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-Reasons Conservative Christians Should Now Be Concerned About Religious Liberty

by Dr. D ~ April 6th, 2015

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So many Christians in America are not aware that their religious freedom and liberty is now under assault in America.

Incredibly many key liberal thinkers and journalists, who are concerned about the rights of everyone else and the First Amendment when it comes to free speech, are now questioning whether limits should be put upon the rights and religious liberty of conservative Christians who they disagree with widely on many different social and political issues.

What happened recently with the firestorm surrounding the passage of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act should be our ‘canary in the mine’ and a shofar calling us into action warning of a major social war with many serious cultural and political battles ahead.

It really is time for Christians to stand up and be heard before our freedoms slowly slip into the night that seems to be culturally descending upon America. To see and really understand what I am taking about, read the last 25 or so articles on this site or this very good summary of where we stand published today in the Christian post:

Analysis: 8 Reasons Conservative Christians Are Concerned About Their Own Religious Freedom in the Obama Era” by Napp Nazworth

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-Happy Resurrection Day! 2015

by Dr. D ~ April 4th, 2015

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(Image by abcdz2000 via Flickr)

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

May You and your family have a wonderful Easter. May we all remember and reflect upon what is really important after all the cultural fun of Easter bunnies, colored eggs, and special ham dinners and family get togethers. May we remember what the day is really all about—the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Happy Resurrection Day!

When the women went to the tomb on Easter morning the rock was rolled away and the tomb was empty. Not only that but an angel met them there and said:

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come see the place where he lay.”

…And behold Jesus met them and said, “Greetings! Do not be afraid…” –Matt.28:5-10

Another good scripture to remember–this is what Jesus told Martha before he raised her brother Lazarus from the grave:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?  -John 11:25-26

The good question for each one of us today—Do you believe this?

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-Good Friday 2015: “It’s Friday But Sunday’s Coming”

by Dr. D ~ April 2nd, 2015

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Here it is again. My favorite message of all time for Good Friday is by Dr. Tony Campolo. It has become a tradition on this blog to post it every year on this day.

Here is a link to where the famous tape can be downloaded.

The whole tape is great but the best part is at the end when Tony Campolo recalls one Sunday when he had a little preaching competition with the head pastor at the church where he attends.

Dr. Campolo tells how he preached the perfect sermon in every way and had taken the congregation to ‘the heights of glory’. As he sat down beside his pastor, Dr. Tony patted him on the knee and simply said, “Top that.” The older black pastor looked at him and said, “Boy, watch the master.” Then Dr. Campolo recalls for us the very brilliant message which followed.

The following is a short printed version of the 45 minute sermon–the printed version doesn’t really do justice to the original, but you can at least get an idea what the last part is like:

It’s Friday But Sunday’s Coming—

It was a simple sermon, starting softly, building in volume and intensity until the entire congregation was completely involved, repeating the phrases in unison. The sermon went something like this.

It’s Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter’s denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. See Him walking to Calvary, the blood dripping from His body. See the cross crashing down on His back as He stumbles beneath the load. It’s Friday; but Sunday’s a coming.

It’s Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, “Father, forgive them.” It’s Friday; but Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God who will not abide with sin pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, “My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?” What a horrible cry. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. And at the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil of the Temple that separates sinful man from Holy God was torn from the top to the bottom because Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that’s because it’s Friday, and they don’t know it, but Sunday’s a coming.

And on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of Calvary. Satan thought that he had won the victory. Surely he had destroyed the Son of God. Finally he had disproved the prophecy God had uttered in the Garden and the one who was to crush his head had been destroyed. But that was Friday.

Now it’s Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn’t the only thing that was shaking because now it’s Sunday. And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb. Yes, it’s Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it’s Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says. He is risen indeed.

It’s Sunday, and the crucified and resurrected Christ has defeated death, hell, sin and the grave. It’s Sunday. And now everything has changed. It’s the age of grace, God’s grace poured out on all who would look to that crucified lamb of Calvary. Grace freely given to all who would believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary was buried and rose again. All because it’s Sunday.

At the end of the message the pastor shouts out:

It’s Friiidaaaay!

And the whole congregation responds:

But Sunday’s Coming!

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-New York City: Mayor Will Allow Churches to Continue Using Schools

by Dr. D ~ April 1st, 2015

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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will allow Churches to continue to rent school buildings for now in spite of a recent ruling the Supreme Court than allows a ban by the city’s Board of Education to continue. The current mayor says he intends to allow churches to have access on the same basis as any other group or non-profit. Here’s the story from the Religion News Service:

NEW YORK (RNS) Congregations in New York City that rent space in public schools will be able to hold Easter services this Sunday despite a ruling on Monday (March 30) by the U.S. Supreme Court rejecting an appeal from an evangelical church in the Bronx that sought to overturn a ban on after-hours worship services at public schools.

A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio also said that the mayor would work to ensure that houses of worship could continue to rent space like any other group.

“Now that litigation has concluded, the city will develop rules of the road that respect the rights of both religious groups and nonparticipants,” Wiley Norvell said in response to the ruling. “While we review and revise the rules, groups currently permitted to use schools for worship will continue to be able to worship on school premises.” …

<Read the whole article>

Response: We have been following this story for several years because of the national implications. Churches are renting schools for services all across America. So when a Circuit Court rules in favor of a ban citing the separation of church and state as a reason it is a dangerous development that turns the Constitutional provision for religious freedom on its ear. Even more so since the Supreme Court refuses to take the case.

Fortunately the current NYC mayor seems more open to allowing the churches to stay or at least re-writing the rules to accommodate religious groups on the same basis as other community organizations or non-profits.

It will be interesting to see how this development plays out since most of the churches needing to rent school buildings are in poorer areas where this mayor received a great deal of support. At least the situation is better than it was under the previous mayoral administration of  Michael Bloomberg who was in favor of kicking the churches out.            *Top

-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