Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – The Fallibility of Ministers

October 2, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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Warning #6 to the Church

The Fallibility of Ministers

by

J. C. Ryle

(1816-1900)

When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.  Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles.  But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.

The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their  hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.  When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I  said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you  live like a Gentile and not like a Jew.  How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?”

We who are Jews by birth and not “Gentile sinners” know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.  So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.  (Galatians 2:11-16)

Have we ever considered what the Apostle Peter did at Antioch?  It is a question that deserves serious consideration.

What the Apostle Peter did at Rome we are often told, although we have hardly a jot of authentic information about it.  Legends, traditions, and fables abound on the subject.  But unhappily for these writers, Scripture is utterly silent upon the point.  There is nothing in Scripture to show that the Apostle Peter ever was at Rome at all!

But what did the Apostle Peter do at Antioch?  This is the point to which I want to direct attention.  This is the subject from the passage from the Epistle to the Galatians, which heads this paper.  On this point, at any rate, the Scripture speaks clearly and unmistakably.

The six verses of the passages before us are striking on many accounts.  They are striking, if we consider the event which they describe: here is one Apostle rebuking another!  They are striking, when we consider who the two men are: Paul, the younger, rebukes Peter the elder!  They are striking, when we remark the occasion: this was no glaring fault, no flagrant sin, at first sight, that Peter had committed!  Yet the Apostle Paul says, “I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.”  He does more than this–he reproves Peter publicly for his error before all the Church at Antioch.  He goes even further–he writes an account of the matter, which is now read in two hundred languages all over the world.

It is my firm conviction that the Holy Spirit wants us to take particular notice of this passage of Scripture.  If Christianity had been an invention of man, these things would never have been recorded.  An impostor would have hushed up the difference between two Apostles.  The Spirit of truth has caused these verses to be written for our learning, and we shall do well to take heed to their contents.

There are three great lessons from Antioch, which I think we ought to learn from this passage.

I. The first lesson is, “That great ministers may make great mistakes.”

II. The second is, “That to keep the truth of Christ in His Church is even more important than to keep peace.”

III. The third is, “That there is no doctrine about which we ought to be so protective about as justification by faith without the deeds of the law.”

I. The first great lesson we learn from Antioch is, “That great ministers may make great mistakes.”

What clearer proof can we have than that which is set before us in this place?  Peter, without doubt, was one of the greatest in the company of the Apostles.  He was an old disciple.  He was a disciple who had had peculiar advantages and privileges.  He had been a constant companion of the Lord Jesus.  He had heard the Lord preach, seen the Lord work miracles, enjoyed the benefit of the Lord’s private teaching, been numbered among the Lord’s intimate friends, and gone out and come in with Him all the time He ministered upon earth.  He was the Apostle to whom the keys of the kingdom of heaven were given, and by whose hand those keys were first used.  He was the first who opened the door of faith to the Jews, by preaching to them on the day of Pentecost.  He was the first who opened the door of faith to the Gentiles, by going to the house of Cornelius, and receiving him into the Church.  He was the first to rise up in the Council of the fifteenth of Acts, and say, “Why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?”  And yet here this very Peter, this same Apostle, plainly falls into a great mistake.

The Apostle Paul tells us, “I opposed him to his face.”  He tells us “because he was clearly in the wrong.”  He says “he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.”  He says of him and his companions, that “they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel.”  He speaks of their “hypocrisy.”  He tells us that by this hypocrisy even Barnabas, his old companion in missionary labors, “was led astray.”  What a striking fact this is.  This is Simon Peter!  This is the third great error of his, which the Holy Spirit has thought fit to record!  Once we find him trying to keep back our Lord, as far as he could, from the great work of the cross, and severely rebuked Him.  Then we find him denying the Lord three times, and with an oath.  Here again we find him endangering the leading truth of Christ’s Gospel.  Surely we may say, “Lord, what is man?”  Let us note, that of all the Apostles there is not one, excepting, of course, Judas Iscariot, of whom we have so many proofs that he was a fallible man.

(Note: It is curious to observe the shifts to which some writers have been reduced, in order to explain away the plain meaning of the verses which head this paper.  Some have maintained that Paul did not really rebuke Peter, but only faked it, for show and appearance sake!  Others have maintained that it was not Peter the Apostle who was rebuked, but another Peter, one of the seventy!  Such interpretations need no remark.  They are simply absurd.  The truth is that the plain honest meaning of the verses strikes a heavy blow at the favorite Roman Catholic doctrine of the primacy and superiority of Peter over the rest of the Apostles.)

But it is all meant to teach us that even the Apostles themselves, when not writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, were at times liable to err.  It is meant to teach us that the best men are weak and fallible so long as they are in the body.  Unless the grace of God holds them up, any one of them may go astray at any time.  It is very humbling, but it is very true.  True Christians are converted, justified, and sanctified.  They are living members of Christ, beloved children of God, and heirs of eternal life.  They are elect, chosen, called, and kept unto salvation.  They have the Spirit.  But they are not infallible.

Will not rank and dignity confer infallibility?  No, they will not!  It matters nothing what a man is called.  He may be a Czar, an Emperor, a King, a Prince.  He may be a Preacher, Minister, or Deacon.  He is still a fallible man.  Neither the crown, nor the anointing oil, nor the laying on of hands, can prevent a man making mistakes.

Will not numbers confer infallibility?  No, they will not!  You may gather together princes by the score, and ministers by the hundred; but, when gathered together, they are still liable to err.  You may call them a council, or an assembly, or a conference, or what you please.  It matters nothing.  Their conclusions are still the conclusions of fallible men.  Their collective wisdom is still capable of making enormous mistakes.

The example of the Apostle Peter at Antioch is one that does not stand alone.  It is only a parallel of many a case that we find written for our learning in Holy Scripture.  Do we not remember Abraham, the father of the faithful, following the advice of Sarah, and taking Hagar for a wife? Do we not remember Aaron, the first high priest, listening to the children of Israel, and making a golden calf?  Do we not remember Solomon, the wisest of men, allowing his wives to build their high places of false worship?  Do we not remember Jehosaphat, the good king, going down to help wicked Ahab?  Do we not remember Hezekiah, the good king, receiving the ambassadors of Babylon?  Do we not remember Josiah, the last of Judah’s good kings, going forth to fight with Pharaoh?  Do we not remember James and John, wanting fire to come down from heaven?  These things deserve to be remembered.  They were not written without cause.  They cry aloud, “No infallibility!”

And who does not see, when he reads the history of the Church of Christ, repeated proofs that the best of men can err?  The early fathers were zealous according to their knowledge, and ready to die for Christ.  But many of them advocated ritualism, and nearly all sowed the seeds of many superstitions.  The Reformers were honored instruments in the hand of God for reviving the cause of truth on earth.  Yet hardly one of them can be named who did not make some great mistake.  Martin Luther held tightly to the doctrine of consubstantiation [believing that during communion the bread and the wine became the actual body and blood of Christ].

Melancthon was often timid and undecided.  Calvin permitted Servetus to be burned.  Cranmer recanted and fell away for a time from his first faith.  Jewell subscribed to Roman Catholic Church doctrines for fear of death.  Hooper disturbed the Church of England by demanding the need to wear ceremonial vestments [priestly type garments] when ministering.  The Puritans, in later times, denounced Christian liberty and freedoms as doctrines from the pit of Hell.  Wesley and Toplady, last century, abused each other in most shameful language.  Irving, in our own day, gave way to the delusion of speaking in unknown tongues [babble].  All these things speak with a loud voice.  They all lift up a beacon to the Church of Christ.  They all say, “Do not trust man; call no man master; call no man father [spiritually] on earth; let no man glory in man; He that glories, let him glory in the Lord.”  They all cry, “No infallibility!”

The lesson is one that we all need.  We are all naturally inclined to lean upon man whom we can see, rather than upon God whom we cannot see.  We naturally love to lean upon the ministers of the visible Church, rather than upon the Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd and High Priest, who is invisible.  We need to be continually warned and set on our guard.

I see this tendency to lean on man everywhere.  I know no branch of the Protestant Church of Christ which does not require to be cautioned upon the point.  It is a snare to the Scottish Christians to pin their faith on John Knox.  It is a snare to the Methodists in our day to worship the memory of John Wesley.  All these are snares, and into these snares how many fall!

We all naturally love to have a pope of our own.  We are far too ready to think, that because some great minister or some learned man says a thing,  or because our own minister, whom we love, says a thing, it must be right, without examining whether it is in Scripture or not.  Most men dislike the trouble of thinking for themselves.  They like following a leader.  They are like sheep, when one goes over the hill all the rest follow.  Here at Antioch even Barnabas was carried away.  We can well fancy that good man saying, “An old Apostle, like Peter, surely cannot be wrong.  Following him, I cannot err.”

And now let us see what practical lessons we may learn from this part of our subject.

(a) For one thing, let us learn not to put implicit confidence in any man’s opinion, merely because he lived many hundred years ago.  Peter was a man who lived in the time of Christ Himself, and yet he could err.  There are many who talk much in the present day about the voice of the early Church.  They would have us believe that those who lived nearest the time of the Apostles, must of course know more about truth than we can.  There is no foundation for any such opinion.  It is a fact, that the most ancient writers in the true Church of Christ are often at variance with one another.  It is a fact that they often changed their own minds, and retracted their own former opinions.  It is a fact that they often wrote foolish and weak things, and often showed great ignorance in their explanations of Scripture.  It is vain to expect to find them free from mistakes.  Infallibility is not to be found in the early fathers, but in the Bible.

(b) For another thing, let us learn not to put implicit confidence in any man’s opinion, merely because of his office as a minister.  Peter was one of the very chief Apostles, and yet he could err.

This is a point on which men have continually gone astray.  It is the rock on which the early Church struck.  Men soon took up the saying, “Do nothing contrary to the mind of the minister.”  But what are ministers, preachers, and deacons?  What are the best of ministers but men–dust, ashes, and clay–men of like passions with ourselves, men exposed to temptations, men liable to weaknesses and infirmities?  What does the Scripture say?  “What, after all, is Apollos?  And what is Paul?  Only servants, through whom you came to believe–as the Lord has assigned to each his task” (1 Corinthians 3:5).

Ministers have often driven the truth into the wilderness, and decreed that to be true which was false.  The greatest errors have been begun by ministers.  Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of the high-priest, made religion to be abhorred by the children of Israel.  Annas and Caiaphas, though in the direct line of descent from Aaron, crucified the Lord.  It is absurd to suppose that ordained men cannot go wrong.  We should follow them so far as they teach according to the Bible, but no further.  We should believe them so long as they can say, “Thus it is written, thus says the Lord,” but further than this we are not to go.  Infallibility is not to be found in ordained men, but in the Bible.

(c)  For another thing, let us learn not to place implicit confidence in any man’s opinion, merely because of his learning.  Peter was a man who had miraculous gifts, and could speak with the (then valid) gift of tongues, and yet he could err.

This is a point again on which many go wrong.  This is the rock on which men struck in the middle ages.  Men looked on Thomas Aquinas, and Peter Lombard, and many of their companions, as almost inspired.  They gave epithets to some of them in token of their admiration.  They talked of “the indisputable” preacher, “the angelic” minister, “the incomparable” pastor, and seemed to think that whatever these ministers said must be true!  But what is the most learned of men, if he is not taught by the Holy Spirit?  What is the most learned of all divines but a mere fallible child of Adam at his very best?  Vast knowledge of books and great ignorance of God’s truth may go side by side.  They have done so, they may do so, and they will do so in all times.  I will engage to say that the two volumes of Robert McCheyne’s Memoirs and Sermons, have done more positive good to the souls of men, than any one folio that Origen or Cyprian ever wrote.

I do not doubt that the one volume of Pilgrim’s Progress, written by a man who knew hardly any book but his Bible, and was ignorant of Greek and Latin, will prove in the last day to have done more for the benefit of the world, than all the works of the schoolmen put together.  Learning is a gift that ought not to be despised.  It is an evil day when books are not valued in the Church.  But it is amazing to observe how vast a man’s intellectual attainments may be, and yet how little he may know of the grace of God.  I have no doubt the Authorities of Oxford in the last century, knew more of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, than Wesley or Whitefield.  But they knew little of the Gospel of Christ.  Infallibility is not to be found among learned men, but in the Bible.

(d) For another thing, let us take care that we do not place implicit confidence on our own minister’s opinion, however godly he may be.  Peter was a man of mighty grace, and yet he could err.

Your minister may be a man of God indeed, and worthy of all honor for his preaching and example; but do not make a pope of him.  Do not place his word side by side with the Word of God.  Do not spoil him by flattery.  Do not let him suppose he can make no mistakes.  Do not lean your whole weight on his opinion, or you may find to your cost that he can err.

It is written of Joash, King of Judah, that he “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the years of Jehoiada the priest” (2 Chronicles 24:2).  Jehoiada died, and then died the religion of Joash.  Just so your minister may die, and then your religion may die too.  He may change, and your religion may change.  He may go away, and your religion may go.

Oh, do not be satisfied with a religion built on man!  Do not be content with saying, “I have hope, because my own minister has told me such and such things.”  Seek to be able to say, “I have hope, because I find it thus and thus written in the Word of God.”  If your peace is to be solid, you must go yourself to the fountain of all truth.  If your comforts are to be lasting, you must visit the well of life yourself, and draw fresh water for your own soul.  Ministers may depart from the faith.  The visible Church may be broken up.  But he who has the Word of God written in his heart, has a foundation beneath his feet which will never fail him.  Honor your minister as a faithful ambassador of Christ.  Esteem him very highly in love for his work’s sake.  But never forget that infallibility is not to be found in godly ministers, but in the Bible.

The things I have mentioned are worth remembering.  Let us bear them in mind, and we shall have learned one lesson from Antioch.

II. I now pass on to the second lesson that we learn from Antioch.  That lesson is, “That to keep Gospel truth in the Church is of even greater importance than to keep peace.”

I suppose no man knew better the value of peace and unity than the Apostle Paul.  He was the Apostle who wrote to the Corinthians about love.  He was the Apostle who said, “Live in harmony with one another; live in peace with each other; the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to one hope when you were called–one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”  He was the Apostle who said, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some” (Romans 12:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:13; Philemon 3:16; Ephesians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 9:22).  Yet see how he acts here!  He withstands Peter to the face.  He publicly rebukes him.  He runs the risk of all the consequences that might follow.  He takes the chance of everything that might be said by the enemies of the Church at Antioch.  Above all, he writes it down for a perpetual memorial, that it never might be forgotten, that, wherever the Gospel is preached throughout the world, this public rebuke of an erring Apostle might be known and read of all men.

Now, why did he do this?  Because he dreaded false doctrine; because he knew that a little leaven leavens the whole lump, because he would teach us that we ought to contend for the truth jealously, and to fear the loss of truth more than the loss of peace.

Paul’s example is one we shall do well to remember in the present day.  Many people will put up with anything in religion, if they may only have a quiet life.  They have a morbid dread of what they call “controversy.” They are filled with a morbid fear of what they style, in a vague way, “party spirit,” though they never define clearly what party spirit is.  They are possessed with a morbid desire to keep the peace, and make all things smooth and pleasant, even though it be at the expense of truth.  So long as they have outward calm, smoothness, stillness, and order, they seem content to give up everything else.  I believe they would have thought with Ahab that Elijah was a troubler of Israel, and would have helped the princes of Judah when they put Jeremiah in prison, to stop his mouth.  I have no doubt that many of these men of whom I speak, would have thought that Paul at Antioch was a very imprudent man, and that he went too far!

I believe this is all wrong.  We have no right to expect anything but the pure Gospel of Christ, unmixed and unadulterated; the same Gospel that was taught by the Apostles; to do good to the souls of men.  I believe that to maintain this pure truth in the Church men should be ready to make any sacrifice, to hazard peace, to risk dissension, and run the chance of division.  They should no more tolerate false doctrine than they would tolerate sin.  They should withstand any adding to or taking away from the simple message of the Gospel of Christ.

For the truth’s sake, our Lord Jesus Christ denounced the Pharisees, though they sat in Moses’ seat, and were the appointed and authorized teachers of men.  “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites,” He says, eight times over, in the twenty-third chapter of Matthew.  And who shall dare to breathe a suspicion that our Lord was wrong?

For the truth’s sake, Paul withstood and blamed Peter, though a brother. Where was the use of unity when pure doctrine was gone?  And who shall dare to say he was wrong?

For the truth’s sake, Athanasius stood out against the world to maintain the pure doctrine about the divinity of Christ, and waged a controversy with the great majority of the professing Church.  And who shall dare to say he was wrong?

For the truth’s sake, Luther broke the unity of the Church in which he was born, denounced the Pope and all his ways, and laid the foundation of a new teaching.  And who shall dare to say that Luther was wrong?

For the truth’s sake, Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, the English Reformers, counseled Henry VIII and Edward VI to separate from Rome, and to risk the consequences of division.  And who shall dare to say that they were wrong?

For the truth’s sake, Whitefield and Wesley, a hundred years ago, denounced the mere barren moral preaching of the clergy of their day, and went out into the highways and byways to save souls, knowing well that they would be cast out from the Church’s communion.  And who shall dare to say that they were wrong?

Yes! Peace without truth is a false peace; it is the very peace of the devil.  Unity without the Gospel is a worthless unity; it is the very unity of hell.  Let us never be ensnared by those who speak kindly of it.  Let us remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34)  Let us remember the praise He gives to one of the Churches in Revelation, “I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false” (Revelation 2:2).  Let us remember the blame He casts on another, “You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess” (Revelation 2:20).  Never let us be guilty of sacrificing any portion of truth on the altar of peace.  Let us rather be like the Jews, who, if they found any manuscript copy of the Old Testament Scriptures incorrect in a single letter, burned the whole copy, rather than run the risk of losing one jot or tittle of the Word of God.  Let us be content with nothing short of the whole Gospel of Christ.

In what way are we to make practical use of the general principles which I have just laid down?  I will give my readers one simple piece of advice.  I believe it is advice which deserves serious consideration.

I warn then every one who loves his soul, to be very selective as to the preaching he regularly hears, and the place of worship he regularly attends.  He who deliberately settles down under any ministry which is positively unsound is a very unwise man.  I will never hesitate to speak my mind on this point.  I know well that many think it a shocking thing for a man to forsake his local church.  I cannot see with the eyes of such people.  I draw a wide distinction between teaching which is defective and teaching which is thoroughly false; between teaching which errs on the negative side and teaching which is positively unscriptural.  But I do believe, if false doctrine is unmistakably preached in a local church, a Christian who loves his soul is quite right in not going to that local church.  To hear unscriptural teaching fifty-two Sundays in every year is a serious thing.  It is a continual dropping of slow poison into the mind.  I think it almost impossible for a man willfully to submit himself to it, and not be harmed.

I see in the New Testament we are plainly told to “Test everything” and “Hold on to the good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).  I see in the Book of Proverbs that we are commanded to “Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge” (Proverbs 19:27).  If these words do not justify a man in ceasing to worship at a church, if positively false doctrine is preached in it, I do not know what words can.

–Does any one mean to tell us that to attend your local denominational church is absolutely needful to a person’s salvation?  If there is such a one, let him speak out, and give us his name.

–Does any one mean to tell us that going to the denominational church will save any man’s soul, if he dies unconverted and ignorant of Christ?  If there is such a one, let him speak out, and give us his name.

–Does any one mean to tell us that going to the denominational church will teach a man anything about Christ, or conversion, or faith, or repentance, if these subjects are hardly ever named in the denomination church, and never properly explained?  If there is such a one, let him speak out, and give us his name.

–Does any one mean to say that a man who repents, believes in Christ, is converted and holy, will lose his soul, because he has forsaken his denomination and learned his religion elsewhere?  If there is such a one, let him speak out, and give us his name.

For my part I abhor such monstrous and extravagant ideas.  I do not see a speck of foundation for them in the Word of God.  I trust that the number of those who deliberately hold them is exceedingly small.

There are many churches where the religious teaching is little better than Roman Catholicism.  Ought the congregation of such churches to sit still, be content, and take it quietly?  They ought not.  And why? Because, like Paul, they ought to prefer truth to peace.

There are many churches where the religious teaching is little better than morality.  The distinctive doctrines of Christianity are never clearly proclaimed.  Plato, or Seneca, or Confucius, could have taught almost as much.  Ought the congregation in such churches to sit still, be content, and take it quietly?  They ought not.  And why? Because, like Paul, they ought to prefer truth to peace.

–I am using strong language in dealing with this part of my subject: I know it.

–I am trenching on delicate ground: I know it.

–I am handling matters which are generally let alone, and passed over in silence: I know it.

I say what I say from a sense of duty to the Church of which I am a minister.  I believe the state of the times, and the position of the congregation require plain speaking.  Souls are perishing, in many churches, in ignorance.  Honest members of the church are disgusted and perplexed.  This is no time for smooth words.  I am not ignorant of those magic expressions, “order, division, schism, unity, controversy,” and the like.  I know the cramping, silencing influence which they seem to exercise on some minds.  I too have considered those expressions calmly and deliberately, and on each of them I am prepared to speak my mind.

(a) The denominational church is an admirable thing in theory.  Let it only be well administered, and worked by truly spiritual ministers, and it is calculated to confer the greatest blessings on the nation.  But it is useless to expect attachment to the denomination, when the minister of the denominational church is ignorant of the Gospel or a lover of the world.  In such a case we must never be surprised if men forsake their denomination, and seek truth wherever truth is to be found.  If the denominational minister does not preach the Gospel and live the Gospel, the conditions on which he claims the attention of his congregation are virtually violated, and his claim to be heard is at an end.  It is absurd to expect the head of a family to endanger the souls of his children, as well as his own, for the sake of “the denomination.”  There is no mention of denominations in the Bible, and we have no right to require men to live and die in ignorance, in order that they may be able to say at last, “I always attended my local denominational church.”

(b)  Divisions and separations are most objectionable in religion.  They weaken the cause of true Christianity.  They give occasion to the enemies of all godliness to blaspheme.  But before we blame people for them, we must be careful that we lay the blame where it is deserved.  False doctrine and heresy are even worse than schism.  If people separate themselves from teaching which is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved.  In such cases separation is a virtue and not a sin.  It is easy to make sneering remarks about “itching ears,” and “love of excitement;” but it is not so easy to convince a plain reader of the Bible that it is his duty to hear false doctrine every Sunday, when by a little exertion he can hear truth.

(c)  Unity, quiet, and order among professing Christians are mighty blessings.  They give strength, beauty, and efficiency to the cause of Christ.  But even gold may be bought too dear.  Unity which is obtained by the sacrifice of truth is worth nothing.  It is not the unity which pleases God.  The Church of Rome boasts loudly of a unity which does not deserve the name.  It is unity which is obtained by taking away the Bible from the people, by gagging private judgment, by encouraging ignorance, by forbidding men to think for themselves.  Like the exterminating warriors of old, the Catholic Church of Rome makes a solitude and calls it peace.  There is quiet and stillness enough in the grave, but it is not the quiet of health, but of death.  It was the false prophets who cried “Peace,” when there was no peace.

(d) Controversy in religion is a hateful thing, It is hard enough to fight the devil, the world and the flesh, without private differences in our own camp.  But there is one thing which is even worse than controversy, and that is false doctrine tolerated, allowed, and permitted without protest or molestation.  It was controversy that won the battle of Protestant Reformation.  If the views that some men hold were correct, it is plain we never ought to have had any Reformation at all!  For the sake of peace, we ought to have gone on worshipping the Virgin, and bowing down to images and relics to this very day! Away with such trifling!  There are times when controversy is not only a duty but a benefit.  Give me the mighty thunderstorm rather than the deadly malaria.  The one walks in darkness and poisons us in silence, and we are never safe.  The other frightens and alarms for a little while.  But it is soon over, and it clears the air.  It is a plain Scriptural duty to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3).

I am quite aware that the things I have said are exceedingly distasteful to many minds.  I believe many are content with teaching which is not the whole truth, and fancy it will be “all the same” in the end.  I am sorry for them.  I am convinced that nothing but the whole truth is likely, as a general rule, to do good to souls.  I am satisfied that those who willfully put up with anything short of the whole truth, will find at last that their souls have received much damage.  There are three things which men never ought to trifle with: a little poison, a little false doctrine, and a little sin.

I am quite aware that when a man expresses such opinions as those I have just brought forward, there are many ready to say, “He is not faithful to the Church.”  I hear such accusations unmoved.  The day of judgment will show who were the true friends of the Church and who were not.  I have learned in the last thirty-two years that if a minister leads a quiet life, leaves alone the unconverted part of the world, and preaches so as to offend none and edify none, he will be called by many “a good pastor.”

And I have also learned that if a man studies Scriptures, labors continually for the conversion of souls, adheres closely to the great principals of the Reformation, bears a faithful testimony against Romanism, and preaches powerful, convicting sermons, he will probably be thought a firebrand and “troubler of Israel.”  Let men say what they will.  They are the truest friends of the Church who labor most for the preservation of truth.

I lay these things before the readers of this paper, and invite their serious attention to them.  I charge them never to forget that truth is of more importance to a Church than peace.  I ask them to be ready to carry out the principles I have laid down, and to contend zealously, if needs be, for the truth.  If we do this, we shall have learned something from Antioch.

III. But I pass on to the third lesson from Antioch.  That lesson is, that “There is no doctrine about which we ought to be so jealous as justification by faith and not by observing the law.”

The proof of this lesson stands out most prominently in the passage of Scripture which heads this paper.  What one article of the faith had the Apostle Peter denied at Antioch?  None.  What doctrine had he publicly preached which was false?  None.  What, then, had he done?  He had done this.  After once keeping company with the believing Gentiles as “heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 3:6), he suddenly became shy of them and withdrew himself.  He seemed to think they were less holy and acceptable to God than the circumcised Jews.  He seemed to imply, that the believing Gentiles were in a lower state than they who had kept the ceremonies of the law of Moses.  He seemed, in a word, to add something to simple faith as needful to give man an interest in Jesus Christ.  He seemed to reply to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” not merely “Believe in the Lord Jesus,” but “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and be circumcised, and keep the ceremonies of the law.”

Such conduct as this the Apostle Paul would not endure for a moment.  Nothing so moved him as the idea of adding anything to the Gospel of Christ.  “I opposed him,” he says, “to his face.”  He not only rebuked him, but he recorded the whole transaction fully, when by inspiration of the Spirit he wrote the Epistle to the Galatians.

I invite special attention to this point.  I ask men to observe the remarkable jealousy which the Apostle Paul shows about this doctrine, and to consider the point about which such a stir was made.  Let us mark in this passage of Scripture the immense importance of justification by faith and not by keeping the law.

(a) This is the doctrine which is essentially necessary to our own personal comfort.  No man on earth is a real child of God, and a saved soul, till he sees and receives salvation by faith in Christ Jesus.  No man will ever have solid peace and true assurance, until he embraces with all his heart the doctrine that “we are counted righteous before God because of the work of our Lord Jesus Christ [on the cross], by faith, and not for our own works and goodness.”  One reason, I believe, why so many professors in this day are tossed to and fro, enjoy little comfort, and feel little peace, is their ignorance on this point.  They do not see clearly justification by faith without their own “good works.”

(b) This is the doctrine which the great enemy of souls hates, and labors to overthrow.  He knows that it turned the world upside down at the first beginning of the Gospel, in the days of the Apostles.  He knows that it turned the world upside down again at the time of the Reformation.  He is therefore always tempting men to reject it.  He is always trying to seduce Churches and ministers to deny or obscure its truth.  No wonder that the Council of Trent [Roman Catholic Council that established their present doctrines] directed its chief attack against this doctrine, and pronounced it accursed and heretical.  No wonder that many who think themselves learned in these days denounce the doctrine as theological jargon, and say that all “serious minded people” are justified by Christ, whether they have faith or not!  The plain truth is that the doctrine is all bitterness and poison to unconverted hearts.  It just meets the wants of the awakened soul.  But the proud unhumbled man who knows not his own sin, and sees not his own weakness, cannot receive its truth.

(c) This is the doctrine, the absence of which accounts for half the errors of the Roman Catholic Church.  The beginning of half the unscriptural doctrines of Catholicism may be traced up to rejection of justification by faith.  No Catholic teacher, if he is faithful to his Church, can say to an anxious sinner, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”  He cannot do it without additions and explanations, which completely destroy the good news.  He dare not give the Gospel medicine, without adding something which destroys its effectiveness, and neutralizes its power.

Purgatory, penance, priestly absolution [confession], the intercession of saints, the worship of the Virgin, and many other man-made services of Roman Catholicism, all spring from this source.  They are all rotten props to support weary consciences.  But they are rendered necessary by the denial of justification by faith.

(d) This is the doctrine which is absolutely essential to a minister’s success among his people.  Obscurity on this point spoils all.  Absence of clear statements about justification will prevent the utmost zeal doing good.  There may be much that is pleasing and nice in a minister’s sermons, much about Christ and union with Him, much about self-denial, much about humility, much about love.  But all this will profit little, if his trumpet gives an uncertain sound about justification by faith without the attendant “good works.”

(e) This is the doctrine which is absolutely essential to the prosperity of a Church.  No Church is really in a healthy state, in which this doctrine is not prominently brought forward.  A denomination and/or church may have good forms and regularly ordained ministers, but a denomination and/or church will not see conversion of souls going on under its pulpits, when this doctrine is not plainly preached.  Its schools may be found in every town.  Its church buildings may strike the eye all over the land.  But there will be no blessing from God on that denomination and/or church unless justification by faith is proclaimed from its pulpits.  Sooner or later its candlestick will be taken away.

Why have the Churches of Africa and the East fallen to their present state?  Did they not have Ministers?  They had.  Did they not have forms and ceremony?  They had.  Did they not have councils?  They had.  But they cast away the doctrine of justification by faith.  They lost sight of that mighty truth, and so they fell.

Why did our own Church (Church of England) do so little in the last century, and why did the Independents and Baptists do so much more?  Was it that their system was better than ours?  No.  Was it that our Church was not so well adapted to meet the wants of lost souls?  No.  But their ministers preached justification by faith, and our ministers, in too many cases, did not preach the doctrine at all.

Why do so many English people go to dissenting churches in the present day?  Why do we so often see a splendid Gothic local church as empty of worshipers as a barn in July, and a little plain brick building, called a Meeting House, filled to suffocation?  Is it that people in general have any abstract dislike of formal worship, the Prayer-book, and the establishment?  Not at all!  The simple reason is, in the vast majority

of cases, that people do not like preaching in which justification by faith is not fully proclaimed.  When they cannot hear it in the local church they will seek it elsewhere.  No doubt there are exceptions.  No doubt there are places where a long course of neglect has thoroughly disgusted people with the Church, so that they will not even hear truth from its ministers.  But I believe, as a general rule, when the local church is empty and the meeting-house full, it will be found on inquiry that there is a cause.

If these things be so, the Apostle Paul might well be jealous for the truth, and oppose Peter to his face.  He might well maintain that anything ought to be sacrificed, rather than endanger the doctrine of justification in the Church of Christ.  He saw with a prophetical eye coming things.  He left us all an example that we should do well to follow.  Whatever we tolerate, let us never allow any injury to be done to that blessed doctrine–that we are justified by faith without any of our own “good works.”

Let us always beware of any teaching which either directly or indirectly obscures justification by faith.  All religious systems which put anything between the heavy burdened sinner and Jesus Christ the Savior, except simple faith, are dangerous and unscriptural.  All systems which make out faith to be anything complicated, anything but a simple, childlike dependence, the hand which receives the soul’s medicine from  the physician, are unsafe and poisonous systems.  All systems which cast discredit on the simple Protestant doctrine which broke the power of Roman Catholicism, carry about with them a plague-spot, and are dangerous to souls.

Baptism is a sacrament ordained by Christ Himself, and to be used with reverence and respect by all professing Christians.  When it is used rightly, worthily and with faith, it is capable of being the instrument of mighty blessings to the soul.  But when people are taught that all who are baptized are as a matter of course born again, and that all baptized persons should be addressed as “children of God,” I believe their souls are in great danger.  Such teaching about baptism appears to me to overthrow the doctrine of justification by faith.  They only are children of God who have faith in Christ Jesus.  And all men do not have faith.

The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament ordained by Christ Himself, and intended for the edification and refreshment of true believers.  But when people are taught that all persons ought to come to the Lord’s table, whether they have faith or not; and that all alike receive Christ’s body and blood who receive the bread and wine, I believe their souls are in great danger.  Such teaching appears to me to darken the doctrine of justification by faith.  No man eats Christ’s body and drinks Christ’s blood except the justified man.  And none are justified until they believe.

Membership in the local church is a great privilege.  But when people are taught that because they are members of a church, they are as a matter of course members of Christ, I believe their souls are in great danger.  Such teaching appears to me to overthrow the doctrine of justification by faith.  They only are joined to Christ who believe.  And all men do not believe.

Whenever we hear teaching which obscures or contradicts justification by faith, we may be sure there is a screw loose somewhere.  We should watch against such teaching, and be upon our guard.  Once let a man turn away from justification by faith alone, and he will bid a long farewell to comfort, to peace, to lively hope, to anything like assurance in his Christianity.  An error here is decay at the root.

(1) In conclusion, let me first of all ask every one who reads this paper, to arm himself with a thorough knowledge of the written Word of God.  Unless we do this we are at the mercy of any false teacher.  We shall not see through the mistakes of an erring Peter.  We shall not be able to imitate the faithfulness of a courageous Paul.  An ignorant congregation will always be the curse of a Church.  A Bible reading congregation may save a Church from ruin.  Let us read the Bible regularly, daily, and with fervent prayer, and become familiar with its contents.  Let us receive nothing, believe nothing, follow nothing, which is not in the Bible, nor can be proved by the Bible.  Let our rule of faith, our touchstone of all teaching, be the written Word of God.

(2) In the next place, let me entreat all who read this paper to be always ready to contend for the faith of Christ, if needful.  I recommend no one to foster a controversial spirit.  I want no man to be like Goliath, going up and down, saying, “Give me a man to fight with.”  Always feeding upon controversy is poor work indeed.  It is like feeding upon bones.  But I do say that no love of false peace should prevent us striving jealously against false doctrine, and seeking to promote true doctrine wherever we possibly can.  True Gospel in the pulpit, true Gospel in the books we read, true Gospel in the friends we keep company with, let this be our aim, and never let us be ashamed to let men see that it is so.

(3) In the next place, let me entreat all who read this paper to keep a jealous watch over their own hearts in these controversial times.  There is much need of this caution.  In the heat of the battle we are apt to forget our own inner man.  Victory in argument is not always victory over the world or victory over the devil.  Let the meekness of Peter in taking a reproof, be as much our example as the boldness of Paul in reproving.  Happy is the Christian who can call the person who rebukes him faithfully, a “dear brother” (2 Peter 3:15).  Let us strive to be holy in all manner of conversation, and not least in our tempers.  Let us labor to maintain an uninterrupted communion with the Father and with the Son, and to keep up constant habits of private prayer and Bible-reading.  Thus we shall be armed for the battle of life, and have the sword of the Spirit well fitted to our hand when the day of temptation comes.

(4) In the last place, let me entreat all members of a church who know what real praying is, to pray daily for the Church to which they belong.  Let us pray that the Holy Spirit may be poured out upon it, and that its candlestick may not be taken away.  Let us pray for those churches in which the Gospel is now not preached, that the darkness may pass away, and the true light shine in them.  Let us pray for those ministers who now neither know nor preach the truth, that God may take away the veil from their hearts, and show them a more excellent way.  Nothing is impossible.  The Apostle Paul was once a persecuting Pharisee; Luther was once an unenlightened monk; Bishop Latimer was once a bigoted Catholic; Thomas Scott was once thoroughly opposed to evangelical truth.  Nothing, I repeat, is impossible.  The Spirit can make ministers preach that Gospel which they now labor to destroy.  Let us therefore be urgent in prayer.

I commend the matters contained in this paper to serious attention.  Let us ponder them well in our hearts.  Let us carry them out in our daily practice.  Let us do this, and we shall have learned something from the story of Peter at Antioch.

Transcribed by

Tony Capoccia

Bible Bulletin Board

All Scripture references are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL

VERSION (C) 1978 by the New York Bible Society, used by permission of

Zondervan Bible Publishers.

This updated and revised manuscript is copyrighted (C)1998 by Tony Capoccia.

All rights reserved.

Design of the Week – Freedom to Preach

June 29, 2011 at 10:40 am | Posted in Designs of the Week | Leave a comment
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This week’s design is called Freedom to Preach.

The design is meant to remind others of the truth of the state of affairs in our nation. While there are many who would like nothing more than to see Christians silenced, the fact remains that the freedom to preach the gospel of Christ is protected by the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Continue Reading Design of the Week – Freedom to Preach…

Sermon Sunday – George Whitefield – Christ, the Believer’s Husband

June 5, 2011 at 8:34 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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Christ the Believer’s Husband
by
George Whitefield
(1714-1770)

Isaiah 54:5 – “For thy Maker is thy Husband.”

Although believers by nature, are far from God, and children of wrath, even as others, yet it is amazing to think how nigh they are brought to him again by the blood of Jesus Christ. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of any man living, fully to conceive, the nearness and dearness of that relation, in which they stand to their common head. He is not ashamed to call them brethren. Behold, says the blessed Jesus in the days of his flesh, “my mother and my brethren.” And again after his resurrection, “go tell my brethren.” Nay sometimes he is pleased to term believers his friends. “Henceforth call I you no longer servants, but friends.” “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth.” And what is a friend? Why there is a friend that is nearer than a brother, nay as near as one’s own soul. And “thy friend, (says God in the book of Deuteronomy) which is as thy own soul.” Kind and endearing applications these, that undoubtedly bespeak a very near and ineffably intimate union between the Lord Jesus and the true living members of his mystical body! But, methinks, the words of our text point out to us a relation, which not only comprehends, but in respect to nearness and dearness , exceeds all other relations whatsoever. I mean that of a Husband, “For thy Maker is thy husband; the Lord of Hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel, the God of the whole earth shall he be called.” Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – George Whitefield – Christ, the Believer’s Husband…

Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Authentic Religion

May 22, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | 2 Comments
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Authentic Religion
by
J. C. Ryle
(1816-1900)

“Rejected silver” (Jeremiah 6:30)

“Nothing but leaves” (Mark 11:13)

“Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth”
(1 John 3:18).

“You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1)

If we profess to have any religion at all, let us be careful that it is authentic.  I say it emphatically, and I repeat the saying: Let us be careful that our religion is authentic.

What do I mean when I use the word “authentic.”  I mean that which is genuine, and sincere, and honest, and thorough.  I mean that which is not inferior, and hollow, and formal, and false, and counterfeit, and sham, and nominal.  “Authentic” religion is not mere show, and pretense, and skin-deep feeling, and temporary profession, and works only on the outside.  It is something inward, solid, substantial, intrinsic, living, lasting.  We know the difference between counterfeit and authentic money–between solid gold and tinsel–between plated metal and silver–between authentic stone and plaster imitation.  Let us think of these things as we consider the subject of this paper.  What is the character of our religion?  Is it authentic?  It may be weak, and feeble, and mingled with many defects.  That is not the point before us today.  Is our religion authentic?  Is it true?

The times in which we live demand attention to this subject.  A want of authenticity is a striking feature of a vast amount of religion in the present day.  Poets have sometimes told us that the world has passed through four different states or conditions.  We have had a golden age, and a silver age, a brass age, and an iron age.  How far this is true, I do not stop to inquire.  But I fear there is little doubt as to the character of the age in which we live.  It is universally an age of cheap metal and alloy.  If we measure the religion of the age by its apparent quantity, there is much of it.  But if we measure it by its quality, there is indeed very little.  On every side we want MORE AUTHENTICITY. Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – J.C. Ryle – Authentic Religion…

How did we get here?

July 12, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Have you ever had a moment to stop and look at your life? Have you ever stopped, examined your life and where you are, and wondered: How did I get here? I’ve done that a few times and it’s always been eye-opening. I never seem to have been where I thought I was. Sometimes I was further along than I thought and other times I wasn’t as far along as I expected. As I looked back on the path that I trod to get where I was, when I began studying where I walked, I could easily see the things that had gotten me off track. Things like disobedience, willful blindness, and sin led me off of the narrow path and out into the weeds. Because of my lack of diligence or awareness I had to work harder to get back on the path. I had to push through painful thorns and cut through the vines of worldliness that were trying to hold me down and choke me out. Through God’s grace alone, I am here. I’m cut up, bruised, and worn out, but I’m here. As I was pondering these things, I couldn’t help but wonder if the body of Christ has ever done this. I can think of one time when I would say this happened, but other than that, I don’t think that something like this has ever taken place. I wonder why? Does the church not see where it is? Do they not care where they are going? Or are they afraid of what they’ll find? Regardless of the reason, I think that the church would benefit from taking a little time to look at where it is in the face of the state of the world. Continue Reading How did we get here?…

False Teachers

May 10, 2010 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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With all of the different events taking place in the church and all of the men and women who claim to be preaching the gospel, a question arises. How do you know? How can you be sure that the man (or woman) that you are hearing speak is actually speaking the truth? Some talk about how they’ve heard from God and how God “told them” things. Others proclaim that the growth and size of their ministries is proof that God is “blessing” them. There are many “preachers” today, especially in America, and all of them profess to be Bible-believing, truth-preaching, Christians. But are they?

 In the New Testament, there are a number of passages of scripture that should give us pause before we go proclaiming that “Pastor so and so” is the next “up and coming” pastor. Unfortunately, a number of people in the church seem to go by appearance or charm. Others go by whether or not the one preaching agrees with what they already believe. We go by sound or size of the church or by popularity or by relevancy.

 So, how should Christians be testing their pastors/preachers and other people claiming to do the work of God?  Continue Reading False Teachers…

Revival (long)

April 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I don’t know what it is like in other areas of America (I’m originally from Ohio and don’t remember hearing a lot about this up there), but over the next five or so months, churches across the South will be holding revivals. These will be big to-dos varying in length from three or four days to an entire week. During the time leading up to these events, the church excitement grows and people look forward to this in order to be “refreshed” and get a spiritual boost so that they continue to “work for the Lord”.  They will dress in their Sunday best, notebooks in hand, to hear what the preacher/evangelist (usually a guest) has to say. Depending on the denomination and area, these meetings will range in volume and action. The expectation is that at the end of the week, they will have heard the very thing they needed to hear so that they can move to a new level with God and “do more” for Him. I remember attending a few revivals (I haven’t been to one in years) and recall them being emotionally charged appeals (in some cases) or sound, steady topical teaching (in other cases). For weeks following the revival, people would make larger efforts to have more ministries, outreaches, events, and other things geared toward the church. As I look back though, I seem to also remember that after about two months the revival wore off. People began getting caught up in the daily grind again and all of those new ministries and events just fell by the wayside. I have thought about this a lot lately. In my own life, I am striving harder to have everything I do line the Scriptures. I am not even close yet, but things are moving along. I started wondering what Scripture said about revival. What I found was interesting. Continue Reading Revival (long)…

Newslinks 03/07/10

March 7, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Military leaders face grilling on gay ban lift
Lawmakers this week will press the military’s top uniformed officers for the first time on whether they think repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” makes sense or would be too disruptive.

Atheist sign = hate speech
A candidate for Illinois comptroller has sued the state over a decision related to the State Capitol building’s holiday display.

Oregon opens state’s largest abortuary
A sizable Planned Parenthood abortion facility is now open in Portland, Oregon.

Panel approves Bible classes for public schools
Kentucky may follow the lead of Texas and other states in allowing Bible classes to be taught in public schools.

Obama’s Envoy to Islamic Bloc Admits Controversial Statements About Supporter of Terror Group
(CNSNews.com)
– President Obama’s envoy to the Islamic bloc acknowledged Friday that he was accurately quoted in 2004 as calling the treatment of activist Sami al-Arian, then facing trial for supporting a Palestinian terrorist group, an example of “politically motivated persecutions.” “I made statements on that panel that I now recognize were ill-conceived or not well-formulated,” he said.

‘It’s About Jobs, Stupid!’ Says GOP Whip Cantor at CPAC
(CNSNews.com)
– House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told a gathering of conservatives on Friday that government jobs overshadow the private sector and that to grow the economy the private sector must be allowed to flourish. Cantor made his comments at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington.

‘President Obama Has Lost His Mojo,’ Rep. Steve King Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Steve King (R-Ind.) told attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday that President Barack Obama has lost the political capital he hoped to cash in when he took the oath of office a little over a year ago. King said that between federal spending and government bailouts, the American people have lost faith in Washington.

Rep. Pence: Stop Using Taxpayer Money to Fund Planned Parenthood
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) earned a standing ovation at CPAc Friday when he said the United States has a moral obligation to the unborn, and that the time has come to stop funding Planned Parenthood with money from pro-life American taxpayers.

Disagree with the admiral on ‘gays’? No way!
Conservative military watchdog Elaine Donnelly says the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was “way out of line” when he recently asked troops if they supported repealing the ban on homosexuals serving in the military.

Perspective: Time for new generation of black Americans
To the misfortune of blacks who put great hope in the redemptive powers of the Civil Rights movement, their leaders prematurely closed their Bibles.

Public option – a labor union payback – lives on
Just days before President Obama’s heavily touted healthcare summit, Senate Democrats are continuing their push for a government takeover of healthcare.

Via ‘accounting trick,’ taxpayers foot abortion bills
The number of abortion clinics in America continues to drop, but a mega-abortuary still receives government funding.

Survey: Obama Support Down among Christians
President Obama’s support among born-again Christians has decreased after a year in office, a new survey shows.

Investigators Arrest Two in Texas Church Arsons

Iran Arrests Evangelical Leader; Shuts Down Church

Wis. Presbytery Approves Ordination of Openly Gay Man

Calif. Pastor Weighs in on Abortion, Homosexuality, Woods’ Buddhism

FOTF President Pens Book on Real Strength

Breaking His Pledge? Obama Calls for Increasing Payroll Taxes on ‘Households’ Earning Less Than $250,000 A Year
(CNSNews.com)
– President Obama new health care plan calls for raising the Medicare payroll tax on some households earning less than $250,000, an apparent breach of his campaign pledge not to raise taxes on families earning less than that amount. The president’s plan also calls for increasing taxes on interest, dividends, annuities, royalties and rents.

Obama’s Proposal Includes Individual Health Insurance Mandate
(CNSNews.com)
– The health care plan proposed by President Barack Obama on Monday includes an individual mandate requiring every American to have health insurance, despite concerns from Republican lawmakers and legal experts that the provision is not constitutional. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told CNSNews.com that he is not aware of any legal review of this question by the White House.

Obama Administration Sinking Millions Into Government-Run Health Care for Children
(CNSNews.com)
– While Democrats and Republicans disagree on establishing a government-run health insurance plan as part of health care reform, such programs already exist – and are thriving. On Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that 10 states will share $100 million in federal grants to improve health care quality and delivery systems for children enrolled in Medicaid and in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Obama’s ‘New’ Health Care Plan Would Use Tax Dollars to Pay for Abortions
(CNSNews.com) –
Pro-life legislators and advocates said President Obama’s “new” health-care proposal, unveiled Monday on the White House Web site, would allow tax dollars to fund health plans that cover abortion.

Majority of Americans: Business Leaders Make Better Decisions to Grow Economy Than Government
(CNSNews.com)
– A majority of Americans say business leaders make better economic decisions than the government can, according to a new poll. Respondents were asked: “Which will do more to help the U.S. economy — decisions made by government officials to help the economy grow or decisions made by U.S. business leaders to help their own businesses grow?”

College Professors Are More Likely to Believe ‘Ten Commandments are Irrelevant Today,’ New Study Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Those who teach on American college campuses are more likely to agree with the statements “America corrupts otherwise good people” and “The Ten Commandments are irrelevant today,” according to a new study released Monday.

Pakistan Pressing U.S. to Turn Over Woman Convicted of Trying to Kill American Soldiers
(CNSNews.com)
– More than two weeks after a federal jury in New York convicted a Pakistani neuroscientist of attempting to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan, the case continues to infuriate Muslims in her native country who view Aafia Siddiqui as the victim of U.S. injustice and anti-Muslim discrimination. Pakistan’s president has raised the matter with U.S. officials, saying the early repatriation of Siddiqui in line with a prisoners’ exchange treaty could help to improve the U.S. image in Pakistan.

Iranians’ Support for Nuclear Program Cuts Across Political Lines
(CNSNews.com)
– As the U.S. and it European allies step up efforts to impose new U.N. Security Council sanctions on Tehran, the drive could play into the hands of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei by providing an issue for conservatives and reformists to rally around. Even Iran’s opposition leaders support the Islamic regime’s right to pursue a nuclear program

Obama’s healthcare plan – ‘more of the same’
The nation’s largest faith-based association of physicians is weighing in on President Obama’s nearly $1-trillion healthcare proposal.

Perspective: Planned Parenthood and children’s sexual rights
Planned Parenthood evidently doesn’t hold religion in very high regard, calling it an “obstacle” to starting sexual health programs around the world.

In cahoots against abstinence
The ACLU has filed suit against USAID to obtain information about taxpayer-funded abstinence-only programs overseas and their connection with religion.

Obama’s budget – contempt for the wealthy?
Rick Dunham, an expert on charitable giving, has some sharp criticisms for President Barack Obama’s proposed budget.

Creation News: Design flaws in humans
Read the latest from Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum examining news from the biblical viewpoint.

Pro-Life Groups Reject Obama’s Compromise Health Care Plan
President Obama’s new compromise health care plan changes little and would still allow for federal funding of abortion, pro-life groups warned on Monday after the White House unveiled the proposal.

So. Baptists Called to Repent, Grip Reality of ‘Lostness’

Anglicans Propel Vision to Plant 1,000 Churches

Jewish Group: PC(USA)’s Israel Proposals Will Damage Relations

Top Protestant Bishop in Germany Caught Driving Drunk

Judge Issues Arrest Warrant for Ex-Lesbian Va. Mother

A Third of All U.S. Casualties in Eight-Year Afghan War Have Occurred Since Obama Ordered Escalation
(CNSNews.com)
– More than 300 U.S. soldiers have died in the war in Afghanistan since May 15, 2009, the day when the first major wave of new troops ordered by President Barack Obama arrived in the country. The 308 U.S. casualties in Afghanistan since then account for about a third of the total of 920 U.S. casualties in the eight-year war.

White House Spokesman ‘Not Sure’ If Obama’s Health Proposal Increases Taxes on Those Earning Less Than $250,000
(CNSNews.com)
– White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he was “not sure” if the new health care proposal President Barack Obama released on Monday calls for increasing the Medicare payroll tax on households earning less than $250,000 a year, which would be an apparent breach of the president’s pledge not to raise taxes on people earning less than that amount. “I’d have to look through the proposal,” said Gibbs. “I’m not sure that’s correct.”

House Republicans Gave Obama Their Health Care Proposals Weeks Ahead of Thursday’s Summit
(CNSNews.com)
– Weeks ahead of Thursday’s “bipartisan” meeting on health care reform, House Republicans offered their ideas to President Barack Obama in a booklet presented to the president during his visit to the Republican Party retreat in Baltimore on Jan. 29. The 27-page booklet includes proposals on health care as well as six other issues Republicans consider vital to America’s continued prosperity: jobs, fiscal responsibility, open government and transparency, energy, savings, national security and fiscal reform.

Fifteen Years With No Global Warming Doesn’t Mean There’s No Global Warming, Says EPA Chief
(CNSNews.com)
– Fifteen years with no statistically significant increase in global temperatures does not mean that the human race is not causing the climate to change, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told CNSNews.com on Tuesday.

White House Fails to Respond to Boehner’s Call for Resignation of Catholic-Bashing Obama Adviser
(CNSNews.com)
– The White House is not responding to questions about House Republican Leader John Boehner’s renewed call for the resignation of Harry Knox, a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, who recently stood by his assertion that Pope Benedict XVI is “hurting people in the name of Jesus.” Boehner said at a Feb. 3 press briefing that he believes Knox is an “anti-Catholic bigot” who should not be a presidential adviser.

Sen. Udall Sees China As Impetus for U.S. Cap-and-Trade Bill
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) urged his fellow lawmakers to push ahead with “cap-and-trade” energy legislation and the creation of “green jobs,” saying that China is competition for the United States and does not “have to go through the democratic processes that we do.”

Criticism of Obama’s OIC Envoy Raises Questions About the Need for Such an Envoy
(CNSNews.com)
– President Obama’s decision to appoint an envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has focused renewed attention on the Saudi-based body, and what role a U.S. envoy should play.

Small business odd man out in Reid’s bill
Senator Chuck Grassley says small businesses are the “job-creating machine” of the U.S. economy, yet the Senate majority leader’s jobs bill does not adequately help small businesses.

Grisly discovery at Penn. abortuary
State investigators have shut down a West Philadelphia abortion clinic for the second time in two days.

‘Virtual community’ for home schooling
The American Family Association has launched an online, virtual community for homeschool families.

PTC hopes to keep Stern off ‘Idol’
The PTC is asking the Fox Television Network to publicly state that shock-jock Howard Stern is not going to have a role on American Idol.

Feature: The cost of global-warming hysteria
Despite continuing Chicken Little-style cries of fear, the moral of the global-warming story remains the same: don’t believe everything you hear.

Judge Expected to Free Last 2 Baptist Volunteers from Jail
A Haiti judge is expected to free the last two American volunteers suspected of child kidnapping. Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said he would make his decision this week.

Ecumenical Head: Our Call Is to Carry the Cross

Multi-Site Churches Spreading in Post-Christian Europe

Report: U.S. Foreign Officers Need Religious Education

High Court Declines to Hear Ex-Lesbian Mother’s Appeal

Stephen Baldwin Fan Tries to ‘Restore’ Bankrupt Star

Healthcare summit in a ‘toxic’ setting
A healthcare reform expert says the White House and Democrats have created a “toxic” atmosphere in Washington for today’s healthcare summit by expressing their willingness to pursue the “nuclear option” to pass their healthcare legislation.

Complaint: Liberty U. engaged in ‘partisan politicking’
The IRS has been asked to investigate Liberty University for allegedly violating its tax-exempt status.

Muslim home schooling on the rise
A messianic Jewish leader sees pros and cons to Muslim children being home schooled.

From cyber-scared to cyber-savvy
A non-profit organization dedicated to keeping children safe online has launched a major initiative to get parents involved.

Faith, family films garner awards
The movies The Blind Side and Up have been recognized for their excellence by the Christian Film & Television Commission.

Obama Administration Did Not Consult Its Own Homeland Security Secretary Before Deciding to Try KSM in NYC
(CNSNews.com)
– Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she was not consulted before the decision was made to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other terror suspects in U.S. federal court in New York City. At a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on Wednesday, she also said she has not taken part in discussions since that decision was made, including any on whether the trials should be moved to another location.

Obama Administration Using Accounting Gimmicks That Would Make Enron ‘Blush,’ Republican Lawmaker Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) says the Obama administration is using an accounting “gimmick” in its budget by not including the debt owed by mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Hensarling has co-sponsored a bill that would require President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget to include the liabilities of Fannie and Freddie in the national debt calculation.

Rep. Hoyer No Comment On Tax Hikes in Obama Health Plan, Calls Idea ‘A Suggestion’
(CNSNews.com)
– House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) would not say whether he supports a proposal from President Barack Obama to use certain tax increases to pay for health care reform. He described the idea as “a suggestion” at his weekly press briefing on Tuesday.

Rep. Hoyer Says No Set Deadline on Health Care Reform
(CNSNews.com)
– While Congress is scheduled to be in session for a month following Thursday’s bipartisan summit meeting on health care, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he can’t promise there will be any congressional action during that time. He described the Thursday’s summit as a conference.

Poll: 51 Percent of Americans More Afraid of Government Making Health-Care Decisions than Private Insurance Companies
(CNSNews.com)
– In a national telephone survey conducted last week, 1,000 likely voters were asked: “When it comes to health care decisions, who do you fear the most: the federal government or private insurance companies?” Fifty-one percent said the federal government, 39 percent said private insurance companies and 10 percent said they were not sure.

House Passes Bill That Would Create More Uncertainty for Insurance Industry
(CNSNews.com)
– By an overwhelming vote of 406-19, the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would remove the longstanding federal anti-trust exemption for health insurance companies. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the bill will provide more competition for the insurance industry. But one insurance industry trade group warned that the bill will have no practical effect, except to increase uncertainty – and litigation — for the insurance industry.

Sen. Specter and Sec. Clinton: Congressional Debate ‘Weakening’ America Abroad
(CNSNews.com)
– Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both said that partisan debate in Congress has hamstrung President Barack Obama’s foreign policy efforts, and weakened America abroad. Specter also said that Congress should “be backing up” Obama, rather than fighting over his policies and appointments.

Specter Suggests Oval Office Meeting between Obama, Syrians, and Israelis
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) on Wednesday suggested that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad be invited to the White House for a meeting with President Barack Obama and the Israeli leadership. Specter also suggested that such a “nudge” might entice the Syrian dictator to return to peace negotiations with Israel.

Syria Seems to Ignore U.S. Calls to End Its ‘Troubling’ Relationship With Iran
(CNSNews.com)
– Syrian President Bashar al-Assad welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Damascus on Thursday, one day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told U.S. lawmakers that the Obama administration is urging Syria to move away from its “deeply troubling” relationship with Tehran. Meanwhile, press reports from Syria on Thursday quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying that Arab nations will establish a Middle East “without Zionists and without colonialists.”

Killing Terrorists Should Not Be Condemned, Israeli Opposition Leader Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni wants the international community to stop criticizing the targeting of terrorists. ‘The fact that a terrorist was killed, and it doesn’t matter if it was in Dubai or Gaza, is good news to those fighting terrorism,’ she was quoted as saying.

SEIU Boss Open to Serving on Obama Deficit Reduction Commission, Supports More Deficit Spending
(CNSNews.com)
– Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Andy Stern said he would be “honored” to serve on President Barack Obama’s proposed deficit reduction commission, after it was reported that the White House was considering him for the post. He went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to push for additional deficit spending to stimulate job creation.

Germany’s First Female Protestant Head Resigns
Just months after becoming the first woman to lead the largest Protestant church body in Germany, Bishop Margot Kaessmann has resigned.

Campaign Gives Christians Megaphone to Support Gays

NCAA Removes Focus on the Family Ad from Site

Study: Belief in ‘Caring’ God Helps Relieve Depression

Pastor Breaks Islam Code for Christians

Christian Video Game Companies Left Behind Games, Digital Praise Announce Merger

Air Force Admits Conservative Leader was ‘Disinvited’ to Speak at Prayer Luncheon Because of His Views on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’
(CNSNews.com)
– The U.S. Air Force admits that Family Research Council President Tony Perkins was “disinvited” from speaking at a national prayer luncheon held Thursday at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland because of the conservative leader’s views opposing President Obama’s efforts to end “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – the military policy on homosexuality. “The Chaplain’s Office retracted Mr. Perkins’ invitation after his recent public comments made many who planned to attend the event uncomfortable,” the Andrews base public affairs office said in a statement issued late Thursday.

First U.S. Envoy to the OIC Says the Position Does Have Value
(CNSNews.com)
– The first U.S. envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, appointed during the last year of President Bush’s second term, believes the post is a valuable one and that his successor, named by President Obama this month, will do a good job. Cumber defended the position, saying “the OIC is the only forum where the U.S. can simultaneously interact with 57 Muslim-majority nations on the host of issues involving the Muslim world and the U.S.”

Muslims Furious Over Israeli Decision to Highlight Ancient Link
(CNSNews.com)
– A decision by the Israeli government to include a location with an almost 4,000 year-old link to the origins of Judaism in a list of 150 national heritage sites has sparked an uproar among Muslims – and drawn the disapproval of the Obama administration. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu insisted Thursday that the decision to include the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron on the list would not in any way change the status quo at the site, which has long been shared by Jews and Muslims.

Swine Flu Casualties Far Below White House Projections, Latest Mortality Data Show
(CNSNews.com)
– New statistics on fatalities from the H1N1 flu strain show that it is no longer a “pandemic” in the United States, and that fatalities in America never came close to the levels projected by the White House last fall. Outbreaks in North and South America are now at a low-level, the World Health Organization said.

Polls: Americans More Concerned With Arrogant Politicians and Bad Bills Rather Than Bickering and Gridlock
(CNSNews.com)
– According to a new Zogby poll, Americans are more concerned about seeing bad bills passed than getting nothing done, and more annoyed by politicians who think they are smarter than Americans than partisan bickering.

McCain rips Obama for ‘unsavory dealmaking’
A tense exchange during Thursday’s healthcare summit in Washington had the feel of a presidential campaign.

Perspective – Oba-Kabuki: A box-office bomb
The Oba-Kabuki healthcare show at Blair House kicked off with a big lie on Thursday morning — and it all went downhill from there.

Submarine ban on females may take a dive
Military readiness watchdog Elaine Donnelly disagrees with the recent decision by the Department of the Navy to lift a decades-old policy that prohibits women from serving aboard Navy submarines.

Veteran sees invitation to prayer luncheon yanked
Tony Perkins, a pro-family leader and military veteran, has been “dis-invited” to speak at a luncheon at Andrews AFB after he criticized President Obama’s call for lifting the ban on homosexuals serving in the military.

Teachers appeal mass firings
The entire staff of teachers fired in a radical attempt to improve one of the worst performing high schools in Rhode Island plans to appeal their dismissals to school authorities.
Barring Critic of Obama’s Gays-in-Military Policy From Prayer Meeting Is Attack on Free Speech, Conservatives Say
(CNSNews.com)
– Conservative leaders and members of Congress expressed outrage Friday that the Air Force had blacklisted Family Research Council President Tony Perkins from speaking at Andrews Air Force Base because of his position on the military’s don’t ask, don’t tell policy. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told CNSNews.com that he’s “disappointed” the Air Force would “un-invite” Perkins because of his positions.

Napolitano: People From Countries Tied to Terrorism Could ‘Potentially’ Enter USA;  Reports Show Thousands Already Have
(CNSNews.com)
– Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told senators on Thursday it was a national security concern that people from countries with ties to terror could “potentially” gain entry into America by crossing the country’s southern border. Her remarks on “special interest” persons came after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked her about the ongoing violence in Mexico and the possibility of that violence spilling over into the United States.

Pence Says Obama Needs to Fire Catholic-Bashing Adviser
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) says the time is “long overdue” for President Barack Obama to fire Harry Knox from the White House Advisory Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships because of the “vehement anti-Catholic statements” Knox has made.

Pelosi Says She’s Running ‘Most Ethical’ Congress Ever, But Won’t Ask Rangel to Resign Chairmanship—For Now
(CNSNews.com)
– House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — who pledged to run the most ethical Congress in history — noted that the ethics committee is looking into other issues involving Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), and she made it clear that she will wait for the outcome of those investigations before taking action against her colleague.

U.K. Conservatives See Lead Erode As Election Approaches
(CNSNews.com)
– The Conservative Party’s hopes of returning to power for the first time in 13 years took a blow Sunday with a poll giving it the narrowest lead over the ruling Labor Party in two years. The British election will feature live, televised U.S.-style leader debates, and it was reported last week that former White House communications director Anita Dunn has been hired to help Tory leader David Cameron prepare for the three 90-minute encounters.

In Continuing Defiance of U.S., Syrian President Meets With Leaders of Iran and Hezbollah
(CNSNews.com)
– After scorning the Obama administration’s appeals to move away from Iran, Syrian President Bashir Assad late last week disregarded another appeal from Washington by holding talks with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. As the administration prepares to send an ambassador to Damascus for the first time in five years, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a Senate hearing last week that Assad’s close relationship with Iran and his support for Hezbollah in Lebanon were among the issues on which it was pressuring Assad.

Obama plan favors unionism
A union watchdog group believes an Obama administration plan for government contracting would be harmful to small businesses and lead to further compulsory unionism.

Perspective: We need green money, not green jobs
The beauty of the left is that facts will never get in the way of ideology. Take the “green jobs” movement, for example — one of Barack Obama’s babies.

Dissident Lutherans forming new denomination
A new Lutheran denomination is being formed for congregations opposed to the homosexual-friendly policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

NCAA nixes family ad, Focus ‘befuddled’
The NCAA has withdrawn Focus on the Family’s banner ad on its website, apparently because of the organization’s stance on homosexual relationships.

Perspective: Race-baiting the Super Bowl
The old adage says that religion and politics don’t mix. Someone needs to tell FOX Sports writer Jason Whitlock that sports and politics don’t either

Iraqi Christians Protest Killings
Hundreds of Iraqi Christians on Sunday protested against the recent flare up of violence against them in northern Iraq.

EU Moves to Protect Rights of Persecuted Christians

Lawsuit Settled; 77-Foot Cross to Go Up

Utah Bill Criminalizing Illegal Abortions Sparks Debate

Deceased Man Leaves $1.2M to Salvation Army

Shane Claiborne: Faith Not Excuse to Get into Heaven

ACORN workers cleared in NYC pimp video
ACORN employees caught on video advising a couple posing as a prostitute and her boyfriend to lie about her profession and launder her earnings did not commit a crime, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said Monday.

HUD study – a ‘classic attempt’ to create a crisis
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is preparing a first-ever study of alleged housing discrimination against homosexuals.

Medicaid – the ‘ghetto of our healthcare system’
Healthcare reform expert Grace-Marie Turner warns that the healthcare legislation Democrats are pushing will be a major expansion of a welfare program that is already being administered poorly.

Perspective: Alice in healthcare
Nothing would lower costs medical costs more than having each patient pay those costs — and nothing is less likely to happen.

Fox anchor anchored in Jesus
Kelly Wright, an anchor with the Fox News Network, believes Jesus Christ is the only true hope for America.

White House Not Ready to Deny Democrat’s Claim That Administration Offered Him Taxpayer-Funded Job If He Wouldn’t Run Against Sen. Specter
(CNSNews.com)
– White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday he would have to “check on it” before he could deny Rep. Joe Sestak’s (D-Pa.) claim that the administration had offered him a high-ranking job in the administration in exchange for not mounting a primary challenge against incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), who switched parties last year, briefly giving the Democrats a 60-vote majority in the Senate. “So, at this point, the White House is not ready to deny what Sestak said?” CNSNews.com asked Gibbs. “No. I think I said I would check on it, on the situation,” said Gibbs.

Mexican Drug Cartels Active Nationwide, Obama Administration Officials Say
(CNSNews.com)
– A senior Obama administration official said on Monday that Mexican drug cartels are being targeted inside the United States more than along the border with Mexico, echoing remarks last week by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that cartels are operating throughout the country. Assistant Secretary of State David Johnson made the remarks at a State Department press briefing when CNSNews.com asked if the plan to combat drug trafficking and money laundering around the world included dealing with Mexican drug cartels in the United States.

First Lady Credits School Cafeteria Programs for Bolstering National Security
(CNSNews.com)
– First Lady Michelle Obama on Monday told a school nutrition conference that individuals who work in school cafeterias across the country not only educate and feed children, but help to strengthen national security.

Inhofe Ranked Most Conservative Senator, Sherrod Brown Most Liberal
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) is the “most conservative” member of the Senate, and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is the “most liberal,” according to National Journal magazine. The National Journal reached its conclusions by analyzing the votes of all the U.S. senators on economic, social and foreign policy issues in 2009.

Individual Mandate in President’s Health Care Plan Apparently Violates Obama’s Tax Pledge
(CNSNews.com)
– The Senate health care bill included a financial penalty for anyone who goes without health insurance coverage for any month of the year, and if President Obama’s bill does the same thing, it could violate his pledge not to raise taxes on any American making less than $250,000 per year.

Only 34 Percent Support More Financial Regulations, Survey Shows
(CNSNews.com)
– Only 34 percent of Americans say the government should impose further regulations on the country’s financial industry, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey published on Feb. 26. The survey also revealed that a plurality – 47 percent – oppose more government regulation of banks and investment houses, a figure that has declined slightly from the 52 percent opposition observed in December 2009.

‘Descendants of Mohammed’ Confront Newspapers Over Cartoons, Demanding Apologies and Eyeing Lawsuits
(CNSNews.com)
– After securing an apology from one Danish newspaper for publishing a cartoon satirizing Mohammed, a Saudi lawyer now plans to confront another 15 newspapers, filing lawsuits against them if necessary. Faisal Yamani says he is acting on behalf of eight Muslim organizations representing “descendants of Mohammed.”

New Website to Give Citizens Cash Incentive to Hold Public Officials Accountable
(CNSNews.com)
– The new Web site, “ArroganceInOffice.com,” aims to generate tips from the public on displays of arrogance by elected public officials at all levels of government, with cash prizes to the best submitted examples.

Abortion Ban Does Not Mean More Maternal Deaths, Chilean Study Finds

(CNSNews.com)
– Initial findings by a biomedical researcher examining the drop in maternal deaths in the last 50 years in Chile challenges the claim made by global abortion lobbyists that broad abortion laws are necessary to guard women’s health. “This study provides evidence that the legal status of the therapeutic abortion is not related with maternal mortality reduction.

Stupak Rejects Hoyer’s New Claim That Senate Health Bill Bars Funding of Abortion
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), sponsor of the successful amendment to the House health care bill that prohibits federal funds from going to any health care plan that covers abortions, rejected the assertion made Tuesday by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) that the Senate health care bill prohibits federal funding of abortion. This is important because President Obama’s current plan to enact health-care reform requires the House to pass the Senate bill, a bill that Stupak has said he will not support.

Justice Department Won’t Name the Attorneys Who Worked on Terror Cases Despite Request From GOP Senators
(CNSNews.com)
– After a conservative group posted a video on Tuesday calling for the Justice Department to release the names of department lawyers who previously worked on cases involving terror suspects, a DOJ spokesman responded with a statement that still does not name the attorneys. Republican lawmakers have raised conflict-of-interest concerns about lawyers who represented or advocated on behalf of Guantanamo Bay detainees before joining the Justice Department.

Sebelius Accuses GOP of Using ‘Politics of Obstruction’ on Health Care
(CNSNews.com)
– Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told physicians and others at the American Medical Association conference in Washington that President Barack Obama will not start from scratch on health care legislation and will “move forward” to get a bill passed. She said there was “overlap” of what Republicans and Democrats want in health care legislation, including the elimination of waste and fraud in the government-run Medicare and Medicaid programs, but Sebelius said Obama and Democrats are still dedicated to universal health care.

New Calls for Obama Administration to Add Venezuela to Terror-Sponsor List
(CNSNews.com)
– Accusations about links between the Venezuelan government and terrorists in Colombia and Spain add weight to calls to designate Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism, a Latin American specialist said Tuesday. Heritage Foundation scholar Ray Walser was commenting on claims by a Spanish prosecuting judge that President Hugo Chavez’s government had assisted two terror groups that plotted to assassinate Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

Obama Administration’s Stance on Falkland Islands Dispute Seen As Betrayal by Some in U.K.
(CNSNews.com)
– The Obama administration’s decision to not to back Britain in its dispute with Argentina over the Falkland Islands has left British commentators pondering the state of the “special relationship.” Standing alongside Hillary Clinton in Buenos Aires on Monday, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner expressed the desire to negotiate with Britain over the islands. Clinton agreed with her host that the two countries should “sit down” and negotiate. She also did not rule out a U.S. role.

Global-Warming Scientists ‘Need to Go Back to Square One,’ Rep. Barton Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Global warming has not met scientific criteria, and scientists need to find a theory that matches the facts, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) said Tuesday at the U.S. “This whole theory of global warming is just that: It’s a theory. It’s based on models.”

Rep. Boehner Defends Sen. Bunning’s Reason for Blocking Benefits Extension As ‘Legitimate’
(CNSNews.com)
– House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) defended Sen. Jim Bunning’s (R-Ky.) hold on a $10-billion extension in unemployment and other benefits, saying the senator has “a legitimate argument.” Democrats just passed pay-go legislation, and not even a week after the president signed it into law, they want to exempt the first bill that comes across the Senate floor,” Boehner said.

Judge rules against religious expression
A judge in Montana has ruled against a high school valedictorian who was not allowed to speak at her graduation ceremony because she wanted to give God credit for her success.

Mail delivery – time for open competition?
The U.S. Postal Service is making bleak predictions about its financial future, leaving many observers to wonder if a taxpayer bailout is in the offing since Congress sets many of the rules the agency operates under.

Rifqa’s immigration status tenuous
A former Muslim, now a Christian pastor, is concerned that 17-year-old Rifqa Bary could be deported back to Sri Lanka when she turns 18 if she is unable to get approved for permanent U.S. residency.

Chaplain Corps threatened by policy change
A pro-family leader and former military officer is very concerned about the future of the U.S. military Chaplain Corps if President Obama is successful in ending the ban on homosexuals serving in the military.

Parenting: Breaking the cycle of teen drug abuse
Don’t ever think that a treatment program or rehab is a “cure.” It’s just a fresh start down the road to recovery.

Luis Palau to Preach to 20,000 at Chinese Megachurch
American evangelist Luis Palau will preach to an overflow crowd of up to 20,000 people at a megachurch in mainland China this month.

High Court Denies Request to Block D.C. Gay Marriage

Shirley Dobson Dismissed from Lawsuit against National Prayer

Prominent Conservative Unseated in Texas Ed Board

Judge Urges Teen Convert, Muslim Parents to Reconcile

Human Rights Group Seeks Freedom for Converts to Worship in Muslim World

God of Islam is ‘biggest terrorist’
The son of a Hamas leader who helped Israel’s security forces kill and arrest members of the Islamic terrorist group says he’s not afraid to die. Mosab Yousef is now a convert to Christianity.

Wildmon steps down
Rev. Don Wildmon, the founder of the American Family Association, has resigned as chairman following a lengthy illness — but he’s not setting aside his passion for families and the pro-family movement.

Bible Belt school policy under attack
A battle is brewing in a North Mississippi community over the upcoming high school prom.

Perspective: ‘Paygo means paygo’
In February, President Obama told Congress it must “pay for what it spends, just like everybody else.” All Sen. Jim Bunning did was hold fast to that.

Pastor predicts Obama’s first term will be his last
A conservative black pastor and activist believes President Barack Obama is on course to be a one-term president.

Dems Advance Obama’s Nominee for Justice Department Post, Despite GOP Opposition to Her Pro-Abortion, Anti-War Views
(CNSNews.com)
– The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted 12-7 along party lines for the full Senate to cast an up-or-down vote on Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice. Republicans say Johnsen’s past activism with liberal groups and her pro-abortion stance disqualify her for the post.

Geneva Summit Will Focus on Countries Mostly Ignored by UN Human Rights Body
(CNSNews.com)
– When the U.N. Human Rights Council continues its month-long session in Geneva on Monday, a coalition of human rights groups will hold a parallel event focusing on some of the items kept off the HRC agenda by its powerful members. The human rights of Iranians, Cubans, Tibetans, Uighurs and Burmese will be the focus of the two-day Geneva Summit for Human Rights, Tolerance and Democracy.

Congressmen Rally Public’s Support to Stop Prosecution of Navy SEALs
(CNSNews.com)
– Members of Congress – this time armed with more than 100,000 signatures – renewed their call for top Pentagon officials to drop charges against three Navy SEALs for allegedly mistreating an al Qaeda terrorist suspected of killing four Americans in Iraq. “They should not be court martialed but hailed as heroes for doing their job,” said Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) at an event outside the Capitol.

Rep. Boehner Rebuts House Speaker Pelosi’s Claim That Health Care Bill Doesn’t Fund Abortion
(CNSNews.com)
– “Under the Senate bill, everyone who buys a health policy at one of the so-called exchanges will pay a monthly abortion fee,” House Minority Leader John Boehner said on Thursday. “That goes into a fund to pay for elective abortions. Now, you can argue that this $1-per-month fee that everyone’s going to be charged isn’t a tax, but you try to explain that to the American people. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at her weekly briefing on Thursday, repeated her position that the Senate bill does not fund abortion.

Hatch: Biden Will ‘Go Down in History as a Real Dolt’ If He Overrules Senate Parliamentarian
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Vice President Joe Biden should not use his power as president of the Senate to overrule the Senate parliamentarian on the legitimacy of Democrats using a 51-vote majority to pass their health-care reform bill. Senate bills normally require at least 60 bills to pass.

Senate Republican Leader Won’t Say Whether Bunning Was Right or Wrong in Blocking Unemployment Extension Bill
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wouldn’t say whether his fellow Republican colleague from Kentucky — Sen. Jim Bunning — was right or wrong in arguing that the $10 billion unemployment extension bill should not be passed unless it is paid for without adding to the national debt. “Well, we moved on to a new bill,” Sen. McConnell told CNSNews.com on Wednesday.

Hatch: Media ‘Suckered’ Into Believing Democrats’ ‘Whining and Moaning’ About GOP
(CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the Democrats had “no reason to gripe” over Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) delaying a vote on a benefits extension bill earlier this week because they have “59 votes on their side” and can basically do what they want in the Senate.

Churches Unveil Plan to Ease Plight of Black Men
Three historic black denominations on Wednesday unveiled a new national plan aimed at keeping their young males out of prison and in school and church.

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal Introduced amid Opposition

Don Wildmon Resigns as AFA Chairman

Anglican Head Defends Uniqueness of Christ

Pastors Reveal ‘Aha!’ Moments in Ministry

Iranian Pastor Has Visible Marks of Torture, Says Wife

Is Obama buying votes?
A conservative congresswoman is calling for an independent investigation to determine whether President Obama is attempting to trade a federal judgeship for a vote in favor of his healthcare reform plan.

Perspective – The Obama way: Bluster, bully, bribe
Wherever did we get the impression that pay-for-play is the Obama way? Hmmm…let me count the ways.

Soldiers left out of policy change debate
A pro-family leader and former Marine says it will be up to people outside the military to voice concerns about the negative consequences of repealing the ban on homosexuals serving in the military.

Perspective – Don’t ask, don’t bleed
What’s changed in the debate over the homosexualization of the U.S. military? In truth, the only thing that has changed — thank you, Mr. Obama — is politics.

Hobby Lobby – a heart for health
A Christian-owned national retailer has just opened a health clinic for its full-time employees.

MacArthur Tells Christians: Don’t Fornicate with the World
“The church, if it is to be anything, it is to be absolutely distinct from the culture, absolutely distinct from the world, absolutely distinct from unbelievers,” said prominent author and evangelical pastor John MacArthur.

Christian Youths ‘Cry Out’ for Persecuted Believers

Episcopal Clergy Permitted to Wed Gay Couples in D.C.

Okla. Schools Closer to Offering Bible Course

Washington Bishop: Religion Is Fault Line in Many Conflicts

UK Churches Campaign for Nuclear-Free World

Son says Billy Graham still writing, counseling
Rev. Billy Graham has retired from preaching, but the 91-year-old evangelist is still writing books and offering spiritual counsel to callers and visitors.

Homeless congregation serves others
Rescue Atlanta is a church that focuses on inner city residents and the homeless, and their approach is unique and effective.

Church services halted at public housing unit
A Dallas church that has held Sunday worship service at a public housing apartment complex for the elderly for 14 years has been ordered to stop.

Men filing more sexual harassment complaints
The number of sexual harassment claims filed by men doubled over the last decade.

Soros manipulates euro – is U.S. dollar next?
Jerome Corsi suspects left-wing billionaire George Soros is trying to manipulate the euro as part of his goal of establishing a one-world currency and a one-world government.

Image

February 15, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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When you take a look at the world today, much of what goes on is based on image. How things look dictate a lot of how we live our lives. What the weather looks like determines what we wear, where we go, and what we do. What a person looks like often causes us to make a  quick, all-inclusive judgment as to the person’s demeanor, their lifestyle, and possibly even their childhood. A large majority of the items that we buy today are bought based on their image. Ad companies try to make everything from clothes to cars to cigarettes more appealing by giving them an image that will draw people in, regardless of whether the product is really as good as they say it is (which is seldom the case). Movies, TV shows, magazines, and music are all given a special image that the producers hope will cause millions of people to part with either time or money for that product. They strive to make each image unique so that it “stands out” from the rest of the products. Continue Reading Image…

Is it not enough?

January 18, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Posted in Christianity | 2 Comments
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As I continue to hear about the church in America, I am struck by some things that I just don’t understand. I keep talking about the church “in America” because it looks different from the church outside the US. The problems that American churches face are nothing like the ones faced by the churches in other countries. While American churches worry about new “growth” methods and how to better entertain churchgoers, Christians in other countries are hiding in basements worshipping God with the single page of scripture that they’ve been able to smuggle with them. While American churches work on “branding strategies” and marketing efforts, Christians in other countries are dying just for naming the Name of Christ. Is it just me or is something out of whack here?

God has set aside His church to accomplish certain goals the way He wants them done. When the church fails to do this, they are in rebellion to God. I was reading in Numbers 16 this morning and it brought all this together. In Numbers 16 Korah, Dathan, and Abiram as well as 250 others go up before Moses and Aaron and express their anger and frustration. They accuse him of “exalting himself” as their leader when “all of the congregation is holy”. These men who accused Moses weren’t just any men though. They were men of renown, chosen from among the assembly. Korah was a son of Levi, the tribe who was set apart for service to the Lord as His portion. This wasn’t enough for them though. They wanted the same prestige that Moses had. They wanted the power that he had without the burden or the approval of the Lord. They felt that they should be just like the priesthood and decided to tell him boldly and arrogantly. They told Moses that he had “gone far enough” in exalting himself over the people.  Continue Reading Is it not enough?…

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