According to Emily McFarlan Miller of Religion News Service, neither side got what they wanted out of the General Conference:
Amid protest, song and fears of a denominational breakup, United Methodists at their quadrennial General Conference decided yet again not to decide anything regarding LGBT rights.
But in a groundbreaking move, the delegates from the U.S. and abroad voted 428-405 on Wednesday (May 18) to allow the church’s Council of Bishops to appoint a commission to discuss whether to accept same-sex marriage or ordain LGBT clergy.
The bishops said they want the commission to “develop a complete examination and possible revision of every paragraph in our Book of Discipline regarding human sexuality.”
Here we have yet another example of a professing Christian who claims that God speaks directly to her in her mind instead of through the Bible. According to Gabriel Hughes, the voice and creator of the video series When We Understand the Text, Anna McCarthy “seldom references his words in the Scriptures, but she will quote what she feels like he’s saying in her mind.” Moreover, McCarthy “Does not attempt to teach you anything about what Jesus said, and therefore can’t teach you anything about what it means to follow him.”
Pastor Hughes offers plenty of reasons to flee from this wolf.
From Berean Research:
Church Watch Central has an exposé on Jesus Camp. In it, CWC demonstrates the unconscionable way children are indoctrinated into the New Apostolic Reformation cult by leaders such as “Apostle” Becky Fischer. CWC posted a video showing children being brainwashed by this woman that has been blocked. So Berean Research replaced it with two short Youtube videos that demonstrate the excesses.
16 Οὐ γὰρ ἐπαισχύνομαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον, δύναμις γὰρ θεοῦ ἐστιν εἰς σωτηρίαν παντὶ τῷ πιστεύοντι, Ἰουδαίῳ τε πρῶτον καὶ Ἕλληνι. (Romans 1:16 NA28)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16 translated from the NA28 Greek text)
The very first time I raised concerns about the Kansas City Prophets and the International House of Prayer over 15 years ago over their extra-biblical activities, I was rebuked by another professing Christian with this statement, “You just don’t understand what is going on. If people’s lives are being changed then God is working so you should just shut up.” Back in 2006 when God opened my eyes to what the leadership at our church back in Olathe, KS was doing with the Purpose Driven stuff and I raised the alarm I was rebuked again with pretty much the same argument. I was told that I should just kick back and cooperate so that the church could peacefully go Purpose Driven so that God could work there and people’s lives could be changed. When I began commenting on the old Slice of Laodicea blog about that same time, those PDC apologists who hated our firm stance against it said very much the same thing. If you listen to Rick Warren speak when talking about what a great ministry Saddleback Church is, he will always try to emphasize the thousands of people whose lives have been transformed or changed. When we lived in the Kansas City area the World Revival Church there used the very same theme in their TV advertisements. Their ads on our local TV channels seemed to always talk about the hundreds of lives transformed or changed through that ministry.
According to Breitbart:
As retailer Target sees its stock plummeting and sales dropping in the midst of a boycott over its recently announced pro-transgender bathroom policy, the company’s CEO is insisting the weather is the cause of falling sales, not the company’s bathroom policy. In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, Target CEO Brian Cornell pegged the downturn in the company’s fortunes to the cold weather as opposed to anything the company itself is doing or not doing.
“It’s been a very wet and cold start to the year and it’s reflected in our sales,” Cornell told the paper. “We haven’t seen anything from a structural standpoint that gives us pause.”
A Christian leader from Africa finds it baffling that cultural Christianity can take the place of the Bible. The United Methodist Reporter has the story:
Jerry Kulah has nothing but gratitude for American Methodists.
In 1833, they sent their first missionary to his country, Liberia, which was founded for freed American slaves. Melville B. Cox died four months after he arrived in Africa, but the missionary’s legacy lives on in the United Methodist Church’s fastest-growing region, and in his words to his own church back in North Carolina: “Let a thousand fall before Africa be given up.”
“However,” said Kulah, who is dean of the Gbarnga School of Theology in the capital, Monrovia, “the church has taken on strangely a new direction. People from the country that brought the Gospel to us are now preaching a different Gospel.”
8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For, “The one who desires life, to love and see good days, Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit. 11 “HE must turn away from evil and do good; HE must seek peace and pursue it. 12 “For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, And His ears attend to their prayer, But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:8-12 NASB)
This era of the Church is one of extreme deception due to compromise with the standards and focus of the world. Separation between the Church and the world is not being kept. Instead, the holy barrier between the two has been breached as false prophets have welcomed in not only the world and its ways into their churches, but have also embraced the mysticism of the Eastern religions. Syncretism is the new byword of the Emergent Village. On the other hand, God is good. He keeps His promises. The Lord told Peter that He is the one building His Church and no evil will ever be able to destroy it. (Matthew 16:18) If this is true, and it is because our Lord spoke it, then how do we reconcile the rapid apostasy of so much of the visible Church with what He said? God always keeps a remnant during times of rampant apostasy. These Christians are the small group whom God has reserved who have not bowed the knee to Baal. These are also the ones in whom God is developing Christlikeness and through the fires of persecution by those in the visible Church who have succumbed to the heresies and ungodliness going on in it, He is teaching them how to stand firm and never compromise with evil. In this they learn the difference between debate and dialogue and know that the former actually clarifies the truth and why they hold to it while the latter is only a conversation which has the intent of compromising the truth.
According to Christian News Network:
House Republicans engaged in a heated debate on Thursday in voting down a discrimination amendment to the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act while allowing a similar bill providing protections for religious entities to remain intact.
The Act, which is renewed afresh each year, outlines the allotted spending for the U.S. military for the coming year. Lawmakers commonly propose amendments to attach to the bill, most of which apply to defense issues or other related matters.
This year, among the amendments presented, Rep. Steve Russell, R-OK, submitted a proposal to apply the religious exemption in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to federal contractors.
According to Bud Ahlheim of Pulpit & Pen, SBC president Ronnie Floyd has declared a new doctrine — the doctrine of denominational unity. However, Alheim shows in his blog post that Mr. Floyd is actually a divider not a uniter. He contends that under Floyd’s leadership the SBC has lost its way. So he calls for the SBC to repent, believe, and obey the Bible.
The Daily Signal reports:
The largest conservative congressional caucus is calling into question the legality of President Barack Obama’s transgender bathroom directive for schools.
Chairman Bill Flores, R-Texas, is encouraging Republican Study Committee members to sign on to a letter, pushing the Departments of Education and Justice to detail how, and on what authority, they plan to enforce the new guidelines.
“Americans are incensed by President Obama’s blatant executive overreach,” Flores said, citing the IRS controversy, Obamacare, and the Iranian nuclear agreement. “Now they are threatening school funding over an issue that should rightfully be left to the states. Their actions are politically motivated and Congress has every responsibility to challenge them.”
From Berean Research:
But this is not about cowardly Christian luminaries who are averse to naming names because they fear man far more than they fear God; it’s about the Grand Old Party, the party of conservative Americans. (GOP intelligentsia who hold court over the “party of ideas” has finally gotten the message that there’s a wide divide between them and your run-of-the-mill conservative who have come up with their own ideas about what’s best for this country. But I digress.)
So – who is this enemy Republican leadership will not name? The Left, declares columnist, author and radio talk-show host Dennis Prager.
Christian News Network reports:
On the same day that the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education threatened to revoke funding for public schools that do not allow students to use the restroom and locker room that correlates with their “gender identity,” the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also released guidelines requiring federally-funded hospitals that may require hospital systems to perform sex change operations or similarly lose funding.
The rules pertain to language in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare, and affects all hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid, as well as those directly funded by HHS.
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11 NASB)
Much of the apostasy we are witnessing in our time is rooted in a history of generations of ministries in which preachers, because they feared men more than God, preached in such a way that they talked about God or they talked about His Word rather than actually preaching what God’s Word says. In this, they have created their own “god” in their own image who is inoffensive, all love, all grace, and just wants everyone to have a great day. This “god” only gets peeved at those who are serious about their theology and preaching what God’s Word says as if it is to be obeyed and believed. However, God’s Word tells us that His truth is eternal. It is the truth regardless of whether people believe it or not.
Baylor is a top Texas Christian university. Fox News reports that a former Baylor student claims she was assaulted by a football player on two occasions:
My phone rang less than five minutes after I tweeted about Wednesday’s “Outside the Lines” report on more allegations of violence against Baylor football players. It was the first of nine calls and texts I received over the course of the day from college coaches talking about this latest investigation into Baylor’s handling of sexual violence cases involving its program.
“They’re gonna have to fire him, aren’t they?” a veteran college coach asked.
“Him” is head coach Art Briles, the man who took a perennial Big 12 doormat and made it into a powerhouse. Briles even got a fancy new stadium built. The 60-year-old is 32-7 the past three seasons at a place that hadn’t had a single winning season in the 13 years before he took over in 2008.
Robin Abcarian of the Los Angeles Times has the story:
The other day, in a seaside cafe here, veteran cannabis journalist David Bienenstock gamely fielded my attempts to catch up on a subject I have failed to appreciate for far too long: the coming end of marijuana prohibition.
Earlier this month, the backers of a California initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana (including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and tech kabillionaire Sean Parker) said they had gathered enough signatures to make the November ballot. In the same week, the federal government dropped its long-standing case against Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, the largest medical pot dispensary in the country.
Christian News Network reports:
The U.S. Senate has confirmed the nomination of Eric Fanning to serve as Army secretary—a move that homosexual groups note make him the nation’s first openly homosexual secretary of the Army.
“I’m honored by today’s Senate confirmation and thrilled to return to lead the total Army team,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
Fanning had previously served as special assistant to Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work. He also served as the undersecretary of the Air Force from 2013 to 2015, and for a time was the acting secretary of the Air Force.
19 καὶ ἔχομεν βεβαιότερον τὸν προφητικὸν λόγον, ᾧ καλῶς ποιεῖτε προσέχοντες ὡς λύχνῳ φαίνοντι ἐν αὐχμηρῷ τόπῳ, ἕως οὗ ἡμέρα διαυγάσῃ καὶ φωσφόρος ἀνατείλῃ ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, 20 τοῦτο πρῶτον γινώσκοντες ὅτι πᾶσα προφητεία γραφῆς ἰδίας ἐπιλύσεως οὐ γίνεται· 21 οὐ γὰρ θελήματι ἀνθρώπου ἠνέχθη προφητεία ποτέ, ἀλλʼ ὑπὸ πνεύματος ἁγίου φερόμενοι ἐλάλησαν ἀπὸ θεοῦ ἄνθρωποι. (2 Peter 1:19-21 NA28)
19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic Word to which you do well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing first that every prophecy of scripture is not of one’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever brought by the will of man at any time, but men spoke from God being carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21 translated from the NA28 Greek text)
Back in September 2011 Pete Scazzero tweeted the following, “There is a mysterious attraction to interior silence in the depth of our beings. The attraction is like a magnet…” Here is the link. Of course, he was quoting Roman Catholic Monk Thomas Keating, a proponent of Contemplative Prayer. In these days where post-modernist thinking has contaminated nearly everything including deeply into the visible church, we must have a clear understanding of what Contemplative Prayer, or CSM, really is. Some seemly very solid Christian leaders give it a pass as if it is just another form of Christian meditation, but is it? Let’s see.
From Berean Research:
The radical LGBTQ–Q is for questioning–has a plan to totally destroy the concepts of male and female. In other words, they want to “burn the binary.” Claire Chretien of LifeSite News reveals that this goal is nothing new. Chretien quotes transsexual activist Riki Wilchins as saying:
Queer activists have been talking about [this] at least since the 1970s of Gay Liberation, even as the movement it spawned has continued to nudge it aside.
As the LGBT movement focused on redefining marriage and enshrining in law same-sex couples’ “right” to children, it also quietly introduced lawsuits advocating for the law to recognize one’s self-perception instead of biological reality as truth. Once the Supreme Court redefined marriage, the media focus on the LGBT movement slowly began to shift to battles over gender and transgenderism.
So we’ve noticed. Pay attention, brethren. This isn’t going away.
According to Ruth Gledhill of Christian Today, York Minister in the north of England has quietly introduced Zen Buddhist meditation. Blending various religious beliefs is syncretism which is dangerous as it results in a fundamental change of beliefs. Gledhill writes:
Dr Ian Paul, a highly-regarded conservative evangelical member of the Archbishops’ Council, and also a regular commentator for Christian Today, writes on his Psephizo blog, says the setting up of a “sangha” or community for Buddhist meditation at York Minster illustrates the “nonsense” of the so-called “broad church”.
The revelation of Buddhism being practised at York Minister was doubly embarrassing because it came on Pentecost, which this year was chosen by the Church of England as the culmination of a week of prayer for the evangelisation of the nation.
Christian News Network reports:
Barack Obama has appointed a man who identifies as a woman to serve on his Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships.
The man, who goes by the name Barbara Satin, is a veteran of the United States Air Force and formerly served on the United Church of Christ’s executive council. He was behind the denomination’s decision to affirm transgendered persons in the ministry.
Satin was raised by his mother after his father died just over a year after Satin was born. He went on to marry a woman and the two had three children together.
7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7-8 NASB)
In the passage above (1 Timothy 4:7-8) the Apostle Paul used the Greek word ευσεβεια in v8, which is translated here as “godliness.” What is godliness? The word ευσεβεια in this context describes the condition of devotion and piety toward God. Godliness is a good translation, though it could also have been rendered as “holiness.” Godliness is a word which encapsulates the whole of true religion and it is called “godliness” because piety toward God is the foundation and the principal part of it. In the Greek, when this word is used to describe a devout worshipper of God, it also carries with it the general sense of a pious life or a life which is morally good. My brethren, this is the description of those who are truly alive in Christ because this is also the description of Christlikeness when it is applied to genuine believers belonging to the Lord Jesus.
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, makes no bones about the fact that conservatives have lost the culture wars. And of course the Left is gloating over our loss. So, not surprisingly, they’re saying to the losing side, which includes conservative evangelicals, “You lost, deal with it.” And we did lose, big time. Now liberals are preparing to rub our noses in the battle field mud.
How should Bible believers deal with this startling defeat? According to Eph 6:10, followers of Jesus Christ must “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (See what that looks like here.)
Armor-up, brethren, because the winner’s are going to take a hard line: “No accommodation whatsoever,” urged one Harvard Law School professor. “Don’t even try to be nice to moral enemies…since their arguments have no normative authority of any kind.”
Liberals have no intention of showing any sort of kindness toward conservatives — and Bible believers are the Left’s real “moral enemies.” As Dr. Mohler points out in his piece, these people will go all out to squash religious freedom.
Baptist Press reports:
The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously voided multiple appeals court decisions against religious institutions that object to the Obama administration’s abortion/contraception mandate in an opinion released today (May 16).
The justices returned to the lower courts for reconsideration a disagreement between religious objectors and the federal government over the mandate, which requires employers to make contraceptives available to their workers, including ones with mechanisms that can potentially induce abortions. The high court remanded the cases to the appeals courts of the Third, Fifth, 10th and District of Columbia districts in light of their brief opinion and blocked the administration from fining the objecting institutions.
The liberal Washington Post has the story:
Months before Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said the Pentagon would take steps toward allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military, Army Staff Sgt. Patricia King last year became what she believes is the first openly transgender member of the infantry. While official Pentagon policy still forbids openly transgender personnel, her commanders have been supportive, she said. King even purchased a female dress Army service uniform, anticipating that she would be able to wear it soon.
“I made a decision that owning that uniform was important to me, and I believe that our leadership is going to do the right thing,” she said.