Evidence of Christian authenticity and proper use of discernment

8 But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; 10 from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11 Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh. James 3:8-12 (NASB) 

Is the following statement true or false? Good works authenticate true faith. I know that for a growing segment of the church visible this is, for them, a loaded question that they will refuse to either address or answer, but if you pin them down, they will say “false.” However, if you are Biblically centered, that is, if you are centered on the fact that God’s Word is His Truth and it is the gift He has given to His people to be the source of His Truth for their time in this life, then the only answer you can give is “yes” because that is what the Bible clearly teaches. Let’s look at a passage (James 3:1-12) that clearly reveals this principle. View article →

Asking the Right Questions about Intersex Athletes — Part 2

We recently posted part 1 of a piece by Professor Denny Burk where he tackled the intersex condition called 5-ARD that affects male sexual development.  At the Olympic games an athlete with the testosterone level of a man competed as a woman and won the gold medal in the 800m. In part 2 Burk explains how Christians can deal with sexual development issues biblically and with compassion.  He writes:

XY chromosomesYesterday, we looked at a controversy about an Olympic athlete who is reported to suffer from an intersex condition. Today, we acknowledge that from a Christian perspective, there are larger issues for us to consider than the male and female divisions of Olympic competition. Cases like this one raise questions about the givenness of the male-female binary. Christians have always affirmed the teaching of Genesis 1:27, which says

“And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

Jesus himself reaffirmed the givenness of this binary in his remarks on divorce in Matthew 19:4. This distinction between male and female underlies the very fabric of biblical anthropology. It is no small point to the Christian faith.

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Are We Living in the Last Days?

Listen to how Dr. R.C. Sproul answers this question:

Jesus ReturnWe have to be careful not to be guilty of what Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for—what I call the Red Sky Syndrome. If you recall, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because they had an ability to predict the weather. They could look at the sky, and if it was red at night, they would say, “Sailor’s delight.” And if it was red in the morning, they would say, “Sailors take warning.” But they missed the signs of the times, and they missed the first advent of Christ. They missed the coming of the Messiah right in their midst in spite of the fact that a host of biblical prophecies heralded the appearance of Jesus on the scene—and Jesus rebuked them for it.

When somebody asks me, “Are we in the last days?” I suspect what they mean by that is, “Are we near the last chapter of history prior to the coming of Jesus Christ?” I can’t say yes or no. So I will say, “Yes, and I don’t know.” The sense in which I say yes is this: We have been in the last days since the first advent of Christ. And so the Scriptures tell us that we are to be living in the spirit of diligence and of vigilance from the time that Jesus departed this planet in clouds of glory until he returns. But when people ask me, “Are we living in the last days?” I suspect what they mean by that is, “Are we living in the last minutes of the last hour of the last day?” Do I think that the return of Jesus is close; is it on the horizon?

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Poll: Americans giving up on God, miracles

According to the Washington Examiner:

No GodHalf of Americans who have left their church no longer believe in God, leading a surge of nearly one quarter of the nation who have no affiliation with any religion, according to a new survey.

Pew Research Center said Wednesday that 49 percent of what they term “nones” left their church and religion because they “don’t believe.” Another 20 percent said they don’t like organized religion. Other reasons included “common sense” and a lack of believe in miracles.

The survey is the latest from Pew that demonstrates a growing trend in America: More and more people are junking religion and many are giving up on God.

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The things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal

15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:15-18 (NASB) 

Religion, if it is worth anything, is worth everything; but it is worth little if it is not worth suffering for. – Matthew Henry

There has been such a long drought of the Word of God being rightly divided by true shepherds of the flock in so much of the visible Church that the spiritually weak and immature believers make up the vast majority. Their understanding of God is not well developed. When suffering comes upon them they react in a complete misinterpretation of what is going on. It is as if they expect everyone to love them and their problems will be over simply because they are now Christians. The Bible is very clear, genuine believers are the ones who endure to the end and they will suffer for Jesus’ sake. View article →

Almost Everything the Media Tell You About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Is Wrong

Transgender As previously reported, the American College of Pediatricians recently released a statement titled “Gender Dysphoria in Children” by Dr. Paul R. McHugh who is said to be the “most important American psychiatrist of the last half-century.”  Dr. McHugh “urges educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts – not ideology – determine reality.”

We learn from Ryan T. Anderson of The Daily Signal that Dr. McHugh teamed up with Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, an epidemiologist trained in psychiatry, to co-author a report that was published in the journal The New Atlantis.  Their report claims that “a combination of biological, environmental, and experiential factors likely shape how individuals experience and express themselves when it comes to sex and gender.” According to Anderson, the report “challenges the leading narratives that the media has pushed regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.”  Moreover,

the 143-page report discusses over 200 peer-reviewed studies in the biological, psychological, and social sciences, painstakingly documenting what scientific research shows and does not show about sexuality and gender.

The major takeaway, as the editor of the journal explains, is that “some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.”

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Texas Judge Blocks Obama Admin’s Policy Allowing Male Students in Girls’ Restrooms

Christian News Network reports:

Transgender bathroom 2A federal judge has placed a preliminary injunction on a controversial directive from the Obama administration that required public school districts to allow male students who identify as female to use the girls’ restroom and vice versa.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor determined that the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice had not followed the proper channels in issuing the nationwide guidance, and suggested that the departments’ interpretation of federal law was incorrect.

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The eleven offenses of the Gospel

34 Μὴ νομίσητε ὅτι ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν· οὐκ ἦλθον βαλεῖν εἰρήνην ἀλλὰ μάχαιραν. Matthew 10:34 (NA28) 

34 Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34 (translated from the NA28 Greek text)

The genuine gospel does not bring all people together. It divides. The trend in today’s “visible church” is all about being as inoffensive as possible even to the point of compromising the gospel. The sort of “minister” who does that and his “ministry” is not of God, but is of this world and is of the flesh. Below are the eleven tenets of the offense of the gospel. Enjoy and be blessed as you examine yourself. View article →

USA Today: Rio Police Lying About Ryan Lochte Gas Station Encounter

Breitbart reports:

In an extensive investigation featuring an eyewitness interview, observance of multiple surveillance camera videos, and an on-location visit, USA Today has found significant evidence that American Olympic champion Ryan Lochte was robbed at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro, and police lied about him and three other U.S. swimmers vandalizing a bathroom.

In the narrative of events that all parties agree on, Lochte and teammates James Feigen, Gunnar Bentz, and Jack Conger were detained at a gas station last week at gunpoint after an attendant caught them urinating behind the station. The men were en route back to the Olympic Village from a party to which they were invited by Brazilian swimmer Thiago Silva. All four are described as extremely inebriated, and were only allowed to leave the station after handing over cash to the station attendant and two law enforcement officers.

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Asking the Right Questions about Intersex Athletes

In part 1 of this 2 part series Denny Burk, Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, tackles the intersex condition called 5-ARD that affects male sexual development.  If you missed the headlines, an intersex athlete competed against females in the 2016 Olympic games and won a gold medal.  Burk writes:

Olympic medalAs the Olympics wound up last week, there were numerous reports about an Olympic runner whose sex was a point of controversy. It is reported that this athlete has an intersex condition called 5-ARD and has the testosterone level of a man. The athlete competed as a woman and won the gold medal in the 800m by a jaw-dropping margin of victory. The athlete not only looks like a man but also competes like one.

Even though the athlete’s name is in the news, I hesitate to mention it here. The reports I’ve read say that the athlete has never discussed the topic publicly, and it appears that news stories about the athlete’s intersex condition and testosterone levels have been the result of leaks and not the result of the athlete’s willing disclosure. So I will focus here on the issues raised by this controversy and not on this particular athlete.

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“The Darwinian View is False”: Ph.D. Biologist Dismantles Evolution in New Book

Christian News Network reports:

Evolution 2An accomplished molecular biologist with more than two decades of research experience has come out with a new book in which he describes crippling weaknesses in the theory of evolution and argues instead that life must have been invented by God.

Dr. Douglas Axe is a credentialed scientist who earned a Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology and held a number of research positions at the University of Cambridge. The author of numerous scientific papers, Axe currently serves as director of Biologic Institute—a non-profit organization committed to researching biology and the origin of life.

Axe says he first became interested in evolution while working on his Ph.D. in California, so at Cambridge he extensively studied DNA and proteins.

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GOP Must Dump Jesus or Risk Irrelevance in “Post-Christian America”

Breitbart reports what a popular left-wing blog is saying about the 2016 election:

AntichristSalon Magazine has accused the Republican Party of being out of touch with “post-Christian America,” warning the GOP that if it doesn’t renege on its alliance with Christianity, it will soon become irrelevant.

Ted Cruz’s failure to get the GOP nomination, Matthew Sheffield proclaims in Salon, “is a perfect window into trends that will set the pace of American politics for decades to come: Americans are moving away from Christianity, including people most likely to vote Republican.”

To back up his claims, Sheffield cites the 2014 Pew Research study finding that 23 percent of Americans say they’re “unaffiliated” with any religious tradition, up from 20 percent just three years earlier.

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Even now many antichrists have appeared and from this we know that it is the last hour

1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. 1 Timothy 4:1 (NASB)

According to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in John 15, the mark of Christian authenticity is abiding or remaining in Him. This is not simply a continual profession of faith, but remaining faithful to Christ in our orthodox Christian faith. According to Paul, it is a two-fold action of departing from the faith and giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. The Apostle John called the Christian leaders who do this antichrists. View article →

Your Berean Battle Plan: Remember

Wolf 5In this series Cameron Buettel of Grace to You lays out a detailed biblical battle plan to help the serious Christian emerge victorious in the war for truth.  In part 2 he reminds us that “when it comes to biblical role models for discerning truth from error, the Bereans are the benchmark. The Jews in Berea needed to be able to distinguish the truth of apostolic preaching from the pseudo-spiritual lies competing for their attention. God’s Word was their measuring stick for truth because they carefully examined it on a daily basis (Acts 17:11). ”  He goes on to say:

Not only should we not be surprised when false teachers appear in the church; we ought to have anticipated and prepared for the reality of it. When an absolutely reliable source tells us terrorists are coming, it then behooves us to find out who they are and expose them before they do their damage.

The question readers need to ask themselves is: Are you a modern-day Berean?

Now to part 2 of Buettel’s series:

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Evangelical Lutherans Overwhelmingly Vote to Approve Declaration of Unity With Roman Catholics

Christian News Network has the story:

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) voted overwhelmingly last week to approve a declaration of unity with the Roman Catholic Church in an endeavor to “enumerate the many points of agreement between Lutherans and Catholics”—a move that some state is contrary to biblical Christianity.

The “Declaration on the Way” was approved 931-9 during the denominational assembly at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. According to an official press release by the ELCA, members stood and applauded following the vote.

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Check out Research Paper on Roman Catholicism

Obama: “We’ve Designated New Monuments to…Folks Who Stood Up For Equality at Stonewall in New York”

According to CNSNews:

Stonewall InnPresident Barack Obama said in his weekly address today that he had set aside “more than 265 million acres of public lands and waters” as national parks and monuments, which is “more than any administration in history.”

Among the national monuments he created, Obama said in his weekly address, was “Stonewall.” This monument commemorates riots that took place in 1969.

In his June 24 proclamation the president said this about Stonewall:

“In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, a riot broke out in response to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, at the time one of the City’s best known LGBT bars.  Over the course of the next several days, more demonstrations and riots occurred in the surrounding neighborhood including Christopher Park.  During these days, because of its strategic location across from the bar, Christopher Park served as a gathering place, refuge, and platform for the community to voice its demand for LGBT civil rights.  The Stonewall Uprising is considered by many to be the catalyst that launched the modern LGBT civil rights movement.”

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God’s Word exhorts Christians to persevere

22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. Our Victory in Christ 26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:22-27 (NASB) 

We are exhorted throughout God’s Word to persevere even in the most rugged of circumstances. We are given a promise of what awaits those who do persevere, the adoption as “sons” and redemption of our bodies, which is positional for all truly in Christ. Yet, we look forward to these and other promises with eyes of faith. This temporal part of our life as Christians can be quite a battle with the flesh to the point of crying out like the Apostle Paul, “O wretched man that I am!” Weakness in this battle is directly attributable to a lack of praying as we should, while, conversely, victory in this battle is directly attributable to proper praying in the spirit, that is, in harmony with the leading of the Holy Spirit rather than according to one’s own agenda. There are many “church” things out there that are not good for us. These “church” things are the product of those scoffers who have entered the Church to divide it. View article →

This temporary tattoo can control your smartphone

Steven Overly of The Washington Post has the story:

Duoskin tattooScientists at the MIT Media Lab and Microsoft Research have designed metallic body art that can control and communicate with electronic devices, such as smartphones or laptops.

DuoSkin temporary tattoos, which can be made at home and wash off in a day, use the electrodes present in inexpensive gold leaf to create a conductive surface. The gold leaf and a thin layer of silicone adhere to the body to create an “interface” on the skin that when touched can indicate certain commands to your electronic devices.

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NBA moves all-star game to New Orleans over transgender law

According to Yahoo News the powerful LGBT lobby claims North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which says that boys and girls should be able to use public restrooms, locker rooms and showers without fear of the opposite sex being present, is hostile toward transgender people and praised the NBA for punishing the state.

NBAThe NBA has awarded its 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans, the Associated Press reported on Friday, a month after removing it from Charlotte, North Carolina, to protest a state law forcing transgender people to use public restrooms matching their gender assigned at birth.

The AP cited a person familiar with the decision who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had yet to be announced by the league. NBA representatives were unavailable for comment.

The National Basketball Association had expressed its opposition to state House Bill 2, or HB2, since it was passed in March and tried to work with state officials to change the law before ultimately making a decision to relocate its mid-February exhibition game.

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Drug-Related Deaths Rise to Record High in Scotland

The Christian Institute reports:

Drug-related deaths reached a record high in Scotland last year, according to new figures.

There were 706 drug-related deaths in 2015, a 15 per cent increase on 2014, when 613 people died.

The official statistics were released in a report by the National Records of Scotland investigating drug-related deaths.

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Obama To End Single-Sex Bathrooms on Federal Property

According to Breitbart:

Transgender bathroom signPresident Barack Obama’s deputies will insert a rule in federal regulations on Friday to prevent federal facilities from operating single-sex bathrooms.

The rule in the “Federal Register” of regulations will open up thousands of bathrooms in federally operated buildings to employees and visitors who claim on any given day to be “transgender” members of the opposite sex.

BuzzFeed reports it obtained a draft notice of the rule that was sent to federal agencies.

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“Dead Raising Tents” Coming To The SBC or A Denomination Near You?

Scripture teaches that “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” (Heb 9:27) Even so, NAR “prophet” Todd Bentley claims that he routinely raises the dead. “I actually have a dead raising tent that I’ve used for ten years in Africa,” declares Bentley. “I also use it for the demon possessed … cause I figure the dead and the demon possessed could be in the same tent.”  Bud Ahlheim of Pulpit & Pen has the story as well as the video of the false prophet making this absurd claim.

Raising of LazarusThe story of Lazarus in Scripture (John 11) is a powerful testimony to the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. Given “authority over all things in heaven and on earth,” (Matthew 28:18) Christ’s act of resurrecting Lazarus had to be, for those contemporary onlookers, an event invoking staggering awe of His power. Equally, it serves for us as a powerful metaphor that we who, once dead in trespasses and sins, (Ephesians 2:1) have been brought from spiritual death unto spiritual life.

But … if you’re an instrument of demonic deception, the self-proclaimed power to raise the dead is a toxic talent that will drive thousands of Word-void souls to seek solace in the alleged divine touch of your hands, the presumed power of your prayers. Oh, yeah, they’ll no doubt fill your “support our ministry” coffers as well.

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Target to Spend $20 Million Adding Single-Stall Restrooms Over Opposition to Transgender Policy

Christian News Network reports that Target’s solution is to add single-stall restrooms, not for transgender persons, but for those who are uncomfortable sharing a restroom with someone of the opposite sex.

Target StoreThe national retail chain Target has announced that it plans to spend $20 million in adding single-stall restrooms to stores without the option in an effort to quell opposition to its policy on transgender use of bathrooms and changing rooms.

“Some of our guests clearly are uncomfortable with our policy, and some are really supportive,” Target CFO Cathy Smith told reporters this week in a conference call.

As previously reported, Target outlined its company policy in April surrounding controversy over “bathroom bills” passed in North Carolina and Mississippi.

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Two gates, two ways, two destinations

13 Εἰσέλθατε διὰ τῆς στενῆς πύλης· ὅτι πλατεῖα ἡ πύλη καὶ εὐρύχωρος ἡ ὁδὸς ἡ ἀπάγουσα εἰς τὴν ἀπώλειαν καὶ πολλοί εἰσιν οἱ εἰσερχόμενοι διʼ αὐτῆς· 14 τί στενὴ ἡ πύλη καὶ τεθλιμμένη ἡ ὁδὸς ἡ ἀπάγουσα εἰς τὴν ζωὴν καὶ ὀλίγοι εἰσὶν οἱ εὑρίσκοντες αὐτήν. Matthew 7:13-14 (NA28)

13 Go in through the narrow gate; because wide is the gate and broad is the way leading to destruction and many are those going in through it. 14 How narrow the gate and how hard is the way that leads to life and few are the ones finding it! Matthew 7:13-14 (translated from NA28 the Greek text)

It has been said that no prophet preached about Hell as much as our Lord Jesus Christ. It is also true that His preaching would be considered “divisive” and “offensive” in today’s politically correct culture. However, I seriously doubt that preaching the truth or hurting someone’s feelings or offending someone’s “sensibilities” were the issue with our Lord nor would it have made any difference. He would not hesitate to preach the truth because in God’s truth is life. In man-made truth is only death. Consider the passage at the top of this post. The lie that has taken over our society is that it is a sin to be narrow-minded. We must be as broad and as accepting as possible. We must be all-inclusive in all things to the point of madness. From this our enemy has sown the lies such as “There are many roads to heaven,” and since God is a good God He must also me a “fair God” so “eventually everyone will be saved.” The problems with this are that this “god” is a creation of these people’s wishful thinking not The God, our God, the Creator of all things. Also, in His Word, our Lord Jesus taught exactly the opposite of this as the passage above clearly says. View article →

Marriage Reduces Child Poverty, but Our Welfare System Penalizes Marriage

Rachel Sheffield of The Daily Signal has the report:

Marriage 2According to a recently released study from the American Enterprise Institute, 82 percent of lower-middle-class families with young children face “marriage penalties” in the welfare system.

Couples who marry would lose all or some of their welfare benefits because their combined income is often greater than each of their independent incomes.

The study found that couples with young children are less likely to marry if they face a significant marriage penalty. Furthermore, nearly a third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 60 reported that they personally know someone who has chosen not to marry because of the marriage penalty.

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