- - Thursday, May 19, 2016

1| Albert Mohler, in a brief Ligonier Ministries video, says “Court-Ordered Same-Sex Marriage Cannot Deliver on Its Promise

I just want to say one further thing and that is this… it’s not going to work. I mean, we know that. The whole promise of so-called same-sex marriage is not going to work. It’s already not working. Anthony Kennedy in his majority decision in Obergefell, said one of the reasons we have to do this is because same-sex couples are being considered outside the moral norm, where marriage will resolve that. It doesn’t resolve that. We are looking at a market in same-sex divorces. It can’t deliver on its promises. Only Christ delivers on His promises. And we’ve got to be there for people who, in the midst of this cultural revolution, are going to be horribly hurt because this revolution can’t deliver on its promises. We’ve got to be there with the gospel of Christ.

2| Eye Covenant Free Ebook: Parenting the Internet Generation

***The folks at Eye Covenant have a free Ebook to help parents navigate the dangers of the internet with their children and teens.

3| Russia’s Jehovah’s Witnesses Fight ‘Extremist’ Label, Possible Ban |NPR

***No matter one’s thoughts on the theology of Jehovah’s Witnesses, this is an unsettling piece of news.

Russia’s top prosecutor is threatening to ban the Jehovah’s Witnesses for alleged “extremism.”The religious denomination has faced growing pressure in Russia over the past several years, with church members arrested and confiscations of church property.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t alone. Other denominations, such as the Mormons, are also under pressure.

Jehovah’s Witness leaders say a nationwide ban would affect some 175,000 church members but wouldn’t stop their activities.

One important activity for members is Bible study on weekday evenings. A couple of hundred people gathered at a Kingdom Hall in St. Petersburg on a recent evening to sing and discuss the meaning of Bible stories. They also talked about how to tell other people about their vision of Christianity and their version of the Bible.

4| The World’s Biggest Muslim Organization Wants to Protect Christians |Christianity Today

In January, 200 Muslim religious leaders, heads of state, and scholars gathered in Morocco. They released the Marrakesh Declaration, a 750-word document calling for majority-Muslim countries to protect the freedom of religious minorities, including Christians.

Last week, another 300 Muslim religious leaders from about 30 countries did much the same. Gathering in Jakarta, Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim populus and historically known for its religious peace, the leaders denounced extremism and addressed its causes.

5| The Armageddon Code—An End Times Interview with Billy Hallowell |Christianity Today

I was stunned to see that so many people who have both good intentions and deep respect for the biblical scriptures walk away with such divergent ideas about what the Old and New Testaments prophesy about the end times.

Sure, I knew there was a debate, but working on “The Armageddon Code” gave me a unique lens, allowing me to see just how passionate each expert was about his stance, despite coming away with starkly different conclusions in many cases.

The questions we commissioned through Lifeway Research showed that, among pastors, debate is alive and well. Before this book there really wasn’t much public polling information about pastors’ and ministers’ eschatological views, so that was a central goal of mine in penning this book. To see 36 percent of pastors opting for a pre-tribulation rapture and 25 percent saying that the rapture shouldn’t be taken literally was notable. There isn’t a consensus.

I was also fascinated to see nearly half (49 percent) of pastors expecting a future Antichrist figure, with no other proportions coming close to that in terms of size. Clearly, preachers are just as divided as everyone on the ever-contentious subject, which shows that there’s a level of mystery in the Bible when it comes to the end of days.

6| United Methodist Sex & Gridlock, by Mark Tooley

United Methodism, which has 7 million USA members and over 5 million overseas, has debated homosexuality every General Conference since 1972. It is nearly alone among traditionally liberal Mainline denominations that have formally not surrendered traditional Christian sexual ethics. Like other Mainlines, United Methodism has been losing USA members for 50 years. Unlike other Mainlines, the church has a large overseas membership that will soon become a majority.

Liberal USA clergy have become increasingly defiant of church rules against same sex rites and sex outside male-female marriage, with liberal bishops unwilling to respond forcefully. As part of General Conference tradition, LGBTQ demonstrators repeatedly interrupted this General Conference with well-timed protests prearranged with the bishops. Sometimes the rainbow clad protesters, many of them recognizable from previous General Conferences, appeared with tape over their mouths signifying their supposedly being silenced by the church. In one protest, several writhed on the convention floor hog-tied to illustrate their captivity to church disapproval. Delegates carefully stepped around them.

7| Eric Metaxas on Vimeo  ***Cue to the 20-minute mark to hear Metaxas talk about his forthcoming new book, If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty

8| Largest Presbyterian denomination in U.S. lost another 5.7% of its membership in 2015

In 2015, the PCUSA lost 95,107 members, bringing total membership down to 1,572,660. That’s a 5.70 decrease from the 2014 membership number — 1,667,767. The denomination lost 92,433 members that year.

The PCUSA’s membership has been in continuous decline since the denomination was formed in 1983, by the reunion of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (PCUS) and the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA). The last recorded membership increase for the PCUSA’s two combined predecessor denominations was in 1965. (Click here for chart showing PCUSA membership and losses 1960-2015.)


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