The discussion about homosexuality seemingly is never-ending. One question repeatedly raised is whether homosexual tendencies are genetic, or a choice. Baptist Press examines a recent Gallup poll that not surprisingly reveals that “a record number of Americans believe homosexuality is morally acceptable and is something people are born with.”
Fox News reports:
The Boy Scouts of America threw open its ranks Thursday to gay Scouts but not gay Scout leaders — a fiercely contested compromise that some warned could fracture the organization and lead to mass defections of members and donors.
Of the roughly 1,400 voting members of the BSA’s National Council who cast ballots, 61 percent supported the proposal drafted by the governing Executive Committee. The policy change takes effect Jan. 1.
In the wake of the tragic tornado-wrought destruction in Oklahoma, many groups of various beliefs and convictions are rallying to help the victims. Baptist Press shares an interesting observation:
Southern Baptists throughout social media took note that NBC News anchor Brian Williams and reporter Harry Smith mentioned on air the quick response of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief workers in Moore, Okla., Tuesday (May 21).
“In the briefings today it was apparent there’s FEMA and then there’s the faith-based FEMA,” Williams said, standing in front of rubble left by the tornado that devastated the area Monday. “There are no fewer — I counted — than 30 churches that are banding together, and that’s going to be a huge part of this recovery.”
Most of the class-action lawsuit against Sovereign Grace Ministries, in which rampant sexual abuse was allegedly committed against children, has been dismissed by a Maryland judge. Bill O’Neil, the attorney for the plaintiffs, stated yesterday in an interview with radio host Janet Mefferd that it had been known from the outset that the age of most of the alleged victims had long since passed the statute of limitations. The case still was pursued, however, in the hope that allegations that SGM leadership had systematically pressured victims not to seek legal counsel or help outside of the church would have weighed more heavily into the judge’s decision.
18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, ”All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 ”Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matt. 28:18–20, NASB
The command of our Lord to “make disciples” is part of the sanctification process ordained and controlled by God in the life of all true believers. However, in the current visible church there is much confusion between what we know as biblical sanctification and a new term called “spiritual formation.” What is it? Is it a new way to do the same thing, but perhaps in an improved way? Can man come up with a better way to disciple new Christians than that which God has given us? Dr. John MacArthur has a few thoughts on the subject.
Also helpful is the following article by Dr. Gary Gilley of Southern View Chapel.
Life News reports:
Gallup released the results of its annual poll on whether Americans do or don’t find a couple dozen practices morally acceptable. As has frequently been the case, Americans do not find abortion to be morally okay.
The new poll finds a plurality of Americans, 49-42 percent, find abortion to be morally unacceptable. A 49-45 percentage point plurality also found assisted suicide morally unacceptable and an 83-13 percent majority find cloning human beings to be morally bad as well.
The Cripplegate takes a look at a question asked by every believer at one time or another: How does one identify his spiritual gift?
The New Testament gives at least three lists of spiritual gifts … strongly implying at the very least that every Christian has a kind of spiritual gift, and that not every Christian has every gift. So how do you find out what your gift is?
First, remember that every believer has the responsibility to be a faithful member of their local church, and that gifting is discovered, identified, and validated in that context. So if you are not a member of a church, fret about that before you fret about what you are supposed to do in that church.
Reuters shares the latest update from the deadly tornado that struck Oklahoma yesterday:
Emergency workers pulled more than 100 survivors from the rubble of homes, schools and a hospital in an Oklahoma town hit by a powerful tornado, and officials lowered the death toll from the storm to 24, including nine children.
It is not uncommon to hear some among the seeker-driven crowd state that if a person would only “try Jesus” for 60 days, 30 days, or some other predetermined amount of time, he would be hooked on Christianity. Yet, how does this approach compare with Scripture? Is this “test drive Jesus” the Jesus of the Bible?
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, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 1 Tim. 4:1–2, NASB
Apostasy seems to come in waves at times. We watch or listen to a Bible teacher or Christian leader for a time and develop a respect for them because they “seem” to be so solid doctrinally and have a love for the lost and for the preaching of the Gospel. Then out of the blue we hear a term such as “Missional” or how they are positive that God has given them a new vision for our church or their ministry and they then proceed to go into the process of “Vision Casting.” Are these things biblical? In this interview from 2012, Dr. John MacArthur discusses the biblical veracity of “vision casting.”
1 Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; 3 and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” Gen. 35:1–3, NASB
I’m sure that most Christians’ conception of idolatry is one in which people fall down and worship some statue or image or a facsimile of something that appears to resemble a god. While that is an example of idolatry there is a more subtle form of idolatry that all people are neck-deep in outside of the grace of God.
Christianity Today is reporting today that Joshua Harris, pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD, shared in a recent sermon that he had been sexually abused as a child. In talking about the abuse he suffered, Harris encouraged anyone hearing him who was currently being abused to go to someone trusted and seek help.
Pastor Matt Richard gives great counsel for pastors, and essential information for all believers on the pastoral office. Quoting a letter to young seminarians from David Petersen:
You are a servant of the Word. Follow Jesus. The Way of the Cross is a lonely, narrow path but it leads to heaven. Be more afraid of God than you are of the people. It is not the one who signs the check who provides daily bread. Do the right thing. Tell the Truth. Suffer the consequences. That is what a servant of Christ does.
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, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron 1 Tim. 4:1–2, NASB
In these last days, there appears to be a clarifying work of God going on in within the visible church. In the early church and in all those historic periods when it was not “comfortable” to be counted among those who named Christ as their Lord and Saviour, the genuine believers were easy to spot. They endured. They may have undergone severe persecution even unto death, but they did not fall away. Since the end of Puritanism, Christianity has taken on a role in the West that ensured religious freedom. Humanism began to encroach upon doctrine and in every aspect of how church was done. Despite bright spots in this period such as the Great Awakening and then later the ministries of men like Charles Spurgeon, a downgrade in doctrine began to emerge into the Church. Humanism begat Liberal Theology which devastated the Church. A backlash against it called Fundamentalism was born. It was a move away from Liberal Theology, but it’s doctrines bore the stamp of legalism in many areas. This caused a backlash in the opposite direction that begat the emergent church movement and the New Evangelism.
Life News reports:
A leading pro-life group has put together a web site to expose Douglas Karpen. Like Kermit Gosnell, this Texas-based abortion practitioner kills unborn children who are born alive in a gruesome abortion-infanticide process.
This week, LifeNews exposed Douglas Karpen — who, like the Philadelphia-based abortion practitioner, is also killing babies born alive after botched abortions. Unlike Gosnell, who killed babies by jamming medical scissors into their necks, at his Houston abortion clinic former employees of Karpen testify he goes one shocking step further, he kills the babies wit his bare hands by twisting their necks execution style.
Christian News Network reports:
Three jurors in the trial of convicted Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell spoke to reporters on Wednesday, outlining their viewpoints, conclusions and reflections on the case.
David Misko, Sarah Glinksi and Joseph Carroll spoke outside of the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center, all in agreement that they made the right decision.
As the Sola Sisters blog has documented in earlier articles, Sovereign Grace Ministries is currently embroiled in an ongoing class action lawsuit alleging child sex abuse dating back a number of years. Radio talk show host Janet Mefferd has been diligently reporting on the case by interviewing various attorneys involved in the lawsuit, as well as former Sovereign Grace Ministries leader, now turned whistle-blower, Brent Detwiler.
18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 “You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 “Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 “For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”
Acts 8:18–23, NASB
In these times of the “Compromised Church” with very little knowledge of historical Christianity and what makes up what is truly Orthodox, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when I’m called a heretic and false teacher for teaching Reformation Theology and then revealing that my view of eschatology is (gasp) not dispensational/pre-millennialism. I have been told more than a few times over the last week or so that I could not possibly be a genuine brother and hold to the view of eschatology that I espouse or that I am a Calvinist, et cetera. What is it that makes one a genuine Christian rather than a disingenuous believer? Let’s take a look at a New Testament example.
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 Pet. 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 every type including those from 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.
15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. Luke 2:15–20, NASB
Human faith is not the same thing as genuine (saving) faith, which is a gift from God. The former is based in human reason and intellect. The latter is supernatural. What passes for faith in many professing believers’ “Christianity” is a belief based in who preaches to or teaches them. This is not genuine faith because it is not a belief in the Word or in God through the Word. These are “believers” who will eventually fall away. Some may last a lifetime, but as soon as the fires of tribulation come upon them they slide into apostasy because their faith is not of the substance that endures.
The jury in the murder trial of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell returned a verdict and found him guilty on three of the four first-degree murder charges he faced.
Gosnell was found guilty of killing Baby A, Baby C and Baby D and found not guilty of killing Baby E. He was also convicted on hundreds of lesser charges ranging from infanticide to running a corrupt organization.
The guilty verdict on these three counts subjects the abortion “doctor” to the potential he will face the death penalty when a second jury considers his sentencing on the convictions.