Aug 22 2014

Learning From Young Atheists: What Turned Them Off Christianity

Tag: State of the ChurchSage @ 3:52 pm

From Prophecy News Watch.Com

It’s something most Christian parents worry about: You send your kids off to college and when they come back, you find they’ve lost their faith. The prospect of this happening is why many parents nudge their kids towards Christian colleges, or at least schools with a strong Christian presence on campus.

But in many ways, the damage has been done long before our children set foot on campus. That’s the message from a recent article in the Atlantic Monthly.

My friend Larry Taunton of the Fixed Point Foundation set out to find out why so many young Christians lose their faith in college. He did this by employing a method I don’t recall being used before: He asked them.

The Fixed Point Foundation asked members of the Secular Students Associations on campuses around the nation to tell them about their “journey to unbelief.” Taunton was not only surprised by the level of response but, more importantly, about the stories he and his colleagues heard.

Instead of would-be Richard Dawkins’, the typical respondent was more like Phil, a student Taunton interviewed. Phil had grown up in church; he had even been the president of his youth group. What drove Phil away wasn’t the lure of secular materialism or even Christian moral teaching. And he was specifically upset when his church changed youth pastors.

Whereas his old youth pastor “knew the Bible” and made Phil “feel smart” about his faith even when he didn’t have all the answers, the new youth pastor taught less and played more.

Phil’s loss of faith coincided with his church’s attempt to ingratiate itself to him instead of challenging him. According to Taunton, Phil’s story “was on the whole typical of the stories we would hear from students across the country.”

These kids had attended church but “the mission and message of their churches was vague,” and manifested itself in offering “superficial answers to life’s difficult questions.” The ministers they respected were those “who took the Bible seriously,” not those who sought to entertain them or be their “buddy.”

Taunton also learned that, for many kids, their journey to unbelief was an emotional, not just an intellectual one.

Taunton’s findings are counter-intuitive. Much of what passes for youth ministry these days is driven by a morbid fear of boring our young charges. As a result, a lot of time is spent trying to devise ways to entertain them.

The rest of the time is spent worrying about whether the Christian message will turn kids off. But as Taunton found, young people, like the not-so-young, respect people with conviction—provided they know what they’re talking about.

Taunton talks about his experiences with the late Christopher Hitchens, who, in their debates, refrained from attacking him. When asked why, Hitchens replied, “Because you believe it.”

I don’t know what that says about Hitchens’ other Christian debate partners, but it is a potent reminder that playing down the truth claims of the Christian faith doesn’t work. People don’t believe those they don’t respect.

Here’s something that one of the students told Larry Taunton; he said, “Christianity is something that if you really believed it, it would change your life and you would want to change [the lives] of others. I haven’t seen too much of that.”

Folks, that’s pretty sobering. This puts the ball in our court. Are we living lives that show our children that we actually believe what we say we believe? And here’s another question—do we actually believe it? I have to say, as a parent I’m taking this very seriously.
Read more at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2014/August20/205.html#21VKCc7tFtlIgJ22.99

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Aug 22 2014

China Establishes New ‘Christian Theology’ To Control Its Christian Population

Tag: State of the ChurchSage @ 3:44 pm

From Prophecy News Watch.Com

In a country known for quixotic public campaigns, China’s latest surely ranks among its most creative. The government will create a “Chinese Christian Theology” to guide the practice of Christianity in the country, the China Daily reported Thursday.

Although the government has yet to provide any details into what this new theology entails, its purpose is clear: Speaking to China Daily, Wang Zuo, director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, said, “The construction of Chinese Christian Theology should adapt to China’s national condition and integrate with Chinese culture.”

On the surface, it may seem strange that an officially atheist state would create a new theology. But the endeavor provides a glimpse into an increasingly religious country, and a government’s desire to deflect any potential challenge to its authority.

Since relaxing prohibitions on religious faith in 1982, the Chinese Communist Party now recognizes five official faiths: Protestantism, Catholicism, Taoism, Buddhism and Islam. Because much religious faith remains underground, it is difficult to establish the precise number of worshippers in China. But a 2007 survey estimated that 31 percent of the country’s population, a number exceeding 400 million people, practiced a religious faith of some kind. Each religion has an organized, government-sanctioned hierarchy that is headquartered in Beijing and under the direct supervision of the Chinese Communist Party.

Even with that structure in place, the government has occasionally felt the need to further exert its control over the country’s religious life. In recent years, this trend has intensified. In 2007, Beijing passed a law prohibiting Buddhists from reincarnation.

(The government has thus far not revealed whether there have been any violations.) In Tibet, government minders have replaced monks as supervisors of Buddhist temples throughout the region, reversing a long-standing policy.

In the far-western Xinjiang region, whose 9 million ethnic Uighurs practice a mild form of Sunni Islam, Beijing limits permission of Muslims to make the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, while in July China banned fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. And this month, in Karamay, the local government said residents wearing Islamic clothing, and men wearing long beards, could not legally board city buses.

China’s religious repression in Xinjiang and Tibet has a clear political purpose: Beijing regards both regions as separatist threats, and has invested large sums of money in cajoling Uighurs and Tibetans toward loyalty to the Communist Party. But Christians, who do not have a specific geographical base in China, also experience persecution. In Wenzhou, government officials in April abruptly shut down a popular church without explanation, while police tore down crosses from thousands of churches throughout the city.

China’s attempts to micromanage Christian practice in the country have done little to stem the religion’s popularity: By 2030, one influential pastor estimates, China will have nearly 250 million Christians. That would, at current projections, give the officially atheist country the world’s largest Christian population.

For now, the Chinese government appears to recognize it cannot return to the Maoist era, which largely suspended all religious life in the country. But the creation of a bespoke Chinese Christian theology is an attempt to co-opt China’s newfound devotion into an explicitly patriotic enterprise.

Still, in a country where Web searches for Jesus far outnumber those for President Xi Jinping, Beijing may have a major challenge on its hands.
Read more at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2014/August20/204.html#pvtvx5BkshMtGwLS.99

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Aug 22 2014

Self-Defense is a Religious Obligation

Tag: State of the ChurchSage @ 1:56 pm

From American Thinker.Com

“Children are being beheaded, mothers are being raped and killed, and fathers are being hung and crucified. Entire Christian and non-Muslim communities are being decimated by the radical Muslim group, ISIS.” These are the words from reporters out of Iraq. What is our obligation to those under fire from Islamic terrorists? Prayer is good, but not enough. Words of support are welcome, but not enough. What can one do when terrorists are not moved by our prayers or words of support for the hunted? Our religious obligation is to fight.

We fight because self-defense is a mandate from the Bible — the Torah, called by many the Old Testament. We fight to defend life. Because life is precious, the ultimate, we must defend it. The very definition of self-defense is permission to kill the one who is coming toward you to kill you. Self-defense is not simply our right to pray or support with words, but do whatever is needed to stay alive and protect our families.

Those pacifists who are willing to personally die and would rather be butchered so as not to kill their butchers are free to so choose. But no one is allowed to demand or suggest that someone else allow himself to be killed so as to spare the life of the one presently doing murder.

A war to defend and stop those coming to kill you is a moral war. It is called a Just War. And we defend not only ourselves, we defend others. The Bible, the Torah that is, says, “Do not stand idly by while the blood our brother is being spilled”. We also have permission to kill those coming to rape a woman. The Bible, Old Testament, tells us so in Exodus. It is our obligation.

We have recently heard from some religious leaders that “No war is ever acceptable”. In contrast to some in today’s Catholic hierarchy, the Catholic college I went to 40 years ago talked about the Just War. My Protestant clergy friends used to agree about the right to self–defense. I call it more than simply a right, like the right to assemble. Indeed, it is a religious obligation, precisely because we venerate the life of those created in the image of God. Innocent life, that is, not the  terrorist while terrorizing and killing. He must be stopped.

Pope Francis says that “violence is never the answer to violence”. I disagree: the justified war is the answer to wanton, barbaric slaughter. It is a religious obligation to eradicate the fire of Evil. Well, at least in the Torah it is.

Sending a papal emissary to Iraq is a nice gesture, but a better gesture is to affirm to the world that it is morally appropriate to physically fight so as to save tens of thousands who will otherwise surely be killed. Tell the world to take up arms. Instill the world with moral confidence to stop the barbarism of the Crescent before more Christian communities are wiped off the face of the earth.

Religion cannot simply be about the next world. It has to care about living life in this world as well. It can’t simply be about lofty spiritual concepts, but a flesh and blood willingness to defend and fight for one’s right tolive. It can’t only be about salvation and the Kingdom Come, but defense of the living in His earthly Kingdom here.

Over a million Christians have been slaughtered by those doing so in the name of Islam in Africa alone. The Church has had a decade to condemn this, and do more than pray. But, up until last week it has been much too silent. Entire Christian communities have been decimated by Islam in the Middle East and parts of Asia; hundreds of women have been raped with glee by young men feeling entitled to do so because the women are “infidels”. Nothing much was said. I hardly remember any protests throughout the last years in front of the White House.

What good is it to boast that one’s hands are pure if such purity allows the bloody massacre of tens of thousands of Christian victims? Before worrying about the purity of one’s own soul, it is important to worry about how one cansave the life of his brothers and sisters. Suchpacifism may be a comfort to those who wish to be above criticism, doing so at the expense of saving the lives of others. Thank God, the Israelis are willing to fight, physically fight in self-defense against the Islamist Hamas, which wants to destroy them. The Torah does not celebrate pacifism, it values innocent life. Innocent life is a category above these ersatz, high-sounding platitudes suited for ivory chambers.

Religion is more than doing the nice things such as visiting the sick and healing the wounded. That’s Religion 101. Religion demands that we be a whole person, capable of the gut-wrenching actions in saving people, to begin with, from those who would make us wounded and sick. At times, God describes Himself as a “Man of War” to let us know that He expects us to physically defend ourselves and vanquish evil. This contrasts with President Obama who recently remarked regarding bombing ISIS that “We should not want a victor and a vanquished.” That type of moral relativism is anti-Biblical, will doom the entire Western civilization, and makes us glad Mr. Obama was not around when we had to fight the Nazis and Communists.

We hear very often from the religious community regarding the absolute need to protect the life in the womb, the life of the unborn. Well, how about protecting the life of the already born, the living?

Who will be the Christian religious leader who will boldly assert that it is a Christian principle, a religious obligation, to wage war to defend oneself from merciless attackers? How many more millions of Christians must die at the hands of Islam until a leader arises and says “Love is not only about loving your enemy, but loving your life aswell. Love demands that you physically fight for your children, your family and your friends. ”

I cannot believe that God demands from his devotees that they allow others to kill them. Actually, Martyrdom in battle is the best form of martyrdom for a Cause. Leaders should not make others feel morally guilty or spiritually deficient for physically defending their loved ones.

Rabbi Aryeh Spero, a theologian, is author of Push Back and president of Caucus for America.

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Aug 16 2014

The NEW ‘Evangelism’

Tag: State of the ChurchSage @ 5:50 pm

by A.W. Tozer

The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into public interest by showing that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level. Whatever the sin-mad world happens to be clamoring after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the religious product is better…

That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.

We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, or the world of sports, or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.

God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross.

Whoever would possess it must pass under the rod. He must repudiate himself and concur in God’s just sentence against him.

What does this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find life in Christ Jesus?… He must forsake his sins and then go on to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God’s stern displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die… The cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts an end to the sinner; and the power that raised Christ from the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ.

To any who may object to this or count it merely a narrow and private view of truth, let me say God has set His hallmark of approval upon this message from Paul’s day to the present.

Whether stated in these exact words or not, this has been the content of all preaching that has brought life and power to the world through the centuries. The mystics, the reformers, the revivalists have put their emphasis here, and signs and wonders and mighty operations of the Holy Ghost gave witness to God’s approval.

Dare we, the heirs of such a legacy of power, tamper with the truth? Dare we with our stubby pencils erase the lines of the blueprint or alter the pattern shown us in the Mount? May God forbid. Let us preach the old cross and we will know the old power.

-PLEASE COMMENT on this topic at the following website-

http://www.revivalschool.com/

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Aug 09 2014

Ancient Assyrian Christians Flee Iraq

Tag: State of the ChurchSage @ 3:00 pm

From KHouse.Org

Thousands of Assyrian families have lived in Iraq since before Jonah preached to Ninevah, and their communities embraced Christianity 2000 years ago. After the Muslim radicals of the Wahhabist “Islamic State” (IS), formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), overran Mosul in June, they took little pause before turning on the Christians of Iraq’s second largest city. The victims’ choices are few: convert to Islam, pay a cruel tax, leave their homes, or be killed. The few who tried to remain have already been pressured into abiding by the Wahhabist lifestyle, and according to Breitbart, the last of the Christians piled out of Mosul on Saturday.

“They took everything: the television, computer, money, gold. I had a chicken I wanted to take for food, but even that they did not let me take,” an elderly Christian man told the Kurdish newspaper Rudaw.

The IS invaders have slaughtered countless civilians, pillaged homes and torched ancient Assyrian churches without concern for their history or beauty, and the international community has hardly blinked. The Iraqi government has shown little power or will to fight off the IS, and the ancient Christian populations of the Middle East are being uprooted.

Tera Dahl, Executive Director of the Council on Global Security, interviewed refugees streaming from Mosul. “Several people I have spoken to in Iraq reported that members of IS speak foreign languages and are not from Iraq only,” Dahl wrote at Breitbart.com. “One person said an IS member was speaking an Afghan language and wearing Afghani clothing. Another person said they heard dialects from Pakistan, Libya, and even English.”

The problem isn’t confined to IS abuse. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have been forced to leave their homes in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein, and there have been 61 attacks on churches across Iraq during the past 10 years. Islamic terrorist groups have plagued the new Iraqi government since its formation, and many of those escaping Mosul blamed the US government for abandoning the new country so early in its development.

For now, the Christians have found refuge among the Kurds. The Kurdistan Regional Government has opened its arms to the fleeing crowds, providing temporary housing and food. However, the Christians fear they will simply have to move again as the IS rages through the area.

The West Bank and Gaza

The problem isn’t even confined to Iraq. Christian communities throughout the Middle East face extinction due to brutal Islamist practices.

Historically, the West Bank towns of Ramallah and Bethlehem were primarily Christian. Ynet News reports that prior to the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, Ramallah was 90% and Bethlehem was 80% Christian. Thousands of Muslims were moved in from refugee camps in the ensuing years, and Christians have been forced to either support the Muslims against Israel or face attacks and death. Christian shops and schools in the Gaza Strip were firebombed after Israel withdrew in 2005, and Christian communities in the Holy Land have been constantly harassed by Muslims.

All about Allah

While the violence from Gaza appears to be the result of Palestinian suffering, the true fight has always been about Islamic hatred of the Jews and Christians and any other religion that rejects Allah as God. Hamas is bombing Israel out of hatred for Jews. The Assyrian communities are being pillaged in the name of Islam. These are energized Muslim believers attempting to bring their lands into subjection to Allah, by force if necessary, and they don’t intend to stop when they reach Baghdad. Ultimately, they believe the whole world will bow to their god.

In 2009, Egyptian cleric Sheik Said Al-‘Afani called the Jews “snakes and vipers” on Al-Rahma TV, saying:

“Our hatred of them is purely on religious grounds, and not because of the pure, sacred land, which was blessed by Allah, or because of Gaza… Not only because of Gaza… not only because of Al-Aqsa and so on. We hate them, first and foremost, because of their enmity towards Allah, and because they slayed our prophets.”

Sheik Muhammad Abd Al-Salam agreed with him, matter-of-factly stating, “Let me clarify that it is our duty to hate them, as part of our faith. People have become confused about this. Some think that it is a territorial or a national issue, or that it has to do with the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, but the issue is much broader — it is a matter of faith.”

Even as Hamas refuses a cease-fire and a truce with the Jews, the IS will refuse mercy to anybody who does not bow to Allah. As one refugee warned Dahl, the IS won’t stop. “These jihadists will eventually go home to their countries, to Canada, England and the U.S.”

Notes

  • Why Muslims hate Israel?
    — MEMRI
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    Jul 03 2014

    Apostasy Rising: 4 Denominations In Less Than A Week Defy God’s Word

    Tag: State of the ChurchSage @ 5:40 pm

    From Prophecy News Watch.Com

    The United Church of Christ (UCC) bills itself as “the church where God is still speaking.” Apparently, God’s Word is falling on deaf ears of the leadership.

    The UCC, which considers itself a mainline Protestant denomination—claiming over 1 million members and about 5,200 congregations in the U.S.—proudly announced it will serve as a major sponsor of the Gay Games. The UCC will now go down in Christian history as the first major denomination to sponsor the homosexual Olympics when the games roll into Cleveland, Ohio, in August.

    I guess my jaw shouldn’t have dropped when I read the news, considering the UCC in April filed a gay marriage rights lawsuit in North Carolina. But not only did my jaw drop, I’m shaking my head. J. Bennett Guess, one of the UCC’s national officers and its first openly gay church executive, calls it a social justice issue and says the denomination prides itself on “being a bold voice for progressive Christianity.”

    In case you aren’t familiar with what the term “progressive Christianity” really means, let’s take a moment to define it. Progressive Christianity has a strong focus on social justice and environmentalism. Progressive Christianity focuses on concepts like “collective salvation”—where entire cultures and societies, rather than just individuals with faith in Christ, are redeemed—and bends toward a Marxist economic philosophy. And Progressive Christianity does not subscribe to the biblical doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture.

    That last line explains a lot. For example, it explains why the UCC was the first mainline denomination to affirm equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. It explains why the UCC was the first to ordain an openly gay man. And, overall, it explains why the UCC has fallen into the deception of sponsoring events that celebrate LGBT people instead of trying to love them to Christ.

    But even denominations that don’t consider themselves part of the Progressive Christianity movement are falling into this deception. The Presbyterian Church (USA) last week voted to allow its ministers to perform gay weddings in states where it’s legal. On Tuesday, Methodist Pastor Frank Schaefer, who was defrocked for officiating his son’s gay wedding, was fully reinstated and the Moravians voted to ordain gay clergy. My research shows there’s a long and growing list of gay-affirming denominations, including the Affirming Pentecostal Church International.

    Saints, we’re seeing 1 Timothy 4:1 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    playing out right before our very eyes. It’s called the Great Apostasy and it’s well underway. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.
    Read more at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2014/July02/023.html#OczMhFRP8dOGWhTr.99

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    Jun 26 2014

    Characteristics of Hypocrites

    Tag: State of the ChurchSage @ 5:51 pm

    Matthew 23:2-3 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    Saying, the scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses seat.
    All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say and do not.

    1] Demand respect as teachers [v2].
    2] Teach, but do not practice [v3].
    3] Demand service, not give it [v4].
    4] Seek praise of men [v5].
    5] Parade their religion [v5].
    6] Seek chief banquet places [v6].
    7] Seek chief places in church [v6].
    8] Glory in personal attention [v7].
    9] Glory in titles [v7].
    10] Rob men of truth and life [v13].
    11] Reject truth and life [v13].
    12] Take advantage of widows [v14].
    13] Exhibit long prayers [v14].
    14] Are zealous to win men to their sect, but not to God [v15].
    15] Root and ground converts in hypocrisy, not in God [v15].
    16] Profess to be the only guide in religion, but are blind to truth and practical
    Christianity [v16-22].
    17] Propagate those parts of religion from which they receive most personal
    Gain and honor [v16-22].
    18] Strain at gnats and swallow camels; stress minor details and omit the
    Fundamentals of religion [v23-24].
    19] Glory in bodily cleanliness, but live in moral filth [v25-26].
    20] Exhibit outward religion and self-righteousness and ignore inward
    Holiness in life and conduct [v2, 7-28].
    21] Pretend to be more righteous than their forefathers [v29-33].

    Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible – Page 34

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    Jun 21 2014

    Using The Bible To Justify Abortions

    Tag: State of the ChurchSage @ 4:28 pm

    From Prophecy News Watch.Com

    Planned Parenthood, not content to justify the killing of the unborn, is now issuing a “pastoral letter” to prospective abortion clients that suggests that the Bible has nothing to say about abortion – and that God “and is with you no matter what you decide” – suggesting that God doesn’t care whether you kill or keep your baby because it’s just you that He loves and cares about anyway.

    Perhaps a comparison of the Planned Parenthood position as stated in the “pastoral letter” published in progressivestoday.com with God’s clearly stated position in the Bible would be pertinent:

    PLANNED PARENTHOOD: The decision to have an abortion is personal… The beliefs of each person are deserving of respect, and each person deserves care and compassion.

    THE BIBLE: “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    ).

    In God’s eyes, Planned Parenthood comments are the same as saying that the decision to murder someone else is personal and deserving of respect. Life starts at conception, and murder is still murder from the point of conception onwards – whether the child has been born or is waiting to be born. Planned Parenthood says that each person deserves care and compassion – obviously except the unborn, who in their view deserve the abuse and cruelty of the abortion process.

    PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Though your reasons may be complicated and private, you’re not alone. As religious leaders from a number of religious traditions, we’re here to support you in your decision. Many people wrongly assume that all religious leaders disapprove of abortion… there are clergy and people of faith from all denominations who support women making this complex decision… No one should be allowed to force their faith teachings on anyone else. We believe this decision is yours, made with your doctor and anyone else you choose to bring into the conversation, such as a spouse, partner, parent, or clergy person.

    THE BIBLE:
    • And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:14, 15 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    ).
    • But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (2 Timothy 3:13 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    ).

    PLANNED PARENTHOOD: The truth is that abortion is not even mentioned in the Scriptures—Jewish or Christian.

    THE BIBLE: “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    ).
    Abortion is just another politically and socially correct euphemism for killing, murder and bloodshed of the unborn, which are all strictly forbidden and condemned throughout the scriptures, especially in the shedding of innocent blood such as that of babies. The word obviously could not feature in the scriptures as the term “abortion” was only introduced in the mid 16th Century, derived from the Latin language.

    PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Our religious traditions have somewhat different opinions about abortion, but we share some basic understandings: No one knows the circumstances of your life as well as you know them; no one knows what‘s in your heart better than you. Allow yourself to be at peace with your decision.

    THE BIBLE: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;
    Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 17:9, 10 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    ).

    PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Our religious traditions have somewhat different opinions about abortion, but we share some basic understandings: God loves you and is with you no matter what you decide. You can find strength, understanding, and comfort in that love.

    THE BIBLE: God loves you - yes (John 3:16 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    ) – BUT “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. (James 1:13-15 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    ).

    PLANNED PARENTHOOD: If you’d like to speak with a clergyperson, your local Planned Parenthood health center can refer you to someone who will be supportive of you and your decision.

    THE BIBLE:
    These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
    A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood…(Proverbs 6:16-17 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    ).

    One would expect only secular, humanistic, atheistic, globalist and satanic groups to endorse abortion; however a shocking number of professing churches also endorse it. Stand for Life.net explains: What three organizations have backed abortion on demand? The answer that many might respond with is Planned Parenthood, the Democratic Party, NARAL or some women’s group. How about three of the largest church organizations in America: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (10,500 congregations), the Presbyterian Church (10,000 congregations and 2.3 million members), and the United Methodist Church (8 million members).

    The following is a sampling of other churches and religious organizations that believe in abortion. The group Religious Coalition For Reproductive Choice listed a wide variety of members (as at November 2009):

    Conservative Judaism
    Rabbinical Assembly
    United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
    Women’s League for Conservative Judaism

    Episcopal Church
    Ethical Culture
    American Ethical Union National Service Conference

    Humanist Judaism
    Society for Humanistic Judaism

    Presbyterian Church (USA)
    Reconstructionist Judaism
    Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
    Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

    Reform Judaism
    Central Conference of American Rabbis
    North American Federation of Temple Youth
    Union for Reform Judaism
    Women of Reform Judaism, The Federation of Temple Sisterhoods
    Women’s Rabbinic Network of Central Conference of American Rabbis

    United Church of Christ
    United Methodist Church
    General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church
    General Board of Global Ministries, Women’s Division, United Methodist Church

    Unitarian Universalist
    Unitarian Universalist Association
    Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation
    Young Religious Unitarian Universalists
    Continental Unitarian Universalist Young Adult Network

    Caucuses/Organizations
    American Jewish Committee
    American Jewish Congress
    Anti-Defamation League
    Catholics for Choice
    Christian Lesbians Out (CLOUT)
    Church of the Brethren Women’s Caucus
    Disciples for Choice
    Episcopal Urban Caucus
    Episcopal Women’s Caucus
    Hadassah, WZOA
    Jewish Women International
    Lutheran Women’s Caucus
    Methodist Federation for Social Action
    NA’AMAT USA
    National Council of Jewish Women
    Presbyterians Affirming Reproductive Options (PARO)
    Women’s American ORT
    YWCA of the USA

    The Stand for Life article concludes with the question: “How do we as a society give credence to all of the churches and related organizations that confess their belief in God and the Bible, but on the other hand think that it’s perfectly fine to kill someone who was created in God’s image?”

    Part of the answer is that the Bible warns of a “falling away” in the last days before Jesus returns. The rapid rate of the apostasy of the Church is being seen in its widespread acceptance of abortion (among other abominations), which is also a satanic practice of human baby sacrifice as in the days of the worship of the demon god Molech (Leviticus 20:1-5 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    ), which attracted the judgments of God.

    Jesus is Savior.com also reported that in 2004, hundreds of thousands of abortion rights supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., for the “March for Women’s Lives.” The gathering was chock full of professing Christians, and illustrates the ignorance and wickedness of those entrusted with protecting the rights of the unborn:

    “Several religious bodies also offered their unqualified endorsement and financial support to the event, marching side-by-side with their secular counterparts in the abortion rights movement. Among the officially participating denominations were the Episcopal Church, Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Methodist Church (through the General Board of Church and Society and the Women’s Division of the General Board of Global Ministries), the United Church of Christ (UCC), the American Friends Service Committee, and the Unitarian Universalist Association.

    Representatives of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, and the Episcopal Church (U.S.A) marched with official banners from their respective denominations. A sign on the front door of the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill that day declared that God was speaking through the UCC to support the march. Earlier that morning, the UCC’s political action branch (which is housed in the United Methodist Building) hosted a breakfast for the march participants.

    Another group active in supporting and participating in the march was the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), a pro-abortion political lobby supported by the aforementioned Protestant groups, among others. On the Friday before the main event, RCRC organized an effort to lobby members of Congress after a send-off luncheon in the United Methodist Building.”

    So, no wonder at all that Planned Parenthood and similar “pro-choice” groups are able to obtain and circulate religious sounding God-loves-you-and-your-decision abortion scripts to tempt pregnant women with. Planned Parenthood certainly doesn’t lack for friends professing Christianity or Judaism. Leaders and adherents of such groups can however fully expect to hear Jesus’ words of eternal judgment in Matthew 7:23 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    one day if they do not repent: “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Make no mistake:

    But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
    Revelation 21:8 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    Jun 08 2014

    A Mosque, a Synagogue, and a Church: What Could Go Wrong?

    Tag: State of the ChurchSage @ 5:38 pm

    From American Thinker.Com

    The Tri-Faith Initiative in Omaha is a project that raises questions.  The planned co-location of a synagogue, a mosque, and a church on the same campus is a novel enough idea to stir curiosity.  Add in connections between the proposed mosque and groups that have been named as unindicted co-conspirators in the largest terror-financing trial in our nation’s history, and it becomes the lack of questions that should make news.

    I have written previously about the links between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Tri-Faith Initiative in Omaha, Nebraska.  Recent developments include my source, Dr. Mark Christian, the executive director of the Omaha-based Global Faith Institute, receiving a “shut up or get sued” letter from the project’s leaders.

    While the project was originally conceived with the mosque, a Reform Jewish congregation and an Episcopal Church forming the three legs of the Tri-Faith stool, the Episcopal Church has since gotten cold feet and is bailing out of the project.  Its representatives are actively soliciting another church to take their place and buy out their stake, to the tune of $1.5 million.

    It is this transaction the Tri-Faith Board is seeking to protect by attempting to intimidate Dr. Christian into silence.  Mind you, the good doctor hasn’t been marching up and down outside the project, waving signs and screaming; he has simply asked some very reasonable questions regarding the relationship between the mosque and two well-known groups – CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and ISNA, the Islamic Society of North America.

    Seeking clarification, Dr. Christian has approached the respective leaders of the Tri-Faith Initiative and reports that each conversation followed a similar path.  First, flat denials of any links between the Tri-Faith Initiative and ISNA, CAIR, or the Muslim Brotherhood.  Second, after being presented with the fact that CAIR and ISNA are prominently featured on their website as “Resources,” they shift into a denial that ISNA and CAIR are connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Finally, after Dr. Christian provides the evidence from the FBI and the State Department that both groups are known fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood in America, the response settles into a mumbling assertion that maybe the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t such a bad thing in the first place.

    Dr. Christian has good reason for concern; he is a former Muslim who has converted to Christianity and lives under a fatwa approved by his own father, calling for his death.

    Dr. Christian is no ordinary Muslim apostate, however.  His father and uncle were top-level leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in his former home of Cairo, Egypt.  Dr. Christian was trained as an imam and groomed for Muslim leadership.

    Dr. Christian’s uncle Ahmed spent time in prison for his role in the 1965 raid against Gamal Nasser.  During this time he was a cellmate of the Islamic writer Sayyid Qutb, the ideological father of the radical outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood that we know today as al-Qaeda.

    Clearly, a Muslim Brotherhood foothold in his adopted hometown of Omaha poses a serious security risk for Dr. Christian and his family.  “Trust us,” just isn’t a good enough answer in today’s security climate.

    Radical Islamists are promoting interfaith projects in many places around the U.S., successfully putting a gentle mask on their brutal ideology.

    Extremism is introduced only after the non-Muslim partners have invested sufficient time and capital to ensure their willingness to overlook questionable connections and activities for fear of losing their financial stake.

    Under the protective umbrella of interfaith peace and harmony, suspicious activities may occur with little scrutiny, with the non-Muslim partners frequently running interference for the Islamic component – all in the name of love, unity, and justice.

    While it remains unclear if the Tri-Faith Initiative will fall prey to such machinations, their present refusal to address reasonable questions provides cold comfort to a worried populace.

    As occurred in the case of the Holy Land Foundation, Islamists sometimes launder money through charities and aid organizations in order to conceal the transfer of millions of dollars to terrorists around the world.  In the Holy Land Foundation case, these terror-funders were caught red-handed, and the ensuing prosecutions revealed extensive involvement on the parts of CAIR and ISNA.

    The Tri-Faith Initiative subsequently hosted Ingrid Mattson, then-president of ISNA, for a citywide interfaith event, highlighting ISNA’s involvement in their project.  She is described in an article on their website as being the “head of the movement” behind the mosque.

    Given their prior record, it hardly seems unreasonable to question CAIR’s and ISNA’s continued involvement with the Tri-Faith Initiative.

    Moreover, given the controversy, is it prudent for the Tri-Faith Board to peddle a $1.5-million plot of land to a largely unsuspecting church congregation, while simultaneously threatening Dr. Christian with legal action if he alerts the buyer to the 800-pound gorilla in the room?

    It is Dr. Christian’s contention that this behavior from the Tri-Faith leadership is reckless and unseemly.

    The Global Faith Institute has formally called on the Tri-Faith Initiative to simply renounce its association with CAIR, ISNA, and other similarly radicalized groups, and to open its books to an independent auditor going forward, to reassure the concerned citizens of Omaha that such groups will not re-enter the project at a later date.

    Such a simple thing – such a sensible course of action, to disavow radical Islamic supremacists and their poisoned ideology, yet the Tri-Faith Board thus far finds these words too difficult to utter.

    As a lawyer friend of mine said recently regarding this subject, “if peace-loving Muslims won’t differentiate themselves from the radical Islamists, how then are we, their neighbors and co-workers, to tell the difference?”

    Indeed.  This is the question Dr. Christian asks every day, at the risk of his life.

    The author writes from Omaha, Nebraska and welcomes visitors to his website at readmorejoe.com.

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    May 17 2014

    Atheists To Launch TV Channel And Assemblies

    Tag: State of the ChurchSage @ 4:19 pm

    From Prophecy News Watch.Com

    The New York Daily news has recently reported that a New Jersey-based atheist group is starting the first on-demand TV channel dedicated to godlessness. AtheistTV will be launched this summer by Members of American Atheists with big plans to reach out to atheists, humanists, freethinkers, and folks who are looking for a way out of faith. Spokesman Dave Muscato stated that they are also looking to fill the gap they perceive to be left by the lack of an atheist channel, given that there is “a glut of religious TV programming out there”.

    American Atheists already has a production studio at their national headquarters in Cranford, N.J., where they film their public access cable show “Atheist Viewpoint.” AtheistTV will make use of this content as well as their archive of footage from the past 50 years of its activist history. They also intend to work with other content providers such as the Richard Dawkins Foundation and atheist YouTube stars with big fan bases.

    The channel will reportedly be available through Roku, a WI-FI device that lets users stream from the Internet onto their TVs. Viewers will need to pay to get Roku, but subscribing to the channel will be free. More than 300 faith-based channels are available, featuring programming centered around Christian music, sermons, and worship services. American Atheists will attempt to define godless programming by having “shows about philosophy, science and history” with “a critical examination of the facts.”

    Muscato also hopes the channel will encourage people who doubt their faith to come out as atheist: “When somebody leaves their religion, they don’t necessarily know everything about the Big Bang…this will fill in the gaps in knowledge that pastors have left behind.”

    And it’s not just TV programming that atheists are looking to produce: the Daily Beast has recently reported that congregations for atheists are springing up all over the planet. In an article titled ‘Godless Church Services for Atheists Go Global’, it is reported that plans to set up almost 400 “atheist churches” on five continents are underway after the extraordinary success of one small congregation that began holding godless services just over a year ago.

    The atheistic churches have adopted the generic “Sunday Assembly” name and are typically described as such.

    Word about the religion-free church spread like wildfire after the first Sunday Assembly was held in a deconsecrated church in Highbury, North London, in January 2013. By this September, 100 congregations will be holding services from Singapore and South Africa to Sao Paulo and San Diego. A further 274 teams currently are working on plans to launch their own assemblies.

    So what exactly does an atheistic church or “Sunday Assembly” service look like? Their gatherings are said to resemble traditional church services, replicating the traditional church structure as it expands, with activities such as singing, clapping and dancing to secular songs. Also typically included are lessons and the chance to interact with members of the community. Only God is left out of what could easily pass for a normal traditional church service.

    The concept is said to be proving more popular than most other atheistic meeting structures as adherents are seemingly attracted to “such warmth and affection”. As Jones put it: “The thing that we’ve got is that we’re the only non-religious service that works. Rationality is part of it, but we also have the emotional connection…we are speaking to the whole human.”

    The church’s first General Assembly is being held this weekend with leaders from all over the world gathered in South London. Sanderson Jones, the group’s leader and CEO, said: “This is the first time we’re coming together like this,” he said. “We’ve had such a short time but I think we’re going to build something magnificent, something that’s going to last.” The group is reportedly currently growing by an impressive 26 per cent each month and plans to target the 1.1 billion “non-religious” people in the world. Jones vision includes having a godless congregation “in every town, city and village that wants one.”

    Part of the overall strategy towards achieving this, is said to include harnessing the organizational know-how and social interaction of more established institution such as the National Rifle Association.

    So what can be made of this global concerted effort by atheists to grow and gain converts? Clearly one way Satan can keep people out of heaven is by convincing them that God does not exist. Atheists and their ideologies are therefore the perfect mechanisms for spreading atheistic doctrine. Sadly, their only reward, and those of their unfortunate converts, will be eternal destruction. As Charles Spurgeon once preached, there are no atheists in hell.

    God’s view of the atheist true heart and attitude is clearly expressed in Psalms 53:1-5 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    :
    The fool has said in his heart,
    “There is no God.”
    They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity;
    There is none who does good.
    2 God looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
    To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
    3 Every one of them has turned aside;
    They have together become corrupt;
    There is none who does good,
    No, not one.
    4 Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge,
    Who eat up my people as they eat bread,
    And do not call upon God?
    5 There they are in great fear
    Where no fear was,
    For God has scattered the bones of him who encamps against you;
    You have put them to shame,
    Because God has despised them.

    Should atheists know better? If so, how would they? The scriptures explain in Romans 1:18-20 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    :

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
    19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
    20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

    And to those attempting to use atheism to fill a void in their lives, Jesus would simply say:
    28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 [show/hide]ERROR: You have exceeded your quota of 5000 requests per day. Please contact the developer of this application if you have questions. (If you're the developer and have questions about this error message, please contact Crossway.)
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    )
    Read more at http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2014/May16/163.html#jbcBdDuYSbIPLa16.99

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