Archive for the ‘God’s Kingdom’ Category
The following speech was delivered by CBR’s Georgia Project Director, Lincoln Brandenburg, at the 2016 March for Life in Columbus, Georgia.
What is the goal of the pro-life movement? Jason Jones, the co-producer of the pro-life film “Bella” recently wrote a dynamite article called “The Pro-Life Art of War.” In it, he asks us to:
“Imagine if same-sex marriage were prohibited nationwide, and legal protections for homosexuals consistently struck down or defeated—while sodomy laws were re-imposed and enforced, with billions of dollars in funding from Congress. How effective would you consider the gay rights movement? If the Second Amendment were reduced to a hollow, meaningless shell, and Americans’ guns—even hunting and target rifles—were all confiscated by the feds, what would we think of the gun lobby? If the U.S. abandoned Israel to its fate, and starting sending aid and arms to Hezbollah and Hamas, what would we say of the Israel lobby? Fix each of those scenarios in mind, and let’s ask the question: What should we think of the pro-life movement? The answer is tragically clear: For all the minds and hearts it has changed, it is a comprehensive political failure. American abortion laws are among the laxest on planet Earth…”
Such thinking doesn’t exactly bring out the sunshine on a cloudy day like this, does it? And yet, when you consider the success of the aforementioned movements, contrasted to where we are after 43 years of legalized child killing, one cannot deny that Jones is on to something. In terms of public policy, we really have very little to show for decades of efforts.
Our goal must be to win. We can save a life here and there, but winning is the only way that the killing stops. But we have become entirely too timid to win. Most in our movement are Christians. And it is so ingrained in us to be loving, selfless and nice that we don’t know how to stand firmly and boldly against the evil of child sacrifice. We don’t even have a category for that in our thinking. We know how to be gentle as doves, but we don’t’ know how to be wise as serpents.
I would like to submit that being Christlike – loving, sacrificial and gentle – does not exclude us from also standing boldly against evil. Failure to do so is itself is unloving.
In the introduction to the book “The Bravehearted Gospel,” Pastor Ben Davenport writes:
“The historical Jesus was not crucified because God so loved the world. No! The only begotten of the Father was fastened with iron nails to an unforgiving cross because He spoke the truth with authority and glistened with the light of Heaven and men loved darkness rather than light…
“If Jesus, who was perfect, who never sinned, and who was love incarnate, could not speak the truth without being hated, rejected, and despised, who are we to think that we can do better? Who are we to think that we have figured out a more ‘loving and ‘relevant’ way to present the truth in a more ‘seeker-friendly’ manner than Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
“We have wholeheartedly embraced the sentimental, watercolor Jesus that seems to spend most of His time holding lambs and patting children on the head with some faraway, glazed-over, dreamy look in His eye. And we tend to shy away from, or altogether ignore, that man who spoke the truth of God so boldly that conspiracies were hatched, witnesses were bribed, and politicians were entreated to bring about His painful and public execution.”
This is the side of being Christlike that we are afraid of.
Now does this mean that we shun and condemn women and men who have been involved in an abortion? Does this mean that we scream at people outside of clinics? Of course not! I too have sinned. Were it not for the grace of God, I would still be blinded to sin. From one human to another, I can assure you that God is eager to forgive and to free from bondage to sin, including abortion. “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers.” If you view such people as the enemy, maybe you need to spend some time with God looking in the mirror first.
This is not a call to become one-dimensional. We have all seen people who became so enamored in a cause that they became cynical and abrasive. They develop tunnel-vision and lose their tenderness towards others, their winsomeness and their clairvoyance. That also is not what God calls us to.
But for the majority of us, that’s not the temptation we face, is it? Our temptation is to be silent and passive. Our temptation is to be content with having a political or theological stance, but not taking sacrificial action. We’re comfortable having our bible studies with people who are like ourselves; talking about “discipleship” and “worship,” and being really, really nice people… but doing nothing about the babies being decapitated and dismembered down the street from us.
After WWII, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s best friend, Eberhart Bethge, wrote about the weakness of the Confessing Church in Germany during the war. These were not the liberalized, Nazi-pandering churches, but the Bible-believing ones that still held to orthodox theology. He observed that “it became clear where the problem lay for the Confessing Church: we were resisting by way of confession, but we were not confessing by way of resistance.”
Taking a cognitive stance is not enough. The love of God compels us to act. If we will not take a bold stand against the evil of modern child sacrifice, when WILL we finally stand up? What else would it take?
Yes, it is uncomfortable. Yes, we will get flack for it. We will be mischaracterized and called names. At my church we’ve been studying the sermon on the mount in Matthew’s gospel. In chapter 5, Jesus says: “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in Heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” That should put steel in our spines!
“A servant is not greater than his master;” like Jesus, we should not be surprised when we get flak for speaking the truth in a culture that loves lies. When my colleagues and I engage in activism, we don’t yell at people. We don’t call names. We show the truth of what abortion is and attempt to engage in respectful dialogue. People yell at us. They throw things at us. They call us names. But God uses the prophetic message to convict consciences, change minds, and to save lives and souls. And each one of those precious lives and souls is worth it.
Imagine a day when killing preborn children is a thing of the past. We are continuing to support pregnancy resource centers, such as Sound Choices and Seneca, Choices for Life), not because it’s the pro-life thing to do – but because it’s just the Christian charitable thing to do. No other reason. Imagine us getting together like this, not to march for life, but to celebrate the precious lives that are no longer in danger. Imagine standing before the God who purposefully placed you in this time and place of history, and hearing the words “well done, good and faithful servant!”
With that dream in mind, go forward courageously and boldly. Connect with others who are engaging the culture. Let’s stay humble, stay winsome. But let’s also refuse to take no for an answer. Let’s refuse to let up. Let’s stop playing nice.
Submitted by Lincoln Brandenburg
by Jacqueline Hawkins
“I am a Christian and a Baptist,” the Columbia State University co-ed said with righteous indignation. “This display is wrong! … This doesn’t help! We know what abortion is! Dead babies? NO! Don’t show that!”
This young woman may have honestly believed that showing such pictures is wrong. She may have thought people already know what abortion is. But we think her reaction was mostly fear … fear of verbal reprisals against her and other Christians, perhaps. The fear of rejection has prompted many pro-life Christians to cower under tables, hide out in CRU meetings, etc. [We love Campus Crusade for Christ, but if the shoe fits …]
After some time she finally said, “Well I respect you and know you want to help. I just wish you wouldn’t do it this way.”
We pray for Christians on campus to find their courage … and then find their way. The world needs Christians to stand up and be counted.
Two other young women illustrate why our courage is so important.
They stared intently at the pictures. One of them pointed to a 10-week abortion photo and asked CBR’s Maggie Egger, “That circular part there, is that the heart?” Maggie replied, “I don’t know actually. It could be the heart or it could be the stomach or something else, it’s hard to tell.” The other girl chimed in, “But they do have a heart at that point, right?” Maggie answered in the affirmative. The two nodded and continued to study the picture for a few more minutes. Then as they slowly walked away, one said, “I mean, that’s a baby!” The other replied solemnly, “It’s a baby…It’s a baby.”
The pictures work. When more Christians use them courageously, they will work more places, more often. Please stand up and make your voice heard by supporting Pro Life on Campus.
Jacqueline Hawkins is a CBR Project Director and a regular FAB contributor.
My new friend (I hope) W. Russell responded to an FAB post earlier this week. He (or she) wrote:
I think you are making a big mistake by linking the pro-life cause with religion. There are people out there like me that are prolife but want nothing to do with religion. Not to mention the fact that “Darwinism” (btw, there is no such thing) has nothing to do with abortion. I am an atheist, believe in evolution, and am pro-life. Why do you want to write me off as an enemy to your cause. You say the biggest treat to children is the belief in evolution and abortion. No, the biggest treat to children is ignorance and the lack of respect for human rights, every human’s rights. One can believe that every human being, born and unborn is deserving of life without believing in a deity. The pro-life cause needs all the support possible. Don’t exclude people because they don’t have the same beliefs as you. If you do, you are just as ignorant as the people who support abortion.
This is my reply (with a few edits):
Thanks for your comment. I wholeheartedly agree with much of what you said. For example, you said, “One can believe that every human being, born and unborn, is deserving of life without believing in a deity.” You are of course correct. Many atheists agree with us on the right to life.
You said we should not link the pro-life cause with religion. There is some truth in that. For example, we should be able to argue against abortion without appealing to our religious beliefs. With our Pro Life Training Academy, we do exactly that. We train people to talk about spiritual matters only with people who are open to that discussion. When an atheist asks us why we oppose abortion, we don’t say he must adopt a new moral code before he can become pro-life; we simply ask him to apply his current moral code to everyone equally, including the unborn. We assume that he opposes killing born people, and usually he does.
You said, “The pro-life cause needs all the support possible. Don’t exclude people because they don’t have the same beliefs as you.” You are again correct, and I am happy to work beside you to end injustice, including the injustice of killing unborn children, no matter what else we may disagree about.
But I don’t agree with you that just because we disagree on something important, I have “[written you] off as an enemy to [our] cause.” It only means that we disagree on some things and agree on other things. I have many friends in the pro-life movement, and I disagree with almost all of them about religious matters that we consider important.
It is unrealistic to expect that Christians will quit being Christians when they take up the cause of ending injustice. We Christians fight injustice for two reasons. First and foremost, we are commanded to do so by our Creator.
Second, Christians believe that all of us (including you and me) are created beings, and we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these is the right to life. If there is no Creator, then we all evolved from the earth. We are simply a cosmic fluke, mere dust that happens to be animated for a short period of time before we return to dust. And if that is true, then what is the basis for any kind of morality? How can one clump of animated dust say what is moral and what is not moral for another clump of dust?
And are all clumps of animated dust to be treated equally? What is the basis for declaring that human lumps of dust have a greater status than non-human lumps of animated dust (e.g., animals)? Or even non-animated lumps of dust (e.g., rocks).
If we claim greater moral significance for ourselves than for dogs or rocks, because we are more evolved, then who is to say that some of us humans aren’t more evolved than others, and therefore entitled to greater rights?
That’s why I believe Darwinism to be a dangerous philosophy … because it ultimately leads to the conclusion that there is no objective morality, there is no basis for equality, and there is no imperative to treat anyone with human dignity. Any moral code is only a tool to promote self interest, and it can be discarded by those in power as soon as conditions make a different moral code more profitable.
I know that you have a different basis for your beliefs that there is a moral code we are all bound to follow, that we all have a right to live, etc. And I respect that. I just don’t agree with it. I welcome you to the table of respecting the unalienable rights of all people; I just got there through a different door. That doesn’t mean that I have written you off as an enemy, nor does it mean I don’t welcome your support. It just means we disagree.
But before I close, it is my duty to say that I am concerned for your eternal soul. It is my hope that you will live abundantly, not only for a few years on this earth, but eternally in the world to come. I hope you won’t be angry to know this.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18)
On final note about Darwinism (the notion that all life forms evolved as a result of random, unguided, naturalistic processes). Speaking as somebody with a science background, I believe the claim that science has made a conclusive case for Darwinism, as opposed to the alternative theory that life is the result of intelligent design, is a classic example of begging the question (i.e., assuming the proposition you claim to be proving). Darwinism does not prove man evolved via naturalistic processes; it assumes man evolved via naturalistic processes. Big difference. But, that’s another topic for another day.
She was a student at Virginia Tech. She was 23, post-abortive, divorced, and has a toddler and a new boyfriend. She joined the protest against GAP. She has lived hard and experienced a lot.
She came from a Christian background and was pro-life until she aborted her first child and walked away from the faith. She does not regret her abortion and is thankful she had it. She wouldn’t look at the pictures while we talked.
After 45 minutes she finally said “Ok, I now get what you are saying about a woman’s autonomous body and the baby’s autonomous body. They don’t share the same DNA and the baby is not a part of her body. I am really struggling now.” We gave her some literature about prenatal development. She thanked us and said, “I am now interested in reading about this.”
Here is the question that keeps us awake at night …
What if her pro-life pastor had understood/cared enough about her salvation and her baby to show her the truth about abortion?
Why didn’t he show her an abortion video (e.g., Choice Blues) before she shed innocent blood and ran away from Jesus.
I didn’t see the debate, but I did see this critique by the good people at the Discovery Institute. As a trained scientist who knows a little bit about the philosophy of science, the scientific method, etc., bad arguments make me angry.
But when people on my on side of a debate give bad arguments, the apologist in me just goes nuts. That’s why I very much appreciate the Discovery Institute. They advance sound science.
Here are three articles that Christian should read:
Two items from the Center for Science and Culture.
Science and Faith: Are They Really in Conflict? According to a recent survey, 55% of American adults believe that “science and religion [are] often in conflict.” What is your church or private school doing to show parents and their children that science and faith are actually in harmony rather than at war? If you’ve been at a loss about how to engage issues of science and faith in your congregation, consider becoming a host church for “Science and Faith: Are They Really in Conflict?,” a worldwide simulcast event on Sunday, September 21, 2014 featuring John Lennox from Oxford University (who some call a new C.S. Lewis) and New York Times bestselling authors Stephen Meyer and Eric Metaxas.
By registering as a host church or school for this important event before the end of November, your group will receive a 20% discount. Register NOW and SAVE.
C.S. Lewis & Intelligent Design. The Center has produced a new short documentary about C.S. Lewis’s journey to find intelligent design in nature. The film is being released on YouTube in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Lewis’s death this coming Friday, November 22. See it here:
Watch a hemoglobin molecule being manufactured inside a cell … in real time. As you watch the video, try to convince yourself that this molecular manufacturing assembly line (and millions more just like it) evolved from primordial soup by cosmic accident. If you don’t see evidence of design, you might be a religious fanatic. Just sayin’.
This animation comes from the good folks at the Discovery Institute. See detailed description here.
When the right transfer molecule plugs in, the amino acid it carries is added to the growing protein chain. Again, you are watching this in real time. After a few seconds, the assembled protein starts to emerge from the ribosome.
In this case, the end product is hemoglobin. The cells in our bone marrow churn out 100 trillion molecules it per second.
As we look around at our own country, we can’t help but feel like exiles.
We live in a land where most people seem willing to casually discard the dear freedoms that our forefathers fought and died to preserve. In fact, the only freedoms that seem to mean much in our culture are the freedoms to (a) have sex without responsibility, (b) kill our own children, and (c) steal from others by force, i.e., collect taxes from others under threat of incarceration, to buy free stuff for ourselves.
But God wrote a letter to His people in exile. In Jeremiah 29, God sent a message to the Israelites in Babylon, telling them about his plans for their future:
- I have a plan for you.
- The plan is exile. YIKES! The exile will last 70 years. (Bible scholars will be interested to see how this prophecy would be fulfilled to the very day, as detailed in the notes below.)
- Build houses, plant gardens, and eat of the produce.
- Marry off your children, and increase in number. (The next generation of Christians must avoid the mistake of having small families.)
- Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.
Check out this video:
Notes on the 70-year Babylonian Captivity
by Chuck Missler (taken from Jeremiah, the Patriotic Prophet)
Among his many prophecies, Jeremiah predicted that the duration of the Babylonian captivity would be precisely 70 years.
(In fact, it was when the captive Daniel was reading Jeremiah’s prophetic writings that he undertook serious prayer, which was then interrupted by the Angel Gabriel who gave him the famed Seventy Week Prophecy. Jesus later highlighted this very passage as the key to end-time prophecy. )
The reason the judgment of the captivity was to be exactly 70 years is highlighted in 2 Chronicles (2 Chronicles 36:20, 21):
And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:
To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.
Apparently, for 490 years they had failed to keep the sabbath of the land; the Lord was saying, in effect, “You owe me 70!”
The “servitude of the nation” began with the first siege of Nebuchadnezzar in 606 B.C. and ended with the release of the Jewish captives when Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon in 539 B.C.
This 70-year period is not to be confused with a similar 70-year period, called “the desolations of Jerusalem,” which began with the third siege of Nebuchadnezzar. Each was fulfilled to the very day.
It is instructive to note the remarkable precision of the Scriptures: The city of Jerusalem was invaded on the tenth day of the tenth month, Tebeth, in the ninth year of Zedekiah in 589 B.C. (And for 25 centuries this day has been observed as a fast by Jews in every land.)
Scripture clearly indicates that this era closed on “the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, [Kislev] even from the day that the foundation of the LORD’S temple was laid,” which was in 520 B.C. This is an interval of precisely 25,200 days, or seventy 360-day years.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created … (US Declaration of Independence)
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The DVD is available for purchase now. Visit www.illustramedia.com for more information. Use Coupon Code YTIM15 to save 15%!
Part 1 of 10:
A Psalm of David
7 Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
20 But the wicked will perish:
The Lord’s enemies will be like the beauty of the fields,
they will vanish—vanish like smoke.
They will be protected forever,
but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off;
29 the righteous will inherit the land
and dwell in it forever.
34 Wait for the Lord
and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.
39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
This just in from the Catholic League:
In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that churches are entitled to make employment decisions without interference by the government. In doing so, the high court affirmed what is known as the doctrine of “ministerial exception,” the long-standing right of churches to be shielded from discrimination lawsuits brought by employees.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue spoke to this issue today:
This is a great victory for religious liberty and a huge defeat for the Obama administration. Last October, when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in this case, the Obama administration’s lawyer proved to be such a secular zealot that she stunned even the more liberal members of the high court. Leondra R. Kruger made such an extremist argument that she even got Justice Elena Kagan to agree wholeheartedly with Justice Antonin Scalia.
Had the Obama administration won, the government would have been able to order the Catholic Church to accept women priests. Looks like the old guard, entrenched in the 1960s, has lost again.
Each December, CBR’s Jane Bullington takes a week of “vacation” and works as a missionary in Germany. Here’s her report:
In December, for the 10th year, I went to Germany as part of a mission team to assist Southern Baptist missionaries Steve and Susan Jett of Knoxville. Steve and Susan have lived in various towns in Germany for 17 years. They have devoted their lives to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the German people. Germans believe Baptists are part of a cult, so successful witnessing has to begin with relationship building.
Direct evangelism is not often successful, so the Jetts have devised several ways to get the Word into the marketplace and gain respectability in the community. That is where the December teams come in. Every German town, no matter how large or small, has a month-long Christmas Market in the heart of the town. A few blocks are set aside for vendors to sell Christmas wares, all kinds of German fast foods, and German hot spirits. They sell “kinderpunch” for children and tee-totalers!
The marketplace is full of festivities every evening, and parents love to bring their children out to enjoy the Christmas season. Booth owners have to rent space, but because of their reputation and the draw they have on families, the Jetts have been given 3 spaces, at no cost! One space is used for the very popular Living Nativity, one is for a kinder-pavilion (activities for children inside a warm tent), and one is for a marionette show that tells the Christmas story straight from the Gospel of Luke (in German, of course).
The team rotates among all 3 activities, 6 nights in a row, to reach as many adults and children as possible with the Gospel. My favorite place to be is the Living Nativity. In it, we place a Mary, a Joseph, an angel, and a shepherd. We also have two sheep (a mom and a baby) plus a young donkey. These living characters are a magnet for children.
A photographer draws poeple into the Nativity scene and takes a photo of the children with the shepherd and donkey. A team member prints the photo, on site, and places it in a packet of “Jesus” materials for the children and the parents. In that way, the Gospel gets into the hands of folks who would not listen to an overt presentation of the Gospel.
It is so fun to see the absolute delight of children as they pet that donkey, get a hug from the shepherd, and then see themselves in a Nativity photo. Parents are also delighted with the way we love on their children, and are amazed that we come to Germany at our own expense to share the Christmas story with strangers.
Germans think everything has a price tag, so this gift of a photo and sacks of games and tracts, at no charge, is hard for them to believe. Our answer: “We come because Christ loves us and we want to share His love with you here in Bruhl. Merry Christmas!” What a wonderful to begin preparing ourselves for the Day of Celebration when God sent His only Son into the world to save us from our sins. Thank you, Jesus.
Top 5 Christmas videos on FAB:
- Hallelujah Chorus at the Mall Food Court
- Hail, Favored One! the Lord is With You
- If Mary and Joseph Used Facebook
- Where’s the Line to See Jesus?
- Santa and reindeer sing “White Chistmas”
Please suggest videos that you like!
Interesting op-ed in the National Review asks the question, “Are Evangelicals or University Professors More Irrational?”
At the same time, the opposite position — the position of nearly the entire liberal intellectual world, that everyone’s sexual orientation is fixed — is also driven by ideology rather than by science. Society has a huge influence on how people act out their sexuality, including the sex with whom they choose to be sexual. Human sexuality — especially that of the human female — is far more elastic than the intellectual community admits. And the widespread liberal belief that, all things being equal, it makes no difference if a child is raised by a mother and father or by two fathers or two mothers is hardly rational. On the issue of homosexuality, the intellectual Left is just as driven by ideology as are evangelicals.
If you disagree with race-based affirmative action, you are a racist; disagree with the ever-expanding welfare state, you lack compassion; disagree with redefining marriage in the most radical way ever attempted in history, and you are a hater.
Entire article here.
At noon on November 13, 2010, these unsuspecting shoppers at the Seaway Mall in Welland, Ontario got a Christmas present they will never forget.
As I watch this … now for the 30th time … I can’t help but wonder what the prophet Handel might think if he could see it. How could he imagine this scene, half a world and 269 years away, as he worked day and night in the summer of 1741 to set God’s Word to music?
Who knows what God will do with the work He has given each of us to complete?
As you may know, the prophet Handel is generally credited with writing Messiah, the Musical, but he actually plagiarized most of the lyrics. For example, he copied some of its most memorable lines from another prophet, a guy named Isaiah, who lived in the 700’s BC. For example, Isaiah wrote these lines:
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isa. 7:14)
For unto Us a Child is born, unto Us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isa. 9:6)
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isa. 53:3-6)
Anybody can write about a person who has already lived and events that have already happened. The eternal beauty of Handel’s Messiah is that so much of it was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Only God can do that. Check this out.
(Note: If cable TVcan put Star Trek re-runs on TV, FAB can put up re-runs here.)