About Marsha West

Marsha West is the general editor of Christian Research Network (CRN). She is also co-founder of Berean Research. For two decades Marsha was the owner and managing editor of Email Brigade website and EMB News Report, a bi-weekly report for conservative people of faith. Marsha is a regular contributor for several blogs including CRN, RenewAmerica, News With Views, and Web Commentary. Her articles have been translated into many languages and distributed worldwide. Visit Marsha's blog, On Solid Rock Resources. http://onsolidrockresources.com

Is John Piper Disqualifying Himself As A Teacher?

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John Piper and false teacher Rick Warren “hanging out.” Photo credit: Apprising Ministries

In 2013, Christine Pack of Sola Sisters wrote a piece entitled “Has John Pier Lost His Mind?”  In it she laid out some of her concerns with John Piper who she had always believed to be a “solid teacher of the Reformed tradition.”  Pack was having doubts.  And she wasn’t alone.  Other discernment bloggers were having concerns, too, so they alerted the brethren.  Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries (here), Lighthouse Trails (here) and Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith (here) dealt with Piper’s shift into neo-reformed New Calvinism.  According to Ken Silva, Piper “is seen as a mentor, even a ‘pioneer’ of this New Calvinism.”

So now Jeff Maples of Pulpit & Pen has joined the chorus of bloggers who take issue with some of the things Dr. Piper has been doing.  For example, he often attends events with, and goes to bat for, false or compromised teachers who clearly share a false gospel.

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Elected state supreme court judges less supportive of LGBT rights, study says

According to The Guardian:

Supreme Court 5-4Judges who are elected to state supreme courts are generally less supportive of LGBT rights claims than judges who are appointed, according to new research commissioned by a nonprofit law group.

A report released on Wednesday analyzed 127 rulings in state high courts involving LGBT rights claims to understand the impact of judicial selection processes on such cases. The study, produced by Lambda Legal, found that judges chosen through partisan elections are least supportive of LGBT rights claims compared to their peers around the country who are selected through other methods. Lambda Legal is a non-profit that advocates for the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and those with HIV through litigation and other work.

“If you want to get a fair hearing in court you need to make sure that judges are free to make decisions, that they have the independence to rule on the law without fear of retaliation,” said Eric Lesh, the report’s author. “How does the way that judges are selected play or factor into the way that they are able to decide cases fairly in LGBT rights claims?”

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The Self-Entitlement of Joyce Meyer’s Theology

Bible study teacher, best-selling author, speaker and TV host Joyce Meyer is a false teacher for the reason that she promotes a Word of Faith/Health and Wealth gospel that saves no one.  Richard Haas of Pulpit & Pen reports that Meyer has been on Twitter pushing her new book to undiscerning Christians and anyone else who doesn’t see a problem with elevating man above God. Her tweets are “problematic at best and heretical at worst,” says Haas.  He writes:

joyce-meyer-2Just earlier this month on September 13th, Joyce Meyer released her new book entitled “Seize The Day.” As it seems to be the case more and more every form of a distributor that can distribute anything seemingly “Christian” is jumping on the bandwagon of this nomenclature of sub-Christian literate.

Over the past couple of week’s Joyce Meyer has been releasing tweets on Twitter to draw attention to the publication of her book. She has been promoting her book with colorful, but often inaccurate statements.  One of those more theologically inept utterances was tweeted out on September 22nd. The shallowness of these 140 words pulls back the curtain and allows us to see one of the biggest lies in the Word of Faith theology and the movement itself — Self-Entitlement.

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How decades of divorce helped erode religion

Julie Zauzmer, reporting for the Washington Post, brings to light how divorce has helped erode religion:

MarriageTwo widely recognized trends in American society might have something to do with each other.

Divorce rates climbed to the highest levels ever in the 1980s, when about half of all marriages ended in divorce.

And in the present day, Americans are rapidly becoming less religious. Since 1972, the share of Americans who say they do not adhere to any particular religion has increased from 5 percent of the population to 25 percent.

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North Carolina Court Dismisses Lawsuit of Judges Who Resigned Rather Than Officiate Same-Sex “Weddings”

Christian News Network reports:

judgmentAn appeals court in North Carolina has upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by two Christian judges who resigned their posts two years ago after being informed via state memos that they would be required to officiate same-sex “weddings” or face possible punishment.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals did not rule on the merits of the requirement, but only agreed with the lower court that the two judges did not have standing in the case because the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), which issued the memo, did not have power to fire them.

“Because defendants lacked the actual authority to sanction, suspend, or remove plaintiffs, the allegations in plaintiffs’ complaint, when viewed as true and considered in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, fail to demonstrate an injury that defendants were capable of inflicting upon plaintiffs, and by extension fails to show that such an injury could be redressed,” Judge Ann Marie Calabria wrote for the three-judge panel.

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Tullian Tchividjian Posts Possible Book Excerpt at Expastors.com

Over at the liberal blog Patheos, Warren Throckmorton continues to chronicle what disgraced pastor Tullian Tchividjian has been up to since he admitted to having two adulterous relationships and had to resign from his pulpit at Coral Ridge Presbyterian in South Florida.  Shortly thereafter, Tchividjian was hired by Willow Creek Presbyterian as Director of Ministry Development.  When affair #2 came to light six months later, he was immediately fired.  Now we learn from Throckmorton that Tchividjian remarried in August and that he may be writing a book on his recent history where he reveals that he went through a suicidal period.  He writes:

tullian-tchividjian-3At the expastors.com website an article appears under Tchividjian’s name (oddly with his name spelled incorrectly in the first sentence and image) which promises a vulnerable look at the recent history of the troubled ex-pastor. I suppose it is possible that he had a little help with the article.

There was no mention of his recent remarriage in the expastors article.

Tchividjian reveals that he went through a suicidal period. It sounds like he is on the mend. Good for him and I wish him well.

In the comments section, there is a good deal of arguing back and forth about the nature of this article. Some are skeptical and others are angry. Some wonder if this is a part of the comeback prior to an upcoming book release with David C. Cook.

Many of my readers have shown interest in Tchividjian’s career and this seems to be an interesting turn of events.

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Cruz, Lee Step Up Claims That Justice Department Isn’t Doing Enough to Protect Churches

According to The Daily Signal:

Freedom of Thought Ben FranklinSens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah are pressing their case that the Department of Justice favors abortion clinics over churches, demanding that the law enforcement agency take steps to ensure “the rights of all American citizens”—not just some—are protected.

In a letter sent Tuesday, obtained first by The Daily Signal, Cruz and Lee criticize the Justice Department’s enforcement of a 1994 law. The intent of the law was to prohibit the use or threat of force and physical obstruction outside abortion clinics, guaranteeing safe access to such facilities.

Before passing the legislation, called the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, lawmakers extended the protections to apply to places of worship.

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World’s first baby born with controversial new “three-parent” technique

Independent reports:

DNAThe world’s first child created using a controversial “three-parent” baby technique has been born in Mexico, it has been announced.

Limited details about the birth were revealed ahead of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s scientific congress in Salt Lake City next month, where it will be discussed more fully.

According to critics, the procedure is tantamount to genetic modification of humans or even “playing God”. But supporters say it allows women with a particular type of genetic disease to have healthy children who are related to them.

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Rewriting Earth’s Creation Story

According to Rebecca Boyle of The Atlantic, geologists admit that the scientific community is very quick to criticize those who operate on faith but that’s exactly what they do.  Mark Harrison, a geologist at the University of California at Los Angeles, confessed: “We as a scientific community created an origin myth that has no more intellectual value than Genesis.”  Boyle writes:

earthHumanity’s trips to the moon revolutionized our view of this planet. As seen from another celestial body, Earth seemed more fragile and more precious; the iconic Apollo 8 image of Earth rising above the lunar surface helped launch the modern environmental movement. The moon landings made people want to take charge of Earth’s future. They also changed our view of its past.

Earth is constantly remaking itself, and over the eons it has systematically erased its origin story, subsuming and cannibalizing its earliest rocks. Much of what we think we know about the earliest days of Earth therefore comes from the geologically inactive moon, which scientists use like a time capsule.

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Transgenderism Can Be Helpful

CNSNews has a piece by economist Walter E. Williams dealing with “biological determinism,” professional sports and the armed forces.  In it he brings up some interesting “what ifs” that many Americans probably haven’t even considered.  He writes:

transgender9North Carolina’s legislative body passed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which mandates a statewide policy banning individuals from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex, as opposed to their opinion of their sex. That means people must use bathrooms and other public facilities where occupants can be in various stages of undress according to whether their sex chromosomes are XX, in the case of females, or XY, in the case of males. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community claims that the use of biology to determine sex is oppressive and limits alternatives. I agree. I all but argued this in a column earlier this year titled “You Are What You Say You Are.” Let’s look at some possible benefits of freeing oneself from the oppression of biological determinism.

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Candidates Spar in Debate, Offer Vastly Different Visions for Leading the U.S.

Here’s the Wallstreet Journal’s view of last night’s debate:

trump-and-clintonHillary Clinton and Donald Trump clashed Monday night in one of the most eagerly awaited presidential debates in modern political history, offering dramatically different visions of how they would lead the country as they attacked each other’s biggest vulnerabilities.

Both nominees came to the stage at Hofstra University sharing the burden of being among the best-known and least liked candidates ever to run for the White House.

Mrs. Clinton, who had prepared methodically for the showdown, managed to put Mr. Trump on the defensive for most of the night and avoided being knocked off her own message as was the fate for many of his opponents at Republican primary debates.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, pressed the Democratic nominee on her email practices at the State Department and her shifting position on trade, but didn’t raise questions about the Clinton Foundation and the influence of its donors.

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2 Samuel 19: a case study in true and false repentance

Jesse Johnson of The Cripplegate contrasts true and false repentance.  According to Johnson, “False repentance can come from a heart that honestly believes it deserves grace. ‘God better forgive me, I deserve it!’ is the attitude. Meanwhile, true repentance comes from someone who knows they deserve death.”

repentance-2A few weeks ago, I wrote about the need to discern between true and false repentance. Second Corinthians 7 teaches that not all tears of remorse flow from a truly repentant heart. Some cry because they were caught, and others cry because they offended God. Those two groups do not necessarily overlap.

In God’s providence there are a few examples given to us in Scripture that juxtapose these two types of repentance. The most obvious is Saul vs. David. Saul and David both sinned, were confronted by a prophet, and then acknowledged their sin. In fact, they both use almost the same words: “I have sinned against Yahweh” (1 Samuel 15:24; 2 Samuel 12:13).

But the narratives make clear that Saul’s “repentance” was superficial, while David’s was supernatural. The prophet did not extend forgiveness to Saul, while he did to David. Saul was concerned about what others thought, while David was concerned only with what Yahweh thought. And there are probably six or seven other contrasts as well.

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Is Kris Vallotton Embracing Anti-Trinitarian Heresy?

Amy Spreeman of Berean Research has the answer.  She writes:

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Kris Vallotton, Bethel Church’s “Senior Associate Leader”

Modalism was declared a heresy by the early church centuries ago, but it keeps popping up like a Whack-A-Mole game. Unfortunately, Modalism is rearing its head once again in our time. It is a growing theological error within evangelicalism that twists the very the nature of God revealed to us through His Word, by denying the Trinity.

Rather than God being three distinct persons, Modalism states that God is a single person who, throughout biblical history, has revealed Himself in three modes or forms. In other words, God in the Old Testament was Father God. Then He became Jesus 2,000 years ago. At Pentecost, God morphed into the Holy Spirit.

you have no problem with denying the doctrine of the Trinity, yourself this: To Whom was Jesus praying in the garden? And what about all those other times Jesus was doing what His Father was doing? (There are hundreds of questions you should struggle with as you read Scripture.)

Do you see the problem?

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Obama, Colin Powell help T.D. Jakes celebrate 40 years in ministry

Over the weekend, Word of Faith mogul T.D. Jakes, who now has a talk show that airs on Oprah Winfrey’s television network, OWN, celebrated 40 years of fleecing the flock with help from some big guns.  According to Dallas News:

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Photo credit: The Cripplegate

Pastors and televangelists from around the world — including Joel Osteen, founder of one of the largest Protestant churches in the U.S., and Brian Houston, founder of Hillsong Church in Australia — sent messages via recorded videos.

Jakes, 59, who grew up in Vandalia, W.Va., also received congratulations from President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Jakes delivered a private sermon that Obama attended at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., the morning of his inauguration.

“With compassion and grace, you’ve inspired and touched the hearts of people across America and around the world through the power of faith,” Obama said in a written statement. “As you reflect on the difference you’ve made, know that I deeply appreciate your friendship, your commitment to expanding possibility, and your prayers for me, my family and this country we love.”

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Federal Judge Rules Wisconsin School District Must Allow Girl in Boys’ Restroom While Lawsuit Proceeds

Christian News Network reports:

Transgender bathroom 2A federal judge has issued a temporary injunction against a Wisconsin school district, ordering officials to allow a female student who identifies as a boy to use the boys’ restroom while her case moves forward in court.

“There’s no question that Ash has already suffered harm and has had physical repercussions from the policy as well as emotional repercussions,” wrote U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper, nominated to the bench by Barack Obama, wrote on Tuesday.

As previously reported, Ashton Whitaker, 16, sued the Kenosha Unified School District No. 1 and Superintendent Sue Savaglio-Jarvis in July for being denied use of the boys’ restroom and for continuing to be referred to by her feminine name. Her attorneys contend the acts violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

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The Church Should Take the Lead in Fighting Porn

Bret Kunkle of Stand to Reason offers three steps for the Church to take to deal with porn:

Porn isn’t a problem, it’s an epidemic. Even celebrities like Russell Brand,Terry Crews, and Pamela Anderson (yes, that Pamela Anderson, the former Playboy model) are speaking out. So, where’s the church in this battle? Should’t we be leading the fight against this immense social evil?

According to the latest research by Barna, the vast majority of Christian leaders believe porn is a bigger problem than it was two decades ago. Here’s just a sampling of what Barna found in The Porn Phenomenon study:

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How Cruz got from “vote your conscience” to “vote for Trump”

Politico reports:

ted-cruzMinutes before Ted Cruz took the stage at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick cornered the senator, huddling with him in a last-ditch effort to coax an endorsement of Donald Trump. It didn’t work.

“A missed opportunity,” Patrick fumed after Cruz’s notorious snub. “He makes his own decisions.”

Two months later, amid political troubles home in Texas, unyielding pressure from the Republican establishment in Washington and growing irritation from the conservative grass roots, Cruz reversed course. The senator gave his imprimatur to a man he once called a “pathological liar” and a “bully” during their bitter primary campaign.

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What God Reveals

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV)

There was great openness about Christ. There was an utter absence of anything like the Jesuitical plan of saying one thing and meaning another, or using expressions that had double meaning in them. It is true that our Lord did not explain to the great mass of the people all that He said to them, for they were so stupid that they would not receive it.

But, at the same time, there was nothing that His hearers really needed to know that He concealed from them. He carried His heart where all might read it and even in His common teaching to the multitude, there was, if they had but had eyes to see it, all that He taught to His disciples in the most private place.

There was no wish, on His part, to keep back any Truth of God that ought to be made known to those who gathered to hear Him. I have heard it said that there are certain Truths in God’s Word which it is better for us not to preach. It is admitted that they are true, but it is alleged that they are not edifying. I will not agree to any such plan! This is just going back to old Rome’s method.   View article →

Robert Morris: God Needs Us to Pray So He Can Heal the Land

Truth - falseLiberal professor Warren Throckmorton regularly uses his blog over at Patheos to discredit those he disagrees with, including charismatics — and he often gets it right, as he did in this piece where he addresses “The Awakening” that was held at Gateway Church on September 22.  The founder and senior pastor of Gateway is Word of Faith/prosperity preacher Robert Morris. Throckmorton provides a video and transcript of Morris’ welcoming attendees to the event.  Also mentioned in the piece is high-profile pastor Tony Evans of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship.   Here’s what he says about the misuse of 2 Chronicles 7:14 by two prominent pastors who should have a clear understanding of what Scripture teaches:

As Tony Evans did after him, Robert Morris recited the incantation to get God to change his mind (2 Chronicles 7:14):

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Here I will repeat what I wrote about Tony Evans’ misuse of 2 Chronicles 7:14:

I have never understood why people mistake this as a promise to America.  American citizens are not His people called by God’s name. This verse is not addressed to Americans. This verse is the second half of a sentence started in verse 13 and concerns the dedication of the Jewish temple led by King Solomon. …

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Famous Faith Healer in Hospital due to Failing Health

The Grand Poobah of the NAR, C. Peter Wagner, has been hospitalized.  Wagner is the former professor of Church Growth at Fuller Theological Seminary School of World Mission, founder of Global Harvest Ministries, the presiding “apostle” of the International Coalition of Apostles, which he also founded, and co-founder of World Prayer Center. According to Jeff Maples of Pulpit & Pen “Wagner has propagated serious damnable error into the church.”  CRN couldn’t agree more.  Maples goes on to say that. “While his promotion of charismatic nonsense, blaspheming the Holy Spirit regularly, has made major inroads into the professing church, it goes without saying that his false teachings are being exposed right before our eyes.”  Jeff suggests that “our first prayer should be for Wagner to repent and turn to Christ for the forgiveness of sins.”  CRN agrees with him on that, too.

Here’s the story:

peter_wagnerFounder of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), C. Peter Wagner, and proponent of charismatic chicanery such as faith healing, perhaps doesn’t have enough faith to heal himself. The famous huckster and author of the book, How to Have a Healing Ministry in Any Church, has been admitted to the hospital, according to Rebecca Greenwood of Christian Harvest International. Wagner’s wife, Doris, has written a letter asking for prayer, Greenwood reports on her Facebook page, stating,

This past Friday Peter was admitted back into the Heart Hospital in a very weakened condition. After several days of extensive testing, the general consensus of his many excellent doctors is that Peter has become severely dehydrated from the ongoing treatment to control his fluid retention. The treatment is very much a balancing act and the dilemma is that he is now both dehydrated and fluid overloaded at the same time…To further complicate the matter, the treatments for either problem cause the other issue to escalate further.

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Girl Who Identifies as Boy Becomes First “Transgender” Allowed on School’s Football Team

 Christian News Network reports:

footballA Canadian girl who identifies as a boy has become the first “transgender” player allowed on her school’s football team.

Kennedy Cooley, 17, transferred to Halifax West High School after students at her previous school made her feel “unaccepted” for identifying as a boy. She had heard that Halifax West would be more accepting, but was still apprehensive.

“I’d heard that a lot of the guys are like family, they really get along together, they all know each other, and they’re really close friends,” Cooley told CTV News. “I was just really nervous about going in there and maybe, somebody wasn’t okay with me being transgender.”

At Halifax West, she was permitted to join the boy’s football team.

Hebrew Roots Heresies

Elliott Nesch of Holy Bible Prophecy examines the Hebrew Roots movement.  The primary heresy, says Nesch is that in Hebrew Roots beliefs, Christians must keep the Torah.

torahBecause of the many heresies of modern Christianity today, many believers have fled from the apostate denominations only to find themselves ensnared in Hebrew Roots heresies. What is the Hebrew Roots movement? According to House of David Fellowship:

Hebrew Roots is a movement emerging around the world that advocates returning to the understanding of the Scriptures, perspectives, and beliefs of first-century faith. We are removed from Protestant Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism, and Messianic Judaism because of core belief differences.

Indeed it is good to be removed from Protestant Christianity, Rabbinic Judaism, and Messianic Judaism because of doctrinal differences. But what are those differences? In the movement’s favor, the Hebraic Roots movement avoids pagan traditions such as Christmas and emphasizes fruits, good works and obedience. However, their zeal for the Torah and allegiance to Moses has caused them to usurp the supreme authority of Yeshua Hamaschiach (Jesus Christ) in the New Covenant. Is the Torah the foundation of Christianity? Did Yeshua teach His followers to observe the Mosaic Law? Is it sinful to transgress the Law of Moses? Are Christians obligated to keep the Sabbath, observe the Jewish Feasts and eat a Kosher diet?

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Science Shows Homosexual Behavior “Is as Bad as God Says It Was”

CNSNews reports:

healthThe detrimental health consequences of homosexual behavior are so well documented in the medical literature today that science itself confirms “that homosexuality is as bad as God said it was” and this reality cannot be changed, said Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality.

During a Sept. 14 interview with Rev. Michael Heath, LaBarbera talked about how the scientific data on homosexual behavior mirrors what God said in the Bible about the issue.

“But that’s the shame of our movement, that the homosexual activists behave as if they have the truth,” said LaBarbera.  “We act as if we’re ashamed of the truth, when in reality, we have the truth.”

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Black Lives Matter: We’ll Tear Down New Orleans’ Monuments Ourselves

According to Breitbart:

andrew-jacksonThe ‘Take ‘Em Down Nola’ group, which has aligned itself with the Black Lives Matter movement, is now saying publicly they plan to tear down New Orleans’ most iconic monument in the city.

During a protest outside of New Orleans City Hall, a group of Take ‘Em Down Nola, which has made threats against the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) and Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration in the past, said police will have to step aside this weekend as they plan to physically tear down the equestrian Andrew Jackson monument in the French Quarter.

“So you plan on tearing down the Andrew Jackson monument?” one reporter asked the spokesman of Take ‘Em Down Nola.

“Yes,” the spokesman responded.

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Making babies without eggs may be possible, say scientists

According to the BBC:

Human embryoScientists say early experiments suggest it may one day be possible to make babies without using eggs.

They have succeeded in creating healthy baby mice by tricking sperm into believing they were fertilising normal eggs.

The findings in Nature Communications, could, in the distant future, mean women can be removed from the baby-making process, say the researchers.

For now, the work helps to explain some of the details of fertilisation.

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