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-Can An Atheist Actually be a Christian?

by Dr. D ~ March 31st, 2015

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Can an atheist actually be a Christian? Sounds ridiculous, but here’s the report of a Presbyterian USA minister who does not believe in God but is actually offended by those who question whether he’s really a Christian. From the Christian News:

BEAVERTON, Ore. – A Presbyterian USA minister in Oregon who says that he doesn’t believe in God—and doesn’t require his members to believe either—remarked in a recent article that he is offended by those who assert that he is not a Christian. …John Shuck of Beaverton’s Southminster Presbyterian Church…

Shuck first came out as an unbeliever in 2011, generating controversy as to how one could serve as a minister and not believe in the Bible. …

<Read the whole article>

Response: Can an atheist actually be a Christian? John Shuck apparently believes so. I guess it all depends upon your definition of ‘Christian.’ After all, famous atheist Dr. Richard Dawkins has referred to himself as a ‘Cultural Christian’ on numerous occasions.

One can call themselves anything they like but it doesn’t necessarily make it so. …

Read my entire article on my Apologetica page. Here’s the conclusion to the article:

Such a one should never be surprised or offended if his identity and commitment to the name of Christ is questioned. Particularly when he freely admits that, while he concedes that there might have been a historical Jesus, he doesn’t even believe in such a thing as a ‘Christ’ –the Anointed One of God.

<Read the rest of the article on the Apologetica page>              *Top

-Firestorm Over Indiana’s Religious Liberty Bill

by Dr. D ~ March 30th, 2015

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(Indiana State House)

The national media was in a firestorm and a feeding frenzy this last weekend over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act or RFRA which was signed into law last week by Gov. Mike Pence. It was mostly ignorant disinformation since Indiana’s bill merely mirrors the 1993 federal law signed by President Clinton and similar RFRA legislation passed previously in 20 different states.

Yet by the extreme reaction and outrage one would have thought that the Indiana RFRA was entirely new, unique, and specifically targeting LGBT rights and creating some kind of new state sanctioned discrimination rather than protecting religious liberty and supporting the First Amendment of the Constitution. Meanwhile, some of the media folks, politicians, and activists calling for boycotts against Indiana actually live in some of those very states that have similar RFRA laws.

If you are interested in the facts about Indiana’s bill and what RFRA laws actually do and don’t do, here’s an excellent article to read from the Federalist.com

Your Questions On Indiana’s Religious Freedom Bill, Answered” by Gabriel Malor

Also here’s another good article from Think Progress: “The Big Lie The Media Tells About Indiana’s New ‘Religious Freedom’ Law” by Judd Legum

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-Is ‘Christianophobia’ a Growing Reality?

by Dr. D ~ March 27th, 2015

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You have all heard the term- ‘Islamophobia’ from a willing media that continues to be concerned about the growth of negative opinion against Islam and possible discrimination against the adherents of the ‘religion of peace.’ Meanwhile conservative Christians are increasingly facing real discrimination and seem to be considered as ‘fair game’ in America. Are we seeing the rise of ‘Christianophobia.’ Is it a growing reality or merely an anecdotal exception?

Many secular folks view conservative Bible believing Christians as being on the ‘wrong side’ of nearly every social issue. Currently quite a few Christians are being sued and censored for their views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Even Christian organizations and colleges are now increasingly under assault for their Biblical views and morality codes for members and employees. It really does seem to be on the rise and this phenomena is something that we continue to observe and post about on this site.

In article by George Yancey, who did research on the growing animosity towards conservative Christianity in America, the word ‘Christianophobia’ is used to sum up what many are increasingly observing and experiencing.  From the article in Christianity Today:

In the US, hateful bigotry is not only directed toward groups such as racial and sexual minorities, but also toward conservative Christians. The survey comments evidence that some of the anti-Christian animosity verges into unreasonable hatred and fear. It’s Christianophobia. …

The “fear” part of this definition of Christianophobia came from respondents who saw conservative Christians as a dark force seeking to take over society and impose Christian rule. …

I have heard many Christians talk about being persecuted. …But persecution isn’t quite the right term. In the US, people with hostile views of conservative Christianity are quite satisfied with Christians as long as they keep their faith to themselves. …

Such attitudes reflect notions of a privatization of religion, whereby people are free to believe whatever they want, but not to use their beliefs outside of their own private lives.  …

This helps to crystallize the current conflict in our society between conservative Christians and those with hatred towards them. Christians face economically, educationally, and socially powerful individuals who seek to drive them from the public square. Many with Christianophobia are convinced that conservative Christians will drag our society back into the Dark Ages and must be stopped with any measure that cannot be defined as overt religious bigotry.

An important challenge Christians have is to convince such individuals that they have the same rights to influence the public square as anyone else. …

<Read the whole article>

Response: I believe that the article referenced above by George Yancey should be read by as many Christians as possible. It really does help to bring some understanding and perspective to what we have been experiencing and interpreting lately as persecution.

It also gives me hope that maybe we might be able to address some of these irrational fears. After all, in reality there are no major or even any minor Christian leaders of any consequence that seek to impose a ‘theocracy’ on America. Quite the opposite. Conservative Christians just want to have the right to support and speak out for the issues that they do believe in and have some influence like everyone else in the public square.            *Top

-UK: Street Preacher Fined for Quoting ‘Illegal’ Bible Verse?

by Dr. D ~ March 26th, 2015

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A judge in the UK has fined a street preacher for quoting a Bible verse that was offensive to homosexuals. In the process the judge seemed to be saying that some Bible verses were now illegal to quote in public. In this particular case, apparently quoting from Leviticus 18 was acceptable but Leviticus 20 was deemed to be against the law. Here’s the story from Christian Concern:

A Christian street preacher has been convicted of a Public Order offence for using the wrong Bible verse in a public conversation with a man who identifies as homosexual.

…In a highly unusual judgment, Michael Overd, who regularly preaches on the streets of Taunton, was told by the Judge that he should not have referred to Leviticus chapter 20 to make his point but clearly indicated that he could have used chapter 18 of the book.

District Judge Shamim Ahmed Qureshi found that Mr Overd could have pointed to Leviticus 18:22 which describes homosexual practice as an ‘abomination’ but that reference to Leviticus 20:13 was inappropriate because the chapter refers to the death penalty.

Mr Overd points out that in his use of Leviticus 20 he never referred to the death penalty.

"I am being punished for words that never passed my lips," he commented. …

“I am amazed that the Judge sees it as his role to dictate which parts of the Bible can and can’t be preached. I did not quote the full text of Leviticus 20 or make reference to the death penalty but the Judge is telling me that I should use other parts of the Bible. This is not free speech but censorship. The Judge is redacting the Bible.

“I have been ordered to pay compensation for causing ‘emotional pain’ to someone who approached me aggressively demanding to debate the issue. There was no harm, injury or theft, just a simple disagreement over theology which I have now been fined for.

“My motivation for preaching the gospel is my love for Jesus Christ and my deep concern for people who do not know His great love and are heading towards an eternity separated from God.”

<Read the whole article>

Response: Could this happen in America? Is this where we are headed? I can easily see this happening in Canada where any kind of so-called ‘offensive’ speech is already being censored.

Even with our strong Constitutional rights to freedom of religion we are now in a battle over whether those rights should be re-interpreted and re-defined as merely ‘freedom of worship’ within the four walls of an officially zoned and recognized place of worship out of the public square.

There have been a number of cases in the last several years where street preachers have been arrested, fined, or stopped by police from preaching or praying in public. There was even a case where Christians were blocked from giving out free bottles of water. So it is not entirely far fetched that it could happen here.

The part of this case that is really shocking is that this judge has taken it upon himself to censor part of the Bible. It would be an interesting case if this happened in America to see how it would be resolved. In so many cases recently business folks have been censored for taking Biblical stands on homosexuality and same-sex marriage in the name of ‘discrimination.’ In many places the law has been changed to include LGBT folks in civil rights provisions.

It is not really a stretch to see some of these laws used in the future to restrict free speech and religious speech in public if it is deemed to be offensive or ‘hate speech’ to those protected from ‘discrimination.’ Certain Bible verses could even be classified as ‘hate speech’ by some judge in the future if quoted in the public square.

Look for this to happen in the next ten years or less if President Obama’s push for the acceptance of ‘Freedom of Worship’ becomes the law of the land through a future more liberal Supreme Court. Hopefully enough Christians stand up for their rights in America before this becomes a reality.            *Top

-Indiana: Religious Freedom Bill Passes

by Dr. D ~ March 25th, 2015

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The Indiana state legislators recently passed a bill that supports religious freedom for people of faith including business owners. Here’s the story from Citizen Link:

Indiana’s religious freedom bill passed the General Assembly by overwhelming votes. That means Hoosiers of faith will now be protected from violating their deeply held beliefs in their personal lives and businesses.

The bill now goes to Gov. Mike Pence who is expected to sign it.

Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute was elated with the victory.

“Hoosiers have had a long tradition of respecting religious liberty,” he said, “and given all the lawsuits around the country and this growing tension as our society becomes more diverse and less tolerant, we’re very pleased that our policy makers have taken this step to reaffirm and strengthen religious liberty in Indiana.”

Informally called the “Hobby Lobby” bill, Smith said it echoes the favorable ruling for the craft chain.

Response: Finally a state bill that supports religious liberty for people  of faith in their personal lives and businesses directly reflecting the Supreme Court’s ‘Hobby lobby’ decision.

This is long over due. The LGBT activists are pushing for discrimination laws all across America that trump religious liberty and the 1st Amendment for Christian businesses. It is time for people of faith to rise up and pressure state legislatures to pass bills, like this Indiana provision, that support religious liberty and stops the hemorrhaging of our Constitutional religious rights.            *Top

-Gordon College Reaffirms Ban on Extramarital Sex Including Homosexuality

by Dr. D ~ March 20th, 2015

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(Picture from Gordon College website)

Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts has officially come out this week reaffirming their Christian Biblical based conduct policy of banning all extramarital sex for students, teachers and staff outside of a marriage between one man and one woman. From the Christian Post:

In an interview with CP, Sweeney explained the reasoning underpinning the decision on the part of Gordon’s Board of Trustees.

"It was important to be clear [Gordon] supports the institutional commitment to orthodox biblical teaching around human sexuality," said Sweeney.

"At the same time, the college leadership is committed to ensuring we support and care for all students including those of diverse characteristics and backgrounds … while remaining faithful to our underlying Christian theological framework."

<Read the whole article>

Response: The Christian college has been the subject of considerable controversy over this policy which has been pretty much standard at all conservative Christian colleges across America forever. The sticking point of course is that this puts homosexuality and same-sex marriage outside the bounds of their policy. No one really cares that the policy also bans premarital heterosexual sex and adultery. Homosexuality is now considered by many to be a ‘civil rights’ issue and same-sex marriage is now legal in the state of Massachusetts.

Last year the college’s accreditation seemed to come under some kind of implied challenge by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges with the accrediting body asking  the college to study and reevaluate their policy. Then when the college’s policy became an issue in the press, one school district suspended its student teacher relationship with Gordon and the City of Salem declared that the school was in violation of its discrimination policy and terminated a city hall rental agreement with the college.

It will be interesting to see how this ‘reaffirmation’ by Gordon’s board will be received. I really do not expect the accrediting body to continue their challenge since Gordon now has considerable support from thousands of Christians, Christian legal organizations, and even conservative politicians around the country. We will continue to follow this case.               *Top

-Christian ‘Forgiving ISIS’ Videos Go Viral in Arab World

by Dr. D ~ March 19th, 2015


“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Matthew 5:44

We recently posted the video above of Christian child, 10 year old Myriam, forgiving ISIS even though her family had lost everything because of the terrorist group.  She said:

“I will only ask God to forgive them.

Now comes the news that the video and several others like it have gone viral in the Middle East demonstrating the teaching of Jesus to ‘love your enemies’ in a culture where ‘eye for an eye’ is the normal response. From Christianity Today:

To date, more than 1 million people have seen her witness online. [Full video at the bottom]

SAT-7’s 5 channels reach an audience of 15 million in North Africa and the Middle East, though it’s impossible to measure how many people watched Myriam. However, numbers can be tracked through the social media campaign, which has reached 25 times its normal audience, with subtitles of the video provided in English, Spanish, Turkish, and Chinese. Word spread not only through SAT-7 affiliates, but also in the local secular press.

Pan-Arabic al-Arabia praised Myriam for confronting ISIS with love. “Everyone who listens to her is astounded,” echoed the Egyptian Youm 7. Leading Lebanese daily al-Nahar called for the clip to be shown in the nation’s schools as a lesson in humanity.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Like I said in my first article about the Christian children in the video above:

What a lesson in faith! File this story in the  “for such is the Kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16) category. They are far better Christians than I.

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