Billy Graham mag calls out ‘lie of progressive Christianity’

Says Buttigieg, others seek to drive biblical faith to ‘outer margins of society’

 

DecisionButtigieg

The mantle of “progressive Christianity” is being claimed by more and more people these days – some megachurches, some old-line denominations and even some politicians.

It’s roughly a gospel that regards the Bible as a good book but insists it must be reinterpreted to comport with contemporary society.

But now Decision Magazine, the publication launched by Billy Graham and still run by his organization, has unleashed a broadside against that belief system.

Its June front-page headline, “The lie of ‘progressive Christianity,’” is plastered over the image of Pete Buttigieg.

He’s the Democratic presidential hopeful who just a few weeks ago attacked the faith of Vice President Mike Pence, whose beliefs align with traditional Christian views of marriage and sexuality.

“Back in April when Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg threw stones at ‘the Mike Pences of the world’ for their historic Christian beliefs about marriage, sexuality and sin, he drew rapt attention from the news media. He also raised the visibility of a religious movement that claims the term Christian but denies the full authority of Scripture on which ‘the faith once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3, NKJV) is based,” writes the author of the article, Jerry Pierce.

“Buttigieg’s ‘progressive Christianity’ allows him to claim a commitment to the faith that Jesus Christ taught in the Gospels and still remain married to his male partner,” he wrote.

But R. Albert Mohler Jr., the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, says that’s a “distortion” of God’s Word.

Buttigieg attacked Pence’s faith as “social extremism” and, in effect, told faithful evangelicals to either “affirm the new sexuality embodied in the LGBTQ movement, or affirm the full authority of Scripture and be anathema in the postmodern culture.”

Mohler told Decision that it is tempting for Christians faithful to the Bible to hunt down a “middle ground” on such issues.

But that’s not what the Bible allows.

“I have made the argument that everybody’s opinion on these matters is going to be known,” Mohler told the magazine. “It may be when you run for office. It may be when you move into the dorm. It may be when a new neighbor walks in and you end up in conversation. But the point is, there’s nowhere to hide on these issues. There are a lot of Christians who are trying to hide in the tall grass, and that’s not going to work.”

The article says Buttigieg and others of his belief system are trying to drive biblical Christians “to the outer margins of society.”

Mohler explained “the new liberalism under the ‘progressive’ banner is encroaching on more conservative churches amid a culture that paints biblical values as oppressive and bigoted.”

He told Decision that Christians don’t want to appear hateful but issues such as homosexuality cannot be defined “on the world’s terms.”

The issue has brought untold grief to the United Methodists, now caught in a fight between conservative African and Asian members and progressives in the United States.

Lay leader Mark Tooley, a Methodist and president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, told Decision progressive Christians often affirm miracles, even the Apostles’ Creed, but deny the full authority of God’s Word.

“This is true for mainline Protestants, but also increasingly for many members of the post-evangelical left,” he told Decision.

Mohler said he is concerned that Christians eventually may be deemed as subversive as early Christians were in Rome, who were killed for their faith.

“There’s no middle ground between affirming and denying the bodily resurrection of Christ. There’s also no middle ground between defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman and saying it can be something else,” he said.

https://www.wnd.com/2019/06/billy-graham-mag-calls-out-lie-of-progressive-christianity/

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Jesus Gave Me What Boozing and Brawling Couldn’t

My journey from the criminal underworld to the foot of the cross.
ALLEN LANGHAM| MAY 17, 2019

Jesus Gave Me What Boozing and Brawling Couldn’t

Six years ago—lost, broken, alone, and suicidal—I was the empty shell of a once-promising rugby player, shuffling around an exercise yard in a London prison. I was a man of extreme violence who had done seven stretches behind bars.

One morning around that time, I watched a flock of birds take off from a ledge outside my cell. Right then, I knew God was real—and that he had reached down to rescue me from the pit of hell.

A Ticking Time Bomb

As a child, there was violence everywhere I turned. My mother had been widowed by her first husband, abused for 20 years by her second, and deserted by my father (whom she never married) when I was eight months old. She and my two sisters surrounded me with love—I was the little favorite of the family. But she was also a harsh disciplinarian and liberally wielded what we called “the Allen stick” to keep me under control.

Throbbing with anger and resentment toward my absent father, I was constantly getting into scraps with neighborhood bullies, hoping to earn their respect. I was also abused several times: by a family friend, by a boy across the road, and by a man I can’t say much about because I’ve blocked the worst details from my memory.

I had some means of escape. Often I would skip school to go fishing or run off to the woods and dress up as an Army sergeant major, shouting commands at the other kids and exerting control to hide my inner pain. I loved sports and showed potential from an early age. And on Sundays, I would venture out on my own to attend church. At home I was fatherless and abused, but there I felt safe and at peace.

One morning, alerted by the shrieks of my eldest sister, I came downstairs to find my mother dead on the sofa, the victim of a cerebral hemorrhage. Something snapped in me that day—I was only 14—that put me on the road to destruction for the next 20 years.

I went to three schools, getting expelled from the first two for unmanageable behavior. By the time I left home at 16, I was a ticking time bomb—angry, bitter, and lost. My sister ran pubs, and I started down the path of drinking, gambling, and fighting, emulating the “gangster” lifestyle. This was my idea of what it meant to be a man.

But I excelled at rugby, and at 17 I signed a professional contract with Sheffield Eagles. Soon enough, I had far more money than good sense. Craving acceptance from members of the criminal underworld I perversely thought of as “family,” I began fighting for money, selling drugs, collecting debts for dealers, and generally bullying and intimidating my way through life. I walked into my first prison term as a lost little boy trapped inside a professional rugby player’s body.

A Hostile World

It didn’t take long for prison to turn me into a hardened criminal. It was a hostile world—physically, mentally, and emotionally—where only the fittest survived. In prison I developed a heroin addiction, which left me alienated from my firstborn daughter and her mother.

Between sentences, I went chasing the bright lights of London but ended up sleeping on the streets of the Strand. Without the “good fortune” of being sent back, I might have died. Back in custody, spurred forward by a picture of my daughter on my cell wall, I resolved to rebuild my life. During the next two years, I caught up on my schooling and got clean from heroin. But after the next release, I soon returned to my old ways. The vicious merry-go-round kept spinning: drinking, drugs (now cocaine), partying, violence, sex, and before long, a trip back to the slammer.

During my stints in prison, I was always drawn to the chapel. I considered it a place of refuge, just as church had offered a safe haven from the tumult of my childhood. Over the years, I experimented with everything: Buddhism, Hinduism, spiritualism, counseling, course after course, medication—but nothing worked. I was still a wreck. Despite my burning desire to change, I couldn’t find any peace or stability.

Eventually, after stabbing a number of fellow inmates, I landed in Belmarsh, a top-security prison in southeast London. I hated who I had become. With my violent outbursts and paranoid behavior, I had pushed away anyone I ever cared for—and put my family through hell. I was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually broken. Outwardly, I sought “respect” by lashing out against anyone or anything in my way. But on the inside, I remained a lost little boy in desperate need of love and acceptance.

While awaiting trial in a kidnapping and hostage-taking case, I finally hit rock bottom and decided to commit suicide. With tears streaming down my face, I dropped to my knees and made one final plea to God: “If you’re real and you hear me, put a white dove outside my prison window. Show me you are with me!” At the time, I had no conception of the dove being a symbol for the Holy Spirit. I was only looking for some sign of hope and new beginnings.

The next morning, when a flock of pigeons lifted off the nearby ledge, I saw the dove sitting there. Something inside me jumped, and tears of joy replaced tears of despair.

After transferring to another prison in Leeds, I began praying and studying the Bible in earnest. Reading Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind, I stumbled across a chapter where Meyer describes taking the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her father, rolling it into a ball, and laying it at Jesus’ feet. I decided to do the same with my rage. Before going to sleep, I closed my eyes, imagined Jesus on the cross, balled up my rage, and surrendered it to him. When I awoke, I felt peace like never before.

The Long Refining

Being a Christian—and turning away from drinking, drugs, and sleeping around—hasn’t been easy. (It’s tough having a functioning conscience!) At first I was on fire for Christ, and my zeal would outrun my better judgment. I would strike up conversations with complete strangers and probably put them off forever. I would go to pubs to tell people about Jesus and—still enslaved to old habits—end up drinking to excess. On one occasion, I found myself in bed with a woman after trying to share the gospel with her. I needed serious refining.

But God, in his patience, kept using this broken vessel for his purposes. He has given me the privilege of going into prisons—at first under the supervision of more mature Christians, then increasingly on my own—and testifying to the hope and forgiveness he offers. I have spoken to rooms full of men convicted of the most heinous crimes, including pedophiles and murderers, and seen them reduced to tears. At a key moment when I wondered where my life was going, God helped me launch a ministry (Steps to Freedom) that reaches out to young people abandoned by society. He let me return to my first love, sports, as a chaplain serving several teams.

Miraculously, God has even given me my family back. It has taken years, but one by one he has repaired broken relationships with my sisters and their families, with my three children, and with the father who deserted us so long ago.

The refining process has been long and hard. But bit by bit, it’s polishing me into a trophy of God’s grace.

Allen Langham is the author of Taming of a Villain: A Message of Hope (Lion Hudson).

 

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Geckos Evidence of Creation NOT Evolution

By David Jolly – June 9, 2019

Virtually everyone here in the U.S. has seen or heard of the gecko used in commercials for a certain insurance company. That gecko has successfully invaded and colonized many homes and businesses throughout the country. But what does that have to do with Creation?

As I have previously shared, while working on my master’s thesis, I studied a different gecko that also invaded and colonized many homes and businesses in the U.S. The first documented report of the Mediterranean gecko, Hemidactylus turcicus, was in Key West, Florida in 1915. Through the scientific literature, I tracked this gecko across the Gulf Coast states from Florida to Texas. At the time of my research, I lived in Mesa, Arizona and the Mediterranean gecko had been well established in the area for over 35 years.

During my research, I found that the only life history study ever done in the U.S. on this interesting little gecko was conducted in Texas and published in 1986. In the conclusion of this study, the author claimed that the Mediterranean gecko was proof of evolution because of its method of colonization which is known as the Founder Principle. Evolutionists have long used the Founder Principle to justify their theory.

The Founder Principle is defined as the establishment of a new population from a larger population by the transportation of a few individuals, a gravid[i] female or a nest, to a new area that is isolated from the original population. The new population will contain a lesser amount of genetic variation than was found in the larger original population. In a number of instances, the decrease in genetic traits will lead to enough of a change between the two populations to make interbreeding unlikely or impossible which in turn will result in the establishment of a new species or subspecies. And it is these changes that are used as proof of evolution.

The Founder Principle is one variation of what is called a genetic bottleneck.  A genetic bottleneck generally occurs as a result of a major event that drastically reduces the number of individuals in a population. It can also be the result of removing a few individuals from the parent population and relocating them in a new and isolated location. Examples of a genetic bottleneck could be a disease that kills off a majority of a population, leaving only a few individuals left. It could also be the effect of transplanting a few individuals to a remote location that is geographically separated from the original larger population. As can be seen in the image to the right, the narrower the neck of the bottle (meaning the fewer individuals that survive or are passed on to the new population) the fewer genetic traits that are passed on with them.

What if the ‘A’ was a trait for a large body size and ‘a’ was a trait for a small body size. Those individuals with ‘AA’ would be quite large, while those with ‘Aa’ would be medium sized and those with ‘aa’ had a small body size.

 

The parent population contained a fairly equal amount of the large and small traits which may have resulted in medium sized individuals. In the first example of the largest bottleneck, more traits are passed on and the new population will most likely reflect the traits of the parent population and have medium sized bodies. In the middle example, both traits occur, but there are a greater number of individuals with traits for the larger body size than the smaller, so in all likelihood, that population would have been somewhat larger than the parent population. In the third example, only those individuals with the ‘a’ trait survived, resulting in a population of smaller individuals.

Indeed, the Mediterranean gecko did colonize via the Founder Principle. When I mapped out the various reports of the appearance of the geckos across the Gulf Coast states, the paths followed the major highways and port cities. As a rule, they do not migrate more than a few dozen yards from where they hatch. They are nocturnal geckos that inhabit urban and industrial areas. They like to hide in the cracks in walls and fences of homes and commercial businesses and in and around boxes and freight. The females will nest in and under items such as large cartons of freight. Unlike most reptiles that lay numerous eggs at a time, female Mediterranean geckos lay an average of only 2 eggs at a time. However, up to a dozen or more females will lay their eggs in the same nest. When the freight is shipped from one city to the next, sometimes a few individuals or a nest will be shipped along with it allowing the geckos to colonize a new area.

Since the Mediterranean gecko repeatedly colonized across the U.S. by means of the Founder Principle, I tried to determine if there were any differences between the ones that were now well established in Arizona compared to those from Texas and Florida. Besides the nearly 100 geckos collected from the Mesa, Arizona area, I was able to obtain a number of specimens from Texas as well.   Unfortunately, I was unable to collect any specimens from Florida.

When comparing the Arizona and Texas specimens, what I found was quite interesting. The Arizona specimens were significantly smaller than the Texas geckos.  Additionally, the Texas geckos were far more aggressive than the Arizona geckos. Approximately 80% of the Texas geckos would try to bite when handled while none of the Arizona geckos ever bit. When placed together in a terrarium, the aggressiveness of the Texas geckos was such that even when the Arizona geckos out numbered the Texas geckos 10-to-1, they would find a secluded corner as far away from the Texas gecko as possible and remain there until they eventually starved to death. As long as the Arizona geckos were in the presence of the Texas geckos, they would not eat, but as soon as they were removed from the same terrarium as the Texas gecko, they would start to eat almost immediately. I tried 15 different combinations of numbers and sexes and had the same results every time – dead Arizona geckos.

The difference in size and behavior between the two populations may be considered enough evidence to claim that the gecko population in Arizona be classified as a new subspecies of Mediterranean gecko. Unfortunately, I was not able to afford the cost to conduct any DNA studies on the two populations of geckos to substantiate my findings. Had I been able to conduct the DNA tests, I am positive that it would have shown that the Arizona geckos contained a lesser amount of genetic variation than the ones found in Texas.

Probably the greatest example of all time for a genetic bottleneck coupled with numerous Founder’s effects, would have been the Genesis Flood and subsequent Ice Age. The animals on the Ark probably carried a fairly large amount of genetic variety, which would allow them to survive the many different environments on the earth after the Flood. A certain amount of variation would also have been lost at the time of the Flood because taking only 2 individuals (7 of some) out of a larger population would still create a HUGE genetic bottleneck. As the animals dispersed from the Ark, they would have started breeding faster than normal because breeding pressures would have been non-existent at the time. As the populations grew, they began to spread out to the four corners of the earth via one Founder’s event after another. Each new population would have had less genetic variation than the previous one creating many new species in a span of 100-300 years after the Flood. Eventually, new areas were filled with enough animals and the rapid speciation would have slowed down.

It was also around this time (200-700 years after the Flood) that Ice Age occurred as a result of the Flood. The Ice Age caused some major climate changes which would have caused many of the newly formed species to die out and become extinct because they no longer carried the necessary traits to survive that the original members of the population had. That would help to explain the many different fossils we find in early post-Flood deposits.

In reality, the Founder Principle and genetic bottlenecks are the exact opposite of what evolution requires. Not only does evolution need an increase in variability, they also need an increase in genetic information. For example, they need a way to have ‘Bb’ and ‘Cc’ added to the ‘Aa’ when it never existed in the population to start with. To date, there has never been a known case of NEW genetic information being added to an organism by natural means. If evolution was true, we should be finding all kinds of examples of this, but we don’t. We do find numerous examples of the Founder’s Principle and genetic bottlenecks resulting in not only new species, but numerous extinctions as well, which all fits into a curse filled Creation that continues to run down.

Yeah, listen to the gecko. It will tell you that real science and the study of population genetics supports a biblical creation model and completely destroys evolutionary theory. If I ever do get evidence that the geckos in Arizona are a new subspecies, I am tempted to name them Hemidactylus turcicus creationensis because they tell me that God’s Word about Creation and all that follows is true.

[i] The term ‘gravid’ is used for animals that are carrying young or eggs. In scientific terminology, the term ‘pregnant’ is used only for humans.

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Why Do Some Pastors Sabotage Their Own Ministries?

And how can they avoid the allure of the self-destruct button?
STEPHEN L. WOODWORTH

Why Do Some Pastors Sabotage Their Own Ministries?

Can we be brutally honest with one another for a moment? Can I ask you, pastor to pastor, the question that no one dares to ask.

How often do you want to quit?

How often do you fantasize about doing something else, something that refuses to weigh so heavily on your soul, something that offers more money? Or less? Something that doesn’t cost your family so much of their time, energy, and privacy? Something that helps you feel “normal” when you talk to fellow parents at your child’s school or their weekly sporting event? Do you ever wonder if there might be another way to make a living that doesn’t cost so much?

I do.

I do on those Monday mornings when the post-sermon blues hit me so hard I could stay in bed for days. When people judge my children, second-guess my motives, and criticize my teaching. When I spend another sleepless night on the couch, in the silence and stillness of my house, wondering if there might be anything else in the world someone like me could do, but when the thing I know how to do best is pastor the souls of broken men and women.

These haunting questions are the unspoken underbelly of the pastoral calling. They are asked by those torn in two by the burden of their calling and the desire for escape, those who have invested too much time and money building a platform they can’t afford to lose, and those who wake up some morning to discover that all the years of preaching truths they never experienced themselves bored a deep cynicism into their souls.

This kind of pressure pushes some pastors toward the light, draws them closer to Christ, and grows them into greater spiritual maturity. Yet it casts others into the darkest of corners, sends them running away from Jesus, and tempts them to give in to temptations that have haunted them for years. While many pastors handle the burden of ministry with grace for decades, why do some crash and burn in only a few years?

Many people believe the reason is quite simple: the sinful human heart. This is true, of course, but also vague enough to be of little value for those seeking a specific prescription. Others suggest pride or a culture of celebrity that elevates pastors above the law. Still others talk about pastors’ isolation, their lack of confession, their diminished willingness to engage in self-reflection. Or as my wife suggested, some pastors have gotten so used to faking it that this becomes the norm in every sphere of life. Undoubtedly these all play a role in pastoral failure.

But I want to suggest another option: Some pastors sabotage their ministries on purpose.

Hitting the Self-Destruct Button

I often read that pastors never decide one morning to become addicted to pills, to bed down with someone other than their spouse, to endlessly click through pornographic websites, or to drink until life becomes a dull blur. And while it’s true that these decisions probably aren’t spur of the moment, we deceive ourselves if we pretend pastors never willingly and intentionally decide to fail. Some do.

As Carey Nieuwhof reflects, failure is sometimes the quickest escape.

When I first started out in ministry, I met with a pastor who had just had to resign because of an affair. He was 20 years my senior, and we met for lunch.

I asked him why he had an affair, and he told me in part it was because he couldn’t handle the pressure of ministry anymore but couldn’t find an easy way to get out. The affair forced him out.

Years later I would discover the pain of burnout personally. … I was so burnt out an escape from my life looked appealing. By the grace of God, I knew enough to keep my head in the game even though my heart had stopped working. As a result, during my darkest months, I kept saying to myself “whatever you do, don’t do anything rash—don’t cheat on your wife, don’t quit your job and don’t buy a sports car.”

In its simplest terms, self-sabotage, or self-defeating behavior, includes any behavior that undermines a person’s own goals. Psychologist Ellen Hendrickson suggests that, among other reasons, many people self-sabotage because it gives them a feeling of control over their situation. She notes, “It feels better to control your own failure. At least when you’re steering the ship, going down in flames feels more like a well-maintained burn.”

Others may sabotage themselves due to insecurity. Many pastors feel like imposters, and it may feel easier to fail morally than face the potential of being fired for inadequacy. “How does this manifest?” asks Hendrickson. “Feeling like a fraud easily leads you towards procrastination and diversion—if you’re faced with a task that makes you feel like a phony, it’s a lot more tempting to … realize there’s no time like the present to immediately start a DIY spice rack project.”

And then there are those who pursue self-sabotage as a way to return to a sense of equilibrium. To one degree or another, every pastor feels the gnawing sense of their own hypocrisy. We are called to preach, week after week, about a vision of Christianity that we may not fully experience, a love from God we sometimes don’t feel, prayer we don’t practice, parenting and marriage advice we forget to employ in our own homes, forgiveness we struggle to give, an identity in Christ in which we struggle to stay rooted. Amid that tension, pastors may look for a way to balance others’ external expectations with their internal reality. The higher the pedestal, the stronger the pull back down.

For this reason, it doesn’t surprise me anymore to see those in some of the largest and most influential ministries in America jumping toward the ground. Sin is the norm and sainthood our elusive goal, so it can be a bizarrely cathartic act for some to give in to their temptations in order to feel “normal” once again. I have watched this principle play itself out among colleagues who have confessed to retreating to their office immediately after the sermon to look at porn, swallow a pill, or drain a bottle of liquor.

I do not believe pastors misunderstand the ramifications of these sort of actions. Certainly, many have successfully hidden their sins for years, but the truth usually finds its way to the surface. And when it does come into the light of day, pastors can’t speak about biblical ignorance or moral ambiguity. Indeed, perhaps the greatest irony of pastoral failure is the amount of teaching, preaching, and writing pastors have often dedicated to decrying the very sins that lead to their fall. Pastors are uniquely positioned to understand the gravity of their immoral decision. This is precisely why their moral failures are more shocking, and why it is difficult to deny that, at least in some cases, pastoral failure is an intentional push of the eject button.

Even while I use the word intentional, it is important to remember that the motives for our self-defeating behavior may be hidden from us in the moment. As with many poor decisions we make, our motives may be limited to hindsight. Such is the case for Darrin Patrick, who underwent three years of restoration since his firing from The Journey church in 2016. After years of counseling, reflection, prayer, and repentance, Patrick came to understand his own act of ministerial self-sabotage was driven by a deep need to be rescued and rebuked:

In my own story, this self-sabotaging was a cry for help. It was me throwing the white flag up and saying, “I need help.” I was saying, “I want to be known, I want to be accepted despite my flaws, I want people to know I have struggles, I want people to know how hard it is and how much I have sacrificed.”

Perhaps most important for Patrick during his season of restoration was the counsel he received from CrossPoint Ministry founder Richard Plass, who shared with Patrick, “You have been crying out for help since you were a little boy; you’ve been wanting somebody to come and be your dad, be your older brother. You’re acting out in order to be rebuked.”

Stepping Back from the Ledge

I shared these reflections recently with some pastoral colleagues who resonated with many aspects of the self-sabotage temptation. When I asked them how they had managed to avoid this fate, a few themes repeatedly rose to the surface of these conversations.

1. Avoid Isolation

Several pastors mentioned that their primary driver of frustration, disillusionment, and sometimes despair is the inherently dehumanizing nature of ministry. In too many churches, the pastor is a role, not a person. Pastors fulfill certain duties—they pray, they preach, they visit, they counsel—but many don’t feel seen as individuals. When someone or something makes a lonely pastor feel “human” again, that pastor may struggle not to run straight into its arms. And the temptation grows even stronger when giving in to it might provide an easy out from a ministry that otherwise feels unavailable. This is the temptation Henri Nouwen was guarding against when he wrote about the need for constant community in the life of a pastor:

When spirituality becomes spiritualization, life in the body becomes carnality. When ministers and priests live their ministry mostly in their heads and relate to the Gospel as a set of valuable ideas to be announced, the body quickly takes revenge by screaming loudly for affection and intimacy. Christian leaders are called to live the Incarnation, that is, to live in the body, not only in their own bodies but also in the corporate body of the community, and to discover there the presence of the Holy Spirit.

2. Watch for Patterns

Second, my colleagues suggested that pastors on the verge of self-sabotage begin to notice the moments in which temptations strike hardest and keep track of when their particular struggle rears its ugly head. Is every spiritual success, every instance of high praise, met with a plunge into the depths of darkness? Pastors on the verge of collapse should ask those who love and know them best if they recognize a pattern in their bouts of depression, anger, despair, or defeats with temptation. If these pastors are seeking a sense of stability to help balance their external persona with their internal reality, they should talk to older pastors about their feelings of inadequacy, their guilt of hypocrisy, and their desire to leap off the pedestal. More ministry “success” will only aggravate the problem.

3. Grieve Your Losses

Finally, and maybe most importantly, my colleagues recommended that pastors learn to grieve. Pastors everywhere, regardless of ministry context, size, or denomination, will sometimes experience a sense of personal loss, betrayal, and anger toward congregants—people who criticized their ministry, tried to get them fired, or consumed their time with petty gripes about music, sermon topics, or the youth ministry. People they poured their life into, yet they still left the church for another one down the street with better coffee in the foyer. People who tried to split the congregation over a trivial issue or personally attacked their spouse or kids. People who hurt them.

Pastors need a way to take these wounds seriously and address them in healthy ways that don’t include passive attacks from the pulpit. They should make time for regular, extended Sabbath rest and quarterly appointments with a trusted counselor who can help them process their pain.

Finally, let me say this: It’s okay to quit. You are not your church. You are not your ministry. You are not the sole bearer of the kingdom in your corner of the world. And stepping away from a role in full-time ministry is not equivalent in any way to stepping away from God. In fact, for some of you, stepping away from full-time ministry may be a step toward God. Every time a pastor escapes ministry through self-sabotage, an entire community is devastated and the global reputation of the church is harmed. Some pastors need to resign rather than escape. Yes, the church needs pastors, but it also needs to stop getting hit by shrapnel when they crash.

 

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Nikki Haley Destroys The Notion That Being Pro-Life Is Anti-Women

The abortion debate in this country is at a fever pitch. While both pro-choice and pro-life advocates passionately defend their causes, civility flies out the window. In the midst of this political firestorm, one voice of reason recently emerged.

Speaking at an event for the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List on June 3, 2019, former United Nations Ambassador and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley gave a poignant pro-life speech without ruthlessly attacking the other side. While destroying the notion that being pro-life is anti-woman, Haley said, “That Is Not Real Feminism.”

According to the Washington Examiner’s Madeline Fry, the former South Carolina Governor stated, “Women are expected to support choice simply because we’re women. That’s just wrong. We all have to be true to ourselves and to others. Unfortunately, many on the Left use the abortion debate to divide women and demand conformity. They do this in the name of feminism. But that is not real feminism.”

In her speech, Haley challenged the demand by pro-choice supporters that all females toe the line with a certain set of values. The former United Nations Ambassador remarked, “The idea that women must adhere to a particular set of values is one of the most anti-women ideas in today’s culture. It is a rejection of the ideas of equality and tolerance that the women’s movement is supposed to be about” according to TheBlaze.

At the Susan B. Anthony List gala, Haley also reinforced the truth that the pro-life movement isn’t mainly about women. It mostly consists of acknowledging the right of an innocent unborn baby to live.

The former South Carolina Governor commented, “As a pro-life, female governor, I was blessed with a unique platform, and I made every effort to use it appropriately. Not to lob attacks at people who disagreed with me, not to diminish the other side, but to re-frame the debate. To explain that being pro-life is not about being for or against women. It is about being for a baby’s right to live — the most basic right there is.”

Fry wrote, “If more people involved in the abortion debate could understand where the other side is coming from — pro-lifers believe the unborn deserve the rights of any other human, and pro-choicers believe unwanted pregnancies will hurt women or hold them back — they might have constructive conversations about the issue.”

While Haley attempted to begin a constructive dialog about abortion, she was quickly and vehemently shot down by Whoopi Goldberg on a broadcast of the left-leaning “The View.” Goldberg quipped, “So let me get this straight, so giving a woman a choice about what to do with her body is anti-feminist? To me, you taking the choice from people is anti-human.”

In the Washington Examiner piece, Fry argued, “And this is why the abortion debate in America is going nowhere. Among U.S. adults, abortion opinions are split about 50/50, according to Gallup, which reports that 48% are pro-choice and 48% are pro-life.”

Fry went on to add, “But when Haley defends a view held by half of Americans, she’s ‘anti-human.’ When pro-abortion activists talk about the other side ‘trying to police’ women’s bodies and anti-abortion activists call people who’ve had abortions ‘murderers,’ something is wrong. No mind was ever changed through sheer contempt.”

In the Liberal Democratic Party, merely having pro-life views is grounds to get you isolated at best and ousted at worse. According to Fox News, “While the party once tolerated both pro-life and pro-choice Democrats inside the tent, those with pro-life views are being told they aren’t welcome anymore.”

Recently, 2020 Democratic presidential contender U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat – New York, told the Washington Post, “As a party, we should be 100 percent pro-choice, and it should be non-negotiable.”

When Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, dared to sign a bill last week that would ban abortions in his state after a fetal heartbeat is detected, he received blow-back from his own party. In a statement, Nicole Brener-Schmitz, NARAL Pro-Choice America political director, stated, “Governor Edwards, and any other elected official attempting to use political overreach to roll back our rights, is mistaken to think our fundamental freedoms are up for debate. We are the majority, and if you’re not fighting alongside us, you don’t deserve to represent the American people.”

Brener-Schmitz said that the Louisiana Governor “won’t get a pass just because he is a Democrat.”

The hyper-polarized abortion divide in America highlights just how important the 2020 elections are for advocates on both sides of the fence.

Expect things to get even more heated in the coming days, weeks, and months.

Original here

Pastor Platt, We Don’t Need to Apologize for Praying

By Shane Idleman – June 9, 2019

In light of Pastor Platts apology for praying for the President in the Washington Times, I’m re-releasing this op-ed with a few additions. I was shocked to see an apology from pastor David to his congregation. Granted, I don’t have all of the information, nor do I understand all of the dynamics that took place. But, in most cases, we do not need to apologize for praying for our leaders. Although he didnt use the word apology, he said:

“I know that some within our church, for a variety of valid reasons, are hurt that I made this decision.”

There are not valid reasons. It comes across as damage control to many people. We are commanded to do so, and we should answer our critics; read more here.

Over the last few decades, Americans have seen the destruction of the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, the removal of God’s Word in several areas, and the blatant murdering of millions of babies. This is an indictment against America and the pulpit is partially responsible—our silence, and our apologies, speak volumes.

The pulpit regulates the spiritual condition of God’s people which affects the nation. A lukewarm, sex-saturated culture simply reflects the lack of conviction in the pulpit as well as the pew. What type of Christian would be offended when their pastor prays for the President? It appears that party affiliation, and not genuine concern, is fueling the animosity.

Sadly, many pastors are exchanging truth for passivity, boldness for cowardliness, and conviction for comfort . . . most are not aflame with righteousness. We aim to be motivational speakers rather than preachers of righteousness. A paraphrase that is often attributed to Alexis De Tocqueville—a Frenchman who authored Democracy in America in the early 1800s, sums it up:

“It was not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her success. America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Pastors (and Christian leaders alike) must take responsibility for the spiritual health of today’s church, and the nation. We don’t need more marketing plans, demographic studies, or giving campaigns; we need men filled with the Spirit of God.

Pastors, we are not just cheerleaders, we are game changers. We are called to stir and to convict so that change takes place. Granted, there are many wonderful pastors such as David—I appreciate his ministry, but, as a whole, the church has drifted off course. We often want to be politically correct rather than biblically correct. Here are four ways to offset this trend.

  1. Return to the prayer closet. Without prayer, “the church becomes a graveyard, not an embattled army. Praise and prayer are stifled; worship is dead. The preacher and the preaching encourage sin, not holiness…preaching which kills is prayerless preaching. Without prayer, the preacher creates death, and not life” (E.M. Bounds).

When God brings change, prayer has been the catalyst. Martin Luther prayed and the church was reformed. John Knox prayed and Scotland was revived. John Wesley prayed and America was restored. George Whitefield prayed and nations were changed. D.L. Moody prayed and America fell to her knees. Amy Carmichael prayed and India received the gospel. And so it goes…when you pray, you move the hand of God.

The dry, dead lethargic condition of the church simply reflects an impotent prayer life. While 5-minute devotionals and prayers are good, they aren’t going to cut it in these dire times. We need powerful times of prayer, devotion, and worship. “Without the heartbeat of prayer, the body of Christ will resemble a corpse. The church is dying on her feet because she is not living on her knees” (Al Whittinghill).

Sermons should not come from pop-psychology and the latest fad; they must come from the prayer closet where God prepares the messenger before we prepare the message. It takes broken men to break men. Unplug the tv, turn off Facebook, and get back into the Word of God, prayer, and worship.

  1. Return to a separated life. If a pastor fills his mind with the world all week and expects the Spirit of God to speak boldly through him from the pulpit, he will be gravely mistaken. “The sermon cannot rise in its life-giving forces above the man. Dead men give out dead sermons, and dead sermons kill. Everything depends on the spiritual character of the preacher” (E.M. Bounds). Who he is all week is who he will be when he steps to the pulpit.
  2. Worship must be a priority. A pastor who does not worship is not prepared to preach. Many sing “about” God but they have never truly experienced Him—head knowledge without heart knowledge. Styles of worship range from the old, beloved hymns to contemporary. All worship should be God-centered, Christ exalted, and doctrinally sound.

Worship allows us to shift our focus and praise toward God. Whether you prefer hymnals and organs or contemporary bands, is really not the issue. The issue is: are you truly worshipping God in “spirit and in truth”? He is the Creator of heaven and earth. He is not a cosmic force, universal love, or a doting grandfather; He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. We must worship Him. He created, redeemed, and saved us. As one of the countless hymns declares so well, “O’ The Blood: washes me; shed for me…what a sacrifice that saved my life, yes the blood, it is my victory!”

  1. Preach the difficult truths – they set people free. The church cannot neglect, water-down, or avoid preaching sin, repentance, or the fear of the Lord in the hope of not offending or securing an audience. Difficult truths often offend, and rightly so, sin put Christ on the cross. The goal of preaching is faithfulness to God, not crowd appeal. The church, as a whole, may have forgotten the fear of the Lord, but it doesn’t follow that we should.

Let it not be said of us today: And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord because pastors failed to be preachers of righteousness. The burden of responsibility rests squarely upon our shoulders. It’s our choice—stand, or fall!

But there is hope:

“Therefore say to them, Thus declares the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you…” (Zechariah 1:3).

That’s a life changing promise – return to Him and He will return to you.

 

Original here

VIDEO Clergy Sex Abuse Rising, Changing: Newest Ruth Institute Report Charges

By Don Feder – June 7, 2019

Press Conference on Latest Report from Fr. Paul Sullins: “Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests Since 2000”  

June 4, 2019 For Immediate Release

For More Information, Contact: Betsy Kerekes bkerekes@ruthinstitute.org  

On June 6, The Ruth Institute will hold an exclusive online press conference to release a new report by Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D. The new report, Receding Waves: Child Sex Abuse and Homosexual Priests since 2000, finds that male victimization and homosexual priests rose together through the 1980s, they have also fallen together more recently. The report also shows that the proportion of female victims has risen.

However, overall, Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. warns:

“There has been a disturbing rise of the sexual abuse of children by priests, after reaching an all-time low just after 2002.”

Morse continued:

“The good news is that since 2000, only a small fraction of overall cases of abuse (11%), has been perpetrated by newly ordained priests (those that have been priests less than 10 years), while 52% has been perpetrated by priests ordained 30 years ago or longer.”

Among its recommendations, the report urgedL

“Catholics must remain vigilant in protecting all minors against clerical sexual abuse.”

Further:

“The Church or interested lay organizations should increase educational programs on authentic Church teachings on human sexuality.”

An Executive Summary of the Report can be found here.

The press conference will take place on June 6, at noon EST. More information, including log-in instructions can be found here.

Fr. Paul Sullins, Ph.D., is a retired Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of America, who is currently a Senior Research Associate at the Ruth Institute.

For more information on Fr. Sullins’ earlier report on clergy sex abuse, please visit: http://www.ruthinstitute.org/csa-background

Ruth Institute President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D. is the author of “The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why the Church Was Right All Along,” and has spent decades working with survivors of the Sexual Revolution

The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization equipping Christians to defend the family in the public arena. On April 26-27, the Institute held a Summit for Survivors of Sexual Revolution in Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Summit included discussions of the long-term impact of childhood sexual abuse.

For more information on the Ruth Institute  http://www.ruthinstitute.org/

EDITOR’S NOTE: We hope to have a followup to this post in the near future. 

 

Original here


Read the first Globe Spotlight article that helped expose the Catholic Church scandal in 2002

The report shook Boston to its roots and won the Spotlight Team a Pulitzer Prize. Now, that story is portrayed in a film that’s gathering Oscar buzz.

 

By Ashli Molina November 3, 2015

The film Spotlight wasreleased November 6, 2015. Here, we bring you the first story about the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal that was published by The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team in 2002.

For three decades, the Catholic Church was negligent of former priest John J. Geoghan’s compulsive sexual abuse of children, The Boston Globe reported.

More than 130 of Geoghan’s victims had come forward with vivid accounts about how they had been groped or abused (up until the date the report was published).

Since the 1980s, the archdiocese’s top officials had enough evidence of Geoghan’s predatory behavior. But the Church still shifted Geoghan from parish to parish. Geoghan continued working with altar boys and youth groups at each reassignment—one of his victims was as young as 4 years old.

Evidence over the years, which the Globe Spotlight team gathered, included a letter from the aunt of seven boys who had been raped by Geoghan, several suspicions from within the parishes, a record of abuse that dates back to the 1960s, and a letter from Bishop John M. D’Arcy directly to Cardinal Bernard F. Law expressing D’Arcy’s concern about Geoghan. Geoghan even admitted to molesting four boys in 1995.

Read the full story here.

 

Original here


The Boston Globe Spotlight Team


Spotlight TRAILER 1 (2015) – Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton Movie HD


Spotlight (2015) – Six Percent Of All Priests Scene (4/10) | Movieclips