Imitate These Things Not Those

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Not everything in church culture is good for us. How can we tell the difference between authentic discipleship and unholy peer pressure?

Katie had a solid Christian pedigree. She’d grown up in the church, committed her life to Jesus at youth camp, attended a Christian college, and married Jeff, her college sweetheart, immediately after graduation. At the church they’d begun attending, the couple served as Sunday school teachers. Katie also made time in her busy schedule to volunteer with a ministry serving the homeless in their new community. Yet after nearly three years at their church, Katie told me she wondered if she’d ever fit in. “I’m still treated as an outsider by the other women, and it’s not because I’m a relative newcomer. It’s because I work full-time outside the home.” She explained that almost all the other women her age in the congregation were stay-at-home moms who homeschooled their children, and a few older women focused most of their attention on nurturing this group. Besides meeting during the day for Bible studies on how to be better wives and mothers, they often arranged informal play dates and field trips. Katie’s work schedule meant she and her young son couldn’t join them. But it wasn’t the lack of invitations from the other women that troubled her.

After nearly three years at their church, Katie told me she wondered if she’d ever fit in.

“When we first came to the church, Jeff and I knew that my job put me in the minority among the stay-at-home moms, but the pastor assured us it shouldn’t matter, as we were all seeking Jesus together. We appreciated his emphasis on discipleship. As the years have passed, however, I’m noticing that most of the women seem to be copying each other in terms of lifestyle, convictions, and calling. It feels more like a clique than a church,” Katie said sadly. She and Jeff were considering leaving the congregation.

Scripture portrays discipleship as the way in which a mature believer lives out faith in the everyday and ongoing companionship of a younger student. This maturity references age, experience, and faithfulness. It’s a description of the ongoing process of spiritual growth, not the arrival at some state of spiritual perfection (Deut. 6:4-9). The late Dallas Willard called this whole-life learning model apprenticeship, a word that is helpful in translating an ancient concept into our modern context.

Like my friend Katie, I’ve found that sometimes a Christianized form of peer pressure takes the place of true apprenticeship. If your church culture implies that all real believers end up looking, acting, voting, or talking the same, pay close attention. It’s possible you’re seeing peer pressure at work. And though it’s simply a more sophisticated version of what you may have experienced in middle school, the social push to conform to a group’s standards can be just as powerful. Some examples:

  • We tell new believers (or inquirers) that they need to learn to “act like a Christian” in order to fit in at church.
  • We subtly (or not so subtly) discourage young believers from pursuing careers in academia or the arts because those vocational paths are “too secular.”
  • We shun or shame people who, on a theological non-essential—such as politics—may not share the prevailing opinion of our congregation.

The challenge for the more mature in an apprenticeship relationship is to remember that learning happens in different ways at different stages of our spiritual development. There is a time and a season in our spiritual life for imitation. Just as young children parrot sounds and words as they’re learning to communicate for themselves, we learn how to walk with Jesus by patterning our lives after those who’ve gone before us. Imitation serves an instructional purpose.

Peer pressure has “fear of missing out” at its root, and not fitting into the group is viewed as a cardinal sin. If you sense everyone around you competing in an unspoken contest to conform to the group’s standards, it’s a pretty safe bet you’re noticing the effects of peer pressure. The imitation of godly women and men, on the other hand, teaches us essential patterns and practices while honoring individual calling and giftedness.

First-century rabbis would assess a potential apprentice via a long period of living and learning together: They would look for someone who had the capacity and desire to mold himself to be like his teacher. Author Doug Greenwold explained, “Throughout the Gospels, the phrase ‘follow me’ is a Jewish idiom used by the rabbis to mean, ‘Come and be with me as my disciple, and submit to my authoritative teaching.’” Jesus’ words “follow Me” mean far more than “join my team.” They are words that tell us He believes we will seek to pattern every aspect of our life after His.

However, His goal isn’t that we remain perpetual infants, repeating basic lessons over and over again as though we’re in an endlessly looping game of Simon Says. Instead, wanting us to move toward maturity, He empowers us to then apprentice others who will delight in imitating Him as we’re learning to do (Matt. 28:18-20). The writer of Hebrews expressed frustration with his readers’ seemingly plateaued spiritual growth: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God” (Heb. 5:12).

We see this pattern in action in Paul’s counsel to the church at Corinth. He urges the young church to imitate him while learning to navigate their lives as immature followers of Jesus: “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). However, in the personal greetings he uses to conclude the first letter to the Corinthians—those words we tend to zip past because they seem like personal bits of housekeeping—we see how Paul celebrates the diversity of gifts and ministries among those who’ve been mature leaders among those believers.

He asks the Christians in Corinth to treat his protégé Timothy with respect, because though a different person than Paul, the younger man was carrying on a similar, complementary ministry to the apostle’s (1 Corinthians 16:10-11). Without denigrating Apollos, Paul noted that this co-laborer in Christ didn’t initially want to visit the church but then reconsidered—a recognition that Apollos was his own man, with his own mind and faith (1 Corinthians 16:12). Paul then offers a shout-out to Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus. Their ministry to him came in the form of practical financial assistance (1 Corinthians 16:15-18). Finally, he mentions mature church leaders Priscilla and Aquila, who led a congregation in their home, apprenticing young believers in the faith (1 Corinthians 16:19Acts 18:24-26).

The pattern of follow-the-leader was formalized in the early decades of the church. The Didache, a document that dates from perhaps as early as A.D. 100, is an example of an early catechism—a set of questions and answers new believers had to learn or memorize as part of their membership process in the local congregation. The Didache and eventually other forms of catechesis were Discipleship 101 for the early church, focusing on both the essential teachings of Jesus and the baseline practices of corporate confession, communion, and the authority structure God has ordained for life together. Young Christians learned to follow Jesus by following their leaders.

However, imitation should never result in uniformity. Musician Steve Taylor’s 1983 satirical song entitled “I Want to Be a Clone” named the fear driving Christian peer pressure: “They told me that I’d fall away / unless I followed what they say.” Aping the beliefs and behaviors of the influencers in their church may seem to promise a sort of spiritual insurance policy that will seal their salvation—or at least their place in the group. But a life shaped by a healthy fear of God will produce very different fruit than one shaped by fear of being excluded by the in-crowd. Fear of God offers us freedom. Fear of others enslaves.

A better “discipleship program” will not fix this problem, because it runs as deep in each one of us as our fear of being abandoned or left behind. That unexposed, un-discipled fear leaves us vulnerable to peer pressure whether we’re a young Christian or a seasoned leader. As my friend Katie and her husband assessed their experience at the church, they asked God first to reveal their own fears of being left out or forgotten, and then to confirm that they were being obedient in the ways their family was serving Him through work, parenting, and lifestyle decisions.

Jeff and Katie were asking good questions. Those questions led to them seeking the prayer and counsel of other mature believers—their pastor, a friend at church, and other friends in their social network, including my husband and me. The process clarified for them their own calling at this stage of their lives. It also helped them to better recognize the unhealthy peer-dependent dynamics among many of the young families at church. Instead of feeling excluded or judged by them, Katie told me she found new compassion for them. They decided to stay and brought their concerns to the pastor, who told them he was noticing the same issues as they were.

J. Oswald Sanders said, “No living thing comes to maturity instantaneously. In the attainment of intellectual maturity, there is no alternative to the student painfully working through the prescribed courses. Nor is it any different in the spiritual life. Growth toward spiritual maturity will of necessity involve moral effort, discipline, renunciation, and perseverance in pursuit of the goal. There are no shortcuts.”

Christian peer pressure is a counterproductive shortcut. And recognizing it for what it is becomes a powerful step in an apprentice’s journey toward maturity.

Illustrations by Jack Richardson

https://www.intouch.org/read/magazine/features/imitate-these-things-not-those

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Is Your Worldview Weakening Your Marriage?

Dr. Nancy Pearcey

The Family Project team asked noted author and Christian worldview leader Dr. Nancy Pearcey why a theology of family is important. Here is what she had to say:

The reason Christians need to be more intentional about developing a theology of the family is that we are all children of our age — which means we are prone to pick up the views of those around us, often without even being aware of it.

In their view of the family, Americans have been deeply affected by what is called social contract theory, propounded by thinkers such as Locke and Rousseau.  American conservatives tend to be influenced by Locke, while liberals think more along the lines of Rousseau.  But in both cases, the heart of social contract theory is the idea that the ultimate starting point is the individual, the autonomous self.

Where then do social institutions, like the family, come from?  They are products of choice.

The implications are staggering.  Social contract theory implies that we agree to be in relationships when they meet our needs.  Relationships are essentially redefined as products of enlightened self interest.  Thus if a marriage relationship is not meeting my needs, then I can choose to leave.  If the origin of marriage is individual choice, then marriage is subject to the whim of the individual.  No wonder marriage has become so fragile in our day.

And if we choose to create marriage in the first place, then we can also choose to change it — we can redefine it any way we want.  No wonder so many people today are questioning the very definition of marriage.

By contrast, the biblical concept of marriage as a covenant is that it is a pre-existing social institution built into our very nature.  We don’t create it so much as we enter into it.  (Remember that wonderful older phrase: We “enter into the holy estate of matrimony.”)  The relationship of marriage is a moral entity that exists in itself, with its own normative definition.  That means it confers on us certain moral obligations such as fidelity, integrity, and so on.

The Rosetta Stone of Christian social thought is the Trinity: The human race was created in the image of God, who is three Persons so intimately related as to constitute one Godhead—in the classic theological formulation, one in being and three in person. Both oneness and threeness, both individuality and relationship, are equally real, equally ultimate, equally integral to God’s nature.

Because humans are created in the image of God, this perfect balance of unity and diversity in the Trinity gives a model for human social life.  On one hand, the Trinity implies the dignity and uniqueness of individual persons.  On the other hand, the Trinity implies that relationships are not created by sheer choice but are built into the very essence of human nature.  We are not atomistic individuals but are created for ­relationship.

The implication of the doctrine of the Trinity is that relationships are just as ultimate or real as individuals.  Relationships are not the creation of autonomous individuals, who can make or break them at will.   Relationships are part of the created order, and thus are ontologically real and good.

This may sound abstract, but think of it this way.  When we are in a relationship. we sense that there is “me” and there is “you” . . . and then there is “the  relationship.”   And there are times when we say, We need to work on “our relationship.”  In other words, we sense that a relationship is more than the sum of its parts—that it is a reality that goes beyond the two individuals involved.

This was traditionally spoken about in terms of the common good: There was a “good” for each of the individuals in the relationship (God’s moral purpose for each person), and then there was a “common good” for their lives together (God’s moral purpose for the marriage ­itself).  In a perfect marriage unaffected by sin, there would be no conflict between these two purposes: The common good would express and fulfill the individual natures of both wife and husband.

A woman recently wrote me an email saying that she had been raised in a home governed by the rule that Christians should not expose themselves to any non-biblical ways of thinking.  But when she read Total Truth, she says,  “I discovered that I had unconsciously absorbed ideas that came from secular thinkers like Rousseau.”  What about you?

Are your ideas about marriage biblical, or have you absorbed ideas from our secular culture that are eating away at the heart of your marriage?

(Adapted from Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity, used with permission)

____________________________________

Nancy Pearcey is author of the award-winning, bestselling book Total Truth: Liberation Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity and coauthor (with Chuck Colson) of How Now Shall We Live?She is a professor and scholar in residence at Houston Baptist University, as well as editor at large of the Pearcey Report. Heralded in The Economist as “America’s pre-eminent evangelical Protestant female intellectual,” Pearcey has appeared on national radio and television, including C-SPAN. She and her husband homeschooled their two sons. Her most recent book is Saving Leonardo.

Original here

VIDEO Surviving the Death of a Loved One

Surviving the Death of a Loved One

I am sorry for the loss of your loved one. Losing someone is a pain completely unimaginable. Surviving the death of a loved one can even seem impossible. My hope is that as you continue reading, you will see a light at the end of this dark tunnel and that light is Jesus. That may not be something you want to hear, but I can tell you first hand that it is the best thing to hear.

Several years ago on June 10th, my first husband died after having a motorcycle accident. Our marriage had just been restored 1 year prior from a 9 month separation. Life was perfect as I knew it. I was now left alone to raise our little boy. I didn’t know how I was going to manage paying all of the bills and taking care of our son, maintaining our house and yard, and working full-time.

Bitterness with God could’ve set in but instead I pressed into Him. I also witnessed how different members of the family grieved, how some had peace who sought comfort in the Lord, and others no hope who tried to do it on their own. I would like to help you walk through this healing journey. It is possible to live a happy life again.

  1. Why can’t God end all of the pain and suffering in this world?

The answer is… He can, and He will. Jesus did not create this world to have pain and suffering. In the Garden of Eden, there was no death or suffering. Since the fall, pain and evil has been allowed into this world by mankind. The good news is Jesus is coming back to restore everything. He loves us and does not want to see us suffering.

There have been times when I was grieving that I would wish Jesus would come back right now, so all of the suffering in the world could end. The Holy Spirit convicted me quickly. If Jesus comes back now, there is no hope left for those who do not believe in Him to go to heaven. The more time we have here, the more time we have to minister and help save as many souls as possible. He is graceful and will come back at the perfect time.

Apologist Ravi Zacharias answers tough questions about God and Christianity. For more on this question, please watch this video of Ravi Zacharias. You can also view it at the end of this post.  

2. How do I find peace while I am suffering the loss of a family member?

It is possible to find peace in the pain. I would spend my nights crying in pain from not having my husband, but I would cling onto God. In the flesh, I would try to stay up all night cleaning to wear myself out and be tired, but that didn’t help me. I would play worship music as I tried to sleep and just cry, and cry, and cry again to Jesus. There was a supernatural comfort that would come over me. Many nights I would have TBN playing on the TV. When I would wake up in the middle of the night, I would hear a word from God that would settle my spirit. As I worshipped Him in tears, I could literally feel His love and peace upon me.

3. What can I do now?

surviving the death of a loved oneI recommend gathering with a group of believers who can love and support you. Having a church family to encourage you, uplift you, and give you a shoulder to cry on is healing in itself. You can also join a support group such a GriefShare.

Do not hold in your feelings. Focus on God’s promises. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LordAs the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV

Your family member would want you to continue living life to the fullest, not to survive but to thrive, to love others, to truly know the love of Jesus.

Fast forward years later, God absolutely provided for me. I became a Registered Nurse with all of my tuition paid for. God used family, friends, and even random people to bless my son and I. My relationship with God and faith grew even deeper. I am now married to the most amazing man that I have always dreamed of, and my son has the dad he had always prayed for. My life is better than I could have even imagined or planned. God is so faithful. 

Who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:4

My husband’s books are also great resources to help you see God in all of your trials, and that there is purpose in the pain. Please comment below with any other encouraging tips for someone else who is also walking through this journey. 

 

https://redeemedonpurpose.com/2019/06/10/surviving-the-death-of-a-loved-one/

VIDEO Story Behind The Scars

July 2, 2019 By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

 

Unless you have been exceptionally lucky (hint, I don’t believe in luck) then you have a scar or two. Some scars are visible and some are not. Do you remember the time you bumped into the table when you were three, probably not.

We get scars from accidents, surgery, combat wounds, or perhaps from being a victim of a violent crime. Physical scars can heal faster than emotional or psychological scars.  Emotional or psychological scars may need assistance from someone else. That assistance could come in the form of a listening ear or by way of trained individuals.

Scars can be tender or sensitive to the touch especially when fresh. Once healed, tapping the healed scar and deep massage around the scar are two excellent ways of speeding up the scar desensitisation process.

Healing could include forgiveness for someone who harmed you. Forgiveness does no mean forgetting.

“Most psychologists recommend mustering up genuine compassion for those who have wronged us and moving on from the past, instead of allowing bitterness and anger to perturb our emotional well-being.

It is critical to remember that forgiveness doesn’t automatically mean a reconciliation. We don’t have to return to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from someone who has hurt us.

Although burying the hatchet usually brings peace to the soul, there may be some exceptions to that advice, such as a case of sexual abuse. Sometimes a victim becomes more empowered when they give themselves permission not to forgive.

Equally, and perhaps more important, is learning to acknowledge your missteps and forgive yourself. Self-forgiveness is often the first step toward a more loving and positive relationship with yourself, and therefore with others.” (1)

“One reason we resist forgiving is that we don’t really understand what forgiveness is or how it works. We think we do, but we don’t.

Most of us assume that if we forgive our offenders, they are let off the hook — scot-free — and get to go about their merry ways while we unfairly suffer from their actions. We also may think that we have to be friendly with them again, or go back to the old relationship. While God commands us to forgive others, he never told us to keep trusting those who violated our trust or even to like being around those who hurt us.

The first step to understanding forgiveness is learning what it is and isn’t. The next step is giving yourself permission to forgive and forget, letting go of the bitterness while remembering very clearly your rights to healthy boundaries.” (2)

We have a two hundred and forty plus year old relationship I want to discuss.  This week we celebrate the birth of our country. Just like any family, group, town, state or country we have had some bumps along the way. Yes, we have accumulated some scars along the way. Despite the scars or perhaps because of the scars we are the greatest country that ever existed, warts and all.  We have the greatest country that ever existed because we have a good foundation, and because people have defended her against enemies both foreign and domestic.

Not everyone in our country agrees on defining the issues or how to address them. We have the right to disagree and peacefully air out our differences without becoming disagreeable. Violent protests are an end in and of itself and rarely produce willing converts. Violent protests create greater divisions.

My fellow veterans and those currently serving did so and do so in order to preserve our hard fought freedom and liberty.  May I suggest that we as a country look for more ways to heal our scars rather than reopening or opening new wounds?

Healing our wounds and scars will lead to glorious birthday celebrations. We can accomplish more healing by working together than we can by being at odds with each other.

What is the story behind your scars?  Do you have any scars that need to be healed, if so today is a good day to begin the healing?

Would you stand with me to help heal the scars?

Facing the Challenge (60s)

 

(1) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/forgiveness

(2) https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/forgiveness-and-restoration/forgiveness-what-it-is-and-what-it-isnt

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2019/07/05/story-behind-the-scars/


VIDEO Choose Whom You will Serve

As For Me

April 19, 2019

 

Immersed in the routine of everyday life, most do not notice that the world is changing. Moreover, it is changing rapidly, irreversibly and radically. The world, as we knew it, is disappearing before our eyes. The world is changing rapidly, and the rules of the game are changing with it. There are also many events that illustrate these changes in a symbolic way. But many of them pass unnoticed by the majority because the information agenda is formed from other, noisier, but less influential events.

I have been fortunate for a time to leave and return to the United States every so often, and every time I returned, our country, although with familiar surroundings, irreversibly and radically was different. Today, there are many events that signify these changes in a symbolic way. The threat to modern society is fraught with not only terrorism and crime but also many other negative phenomena. These include the activities of sects and cults, the promotion of different justice movements and much more. The world is changing, and not always for the better. There are new threats that most of us are not prepared to meet.

Our country became like the following statement from Romans 1: 21-25, 27-31:

“Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator… likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful..

The world is a madhouse!

Furthermore, the Bible displays that wars on a large scale, famine, pestilences, or epidemics (terrible diseases), natural cataclysms, increase in crime and destruction of the earth.  Likewise, widespread apathy and even ridicule toward the evidence of the approaching end, the scripture and disbelief of the word.

But people, Jesus tells us that when we see such things, to not fear, but lift up our eyes, as he is approaching fast. While in Daniel, there is a promise: Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. People, those who are wise…remember, the beginning of the wisdom is fear of God. Not just fear of trembling, but fear to disrespect, disobey, to not know him. We need to know him! To humble ourselves before him! Our Father says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will heal their land.”

People… choose today to humble yourself as pray for our nation and our world to repent! Stop playing the role of god and judging people… stop snubbing your nose at God… Stop playing with fire and pray for our people. Be passionate, obedient and filled with faith… stand in the gap and let people choose to follow the lord. The day of the Lord is near, let us not watch as the nation goes to hell. We are all that is left… we are the remnant! If not… be the remnant! The only hope for America, the west and the rest of the world is to wake up and repent. Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, and lead by example if you so choose to serve the Lord.

Although the 120 Day Prayer Campaign is over. Use the videos playlist to be the echo of the campaign.

Choose Whom You will Serve

How Do I Know I Am Hearing a Word from God?

 

Pat Robertson

 

There is no way of knowing for certain that someone is hearing from God, unless that person has been listening to God over a long period of time and then testing what he or she has heard. Such people have become accustomed to discerning God’s voice (see John 10:27). There are many others, however, who think they are hearing from God when maybe they are not. How annoying are the super spiritual who always say, “God told me this–God told me that–God told me this other?” It seems that their every thought is a revelation from God. God does not customarily operate that way. He speaks to us, but He does not chatter away, day in and day out, the way some people claim He does. This has been my experience, and it is the concept that is in accordance with the biblical record.

The Bible says that we can tell if someone is a prophet by seeing if what he has said comes to pass (see Deuteronomy 18:22). That is a very pragmatic test, and it works.

A friend who purported to hear from God told me, “My second child is going to be a boy. God told me.” His second child was a girl. He said, “Well, God told me that it was not the second child who was going to be a boy, but the third child.” His third child was a girl too. At that point I determined, “That brother isn’t hearing from God.” It was clear: He made a statement, supposedly from God, that did not come to pass.

There is no shortcut to spiritual understanding. You have to learn to walk with God and to know His voice; otherwise, you will mistake your own voice for His. You even may be fooled by the voice of Satan, or you may hear the clamoring voice of the world. It is so easy to get these voices mixed up. Usually, God speaks to us in a still, small, quiet voice (see I Kings 19:11-13). It takes time, prayer, and waiting on God to hear His voice.

Nor does God scatter His pearls around recklessly. He said, “You will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29). God does not reveal Himself to every casual onlooker who would take sacred things and play with them like toys. I have known some adults who treated the gifts of God as if they were just little baubles to play with. To please God and to receive counsel from Him, people must be both determined and serious.

How do we succeed in hearing God’s voice? By spending time with God. The ultimate is not merely to get direction from God; the ultimate is to know God. God can make it difficult for us to get into His presence, because He wants to see if we truly will expend the spiritual energy and exercise necessary to do so. Will we stop certain sins? Will we get rid of things that hinder us? Will we truly seek Him with all of our hearts?

Some people only want a quick fix. “God, tell me how to make money on this business deal, please. See you next time!” And then that is the end of it. But God wants to be treated with reverence and deference that His nature warrants. He wants to change us, not merely give us quick answers to difficult problems. We will never be changed unless we come into His presence, spend time with Him, and allow Him to purify us from our sinful nature.

Excerpt taken from Answers to 200 of Life’s Most Probing Questions, Copyright 1984 by Pat Robertson

https://www1.cbn.com/questions/how-know-hearing-word-god

California wants to force pastors to adopt LGBT agenda – Biggest Assault On Religious Freedom

Resolution demands they ‘stop perpetuating the idea that something is wrong’

California marijuana

California, which already demands that public schools only portray homosexuality in a positive light and banned counselors from telling troubled youth they don’t have to be gay, now is moving against pastors and other spiritual leaders.

They, apparently, are guilty of telling homosexuals and others that the Bible teaches something else.

The dispute was revealed by columnist and commentator Todd Starnes, who recently interviewed Dr. David Gibbs of the Christian Law Association.

He explained that churches and pastors are just trying to help LGBT people.

But Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99, Starnes reported, calls on “counselors, pastors, religious workers, educators” and institutions with “great moral influence” to stop saying something is wrong with LGBT identities or sexual behavior.

“The proposed resolution also condemns attempts to change unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion as ‘unethical,’ ‘harmful,’ and leading to high rates of suicide,” Starnes reported.

While it is just a non-binding resolution for now, Gibbs said that does not mean it will stay a resolution.

“What we find over and over again across America is that before they put a bill in and pass a law they frequently pass a resolution,” he explained.

“They say there is a stigma associated with being LGBT that is often created by groups in society, including therapists and religious groups, and that stigma has caused disproportionately high rates of suicide, attempted suicide, and depression,” Gibbs said.

“What they’re asking is that churches and religious groups change how they’re addressing this (lifestyle).”

Gibbs said, “We want to reach these people, but we believe that the scriptures absolutely take a stand on this issue, and we cannot change the stand that the Bible takes. They’re trying to make it where absolutely the churches and religious groups are being held up as the problem why these LGBT community people feel like they do. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

Gibbs explained, “They’re saying in (the resolution) that the state has a compelling interest to protect this from happening, and that means that they would have the right to forbid that in the future in churches and other places. You can all but count on this wording showing up again when they pass a bill.”

Lawmakers appear to be headed toward another constitutional violation.

“What Christians are doing is constitutionally protected, their religious beliefs are protected by the First Amendment, and they absolutely have the right to speak their faith and practice their faith,” Gibbs said.

https://www.wnd.com/2019/06/california-wants-to-force-pastors-to-adopt-lgbt-agenda/