In the midst of an ongoing public dispute with Brannon Howse of Worldview Weekend Radio, Christine Pack of Sola Sisters writes:
I have really struggled with whether or not to say anything public past the one post I initially wrote. I wrote that post in order to address our conflict and to correct some misstatements and mischaracterizations that Brannon had made. However, in the face of the relentless Facebook postings, comments, articles and radio shows by both Brannon Howse and Chris Pinto, I feel I must once again speak up. I know that God is my Judge and my Vindicator, and beyond that, what can man do to me? (Heb. 13:6). And that God also says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” (Rom. 12:19). But this is not about vengeance, and I do think biblically it’s all right to speak up when false witness has been borne against you. So that is what I’m doing.
In an age of iPads and iPhones, it is not uncommon to see a pastor preaching strictly from his electronic tablet, with no actual Bible in sight. Writing at The Gospel Coalition, Matthew Barrett, editor of Credo Magazine, encourages pastors to continue to use a physical Bible while preaching. He writes:
To clarify, I am not against pastors using a tablet in the pulpit for, say, sermon notes. Rather, I’m concerned about replacing the physical Bible with a tablet in the pulpit. As the pastor enters the pulpit to bring the Word of God to the people of God, no hard copy of the Bible is to be found in his hand, gracing the top of the podium, visible to the entire congregation as the book at the center of attention. Instead, the congregation sees a tablet. While this may seem harmless enough, I believe there are several potential dangers this subtle shift generates.
Does God still speak today? Yes. How does He speak? Is it through voices, visions, dreams and prophecies? Should Christians expect personal, special revelation from God that must by necessity be added to the back of their Bibles? Do Not Be Surprised turns to Scripture to answer these questions.
In the midst of an ongoing, controversial debate, Christine Pack of Sola Sisters shares some thoughts. She writes:
I’m writing this letter after being involved for two weeks (as you know) in a firestorm of controversy over one of your ministry partners and a source this ministry partner, who is also a filmmaker, has used in two of his films. In hindsight, I can understand how you feel my comments about your ministry partner were an attack, and I sincerely apologize for causing you distress in this way.
Dr. Peter Jones of Truth X-Change weighs in on what liberals refer to as “Social Justice Christianity.” One example Dr. Jones offers is World Vision’s gradual move away from sharing the true Gospel of Jesus Christ with the lost as they instead encourage people to embrace a works-based social justice gospel. Jones writes:
The evangelical church is increasingly aware of the need to witness to Christ in acts of mercy, especially since some evangelicals in the past spoke almost exclusively of individualistic and future salvation. In reaction, some today are adopting “orthopraxy” (right action) as their main emphasis, downplaying or even abandoning “orthodoxy” (right belief). But good works and sound belief cannot be separated. Alas, instead of a biblical balance, we face the serious danger of a new form of the old “social gospel,” which turns the Christian faith into a system of salvation by works, Jesus into a mere example, like the Buddha, Socrates or Lao Tzu, and Christianity into one variant of interfaith good will. But orthopraxy alone cannot preach the gospel. We as redeemed sinners must “confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord.”
Apprising Ministries has more detail and some further commentary concerning this curious occurrence.
Dr. Albert Mohler writes:
USA Today reported last week that the United States “is taking baby steps forward” in terms of the fertility rate. According to the forecasting group Demographic Intelligence, the USA’s total fertility rate is likely to increase to 1.90 per woman in 2013, up slightly from 1.89 in 2012. Last year’s figure was the lowest recorded in 25 years.
“The United States has seen marked declines in childbearing in the wake of the Great Recession, but we think that this fertility decline is now over,” Sam Sturgeon, president of Demographic Intelligence, told USA Today. “As the economy rebounds and women have the children they postponed immediately after the Great Recession, we are seeing an uptick in U.S. fertility.”
Sturgeon, like many others, points to economic factors as the main driver of fertility rate fluctuations. Similarly, Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau said: “Historically, we’ve seen fertility trends move up and down with economic indicators.”
But, wait just a minute.
David Barton critic, Professor Warren Throckmorton, challenges the Christian historian’s claim that only four professors criticized Barton’s book, The Jefferson Lies. Throckmorton begins by saying:
Facts are pesky.
On July 19, Steve Deace interviewed David Barton (at 24:12 in hour 3) in Iowa after the big political confab there with Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Deace asked Barton to describe the controversy over The Jefferson Lies (now approaching a year ago). He also asked if there was any substance to the criticism.
Barton said a bunch of stuff he usually says about it (e.g., publisher Thomas Nelson got scared of the scary professors, etc.). Then he said:
You’ve got about 6,000 universities in America and they found four professors who criticized what I did. Well, 6,000 universities, you probably have 60,000 professors and they found four who didn’t like it.
Well, we all know who two of them are. But just four? I think he forgot some.
According to author John S. Dickerson:
Reza Aslan, author of the new book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” has been interviewed on a host of media outlets in the last week. Riding a publicity wave, the book has surged to #2 on Amazon’s list.
Media reports have introduced Aslan as a “religion scholar” but have failed to mention that he is a devout Muslim.
His book is not a historian’s report on Jesus. It is an educated Muslim’s opinion about Jesus – yet the book is being peddled as objective history on national TV and radio.
Conrad Mbewe, an African Reformed Baptist pastor, explains why the Charismatic movement is thriving in Africa. Many of his observations also ring true for the West.
Many explanations have been given for the explosion of the Charismatic movement in Africa. Many have seen this as a powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit. Whereas there is probably more than one reason, I want to add my own observation to this for what it is worth. In this blog post, I do not refer to the old conservative form of Pentecostalism once represented by the Assemblies of God churches. I have in mind the current extreme form that is mushrooming literally under every shrub and tree in Africa. How can one explain this phenomenon?
I think that one reason why the Charismatic movement in Africa has been like a wild bushfire is because it has not challenged the African religious worldview but has instead adopted it. It has simply baptised it with Bible verses and Christian words that previously meant something totally different.
Former New Ager and professional astrologer Marcia Montenegro has compiled a brief but very helpful article on the phenomenon known as “Spiritual Disciplines” which have invaded our churches at a dizzying rate in the past decade. In the article, Marcia addresses the premise put forth by Donald Whitney, a widely respected Reformed theologian, that “the only road to Christian maturity and Godliness passes through the practice of the Spiritual Disciplines.” But is this true? Can a Christian truly grow spiritually only by following the so-called Spiritual Disciplines? More to the point, are these Spiritual Disciplines all biblically based or has worldly wisdom crept into the thinking of this generation’s Christian leadership?
Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, addresses the growing belief that unbiblical belief that monogomy is unnatural for many humans. He begins:
The moral decay continues in our Western culture! As shown again with the recent Supreme Court decisions regarding same-sex “marriage,” there has been a rise in the number of people promoting polygamous lifestyles and behavior.
Recently, CNN featured an opinion column by journalist and author Meghan Laslocky titled “Face it: Monogamy is unnatural.” In the column, Laslocky asserts that “monogamy is not natural for many, or probably even most, humans.”
Are those geese flying overhead in a V formation signaling a “victory” for the observer? Is it a clue from God? Or was there another clue somewhere along the way that was missed?
The current mindset among many Christians is that there is some “perfect will” that, like a buried treasure, comes complete with cryptic clues “buried” in the world around us. One must sift through these clues (signs) and discover that “perfect will” that God has waiting for him. Miss a clue and a person might end up with “Plan B”! Sola Sisters shares a resource that should help correct this type of thinking.
According to Christian News Network, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has filed a petition asking that the Court order all county clerks to uphold Proposition 8 and not continue issuing “marriage” licenses to homosexuals. ADF “has been one of the main legal entities defending Proposition 8 in the courts, including in the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to rule on the matter last month. The court had stated that those defending Proposition 8 in Hollingsworth v. Perry did not have legal standing in the case, since California government officials decided not to appeal the lower court’s ruling, which found the state’s marriage amendment unconstitutional.”
It epitomizes irony to watch the reaction of those who cry, “Tolerance! Peace! Love! Unity!” when they are faced with the truth about sin, condemnation and the wrath of a holy God. Not too long ago, Do Not Be Surprised ran a guest post by Pastor Patrick Slyman of Pigeon Cove Chapel in Rockport, MA. The post, entitled “Shaking Your Fist in the Face of God,” was also to run in The Gloucester Times, a local newspaper. It finally did run in the Times on July 3, and the response has been predictable but noteworthy.
The question all Christians must ask themselves in their decision-making process is not so much “What would Jesus do?” but “What would Jesus have you do?” The way in which Christians conduct their lives is to be based on solid biblical principles—what Jesus says—certainly not based on what our corrupt culture deems appropriate. Yet a large number of professing Christians live as if they’re excused from the moral example God has set forth for His people in Scripture.
In this piece Marsha West offers food for thought on the do’s and don’t's of Christian living. She begins:
No question, we are a culture that loves to be entertained. Even churches have caught on to the public’s desire for 24/7 entertainment. As a consequence, a large number of evangelical churches are now driven by a need to fulfill this desire in their congregants. And what better way to pack the house in ginormous auditoriums than to offer a 90 minute stage show enhanced with state-of-the-art sound, lighting and video systems.
Lights, camera, action!
In this article found at The Gospel Coalition, Joe Carter fills us in on what the entertainment industry has in store for us:
The prosperous lifestyles of six megachurch pastors in California will be the subject of a new reality show, “Preachers of L.A.,” slated for the Oxygen network this fall.
In this article found at The Cripplegate, Mike Riccardi reflects on the Supreme Court’s rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. Now, more than ever before, Christians are being pressed to soften their stance on the Word of God. Many Christians have caved to the pressure. Riccardi gives fair warning that we must not back down—not now, not ever. As good soldiers of Jesus Christ, we are to hold our ground. We have no choice but to stand firm! And when the spiritual forces of evil tempt us to soften on a particular doctrine of Scripture, “we must be ready to look that tempter in the face, to raise our copy of the Word of God, and say, “Here I stand!”
Earlier this month, Mayor Carolyn Kirk of Gloucester, MA, proudly raised the rainbow flag to fly under the American flag in the city square. According to Kirk, this gesture was to convey that “We’re a welcoming community, and everyone is welcome in our city.”
One local pastor, however, sees things differently. Pastor Patrick Slyman of Pigeon Cove Chapel reminds that the rainbow originally was meant as a symbol of God’s grace, and that the world has distorted this original intent, turning it instead into a symbol of the very thing God abhors: sin. Writes Slyman:
It is frightening to think, but on June 1 Mayor Kirk (representing the town of Gloucester) actually shook her fist in the face of God—supposing that God’s hatred of sin has dissipated, presuming that God’s grace will always be upon this town, thinking that God’s hatred against sin has changed. In effect, it was a mocking of the holiness of God—taking the very symbol of His grace and flying it proudly in the exaltation of sin—the very reason why God judged the earth previously.
Christian talk show host Janet Mefferd recently had Dr. Peter Jones of the Truth Xchange on her show to discuss the growing influence of Hinduism in America, even among professing Christians. This is a very important topic, because many Christians today seem to grasp the religious syncretism and idolatry of the Old Testament at only an intellectual level. You would get head nodding all ’round if you brought up the topic of religious syncretism, with your Christian friends affirming oh yes, that would be bad, very bad indeed, if Christians today were to try to syncretize their religious practices with forbidden pagan religious practices! Of course, the problem is that they might say this while they’re tucking their yoga mats under their arms and heading out the door for a yoga class. This is the kind of disconnect that Dr. Jones addresses in this very informative interview.
Christine Pack of the Sola Sisters blog writes:
I have never bothered to address the problems with the book The Circle Maker, because the whole concept of “circle making” was simply so patently pagan and ridiculous on the face of it that I assumed the unbiblical nature of the book would be obvious to any Christian. When Christian apologist Chris Rosebrough and Pastor Tim Challies both thoroughly exposed the theological issues with the book, I continued to assume this was a “no-brainer” for most Christians. Sadly however, I am receiving more and more emails from people saying that their church leaders are recommending The Circle Maker, doing a Bible study with it, passing it out, etc.
In early June 2013, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Calvinism Advisory Committee released a statement entitled, “Truth, Trust, and Testimony in a Time of Tension.” This statement addresses the issue of Calvinism that has long been the topic of intense debate within the SBC. Dr. Albert Mohler, who, along with Dr. Eric Hankins, was one of the primary drafters of this report, says of this document and the related ongoing discussion:
Out of truth comes trust, and that trust produces a common testimony — even a common testimony about where we disagree. We are thankful that the Southern Baptist Convention is engaged in this debate, and not the debates over core doctrines and biblical morality that are shattering liberal Protestantism.
David Crank, pastor of Faith Church in St. Louis, recently wrote on his blog the following:
You need to know inside and out that you don’t have to ACT like a Christian, if you prayed to invite Christ into your life, you ARE a Christian.
This statement, along with the rest of his blog post, demonstrates that David Crank does not understand true salvation or the God who gives it.
The Christian Post recently enlisted Deborah Fikes, Representative to the United Nations and Executive Advisor for the World Evangelical Alliance, and Ambassador for The Climate Group’s Clean Revolution campaign, to compose an article suggesting a new method that churches may use to “engage” the youth. Fikes believes that “common ground” can be attained if churches would become more involved in the climate change “problem.”
Christian News Network reports:
The enrollment of an openly homosexual student at a prominent Baptist theological seminary is being called into question by those who wonder why the institution is seemingly overlooking immoral behavior by those it will be sending out into the ministry.
As previously reported, The Atlantic recently published an essay written by Liberty University graduate Brandon Ambrosino, in which the former student outlined his personal experience of coming out as a homosexual on campus.