According to John MacArthur of Grace to you, “Mary, not Christ, is the central focus of worship and religious affection for millions. They think of her as more approachable and more sympathetic than Christ. They revere her as the perfect Madonna, supposedly untouched by original sin, a perpetual virgin, and even co-redemptrix with Christ Himself.”
So, should Mary be an object of veneration? Following was adapted from MacArthur’s book “Twelve Extraordinary Women.”
Of all the extraordinary women in Scripture, one stands out above all others as the most blessed, most highly favored by God, and most universally admired. Indeed, no woman is more truly remarkable than Mary. She was sovereignly chosen by God—from among all the women ever born—to be the singular instrument through which He would at last bring the Messiah into the world.
Mary herself testified that all generations would regard her as profoundly blessed by God (Luke 1:48). This was not because she believed herself to be any kind of saintly superhuman, but because she was given such remarkable grace and privilege.
Myths About Mary
While acknowledging that Mary was the most extraordinary of women, it is appropriate to inject a word of caution against the common tendency to elevate her too much. She was, after all, a woman—not a demigoddess or a quasi-deiform creature who somehow transcended the rest of her race. The point of her “blessedness” is certainly not that we should think of her as someone to whom we can appeal for blessing; but rather that she herself was supremely blessed by God. She is never portrayed in Scripture as a source or dispenser of grace, but is herself the recipient of God’s blessing. Her Son, not Mary herself, is the fountain of grace (Psalm 72:17). He is the long-awaited Seed of Abraham of whom the covenant promise spoke: “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 22:18).
In this piece over at News With Views, Lee Duigon examines what happens to a culture when the family breaks down, nobody bothers to obey the law, and a political party boos God at its national election. He writes:
No one spends $100 million to make a movie intending it to lose a heap of money. They expect to make money. They expect a lot of people will pay to see it.
Soon to be released, “Fifty Shades Darker” is the sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey,” a movie celebrating and promoting the perversion of “bondage and domination”—in which one partner, usually the woman, gets her jollies by being tied up and smacked around by the other. In the “Fifty Shades” franchise, it’s always the woman. Somehow this is supposed to be liberating, and feminists are too busy protesting in favor of abortion to devote any time to protesting against this. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?
According to a review by The Express, this sequel is “far kinkier than the original” and “almost pornographic at times.” Almost? What do they have to do to go beyond “almost”? Never mind, I don’t really want to know.
Elizabeth Prata of The End Time warns of “IF : Gathering.” The title comes from the group’s motto, “If God is real, then what?” Prata reveals that, “The purpose statement on their IRS forms is to equip women by having them share their feelings about Bible passages posted online.”
Elizabeth recently penned “If : Gathering: more information, including video claiming direct revelation” where she said this:
The ‘gathering’ part is actually brilliant. They purport to disciple women in gatherings at homes and other locales, sometimes churches. They know where to gather through social media, which is employed in a major way. That’s why their embeddedness and vigorous activity is hidden from view and thus their danger is not readily seen. There aren’t posters, advertisements, billboards, pamphlets. etc. There’s texts, social media whispers, person-to-person promotion, all of it done in a way that is more subterranean than any other generation’s activity.
Satan’s fingerprints are all over this, brethren. So we urge you to bone up on the rapidly growing IF movement because it’s not going away any time soon.
Amy Spreeman of Berean Research has the story:
“How can faith transform your life, your career, your happiness? How can you live a life of blessings?”
That’s the intro to Dr. Mehmet Oz’s new Faithful Fridays show. The Muslim television TV celebrity doctor known for teaming up with Saddleback’s Rick Warren to launch the “Daniel Plan” diet, small group, and sermon series is now teaming up with The War Room’s Priscilla Shirer and Hillsong New York Pastor Carl Lentz, among others.
Study – Grow – Know warns that the Buddhist – Hindu practice of TM has been changed to mindfulness but what hasn’t changed is that it is a meditative practice that clears the mind and takes the practitioner into an altered state of consciousness:
We’ve written before on the subject of mindfulness, here and here. However, since awareness and practice of it has been growing seemingly by leaps and bounds, another warning regarding that system is probably a good idea.
Time recently published a special edition that deals completely with the area of mindfulness. Though the cover price was $13.00, it was beneficial to understand the spin placed on this growing problem. First thing to notice is that right on the cover, Time calls mindfulness, “the new science of health and happiness.” Whenever something like mindfulness is referred to as “science,” red flags should go up.
After all, mindfulness is dealing with the area of philosophy, but is presented in a way that is intended to make people believe that it is based in hard, cold, scientific fact. It’s not. It used to be called Mindfulness of Purpose, but has been shortened to simply mindfulness. That is also a clue. Often, names and labels are changed completely or shortened to make them more scientific sounding, so that people will have a difficult time disagreeing with them.
See Our Research Paper On Contemplative Prayer
Christian News has a report that Bible believing Christians will find disturbing:
Discussion is stirring over how Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch might rule on issues such as homosexuality and abortion should he be confirmed. His former law clerk told reporters last week that Gorsuch was supportive of his “gay marriage,” but reports also note that Gorsuch outlined over a decade ago that he does not believe the courts are the place to effect social change.
Joshua Goodbaum served as a clerk for Gorsuch in 2009, and now works as an attorney. He told Reuters on Friday that on the week of his 2014 “wedding” with his partner, Gorsuch expressed his support.
“He said, ‘This is a wonderful thing. You’ll see how your relationship grows,’” Goodbaum recalled.
“I have never felt the least whiff from him of homophobia or intolerance toward gay people,” he added.
In a post over at LifeZette, Alex McFarland declares: Free speech, free thought, and a student’s true potential are all casualties of a PC culture.
McFarland makes the case that “Unless you send Junior to a solidly Christian and/or conservative college, there’s a very good chance you’ll be spending your hard-earned savings for an eight-semester politically correct indoctrination program.”
After interviewing hundreds of students, professors and administrators, McFarland is convinced that “College education is less about the pursuit of truth and more about imparting a carefully guarded, often forcefully imposed narrative of economic socialism, political globalism, moral relativism, militant secularism, and personal meaning through hedonism.” Read it and weep:
“College costs four years and $100,000 to discover that you can’t know anything.”
Variations of that sentiment have been circulated by trend watchers, cultural commentators and worldview speakers like myself for years now. Over a decade ago, in his excellent and heavily footnoted work “Brainwashed,” author Ben Shapiro observed that a college “education” at many universities today amounts to “a four-year attack on America and God.”
Shapiro had been fired from the UCLA Daily Bruin for writing an op-ed piece around the radical idea that the nation of Israel should not be forced by the U.N. to give up land for peace. Though extortion-like “land-for-peace” agreements have never brought lasting peace to the Middle East, and though such arrangements have never served the best interests of the nation of Israel, approval of such has been the accepted party line for much of Western academia for years.
Yahoo News reports:
Seven percent of Catholic priests were accused of abusing children in Australia between 1950 and 2010 but the allegations were never investigated, “shocking and indefensible” data showed Monday during an inquiry into paedophilia in the church.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse heard that 4,444 alleged incidents of pedophilia were reported to church authorities and in some dioceses, more than 15 percent of priests were perpetrators.
Australia ordered the Royal Commission in 2012 after a decade of growing pressure to investigate allegations of child abuse across the country, with the inquiry now in its final phase after four years of hearings.
“Between 1950 and 2010, overall seven percent of priests were alleged perpetrators,” said Gail Furness, the lawyer leading questioning at the inquiry in Sydney.
See our Research Paper on Roman Catholicism
According to Christian News:
Vice President Mike Pence defended on Sunday President Donald Trump’s decision to retain an Obama-era order banning groups that contract with the federal government from “discriminating” against homosexuals and transgenders in their business or non-profit organization.
“I think throughout the campaign, President Trump made it clear that discrimination would have no place in our administration,” Pence said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” according to a transcript of the discussion. “He was the very first Republican nominee to mention the LGBTQ community at our Republican National Convention and was applauded for it. And I was there applauding with him.”
“I think the generosity of his spirit, recognizing that in the patriot’s heart, there’s no room for prejudice is part of who this president is,” he stated.
What’s Up With That posted a story from The Daily Mail entitled “How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data” that has the details of yet another global warming data scandal. According to the report, fake data was made up prior to the Paris accords:
The Mail on Sunday today reveals astonishing evidence that the organisation that is the world’s leading source of climate data rushed to publish a landmark paper that exaggerated global warming and was timed to influence the historic Paris Agreement on climate change.
A high-level whistleblower has told this newspaper that America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity when it published the sensational but flawed report, aimed at making the maximum possible impact on world leaders including Barack Obama and David Cameron at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015.
The report claimed that the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. Launched by NOAA with a public relations fanfare, it was splashed across the world’s media, and cited repeatedly by politicians and policy makers.
But the whistleblower, Dr John Bates, a top NOAA scientist with an impeccable reputation, has shown The Mail on Sunday irrefutable evidence that the paper was based on misleading, ‘unverified’ data.
Jeff Maples of Pulpit & Pen shares what is going on in the life of disgraced pastor Perry Noble after a 30 days in alcohol rehab — he’s preaching again! Noble fans have his pal Steve Furtick to thank for returning him to the spotlight. Maples writes:
Notable former pastor and founder of Newspring church in Anderson, SC gave his tacit approval of alcohol consumption in 2013. Three years later, he was fired by his church for “falling into sin” with alcoholism. The elders of his church made the decision to terminate him from the pastorate. Less than two months later, after a 30-day alcohol rehab program, he claimed to be cured of his disease and vowed to return to ministry.
I spent 30 days in a treatment facility in Arizona from mid-July until mid-August. Being in that place allowed me to come face to face with issues from my past as well as my current struggle, and placed me in a place to successfully overcome my overmedication via alcohol.
Now, I’m not sure if what he said after that is a result of his years of intoxication, or if he’s simply playing some kind of mind game, but he went on to say,
I can honestly say I am excited about the future God has for me and my family. The one thing I keep hearing from Him over and over again is that He is not finished with me.
Blogger, author and book reviewer Tim Challies has a new series: Deadly Doctrines. In his first installment he defines what doctrine is and has a helpful table. He reminds us that, “The Christian’s responsibility is clear: We are to learn God’s truth by searching God’s Word. We must carefully evaluate every teaching according to God’s unfailing standard. What passes the test is sound doctrine, and what fails the test is false doctrine.”
Challies lays out eight terrible consequences of false doctrine. Discover what those consequences are. He writes:
The heaven tourism fad, there was the best-selling novel that reframed the doctrine of the Trinity. Meanwhile, the largest church in America is led by a man whose platitudes are indistinguishable from fortune cookies. But it’s not just authors and church leaders who are swerving away from the truth. Theologians and laypersons alike are abandoning traditional understandings of manhood and womanhood, of marriage and sexuality. Never has it been more important for Christians to commit themselves to rejecting false doctrine and pursuing sound doctrine, to ensure they are following teachers of truth, not peddlers of error.
In a new series of articles, we will consider false doctrine, sound doctrine, and how to train ourselves to distinguish between them. We will see how God calls us to respond to false and sound doctrine, as well as false and sound teachers. In this opening article, we will briefly define the term “doctrine,” examine the two different kinds of doctrine, and then suggest eight terrible consequences of false doctrine.
New Live Action video shows women being refused care if they want to keep their babies
Over the past couple of weeks, Live Action has released new investigative videos — shedding light on the true nature of what goes on at Planned Parenthood.
While the organization attempts to market itself as dedicated to women’s health care, it seems that if a pregnant mom actually wants to keep her baby, then Planned Parenthood is not the place to go. In a new video, undercover journalists are shown calling 68 Planned Parenthoods around the country — and only three of them agree to do an ultrasound to check the health of the unborn baby.
“No, we don’t do any ultrasounds for prenatal care. We do them when we’re doing abortions, but not for any other reason,” said a Planned Parenthood worker from Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Jesse Johnson of The Cripplegate discusses whether or not believers should have non-believers as close friends. Watch “Ask A Prof.”
Well there are two biblical concepts at play in this question—the first is the principle of purity and the second is the mandate for evangelism.
The Principle of Purity:
Christians are called to be pure. We are supposed to guard our hearts, our thoughts, and our ways. The danger of a friendship with a non-believer is that might bring the Christian down. It could bring a Christian down morally, intellectually, and spiritually.
The Bible says that “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33). Be spending time around those who don’t love Jesus or fear the Lord, we run the risk of negatively impacting our own morality, hampering our world-view, and compromising spiritually.
That is not a prohibition to Christians against these kind of friendships; but it is a warning—a warning that our friendships we guard our hearts, minds, and affections.
According to the editors of Technocracy “Musk fears that AI will turn him into a house cat, so he says we must merge it into our brain via ‘neural lace’ or other implant. Musk is a poster-child for Technocracy and Transhumanism.” Jasper Hamill of The Sun has the story. He writes:
The Tesla tech mogul Elon Musk is preparing to unveil new computers that can be fitted directly into the human brain.
In a tweet, he confirmed his firm was working on this potentially world-changing technology and promised to reveal details of the research “next month”.
He made the astonishing confession after being asked if Tesla was working on “neural lace”.
Denny Burk, Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, has a warning for people of faith:
There is a controversy brewing in the White House that religious voters had better start paying attention to. As I wrote yesterday, there is one faction that wants to keep President Obama’s 2014 LGBT executive order in place, and there is another faction that wants to oppose it with an executive order protecting religious liberty. Politico reports today about who is leading the factions and where this conflict is going:
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump helped lead the charge to scuttle a draft executive order that would have overturned Obama-era enforcements of LGBT rights in the workplace, multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told POLITICO.
A draft executive order on LGBT rights — which outlines how to roll back former president Barack Obama’s protections and expand legal exemptions based on religious beliefs — has been circulating among journalists and worried progressive groups this week.
But two sources close to Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who have in the past been supporters of gay rights, said the young couple were both in favor of putting out a clear statement from the president, promising to uphold the 2014 Obama executive order and stopping the momentum for the turnaround in its tracks.
According to Christian News:
Reports state that President Trump might soon issue an executive order protecting the rights of religious groups following his decision to keep an Obama-era order banning groups that contract with the federal government from “discriminating” against homosexuals and transgenders in their business or non-profit organization.
The outlet The Nation obtained a leaked copy of the order, which allegedly protects faith-based entities “when providing social services, education, or healthcare; earning a living, seeking a job, or employing others; receiving government grants or contracts; or otherwise participating in the marketplace, the public square, or interfacing with federal, state or local governments.”
It also reportedly protects the tax-exempt status of any group that “believes, speaks, or acts (or declines to act) in accordance with the belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, sexual relations are properly reserved for such a marriage, male and female and their equivalents refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy, physiology, or genetics at or before birth, and that human life begins at conception and merits protection at all stages of life.”
From Berean Research:
Steven Kozar of Messed Up Church takes on the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). You will come away from reading his piece with no doubt in your mind as to why this is such a dangerous movement and why discernment bloggers continually warn of the pitfalls of the NAR. I for one have been warning my readers for over a decade. Thus, I can attest to the fact that NAR leaders are, as the late Ken Silva so aptly put it, wing-nuts. And that’s not name calling. That is a fact. Take it from one who’s been researching/reporting on these people since they first managed to infiltrate the Christian Right. Many of you will find this hard to believe, but the pro-family movement is literally teaming with wolves.
But what you’re about to read has nothing to do with the Christian Right and undiscerning pro-family leaders. It’s about a growing movement that’s at the root of the collapse of evangelicalism. In this must read piece, Steve Kozar brings to light the reasons this movement is considered dangerous; likewise, he shows the effects it’s unbiblical teaching has had on those who become a part of it — and it’s not pretty. Steve makes if very clear why professing Christians mustn’t involve themselves in any aspect of the bizarre, unholy, mystical movement that has hijacked evangelicalism. It’s not Christian. It’s not of God. It’s a theological cult. And its leaders are wolves! Run!!
If you’ve been a part of a church that adheres to some of the “New Apostolic Reformation/Signs and Wonders” , there’s a good chance that you have nagging doubts and concerns that keep popping up from somewhere in the back of your mind.
That’s actually good.
According to The Telegraph:
The British Medical Association has said pregnant women should not be called “expectant mothers” as it could offend transgender people.
Instead, they should call them “pregnant people” so as not to upset intersex and transgender men, the union has said.
The advice comes in an internal document to staff outlining a raft of common phrases that should be avoided for fear of causing offence.
“The elderly” should be referred to as “older people”, “disabled lifts” called “accessible lifts” and someone who is “biologically male or female” should be called “assigned male or female”.
According to Christian News:
The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it plans to retain Barack Obama’s 2014 order banning federal contractors from engaging in “discrimination” in employment matters against homosexual and transgendered persons.
“President Trump continues to be respectful and supportive of LGBTQ rights, just as he was throughout the election,” the White House said in a statement. “The president is proud to have been the first ever GOP nominee to mention the LGBTQ community in his nomination acceptance speech, pledging then to protect the community from violence and oppression.”
“The executive order signed in 2014, which protects employees from anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination while working for federal contractors, will remain intact at the direction of President Donald J. Trump,” it outlined.
Obama’s order, #13672, amended a 1969 order by then-President Richard Nixon which prohibited federal contractors from discriminating based on “race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap and age,” as well as a 1998 order from then-President Bill Clinton adding “sexual orientation” to the list.
Amy Spreeman of Berean Research reports on what the NAR “apostles” and “prophets” are up to that includes some really bizarre “prophetic utterances.” Sadly, a growing number of undiscerning Christians are becoming followers of these wolves in sheep’s clothing. Amy has provided a video for those who have a strong stomach:
What’s with the streams?
Several “thus saith the Lord” prophecies about three hyper-Charismatic, New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) empires merging is interesting, given it is coming from several different “prophets.” The predictions alleged to come straight from God’s own mouth say that the three conglomerates, Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church in Redding, California, Mike Bickle’s International House of Prayer (IHOP) empire, and the Toronto church are three rivers that must flow into one.
The original oracle was spawned several years ago by Patricia Bootsma, lead pastorix at the Airport Campus church at Catch The Fire Toronto.
Here’s prophetess Carol Arnott recapping that “word,” stating that Bootsma told her: “Carol, the three rivers, Kansas City, Redding and Toronto, must come together. The three rivers must come together for what God wants to do in this next move,” Arnott remembered. source (Careful; watching past the first 30 seconds will keep you up at night.)