denial to a sometimes painful and cruel extreme, often in an attempt to please their false god or gods.
Finally, a belief system must be evaluated by itself rather than by the failures of some of its members.
Christianity acknowledges mankind's failure (Romans 3:23) and God's intervention on man's behalf (John 3:16), and utilizes that base as a claim to truth (John 14:6). Every other world religion is man's attempt to reach God, an attempt that always ends in failure (Isaiah 64:6). Only Christianity can successfully bridge the gap between God and man, as God reaches out to man through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Read more: http://www.bibleprophecyblog.com/...ism-and-why-is.html#ixzz2ipMl6Pi1
Considering how corrupt these church buildings are, nothing surprises me...
CHICAGO – A prominent atheist blogger is offering to raise funds for the medical bills of an Ohio pastor that was beaten this past Sunday by a self-described ‘militant atheist.’
As previously reported, Pastor Norman Hayes of Bridge Community Church in North Hampton says that following Sunday’s church service, James Maxie, 28, and his girlfriend came to talk to him. When Hayes asked the woman if she was being abused, the man reportedly became angry and punched him to the floor.
“He was very, very upset that I’d even suggest that he would hurt her,” Hayes told the Dayton Daily News. “Then he turned around and hurt me very badly.” ???
Police Chief Jarrod Campbell remarked to the publication that he has rarely seen “an incident this brutal.”
As Hayes lay on the floor, Maxie sat on top of him and repeatedly beat him until Hayes began to fear for his life. He begged Maxie to stop.
“It was fortunate he did stop,” Hayes explained. “I really believe my life was in danger if he hadn’t stopped hitting me in the face over and over.”
Maxie then fled on foot into a nearby cornfield and was later found hiding behind a house. He told police that he had gone to church to seek God, but claims that Hayes told his girlfriend that she was “going to Hell for dating me.” Maxie said that’s when he made the “mistake” of beating the pastor to the floor.
Hayes suffered a broken nose in two places, and cuts and bruises around his eyes and ears, some of which required stitches. Maxie, who has a past criminal record, is being held on $51,000 bond and may face multiple charges from the incident.
In the meantime, Hemant Mehta, a popular atheist blogger and author, tells reporters that he is offering to raise money for Hayes’ medical bills. He wrote on his blog this week that his “heart goes out” to Hayes and that he felt that he should discuss the matter with readers “because it turns out Maxie is a ‘militant atheist.’”
“You could make an argument that it’s wrong to say ‘an atheist beat up a pastor’ because it’d be much more appropriate to say ‘a criminal beat up a pastor,’” Mehta wrote. “Fair point. I completely agree. [But] there’s no getting around that detail, though: Maxie was an atheist.”
“[A]nd we’d be foolish to pretend he wasn’t ‘really’ an atheist just because he attended a church or was trying to regain his faith,” he continued. “Does he represent all of us [in what he did]? Of course not.”
Mehta told Religion News Service that he felt moved to help the pastor after coming to this conclusion.
“I looked at his Facebook page,” he told the outlet. “The things he liked and the things he had on his wall were friends of mine and he is a supporter of groups I like. So he is not just some random dude; he is someone who is a part of this movement in some way, and that is something to think about.”
“I think [raising money] is a nice gesture to say we feel horrible for what you went through,” Mehta stated. “This shouldn’t have happened. We disagree with Christians all the time, but that is not how we resolve our debate.”
But Hayes’ son Andy tells Christian News Network that the church has already started a fund to help the wounded pastor with medical expenses, counseling and other financial needs. According to the fund site, PastorNormFund.com, Bridge Community Church is seeking to raise $25,000, and over $2,500 has been pledged from supporters nationwide. Some donations appear to be coming from Mehta’s readers, and others are from concerned pastors and fellow Christians.
Not that I endorse church buildings, but any church with the word "community" in it is a big red flag! Community pretty much means collectivism.
Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Mat 10:33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
U.S. Roman Catholic Church And Protestant Denominations Agree To Recognize Each Other's Baptisms
In a monumental occasion for ecumenical relations, the U.S. Roman Catholic church and a group of Protestant denominations plan to sign a document on Tuesday evening to formally agree to recognize each other's baptisms.
Catholic leaders will join representatives from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Christian Reformed Church in North America, Reformed Church in America and United Church of Christ at the ceremony in Austin, Texas, to sign the agreement, which is called the "Common Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Baptism." The event coincides with the national meeting of Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A.
Currently, the Protestant churches recognize Roman Catholic baptisms, but the Catholic church does not always recognize theirs. The mutual agreement on baptisms, a key sacrament in the churches, has been discussed between denominational leadership for seven years and hinges in part on invoking trinity of the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" during the baptism.
In a report in the Austin American-Statesman, Bishop Joe Vasquez of the Diocese Austin told the newspaper that the effort "is part of our response to Jesus' prayer that 'we all be one.'"
Immigration Reform 'Really Close,' Says Southern Baptist Leader
WASHINGTON – A leader in the largest Protestant denomination in the United States has stated at a conservative event Tuesday that drew over 600 leaders to lobby for immigration reform that their effort is "really close" to coming to fruition.
Dr. Barrett Duke, vice president for Public Policy and Research at the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told The Christian Post at the event titled "Americans for Reform: Immigration Reform for our Economy, Faith and Security", which was held at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Hall of Flags room, that reform was near. "They passed five bills out of committee already. They still need floor votes on those. Leadership, House leadership, has already said they want to get this done; they're working on a couple more bills in the House," said Duke.
"So they've done most of the really heavy lifting on this already. It wouldn't take much more than simply scheduling a floor vote."
Duke, who was part of a panel at the event, also said that the SBC had come to increasingly support immigration reform.
"We have had a denominational conversation where we have consulted the Scriptures, we've looked at our own congregations and we've recognized that we know a lot of these folks that we're talking about," said Duke.
"The result is that through our own personal spiritual reflection and our relationship building, we've developed a more balanced understanding of the need for immigration reform. So it's just a process that has grown over the years."
"Americans for Reform" was organized by the groups Partnership for a New American Economy; Bibles, Badges, Business; and Fwd.us. Sponsors included the American Farm Bureau Federation, TechNet, Wal-Mart, and the Western Growers Association.
Bruce Josten, executive vice president for Government Affairs at the U.S. Chamber, said in a statement that immigration reform is a "top priority" for the businesses the Chamber represents.
"Immigration reform remains a top priority for the business community, and the Chamber and our partners will continue to do everything we can to make the case for reform this year," said Josten.
"Acting on immigration during the 113th Congress would be an enormous achievement for our country and our economy, and would show the public and the world that the United States can still get things done."
Duke was part of a panel that gathered Tuesday morning before an audience large enough that event organizers had an overflow room next to the Hall of Flags which featured the speakers on a screen.
In addition to Duke, the first panel of the morning had Alberto R. Cardenas, chair of the American Conservative Union; Frank Keating, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association; Sheriff Margaret Mims of Fresno County, Calif.; and Tom Nassif, president and CEO of the Western Growers Association.
When asked by the moderator what led him to support immigration reform, Nassif stated that it had to do with the needs for labor in American agriculture.
"We know that people generally don't raise their children to be farmworkers. We know that not even farmworkers raise their children to be farmworkers," said Nassif.
"We're here to share that message and to show the legislators on the federal level how much it will do for this economy."
For its part, Duke told CP that SBC leadership is "calling on the congregations to read scripture, to understand what the Bible says about" immigration and treatment of immigrants.
"It is not pressuring our congregations one way or another, it's simply calling on them to search their own hearts, their own conscience," said Duke.
Look at the groups and people endorsing this illegal immigration bill!
National Association of Evangelicals
Bill and Lynne Hybles
Southern Baptist Convention
Focus on the Family
Assemblies of God
Paul Louis Metzger: “Reforming Our Understanding of Romans 13 on Immigration Reform”
G92 is a culture-shaping movement seeking to equip the next generation of Christian leaders for an effective, biblical response to immigration. G92 began at Cedarville University in October of 2011. It takes its name from the ninety-two references to the ger—the immigrant, in Hebrew—in the Old Testament. Students, faculty, and administrators at Cedarville joined together with individuals from about twenty other colleges and universities to hear biblical teaching, to raise awareness about the realities of immigration, and to equip Christian college students across the country to learn from, minister to, and advocate with immigrant communities.
G92 has now grown into a student movement that seeks to understand and respond to the challenges and opportunities of immigration in ways consistent with biblical values of justice, compassion, and hospitality. The G92 movement includes regular conferences, student groups on various campuses, and g92.org which includes resources for campus groups, conference information and registration, videos, and a regularly updated blog.
Baptist’s BYU visit marks thaw in Mormon-evangelical cold war
Last month, after being sure to get his caffeine fix at Starbucks, Southern Baptist leader Richard Land went where few evangelicals had dared to go before: the Provo campus of Brigham Young University, the intellectual heart of Mormonism.
After lecturing on "family, faith, freedom and America," Land attended a BYU football game with LDS leaders and joined them to hear James Taylor sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Days later, George O. Wood, the general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, also visited BYU, followed by the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptists’ flagship seminary.
**Not that I ever endorsed Mohler, but for a long time he had the outward appearance of exposing wolves like Rick Warren and Joel Osteen.
Is there a new détente — perhaps more practical than theological — between evangelicals and Mormons?
For more than a decade, Mormon and evangelical scholars have discussed their differences and similarities, and even written books together. But leaders of the two faiths appear to have reached a new juncture, with some on both sides seeing benefits in more public engagement.
"At the very least, the two communities, evangelicals and Mormons, have been … each other’s worst enemies," said Richard Mouw, the former president of Fuller Theological Seminary and a longtime proponent of evangelical-Mormon dialogue. "There’s a significant part of the evangelical movement that is now having healthy and friendly conversations, and it’s gone from a group of two dozen scholars talking to each other to church leaders meeting each other, going to see each other."
John Taylor, director of interfaith relations for the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said there is a growing sense that Mormons and non-Mormons can agree in some areas — from humanitarian aid, where Mormons have also joined with Catholics — to the desire to retain their younger members.
"There’s a realization among faith groups generally," Taylor said, "that despite doctrinal differences — and we have doctrinal differences, there’s no question about that — we do have areas of commonality."
The recent Utah meetings, which came at the invitation of LDS leaders, have centered on faith, family and religious freedom. Mohler — who was careful not to paper over doctrinal distinctions in his BYU speech — addressed joint concerns about the intersection of those issues.
"That is why I and my evangelical brothers and sisters are so glad to have Mormon neighbors," Mohler said in his talk on Oct. 21. "We stand together for the natural family, for natural marriage, for the integrity of sexuality within marriage alone."
New Musical Uses Britney Spears’ Music To Tell the Story of Jesus Christ
“Is it the greatest story ever told to the greatest music ever written?”
This is the question the creators of Spears The Musical: The Gospel According To Britney ask in regard to their new opera, which tells the story of Jesus Christ through the music of Britney Spears.
According to the musical’s website, the show will chronicle the life, death and resurrection of Jesus using Britney’s hits like “Stronger,” “One More Time,” “Lucky” and “Crazy.”
Spears was developed by Patrick Blute, a 23-year-old Columbia University graduate, who debuted the show in April 2012 at the college to a sold-out crowd.
“These are Britney’s lyrics. These are Jesus Christ’s images. The Britney Spears you see is not Britney Spears. Remember that,” Blute writes on the show’s website. “The Jesus Christ you read is not Jesus Christ. These are manifestations. Accounts through the media, through the words of followers, of friends, of foes, of villains, of heroes, of liars, of biases.”
He adds, “It’s a falsehood that people believe fame and fortune create happiness. That all ‘deaths’ receive a resurrection. I hope this project will show you otherwise through the power of listening and the power of forgiveness.”
Blute also goes on to say that the show is not sacrilegious and instead is the perfect outing for churchgoers who also love Britney. “It appeals to those from a religious background because it tells an essential story using fragments of pop culture in a non-offensive way,” he explained.
The opera, tagged as the “Britney Spears and Jesus Christ mash-up,” is currently looking for backers. The show is holding a funders preview on November 7 in New York in hopes to raise money for the proper legal council.
*Whether you're pre/mid/post trib rapture believer - if we're all still here when the 1st seal gets opened - just remember if you take the mark of the beast, you WILL burn in the lake of fire for eternity!
John MacArthur Partners With New World Order, CONCEALS VP’s Rockefeller Foundation Funding
-Rockefeller wants to “chip” the world. MacArthur’s “Post-Mark-of-the-Beast-Salvation” compliments Rockefeller plan.-
Satan’s timely rise of the “Take the Mark of the Beast and still be saved” to the world.
Ephesians 5:11 Blog wanted to wait for Grace to You (John MacArthur’s website) to respond to the September 24, 1980 statement he made regarding be saved AFTER taking the Mark of the Beast.
rest: BIG ARTICLE: http://ephesians511blog.blogspot....thur-partners-with-new-world.html
It seems like the word "conservative" has become an oxymoron nowdays - these so-called "conservative" leaders are anything but...
5 Christian “hipsters” trying to make fundamentalism look cool
Young people are leaving the church in droves. Meet the young people trying to bring them back
It’s no secret in Christian circles that young people are leaving the church in droves, with Christian research firms finding over and overthat once there’s not a parent there to push them to church, the majority of high school kids drift away from religion once they move out of the house. Some come back, but some leave permanently.
One favorite solution is to try to make the church more hip by employing young, seemingly cool Christians who are in tune with modern pop culture as leaders. A lot of these young, hip Christians are actually quite progressive in their politics. In a lot of cases, however, the change from the cranky, judgmental church of old is purely aesthetic. If you scratch the surface of these seemingly with-it young Christian leaders, you’ll see they’re peddling the same old sex-negative, hyper-conservative intolerance that motivates their elders.
Here’s a list of some of the leaders who are trying to make conservative Christianity seem cool, and who generally fail because conservative Christianity is the exact opposite of cool.
1) Bradlee Dean. In many ways, Bradlee Dean epitomizes the Christian right overreaction to the fact that young people are ignoring religious fundamentalism in growing numbers. Many Christian leaders have taken to suggesting that Christianity should be more manly and aggressive to woo the young, and Dean took this to heart, starting You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International and the Christian rock band Junkyard Prophet, both of which embrace an over-the-top Harley motorcycle-influenced aesthetic. Dean had a habit of sneaking Christian propaganda into public schools by offering programs he portrayed as merely anti-drug to school administrators but once he was in front of the students, turned into Bible-thumping.
Dean, who has close ties to Rep. Michele Bachmann, is rabidly homophobic, and in keeping with his tough-guy pose, has endorsed executing people for being gay. He is prone to spinning all sorts of wild and often contradictory conspiracy theories, e.g. President Obama and Rep. Keith Ellison are part of some gay plot to take over America and a plot to impose anti-gay sharia law on the country. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but there is a lot of chest-thumping.
2) Ken Coleman. On the other side of the spectrum is Ken Coleman, who presents himself as an aw-shucks, practically apolitical guy who just happens to have a laundry list of Christian conservatives come through his radio program. It’s exactly the sort of thing that is believed to appeal to younger people who are tired of the fire-and-brimstone approach to religion. His website has the TED Talk aesthetic and the obsession with coffee that’s a big thing for young Christians these days (I guess in lieu of alcohol?).
But the fact that he’s still pushing religion in service of a conservative agenda isn’t too far from the surface, and not just because there’s Obamacare-negative ads on his site. After the aChick-Fil-A CEO went on Coleman’s show and said we’re inviting the wrath of God if we let gays get married, Coleman wrote a concern trolling article for Huffington Post that implied the real problem was not homophobia but meanie liberals who object when Christians say hateful things about gay people. He may look hip, but when the chips are down, he’s defending the hardline conservatives. But he likes coffee!
3) Tim Tebow. No one encapsulates the attempt of fundamentalist Christians to establish relevance in modern times, and no one encapsulates more why they fail than Tim Tebow. The Christian right largely expected that Tebow would have an amazing football career, and by the power of his popularity as a football star, would make his obnoxious devotion to hyper-conservative Christianity look cool to young fans.
That hope went belly-up for two reasons. First, no matter how great an athlete you are, the audience will not be hoodwinked into suddenly having affection for showy praying for the cameras and self-righteous anti-sex preening. That behavior is objectively irritating, and the sports media had a fine time mocking Tebow for it. Second of all, Tebow’s career, while not a spectacular flameout, was a deliciously satisfying disappointment, crushing any remaining hopes he could make Christianity cool by association.
4) Jessica Rey. Conservative Christianity’s obsession with female modesty tends to be associated with knuckle-rapping and insinuating girls are hussies if they show too much skin. Realizing how terminally uncool that attitude is, some young Christian leaders are stealing some of the aesthetic and arguments from hip young feminists to try to make modesty seem like it’s about self-respect and empowerment instead of telling women their bodies make Jesus sad. Jessica Rey, a former Power Ranger turned Christian fashion designer, is an excellent example of the trend. Rey makes speeches claiming that modern swimsuits show too much skin and therefore rob women of their dignity. Her solution? Buy from her line of somewhat more conservative bathing suits, of course!
Rey’s swimsuits, which are legitimately cute and look like something you could buy in a retro-hip store like ModCloth, are only “modest” in comparison to string bikinis. Most would offend the sensibilities of Orthodox Jews and fundamentalist Muslims, as well as any Christians prior to the 1930s. (Indeed, some of them seem directly modeled on the raciest, most fashion-forward bathing suits of the 1920s.) Rey may have wanted to make modest clothes that are still hip and fashionable, but in doing so, she only ended up proving that the concept of “modesty” is an empty one, and one person’s idea of modest is another person’s idea of ****ty.
5) Brett McCracken. Of everyone on this list, Brett McCracken comes the closest to actually convincing an audience that he really is pretty cool. Like any proper hipster, he has a keen sense of humor about hipsters,having written a book chronicling (and critiquing) evangelical Christian attempts to embrace a hipster aesthetic. He tweets about “Breaking Bad” and Arcade Fire. He doesn’t just drink coffee, but also loves beer and gourmet foods. He talks a big game about cultural engagement, but unlike many other Christians, he actually seems to deliver.
But digging a little deeper reveals that McCracken’s politics are still stuck in the misogynist, homophobic past. He’s dialed it down in recent years while building himself up as the hip-criticizing-hip Christian, but McCracken has spent plenty of time grinding the Republican ax, writing about “personal responsibility” as if there’s anyone actually opposed to it, denouncing Obama for having “far-left stances on abortion” and calling same-sex marriage a “moral distortion.” McCracken often writes about how it’s more important to put content over surface appearances, which is all the more reason to see his social conservatism as the throwback it is and not get distracted by casual references to fancy wines and indie rock bands.
Things are clearly changing when it comes to Christian fundamentalists and pop culture. Unlike the hoary old days of the ’80s when Christian rock was a complete joke, young Christian leaders are doing a better job of aping various youth subcultures in an attempt to lure the young back to the church. Despite this, the lingering problem remains: As long as the Christian right keeps promoting anti-sex, judgmental attitudes, young people are going to turn away and find their communities with people who have more tolerant and accepting values.
Back to the church buildings topic for a bit - one of the deacons at the church I attend called and asked me if I wanted to volunteer being a groundskeeper. I wouldn't have minded, however, had to decline...
Seriously - you can see how incredibly penny pinching these churches are - like said, I wouldn't have minded to volunteer to do it, but nonetheless this is the kind of job that wouldn't have required much costs, and they could have easily gotten someone off of the street to do it for no more than $40, and do a very good job at that.(Personally, I'm not the world's best lawn keeper/maintenance worker)
The modern-day churches have budgets in the 6 figures, and some even in the 7 figures(not just the megachurches, that is, but other "traditional" ones like First Baptists as well) - but en yet they're too thrifty to spend for the basic tasks? And to boot - a lot of their budgets goes to unfruitful expenditures(some being to secular/masonic organizations). Ultimately, the messages they're telling you is that if you do these types of volunteer work for the church, then you're doing it for God.(but then they forgot all about Ephesians 2:8-9)
Luke 12:16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
Luk 12:17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
Luk 12:18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
Luk 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
Luk 12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
Luk 12:21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
Kentucky Baptist children’s home considers allowing gay adoption
November 7, 2013 (Albert Mohler) - Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world (James 1:27).
Back in 1869, Baptists in Kentucky established a “Home for the Helpless,” seeking to serve orphans and other homeless children. Like so many other Christian churches and denominations of the era, Louisville’s Baptists saw the need for an orphanage to provide care for parentless and abandoned children, who before the establishment of orphanages were housed with adults in almshouses. The Home for the Helpless became the Louisville Baptist Orphans Home, and its charter established its mission to serve “orphan and destitute children.”
Those Baptists saw the orphanage as a Christian duty in response to a biblical mandate. The orphanage was a direct extension of Christian conviction, and it was operated under a board of Baptist control. In 1953, the Louisville ministry merged with the nearby Kentucky Baptist Children’s Home, and the two became the Kentucky Baptist Board of Child Care. A 1986 “Covenant Agreement” between the child care ministry and the Kentucky Baptist Convention called for the ministry to operate “in keeping with Christian principles and the dream of the founders of child care in Kentucky.”
That pledge is now very much in question as reports indicate that the ministry, now renamed Sunrise Children’s Services, is poised to change its hiring policies to remove any barrier to homosexuals and lesbians working as employees of the ministry.
The proposal came to light as the Western Recorder, the Kentucky Baptist newspaper, reported that the Sunrise board had discussed the matter in a specially called meeting held in August. That news, which stunned Kentucky Baptists, came after years of assurances from the ministry and its president, Bill Smithwick, that current hiring policies would remain in place. As the paper reported, “Up to now, Smithwick has consistently told the KBC mission board and convention messengers that Sunrise would continue defending its right to discriminate based on sexual orientation in on-going lawsuits.” Those lawsuits include an action filed by a lesbian worker who was terminated in 1998. That lawsuit was dismissed by the courts, but the terminated employee later filed a legal challenge to state funding of any institution that teaches religious beliefs. The State of Kentucky agreed to a settlement in the case, but Sunrise refused to accept the settlement, according to the Western Recorder.
When contacted by the paper, Smithwick refused to talk about the proposal and offered a rather belligerent response: “I don’t think Kentucky Baptists need to know something until there is something to know. Right now, my comment is, there’s nothing that Kentucky Baptists need to know, and all this [publicity] will do is hurt us.”
Subsequently, Kentucky Baptist leaders learned that Smithwick’s August presentation to the Sunrise board had explicitly called for the employment policy to be changed. Smithwick set out several options for the board, making clear that retaining the policy would require the termination of additional employees. In turn, he warned that Sunrise would likely lose major secular funding sources in the business community, suffer further adverse publicity, “and close our doors.” He also told the board that he expects the federal government to mandate the employment of homosexuals in the future, and probably the near future. This is premised on the fact that Sunrise receives millions of dollars each year in government funding.
Smithwick then set out a second option whereby Sunrise would “tough it out until the Federal Government mandates employment of homosexuals” and “then change our employment practices after losing years of time and money spent to build our brand.”
Lastly, Smithwick proposed a third option: “Change our employment practice.” He declared that Sunrise “is not a church, or a religious institution” and argued that the organization cannot operate at current levels without government funds. Then, after arguing that Sunrise is not a religious institution, he assured the board that, even if the policies are changed, Sunrise would “continue to share the Gospel through Bible studies, worship attendance, etc. to residents and staff.”
Included in Smithwick’s argument was his personal statement that he would “rather homosexuals see the love of God through us than be denied employment by us.” He closed by offering the strange analogy of a missionary serving in Iran who wore a head covering out of respect for Muslims, apparently missing the point that no biblical command or biblical teaching is violated by wearing a head covering.
Kentucky Baptists were not alone in their shock over the Sunrise proposal. An attorney who had represented the terminated lesbian employee told The Courier-Journal (Louisville), “This is very surprising. They were very adamant that they wouldn’t hire gays and lesbians.” He is right, they were adamant about the matter and, at least until the board votes later this week on Smithwick’s proposal, they still are—at least officially.
All that can change in short order. Bill Smithwick is absolutely right about one aspect of this matter: there is every likelihood that governmental coercion on these issues is coming. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is expected to pass in the U.S. Senate in coming days, and the Obama Administration has threatened to accomplish much the same by executive order. It is hard to imagine how an entity that describes itself as “not a church or a religious institution” can claim an exemption under such a legal mandate.
There is truth in the claim that Sunrise Children’s Services, along with thousands of similar organizations and institutions, will have to face a hard choice: serve Caesar or serve God. This becomes inevitable once an entity becomes dependent on financial support from the government. That is why Baptists have historically—and rightly—insisted on nonparticipation with government funding. Participation means dependency, as the financial situation of Sunrise Children’s Services makes clear. Smithwick told The Courier-Journal, “The Baptist support, totaling $1 million each year on a $27 million budget, is very much needed, but Sunrise cannot sustain itself without the partnership of state and federal and fundraising dollars.”
The choice faced by Sunrise, soon likely to be faced by a host of similar organizations, is to get smaller or get secular. The instant an organization takes government money it is transformed into an instrument of the state. What Caesar funds, Caesar controls. This is a hard lesson, and one likely soon to be learned by Christian institutions that have been taking government money and have grown dependent on those funds.
**You forgot about the 501c3 status - allowing people to write off donations off of their income taxes - same thing.
This will not end with children’s homes. A good many Christian colleges and universities have grown dependent on funds flowing through federal student aid programs and similar forms of government funding. What happens when they face a similar choice? The math will not work in their favor. A hard choice will have to be made, and we will soon see who will stand on conviction and who will act to save their funding.
The question does not stop with funding. Soon after Britain passed antidiscrimination legislation like ENDA, Christian adoption agencies were basically put out of business. They were given a choice to sever ties with their churches or go out of business. In Massachusetts, the legalization of same-sex marriage meant the end of the adoption work done by Catholic Charities, since they could not and would not violate their convictions. In Illinois, the work of Catholic Charities in foster care and adoption came to an end in 2011, and the admired organization gave up millions in government funding because they would not violate their convictions.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, himself a Catholic, made the coercive power and intention of the state clear when he declared that a refusal to recognize same-sex civil unions as equivalent to heterosexual marriage for adoption and foster care: “They have a law in Illinois. It’s the civil unions law. I signed it into law. We’re not going back. Any organization that decides that because of the civil unions law that they won’t participate voluntarily in a program, that’s their choice.”
Some choice. In October of 2011 the state transferred more than 1,000 children from the care of Catholic Charities to secular agencies.
According to Baptist Press, only four or five of the 23 Baptist children’s homes associated with state Baptist conventions do not receive government funds. Bryant Millsaps, president of Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes, told the news service that his agency had not accepted government monies in its 122 year history. And he explained why: Receiving government money is “almost like being dependent on a drug. You get hooked on it, and getting unhooked is very, very difficult. And in some cases it’s impossible.”
The board of directors of Sunrise Children’s Services faces a hard choice, but the choice is not just between several policy alternatives. They will decide to serve God or to serve Caesar. Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, urged Sunrise to step out in faith, even if it means losing massive funding. He urged the agency “to dramatically scale back its work in order to be faithful to Scripture and to model biblical values in front of hurting children.” As for Kentucky Baptists, they will find a way to serve children and keep their convictions, assures Chitwood: “Either way, I am confident Kentucky Baptists will always minister to hurting children and will do so through a ministry with biblical values.”
When asked about the payment of taxes, Jesus famously responded, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17). We dare not render to Caesar what belongs rightly and only to God.
Reprinted with permission from Albert Mohler
Christian college student body president comes out as an atheist
8 hrs ago
Eric Fromm decided to attend Northwest Christian University almost in spite of its faith-based mission. He liked the school's small class sizes and communications program, but was already struggling with his faith when he enrolled. And though he was well-regarded enough to be elected student body president, confessing his doubts to other students revealed their discomfort, with some even making fun of him. That only steeled his resolve to declare his atheism in the school's on-line newspaper, even as he expected more criticism. But instead there has been an outpouring of support, though he still gets the "Why are you here?" questions. But not from university vice president MIchael Fuller. “I want students like Eric here … students who are looking to explore their faith and willing to look hard and make their faith their own,” he said.
‘I’m an Atheist’: Christian College Student Body President Reveals Shocking Secret in Op-Ed
Eric Fromm, student body president at Northwest Christian University, a faith-based college in Eugene, Ore., stunned his college community last week when he revealed through an op-ed published in a campus outlet that he's an atheist.
Fromm shared his theological views and issued a clarion call for Christians to be more accepting of others who disagree with their worldview in the Beacon Bolt, an online publication.
"My name is Eric Fromm. I am Senior at NCU majoring in communications, and I am an atheist," he wrote in an article titled "Lifting the Curtain."
He continued, "Yes, you read that correctly, I am an atheist. For those of you who didn't already know about my nonbelief, this news may be a bit shocking, but I was an atheist long before I came to NCU."
Fromm went on to explain that he was baptized a Lutheran and raised a Methodist, but that, over time, he began to develop the belief that "God wasn't real."
FYI, George Lucas("Star Wars") was raised a Methodist as well. And this isn't the first "But I was raised a Protestant/Methodist" story...
Considering Fromm's admission that he came to Northwest Christian University, a well-known Christian school, as an atheist, he explained that he did so because he knew the school had a good communications program.
"I knew that the school catered to Christian thinking, so before I enrolled, I visited the campus to make sure that the chapel services were comfortable enough that I could fulfill the requirement," he wrote. "No one was speaking in tongues or handling snakes, so I decided to stay."
**This seems to be the "new norm" in Churchianity - "speaking in tongues"(meaning one has a "gift" of speaking in a bunch of gibberish).
In his op-ed, Fromm described often struggling during university chapel services, as he found himself wanting to be a part of the excitement and energy, but he said he couldn't force belief in God upon himself.
From there, Fromm took aim at some of the Christians on campus who have treated him differently since they found out he's a non-believer. He called it ironic that these same people who now scoff at him would often complain about how they were treated in high school as a result of their Christian views.
"When people found out that I was an atheist, they started treating me differently," Fromm continued. "Sometimes they would verbally attack me, sometimes they would give me the cold shoulder, and sometimes they just gave me dirty looks."
He concluded by noting that he is "burdened" by the potential of rejection because of his non-belief. Fromm said he wrote the article so that he no longer has to keep his atheism a secret -- and because he wanted to target his peers' "inability to accept those who don't fit their Christian pattern."
In an interview with The Register Guard, Michael Fuller, vice president for enrollment and student development at Northwest Christian University, said that he has known about Fromm's atheism for years and that it did not cause him to question his student body presidency.
"He's a man of very high character and respect. He's a great advocate for our student body, which is exactly what he's supposed to be and do," Fuller said.
While Fuller added that the school wishes Eric would be a "strong Christian man," he went on to say that he wants students like Fromm to be a part of the academic community -- individuals "who are looking to explore their faith and willing to look hard and make their faith their own."
Some critics, though, question Fromm's presidency and charge that a Christian school's mission cannot be fulfilled by having an atheist student leader at the helm.
"With an atheist president, it doesn't make sense how this mission can be carried out," one critic wrote in an e-mail to The Register Guard.
What do you think? Let us know below.
What do you think? Let us know below.
Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
Atheist 'mega-churches' take root across US, world
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It looked like a typical Sunday morning at any mega-church. Hundreds packed in for more than an hour of rousing music, an inspirational sermon, a reading and some quiet reflection. The only thing missing was God.
Dozens of gatherings dubbed "atheist mega-churches" by supporters and detractors are springing up around the U.S. after finding success in Great Britain earlier this year. The movement fueled by social media and spearheaded by two prominent British comedians is no joke.
On Sunday, the inaugural Sunday Assembly in Los Angeles attracted more than 400 attendees, all bound by their belief in non-belief. Similar gatherings in San Diego, Nashville, New York and other U.S. cities have drawn hundreds of atheists seeking the camaraderie of a congregation without religion or ritual.
The founders, British duo Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, are currently on a tongue-in-cheek "40 Dates, 40 Nights" tour around the U.S. and Australia to drum up donations and help launch dozens of Sunday Assemblies. They hope to raise more than $800,000 that will help atheists launch their pop-up congregations around the world.
They don't bash believers but want to find a new way to meet likeminded people, engage in the community and make their presence more visible in a landscape dominated by faith.
**Uhm...the modern-day "Christian" church system is like this too...
Jones got the first inkling for the idea while leaving a Christmas carol concert six years ago.
"There was so much about it that I loved, but it's a shame because at the heart of it, it's something I don't believe in," Jones said. "If you think about church, there's very little that's bad. It's singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people - and doing that in a community with wonderful relationships. What part of that is not to like?"
The movement dovetails with new studies showing an increasing number of Americans are drifting from any religious affiliation.
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released a study last year that found 20 percent of Americans say they have no religious affiliation, an increase from 15 percent in the last five years. Pew researchers stressed, however, that the category also encompassed majorities of people who said they believed in God but had no ties with organized religion and people who consider themselves "spiritual" but not "religious."
Sunday Assembly - whose motto is Live Better, Help Often, Wonder More - taps into that universe of people who left their faith but now miss the community church provided, said Phil Zuckerman, a professor of secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont.
It also plays into a feeling among some atheists that they should make themselves more visible. For example, last December, an atheist in Santa Monica created an uproar - and triggered a lawsuit - when he set up a godless display amid Christian nativity scenes that were part of a beloved, decades-old tradition.
"In the U.S., there's a little bit of a feeling that if you're not religious, you're not patriotic. I think a lot of secular people say, `Hey, wait a minute. We are charitable, we are good people, we're good parents and we are just as good citizens as you and we're going to start a church to prove it," said Zuckerman. "It's still a minority, but there's enough of them now."
That impulse, however, has raised the ire of those who have spent years pushing back against the idea that atheism itself is a religion.
"The idea that you're building an entire organization based on what you don't believe, to me, sounds like an offense against sensibility," said Michael Luciano, a self-described atheist who was raised Roman Catholic but left when he became disillusioned.
"There's something not OK with appropriating all of this religious language, imagery and ritual for atheism."
That sentiment didn't seem to detract from the excitement Sunday at the inaugural meeting in Los Angeles.
Hundreds of atheists and atheist-curious packed into a Hollywood auditorium for a boisterous service filled with live music, moments of reflection and an "inspirational talk, " and some stand-up comedy by Jones, the movement's co-founder.
During the service, attendees stomped their feet, clapped their hands and cheered as Jones and Evans led the group through rousing renditions of "Lean on Me," "Here Comes the Sun" and other hits that took the place of gospel songs. Congregants dissolved into laughter at a get-to-know-you game that involved clapping and slapping the hands of the person next to them and applauded as members of the audience spoke about community service projects they had started in LA.
At the end, volunteers passed cardboard boxes for donations as attendees mingled over coffee and pastries and children played on the floor.
For atheist Elijah Senn, the morning was perfect.
"I think the image that we have put forward in a lot of ways has been a scary, mean, we want to tear down the walls, we want to do destructive things kind of image is what a lot of people have of us," he said. "I'm really excited to be able to come together and show that it's not about destruction. It's about making things and making things better."
New ‘Noah’ Film Starring Russell Crowe Flooded With Controversy
A new Hollywood epic on the life of Noah has stirred controversy among Christians, Jews and others who have pre-screened the film, as they state that the movie largely leaves out one important foundation: the Bible.
Noah is the brainchild of producer Darren Aronofsky, who says that he has wanted to make a film about Noah and the ark since his childhood. With a $1.25 million budget, the film is said to be more of an edgy action epic that depicts a man who fights off his enemies as he prepares for a coming apocalypse, rather than a story of a “preacher of righteousness” who calls the world to repentance from sin.
Russell Crowe, known for his roles in Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind and Robin Hood stars as Noah in the film, and Anthony Hopkins, known for his roles in Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal and The Legends of the Fall appears as grandfather Methuselah, who provides advice to Noah.
“Man corrupted this world and filled it with violence, so he must be destroyed,” Methuselah explains to Noah, who has a dream of “death by water.”
But as Noah begins to build an ark, he becomes the enemy of his brother-in-law Tubal-Cain. He tells Tubal-Cain to build his own ark, or die trying to take his.
“You don’t know your king,” Tubal-Cain asserts. “I have men at my back, and you stand alone and defy me?”
“I’m not alone,” Noah replies confidently.
Tubal-Cain, who has gathered an army against Noah, later storms the vessel in battle-style as the rain begins to fall.
“Take the ark!” he orders his army of followers.
A number of battle scenes are said to fill the film, which in some aspects are reminiscent of Gladiator. Six-armed angels, known as Watchers, are also introduced, “who came down from Heaven to help fallen humanity by granting them wonders of knowledge from magic to science to stars, metal, and fire.”
Earlier reports of the film expressed disapproval that Noah was depicted as being centered on an environmental agenda, and that Aronofsky viewed Noah as the “first environmentalist.” Noah is also stated to be tormented with guilt for surviving the flood while others perished. It is not known whether those particular aspects still remain in the movie at this time.
As Aronofsky and Paramount Pictures have rolled out screenings of the film, which will officially hit theaters in March 2014, there has been mixed reaction from viewers. Some have praised Noah, stating that they were impressed with the production, while others have expressed disappointment over the movie’s departure from the Biblical text.
“You can’t stray from the Bible in a Bible-based film without upsetting a percentage of the Christian faith base. Interpretations may vary, but if the story changes, even a little, it’s deemed offensive,” Angie Meyer-Olszewski, an entertainment publicist, told FOX411. “When a studio releases a movie that’s biblical, they are playing a game of religious roulette.”
“t’s clear that Noah is not a Christian film,” writes the blog Beginning and End in a lengthy critique of the production. “Yet when this movie hits the theaters, it will not stop the film company behind [it] from marketing the movie to churches and the Christian community in hopes of conveying the idea that it is a movie celebrating a Biblical story when it is not. Do not be deceived.”
Reports state that Paramount and Aronofsky have different visions for the film, and that due to some of the dissatisfaction from the screenings, the producers of Noah are working on making their final adjustments before its release next year. Some are hopeful that the changes will be more in line with Scripture.
Evangelical leader says commonality with Mormons deeper than differences
Borrowing an ancient Hebrew word from an Old Testament text, one of America’s leading evangelical Christian scholars told nearly 2,000 young Mormons at Utah Valley University Friday that his faith and their faith, often at odds with each other through the years over doctrinal disparities, “need to find ways we can work together” to find “shalom,” or peace.
“God has placed us in the world, in this nation, and calls us to seek the shalom together,” said Dr. Richard J. Mouw, president emeritus of the Fuller Theological Seminary and noted author of such books as “Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World.”
“Evangelicals and Mormons have a lot to talk about and a lot to share about the hope that lies within each of us,” Mouw told a capacity crowd at the LDS Institute of Religion on the UVU campus. “We need to work together, learning from each other and bearing witness to the hope that shines within us.”
That hope, he said, emanates from the beliefs that evangelical Christians have in common with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — specifically their shared belief in “the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.”
“That’s important to us because we have a lot of disagreements,” he said, noting a number of doctrinal issues that can be divisive in discussions between evangelicals and Mormons, including the Trinity, the nature of God and the relationship between human beings and God.
“We need to talk about those things,” Mouw told his audience, which included LDS general authorities — Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder Steven J. Lund of the Seventy — as well as a number local evangelical pastors, including Pastor Greg Johnson of Standing Together Ministries. “But it’s important for us to talk about those things as we hold fast to the Savior. If we’re all saying, ‘Give me Jesus’ (a reference to the beautiful gospel song presented earlier in the program by the Orem Institute Latter-day Celebration Choir), all of those differences will dissipate into academic rarities that probably aren’t important when considered next to our desire to work together for the cause of righteousness.”
For more than 10 years Mouw has been talking about those issues — both the differences and the commonalities — with a group of evangelical and LDS scholars who meet regularly to share and probe and consider varying theological perspectives. One of the things he said he has learned during those years is “there’s more commonality than we realized in the way we talk about Jesus and his atoning work.”
For example, he said, “we evangelicals have often focused on the origins of the Book of Mormon and questions of Joseph Smith’s prophetic authority, but we haven’t paid attention to the content of the Book of Mormon.”
“But when you stop and read it,” he said, “a lot of the doctrine looks and sounds like our doctrine, with language that sounds like the kinds of things we say.”
He read from the Book of Mormon some of the prophet Alma’s language about the life, ministry and Atonement of Jesus Christ, and how people need to “repent and be born again … (and) have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness” (Alma 7:14).
“Those are words of the gospel of Jesus Christ that I affirm as an evangelical Christian,” Mouw said.
Mouw also referred to a sermon by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the LDS Church’s April 2009 general conference about the Atonement.
“I show that address to my students at Fuller,” Mouw said. “They tell me that if they didn’t know it was a Mormon speaking they would have thought it was Billy Graham.”
Mormons and evangelical Christians, he continued, “say the same things” about Jesus Christ.
“These are profound teachings that we both talk about,” Mouw said. “These are the things we need to be talking about rather than shouting at each other and demonizing each other.”
Such focus, he explained, is an important element of what he calls the “convicted civility” that should exist between faith groups.
“We do need to give a witness of those deepest convictions in our soul,” Mouw said. “But we also need to be willing to learn from each other, to be open, to listen. And we need to be able to work together for the common good.”
Evangelicals and Mormons both “hear God’s call to justice and righteousness,” he continued. “In our communities, when we are asked to say something about the deep hope that is in us, we name the name of Jesus. Together we need to serve sinful people in a fallen world.”
During a panel discussion held later in the afternoon as part of UVU’s interreligious engagement initiative, Mouw identified religious freedom as one of the key areas in which evangelical Christians and Mormons can work together.
“We need to figure out how we can work together in the battle to maintain our religious rights,” he said, sharing the panel with UVU President Matthew Holland. “And not just our own rights. The best thing we can do together is to defend the rights of Muslim women to wear a burqa, or the religious rights of Sikhs or Jehovah’s Witnesses. We need to not seem like we’re just in the battle for ourselves. This is larger than just us. We need to look out for the religious rights and freedoms of all people. When we defend the rights of others, we are also defending our own rights."
Matthew Holland agreed.
“Wherever we are in this relationship,” he said, “it is the religious liberty issue that beckons into the future a commonality that may help transcend past barriers in ways we have never previously seen.”
12 reasons not to fall for the Noah Movie hype
Is the movie trailer promoting the blockbuster film Noah—to be released in March—part of a Hollywood con?
Why would I even suggest that? Well, if you watch the movie’s trailer, it seems that the film might be compatible with the biblical account of the Flood and Ark of Noah. But I believe the trailer was put together very carefully and cleverly to attract Christians and Jews—those who might be inclined to pay to see the film and not speak out against it. In fact, many Christians and Christian organizations have already come out publicly to say they can’t wait to see this movie. But what will Noah, with movie star Russell Crowe, really show? Should Christians promote this movie just based on what Hollywood is letting them see?
We have heard from various sources—including two close friends of AiG who watched a rough cut of the film—that it is not at all faithful to the biblical account in Genesis. The final movie will probably be very unbiblical in some bizarre and shocking ways.
For example, the main characters of the movie are Noah, his wife, and three sons—and one little girl they rescued after all in her family were murdered by an evil tribe. She was badly injured when they found her, but Noah’s wife placed healing nectar on her stomach and she later grew up to become the eldest son’s wife. For the longest time she was barren in the womb until Noah’s wife convinced Methuselah to bless her womb—against Noah’s wishes.
Noah at first is portrayed as a humble yet strong good man—a father and husband who protected his family from the evil that had come upon the world. But as he helped build the Ark, he was portrayed more like a basket-case who was convinced that his family was the last generation. He repeated over and over again that God would not let them repopulate since God would replant Eden without man and perfection would be reestablished with the “innocent animals” God brought on the Ark. Even when Noah’s eldest son brought news to the family on the Ark that his wife was expecting, the movie’s Noah said essentially, “If it is a male, he shall live. If a girl, I will kill her because it is not God’s will for man to repopulate.”
Here are a few more problem areas seen in the rough cut of the film, most of which I expect to be in the final film:
1.In the film, Noah was robbed of his birthright by Tubal-Cain. The serpent’s body (i.e., Satan), which was shed in Eden, was their “birthright reminder.” It also doubled with magical power that they would wrap around their arm. So weird!
2.Noah’s family only consists of his wife, three sons, and one daughter-in-law, contrary to the Bible.
3.It appears as if every species was crammed in the Ark instead of just the kinds of animals, thus mocking the Ark account the same way secularists do today.
4.“Rocks” (that seem to be fallen angels) build the Ark with Noah!
5.Methuselah (Noah’s grandfather) is a type of witch-doctor, whose mental health is questionable.
6.Tubal-Cain defeats the Rocks who were protecting the finished Ark.
7.A wounded Tubal-Cain axes his way inside the Ark in only about ten minutes and then hides inside. Tubal-Cain then convinces the middle son to lure Noah to the bottom of the Ark in order to murder him (because he was not allowed a wife in the Ark). Tubal-Cain stays alive by eating hibernating lizards. The middle son of Noah has a change of heart and helps kill Tubal-Cain instead.
8.Noah becomes almost crazy as he believes the only purpose to his family’s existence was to help build the Ark for the “innocent” animals (this is a worship of creation).
9.Noah repeatedly tells his family that they were the last generation and were never to procreate. So when his daughter-in-law becomes pregnant, he vows to murder his own grandchild. But he finally has a change of heart.
10.Noah does not have a relationship with God but rather with circumstances and has deadly visions of the Flood.
11.The Ark lands on a cliff next to a beach.
12.After the Flood Noah becomes so distant from his family that he lives in a cave, getting drunk by the beach.
There were many other bizarre, unbiblical aspects in the preview cut. Though it’s possible that some of these elements may not make the final cut (though we suspect most will), compare the above list to the trailer that has just been released! The comparison should be very revealing for you. You wouldn’t get much of a hint of most of the biblical problems in the list above based on watching on this cleverly-put-together trailer. A real con job, to be frank!
Do you really want your family/children to see such an unbiblical Hollywood portrayal of a very sobering event in Scripture, one that was a result of man’s wickedness? Do you want your kids to see Noah’s Ark portrayed by Hollywood as above, instead of the fact it was an Ark of salvation because of the grace of God—reminding us that as Noah and his family went through a door to be saved, so we need to go through a door?
[Jesus said,] “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9)
Do you really want your family/children to see Noah portrayed by Hollywood as it is in the above summary, instead of how God’s Word describes him in the “Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11?
By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (Hebrews 11:7)
Again, we don’t know what will be in the final cut of the film. But this list we have presented should be enough for Christians to understand that this movie is unbiblical!
Now, I do recognize that God is Sovereign and He can even use this Hollywood production to cause people be directed to His Word. Let’s pray that despite the unbiblical nature of this movie, that God will move hearts to seek Him.
As for AiG, we will continue to focus on the ministry the Lord has called us to, including building the Ark Encounter that will be as biblically accurate as we can make it—all in an effort to share the truth of God’s Word and the gospel with the world.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Harvey Weinstein to Bring 'Ten Commandments' Miniseries to TV
Even the staunchest conservative will admit Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has a near-Midas touch when it comes to picking film projects, many of which go on to generate Oscar buzz each fall. His commercial instincts are similarly strong.
So perhaps it's not surprising to see Weinstein, a major donor to President Barack Obama, getting involved with the current faith-based content push.
I’ve learned that WGN has teamed with the Weinstein Company for a Ten Commandments 10-part event series, which is being executive produced by Oscar-winning producer Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook, American Beauty). I hear the plan is for each episode to be helmed by a different A-list director, focusing on one commandment and its evolving significance.
The latter puts the project in a potentially tight spot, allowing the best and brightest directors to interpret sacred material to millions of Americans.
Director Darren Aronofsky's Noah is set to bow in 2014, and a film version of The History Channel's ratings smash The Bible will hit theaters next year, too.
Analysts Predict Biggest Christmas
|Church Churchianity Shopping Season Ever
Churches sharpen seasonal services to nab annual worshippers
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Christine Eagen sits at the table in her neatly decorated suburban dining room with an open phone book, a wall calendar, a notepad and a laptop. She circles church listings in the phone book with a red sharpie, visits their Web sites on her laptop and pencils in their names on her calendar between November 25th and December 24th, all the while taking copious notes.
“There are so many churches in the area, and we have such a limited amount of time after Thanksgiving,” Eagen says, pausing for a moment to shush her two young boys at play in the adjoining family room. “We try to cram in as much research in as we can during those weeks, but it really becomes a mad dash to the big decision for Christmas Eve.”
Eagan is part of a growing number of Americans who spend a significant amount of time in the weeks after Thanksgiving looking for the perfect church to attend on Christmas Eve or the Sunday before Christmas. A recent study by the Pew Research Institute reports that roughly one-third of Americans say they attend church just once a year, and more than two-thirds of that group choose the Christmas season for their lone pilgrimage. Analysts are expecting American Churches to see the largest-ever group of Christmas-only congregants this year, and they expect these Christmas church shoppers to attend an average of three Sunday services between Thanksgiving and Christmas in the quest for their perfect Christmas church.
“These annual worshippers are becoming less and less content to drag the family down to the corner church at the last minute,” said Robert Holmes, president of the Center for the Study of World Religion – a London-based religion think tank. “Americans are spending weeks and even months picking out the perfect gifts and decorating their homes to create that idyllic Christmas; it seems ridiculous to expect them to risk walking into a big fat dud of a cantata and a lame candlelit congregational singing of Silent Night. These folks want some sizzle in their season.”
That much sought-after sizzle is not going unnoticed by church leaders, who are expected to be especially busy decking the halls and pumping up the production value of their Christmas programming this season in hopes of catching the eyes of the yuletide-only worship set.
“The past few years, we’ve noticed more and more locals slipping into the back pew during worship those two or three Sundays after Thanksgiving,” said Neil Moorehouse, pastor of celebratory arts at Golden Heights Community Church outside of Louisville. “Let’s just say these aren’t really the type of people you’d expect to see in church, so we know they’re there to scope out the music and the decorations. This year we’ll be ready for them.”
Moorehouse has hired a local barbershop chorus and a troop of actors to augment the talent pool for their Christmas services. He’s also planning to book some newspaper and radio ads to generate some buzz. Moorehouse is even talking openly about touching that third rail of church Christmas decorations.
“Of course we’ll have the big tree and the tastefully rustic manger scene, but let’s face it; people want Santa,” Moorehouse said. “I’ve really been leaning on the Elder Board about it this year, telling them the story of the generous Saint Nicholas and suggesting that we have him kneeling in front of the manger to make a real cultural statement. I’m hoping this will be the year that the fat man finally makes his appearance.”
Holmes thinks that the considerable expenses being incurred by Golden Heights and countless other American churches this Christmas season could be the best money they spend all year.
“Not only are people in the giving mood around Christmas, they’re in the end-of-year giving mood,” he said. “I’ve talked to many pastors of large American churches who are planning to incorporate building fund messages into their Christmas pageants. There may have been no room at the inn, but they want to make sure there’s plenty of room in the contemporary worship annex for years to come.”
“If we’re only going to get these people once a year, you can bet that they’re going to get a subtle, yet solid sales pitch,” he said. “We have no problem getting our worship through giving on at Christmas time. It’s when we pull out our A-list offertory music, and if you come to Golden Heights, it’s not your imagination; you really do smell a hint of holiday spice potpourri in the offering plate.”
For Eagan, the hunt for the perfect church is just another chore on the growing Christmas to-do list.
“It’s a lot of work, but I really think it’s worth it,” she said. “If we’re going to go to church just once a year, we’re going to make sure it’s extra special. We’ve got a whole lot of services to attend to make sure we get it right.”
Let me guess - the fat man is the IRS? the credit card company?
Surprise! Rick Warren is "impressed" by this pro-Marxist Pope!
Rise of the Merchandise Church Machine
1 Timothy 3:15 – “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
2 Peter 2:3 – “And through covetousness shall they with feigned (counterfeit) words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
Acts 20:30 – “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
America’s House of Merchandise Church
Only 3 cents of every dollar go towards benevolence
-Based on a recent ECCU (Evangelical Christian Credit Union) survey-
What would happen if Christians just stopped “tithing” at the merchandising “church machine”, started meeting in homes or places that require no money, and praying/seeking the Lord as to where to give their tithe, either to brethren in need or the poor in Jesus’ name?
What would happen if Christians just stopped buying all the multi-billion dollar “Christian” junk merchandise being pedaled by the merchandising “church machine” and started using that money either for the brethren in need or the poor in Jesus’ name?
Christians don’t need the junk merchandise, they need the Word of God and obey what they know. That’s it!
The House of God (Christians) in America and the west in general has become a House of Merchandise Church, the present day “Merchandising Church Machine”.
The “Merchandising Church Machine” is not interested in truth because it covers up the exposed liars INSIDE the machine.
The “Merchandising Church Machine” is not only the sellers, it’s the buyers too!! Sellers and buyers keeps the “Merchandising Church Machine” running.
When Jesus overturned the tables twice during His ministry (once at the beginning in John 2, once towards the end in Matthew 21), there were buyers AND sellers doing business in the temple as stated in Matthew 21:12.
Using Jesus’ grace and suffering to make and give a buck
So Jesus lovingly stepped off His throne in Heaven, lovingly comes to earth where there is deceit and violence, declares the works of the world are evil, has no place to lay His head, is beaten, crucified on the cross, and the “Merchandising Church Machine” sells & buys on the whole event of His grace and mercy.
That is the image unbelievers see. People claiming to be Christians making money on what Jesus did.
What does the Lord see? Especially when He overturned tables TWICE?
Example of how far out of whack the church in America and the west is
Based on the ECCU survey, only 3 cents of each dollar given goes towards benevolence.
If a church of 100 each gave $100 dollars each week, which would equal $10,000 each week.
That means $300 dollars would go towards benevolence each week.
If those 100 people decided to stop going and start meeting in homes of 10 people each, that same $100 each tithe would be 100% of the tithe going towards benevolence.
Instead of $300 coming from a church of 100 people, there would be $1000 coming from a home church of 10 people.
Multiply that times 10 home churches and it would be $10,000 going towards benevolence each week all in Jesus’ name.
None of us in America has seen the way the church is really supposed to operate.
We were all handed this unbiblical “church machine” that requires money to operate. This “machine” is where careers are made and the truth is threatened.
That’s right, the truth is threatened.
A current scenario all over America
A “church machine” is a church that receives tithe money and will not expose certain wolves inside the church because they are afraid the church members will stop tithing (stop or leave).
The “church machine” has a paid staff, provides the product (message, music, social) all for tithes and offerings.
The “church machine” needs money to operate or else the “church machine” shuts down.
It’s a business where the offending truth will be concealed either consciously or unconsciously. The truth that rubs our sinful flesh will be the victim due to the “church machine” requirements.
The “church machine” will preach the Gospel but will disobey Ephesians 5:11 or disregard Matthew 7:15-20 and Acts 20:28-31 and think everything is OK since they are still preaching the Gospel.
The “church machine” will also have little to no spiritual discernment due to their willful disobedience.
The Gospel will be preached, people will be saved ONLY because of the Word of God (not the “church machine”) and the baby Christians are immediately inducted in to a spiritually dangerous “church machine”. Baby Christians are born again but blinded from the “church machine” not realizing they are blinded.
The thought of obeying Ephesians 5:11 isn’t even on their radar, thus the “church machine” is producing Christians that will not expose wolves (Unless it’s Rick Warren of course. Rick is on the “OK to expose” list, of course nothing is happening to Rick is it?).
The “church machine” needs tithe money & offerings to keep the whole merchandising thing going.
The way the church is set up in America and the west is out of whack!!
The “church machine” sells a “program” that involves salaries, buildings, and other expenses – it’s a product in exchange for tithes and offerings.
Then the pastors and elders will say at the pulpit something like “Worship God with your tithes and offerings” which actually means “Pay our salaries, our building expenses, and anything else we need”. They equate worshiping God with whatever they are doing, even though they may be promoting wolves or covering up wolves.
What if the pastor is covering up guys like exposed liars Ergun Caner or David Barton or things of that nature? How is that worshiping God with your tithes and offerings?”
This is happening all across the nation and in the west.
Christians are giving tithes and offerings to churches, institutions, “Christian merchandisers” (AKA The “church machine”) that are covering up known wolves by staying silent on them. The “church machine” is operating on the “tithes and offerings” that could actually be used for brethren in need or the poor in Jesus’ name.
Giving tithes and offerings to these “merchandising churches” or the “Christian merchandisers” in not worshiping God.
There are many sorrows that lay ahead for the “Merchandising Church Machine” AKA “The Church of Merchandise”.
1 Timothy 6:10 – “For the love (Greek root = philos, a friend) of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
10 signs that religious fundamentalism is going down
Days may be dark right now—after all, as the memes proclaim, axial tilt is the reason for the season. But things are looking bright for those who would like to see humanity more grounded in science and reason. If you are a nonbeliever in the mood for a party, here are 10 reasons to celebrate.
1. Coming out atheist is up and coming. In May 2013, after a deadly tornado destroyed her home, young mother Rebecca Vitsmun gave an unexpected answer when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked whether she thanked the Lord for her decision to flee. Vitsmun tells the story in a sometimes-tearful interview with Seth Andrews, host of the Thinking Atheist. “I had this moment in which I realized you either lie or tell the truth, and I’m not a liar.” In that moment, Vitsmun outed herself not only to a national media audience but also to her Christian parents and friends.
Vitsmun’s situation was extraordinary, but candor about nonbelief is becoming more and more commonplace. From Hollywood celebs like Cameron Diaz and Angelina Jolie to high school students, skeptics are opening up about their beliefs and values—or simply declining to lie when asked. (A quick-read book, Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist, offers tips for those who are contemplating when, where and how best to come out.)
2. The cutting edge of freethought is less cutting and edgy. In generations past, coming out as an atheist required a devil-may-care attitude. The social and even financial costs were so high that most admitted atheists were also unflinching social activists, people who had a high degree of zeal and high tolerance for conflict. Most were also white males who were comparatively safe taking on the religious establishment. Until recently, then, atheism was virtually synonymous with anti-theism, and even today people complain that pioneers of the New Atheist movement like Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, and the late great Hitchens are unnecessarily antagonistic.
But thanks in part to their courage and flame-throwing, a new generation is emerging, one that sees atheism not as an end point, but as a beginning. Alain de Botton’s TED talk and book, Atheism 2.0, simply posits the nonexistence of God and then goes on to discuss what humanity can glean from the rubble of religious traditions. Many younger people are casting aside labels and adopting what fits from religious holidays and traditions, in the same way that they mix and match cultural, racial or sexual identities. As boundaries soften, more women, Hispanics andblacks are joining or even leading the conversations.
3. Biblical sexuality is getting binned. Finally. In the last part of December, marriage equality became law in three more states: New Mexico, Ohio and—drumroll—Utah! Even more exciting is the fact that legal changes can barely keep up with shifting attitudes about queer sexuality. Things are changing when it comes to straight sex, too, and not in keeping with biblical priorities. Perhaps the most consistent sexual theme in the Bible is that a woman’s consent is not needed or even preferred before sex. By demanding an end to rape culture, today’s young women and men are making the Bible writers look as if they were members of a tribal, Iron Age culture in which women were property like livestock and children—to be traded, sold and won in battle. Small wonder the culture warriors have ramped up their fight against contraception and abortion. Imagine if, on top of everything else, all women got access to expensive top-tier contraceptives and the power to end ill-conceived childbearing.
4. Recovering believers are reclaiming their lives. Most atheists and agnostics are former believers, which means that many carry old psychological baggage from childhood beliefs or some post-childhood cycle of conversion and deconversion. While many former believers slip out of religion unscathed, some do not, and believers in recovery now have a name: reclaimers. A small but growing number of cognitive scientists are exploring the relationship between religion and mental illnesses like depression, anxiety disorders and panic. Marlene Winell, a California consultant who works full time with recovering fundamentalists, has brought attention to a pattern she calls Religious Trauma Syndrome. Darrel Ray has created a matching service for secular clients and therapists, while Kathleen Taylor at Oxford has raised the question of whether religious fundamentalism itself may one day be treatable.
5. Communities are coming together. When two British comedians, Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones, launched a “sort-of church” for nonbelievers last January, their Sunday Assembly got media attention around the world. By December, they were on a 40-day tour of 40 cities from Auckland to Portland helping local groups launch assemblies of their own.
Their quirky effort is part of a much broader movement among atheists who are exploring how to build communities that provide mutual assistance, outlets for wonder and delight, rituals to mark holidays, and organized volunteering. Some, like the Sunday Assembly or Jerry DeWitt’s Community Mission Chapel, deliberately draw on the structure of the traditional church service, with music and a brief lecture followed by tea and coffee. Others, like Seattle Atheists, use social media to organize a broad array of lectures, community service opportunities and recreation. Harvard’s Humanist Community opened doors on a new Humanist Hub for both students and locals on December 8. Even clergy who have lost their faith are banding together for mutual support and friendship.
6. Secular giving is growing. In times of crisis, faith communities often step in to provide emergency assistance or to help those who are most poor and desperate. Proselytizing aside, churches are able to provide real service because they have both the will and the necessary infrastructure. Increasingly, atheists and humanists are saying, we need to do the same. Since 2010, the Foundation Beyond Belief has given away almost $1.5 million raised from nonbelievers who can give as little as $5 a month, and is now turning attention to building a corps of humanist volunteers, which is also a focus of the Harvard community. In July, the Foundation Beyond Belief will host its first conference, Humanism at Work.
7. The Religious Right is licking wounds. Bets are still out on whether the Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptists are retreating or simply rebranding, but either one is good for people who care about science, reason, compassion, or the common good. What’s clear is that the two most powerful hierarchies in the Religious Right have realized that they can’t simply seize the reins of power and remake secular institutions along theological lines. Pope Francis has given a mixture of signals on how much evidence and compassion will guide church priorities—mostly along the lines of yes if you’re poor, no if you’re female. Russell Moore, new head of the Southern Baptist Convention, has warned that Baptists shouldn’t be “mascots for any political faction.” The takeaway for all of us? Fearful, authoritarian conservatives have been smacked back in their patriarchal power plays, and they know it. Shining a light on cruelty, bigotry and ignorance works.
8. Texas is evolving! The State of Texas is such a large textbook market that Texas standards can influence content across the nation. This means that a handful of well-placed wingnuts in Texas can reshape the next generation’s understanding of science or history. Thanks to the hard work of the Texas Freedom Network and young activists, public school texts in Texas will be teaching biological science rather than creationism. This fall, reviewers appointed by the Texas Board of Education pushed to include creationism in the texts, but publishers pushed back. Acceptance of evolution is growing across the country. As Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Ultimately, the review panel itself rejected creationist arguments. Now that’s evolution!
9. Millennials are taking up the torch. When it comes to separation of church and state, young people are teaming up with established players like the Freedom From Religion Foundation for some real wins. Many of the most hopeful, inspiring freethought stories of 2013 had young protagonists, and we can expect more of the same moving forward. Zack Kopplin was still in high school when he took on the state of Louisiana over creationism in schools. Now he is a full-time science advocate and columnist for the Guardian. “ Evil little thing” Jessica Ahlquist, whose lawsuit forced removal of a prayer banner at her high school in 2012, has continued a path of secular activism. Inspiring stories of other young church-state activists can be found here.
10. Rebuilding the wall of separation isn’t the only place Millennials are leading the way. Young adults who grew up isolated in abusive homeschooling situations have created a network, Homeschoolers Anonymous, so that they can lend each other support and fight for change. When a Catholic school in Bellevue, Washington fired a gay teacher, hundreds of students walked out chanting, “Change the church.” Their protest was picked up by students at other schools and Catholic alumni. A new documentary movie with a millennial production crew, The Unbelievers, has been described as a rock concert love-fest between biologist Richard Dawkins and physicist Larry Krause and their young fan base of science lovers.
For those who want to find secular inspiration rather than to join a fight for rights and reason, young photographer Chris Johnson has created a coffee table book that challenges readers to grab hold of this one precious life: A Better Life—100 Atheists Speak Out About Joy and Meaning in a World Without God. The title says it all
More Americans Believe Aliens Have Visited Earth Than Believe That Jesus Is The Son Of God
According to a National Geographic survey, 77 percent of all Americans “believe there are signs that aliens have visited Earth”, and according to a recent Harris poll only 68 percent of all Americans believe that Jesus is God or the Son of God. That means that the number of Americans that believe that UFOs have visited us is now greater than the number of Americans that believe what the Bible has to say about Jesus Christ. With each passing year, the frequency of UFO sightings seems to keep increasing, as does the number of movies, television shows and video games featuring aliens and extraterrestrial life. It is almost as if the population of the planet is being primed for something. Could this phenomenon be the “strong delusion” of the last days that is talked about in the Bible? And if there are beings out there that are not human, what is it that they want? Could it be that they have an extremely insidious agenda?
When it comes to UFOs, it is important to be skeptical. These days it is very easy to fake just about anything on video, and there have definitely been a lot of fraudulent reports over the years.
But virtually all of those that have studied this phenomenon for many years come away convinced that something very unusual is clearly happening in our skies. Every year there are hundreds upon hundreds of very credible reports of very strange unidentified flying objects that seem to have no natural explanation. For example, one of the most respected newspapers in the UK just reported on a UFO that nearly collided with an A320 Airbus just a few days ago…
It was certainly a close encounter, but with precisely what remains a mystery.
An airline pilot has reported a near miss in which a “rugby ball”-shaped UFO passed within a few feet of his passenger jet while flying near Heathrow Airport.
The captain told the aviation authorities who have investigated the incident that he was certain the object was going to crash into his aircraft and ducked as it headed towards him.
The investigation has been unable to establish any earthly identity for the mysterious craft, which left the aircrew with no time to take evasive action.
The incident occurred while the A320 Airbus was cruising at 34,000ft, around 20 miles west of the airport, over the Berkshire countryside.
And there are organizations out there that spend a tremendous amount of time and energy tracking these sightings. For example, an organization known as “MUFON” received more than 500 UFO reports a month last year…
MUFON is the largest civilian UFO investigation organization in the US, and probably the world. They have investigators in every state, and representatives throughout the world. Clifford Clift, MUFON’s director in early 2012, told Lee Speigel of the Huffington Post in January of that year that MUFON received over 6000 UFO reports in 2011. He added that they had already received hundreds in the first few days of 2012 and were expecting a big year.
In 2013 MUFON received 7646 reports worldwide. 6457 of those were in the United States.
And it isn’t just nuts and kooks that believe this stuff. In fact, top military and political officials all over the world are starting to come forward with what they know about this phenomenon. During a recent television interview, Paul Hellyer, the former Defense Minister of Canada, was asked why he believes that UFOs are real. The following was his response…
Because I know that they are. As a matter of fact, they’ve been visiting our planet for thousands of years and one of the cases that would interest you most if you give me two or three minutes to answer is that during the Cold War, 1961, there were about 50 UFOs in formation flying south from Russia across Europe, and Supreme Allied Command was very concerned and about ready to press the “Panic” button when they turned around and went back over the North Pole. They decided to do an investigation and they investigated for 3 years and they decided that, with absolute certainty, four species – at least – had been visiting this planet for thousands of years. We have a long history of UFOs and of course there has been a lot more activity in the last few decades, since we invented the atomic bomb and they are very concerned about that and the fact that we might use it again, and because the Cosmos is a unity and it affects not just us but other people in the Cosmos, they are very much afraid that we might be stupid enough to start using atomic weapons again, and this would be very bad for us and for them as well.
So is he telling the truth?
That is up for you to decide.
Posted below is a YouTube video that contains some of the best UFO videos from 2013. Watch the footage for yourself and come to your own conclusions…
Most people assume that if UFOs and aliens are real, that they must be here to help us.
But what if that is not actually the case at all?
Temple University Professor Dr. David Jacobs has been studying these things for more than 30 years. At first, he also assumed that the aliens had good intentions and were going to be helpful to humanity. But as his studies progressed, he eventually developed “a tremendous sense of concern about the future”…
But I must say that now that I’ve learned as much as I have learned, and I think I’ve learned an awful lot, I am very, very unsettled and upset by what I see. I don’t like what I see. I wish I didn’t see this. I wish I hadn’t uncovered this. I despair of it. It’s thrown me into a tremendous sense of concern about the future and unease. I just don’t like it very much. I wish I did. I don’t want to be this way. I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news. I could not have ever imagined that I would come to this position. What I’m seeing now, what I’ve found with the phenomenon, I could never have imagined.
In particular, Dr. Jacobs is deeply concerned about the insidious agenda behind the “alien abduction” phenomenon…
Abductions, you have to remember, are a means to an end. They’re abducting people for a purpose, for a reason. The physical act of abducting people, which is the abduction phenomenon, really is only part of the program. So what I’ve done is kind of divided it into component parts and fleshed it out a lot more. So what we have here is an abduction program, a breeding program, which accounts for all the reproductive activity that we see, and a hybridization program, which is why people see hybrids all the time–as babies, as toddlers, as adolescents, and then as adults.
And then, finally, I think all this is leading to an integration program in which ultimately these hybrids, who look very human, will be integrating into this society. And who will eventually, I assume, be in control here because they do have superior technology and superior physiological abilities that we do not have. We would therefore be sort of second-class citizens, I think.
To many Americans, what Dr. Jacobs is talking about sounds absolutely crazy.
But it is important to remember that Dr. Jacobs is not just some nutjob with a blog. He is a respected professor at a major university that has been intensely studying this stuff for more than 30 years.
So what do you believe?
Do you believe that UFOs and aliens are real?
If so, who do you believe that they are and where do you believe they are from?
Could this actually be the “strong delusion” of the last days?
New Evangelical Movement Seeks Split From Pro-Israel Line
Dissent within the fold. “This message is resonating with the rising generation,” says Brog.
Figures with deep roots in America’s religious right have launched a quiet effort aimed at pushing evangelical Christians away from decades of growing loyalty to Israel and toward increased solidarity with the Palestinians.
The campaign by a coalition of religious leaders, international nonprofits, and activists has taken place in recent years largely behind the scenes and away from the prying eyes of the political press — and it’s being driven by a generation of Evangelicals alienated by the way their faith was yoked to Republican foreign policy during the Bush years. Now, organizations like the Telos Group and the large Christian nonprofit World Vision have joined a small army of ministers and Christian opinion-makers working to reorient Evangelicals’ stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — producing documentaries about the plight of Palestinian Christians, providing theological rationale for a more “balanced” view of the issue, and taking Evangelicals on trips to the Middle East.
The goal is to soften the bulletproof political alliance between American Evangelicals and Israel — forged over decades of successful courtship by Israeli governments and pro-Israel forces in the U.S. — and to make room on the religious right for Palestinian sympathies. If the movement is successful, it would represent a move toward mainline, politically liberal Christian denominations that have long been aligned with the Palestinian cause. The Presbyterian Church USA, for instance, briefly adopted a policy of divesting from some companies doing business in Israel.
The campaign has alarmed America’s most committed Christian supporters of Israel, who acknowledge their rivals’ message is gaining momentum within the church.
“This effort is being led by Palestinian Christians who, while not always Evangelicals, are quite adept at using evangelical language and imagery in their effort to blame Israel and Israel alone for Palestinian suffering,” said David Brog, executive director of Christians United For Israel, a key group in rallying American Christians to the Jewish state. “The movement has gotten louder because they have more money to spend. So we’re seeing more anti-Israel Christian films, speakers, and conferences. It’s very much grasstops, not grassroots.”
Brog said his rivals’ fledgling success should push Zionists to engage more actively in the evangelical debate over Israel.
“We’re also seeing some signs that this message is resonating with the rising generation of Evangelicals — the millennial Evangelicals,” Brog added. “So we can’t afford to wait. We must speak out and correct the record before more of our young people are led astray.”
One of the evangelical leaders calling for a more “nuanced” view of the conflict is Todd Deatherage, who spent five years in the Bush State Department before co-founding the Telos Group to expose Evangelicals to the complexities of the issue. He said their purpose is not to persuade Christians to turn against Israel, but rather “to affirm and support the dignity of all the people of the Holy Land, to be truly pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian at the same time.”
To achieve this, his group organizes about 15 trips to Israel every year, where American participants — mostly Evangelicals determined to be open-minded and influential in their respective communities — meet with peace activists, victims of violence on both sides of the conflict, and members of the Bethlehem Bible College, which trains Arab Christian pastors. The objective, Deatherage says, is to “change the conversation” among conservative Christians in the U.S.
“We want people to go on these trips and then go back and change others’ minds by talking about their own experience, taking the things they’ve learned and using them to help others understand what it means to be global citizens,” he said.
Lynne Hybels, an evangelical writer and minister heavily engaged in what she calls the “pro-peace” movement in Israel, was even more blunt about their intentions. She said they hope to “build a political constituency that supports peace and supports policymakers with the courage and commitment to work for peace.” As Hybels sees it, that means occasionally standing up for Palestinians — and not allowing Christian critics to get away with accusing them of “abandoning God’s chosen people.”
There has always been a small vocal minority of American evangelical provocateurs who rail against modern-day Israel at progressive political rallies and in the pages of Sojourners magazine. But the current campaign is attracting attention in large part because its leaders boast the kind of conservative Christian credentials even Mike Huckabee could appreciate.
For example, a 2010 documentary questioning the wisdom of Evangelicals’ unwavering commitment to Israel was endorsed by a top official at World Vision, one of the largest Christian humanitarian organizations in the world. The film has since been screened several times at World Vision events, and it received a favorable review in America’s leading evangelical magazine, Christianity Today, which declared, “Christian Zionism is officially on notice.”
Meanwhile, Gabe Lyons — a young evangelical organizer and graduate of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University — has put on series of Christian conferences aimed, in part, at promoting an “open, honest discussion” on the Middle East conflict. Like many of his peers, he believes the evangelical conversation on this topic has been hijacked by political activists — and he wants to reclaim it.
“The evangelical community has only heard one narrative on this issue. Part of the responsibility we have is to make sure they hear the rest of it,” said Lyons, who believes he’s witnessing a shift in opinion among “younger Evangelicals who are just getting full exposure to what’s really happening in the region.”
The foreign policy of the conservative Christian movement has long been defined by a fervent, often biblically inspired, devotion to Israel, with top Republican leaders frequently citing their faith as a driving force in their commitment to protecting the “Promised Land.” This dynamic was most visible during the presidency of George W. Bush, a political icon of Christian conservatism who often framed his agenda for the Middle East — which included an unwavering alliance with Israel — in terms of divine destiny. In the 2012 Republican primaries, Texas Gov. Rick Perry declared, “As a Christian, I have a clear directive to support Israel.”
The case for Israel in American politics is hardly based solely on faith. Evangelicals, like other Americans, hear arguments about Israel’s place as a free-market democracy in a region that’s broadly hostile to American interests. But for many believers, the widespread evangelical view that modern-day Israel represents the fulfillment of God’s covenant with the Jewish people is rooted in the “dispensationalist” theories of 19th-century theologian John Nelson Darby. The idea was popularized among U.S. Christians over several decades, with books like the 1970 best-seller The Late Great Planet Earth — a sort of end-times catalog of world events that supposedly proved Armageddon was only a decade away — and the massively popular Left Behind series. For the vast majority of conservative Evangelicals, it has become an article of faith that Israel deserves the absolute support of America’s diplomatic efforts and military might.
If Evangelicals’ minds are beginning to change — as advocates on both sides of the church’s Israel divide contend — the trend has yet to be borne out in public polling. A Pew survey last year found that a staggering 82% of white Evangelicals believe God gave Israel to the Jewish people — more than twice the proportion of American Jews, and up 10 points from a similar poll in 2005.
Still, Deatherage says Evangelicals don’t need to abandon their theological beliefs about Israel in order to feel Christian sympathy for the suffering of the Palestinians. In fact, Deatherage said the most eye-opening experience for many of the people he takes on Telos trips is interacting with the Palestinian Christian community.
“The fact is that there is a church on the ground,” Deatherage said. “We imagine this conflict to be between Jews and Muslims, and so when people see that there are Christians there, and even Palestinian Evangelicals, they didn’t know that. I mean, there’s a Bible college in Bethlehem, where people talk about their faith the very same way they do, they read the same books, many of them studied in the same universities in the U.S.”
And as several advocates pointed out, even a minor retreat from the religious right’s current hard-line position on Israel would give Republicans substantially more flexibility in their foreign policy. Already, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul — whose frequent dustups with Israel hawks in his party have been well-documented — is emerging as a legitimate contender for the 2016 GOP nomination. What’s more, Rex Elsass, a Paul adviser with close ties to the conservative Christian movement, said the senator has managed make inroads with conservative Christian voters despite his mixed record on Israel.
“I love Israel. It’s a place I have a lot of passion for, and a lot of interest in personally,” said Elsass, who is making his third trip to the Holy Land, with Huckabee, later this year. “But obviously, Palestinian Christians need to be treated with respect, and their rights need to be respected… We always prefer that the weapons of war be beaten into ploughshares. And that is certainly something the Judeo-Christian faith is ultimately called to.”
The word evangelical today no longer includes CHRISTIANS.
GOD is a FUNDAMENTALIST!
GOD is NOT politicly correct!
GOD is calling the Church to prepare to stand
The world is at war. Jesus warned us the final days would be filled with battles.
He said, I have come not to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34
The Apostle Paul said, We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
The ruler of this dark age is at war against God and against His children, and the state of the earth reflects this tumult.
Everywhere we see war and rumors of war. There are earthquakes, famines, droughts, and fierce in-fighting - even among those who claim to be His people. Our world is transforming into a landscape where there is no room for us.
America is a police state, feared by those within.
Christians must prepare ourselves and our families to stand.
We are surrounded by Darkness, the Day of the Lord is approaching.
The secrets in the book of the Revelation are slowly being revealed. It promises a blessing for those who read it.
Blessed is he who reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein, for the time is near. Rev 1:3
We are to stand and fight against evil, preach the Word in season and out, study the gift of His prophetic Word, and eagerly pray for His return because the shame is not in studying prophecy, but in ignoring it.
Being Salt and Light as Nation Decays
Creation or Evolution - Young Earth debate
The Harbinger, Cahn video
To be frank, the modern-day, organized "church" system is just completely indifferent now.
2 years ago at an SBC church, the youth ministers were advertising their VBS with some loud rock music. Personally, I ran out in disgust. However, a lot of the pews, in particular the elderly, just sat back and did nothing.
I was told afterwards that we had to "endure" something like this, even if we "didn't like it".
No, that wasn't what I saw - they were looks of indifference and "so it goes".
It's as if they're like Esau - desiring a bowl of pottage more than eternal life.
This church holds naked services
If you’re Christian and like going to services but have always been bummed out by the whole clothing-mandatory element of most churches, then you need to learn about this place in Ivor, Virginia. WWBT NBC 12 News is reporting on the White Tail Chapel, a congregation that does their thing in the buff.
So why pray naked? Pastor Allen Parker told WWBT it’s, “about baring his soul to Christ and leading his flock down that path of righteousness, no matter what they’re wearing.” He also told the station, “There's not a feeling that you have to be better than one another, physically. We're humans, we have scars, we have what we have…it's learning to love and accept that."
It seems like there is a devoted group of people who regularly attend, not minding the chilly winter weather. Katie and Robert Church are two of those regulars. Katie emphasized that the church has a strong sense of community. Robert pointed out that by stripping down, people become equal, “There are people that have great means, great wealth, there’s people that don’t. But, you wouldn’t know, and everybody treats everybody, you know, equally. You could really say the naked Churches enjoy this naked church.
The church is located on a nudist resort in Ivor. WWBT mentioned that during the summer, it gets so crowded that services are often standing room only.
1John 2:26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you.
1Jn 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
Former Garland, TX youth pastor gets 12 years for sexting with 16-year-old girl
A former Garland youth pastor who exchanged sexually explicit text messages and photos with an underage girl from his church was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in federal prison.
Joshua Earls, 30, and the 16-year-old girl had sent each other text messages with photos of each other’s genitalia. Earls met the victim through Arapaho Road Baptist Church in Garland.
Earls pleaded guilty to receipt of child ****ography in October and had faced up to 20 years in prison. He also faces a lifetime of probation when he is released.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn listened to hours of sentencing testimony Wednesday from Earls and his family, as well as the victim and her mother. Families from the church packed the courtroom.
Lynn said Earls had done a lot of good in his life, including ministering to other inmates in the federal prison in Seagoville where he has been held since April.
But she added: “I also see the evil you have done.”
Earls and his parents, sister and fiancée asked the judge for mercy and a lenient sentence, as well as asking the victim and her family for forgiveness.
Lynn said her job is not to forgive, however, but to follow the law and consider risk to the community. Earls, she said, was attracted to “vile images” of children subjected to bondage and torture.
Lynn said she couldn’t imagine the anguish an offense like this must cause in a “family of preachers.”
Earls’ brother, Jordan Earls, 25, who was a student pastor at his father’s church in South Carolina and a former volunteer at the Garland church, was arrested in South Carolina on child abuse charges. He faces felony charges in Dallas County state court, including indecency with a child and sexual assault of a child.
During Joshua Earls’ sentencing hearing Wednesday, defense attorney John Teakell called two forensic psychologists to the witness stand. They both testified that they examined Earls and concluded he had a low to moderate risk of re-offending. But Lynn called their opinions nothing more than “educated guesswork.”
The victim’s mother said Earls became close to their family as he did with other church families, attending birthdays and other gatherings. But he betrayed their trust and robbed her daughter of her innocence, she said.
“We had loved Josh and we totally trusted him,” she said. “It was so confusing.”
She said her daughter has since left the church she began attending at age 5.
“She will have to deal with this for many years to come,” she said.
Agents found the photos on Earls’ cellphone, which was seized during a search of his Garland home in April. He had downloaded hundreds of child ****ography photographs to his computer, and he had videos of the victim masturbating at his request.
“Earls admitted to ‘sexting’ with several girls, as well as exchanging **** pictures and videos” with the victim, according to a criminal complaint.
The victim, who is now 18, said Earls was the closest friend she had and that when the inappropriate conduct began, “I didn’t want to say no to him.” She said she currently suffers from anxiety, depression and severe migraine headaches as a result of the abuse.
She also said the ordeal caused her to “put up a wall to people” and that it has hurt her relationships with male authority figures.
Earls, who attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, tearfully apologized for his actions and asked for mercy and forgiveness.
“I love that family, and I still do. I wronged them,” Earls said. “I stand before you as a broken man.”
Earls said the victim first reached out to him with innocent questions about touching and sexual acts. She wanted to know if certain things were a sin, he said. Earls said he should have referred her to someone else at that point but began asking her about her sexual activities. That later led to sexual text messages and “fantasy situations,” he said.
His father, Bobby Earls, the pastor at Northgate Baptist Church in Florence, S.C., told the judge he still loves his son, whom he called a likable young man with a pleasant personality and many friends. He described him as a “model son” who caused his parents no problems before this case.
“Josh has always made us proud,” he said, sometimes quoting from Scripture. “Josh is not a lifetime criminal.”