Newslinks 05/30/08

May 30, 2008 at 6:41 pm | Posted in Newslinks | 1 Comment
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Friday’s Newslinks brought to you by


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Habitat for Humanity, a Christian non-profit organization, has agreed to a plan that would

help Planned Parenthood open an abortion clinic in Sarasota, Florida. The plan was drawn up by PP due to Sarasota zoning regulations. The regulations state that PP cannot build their clinic with the presence of a multi-family liner building. To circumvent this, PP has enlisted Habitat for Humanity. PP has agreed to sell land to Habitat for $10 so that it can fulfill the regulation requirements. Jim Sedlak, vice-president of the American Life League, said,” Habitat for Humanity, which claims to be a Christian ministry, says that this was only a real estate transaction. However, Planned Parenthood could not open its abortion facility without Habitat’s help.” Habitat’s website says that they are committed to provide “every man, woman and child should have a simple, decent, affordable place to live in dignity and safety”. Sedlak said that he didn’t see how helping a company that “kills babies, promotes pornography, and covers up for rapists gives a family dignity or safety”.

Sadly, I think that Habitat has made both their beliefs and their intentions known to those who are paying attention. To them, this was just a real estate transaction with another company. Obviously, Habitat’s claims about dignity and family safety aren’t something they really believe, they are just something that sounds good and helps bring in money. If Habitat truly believed in their stated “convictions” they wouldn’t partner with PP for any reason, including real estate. If they were truly a Christian organization, they wouldn’t align themselves with an organization that is clearly against God. If they were a Christian organization, their Christian convictions would come first and they would trust God to provide them with real estate.



Habitat for Humanity of Sarasota, Florida can be reached at 941-365-0700 and

Habitat for Humanity International’s complaint line is 1-800-461-9330.

Related Articles:

Christian Ministry Criticized for Planned Parenthood Partnership


Preaching ‘Sound Doctrine’ in an Age that Avoids It

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill church in Seattle, says that there is very little teaching of sound doctrine in today’s churches. “The rule is, if you have a big church you’re supposed to not talk about certain things that are controversial [or] divisive,” said Driscoll. Driscoll says that many “big” churches avoid preaching the crucifixion of Jesus because it’s “divine child abuse” or because “God is love and people won’t see the love of God at the cross”. He says that many pastors spend their time preaching on ‘seven steps to this’ or ‘four steps to that’ and at the end of the day they’re not learning about who Jesus is and what He’s done.

While I’m still not sure how much I agree with Mr. Driscoll, I agree with him on this. A large percentage of pastors in America spend their time preaching topical sermons to their congregations. Most of these are on things like God’s love, how God wants you to be blessed and prosperous, how to live victoriously, or how to improve your relationships. While these things are touched on in the Bible, they aren’t the main focus. The main focus of all of scripture is Jesus. Jesus agreed to die for the sins of man before the world was ever created. The focus of the Bible is the sinfulness of man and how God made a way for us to be forgiven of our sin and reconciled to God. Preaching has changed so much over the last 100-150 years. Back in the time of men like Spurgeon and Wesley, the preaching was expository. They would go verse by verse through a passage of scripture and explain what it meant, how it related to Christ and His sacrifice, and what the congregation needed to do to apply it to their lives. That doesn’t happen now. Today’s preaching seems to be entirely focused on making the congregants feel good where they are and tell them that they can come to Christ how they want when they’re ready. This is a tragedy of the highest order. There are thousands of people daily who are dying and going to hell. If you’re a pastor, it’s your obligation to make sure that all of the people you come into contact with are ready to meet God, knowing that they will enter heaven by showing them that they’re sinners in need of a Savior. I don’t care how popular you are or how well you can present something, if you’re not doing that, then you aren’t a pastor and you are working with the devil to lead people away from Christ.



Israel, Jewish Groups Condemn Burning of New Testaments

A group of Jewish seminary students burned hundreds of New Testaments in the town of Or Yehuda in Israel at the request of the deputy mayor. The mayor first said that this was a “purging of evil” but later apologized and said that he never meant for the books to be burned. Messianic Jews distributed the books to Jews recently arriving from Ethiopia. Messianic Jews are a small group of Jews that believe that Jesus is the Messiah. There have been a number of recent incidents that took place in Israel involving Messianic Jews. Israel’s religious leaders called for a boycott of an International Bible Quiz when they found out that one of the contestants was a Messianic Jew. Another, more serious, incident involved a bomb disguised as a holiday gift package. The bomb was opened by the teenage son of a prominent Messianic Jewish pastor in Israel. No one has been charged with the attack and the court is not releasing details at this time. Many of the leaders in Israel condemn the book burning as a “despicable act” including Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, reminding the Jewish people that it wasn’t all that long ago that a number of Torahs and Talmuds were burned.

I applaud those Jewish authorities that have spoken out over this. I understand the pride that the Jewish people have, but I pray that it doesn’t blind them to the truth. I know that the Jews that hold to traditional beliefs would see Messianic Jews as “traitors”, but I don’t believe that this is the way to handle things. There should be no problem between Christians and Jews having dialogue about the differences between our beliefs. Compared to all other religious belief systems, Christianity and Judaism are the closest. While there are some who see the Christian church as a replacement for Israel, most Christians understand the scriptures and see that that isn’t the case. They have supported Israel and continue to support Israel in a time when the country needs it the most. I hope that ties between Christians and Jews will continue to grow and deepen. __________________________________________________________

Obama Praised Wright, Criticized Traditional Black Churches on Homosexuality

In an interview in April, Barack Obama stated that he believes that homophobic messages are coming from “black” churches because “most African-American churches are still fairly traditional in their interpretations of Scripture”. He also voiced support for his former pastor and spiritual guide Jeremiah Wright saying, “He is on the right side of the homosexual debate”. The interview was conducted by The Advocate, a homosexual publication. Obama said that while he didn’t think that it was any worse than in “white” communities, the “black” communities were more churched and pastors were the most prominent figures in those communities. He believes that because of this and the fact that they hold to traditional views of scripture, the “homophobic” attitudes get magnified. Obama said that even though his former pastor brought much controversy, he’s still “very good on gay and lesbian issues”. Black leaders and clergy said that Obama’s remarks contradict the fundamentals of the Christian faith. Reverend Ken Hutchison of Antioch Church in Redmond Washington says the new definition of homophobic is “anyone that see homosexuality as a sin”. He goes on to say, “This leaves two choices to African-American pastors. They can either be Scriptural and demand righteousness from their flock, or they can drop Scripture and righteousness and support homosexuality”. Bishop Coucil Nedd says that Wright’s thinking on homosexuality isn’t completely wrong. The Bishop says, “homosexuality is a sin just like murder, fornication, or gluttony; one is no worse than the other”. He also added that God is the final judge of people and how they live their lives.

First, can we drop the “white” and “black” monikers for churches? Yes, I know many of them have different worship styles. I also know that there are churches that have majorities of one or the other, but does it really matter? If I go to a “black” church, does that somehow change the type of Christian I am? We need to stop attaching “race” to our beliefs and start being Christians. Second, when Obama says a church holds to the traditional view of scripture, he makes it sound like that’s a bad thing. I don’t think that it is. I think that the plain reading of scripture is the only way to read it. If it’s written as history, read it that way. If it’s written as poetry, read it that way. If it says that something is wrong, then something is wrong. For Barack Obama to say that Jeremiah Wright is “on the right side of the homosexual debate” begs the question. Which is the right side? Who determines this? Is it the right side because it happens to agree with Obama’s preconceived ideas? What about the fact that those ideas go directly against scripture? If that’s still the “right” side, then doesn’t that mean that God is a liar? I have to agree with pastor Hutchison. Those who view homosexuality as a sin are the only people considered “homophobic”. The fact that we hold to the truth of the scripture in light of our ever-changing society makes us “traditional” and “homophobic”? I thought it made us sound and solid. I also think that pastor Hutchison made a good point. This debate isn’t just about a group of people wanting to live their sinful lifestyle the way they want, it’s about righteousness. The scriptures call anyone who follows Christ to be righteous. This means that we do the right thing, not in our eyes, but in God’s eyes. It means that we believe God and are obedient to Him. While I agree with Bishop Nedd that homosexuality is a sin and is no better or worse than murder, it is still a sin. What should we do next, condone murder? Oh wait; we already do that through abortion… Bishop Nedd is right, God is the ultimate judge of all of us, and there are some things that He’s already made a judgment on. One of those things is homosexuality. He said it’s an abomination (Lev. 18:22). What more do we need?




Quest to Have Chimps Declared Persons Rejected by Austrian Supreme Court

Austrian animal rights activists have taken their case to the European High Court. For a little over a year, the activists have been trying to get Matthew Hiasl Pan the rights that humans have. But “Matthew” is a chimpanzee. The chimp is part of an animal sanctuary in Vienna, which may go bankrupt. To protect the chimp, the activists are trying to get him the right to a guardian. To do this, the chimp would have to be given human rights. The lower court ruled that the chimp was neither mentally impaired or in any danger, the criteria for appointing a guardian. The activists appealed to the High Court in France, which agreed to a preliminary hearing on whether or not chimpanzees should be afforded human rights. Paula Stibbe, a British schoolteacher, said that she wasn’t trying to get the chimp declared a human, just a person. She said that “Matthew” would have relatives to take care of him if he were in Africa. She would like to be appointed the chimp’s guardian, because she’s the person “closest to him”. If this legal action succeeds, it could provide rights, protections, and medical, social and health benefits to animals.

Is this really an issue? This isn’t some sort of extremely late April Fool’s joke is it? Are there people who are honestly trying to get a chimpanzee human rights? This is evolutionary thinking at it’s best. If we’re all just evolved monkeys, then shouldn’t they have rights too? I can’t help but ask a couple questions. How far down the “evolutionary tree” should we go? Should starfish get rights too or does it stop with bipedal creatures? If so, doesn’t that discriminate against horses? This is ludicrous. There are a number of humans in the world who don’t have the rights that these activists are trying to get for the monkey. Shouldn’t that raise an alarm? I can’t help but laugh at the statement made by Miss Stebbe, a schoolteacher. She said that she’s the closest to the chimp. Ok. This statement could be taken a few different ways. One, she’s the closest geographically. This obviously isn’t the case because she’s in Britain and he’s in Vienna. Two, she’s the closest to him emotionally. I don’t see how this could be for the same reasons as above. Three, she’s the closest to him evolutionally. This would seem like a serious put down for Miss Stebbe, but if it’s true, we may have just found a missing link. Honestly, I hate the idea that the animal sanctuary may be going under, but trying to get a chimp endowed with human rights is the biggest waste of time that I’ve ever heard of! This is going to the European High Court, and if that wasn’t bad enough, they’ve actually agreed to hear the case! Don’t they have more important issues across all of Europe? There are a number of people who have exotic animals as pets. Why don’t they just let Miss Stebbe buy the chimp as a pet and let it end there? I am ashamed that people are actually trying to take this issue as far as it has gone…



South Carolina Principal Resigns Due to High School’s Gay-Straight Alliance Club

Eddie Walker, the principal of Irmo High School in Columbia, SC, has decided to resign after the next school year. The principal’s reason for resigning is the school’s decision to allow a Gay/Straight Alliance Club (GSAC) to form. GSACs make every effort to portray homosexuality in a healthy, moral, and positive light. In a letter to district officials, Walker wrote, “Allowing the formation of this club on our campus conflicts with my professional beliefs and religious convictions”. He also said that allowing the club to form would conflict with the school’s abstinence education program. Walker said that the school has no other clubs that are based on sexual orientation, preference or activity and that allowing this club to exist would imply that “students joining the club have chosen to or would choose to engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex, opposite sexes, or both sexes”. Brent Childers, executive director of the pro-homosexual group Faith in America, said, “We truly believe it is unfortunate that this principal cannot see the immense harm that is caused when a social climate of rejection, condemnation and violence is justified with misguided religious belief”. Another group, South Caorlina Equality has called for Walker’s immediate termination saying that if a gay student were harmed, the school could be responsible because they created a “hostile environment”. They also said that every day that Mr. Walker is principal at this school “students will continue to live in fear for their safety”. In his letter, Walker discouraged verbal or physical abuse to members of the club. Walker said that he holds no malice toward anyone, knowing that if the district had not allowed the club, it would have faced legal action from “gay-rights” groups and, according to current legal precedents, would have likely lost. Walker agreed to remain principle for the 2008-9 school year because he felt that not doing so would have been a breach of trust with the district, students, and faculty. Walker’s letter has prompted school officials to look at how they relate to extra-curricular clubs and activities.

Read the full resignation letter:,2933,357208,00.html

This is sad to me, but I continue to notice that anytime a “gay rights” group feels like they are losing ground, they threaten legal action. Look at the Elaine Hugenin brouhaha. She owns her own photography business and decided not to take a job as the photographer of a homosexual “ceremony”. Because of this, she’s been sued. The principal stated his knowledge that if the district hadn’t allowed the club, it would have faced legal action. Why is this? Is it because that is the only way that homosexuals can make their lifestyle “right”? They claim that their actions are “natural” and “healthy” and “moral”, but are they really? According to scripture they’re not. I’ve not seen anyone right handling scripture show that God is ok with homosexuality. Sure, there are plenty of pro-homosexual “Christians” who twist scripture to make it support their view. Pro-homosexual groups compare their “plight” to that of the African-Americans in the days of slavery and segregation. I’m not “black” but if I were, that would seriously offend me. The truth is, our schools and our country in general need more people like Mr. Walker. We need good, solid, Christian men and women that understand what the Bible says and are willing to live by it even in the face of losing their job or worse. Sadly, I believe the number of people that fit this description is a lot lower than what statistics may say…

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Church of England Advised Against Withholding Christ from MuslimsPaul Eddy has made a statement that has angered senior church leaders, as well as some Muslims. Eddy, who is studying to be a priest in the Church of England, said that the Anglican Church “must make it clear that it believes in what the Bible says about Jesus being the only way to salvation”. The Anglican Church remains divided on whether or not to proclaim Jesus as the only way to salvation. Eddy not only believes this to be true, but says that the Church of England needs to make this clear. He says that the Muslims that he’s talked to express the desire for Christians to “stop watering down they’re faith”. He said, “until we start really saying what we believe in our faith, there will be no respect” and that “Muslims expect us to believe that Jesus is the only way to be saved”. Eddy says that the church has “lost it’s nerve” in an effort to be inclusive and not offend anyone.

Kudos to Paul Eddy for standing up and being true to the gospel instead of the “Church”. I think that it’s a sad indication of where Christianity has fallen when people of other faiths are more concrete on Christianity than those who call themselves followers of Christ. How ashamed should we be when Muslims, who don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God, are telling us to not water down our faith!!! I can’t understand how the Anglican Church has such a hard time making the decision to say that Jesus is the only way to salvation!?!? Jesus Himself said the very same thing! In John 14:6, Jesus says,

“I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father but by Me”. No man comes to the Father unless they come through Jesus. That’s not very inclusive is it? Unfortunately, in an effort to fill our churches and compete for numbers and “get souls saved” (actually only decisions with no real foundation 98% of the time), we’ve completely ignored one of the things that make Christianity what it is. There are a few things that separate Christianity from EVERY OTHER RELIGION in the world. One is the fact that no other religion shows God coming in flesh to take the place of a wicked and sinful creation. Second, is the fact that Christianity is the only belief system that provides the complete and total forgiveness of sin, including a cleansed conscience (Heb. 9). No other religion offers that, not even Judaism. Third is the fact that Christianity is exclusive. It’s not “exclusive” that many Christians make it to be either. Christianity isn’t a “club”, where if you say you’re a Christian, spew out some little “sinner’s prayer”, and then join a church you’re in. That’s not Christianity. Christianity is exclusive in the idea that it is the only way to God. Yes, I know. There are other religions that say that they are the only way, but that’s not the same. Those other religions say that it’s possible to get to heaven by “good works”. They say that it’s possible to earn your way to heaven. Not Christianity. Jesus said that He was the only way. You can’t earn your way to heaven, you can wish your way to heaven, and you can’t buy your way to heaven. If you don’t repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus, you won’t be in heaven. Period. While I disagree with Muslims on many points, I will agree with them on this one. Christians need to stop pandering to the world and watering down the sacrifice of Christ. We need to shout God’s truth from the rooftops and make every effort to tell others the truth of the gospel. Come on people… 



South African Teachers Union: “We Won’t Give Condoms to Kids”The teachers union in South Africa has made it very clear that they won’t be coerced into distributing condoms to their school age children. The spokesman for the union said that condom distribution is the work of social services and other organizations. He said that the union would focus on teaching abstinence in their curriculum. The country has been swamped with condoms from the UN AIDS program. South Africa has much support in their position. Martin Ssempa, a Ugandan AIDS activist, said, “UNAIDS has no success story. You cannot look at a country that has taken the advice of UNAIDS and see a decrease in AIDS”. Recently published reports also support this, showing that an increase in condom distribution directly coincided with the increase of AIDS in the population. Uganda, another country ravaged by AIDS, has had much success in their fight against the disease, seeing a decrease in AIDS as high as 18%. This comes, not from condoms, but from abstinence programs.

In a time when public schools in America are being pressured to promote homosexuality as “healthy” and “moral”, I can’t help but wonder where the next generations will be if we allow that. AIDS is still a problem in this nation too and the only way to combat it effectively is to promote abstinence. To do that seems like a pipe dream because abstinence is often tied to religion in many peoples’ minds. Many organizations have promoted condom use as a form of protection but to no avail. If our country, and other nations, want to see a change for the best then they need Christian values. Not the values of many of the fornicating, adulterous, sexually immoral people posing as Christians but values taken directly from the Christian scriptures.



California Mayor “Outraged” at Proposal to Exempt Civil Servants from Gay Marriage for Conscience Reasons

San Francisco mayor Gain Newsom is “shocked and outraged” by the idea that county clerks may have the ability to refuse to perform “gay marriages” based on conscience. He believes that “This is a civil marriage that civil servants have a responsibility to provide, for civil servants on religious grounds to start passing judgments, they, I think, are breaking the core tenet of what civil service is all about” and that clerks who refuse to provide the “marriages” should lose their jobs immediately. “If you don’t want to provide a marriage certificate and you’ve got a job that does that, then you should think twice about why you got the job in the first place and maybe you should get a new job,” he added. Newsom seems to conveniently forget that that he violated California law by declaring that clerks could perform “marriages” for homosexual couples. The California Supreme Court ruling allowing homosexual couples to get “married” goes into effect June 16th.

This is a perfect picture of the homosexual agenda at work. If even one thing goes against them they are “outraged” and “shocked”. Newsom’s claim that all civil service clerks should be forced to perform the “marriages” is grossly unfair. First, if there is even one clerk that will perform the “marriages”, there should be no complaint. The option is available and there is no reason to make it mandatory that all the clerks give the licenses. Second, they are civil service clerks. They serve all of the populace of San Francisco, and are part of that populace. Because of that, they should have the right to refuse. If the entire population of San Francisco was homosexual, then it might be different. Seeing as it’s not, to make all the clerks serve just a part of the populace is ridiculous. I hope to see this overturned before June 16th, but I don’t know if the US Supreme Court will step in or not.


 Deaths Exceed Births in Increasing Number of Major US CitiesIn his blog last Friday, Albert Mohler discussed the alarming statistics coming out about cities across the country. Many more cities are seeing a death rate that is exceeding the rate of births. Pittsburgh is used as an example. In the 1990’s, Pittsburgh saw 11,500 more births than deaths. In this decade, the city has already seen 25,000 more deaths and there are still two and a half years left before the decade ends. Mr. Mohler says that immigrants coming into the country are sustaining the base replacement rate. In many Pittsburgh hospitals, the obstetrics areas are being converted to acute care wards. This is coupled with a severe drop in public school enrollment (70,000 to 30,000 in the last two decades). “The collapse of birthrates is a sign of huge social and moral transformations. Schools are called into question, but so are churches and other institutions,” stated Mohler. “Pittsburgh is becoming a parable of population loss for the rest of the nation. Will anyone take notice?”

As soon as I saw the headline I couldn’t help but think of the millions of children that have died from abortion. I wonder where the population of Pittsburgh and other cities would be if we weren’t killing off so many unborn children. I also can’t help but wonder where the church has been in all of this? What exactly are we doing if we’re not fulfilling our role as the moral standard? We are to be giving the answers to problems like this. We are to be showing people alternatives to killing children. Sadly, to many “Christians”, the environment seems to be more important than the unborn. If the rates continue for the rest of the decade, Pittsburgh will have lost a full third of its population in ten years! This is still another example of the tragedy that is becoming the United States of America. We are no longer the nation that stands for freedom and unity. We are no longer the nation that stands for the rights of others. We are the floundering, filthy, sin-filled nation of greed, lust, and self. We are the bloated, gluttonous, prideful nation that is too busy with trivial things to see the danger that we’re in. I pray that our nation will open its eyes or I fear that we will end up like so many nations before us who have turned away from God…


 Are Small Groups Enough for Disciple-Making?At a conference for church leaders in the Purpose Driven Network, pastors agreed that some form of small groups should be used to deepen discipleship but they were varied on the structure of those groups. Steve Stroop, one of the speakers at the conference, said that he believes that the family is the main small group of the church and feared that many of his congregants were “outsourcing” the discipling of their children to Sunday school teachers. Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill church, said that his church uses a digital network to help people keep in touch, offer prayers and prayer requests, and have small groups. Daniel S. Kim said that he believes that there needs to be a distinction between small groups for fellowship and those for discipleship. To Kim, discipling is a “totally different type of small group”. The members of his church have small group fellowships, but they are also expected to go through discipleship training for a year and a half. This starts with Bible study one-on-one or one-one-two, continues with church pastors guiding groups of twelve through an 8 month session, and ends with Kim himself teaching the groups and 8 month course on leadership. Those who pass the leadership course are then able to go on and lead their own groups.



Whenever I hear “small groups” now I cringe. I truly think that the idea of biblical discipleship is fading away. “Small group” discipling seems to be more about getting and keeping people in the church than it has anything to do with actually making disciples out of people. In many instances, there also seems to be some level of control often labeled “accountability” that comes with this form of “discipling”. I have been in the thick of some of this and really do see it accomplishing anything other than trivial Christianity. If we look at scripture, we can find out how people become disciples. Two instances come readily to mind as a matter of fact. One is the Great Commission. This is where Jesus tells His disciples to

“go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). It is often seen only in the light of evangelism. All we think about is the “going” part. But that wasn’t all Jesus told them. He also told them what to do when they went. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” As disciple-makers, we’re supposed to be teaching new Christians all that Jesus commanded us. In many instances of “small groups” that’s not happening. Most of the time, we’re focusing on a type of “social gospel” or talking about prosperity and battle and living victoriously. There isn’t much (if anything) about what Jesus commanded. There’s very little (again if any) true study of God’s Word. If there is “Bible study” it’s often colored by the agenda of the people who made the curriculum and/or the people leading the group. This is not the same in my eyes. While there are some parts of the Bible that do take time to study (sometimes years) and are difficult to interpret, there is plenty in the Bible that God has made very clear. We shouldn’t have any problem helping other study without some kind of program in place. The second scripture that comes to mind about discipleship is John 8:31b-32. In these verses, Jesus says,

“If you continue in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth will make you free”. Here in this tiny passage, Jesus tells us how to be disciples. We are to continue in His Word. That is what makes us His disciples. It’s not completing some kind of program that makes us disciples. To complete a program contradicts the sentiments of the word continue


in the passage. We are to constantly be in His Word; reading what it says, understanding it the way He meant it, and applying it to our lives to see God change us. I fear that the focus on discipleship, while well meaning, is misplaced and unnecessary given the scriptures above. I honestly think that if the church spent more time preaching the truth and living it out in front of each other and in front of non-Christians, there would be no need for discipleship classes and programs. It would be automatic.





Christian Ministry ‘Habitat for Humanity’ Agrees to Work with Abortion Giant Planned Parenthood

Design of the Week 05/28/08 – Where?

May 28, 2008 at 9:55 am | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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The featured design this week is one of the Motee collection of designs. It was the first Motee designs that I came up with. It came about because of a question that I seem to find myself asking more and more today.


I hear many preachers “bring a Word from the Lord”, “share what’s on the heart of God”, or preach, “what God said”. Many of them are very animated and have a great ability to cause an emotional response from their congregation (even for those who aren’t already emotional). They may run the aisles, jump the pews, “whoop”, or get red-faced as they pour themselves into their sermon.


Oddly enough, when I hear the actual sermon, I often find myself asking one question:


“Where is that in scripture?”


I have heard many preachers and many preaching styles. I have listened to them preach in more of a teaching manner. I’ve heard them preach with comedy. I’ve heard them preach with passion. But I’ve also heard many of them preach without one crucial ingredient. Many of them no longer seem to preach according to the scriptures. A number of them use scriptures or scripture references in their sermons, but that’s not the same. When looking at the scriptures used, oftentimes they don’t line up at all. Many times, the only connection to the sermon is that they share a common word or two. The ideas in the scripture references have even contradicted what the preacher was preaching at times.


The scriptures given often end up being more in line with the agenda of the pastor and his “vision” for the church than they do with the truth found in the Word of God. They are smooshed together to support ideas the pastor has gained or created from other sources without any regard for what they actually say in context.


Why does this happen? Why is it so prevalent in the body of Christ? Why has it become so hard for pastors/preachers to teach the truth according to the truth? I believe it’s because the modern church has become obsessed with numbers. They see the only successful churches in America as being the “megachurches”, those that have thousands of people on any given Sunday. I also believe that it’s because of a horrible misunderstanding concerning evangelism and “reaching the lost”. Many pastors and preachers today seem to think that if they get people into the church, then those people will eventually get saved and grow as Christians (I’m guessing this happens through osmosis…). This is the “seeker sensitive” idea of church. Because of this view, the pastors and church leadership will do whatever they feel necessary to “draw people in” to the church. They will hold huge events like concerts and conferences. They will become more “contemporary” or “relevant” until it is hard to distinguish them from the world. The problem is that when unsaved people actually enter the church, they don’t see the glaring difference that they are told the church has and they end up leaving inoculated to the truth.


This is a direct result of the extra-biblical ideas that are being preached in a large number of churches today. If I can’t find what you’re saying in the Bible or it doesn’t make sense in the context of scripture, then something is wrong and you’re not preaching the truth. And it’s hurting both the body of Christ and Christ Himself…

We Remember

May 26, 2008 at 9:19 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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In America, today is Memorial Day. It’s a day when we take time (or we should) to remember those soldiers who are serving our country and those who have given their lives for our freedom.

In times past, people understood that fighting for freedom was something that may not have been a pretty thing, but it was necessary. They knew that it was the only way to keep our country free. They had a completely different attitude toward the armed forces and didn’t see it the way many do today. If you’ve ever talked to veterans from WW I/II, Vietnam, or Korea, you’ll know what I’m talking about. They have lost friends and family, but not once to they complain about it or lament making the choice. Their families are the same way. There is a pride they have for serving our nation or having family members that served.

In today’s times, there seems to be a feeling that our army is unnecessary and that it’s just another American institution. Many Americans don’t seem to understand the choice that those in the military have made or why they made it. They protest the war and demand that our soldiers come home, but they only do so because of the men and women who gave their lives for our nation. They don’t seem to remember that there are nations out their who would give anything to see our country fall and be completely wiped out. They clamor for peace but they don’t seem to understand how peace is maintained.

One thing that they seem to conveniently forget is that not one of the soldiers that have joined in the last few decades has been drafted. It’s been a voluntary choice for them to enter the armed forces. They chose to do so knowing that there was a possibility that they would see war and could even die. Some may have joined hoping that they wouldn’t get called to war, but regardless of what they were hoping for, they knew what could happen and they weren’t forced into enlisting.

I understand that, as Americans, we have the right to protest anything that we want. We can talk openly about our President and how bad they are doing. We can deride the Congress for the amount of taxpayer money they’re wasting while making outrageous salaries. We can protest war and not be happy about having soldiers overseas. But, at what point do we say: “Ok…we’re at war and our troops need our support. Our country has decided that we need to be fighting this war. I don’t agree with it, but I’m a part of this country and I’m going to do what I can to support our nation and its troops”.

I would love to see those who protest our troops being elsewhere begin to actually support the troops and their actions. I would love to see them use the freedom that those troops have garnered for us to encourage and help our soldiers.

I have talked to veterans from WW II, Vietnam, and Korea. I have heard from many of them how unappreciated they felt/feel by many Americans. Many of them feel like they are forgotten or pushed aside.

Today, on this Memorial Day, I wanted to tell those of you out their who serve in the Armed Forces that I remember. I understand what you’ve done for me and the freedoms that you’ve given through your service. I deeply appreciate all the things that you’ve done for my country and pray for you.

I also want to take the time to remember the greatest sacrifice ever made. Jesus said that there was no greater love that one could have for another than to lay down his life for his friends. Our nation has had many people lay down their lives, not only for friends and family, but for complete strangers. And, as wonderful as that is, it’s still not even close to the time when Jesus, the one and only Son of God, laid down His sinless life in my place. I should have died on that cross because I’ve sinned against a holy God. You should have too. Instead, the sinless Lamb of God was hung on the cross and gave you and I the opportunity to be reconciled to God. If we will repent and put our faith in God, He will save us.

Today, I remember the sacrifices made for me and I ask that you would take the time to do the same…

Newslinks 05/23/08

May 23, 2008 at 9:18 am | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Friday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

California Court Strips Children of Right to Mother and Father


In what will be a hotly contested decision, the California Supreme Court has legalized same-sex “marriage”. While the contention will be heated over the definition of marriage, the court’s decision has basically stripped children of their rights as a result. The court sees children as objects to be controlled. They also see same-sex couples as identical to infertile heterosexual couples, which will allow them to adopt and artificially conceive children. This is due to the idea that biological parenthood is an accident of nature in the eyes of the court. This means that two homosexual men could have a child artificially conceived, born, and then handed over to their custody, which would fit under the “liberty and personal autonomy” of the men. Of course, this would completely erase the rights of the child in the process. The court said “having children and raising them with someone you love that can share the joys and trials of parenthood is one of the dearest components of liberty”. The court also used phrases like “opposite-sex couples” and “same-sex couples” to turn a blind eye to the fact that all children have a mother and a father. The court said that the decision doesn’t harm or impinge on the rights of heterosexual couples but gives those rights to homosexual couples and their children.


The idea that homosexual couples have a right to children is definitely not scriptural and, in my opinion, doesn’t seem to be very logical either. Scripturally, the institution of marriage happened in Genesis 2:24. God ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman for life. There is no other method of union that God ordains in scripture. He clearly condemns homosexuality in both the Old and New Testaments (Gen. 18-19, Lev. 18:22, Rom. 1:20-32, 1 Cor. 6:9-10, Gal. 5:16-18, Rev. 21:8). When we look at marriage, we often just think of the man and woman who are married, but God went beyond that. Marriage wasn’t just for the man and woman, it was for the children they would have together. Children need a loving mother and a father to grow in the way God intended. This is something that homosexual couples can’t offer children. I’m not saying that homosexuals can’t love children, but they can’t offer the same things that heterosexual couples can.


The homosexual “right” to have children doesn’t seem all that logical to me either. If God had wanted homosexual couples to have children, He would have created us differently. He didn’t. To have children, you have to have a man and a woman, although now, the man doesn’t have to be physically present for conception to take place. This is a new development over the last few decades though. In the thousands of years of history prior to this, two homosexual people demanding the right to have children would have been thought to be ridiculous. While some may try to use infertile heterosexual couples as an equal example, it’s not. With infertile heterosexual couples, there is still a possibility (however small) of childbearing. Scripture gives many examples of women who were barren and ended up having children (Sarah, Hannah, Rachel). With a homosexual couple, there is absolutely no chance of them having children without artificial means. Ever. To offer “marital” rights to homosexual couples under the guise of helping “families” is very weak. I think their agenda is showing…



Christian Leaders Launch ‘We Get It’ Green Movement


A group of evangelical leaders launched a campaign last week to bring the truth about “global warming” in front of Americans and other nations. The group’s goal is to remind others that, as Christians, while we are to be good stewards of the environment, we are to do so according to biblical standards. They say that those who promote global warming have misrepresented many Christians with their “faulty science” and they need to get “theology, science, and economics right”. The group says they want “real science so we can get real answers, not supercilious answers built on political platforms”. The global warming “catastrophe” being pushed by many is anything but according to numerous scientists. Those who push global try to show that scientists are unanimous when it comes to the issue but that’s just not true. Many scientists are not seeing the same thing that those who promote global warming see, and there are many who see the exact opposite.


I wanted to ask one question before I give my thoughts on this. Where are all the scientists who are doing real science? I know that there out there. Maybe we don’t hear from them because they’re actually busy working on something people need instead of supporting something that hasn’t even been proven to be happening. I applaud those scientists who actually use the money they’re given for endeavors that will help the rest of us. For those who would rather speculate and stir up issues that have no (or very little) scientific support, you can do that without the taxpayer’s money. Science has changed for the worse over the last few decades. This whole global warming issue is the result of bad science and someone needing a leg to stand on. Science is supposed to be about actually looking at the data and making sense of it before declaring a “global catastrophe”. I don’t have a problem with science. I think it is wonderful and that it points to God’s glory. I also don’t have a problem with taking care of the environment. We need to do that not only for ourselves, but also for our kids. But putting measures in place to stop something that we’re not even sure exists (some data shows the earth is actually cooling down) is not only bad science), it’s bad stewardship.


T.D. Jakes Calls Christians Back to the Bible


At a three-day conference that start way back in 1983, T.D. Jakes, called on Christians to return to the Bible. The senior pastor of The Potter’s House in Dallas TX, Jakes said, “it is because of the state of this world – natural disasters, personal failures, a sagging economy, injustices, and more – that we need to get back to the Bible”. He also said that believers need to get back to the “real, proven Word of God to draw strength from it and use it as our guide for day-to-day living”. New studies have shown that many people are leaving the church. Jakes says, “It’s never too late to return to the Bible”. According to the pastor, the Bible has proven itself “relevant” and is “rich in instruction in how to live the peaceful, productive, and righteous life that God designed for us”.


While I agree with the sentiment, I have to wonder which Word of God that T.D. Jakes is talking about. Is it the scriptures that we call the Bible or is it something else? The reason I ask is because Mr. Jakes is talking about returning to the scriptures but if I understand correctly, doesn’t agree with all of them. From what I understand, T.D. Jakes believes in Modalism. This is the idea that God is not three persons. In Modalism, God is one and He existed as God the Father until Jesus came. Then, when Jesus ascended, He existed/exists as the Holy Spirit. It denies the scriptures of the Old and New Testament that say that God is a trinity. So if he’s calling believers back to the Bible, which one is he talking about? Which parts are the ones, in his eyes, that are “real” and “proven”?


I also have a problem with some things he’s quoted as saying. According to the article, he said we need to get back to the Bible “because of the state the world’s in”. I disagree. We need to get back to the Bible because the Bible tells us that God’s Word is something we shouldn’t be doing without. To be honest, the state of the world shouldn’t be driving us back to the Bible to begin with. We should have a love for God’s Word. We should want to be in it all the time. The state of the world should not only give us a desire for God’s Word, but it should also give us the desire to go out and preach the truth of the gospel to others. There have been thousands of people killed in the last month between earthquakes and cyclones. How many of those people died and found themselves in hell because the truth isn’t being preached? It’s the same in America. There are people that will die today. How many of them are ready for that? How many of them know without a doubt that if today is their last day, they’ll die with the assurance of being in heaven?


I also have a problem with the “peaceful, productive” part of life that he seems to think “God designed for us”. Is this true? Should we really be expecting that God designed a “peaceful, productive” life? What about the many times that Jesus promised trials and tribulations? What about when Jesus promised that people would hate us when we live in obedience to Him? Tell the people in China and North Korea that are being persecuted for having Bibles about the “peaceful, productive” life. Tell that to the 13-year-old daughter of the pastor who was gang raped by Muslims. This whole idea that when you become a Christian God is going to shower you with peace and riches, that you’ll have no trouble and life will be easier than it’s ever been is a load of manure. It may be easier when you’re preaching that kind of message to people who desperately want to hear it and getting them to send you thousands of dollars in “love offerings”, but that’s not the life of the large majority of Christians. As a matter of fact, I have a strong suspicion that it may not be the life of a Christian at all…



Survey: 70 Percent of Americans Find Divorce ‘Morally Acceptable’


In a telephone survey of 1000 adults, 70 percent of them said that they thought divorce was “morally acceptable”. The results come from the Gallup Values and Beliefs poll and show an 11 percent increase from 7 years ago and a 3 percent increase from 2 years ago. The majority of those who agreed that divorce is morally acceptable also said that they were “liberal”, “independents”, or “non-religious”. Those who were “conservative”, “religious”, or over the age of 65 believed that divorce is not “morally acceptable”. The study showed that while divorce is morally acceptable to many, many of those polled still see suicide, cloning, marital infidelity, and polygamy as morally unacceptable.


While I understand that this is just 1,000 people that are supposed to be a cross section of America, I am still boggled by the results. Many of the people polled said that polygamy and adultery were not acceptable but divorce is? This flies in the face of the statistic that says that 90-something percent of Americans believe in God. Obviously, this isn’t the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible says, “I hate divorce” (Malachi 2:16). Jesus confirms this in the New Testament saying that the only “legitimate” reason for divorce is adultery, which (oddly enough), many of those polled still found unacceptable. To think that a majority of Americans find divorce ok tells me where our country is. It tells me that someone’s word is no longer enough. If someone tells me something, I can no longer take his or her word for it. Not only that, what am I supposed to think of the word of someone who’s been divorced? Is it really going to be different this time? In Hollywood, marriages and divorces happen all the time. It seems like a leading actor will marry his actress co-star and be “happily married” until the movie is over and then they get divorced until the next movie is being shot. Marriage is a covenant that is to be taken seriously. In bible times, if you didn’t hold up to your end of the covenant, you were put to death (“till death do us part”). This is not an attack on those who are divorced. If you’ve been divorced, there is healing. Many people are unwillingly divorced. If you are one of those people, then understand that this is not about you. This is directed at those who see no problem with getting a divorce for any reason, including “irreconcilable differences”.


Design of the Week – He delivers!

May 21, 2008 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This design was something that I had in the back of my mind but I couldn’t figure out how to tie it all together. I knew that I wanted to make a stamp with Jesus on it, but how could I relate that to Christianity?

The answer is deliverance! While the US Postal Service says that they’ll deliver through rain, sleet, snow, and dark of night, I don’t ever recall them delivering someone from addiction…:)

Deliverance is something that comes from the realization that you and I can do nothing to save ourselves. It comes when we realize that we are sinners that, left to our own devices, would destroy ourselves and others as we chased after “what we need”. If you don’t believe me, look back on your life and see what happened when you did things your way…

Jesus does deliver and He delivers completely. Sadly, many people look at deliverance as some sort of spiritual “shockwave”. To many, it’s an emotional “explosion” where God “moves” in their lives and completely changes them. Well, that is until the emotional high wears off and they come back to earth. Then, things are like they used to be (if not worse). That’s not deliverance.

Deliverance is the result of fully trusting in God’s Word. It’s understanding that God meant what He said and He plans to do it. It’s knowing that God may not do things your way, but He will always do things so that He is glorified. Deliverance is realized when you obey the truth of the scriptures in spite of your circumstances! Of all of the world’s religions, Christainity is the only one that offers deliverance from sin, judgment, and hell. You can’t deliver yourself…let Jesus deliver you!

A word from the Lord?

May 19, 2008 at 10:35 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Every Sunday, pastors all over the world stand up and give a prepared message to their congregations. Many of these messages have been prepared by the pastor through hours of study and prayer. They are given to different sized congregations for different purposes. Something that has caught my attention lately is the use of a certain phrase to describe the messages that many pastors give today.


It’s becoming more and more common to hear that Pastor So-and-So has a “word from the Lord” for his congregation. As soon as I hear that phrase, it makes me wonder. I wonder if the pastor actually received it from God. I wonder if this is just another topical sermon designed to improve the lives of the listeners. I wonder what he really spent the entire week doing. This may not seem like something big to you, but it is to me and I’ll tell you why.


When someone says that they have a “word from the Lord” it sounds like God literally spoke to them (like He did with the Old Testament prophets) and gave them this “word”. Often, this “word” is nothing more than an effort to infuse some sort of power into the message of the pastor. I mean, if it’s really a word “from” the Lord then that means that the pastor hasn’t had to spend a lot of time preparing this, he just received it and is ready to tell others. It also seems to make the pastor some kind of connector between God and the congregation. He raises himself above the scriptural calling of the pastor and becomes a kind of mediator between God and man (the Bible says there’s only One). In scripture, this phrase isn’t used by anyone who preaches the gospel. In reality, many of the messages deemed “words from the Lord” seem to be nothing more than opinions loosely tied together with scripture so that there is some kind of “authority” given to them.


Some of you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a phrase.”


You’re right, it’s just a phrase, but so is pretty much everything else that we say and when those phrases imply something that doesn’t seem to be scriptural, we should at least ask questions…


As I said above, when I hear someone say that they have a “word from the Lord”, I am automatically put on guard. If they have heard directly from God, then I’m going to be able to check it against scripture. If they haven’t heard directly from God, I’m going to check that against scripture too. The phrase lends itself to the idea that the person who uses it is “holier than thou” and closer to God than the rest of us because God “gave” them a “word”.


Another phrase that is similar to this is when someone tells me “what the word of the Lord is for me”. I have the same reaction to this phrase. I get on guard and can’t help but look at what comes after skeptically. It doesn’t lend itself to anything other than trying to strengthen the image and/or position of the person who speaks it.


All of this got me thinking about a few things. First, God has already given us His Word. We have 66 books of scripture to read through and glean knowledge from. Do we really need something else? Has the pastor or the congregation made sense of the whole of scripture to the point that they are bored and need more? That seems highly unlikely. There is so much to be found in the scriptures that we could spend our entire lives studying and learning (and we should be). As an example, my friends and I have committed to study the entire Bible inductively. We figure that it’s going to take over ten years to finish. We started in January and have just now gotten to Genesis 6-8. I have learned so much from this that it continues to amaze me how I missed it to begin with. The wonderful thing is, when we finish this study, we can start over and still learn stuff from the same scriptures! That being the case, do I need someone telling me something other than scripture? NO! All I need is to hear/read/study/apply scripture and I will have more than enough to keep me busy for a loooong time.


The other thing that comes to mind as I think on this is the idea of having to be told that something is “a word from the Lord”. Should I need you to tell me that? Shouldn’t I be able to see that from the “word” itself? If you have to tell me that it’s from God, shouldn’t I be on the defensive about it? I would think that if something is directly from God that it would be readily apparent to many of those who listen, wouldn’t it? Telling me that your message is a “word from God” just makes me want to doubt it all the more. It makes me wonder if there is some hidden purpose or agenda for the message you’re preaching. It’s like the pastor is trying to misdirect people or lull them into a false sense of security so that they won’t recognize that he really didn’t spend time preparing or that he has something that he’s trying to accomplish that has nothing to do with the care of the flock…


This may seem nitpicky to some of you and that’s ok. You don’t have to agree with me. I am just tired of having every pastor in a 30 mile radius tell me that their message is “a word from the Lord” only to see many of them contradict each other!


I guess part of the reason that this bothers me so much is that I don’t understand the thinking behind it. Why would you want to do this? Why would you want to try and put your opinions on the same level as scripture? Why wouldn’t you just want to preach the Word the way that it’s written? Why not just take a passage from scripture (without removing it from it’s context!!!!) and preach it? Then you spend some time telling people how to apply that to their lives right now. This is preaching “the word of the Lord”! It’s taking God’s Word the way that it’s written and giving it to others. It’s helping them understand it (like Ezra did in Nehamiah 8) and then teaching them to apply it. It’s helping the congregation to understand sin (which, alarmingly, seems to be lacking today). It’s helping them to see themselves the way that God sees them, as wretched, filthy sinners who will enter into heaven not because they’re good people, but because they are bad people who have been forgiven by a good God.


If you are a pastor and you’re not preaching the truth of the gospel to your congregation then you are doing them serious harm. If you spend more time on topical subjects and how they can live better lives than you do breaking the Bread of Life with them, you are building a congregation of false converts and confused, self-righteous people who are blown about by every wind of doctrine. If you are preaching on how to have better intimacy with your spouse instead of preaching on the love, justice, and holiness of God, then you really need to reconsider whether or not you’re really called to be a pastor.


The body of Christ needs people who will strive to live out the Christian walk by example. It needs people who are truly willing to die to themselves and crucify their flesh daily so that others will see a strong, solid reflection of Christ. We don’t need any more ear-tickling, soft-word speaking, wishy-washy preachers who are too busy worrying about their image or their numbers to speak the truth to their congregations!


Your thoughts?

Newslinks 05/16/08

May 16, 2008 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Newslinks | 2 Comments
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Friday’s Newslinks brought to you by

 At Ease Tees

Evangelical Statement on Faith, Politics Stirs Up Religious Right

 Many Christian leaders have expressed concern about the document called the “Evangelical Manifesto”. There are varied issues as to why many of them won’t sign it (see below), but all of them need to be considered very carefully. The Manifesto is a 19-page document that is a call for Christians to keep faith and politics separate and to “expand their concerns beyond single issue politics”. The document says that Christians have allowed faith and politics to become too closely mixed and allows Christians to become “useful idiots” for the politicians. Some of those who would not sign the document had an issue with the given definition of evangelical being too vague. They also said that some of the statements see to leave room for inclusivism and universalism.

I haven’t read the document yet, but I hopefully will get the chance this weekend. I have heard bits and pieces of what the Manifesto says and even caught an interview with Os Guiness on Way of the Master Radio. Without having read the document, I just wanted to make a few general statements (which may change in regard to the Manifesto after I read the entire document). From what I understand, the definition of evangelical has changed over the last few decades and has become just a shadow of what the word used to mean. I also don’t like the push to try and separate faith and politics. I don’t think that we all need to be so politically minded that we aren’t doing what we’ve been called to do, but at the same time, we do need to be involved to some degree. We need to speak out against abortion and gay marriage, not because it’s a politically charged topic that happens to be “hot”, but because the Bible says that it’s wrong! Many times, the only way that Christians can be heard is through their voting. The Manifesto will hopefully get a lot of people thinking about things, but I don’t know if it’s really necessary. Instead, we need to have more and more people return to the biblical truths that God has given us and live them out. Not our way, but God’s way…

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Why Some Leaders Won’t Sign the Evangelical Manifesto


University Employee Suspended Over ‘Anti-Gay’ Column

 A member of the faculty of the University of Toledo has been fired (see below) because of statements made in a recent column she wrote. Crystal Dixon was the associate vice president of human resources at UT. The article that she wrote in the Toledo Free Press was in response to another article, which compared the effort to legalize same-sex “marriage” with the struggle for racial equality by African-Americans. Dixon said that she is unable “to wake up tomorrow morning and not be a black woman”. She then went on to say that many homosexuals are choosing daily to leave that lifestyle and that homosexuality is not an immutable characteristic like race or gender. Not long after her column was printed, the president of UT wrote his own column saying that Dixon’s writings “did not accord” with the views of UT or its values. He made a statement later saying that “race, gender, disability, and sexual orientation are not included in any decision making process nor the evaluation of worth of any individual at this university” and said that UT will continually be “aligning its actions with that value statement”. Attorneys defending Dixon say that her right to free speech was taken from her. They say that she wasn’t speaking on behalf of UT but as a private individual.

I fully agree with Miss Dixon. Homosexuality is a choice and always has been. You can see that in the Bible. All of the biblical statements describing homosexuality are conditional and show a choice to disobey God being made. To compare it to the struggle for racial equality is getting to be a tired canard of the pro-homosexual movement. It’s not the same. As Miss Dixon said, when she wakes up tomorrow morning, she’ll be black. It will always be that way. There are many people in the U.S. who are ex-homosexuals. They choose not to live that sinful lifestyle anymore. It is completely different. The fact that UT didn’t agree with Miss Dixon is very clear, but should in no way bring about her termination. I know that it’s getting old, but if this were turned around and it was Christianity that was being derided, no one would have said anything to the article writer and those who condemned the article would have been labeled “narrow minded” or “bigots”…

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Vote Against Embryonic Cloning Seen as Sign of Shifting Debate

Lawmakers in Western Australia have recently voted down a bill that would allow the cloning of human embryos for research purposes. The major reason for the vetoing of the bill is a discovery made in November of last year. The discovery came from a joint effort between Japanese and American scientists who found a way to “reprogram” adult human skin cells into cells that behave like embryonic stem cells. This means that they have the potential to develop into any type of cell (pluripotency). This new technique provides cells that are genetically identical to the patient and avoids the ethical problems with using embryonic stem cells (ESC). Those who support the lawmakers’ decision cite examples of scientists on the forefront of cloning, including Ian Wilmut (who cloned Dolly the sheep), walking away from using embryonic cells in favor of the “reprogramming” method. Western Australia’s health minister, who supports ESC research, said that the veto has put Western Australia out of step with the rest of the country. He also said that the decision has “denied its people world-class medical research and denied potential cures to those with life threatening medical issues”.

I think that this is a wonderful development both for Western Australia and for the world. The discovery of being able to reprogram adult skin cells is a boon for those who are actually involved in the search for cures. For those wishing to push a naturalistic agenda, well, I doubt they’ll ever be happy with things like this. If the “health” minister truly cared about the science and about the lives his position is supposed to be protecting, he would be shouting about this. Instead, he is griping and complaining about not being able to destroy unborn human life. Look at the issue for a minute. The discovery last November says that scientists have been able to “reprogram” adult skin cells to act like embryonic stem cells. They have the ability to become any cell. They are also genetically identical! This is HUGE. This means that scientists can now work with cells that are the same as the ones they should be with that specific patient! Not to mention that they would no longer have to kill unborn children. On top of that, think of how many adult skin cells we have and how fast they are replaced. This is an unending, ethical supply for doctors and scientists to work with. I can’t see a problem with any of this, unless of course you have another agenda…



Israel Celebrates 60th Year

This year, Israel celebrates its 60th year as a nation. The country became a recognized nation on May 14th 1948. It is the longest living democratic state in the Middle East. More than 700 world leaders were in attendance at the celebration. Also joining in the festivities were many evangelical Christians. A report released recently states that around 90% of evangelical Christians support Israel because they see it as a “biblical obligation”.

I’m glad to see Israel celebrating and hope that it continues. I also hope that the US will continue to support Israel and help them. I am one of those who see it as a biblical obligation to back Israel. It is obvious both from scripture and just what has happened in the last 60 years that they are a special people that God has not forgotten. We need to do what we can to show them our support and stop trying to divide their country…



‘Lost’ Christians Greatest Crisis in American Church, says Author

Author David Sanford believes that the reason many in the church are leaving and not coming back is due to them “losing their faith in Christian beliefs, the Bible, and the church”. He says that the topic is taboo among many Christians and that the lack of its discussion is not helping the situation at all. Sanford said that most of the time, Christians walk away from the church because of doubts or questions that go unanswered or because of the feeling that God has just “walked away”.

While I think that this is something that should be discussed openly among all Christians, I think that there is one reason that needs to be discussed more than any other. Those who do talk about people leaving the church focus on the reasons like Mr. Sanford did; the ones who walk away because of doubts or because they were “wounded”. A more alarming reason that many seem to be leaving is not because of being wounded or of doubts or because God “walked away”. They are leaving because of the unscriptural teachings and the complete lack of biblical foundation that many churches push as an agenda nowadays. If you wanna talk about taboo, there it is. Toss that up in front of pastors and ministers. I doubt that it would be seriously talked about and I’ll tell you why. In the modern church, the pastor is no longer just one of the many who are called to serve the church. They are the one. There may be others that handle ministries and stuff, but when it comes down to it, it’s all about the pastor. Look at the TV people. You never hear about “so and so”. It’s the pastor. The pastor has become a career choice or “job” for many people and they treat it as such. There is great pride taken by pastors who “build their church” and to question their actions, words, or motives is to get the same treatment as if you were the antichrist himself. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all churches. The problem is, many pastors who operate this way see that as applying to them. It’s not “their church” that does that it’s other churches. Ya know what? You’re wrong. It’s you’re church too, and until you see that and repent of your pride and callousness, people will continue to leave the church. They won’t leave God and they won’t “lose their faith experientially”. They’ll find others who have experienced the same thing and fellowship with them. It’s a sad state of affairs, but that’s where we are today in many churches…




One evangelical writer has said that he thinks that his fellow writers are alienating those who don’t attend church. Tim McLaughlin says that they use “passwords” like how long a person has been married and how many kids they have and that it alienates the “unchurched”. He also that evangelicals are alienating non church goers with their campaign for traditional marriage. He said that the idea of “one man with one woman for life” may be unrealistic depending on where you look in scripture. Examples given were: “Adam and Eve had no civil ceremony, Abraham slept with other women including Hagar, Isaac’s wife was selected by his father’s servant and was his cousin, David ‘collected wives like military victories, and his most memorable son came from an affair with a married woman,’ and Prophet Hosea married a whore”. McLaughlin said that we “shouldn’t call marriage biblical, but healthy”. McLaughlin says that when he writes he’s not “picturing someone who is lost, but someone who is finding themselves and being chased by God”.

If this is the modern definition of evangelical, then it’s no wonder people are so confused! How many “evangelical” writers actually write specifically to those who don’t attend church? I can’t think of any or why they would. Other than evangelism, what would be the point? The Bible says that they wouldn’t understand it anyway (although there are many in the body of Christ today that don’t understand it either…hmmm). This is the “seeker sensitive” view of the church brought to writing. “Don’t talk about Christian topics using Christian words or phrases because you might upset or alienate someone”. Didn’t Jesus alienate those who were living in sin? Yes. Should we go out of our way to make it difficult to understand? No. Should we cater to people who have absolutley no idea about what Christianity really is? No. McLaughlin then says that we shouldn’t be “campaigning” for traditional marriage because it’s not clearly defined in scripture. Huh? What version of scripture is he reading? Genesis 2:24 defines what marriage is – one man and one woman for life. Period. The fact that Abraham, David, Solomon, and others had multiple wives doesn’t mean that God approved of it or that the definition of marriage changed. And, if you’ll notice, they were still wives. Marriage is biblical if it follows the guidelines that God set for it. If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t matter how “holy” the person was, it wasn’t a proper marriage. He then says that he writes to people who are “finding themselves and being chased by God”. Oh…how sweet. Unfortunately, it’s not scriptural. We don’t have to find ourselves. We know who we are, we just don’t like to admit it because it isn’t the sweet adorable image that we want people to see us for. If people ever truly come face to face with themselves, they will shrink back in horror. God is not “chasing us” either. He’s omnipresent. How would He run? He is everywhere and knows everything and He is waiting for one of two things to happen. He’s either waiting for us to repent of our sins and put our faith in Christ, or He’s waiting for us to die without Christ. If the latter happens, then we’ll be judged and find ourselves in hell.  It really is that simple. To treat people otherwise is to mislead them and keep them from finding the truth.


‘Academic Freedom’ Legislation Advances in Four States

Four states, Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri and Michigan, are currently considering legislation that would allow public school teachers and students to discuss problems, critiques, and objections to Darwinism and evolution. Lawmakers in all four states said that the bills were in response to both teachers and students who felt marginalized or discriminated against when sharing views that were opposed to Darwinism. The legislation has been helped by Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled” as well.

I think that this is a great first step. Those who are opposed to legislation like this say that it would be allowing religion into schools. The truth is, religion is already in schools. Public school systems have become “churches” for the humanistic viewpoint shared by many atheists and agnostics. The teachers are preaching a message of “No God” and anyone saying otherwise is furiously attacked to protect the sacred cow of evolution…I hope that the legislation passes in all four states (especially Alabama) and that it leads the way for others to follow suit. If evolution is truly as strong and evident as its proponents say, then why are they so afraid to allow criticism and actual scientific study and debate of all the evidence (or lack thereof)?


Joel Osteen Maintains Homosexuality as Sin

Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammy Bakker, and a group of pro-homosexual activists met with Joel Osteen on Mother’s Day to discuss the issue of homosexuality and to try and get the pastor of America’s largest church to endorse them. While a spokesman said that the meeting was cordial meeting, the end result was that Osteen and his church will continue to see homosexuality as a sin. The group, called the American Family Outing, is planning on meeting with five other “megachurches” over the next couple months to try and receive endorsement for the homosexual lifestyle.

I couldn’t help but think about something when I read the headline. What does it say when you’re the pastor of a church and you have a headline written about you saying that you see homosexuality as a sin? Shouldn’t it be that way? I guess the reason it struck me was that it sounded like this is something out of the ordinary. From the sermons I’ve heard him preach, I would have to say that it is, at least to a certain degree. Whenever I have heard or read anything by or about Joel Osteen, it has been about how he is focused on helping people live a better life. Not once do I recall hearing him speak out against any sin at all. I am glad to hear that he still holds to the Bible in this case, but what about many others where he seems to “waffle” back and forth when scripture is clear about how God sees something? One of the people travelling with the American Family Outing was a lesbian mother. She said that “families come in all forms” and that “God loves us”. Why is it always the same canards? Man may see families as coming in different forms, but that doesn’t mean that God approves of it or that the biblical definition of a family has changed. And while it is true that God loves homosexuals (just like He loves anyone else who is living in sin) that doesn’t mean that He condones their lifestyle or approves of what they’re doing…

Evangelical Writers Challenged to Avoid Alienating the Unchurched

College Official Fired for Column on Homosexuality

Design of the Week 05/14/08 – Growing in Holiness

May 14, 2008 at 11:47 am | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This week’s featured design was something that I had mulled over for a few days and then went to it. The actual design process was anything but organized (not that any of the others have been either). When I created this design, I basically just sat down and started throwing things up on the screen to see what looked good.

I knew that I wanted something flowery to go with the growing theme. I started out by drawing the flowers but that didn’t look right to me. Then I went to my collections and found some vector flower shapes. I started playing with those and with the colors. The result is what you see.

The design idea came from thoughts about how, as Christians, we should be growing in holiness. It is something that others should be able to see taking place in us. If we look/act/speak the same now as we did when we first got saved, chances are we haven’t grown that much. There should be evidence that God has been changing us. It’s never easy, but it needs to happen if we’re to truly reflect Christ and accomplish the things that He’s called all of us to do!

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Decisions or Disciples?

May 12, 2008 at 11:18 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Evangelism is something that I love. I don’t do it as much as I should (I’m working on that…), but it’s always been something that I’ve had on my heart. I’ve been thinking about something lately and thought that I’d throw it out there for your response.


It seems that in the modern church there are two very different goals for evangelism. These goals are reached by different methods and are touted as being the same, but they really aren’t even close. Before I talk about the two goals, I wanted to ask a question to get you thinking.


What should be the goal of evangelism?


I hope to answer this, but at least the question is out there. It seems that as I write this, I’m finding more questions that I’ll probably have to explain, so this may end up being a long post…


An evangelist is someone who preaches/proclaims the gospel. The first goal of evangelism should be to preach the gospel. We should be making a concerted effort to tell others the truth about Jesus Christ. The problem is, while the truth is the same for everyone, it’s not accepted by everyone to the same degree. Some people who profess to follow Christ overlook things like homosexuality being a sin. Others overlook things like gossip, lying, etc. So right from the beginning, the same gospel is not being preached. In Mark 16, Jesus tells His disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”. When He makes the same proclamation in Matthew, He tells them to “make disciples of all nations” and to “teach them to observe all that I’ve commanded you” (emphasis mine). I don’t think that the church today is doing this. As a matter of fact, I know that it’s not doing this because I can see different gospels being preached. I see people flocking to whatever gospel tickles their fancy. Some go to the “prosperity gospel”. Others go to the “feel good gospel”. Paul says in Galatians 1:8 that if a man or an angel preaches any other gospel other than what Paul preached, they are accursed. Paul preached the same thing that Jesus preached. The overwhelming thing that Paul talked about in his epistles was sin. When Jesus started His ministry, His first message was about repentance (Matt. 4:17). Unfortunately, that’s not happening today. In most American churches, you hear very little about repentance. Instead, you hear the “other gospels” I mentioned above. Without preaching about repentance, you can’t be preaching the gospel.


Some will disagree with me and that’s ok. Some will say that you have to “love people into heaven”. I’m all for loving people. I love a lot of people. The thing is, if I truly love them, then I’ll tell them about repentance. I’ll tell them about sin and judgment because, if I don’t, they’ll end up in hell. When you read about the lives of the preachers of old (Spurgeon, Whitfield, Wesley, etc), you’ll see that their main focus was repentance. They spoke reverently and passionately about souls being snatched from the fires of hell. They loved their message because they understood that it was the only thing that will save people. They weren’t men going out to condemn others or show off their knowledge of scripture. They were men that loved people enough to tell them the truth, even if those people hated them for it. One evangelist wrote in a journal that he was blessed to have rotten food and pieces of dead cat thrown at him.


Sadly, the message of repentance that makes up the foundation of the gospel is missing from so many churches today. Even though people talk about souls, they preach a gospel devoid of the power to save those souls. They have a different goal than the preachers of old.


I said that I saw two very different goals for evangelism today. Those two goals are decisions and disciples.


I can’t really pinpoint it, but somewhere around the turn of the century, the gospel that was preached began to change. The message of repentance slowly faded out and was replaced by the other “gospels” that we hear today. Those “gospels” focus on how your life can be improved by “accepting” Jesus. Those who preach this message still talk about focusing on souls, but those souls are only as important as the decision they make to accept Jesus. I’ve seen (and been a part of) churches that will push, prod, and cajole you into becoming a Christian, and as soon as you “accept Christ”, they hand you a Bible and wish you luck; never showing any more concern for you again. The goal of this type of “evangelism” isn’t the actually saving of a soul; it’s about getting someone to make a decision. When churches like these go out into the community, they “evangelize” people by telling them how Jesus will bring them more joy, peace, happiness, and love. They talk about a “God-shaped hole” that only Jesus can fill. They seem to use everything they can, except the message of repentance. You never hear about sin from them unless it’s some sort of superficial spewing of Romans 3:23 or 6:23. To be honest, I wonder if most people even understand what sin really is?


This style of “evangelism” does nothing for the people being evangelized except to inoculate them against the truth of the gospel. They are told that all they have to do is “accept Jesus (into their heart)” and “really mean it” and they’ll be saved. Nothing is said about having to change the way they live or how to do it. Nothing is said about being obedient to the Word of God. Because of this, our churches are filled with people who truly believe that they’re saved, but live a life of sin and worldliness. We have pews laden with false converts every Sunday and it doesn’t matter. Why? It’s all about decisions.


I truly believe that this view of evangelism gave rise to both the “seeker sensitive” movement and the “emergent” church. Both of these movements deny repentance as the only valid reason for someone receiving salvation. The seeker sensitive movement does this by catering to non-Christians and putting social issues above God. They develop programs to get people into the church hoping that those people will get saved by osmosis. They fight for the social issues of our time (poverty, health, the environment, etc.) while ignoring the spiritual matters of sin and hell. The emergent movement takes this one step further by denying the very character of God found in the scriptures in favor of a more “tolerant”, “loving”, all paths lead to heaven kind of God that we can’t really understand. Because we can’t really know God or understand what He “really meant”, emergents are left to “go their own way”.

This is in direct opposition to the other goal I see in evangelism. This other goal is the same goal that we find in scripture. This goal says that we need to go out and preach the gospel of Christ to the world. It calls people to repentance by showing them what their sin is. It is sin that weighs us down and keeps us from running our race (Heb. 12:2).  It calls them to action by showing them the truth of sin’s consequences. It leaves no doubt in the mind of the listener about the truth of what will happen to them if they die without receiving salvation from Jesus Christ. It makes it clear that Jesus is the only way to get to God. There is great ease in understanding what God says and who He is.


The gospel of Jesus Christ is very simple to understand. Man sinned against God in the beginning (Gen. 3) by disobeying His command. Since then, all of mankind is born with a sinful nature. It is a natural thing for us to sin. The idea that man is inherently good is not scriptural. We are inherently evil. If left to our own devices we will disobey God every time and do things our own way. Because of this, the wrath of God is upon each and every one of us. Because of this, all of us deserve to go to hell. You may be saying to yourself, “that might be true for someone else, but I’m a good person and don’t deserve hell”. I disagree. God has a standard by which the world will be judged. That standard is the Ten Commandments. All you have to do to know if you’ve sinned and are going to hell is look at those ten laws. If you’ve ever lied, stolen, blasphemed God’s name, looked with lust (adultery – Matt. 5:28), hated someone (murder – 1 John 3:15), coveted something that belonged to someone else, put something else before God, made God into something that suited your desires (idolatry), dishonored your parents, or not kept the Sabbath holy, then you’ve sinned against God and will find yourself in hell. The only way out of this situation is to understand that you’re a sinner that needs a way to pay for your sins. Good works won’t get you to heaven. You can’t do enough good works to make up for one sin. Instead, you need a payment for your sins. That payment was made 2000 years ago on the cross when Jesus died in your place. To have that payment cover your sins, you have to repent of your sins (turn away from them and go the opposite direction) and put your trust in Jesus. To put your trust in Jesus simply means that you understand who He is and what He did for you and you stop trying to live your own way. If you do this, then you can know without a shadow of a doubt that you will find yourself in heaven when you die.


This is the gospel. It is the only thing that will see people saved and it needs to be preached from every pulpit in America (and the world). Not only that, it needs to be preached from the mouth of every believer any time there is an opportunity. America needs to repent and turn to God. For this to happen, Christians need to start preaching the gospel in truth!


Your thoughts?

Newslinks 05/09/08

May 9, 2008 at 9:33 am | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Friday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees


This week’s newslinks is shorter than normal. One reason is that there wasn’t as much news as was available in other weeks. Another is that some of it I would like to focus a little more attention on in the coming weeks (especially the “Evangelical Manifesto”).

Fix my kid


(I usually don’t put editorials in the newslinks, but I wanted to write on this one…)


This editorial is about how many Christian parents see training their children in the ways of the Lord as taking them to church and Sunday School. According to the article, 70-75 per cent of the kids raised by Christian parents will not live for Jesus as adults. Why? If Christian parents are raising them, why do so many of them live their adult lives away from the Lord? According to the author, it happens for one of two reasons. Either we don’t have the truth of Jesus, or we’re not portraying it correctly. The author says that it’s the latter. The author says that we should be taking every opportunity to teach our children about living for God, and I agree. The saddest thing that a Christian parent can do for the kids is to have the truth and not give it to their children. Too often, Christians put the teaching of scripture off on “those who have been trained”.  They give them to the Sunday school teachers and pastors. This may be a news flash for some of you, but it is not the pastors or teachers who should be training our kids. It’s you! YOU should be teaching them the ways of the Lord and not just with your words. Your kids see how you live your life and whether you realize it or not, they are mimicking you. You can tell them all the scriptures you want, but if you don’t live it out in front of them, they mean absolutely nothing! What’s worse, we often don’t give our kids credit for being smart enough to catch on to us. We think that we’re getting away with living outside the Word and that we’re fooling our kids. The only ones we’re fooling are ourselves. Your kids know right from wrong and your teaching them that it’s ok to let God’s rules slide. Is it any wonder that they’re not following the Lord? You can blame it on the teachers and pastors all you want (and some of them are at fault for teaching to the kids like their 3 year olds), but ultimately it falls on the parents to make sure that their kids are taught the ways of the Lord!



Documents unsealed in Kansas abortion case


In the ongoing battle against abortion in Kansas, documents from two lawsuits were recently unsealed and opened to the public for the first time. One lawsuit was by Planned Parenthood against former attorney general Phill Kline for mishandling patient files from two abortion clinics in Kansas. Edited versions of the files were allowed to be seen by Kline during his investigation into two PP abortion clinics. Three days before Kline left the office of AG (he lost his reelection bid), he had the documents forwarded to the Johnson County district attorney’s office. Not long after, Johnson County picked Kline to fill a vacancy as county prosecutor. PP says that Kline lost rights to the files when he lost his office. District Court Judge Richard Anderson said that he gave Kline permission to forward the documents on to “any other prosecutor Kline might work with”. To me, this shows just how desperate PP is to keep that information under wraps. Regardless of what PP thinks, Kline seems to have done nothing out of line. PP claims that he kept some of the records in a Rubbermaid container in his apartment before transferring them to the Johnson County office. Kline returned with the fact that he was not allowed a locked storage area in his office and that the office was wide open. PP just needs to realize that more and more people are finding out what is really happening behind closed doors and that people are disgusted by it. I hope that this is the beginning of the end for PP…


E.U. Urges Religious Leaders to Boost Climate Change Fight


The European Union urged 20 of the world’s Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders to step up the battle against climate change. The leaders were in Brussels, Belgium to discuss how to fight climate change. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said churches, temples, and mosques all have a role to play in helping to save the planet. While I agree with the statement that Barroso made about churches having a role to play in saving the planet, it’s not the same one that Barroso, the EU, and many Christians seem to be focusing on. The “green” issue has exploded as many people try to stop “global warming”. This is ridiculous. The church does have a role to play in saving the planet. They need to be preaching the gospel! Both Pope Benedict and Bartholomew I have been praised for their aggressive efforts to “save the planet”. I have to ask what they’re doing about the preaching of the gospel though. The pope came to the US for about a week not too long ago, and I don’t recall one time where he preached the gospel. Bartholomew I is the leader of the Orthodox Church and says that the world needs to “repent and change their lifestyle in response to the threats posed by climate change”. The world needs to repent and change their lifestyle, but not in regard to climate change. I can’t help but wonder if both of these “religious leaders” remember what is causing the whole of creation to groan in the first place! It is SIN! (Romans 8:22) What about that? Aren’t we, as the body of Christ, supposed to be preaching the gospel to every creature and teaching them to observe all the things that Christ commanded us (Mark 16/Matt. 28)? While I’m all for doing what we can to protect the environment, when it becomes a religion of its own and takes a higher precedence than what God has set in His Word, something is wrong. The world needs to repent of its sin. If it were to do that, all the other things would take care of themselves…


Chinese City Set to Become Bible Printing Capital of the World


Amity Printing Company, the only Chinese state approved Christian printing company, is set to open the largest Bible printing factory in the world in Nanjing, China. The facility will be able to print up to 12 million Bibles per year, which amounts to about 23 per second. This excites some as interest in Christianity grows in China, which is officially atheist. The largest religious group in China is Buddhism, but Christianity ranks second. The publishers also said that they are looking at releasing audio Bibles that people can listen to on their MP3 players. Does anyone else find this ironic? The world’s largest Bible printing factory isn’t found in a largely Christian nation, it’s found in China! While this news is broadcast, the Chinese government is cracking down on home churches in one area of the country (see below). This just strikes me as strange. I hope that good things come out of it, but I don’t know…


Related Articles:

Chinese gov’t continues crackdown



Blasphemous Art Works Remain at Vienna Cathedral Gallery


While the picture depicting the Last Supper as a homosexual orgy has been removed, many of the paintings by self-proclaimed atheist Alfred Hdrlicka still remain in the Dommuseum art gallery attached to the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Vienna. Among the art that still remains is one picture of the scourging of Christ by a nude Roman soldier who is performing a lewd act on the body of Christ. The director, Dr. Bernhard Boehler, said that the international protest against the display of the artwork is akin to the furor raised by Muslim extremists in regard to the Dutch Mohammed cartoons. He also said that the works are “very provocative, problematic” and that “strong believers” would feel that they “might be blasphemous or obscene.” The lack of response from the Archbishop of Vienna has also surprised many people. The idea that “strong believers” would feel that the artwork is “blasphemous or obscene” tells me that the art director of the museum is not in that category. To compare this to the Dutch cartoons is ludicrous. The fact that the museum even allowed this tells me that they have no respect at all for the God they supposedly follow as a “Catholic institution”. This is disgusting and blasphemous and would be considered so by any real Christian. To allow this type of thing in a “Christian” museum is an abomination. The liberal “squishiness” of the art director, the Archibishop, and all of those who condone this goes directly against scripture and is SIN pure and simple…


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