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Tuesday, August 31, 2010
By John Blake, CNN
(CNN) -- If you're the parent of a Christian teenager, Kenda Creasy Dean has this warning:
Your child is following a "mutant" form of Christianity, and you may be responsible.
Dean says more American teenagers are embracing what she calls "moralistic therapeutic deism." Translation: It's a watered-down faith that portrays God as a "divine therapist" whose chief goal is to boost people's self-esteem.
Dean is a minister, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and the author of "Almost Christian," a new book that argues that many parents and pastors are unwittingly passing on this self-serving strain of Christianity.
She says this "imposter'' faith is one reason teenagers abandon churches.
"If this is the God they're seeing in church, they are right to leave us in the dust," Dean says. "Churches don't give them enough to be passionate about."
What traits passionate teens share
Dean drew her conclusions from what she calls one of the most depressing summers of her life. She interviewed teens about their faith after helping conduct research for a controversial study called the National Study of Youth and Religion.
The study, which included in-depth interviews with at least 3,300 American teenagers between 13 and 17, found that most American teens who called themselves Christian were indifferent and inarticulate about their faith.
The study included Christians of all stripes -- from Catholics to Protestants of both conservative and liberal denominations. Though three out of four American teenagers claim to be Christian, fewer than half practice their faith, only half deem it important, and most can't talk coherently about their beliefs, the study found.
Many teenagers thought that God simply wanted them to feel good and do good -- what the study's researchers called "moralistic therapeutic deism."
Monday, August 30, 2010
Having posted this past Friday, this event has already taken place.
Around 2,000 ministers and religious leaders are expected to attend Glenn Beck’s “Divine Destiny” event Friday night ahead of the television and radio personality's more publicized “Restoring Honor” rally on Saturday.
Beck will hold Friday’s faith-based event at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington to rally conservatives of different faiths around their shared values, principles and strong belief that faith can play an essential role in reuniting the country.
“Whether we care to believe it or not, our country is in our danger’s hour,” says Beck. ”And there’s only one answer.”
For the event, Beck spent the past year trying to reach out to some of the biggest names in faith – an effort he says “has been extraordinarily difficult because of my faith and because of who I am.”
Beck, a Mormon who had been raised in a Catholic home, has become increasingly popular among social conservatives for his political commentaries but has not been so easily embraced by Christian theological conservatives who regard Mormonism as heresy or, at best, non-Christian.
Before deciding to stand by Beck, evangelical megachurch pastor Jim Garlow said he had to do a lot sorting and watched Beck as closely as he could.
“I have listened and watched very carefully regarding clues to Glenn’s spiritual condition,” said the lead pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in La Mesa, Calif.
“I have interviewed several people who have been with him and have talked very specifically with him regarding his own personal salvation,” he added.
And according to Garlow, Beck has said “unequivocally” that that he relies on the atonement of Jesus on the cross for forgiveness for his sins.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
The recovery in Delhi of the girl represented the cracking of a network that has trafficked Christian girls and women from Orissa to the national capital, sources said.
“Human trafficking agents operating in the tribal belt of Orissa have targeted the Christian girls who are displaced by the Kandhamal communal violence – we have been receiving complaints of missing girls from Kandhamal after the violence broke out in 2008,” said attorney Lansinglu Rongmei, one of the rescue team members. “Roughly 60 girls are estimated missing and have been trafficked to different states.”
Saturday, August 28, 2010
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, August 27 (CDN) — Authorities on Wednesday (Aug. 25) recovered the bodies of three Christian relief workers who had been kidnapped and killed by members of the Pakistani Taliban in the flood-ravaged country, area officials said.
Swat District Coordination Officer Atif-ur-Rehman told Compass that the Pakistan Army recovered the bodies of the three foreign flood-relief workers at about 7 a.m. on Wednesday. An official at the international humanitarian organization that employed the workers withheld their names and requested that the agency remain unnamed for security reasons. Military sources who withheld news of the deaths from electronic and print media to avoid panicking other relief workers granted permission to Compass to publish it in limited form.
“The foreign aid workers have been working in Mingora and the surrounding areas,” Rehman said. “On Aug. 23 they were returning to their base at around 5:35 p.m. when a group of Taliban attacked their vehicle. They injured around five-six people and kidnapped three foreign humanitarian workers.”
Thursday, August 26, 2010
"Always remember, when somebody comes up with something new,
it's usually wrong. We are to be plagiarists of the same information that
God gave the first Christians." -- Dr. Matthew McMahon, aPuritansMind.com
Quoting Iain Murray . . .
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
by Greg Koukl
Is God the author of evil or its helpless victim? St. Augustine's answer has been the most intellectually credible and emotionally satisfying solution to this vexing problem.One doesn't need a Ph.D. in theology to look around the world and realize something is desperately wrong. The existence of evil is one of the most vexing challenges a Christian--or any person, for that matter-- must grapple with. It's occupied the minds of great Christian thinkers since the beginning, including St. Augustine (354-430). For much of his life he worked hard at a solution.
Augustine's approach was not just brilliant; it was practical. His insight is intellectually credible and emotionally satisfying in that it gives hope and offers meaning to the Christian trying to make sense out of life in a fallen world.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
What do you think of this? There was a time when I thought this man was a fool too.
Monday, August 23, 2010
And just what is Hipster Christianity?
McCracken identifies it as the various attempts on the part of church leaders to make the Christian faith appear hip, edgy, and relevant, and which are (ironically) the very factors that will bring about its undoing. He writes:
Increasingly, the "plan" has taken the form of a total image overhaul, where efforts are made to rebrand Christianity as hip, countercultural, relevant. As a result, in the early 2000s, we got something called "the emerging church"—a sort of postmodern stab at an evangelical reform movement. Perhaps because it was too "let's rethink everything" radical, it fizzled quickly. But the impulse behind it—to rehabilitate Christianity's image and make it "cool"—remains.
There are various ways that churches attempt to be cool. For some, it means trying to seem more culturally savvy. The pastor quotes Stephen Colbert or references Lady Gaga during his sermon, or a church sponsors a screening of the R-rated "No Country For Old Men." For others, the emphasis is on looking cool, perhaps by giving the pastor a metrosexual makeover, with skinny jeans and an $80 haircut, or by insisting on trendy eco-friendly paper and helvetica-only fonts on all printed materials. Then there is the option of holding a worship service in a bar or nightclub (as is the case for L.A.'s Mosaic church, whose downtown location meets at a nightspot called Club Mayan).
Sunday, August 22, 2010
No videos or compelling news stories today. Just a time to reflect, pray and meditate on the dear ones around the world who often give it all for the glory of our Saviour. Here is a great quote from Charles Spurgeon:
"Someone asked, will the heathen who have never heard the Gospel be saved? It is more a question with me whether we -- who have the Gospel and fail to give it to those who have not -- can be saved." -- Charles Spurgeon
Saturday, August 21, 2010
NAIROBI, Kenya, August 19 (CDN) — Christian university students on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar, a predominantly Muslim area off the coast of East Africa, have been denied the right to worship, while on another part of the isle a Christian leader has been jailed.
Sources said evangelist Peter Masanja, a resident of Zanzibar’s southeastern town of Paje, was arrested by security agents sometime in early August. Earlier this year Masanja, a member of the Pentecostal Church in Zanzibar, would invite Christians to his house, as he had made part of his land available for church activities. Area Muslims interpreted it as plans to establish another church there, the sources said.
The rumor angered local residents, and they vowed to prohibit any Christian activities, the sources said.
“It was only after her husband failed to return home that Masanja’s wife knew that there was something amiss,” said a source who requested anonymity. “After several days of searching, reports reached the wife that Masanja had been arrested and imprisoned in Kilimani cell.”
Pastors from Tanzania’s Zanzibar Island sought to meet with prison authorities about Masanja’s arrest, but officials informed them that the person in charge of the prison was away on official business, said Bishop Obeid Fabian, chairman of an association of congregations known as the Fraternal Churches.
“We are asking for prayers for him and his family, that he would be released,” Fabian said.
Friday, August 20, 2010
As I have been reading through my Bible, one word kept popping up that hit me: It was the word ‘cheerful.’ I became intrigued at how the word was used in Scripture.
Deuteronomy 24:5 says,
Proverbs 15:13 says,
Psalm 10:4 says,
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wisdom from Spurgeon's publication, The Sword and the Trowel.
Such is LIFE. A bubble, brilliant with rainbow hues, delighting the eye of youth for a moment and then gone for ever, leaving not a trace behind. Man wilt thou risk thine all upon that bubble? Be wise and seek substantial good, and since this can ne'er be found beneath the skies, cry to the God of Heaven for his gracious aid.
Such is LIFE. A gourd, like that of Jonah, which cometh up in a night and dieth in a night. Wilt thou make its leaves thine only shelter? Then what wilt thou do when the gourd is withered and the hot sun of divine wrath scorches thee? O that thou wouldst fly to Jesus who is the shadow of a great rock in a weary land!
Such is LIFE. A meteor blazing its moment and then lost in darkness! If thou be sane thou wilt desire another and more lasting light than this can give thee! The Sun of Righteousness Shines on for ever.
Such is LIFE. Like the swift ship which skims the deep and soon disappears beneath the horizon's line! Shall thy happiness be as fleeting as this? Dost thou not long for a more enduring joy?
Such is LIFE. As the eagle which hasteth to its prey, so passeth away thine earthly existence! Whither art thou flying? Immortal Spirit, to what country art thou bound? Thou canst not pause, but thou mayest think, and it may be the Lord may turn thee heavenwards!
Such is LIFE. An arrow speeding from a bow, a hart bounding over the plain. Speed is found in its highest degree in our life; none can outrun it. O friend, art thou ready for the grave and the judgment? for in a few days thou must know more of them than now.
Such is LIFE. A flower which bloometh for a little season and then withereth away. Ye young, ye gay, ye proud, are ye so silly as to dream that your earthly life will last for ever? Think of your latter end, and seek that friend, who will be with you in life and in death, even Jesus, the sinner's Saviour.
HT: The Spurgeon Archive
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
She is a diehard Broncos fan but has no love in her heart for its limelight-stealing sensation, rookie quarterback and evangelical everyman Tim Tebow.
"He's a big distraction and has done nothing to prove he's NFL material," the 25-year-old Fort Collins woman said Tuesday morning at Broncos training camp in Dove Valley.
It's Tebow's eagerness to share his Christian values and beliefs that really irks her.
"That's why I hate him," she said.
"That's why I adore him," said Jennifer Longmore, 26, of Loveland, who quickly adds that "it's a miracle" she and Olson are good friends.
Tebow is the only player on the team whose name Longmore knows.
"It's my personal opinion that if you don't have a uterus, you don't have a right to express an opinion about abortion," Olson snapped.
"You did not just go there," Longmore said.
Tebow, a former University of Florida Gator, is perhaps as well-known for his custom of inscribing Scripture chapters and verses under his eyes as he was for winning a Heisman Trophy.
Then he filmed a Super Bowl TV ad for the Colorado Springs conservative ministry Focus on the Family, for which he and his mother extolled family virtues and made subtle reference to her decision to give birth to him, her "miracle baby," rather than end her life-threatening pregnancy during her Christian mission overseas.
"If he wants to preach his values, he can do it at church and not at Mile High stadium," Olson said.
"I think he's absolutely great testimony, and I'm glad he was not aborted in the missionary field," Longmore said.
It probably was a long ride home to northern Colorado for them.
Unquestionably happy about Tebow, the large evangelical Christian community in the state sees him as the perfect role model for sports-crazed children.
"We are excited he's here in town," said Robin Gentry, a 38-year-old mother of three from Centennial who identifies herself as an evangelical Christian.
"He's not afraid to talk about his faith or show people what he believes," Gentry said. "I like him as a person. I like his integrity."
Dillon Meyers, an 11-year-old from Littleton, is, like many people, wearing Tebow's No. 15 jersey.
"I think he's going to be good. I like that he looks up to people and believes in God," Dillon said.
His grandfather, Ron Woitalewicz, said he approves of Dillon's looking up to Tebow.
"His character, his work ethic and beliefs make him special," Woitalewicz said. "We're Catholic. People are excited about his devotion and faith. In an age of flamboyant NFL players, he's grounded. It's not all about him."
There are other pro athletes out there who are like that, Woitalewicz said, "but he's just more open about it."
James Perry, 22, of Denver comes from a long line of Broncos fans. He said he likes to think that religion is kept separate from what happens on the field, yet he realizes that Tebow's faith is an important part of his character.
"He plays with a lot of heart," Perry said. "He's very fierce on the field. He has a great attitude. You watch him in the wind sprints — he never gives up. He never dogs out."
As many fans observed in many different ways, Tebow plays football religiously.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
If nothing else, this is entertaining! Sorry for the subtitles.
Monday, August 16, 2010
And how can such people know whether their sin is a temporary failure or proof that they are unsaved?Obviously even in Scripture we see that believers sometimes sin grievously and over long periods of time. David is one example (2 Samuel 11-12; Psalm 51); Lot is another (2 Peter 2:7-9). Christians who sin in such a fashion should not expect to enjoy assurance, however. Of course, true believers do not lose their salvation when they sin (cf. Romans 8:35-39), but even David testified that he had forfeited the joy of salvation (Psalm 51:12).
When believers sin, they dishonor Christ (1 Corinthians 6:15-17). They grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). They subject themselves to the discipline of a loving Father (Hebrews 12:5-7). If people can continue in sin without experiencing divine discipline, something is terribly wrong: "If you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons" (v. 8).
As for how to deal with a sinning believer, our Lord established a step-by-step process:
- If your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer. Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
- Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst. (Matthew 18:15-20)
Notice that the discipline process Jesus outlined is specifically intended to determine whether a person in sin is a true brother or an outsider. "If he listens to you [if he repents], you have won your brother" (v. 15). But ultimately, "if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer" (v. 17)--that is, regard him as an unbeliever and pursue him evangelistically. The Lord goes on to state that He personally mediates His rule on earth through that process (v. 20).
No one who persists in willful, deliberate sin and rebellion against the Lord should be encouraged with any promise of assurance. If you know someone like that who professes faith in Christ, follow the process of Matthew 18 and call that person to repentance. But don't encourage him or her with the promise of security. Such a person may be clinging to a false hope.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
All I can say about this little girl is "wow!"
Thursday, August 12, 2010
This is for my brothers and sisters who are dealing with various trials right now. Seems a number of them are to one degree or another. This is short, but so true.- Soli Deo Gloria
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Does Hebrews 6:4-6 teach that a true believer can lose his salvation?
No. In that passage, the writer of Hebrews is speaking to the unsaved who have heard the truth and acknowledged it, but who have hesitated to embrace Christ. The Holy Spirit warns them, “You had better come to Christ now, for if you fall away it will be impossible for you to come again to the point of repentance.” They were at the best point for repentance–full knowledge. To fall back from that would be fatal.
Because they believe the warning is addressed to Christians, many interpreters hold that the passage teaches that salvation can be lost. If this interpretation were true, however, the passage would also teach that, once lost, salvation could never be regained. There would be no going back and forth, in and out of grace. But Christians are not being addressed, and it is the opportunity for receiving salvation, not salvation itself, that can be lost.
The believer need never fear he will lose his salvation. He cannot. The Bible is absolutely clear about that. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29; see also Rom. 8:35-39; Phil. 1:6; and 1 Pet. 1:4-5).
If you are in Christ, rejoice. Your salvation is secure forever.
HT: MacArthur's Questions and Answers
Monday, August 9, 2010
Another great video exerpt from a sermon by brother Paul Washer.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Two leaders shot outside courtroom after handwriting report threatened to exonerate them.
FAISALABAD, Pakistan, July 19 (CDN) — Today suspected Islamic extremists outside a courthouse here shot dead two Christians accused of “blaspheming” Muhammad, the prophet of Islam.
The gunmen shot the Rev. Rashid Emmanuel, 32, and his 30-year-old brother Sajid Emmanuel, days after handwriting experts on Wednesday (July 14) notified police that signatures on papers denigrating Muhammad did not match those of the accused. Expected to be exonerated soon, the two leaders of United Ministries Pakistan were being led in handcuffs back to jail under police custody when they were shot at 2:17 p.m., Christians present said.
Rizwan Paul, president of advocacy group Life for All, said five armed, masked men opened fire on the two Christians amid crowds outside Faisalabad District and Sessions Court.
“Five armed, masked men attacked and opened fire on the two accused,” Paul said. “Sajid died on the spot,” while Rashid Emmanuel died later.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
On the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar, Pastor Paulo Kamole Masegi of the Evangelistic Assemblies of God had purchased land in April 2007 for a church building in Mwanyanya-Mtoni, and by November of that year he had built a house that served as a temporary worship center, he said.
Masegi intended for the house to serve eventually as his family’s home within the church compound, but on Nov. 11, 2007, his congregation began to worship there.
Soon area Muslim residents objected, saying they didn’t like seeing the church in the area, said Pastor Lucian Mgaywa of the Church of God in Tanzania.
“This was the beginning of the church’s tribulations,” Pastor Mgaywa said.
In August 2009, local Muslims began to build a mosque just three feet away from the church plot, Pastor Mgaywa said. In November 2009, Pastor Masegi began building a permanent church structure. Angry Muslims invaded the compound and destroyed the structure’s foundation, the pastors said.
Friday, August 6, 2010
by Collin Maxwell
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Chatting at a coffee shop in his hometown, Peter Hitchens is disinclined to talk about his older brother, Christopher, the famously combative journalist.
The two brothers have never been close, and in fact are well known to dislike each other. But Peter is obviously sad when asked about his brother’s illness, and one can imagine that, if he had known what was to come, he might have kept his sword in its scabbard.
But that is not in the Hitchens nature. Christopher is known in England, in his adopted United States and beyond as a mercurial provocateur — once a Trotskyite, now a supporter of the Iraq war, always an atheist, author of a derisive book attacking Mother Teresa — while Peter’s fame is concentrated in England. But his own books, journalism and television commentary, all very conservative, show the same frank ruthlessness, and the same ability to attract enemies. For two sons of a respectable officer in the Royal Navy, they are not very good boys.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Here's a great web site by Sye Ten Bruggencate called Proof That God Exists. Be sure to take the time to check out. It's based on a series of questions with the answer to the "big question."
Monday, August 2, 2010
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Stunned Christians suspect bias in case of politician’s role in Orissa violence.
NEW DELHI, July 30 (CDN) — Less than a month after Orissa state legislator Manoj Pradhan was sentenced to seven years of prison for his part in anti-Christian mob violence in 2008, he was released on bail pending his appeal.
Along with fellow Hindu nationalist Prafulla Mallick, Pradhan on June 29 was convicted of causing grievous hurt and rioting in connection with the murder of a Christian, Parikhita Nayak. Justice B.P. Ray heard the petition on July 7, and the same day he granted Pradhan and Mallick bail conditional on posting bail bond of 20,000 rupees (US$430) each.
Pradhan and Mallick were released from jail on July 12 and await the outcome of an appeal to the Orissa High Court.
Attorney Bibhu Dutta Das said that ordinary people don’t get bail so easily when convicted of such crimes, and he questioned how Pradhan could be granted release just for being a legislator.
“It takes years for convictions in High Court,” Das told Compass. “We will not sit silent. We will challenge this bail order in the [New Delhi] Supreme Court very soon.”
The Christian community expressed shock that someone sentenced to seven years in prison would get bail within seven days of applying for it.