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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Criticizing Neo-Darwinism

THOMAS NAGELAtheist philosopher, Thomas Nagel, has dared to criticize neo-Darwinism in his new book Mind and Cosmos. Of course, the Darwinists have not taken his opinions very kindly. According to tothesource:

Fact one: Thomas Nagel is an atheist. As he’s made clear on many occasions, he wants to be an atheist. As he said, famously, in The Last Word, “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”

HOWEVER:

Fact two: Thomas Nagel is brave enough to have a clear and critical look at one of the great intellectual supports of modern atheism, the neo-Darwinian account of nature. He has found it “prima facie highly implausible that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection.”

Continue reading this interesting article by Dr. Benjamin Wiker. . . .

Stomping on Jesus

Stomp on Jesus?Christopher White writes:

In early March, Ryan Rotela, a junior at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, refused to participate in a class exercise in which members of the class were instructed to write the name “JESUS” on a sheet of paper and then to stomp on it. When Rotela complained a few days later to university officials, he was informed he had been suspended from the class for not participating in the exercise.

In recent weeks this story has shocked the nation as reports of this story began to make its ways around local news networks and newspapers. The online website Mediate confirmed that the exercise that Rotela refused to participate in was, indeed, listed in the instructor edition of the college textbook: Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition.

Continue reading this article here. . . .

Christian Pastor Slaughtered

PersecutionRaymond Ibrahim:

A Christian pastor was recently slaughtered in the Muslim-majority African nation of Tanzania. While butchering Christian minorities is becoming increasingly common in that part of the Muslim world, the context for this latest slaughter is somewhat different than the usual forms of Christian persecution under Islam—such as allegations of “blaspheming” the name of Muslim prophet Muhammad. And yet, as in most forms of modern-day Muslim attacks on Christians, it too fits patterns and precedents.

Read more here. . . .

Women on the Front Lines of Combat

Celtic Woman Warrior by AndreThere is no doubt that in the history of warfare, women have certainly played a role in the frontline of combat many times. However, the rise of Western Civilization has mostly frowned upon the idea of women in combat. If we look to the Bible, we find Deborah (Judges 4:14) who on one occasion acted as a military adviser or even a general to an army of 10,000 men. The idea of women in combat, however, is a foreign concept to the teachings of the Bible.

There are many who have lobbied our government for years to place women in front line combat roles. “Equality” is often the generalized reason for pushing the concept forward. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced last month that the military is going to remove its ban on women in combat. Is this something to celebrate or just another sign of moral decay? Michael Foust writes:

Panetta made his announcement Thursday (Jan. 24), saying the removal of the ban had unanimous approval from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. With the removal, about 237,000 positions on or near the front lines of combat are now open to women.

“If members of our military can meet the qualifications for a job, then they should have the right to serve, regardless of creed, color, gender or sexual orientation,” Panetta said.

You may read more here. . . .

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS NEW POLICY, AS A CHRISTIAN SPECIFICALLY?

Old Testament History

Archaeology and the Bible:

“There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition. . . .” (Quoting Dr. William F. Albright, premier archaeologist for Institute for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem)

Marriage Trends

Quoting Heritage Foundation‘s Rachel Sheffield:

“New government data reveals a continuing trend of declining marriage rates. More women have never been married, and cohabitation rates have increased steadily. And more children are born outside of marriage than ever before. The consequences of these trends include lower economic prosperity for families and an array of poorer outcomes for children. Tragically, as marriage declines, even the very physical safety for women and children is compromised. … The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that never-married women are over four times as likely to be a victim of domestic violence compared to married women. … Additionally, children living outside of married, biological-parent homes have a far greater probability of experiencing physical and sexual abuse. Most notably, children living with a single parent and the parent’s romantic partner are approximately 10 times as likely to be physically abused and 20 times as likely to be sexually abused. Even children living with both biological parents are at heightened risk of physical abuse (over four times as likely) and sexual abuse (nearly five times as likely) if their parents are not married. As marriage rates decline, more women and children are exposed to living situations that jeopardize their safety. As policymakers look to ways to address violence against women, rather than expanding top-down approaches of questionable effectiveness, efforts to promote and strengthen marriage are critical.”

Read more. . . .

UNC – Greensboro Wages War On Christian Club

From The Patriot Post:

At North Carolina-Greensboro (UNC-G), a dispute is headed to court. The university instituted a policy of supposed “tolerance” for leadership of student associations, so the Alliance Defense Fund is aiding a Christian club to take the school to court. In this case, it appears that the university specifically targeted “Make Up Your Own Mind,” a Christian organization, and insisted that non-Christians be permitted to serve as leaders because, the university says, the group is not affiliated with a church and therefore is not a religious organization.

Religious Freedom Versus White House War Of Regulations

The church/state debate continues to heat up in spite of the recent unanimous 9-0 margin, when the Supreme Court overruled the idea that the federal government can tell a church who it must employ as a minister if the church violates anti-discrimination employment guidelines. The White House claimed that there is no special protection for clergy in our Constitution. However, the Supreme Court ruled that it “is hard to square with the text of the First Amendment itself, which gives special consideration to the rights of religious organizations. We cannot accept the remarkable view that the Religion Clauses have nothing to say about a religious organization’s freedom to select its own ministers.”

Now, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law on March 23, 2010, seeks to force Catholic universities, hospitals, and charities to give insurance to their employees covering contraception — even though this violates the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The policy says that Catholic hospitals can only invoke the “conscience clause” — and get an exemption on the new rules — if they turn away patients of other faiths. Catholic hospitals have never turned people away because of their religious beliefs. Instead of asking “”Are you hungry or sick?” The Church would be forced to ask “”Are you Catholic?”

Arlington (Va.) Bishop Paul Loverde called the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services order “a direct attack against religious liberty.” Bishop Alexander Sample of Marquette, Mich., stated: “We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law.” This is not just a Catholic issue; there is growing concern in other denominations that this is an assault on religious freedom.

Let us take a look at what the First Amendment actually says:

I. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

We often hear about “”a wall of separation” between church and state in America. However, this phrase cannot be found in either the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. The phrase occurs in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to an assembly of Baptists in Connecticut. The quote is usually used out of context.

The real purpose of the “Establishment Clause was to prohibit Congress from imposing a national religion upon the people; and to prohibit Congress (and the Federal government generally) from meddling with existing church-state relations in the several States. Thus the “Establishment Clause is linked directly to the “Free Exercise Clause. It was designed to promote religious freedom by forbidding Congress to prefer one Christian denomination over another Christian denomination.

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was not intended as a declaration of governmental hostility toward religion. The phrase “”prohibiting the free exercise thereof” was meant to keep Congress from ever meddling in the disputes among religious bodies or interfering with their mode of worship and seeking to regulate the many ministries of the church.

Since Thomas Jefferson quote is the source of much of the negative political view of religion as expressed by the political left in our country, we would do well to find out what else Jefferson had to say about the First Amendment Establishment Clause:

“In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the general [federal] government. (Jefferson, Second Inaugural Address, 1805)

“[O]ur excellent Constitution . . . has not placed our religious rights under the power of any public functionary. (Jefferson, Letter to the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1808)

“I consider the government of the United States as interdicted [prohibited] by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions . . . or exercises. (Jefferson, Letter to Samuel Millar, 1808)

It is clear that Jefferson believed the First Amendment did not allow the Federal Government to limit, restrict, regulate, or interfere with public religious practices and religious institutions. The intent of the First Amendment’s “establishment” clause was, according to Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, “. . . to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects.” This is confirmed by the preliminary draft of the First Amendment proposed by James Madison to the House of Representatives in 1789:

“The Civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.

President James Madison also appointed Joseph Story (1779-1845) as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Joseph Story continued on the bench for 34 years, until his death in 1845. Joseph Story wrote tremendously influential works, including: Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833; and A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States, 1840. The following are a few of Justice Story‘s quotes about the “Establishment Clause:

“Probably, at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, and of the Amendment to it now under consideration, the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the State so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience and the freedom of religious worship.

“Temporary delusions, prejudices, excitements, and objects have irresistible influence in mere questions of policy. And the policy of one age may ill suit the wishes or the policy of another. The constitution is not subject to such fluctuations. It is to have a fixed, uniform, permanent construction. It should be, so far at least as human infirmity will allow, not dependent upon the passions or parties of particular times, but the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.

“It yet remains a problem to be solved in human affairs, whether free government can be permanent, where the public worship of God, and the support of religion, constitute no part of the policy or duty of the state in any assignable shape. . . .

But the duty of supporting religion, and especially the Christian religion, is very different from the right to force the consciences of other men, or to punish them for worshipping God in the manner, which, they believe, their accountability to him requires.

In the case of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, we see clearly an attempt by Federal authorities to assault religious freedom by forcing the hospital ministry of the Catholic Church to violate it’s own moral teachings. I wonder which protestant denomination the government bureaucrats will be coming for next?

Why Do People Think Like That?

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:21-27)

The above verses usually come to mind when I read posts such as The Patriot Post reported about the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) providing “Questions and Answers About Sex.” It is a link on their “Quick Guide to Healthy Living.” Basically, HHS tells parents not to worry about teen experimentation with sex.

The Patriot Post also reports that B4U-Act, a 501(c)(3) organization in Maryland that promotes services and resources for self-identified adults and adolescents who are sexually attracted to children, held a “scientific” symposium last week. The symposium proposed a new definition of pedophilia in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Some even pushed the idea that pedophilia should be decriminalized.

Then there was the Florida Teacher of the Year who was suspended for posting comments on Facebook objecting to New York’s legalization of same-sex marriage earlier this year. He cited “biblical principles” — specifically, “Romans chapter one” — for his opposition.

What is appropriate to say about all this in a nation that has turned its back on God? Pray that God will bring forth thousands “that have not bowed to Baal. . . .” (1 Kings 19:18)

tks: Patriot Post

Famous Ministry Drops “Christ” From Its Name

Bill Bright

I was disappointed to hear that Campus Crusade for Christ International has decided to no longer use “Christ” in its official name. This organization was founded by Bill Bright in 1951. Bright died in 2003.

According to sources, the leadership of the organization felt that the name was getting in the way of achieving its goals. The name change will take place in the US in early 2012. The new organization will be called “Cru”.

Other than trying to achieve some “politically correct status” on college campuses, do they expect us to believe that by operating in some kind of “stealth-mode” they are going to be able to better spread the gospel of Jesus Christ? If so, they have fooled no one but themselves. Usually, this kind of ministry move signals the beginning of offering a “Christless” gospel. They may increase participation but true conversions have historically declined in any ministry that has emphasized membership more than the Word of Jesus Christ.

So, what’s the big deal over this particular name change? Does dropping Christ’s name from the organization title of a sixty year old ministry signify something major is happening? I think it is important to consider the context in which the New Testament speaks of the name of Jesus:

“And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) “But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” (Acts 8:12) “And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” (Acts 10:48) “Then Paul answered, ‘What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.’” (Acts 21:13) “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11) “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17) “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him [Jesus] the name that is above every name. . . .” (Phillipians 2:9) “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name [than Jesus] under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

In Old and New Testament times the use of someone’s name as used in the Scriptures above meant far more than it usually does in the modern sense. A person’s name stood for what that person stood for. A person’s name represented his character and authority. To do something in someone’s name was to do it with their authority; in witness to their character; and acknowledging their blessings. It is one’s personal witness to that other person. The name of Jesus Christ incorporates all these meanings about who He is.

By this I am not saying that every church or ministry must use the name of Jesus Christ in its organizational title. What I am asking you to think about is the significance of deciding to remove “Christ” from the name of a long established ministry. Are they now changing the character of the ministry? Will it really continue to be a witness to Jesus Christ? Will they continue to act under the authority of Jesus Christ? All this remains to be seen.

“Seven In Heaven Way”

Seven firefighters who died at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 recently had a street named in their honor near their fire station in a Brooklyn neighborhood. The street was named “Seven in Heaven Way”.

Now, a group called “New York City Atheists” is insisting that the street sign is offensive to their beliefs and violates the First Amendment to the Constitution. The group’s president says the public domain is no place for signs or displays that incorporate religious belief. He feels the word “Heaven” on the street sign  is insulting because atheists don’t believe in heaven or hell.

Well, it’s too bad his feelings are hurt, but his thinking concerning the Constitution and the First Amendment is totally imaginary! Secular progressives would have us believe that the First Amendment implies freedom from religion; not freedom of religion. The First Amendment promotes religious freedom in all areas of public life.

The bus signs that deny God and promote atheism during the Christmas Holidays (which are funded by atheist groups) are very offensive to me. Yet, the First Amendment protects the beliefs of an atheist – just as it protects my Christian beliefs. Perhaps the NYC Atheists are just put out by no one naming a street “The Atheist Way”.

In 1820 James Madison wrote in a letter to Jacob de la Motta:

“Among the features peculiar to the political system of the United States, is the perfect equality of rights which it secures to every religious sect.” (Our Sacred Honor, Bennett, p. 333)

Harold Camping: The Countdown Continues

Harold Camping’s much publicized Judgment Day prophecy went by unfulfilled on Saturday. Camping, 89, now says he miscalculated. Instead of a physical destruction of the earth on May 21st, he thinks his prediction was spiritual in nature and the actual end of the earth will take place on October 21st. Camping issued his correction during an appearance on his “Open Forum” radio show from Oakland, California.

During a 90-minute talk that included a question-and-answer session with reporters, Camping insisted that October 21 has always been the end-point of his own end times’ countdown. Really – this excuse is offered from the man who 17 years ago publicly acknowledged his failed 1994 prophecy of Christ’s return to Earth. Camping, however, is not the only one who has made false predictions concerning the Scriptures.

Lester Sumrall wrote in his book I Predict 2000 A.D.: “I predict the absolute fullness of man’s operation on planet Earth by the year 2000 A.D. Then Jesus shall reign from Jerusalem for 1000 years.”

Mikkel Dahl predicted in The Midnight Cry that the end would come in 1980. Reginald Edward Duncan predicted in The Coming Russian Invasion of America that the Millennium would begin in 1979. One of the most notorious false prophets, Edgar C. Whisenant, released a book titled 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Is in 1988. Upon the book’s release, he was quoted as saying “Only if the Bible is in error am I wrong, and I say that unequivocally.” After no rapture in 1988, Whisenant said he made a mistake in his math and had the nerve to release a new book called The Final Shout: Rapture Report 1989. Needless to say, he missed again. These self-proclaimed prophets would do well to remember Ezekiel 13:9:

My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord God.

Even if they are sincere, these prophet-want-to-bees should take note of all the ones who have failed before them. Whether it is out of a desire to urge people to Christ or for the love of money, these failing predictions cause people to see Christianity as a sham. I encourage Christians to quit supporting the prediction game and spend more time reading the Bible. Matthew is a good place to start:

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Matthew 24:36)

“No one knows” and this remains true today. Jesus will return, but this verse should stop attempts to calculate the date and time.

See previous article. . . .

Police Stop Church Service in China

Police At Chinese Church Gathering

Nathan Black, a Christian Post reporter, reports that hundreds of Christians in China were picked up by the police Sunday as they tried to hold a worship service.

Shouwang Church, one of the largest unregistered Protestant churches in Beijing, claims that the Chinese government will not allow them to rent space for church services. According to Black:

With no other choice, church members tried to hold Sunday service at an open-air venue. The announcement was made on the Internet. They were aware of the risks and were warned b the pastor, the Rev. Jin Tianming, that they would likely meet resistance.

Police officers blocked some members from leaving their homes and detained more than 100 churchgoers, forcing them into buses and driving them away to an unknown location, as reported by Voice of America.

Continue reading. . . .

New Findings From The National Survey Of Family Growth

New findings by the National Survey of Family Growth have validated the “abstinence only” curriculums championed by the Bush administration. The Left had long ridiculed and vilified these programs, saying they don’t work and calling President Bush “too religious.” Now they have contrary evidence to ignore.

According to the survey — which focused on the 15-24 age group — 29 percent of females and 27 percent of males reported never having had sexual contact with another person. This is a dramatic 22 percent increase from 2002, when the survey was last conducted. In addition, there has been a 40 percent decrease in teen pregnancy since its peak in the 1990s. . . .

The survey’s results also lend credence to the policies of religious universities, such as Brigham Young. Last week, BYU’s nationally ranked basketball team suspended a sophomore and star forward after the young man admitted that he and his girlfriend had been sexually intimate. BYU’s honor code includes the expectation that students will lead a “chaste and virtuous life,” a view that according to the National Survey of Family Growth, seems to be gaining traction with America’s youth.

Earthquakes And Prophecy

Gary DeMar

Gary DeMar writes:

For decades now, modern-day prophecy writers have been claiming that the increase and severity of earthquakes are sure indicators that we’re living in the “last days” and the “rapture” is near. It happened when an earthquake hit Haiti January 12, 2010. The latest earthquake that sent a tsunami to Japan has already revved up current end-time speculation. Tim LaHaye, the best-selling co-author of the Left Behind series of Bible prophecy novels had this to say …

Continue reading. . . .

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