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.

Newslinks 05/30/10

May 30, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

Palin supports Arizona crackdown on illegals
As calls spread for an economic boycott of Arizona, the state’s governor enlisted the help of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday to defend a new law cracking down on illegal immigration.

Pro-life groups find useful tool in Obamacare
Pro-life proponents are using a provision in the new health reform law to limit abortion coverage by private insurers.

Birth rate drops, problems rise
According to newly released government statistics, the U.S. birth rate has dropped below replacement level.

Game-fixing charges
A Pennsylvania man is accused of trying to bribe referees to rig basketball games in favor of the church team he coached.

‘Cry of the Orphan’ Kicks Off 2010 Campaign
Americans nationwide will gather throughout this week to pray for the needs of the children, workers and families of the foster care system as pro-adoption ministries ban together to raise awareness of the orphan crisis.

Evangelicals Urge Caution in Probing Moroccan Crackdown

Appeals Court Refuses to Rehear Ky. Commandments Case

Atheist Groups Condemn Stealing of Mojave Cross

Judge Proposes June 16 for Date of Prop 8 Closing Arguments

Haggards Incorporate St. James Church in Colorado

Did White House jump the gun re: AZ law?
An immigration reform organization says the Obama administration clearly needs to have all its “ducks in a row” before talking about filing suit against Arizona’s new immigration enforcement bill.

Perspective: Stay classy, Mr. President
The practice of sowing division and discord while simultaneously condemning the sowing of division and discord has become the Obama way.

Bill could ENDA congressional careers
There is a slim possibility that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) could come up for a vote this week — perhaps as soon as Wednesday.

Perspective: Healing from homosexuality
The truth of homosexuality is that it is, like so many other things, a sin — and the truth about healing from homosexuality is that, like so many other sins, it can be done. I should know.

Shift in allegiance forecasts change in leadership
A Republican congressman who is running for a Senate seat to represent Kansas says the radical policies of President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress have been a wake-up call for the American people, who appear ready to elect Republicans this fall.

Pelosi to Aspiring Musicians: Quit Your Job, Taxpayers Will Cover Your Health Care
(CNSNews.com)
– House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week that thanks to the new health-care reform law, musicians and other creative types could quit their jobs and focus on developing their talents because taxpayers would fund their health care coverage. “We see it as an entrepreneurial bill,” Pelosi said, “a bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care.”

Kagan Helped Craft Clinton Strategy for Blocking Partial-Birth Abortion Ban
(CNSNews.com)
– Solicitor General Elena Kagan helped devise President Bill Clinton’s political strategy for sustaining his veto of the partial-birth abortion ban in 1997. As a result of Clinton’s successful veto that year, the ban was not enacted until 2003. Kagan co-wrote a May 13, 1997 memo urging Clinton to support two Democratic amendments that were being offered as substitutes for the partial-birth abortion ban and that were designed to give cover to Democrats who wanted to vote against the ban but be on record as in some way opposing late-term abortions.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Probes U.S. Contracts With Companies Doing Business With Iran
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– From 2005 to 2009, the Defense Department held $880 million worth of contracts with seven international corporations that do significant business with Iran in the oil, gas and petrochemical sectors, and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) wants to know why.

Palin Says She Connects to ‘Tough, Gun-Toting, Pioneer Feminism’
(CNSNews.com)
– Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) said on Friday she feels a connection with what she called the “tough, gun-toting” Western feminism of Annie Oakley, which she contrasted with the feminism found in “the faculty lounge at some East Coast women’s college.”

Americans Under 30 Most Likely to Take Uncompromising Stand for Right to Life, Says Gallup Poll
(CNSNews.com)
– The pro-abortion left appears to be losing the battle for the heart and soul of the rising generation of Americans, according to new data released by the Gallup poll. Americans in the 18 to 29 age bracket are now more likely than their elders to believe abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, and they generally oppose abortion in greater numbers than Baby Boomers.

L.A. Mayor: Illegal Immigration Adds to ‘Economic Might’ of Deficit-Ridden California
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told CNSNews.com Thursday that illegal immigration has not contributed to his city’s budget problems, but has added to the “economic might” of California.

Iran Agrees to Ship Its Nuclear Fuel to Turkey in Effort to Avoid U.N. Sanctions
(CNSNews.com)
– Trying to avoid a fourth round of U.N. sanctions, Iran on Monday signed a nuclear fuel swap deal with Turkey. The deal has some of the developing world’s most powerful nations rallying around Tehran, in a fresh challenge to the Obama administration’s claims to have achieved a unified international stance against Iran.

Thailand on Edge After Rebel General Dies
(CNSNews.com)
– Thailand’s turmoil looked set to deepen Monday after a renegade army general who sided with anti-government protestors died, four days after he was shot by an unidentified sniper. The incident sparked a new round of deadly violence in the once-stable Southeast Asian country, an important U.S. ally in the region.

Missionary released from Haitian jail
The last of 10 American missionaries detained while trying to take 33 children out of Haiti is free after being sentenced by a Haitian judge to jail time she already served.

Perspective: From Episcopal church to Islamic center
Where for more than 100 years a house of Christian worship stood, there now stands an Islamic Awareness Center – compliments of the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York.

Congressman to resign over affair
Indiana Republican Rep. Mark Souder says he’ll resign from Congress effective Friday over an affair with a staffer.

Caner faces questions about Muslim past
The Southern Baptist minister who leads Liberty University’s seminary has sold thousands of books and toured the country as a former Muslim who discovered Jesus Christ. Now there are allegations he fabricated or embellished his past.

Feature: Home on the ‘Ranch’
Passing on godly principles to children who deserve a childhood – and introducing them to Jesus – is the purpose of Quinn’s Ranch in Alabama.

Conservative Anglicans Lament Ordination of 2nd Gay Bishop
The ordination of two women bishops, one of whom is a partnered lesbian, was a moment of celebration for some 3,000 Episcopalians gathered in Long Beach, Calif., on Saturday. But for others, it was a moment of alienation and sorrow.

Poll: More Americans Say U.S. Morality Getting Worse

Southern Baptists Mark 3rd Year of Membership Decline

Baptist Megachurch Commits $115M for Massive Campus

Ex-Israeli Special Agent Confirms ‘Son of Hamas’ Story

Liberty U Bestows Honorary Degree on Glenn Beck

Obama Administration Commiserates With China About Human Rights Violations in Arizona
(CNSNews.com)
– In a “candid and constructive” human rights dialogue with Chinese officials last week, Obama administration officials brought up Arizona’s new immigration-enforcement law, telling the Chinese Communists it was an example of a “troubling trend” in the United States and an indication of “discrimination or potential discrimination” in American society. Ironically, the State Department’s most recent report on human rights in China indicates that the government there restricts the internal travel of its own citizens.

White House: Kagan Broke No Law Restricting Military Recruiters at Harvard
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– The White House will not explore whether Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan violated the law when she did not allow military recruiters at Harvard Law School. A conservative advocacy group, however, says Kagan’s refusal to comply with federal law by cooperating with military recruiters at Harvard is reason enough for the Senate to reject her nomination as Supreme Court justice.

If Confirmed to Supreme Court, Kagan May Have To Recuse Herself in Health Care Cases
(CNSNews.com)
– If confirmed to the Supreme Court, Elena Kagan may have to recuse herself if the health care reform law comes before the high court. That’s because as solicitor general of the United States in the Obama administration, Kagan may have helped craft a legal defense of the law or given advice to Congress or the White House on how to draft the statute. Historically, Supreme Court justices recuse themselves from hearing cases in which they have previously been involved.

White House Health Czar Repeats False Claim of Lower Health Costs
(CNSNews.com)
– White House health care czar Nancy-Anne Deparle repeated the claim that the health care reform law signed by President Obama will result in lower health care costs despite a well-known government report to the contrary.

Kagan Advocated Campaign Restrictions While Serving as Clinton Adviser
(CNSNews.com)
– Before arguing to uphold government restrictions on campaign speech as U.S. solicitor general, Elena Kagan had advocated such limits while serving in the Clinton administration.

Pelosi: Obama’s Budget a ‘Blueprint for Economic Stabilization’ for America, Designed To ‘Reduce the Deficit’
(CNSNews.com)
– House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) recently said that President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2010 budget of $3.6 trillion was a “blueprint for economic stabilization for our country.” The Treasury Department, however, has reported that the United States posted a budget deficit for the month of April nearly four times the $20.91 billion shortfall registered in April 2009.

Sen. Rockefeller Tells Neil Armstrong: ‘I Am a Substantial Skeptic of Human Spaceflight’ and America’s Drive to Explore is Not All ‘Glorious’
(CNSNews.com)
– Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John D. Rockefeller (D-W.V.) says he is “a substantial skeptic of human spaceflight” and that not all outlets for American exploration are “glorious.”

Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, Gene Cernan: Obama’s NASA Plan a ‘Blueprint for a Mission to Nowhere’
(CNSNews.com)
– Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, Jim Lovell, the commander of Apollo 13, and Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Cernan, the last man on the moon, have determined that President Barack Obama’s plan to cut funding for NASA’s Constellation manned space program is a “blueprint for a mission to nowhere” — a message Armstrong and Cernan pointedly delivered in person to a Senate committee last week.

Napolitano Admits She Hasn’t Reviewed ‘In Detail’ Arizona Immigration Law She’s Criticized
(CNSNews.com)
– Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who has been a vocal critic of the new Arizona immigration law, told Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Monday that she had not reviewed the law in detail, but nevertheless repeated criticism she made in April on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the law is a “bad law enforcement law.” Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder told a House panel he had not read the ten-page law, either.

Fuel Swap Deal Does Not Address Core Issues of Iranian Nuclear Dispute
(CNSNews.com)
– Heritage Foundation senior research fellow James Phillips said the Obama administration must reject and denounce the nuclear fuel swap agreement signed in Tehran on Monday “as yet another Iranian ploy to stall efforts to impose further sanctions, without addressing the core problem of Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons.”

Turkey-Brazil-Iran Nuke Deal May Put More Pressure on Israel
(CNSNews.com)
– Following his success in helping to broker a nuclear fuel swap agreement with Iran, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will likely add to the pressure currently facing Israel over its undeclared nuclear arsenal, according to a leading Turkish commentator. Israel, which has yet to respond formally to the agreement signed in Tehran on Monday, has long been troubled by Ankara’s increasingly outspoken criticism of Israeli policies on one hand and its warming relations with Israel’s foes – including Iran, Syria and Hamas – on the other.

Haiti Convicts then Frees Jailed U.S. Volunteer
Laura Silsby, the leader of the ten U.S. volunteers accused of illegally taking dozens of children out of Haiti, was convicted Monday but then freed to return to the United States.

Prison Ministry: Supreme Court Ruling Gives Minors a Chance

Case Against ‘Homosexuality Is Sin’ Preacher Dropped

Mission Leader: Why So Few Christians in Japan?

Falwell: Measurements of Success in Ministry Are Messed Up

Indian Missionaries Call It a ‘Privilege’ to Suffer

American Idol Judge Ellen DeGeneres Asks Female Contestant to Sing Love Song to a Woman
(CNSNews.com)
– American Idol judge Ellen DeGeneres picked a love song written to be sung by a man to a woman for contestant Crystal Bowersox–a single mom with a boyfriend–to perform on the show’s semifinal program on Tuesday night. The song, “Maybe I’m Amazed,” written by Paul McCartney and dedicated to his now-deceased wife Linda McCartney, includes the repeated lyric “baby, I’m a man” in the chorus.

Democrats’ See A ‘Significant Blow to the Republican Party’ in Tuesday’s Elections
(CNSNews.com)
– In their post-primary spin, Democrats say they won “the most significant election contest” of the day – the only race to pit a Republican against a Democrat. The Democrat Party’s main talking point: “If the GOP couldn’t win here, it’s not going to have an easy time netting the 40 House seats in November it needs to retake the House.”

McCain: ‘Insulting’ for Obama State Department to ‘Compare’ Arizona Anti-Immigration Law to China’s Human Rights ‘Abuses’
(CNSNews.com)
– Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) said it was “outrageous” for a top Obama administration State Department official to “compare” Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law with Communist China’s “human rights abuses.” He also told CNSNews.com that the official, who “did not read the law,” reflects “the liberal elite” that does not know the difference between “a state acting in a constitutional fashion and a regime that’s responsible for the deaths of millions of its citizens.”

McCain, Kyl Demand Top Obama State Dept. Official Retract Statement and Apologize for Likening AZ Immigration Law to Chinese Human Rights Violations
(CNSNews.com)
– Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) Tuesday called on the top Obama State Department official responsible for human rights issues to “retract and apologize” for telling officials of the Communist government of China that Arizona’s new immigration-enforcement law is an example of a “troubling trend in our society” and for portraying Arizona as the moral equivalent of Communist China.

At Previous Human Rights Session, U.S. Responded ‘Forthrightly’ to China’s Concerns About U.S. Practices
(CNSNews.com)
– The Obama administration’s approach to human rights dialogue with China – “an open discussion where you not only raise the other guy’s problems, but you raise your own” – appears to contrast to that of its predecessor. The latest controversy involving remarks by Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner has focused attention on a forum that has long been dogged by Beijing’s hypersensitivity to criticism of its rights record.

Obama Urged to Issue Executive Order on Human Right to Ensure U.S. Compliance With U.N. Treaties
(CNSNews.com)
– The U.S. State Department is asking state and local human rights commissions to help it prepare an obligatory report to the United Nations on how the U.S. is advancing the human rights set forth in various treaties. Those state and local groups are now pressing President Obama to issue an executive order establishing a domestic human rights infrastructure that would help the U.S. meet its obligations to “respect, protect and fulfill human rights for all.”

Hoyer: No Plans Yet by Democrats To End Fannie, Freddie Bailouts
(CNSNews.com)
– House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) could not say what action Democrats are planning to end the federal bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or when his party planned to take action. Hoyer, speaking to reporters on Tuesday at his weekly press briefing, said only that the House Financial Services Committee was “looking at” what to do with the failed mortgage giants that played a central role in the 2008 economic crisis.

Congress Pushing for Unilateral Gasoline Sanctions Against Iran Despite Progress at U.N.
(CNSNews.com)
– “It is my expectation that Congress will soon send its own strong, targeted Iran sanctions bill to President Obama’s desk,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said on Tuesday. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), cosponsor of the Senate bill, said Congress would not “retreat” from its own sanctions initiative regardless of what the U.N. does.

Tuesday’s theme: Anti-DC, anti-establishment
With the electorate’s intense anger reverberating across the country, this is all but certain: It’s an anti-Washington, anti-establishment year. And candidates with ties to either better beware.

Incumbent Lincoln staggers to runoff
Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln has failed to win the majority of votes in the Democratic primary. She now faces a three-week fight with Lt. Governor Bill halter for her party’s nomination.

Boycott target Movie Gallery shutting down
Movie Gallery — at one time the second largest video outlet chain in North America — is closing down. A pro-family group implies that informed consumers can take credit, at least in part, for shuttering a distributor of porn movies.

Quinlan: ‘Why does Pepsi fund hate?’
PFOX president Greg Quinlan raised some pointed questions at a recent PepsiCo shareholders meeting.

Perspective: The U.S. Dept. of Blame America First
Obama Democrats have now mastered the treacherous art of the pre-emptive global apology.

Pastors Challenged to Be Under-Rowers, Never Retire
Pastors are not called to be the captain of the ship, said Pastor Charles Swindoll. Rather, heir job is to hold an oar and row.

‘Secondary Disaster’ Concerns Raised as Haiti’s Hurricane Season Nears

3 Christian Relief Staff Abducted by Gunmen

Pakistani Official Fires 15 Christians Over Faith

Methodist Panel Wants to Nix Clergy Job Guarantees

Charter School Considers Appealing Decision on Religious Texts

Perspective: Anti-incumbency … or anti-liberalism?
The message is clear: Obama and the Democrats misread the 2008 elections — and now, thanks to the voters, they’re paying for it.

Playing politics with education standards
The Texas State Board of Education is getting closer to adopting new social studies guidelines for the classroom. But some liberal groups are not pleased with the conservative values added to the standards, and they want to delay the vote.

Does ObamaCare cross constitutional lines?
Another lawsuit has been filed in an effort to halt implementation of President Obama’s healthcare reform law.

Preaching homosexuality as sin not against the law
Charges have been dropped against a British street preacher arrested for speaking against homosexuality in a public area.

Will Kagan submit to ‘hollow charade’?
As Republican senators continue their background investigation of Obama Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, a conservative critic says they need to be looking very carefully at some of her past statements.

Senate Democratic Whip Compares Sealing the Mexican Border to Trying to Keep Drugs Off of I-95
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the effort to secure the U.S.-Mexico border is like trying to guarantee that “no narcotics and no guns are going to pass illegally” along I-95, a major East Coast highway. “Imagine the challenge that would pose to any governmental unit trying to enforce it,” Durbin said.

Mexican President Denounces Arizona Law Despite Laws Against Illegal Immigration in His Own Country
(CNSNews.com)
– At a joint press conference in the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday, President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon criticized Arizona’s new law against illegal immigration. In Calderon’s Mexico, however, illegal immigration is punished with fines and deportations.

Obama Says Administration Taking ‘Very Close Look’ at Arizona’s Immigration Law for Civil Rights ‘Implications’
(CNSNews.com)
– President Barack Obama said his administration is taking a “very close look” at Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigration law, examining it for any “implications, especially for civil rights.” He did not say whether he’s read the law.

Sestak Has ‘Moral Imperative’ to Answer Questions on White House Job Offer, GOP Congressman Says
(CNSNews.com)
– Fresh off his win over incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, Rep. Joe Sestak should still be obligated to answer questions about a job he says the White House offered to him if he agreed not to run against Specter in the primary, a leading House Republican said. “Could the reason why Congressman Joe Sestak refuses to name names is because the very people who tried to bribe him are now his benefactors?” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a statement Wednesday.

Accused of Sinking South Korean Ship, North Korea Threatens ‘All-Out War’
(CNSNews.com)
– Tensions rose on the Korean peninsula Thursday after South Korea accused North Korea of torpedoing its warship in March, drawing a sharp response and threats of “all-out war” from Pyongyang. The U.S. and Japanese governments quickly voiced support for South Korea, with the White House condemning the North Korean “act of aggression.”

Ahead of White House Visit, Lebanese PM Meets With Syrian President, Seeks Talks With Hezbollah Leader
(CNSNews.com)
– Preparing for his first official visit to Washington next week, Lebanon’s U.S.-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri has held “coordination” talks with Syrian President Bashir Assad and reportedly plans to meet Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. The U.S. government has listed Hezbollah as a “foreign terrorist organization” since the FTO designation was first established in 1996.

Democratic Leader Hoyer Doesn’t Know Whether Obama Administration was Prepared for Oil Spill
(CNSNews.com)
– House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he did not know whether the Obama administration was prepared to combat the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Hoyer also said it was “accurate” that the federal government had not been properly checking up on British Petroleum and its oil rigs.

Jews for Jesus Founder Dies at Age 78
The founder of Jews for Jesus died Wednesday, leaving behind a pre-written message to members of the ministry.

Billy Graham Wants to Preach Again

Texas Board Expected to Vote on Social Studies Curriculum

FEMA Official Apologizes Over Faith-Based Shirts Request

Christians Upset Over UK’s First TV Abortion Ad

Ministry Leader Sees Answer to Thailand’s Woes in Greater Equality

Congress’ attitude re: families a ‘recipe for disaster’
A pro-family leader in Washington, DC, is expressing shock and disappointment at the news that a Republican congressman who championed conservative values was forced to resign because of an affair with a staff member.

Deportation not a ‘feasible’ fix, says Land
Conservative evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land says the issue of illegal immigration must be solved soon.

Asian majority a college crisis?
The University of California is proposing tinkering with admissions requirements because a large proportion of their students are Asian.

Mojave cross replaced, taken down
Authorities say a Mojave Desert cross that replaced the stolen one honoring America’s war dead was illegal, so it’s been taken down too.

Perspective: The shady ShoreBank bailout
Taxpayers may be on the hook for helping rescue a Chicago bank with Obama ties that is too politically connected to fail.

Democrats Have No Plan for Dealing with Fannie and Freddie; Ignore Republican Proposal
(CNSNews.com)
– House Democrats appear to have no plans for dealing with the failed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, despite acting on dozens of other matters in the two months since Republicans proposed a way to rescue the two government-sponsored enterprises. So far, taxpayers have spent $145 billion to keep Fannie and Freddie solvent, and that tab is expected to go much higher.

Hoekstra: Resignation of Director of National Intelligence Results From ‘Obama Administration’s Rampant Politicization of National Security’
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee, says the resignation of Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair is “a disturbing sign of the stranglehold the Obama White House has placed on America’s intelligence agencies.”

Gulf Spill Sparks Drilling Debate Along Party Lines But Gov’t Says Less Than 0.001% of Oil Spilled in Federal Waters Since 1980
(CNSNews.com)
– Congressional hearings on the Gulf oil spill reveal the political divide between pro-offshore drilling lawmakers and those who cite the accident as a reason to halt any expanded drilling in the Gulf. Government reports show that less than 0.001 percent of oil culled from rigs in federal waters has been spilled in the last 30 years.

As Sestak Repeats Charge of Job Offer, White House Still Ducks Detailed Answer
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Joe Sestak, the Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat, said again this week that the White House offered him a job to keep him from challenging Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs has declined to provide any response, other than to repeat that nothing “problematic” occurred.

Will the Obama Administration Accept China-Pakistan Nuclear Collaboration?
(CNSNews.com)
– Analysts in India and the U.S. are voicing concern that the Obama administration may tolerate a Chinese bid to build more nuclear power reactors in Pakistan, despite Islamabad’s poor non-proliferation record. The U.S. has been trying to win Beijing’s support for fresh U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran.

Facebook Accused of Hurting Muslims With ‘Anti-Islamic Sentiments’
(CNSNews.com)
– The Facebook page at the center of angry protests in Pakistan because of depictions of Mohammed also has been blocked in Saudi Arabia, the latest development in a controversy first sparked almost five years ago by a Danish newspaper’s publication of cartoons satirizing Mohammed.

Replacement Memorial Cross Torn Down
A cross similar to the one that was stolen nearly two weeks ago was mysteriously erected in the Mojave National Preserve but quickly removed after authorities said it was illegal.

Global Day of Prayer to Celebrate 10-Year History

Evangelicals: Let’s Talk about Sex to Reduce Abortions

Scientists Successfully ‘Boot Up’ Cell with Synthetic DNA

Conservative Anglicans in U.S., England Propose Clergy Swap

Seasoned Pastors Reveal Mistakes, Regrets in Ministry

TX adopts new social studies curriculum
Texas schoolchildren will be required to learn that the words “separation of church and state” aren’t in the Constitution and evaluate whether the United Nations undermines U.S. sovereignty under new social studies curriculum.

Perspective: Socialism’s not in the Bible
Having placed 50 percent of America’s economy under government control, the Obama administration is now angling for a tighter grip on the financial sector.

Will Pro-Life Caucus still be effective?
In the aftermath of passage of the healthcare reform bill, a question arises as to whether the House Pro-Life Caucus has meaning anymore.

Jews for Jesus founder dies
The founder of the group Jews for Jesus has died after a long battle with prostate cancer. Moishe Rosen was 78.

Pakistani gov’t ordered to block Facebook
A Pakistani court has ordered the government to block Facebook because of a page that encourages users to post images of Islam’s prophet Muhammad.

Christian Biochemist: First ‘Synthetic Cell’ Strengthens Case for Design
A biochemistry expert at the science-faith think tank Reasons to Believe is among those hailing the recent creation of the first-ever “synthetic cell,” though not for the same reasons as most.

Conservative Watchdog Leader Issues Warning to Evangelical Groups

ACLJ Takes Up Case of 7th Grader Suspended for Wearing Rosary

Indiana Rep. Resigns After Affair Confession

Kagan Confirmation Hearings Set to Begin June 28

Rev. Wright: Obama Threw Me Under the Bus

Graduation-time controversies
A high school in Indiana has decided it will no longer screen graduation speeches, and a district in Connecticut is being challenged on its plan to hold graduation ceremonies in a church building.

‘Lesson 9’ deep-sixed
A lawsuit by a group of parents — and lots of complaints — has led to the removal of controversial pro-homosexual curriculum in a California school district.

Perspective: No more borders, please!
What do the state of Arizona and the Cincinnati Reds’ organization have in common? Both are simply doing their job to protect the innocent.

Kagan: Support unconstitutional measure for political gain
A leaked memo from Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is raising eyebrows among pro-life groups.

Catholic bishops pull away from civil-rights group
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has withdrawn from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights following the latter’s published support for Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, who is pro-abortion.

‘Obama White House Is Admitting That Their Health Care Plan Will Ration Health Care,’ GOP Senator Says
(CNSNews.com)
– President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is a strong supporter of the government-run health care system in Britain. In a 2009 interview about Comparative Effectiveness Research, Donald Berwick said, “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care – the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.” In choosing Berwick, the Obama administration is implicitly admitting that the health care law passed by the Democrats in March will lead to the rationing of health care, said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).

Islamic Nations Praise Obama’s Outreach and U.S. Plans to Close ‘Islamophobia Prison’ at Guantanamo
(CNSNews.com)
– President Obama’s Cairo speech to Muslims, his plan to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and the dropping of language deemed offensive to Muslims are among the positive developments highlighted in the Organization of the Islamic Conference’s new report on “Islamophobia.” Areas requiring more work include winning the Obama administration over to the OIC-held position on the need for legal recourse to counter “religious defamation.”

Awlaki Not Among FBI’s ‘Most Wanted’ Terrorists; No Reward Offered for His Capture
(CNSNews.com)
– Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born Islamic cleric who in a new video clip urges Muslims to kill American civilians, does not appear on the FBI’s list of wanted terrorists and the government has yet to place a reward on his head. Likewise, no references to Awlaki could be found Monday on the Web site of the U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a.

Brennan: U.S. Should Foster ‘Moderate Elements’ of the Terrorist Group Hezbollah
(CNSNews.com)
– President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser John Brennan called Hezbollah a “very interesting organization” in remarks last week at a Washington think tank, and he said the United States needs to “build up the more moderate elements” of Hezbollah, which the State Department has designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

DEA: No Comment on Drug Cartel Obtaining Intelligence Reports That DEA Provided to High-Level Mexican Authorities
(CNSNews.com)
– The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency declined to comment on reports that a drug cartel from the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa had access to documents detailing Mexico’s counter-narcotics operations, including information that the DEA had provided to high-level officials in Mexico’s Public Safety Department.

Senate Passed Financial Bill Contains Debit Card Price Controls
(CNSNews.com)
– The recently passed financial regulatory bill contains a little-noticed provision allowing the government to set price controls on the fees banks charge retailers who accept debit cards.

FCC Says It Has ‘No Record’ of Any Communication to or from Its Chairman Mentioning Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, Beck, Ingraham or Savage
(CNSNews.com)
– The Federal Communications Commission says it has “no records” of any communication either “to or from” its chairman that mentions Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham or Michael Savage. The FCC made the declaration in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by CNSNews.com that sought all its records reflecting communications from FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski mentioning the popular radio hosts.

Senate Democrats Pass Bill Allowing Gov’t to Collect Addresses, ATM Records of Bank Customers
(CNSNews.com)
– Senate Democrats united to pass a financial regulatory bill that allows the government to collect data on any person operating in financial markets at any level. The bill would create the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection and empower it to gather the names and addresses of account holders, ATM and other transaction records, and the amount of money kept in each customer’s account. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said that Democrats who claim this new bureaucracy will protect consumers are misleading the public.

Rep. Kennedy Says Mexican President ‘Right On’ in Criticizing Arizona Immigration Law
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told CNSNews.com that Mexican President Felipe Calderon was wrong to criticize Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law, adding that Calderon had also “mischaracterized the law.” Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), however, said that Calderon was “right on” in criticizing the new law.

Obama’s Comment That Nations Are Defined by Bonds, Not Borders, Called ‘Wishful Thinking
(CNSNews.com)
– It is wishful thinking on the part of the president to imply that borders are no longer important, one policy analyst told CNSNews.com.

Study: Parenthood Does Not Make for Active Churchgoers
A new study debunks the common assumption that once a couple hits parenthood, they’ll put Sunday church services back on their calendar.

Gay Marriage Support Gains Slightly in U.S.

Rick Warren Tells Passive, Fake Christians to Find Another Church

Second Wave of Deportations Hits Foreign Christians in Morocco

Iran Acquits Two Female Converts of Apostasy

Pentecost Festival Draws Thousands to London

Gates will support proposed immediate ‘gay’ ban lift
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is reluctantly supporting a White House-backed proposal in Congress that would immediately repeal the law banning homosexuals from serving openly in the military.

Study the Constitution – what a concept…
Defenders of the new social studies standards just passed by the Texas State Board of Education say it will encourage students to go back to the Constitution and First Amendment to learn about religious freedom.

Obama’s policies = ‘economic Armageddon’
After completing a research paper on President Obama’s economic policies, a spokesperson for Concerned Women for America concludes that they could be catastrophic for the nation.

Rifqa faces cancer treatment
A former Muslim who was pastor of a church in Columbus, Ohio, says 17-year-old Christian convert Rifqa Bary has told him she has a very aggressive form of uterine cancer.

School’s hands-off approach the right choice

An Indiana pro-family leader is applauding a high school for deciding it won’t screen speeches at its commencement ceremony.
Obama’s Nominee to Run Medicare: ‘Please Don’t Put Your Faith in Market Forces’
(CNSNews.com)
– Dr. Donald Berwick, nominated by President Barack Obama to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published an article in the British Medical Journal, advising leaders of Britain’s socialized health care system: “Please don’t put your faith in market forces.” The article, published in the July 26, 2008 issue of the BMJ, compared the U.S. health care system unfavorably to the British system, which Berwick said he was “romantic about.”

White House, Congressional Dems Reach Agreement to Force Vote on Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
(CNSNews.com)
– The White House and congressional Democratic leaders reached an agreement Monday night on a “compromise” that could force a vote within days on a bill to end the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy on homosexuality — after the congressional elections. “Tonight, President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a back room deal that disregards the views of our troops and uses the military to advance the political agenda of a radical special interest group,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement.

New York Times’ Front Page Announces U.S. Expansion of ‘Secret Military Acts’ in Middle East
(CNSNews.com)
– The New York Times, giving America’s friends and foes a heads-up, reports that Gen. David Petraeus signed a “secret directive” in September authorizing “a broad expansion of secret military activity” in the Middle East.

Poll Finds 65 Percent of Texas Voters Still Support Off-Shore Drilling
(CNSNews.com)
– Nearly two-thirds of all Texans believe off-shore drilling should continue, despite the Gulf oil spill, according to a new poll. The poll places Texas voters in line with the national average of 64 percent of Americans who support offshore drilling, according to the Rasmussen Report.

Dave Matthews: ‘Too Bad If We Have To Pay a Little Extra Money for Gasoline’
(CNSNews.com)
– Grammy award-winning musician Dave Matthews told CNSNews.com that higher energy prices are what “we have to do” to protect the environment. He also said although he admires the military, he would like to see it downsized.

Rocker Dave Matthews: ‘I Would Pack the Bags’ and Leave Afghanistan and Iraq
(CNSNews.com)
– Grammy award-winning musician Dave Matthews told CNSNews.com that if he could, he “would pack the bags” and remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, adding that the ongoing wars there are a “big disappointment.” He also said there is enough evidence that “fighting for peace is a broken model.”

Despite U.S. Prodding, China Does Little More Than Call for Restraint on the Korean Peninsula
(CNSNews.com)
– As South Korea and the United States turn up the pressure on North Korea over the sinking of a South Korean warship, Kim Jong-il’s closest ally looks unwilling to do or say anything about the incident beyond its customary calls for calm. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Beijing for bilateral strategic and economic talks, urged China Monday to “work together” with the U.S. to address the “serious challenge provoked by the sinking of the South Korean ship.”

Force-feeding the repeal
Family Research Council leader Tony Perkins is accusing President Obama and congressional Democratic leaders of making a backroom deal to force a vote on overturning the law on homosexuals serving in the military.

Perspective: The White House-Sestak stonewall
With three Democrats now implicating the president in dirty backroom schemes, “trust us” won’t cut it — and neither will “shut up and go away.”

White House ‘agitator’ sees dark days for Dems
A senior member of the White House press corps believes the Republican Party will take control of Congress in November and set about immediately to repeal “ObamaCare” — and that, the veteran journalist predicts, might not bode well for the president.

Christian faith – America’s historic backbone
The president of Westminster Theological Seminary believes the proclaimed “father” of the United States would be appalled at the direction the nation is headed.

National Guard to the border
An immigration reform organization is welcoming the Obama administration’s announcement to heed the call from desperate border states to dispatch thousands of National Guard troops to the southern border and help deal with the problem of illegal crossings into the U.S.

Will Graham Brings ‘Reality’ of Christ to Aussies
Third generation evangelist Will Graham has joined world-class entertainers and speakers in Australia to present the Gospel and “the reality of life.”

‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Compromise Reached; Vote Expected Soon

Supreme Court to Hear Ariz. Christian School Case

Fund Shortage Threatens to Close L.A. Homeless Center

Minn. Church Takes First Step to Exit ELCA

Hindu Nationalists Plan ‘Religious Cleansing’ in Madhya Pradesh District

Rep. Hoyer: Obama Medicare Nominee Qualified, Rationing Already Happening
(CNSNews.com)
– House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the man nominated to run Medicare and Medicaid, Donald Berwick, is qualified to oversee the two massive government health care programs despite Berwick’s claim that the government must ration health care. Hoyer added that health care rationing is already happening in America — because not all Americans can afford it.

Boehner: Republicans ‘Committed to Repealing the Health Care Law’ If They Take Back House
(CNSNews.com)
– House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday that the House Republican leadership is “committed to repealing the health care law” if Republicans win a majority in the House in the November elections. Boehner  also announced the launch of the House Republicans’ new Web site, AmericaSpeakingOut.com, where citizens can submit ideas for congressional Republicans to consider making part of their agenda.

Obama Should Visit U.S.-Mexico Border to See the Threat to Americans Firsthand, Republican Senators Say
(CNSNews.com)
– On the same day President Barack Obama announced he was ordering 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, two Republican senators from Arizona said it’s about time – and it’s too few troops.

International Community Has ‘Responsibility and Duty to Respond’ to Ship Sinking by North Korea, Clinton Says
(CNSNews.com)
– On Wednesday, one day after North Korea threatened to sever all remaining ties with South Korea, North Korea did not prevent South Korean employees from entering a joint industrial project that employs thousands of North Koreans. The Stalinist regime warned, however, that it would bar entry to South Koreans if Seoul resumes anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts along their shared border, which South Korean President Lee Myun-bak has said he would do.

Suspected Terror Mastermind Free to Rail Against India and ‘Blasphemy’
(CNSNews.com)
– Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the Islamist leader released from house arrest by Pakistan’s highest court, remains one of that country’s most outspoken advocates of jihad against India, and he is now free to press his case that the U.N. should declare ‘blasphemy of prophets’ a capital offense.

Bill Requires Rhode Island to Pay Taxpayers Interest on Delayed Tax Refunds
(CNSNews.com)
– Several Rhode Island state congressmen have introduced a bill requiring the state to pay the same rate of interest after 60 days on tax refunds owed to taxpayers that the state assesses for overdue taxes.

Evangelicals Hold First National Prayer Day for Creation
Evangelical leaders from several prominent organizations gathered on Capitol Hill Tuesday to pray, repent and sing about creation care.

Ariz. Pastor’s Worry: Criminalization of Ministry Work

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Deal Deemed ‘Political Charade’

Recovering Porn Addict: Lord Is Not Shocked by Our Humanity

Runaway Teen Convert Rifqa Bary Battles Cancer

Texas Lutheran University President Resigns

Vote pending on ‘political payoff’
A law firm that defends and promotes Christian heritage and moral values says May 27 could be the date when the greatest military in the world is sacrificed as a political payoff to homosexual activists.

SNAP disappointed by Vatican, DOJ
An Oregon man abused by a priest has sued the Vatican and is now trying to get the U.S. Supreme Court to accept the case.

Another abortion bill vetoed
Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry late Wednesday vetoed an abortion bill that would put strict limits on when private health insurers can cover the procedure.

The whistle is working
Operation Rescue’s whistleblower program is attracting helpful undercover information on abortion facilities.

‘Holy water’ accusation affects teachers

Some local ministers in Florida are coming to the defense of two teachers who have been removed from their classrooms and are under investigation for allegations they offended an atheist colleague.
Majority of Americans Believe Future of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Should be Left Up to Military Commanders, Zogby Poll Finds
(CNSNews.com)
– Fifty-nine (59) percent of Americans think military leaders, rather than Congress, should be making the decision about the military policy on homosexuality, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Family Research Center…

Senate Leader Reid: Some Republicans Call Unemployed Americans ‘Bums’ and ‘Hobos’
(CNSNews.com) –
As the unemployment rate in the United States approaches 10 percent, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said that some “on the Republican side” have called out-of-work Americans “bums” and “hobos.” He also said the unemployed are people who legitimately “cannot find work for long periods of time,” and he disagreed with those who suggest that unemployment is a “never-ending issue.”…

‘Synthetic’ Cell Research Isn’t Frankenstein Science, but Raises Troubling Questions, Analysts Say
(CNSNews.com)
– The recent report that scientists have created a “synthetic cell” for the first time has raised several questions about the societal and ethical implications of such technology…

Biden: $787 Billion Stimulus Bill Created ‘New Ideas on How to Spend Government Money Wisely’
(CNSNews.com)
– Heading up a Middle Class Task Force roundtable discussion on Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden said that one of the benefits of the $787 billion stimulus package signed into law in February is that it has generated new ideas for dealing with economic problems, including unemployment…

Obama’s July 2011 Draw-Down Date for Afghanistan Sends Mixed Messages, Former Afghan Presidential Candidate Says
Washington (CNSNews.com)
– Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, a candidate in the 2009 Afghan presidential election, said the July 2011 date set by President Barack Obama for U.S. troops to draw-down from Afghanistan is problematic because it creates a perception of mixed messages about U.S. commitment to the country…

Brennan Names Al Qaeda and Affiliates as the Enemy, Silent on Hezbollah, Others
(CNSNews.com)
– President Obama’s counter terrorism advisor framed America’s enemy Wednesday as “al-Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates,” but said nothing about anti-U.S. Islamists not affiliated to the network led by Osama bin Laden…

Sebelius: Rationing Advocate is ‘Absolutely Right Leader At This Time’ to Run Medicare
(CNSNews.com)
– Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said on Wednesday that Dr. Donald Berwick, an advocate of health-care rationing nominated by President Barack Obama to run Medicare and Medicaid, is “absolutely the right leader at this time” to run the government’s largest health-care entitlement programs…

As Harvard Law Dean, Kagan Did Not Require Study of U.S. Constitutional Law But Did Require Study of International and Foreign Law
(CNSNews.com)
– Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama’s choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, is best known for moving Harvard Law School away from the 100-year old “case-law method” of legal study…

Democrats’ War Funding Amendment Would Allow Homosexuals to Serve in Military
(CNSNews.com) –
Democrats in the both the House and Senate are trying to amend the 2011 war funding bill to allow gays, lesbians, and bisexuals to serve in the military, a move opposed by the heads of all four branches of the armed services…

Senate Considers Union Pension Bailout
(CNSNews.com)
– A Senate committee will consider on Thursday a bill introduced by Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) that critics say would create a taxpayer-backed bailout of multi-employer pension funds that are in critical financial condition…

Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman: ‘I Want To See A Little More Than 1,200’ National Guard Troops at Border
(CNSNews.com)
– Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Counterterrorism, echoed the view of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Thursday, telling CNSNews.com that the 1,200 National Guard troops President Barack Obama is deploying to the U.S.-Mexico border are not enough to secure the region…

National Security Strategy Coy About Darfur Crisis
(CNSNews.com)
– The conflict in Darfur was given short shrift in the Obama administration’s first National Security Strategy, with a single direct reference that lays no blame for the enduring crisis…

Congress bows to gay agenda, repeals DADT
Congress has given in to pressure from gay activists and the White House and voted to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. (See House vote)

Lifting of another ban sought
The FDA has launched the process to lift the 27-year-old ban that prevents homosexuals from donating blood.

Perspective: Play a fiddle, watch it burn
Homosexual activists and their allies (like Barney Frank) are muscling their agenda through Congress — with nary a peep from the nation’s conservative talking heads.

Nobama on Memorial Day
President Obama is under fire for deciding to skip the annual Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus….
A Christian mother and author has written an open letter to the parents of Miley Cyrus about the career path the young star is on.

House Votes to Repeal DADT Despite Military Opinion
The U.S. House voted Thursday to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that bars gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

Anglican Head Reprimands U.S. Church over Lesbian Bishop

Jewish Group Condemns WCC ‘Anti-Israel’ Peace Week

Mosque Plan Near 9/11 Site Is ‘Indecent,’ Says Ex-Muslim

Megachurch Pastor Ed Young Recovering from Surgery

Trial over ‘Insulting Turkishness’ Again Yields No Evidence

Don’t ‘protect’ children from truth
A California bill opposing Christian ideals in social studies textbooks has passed a 6-2 vote and is making its way into the Senate.

Iowa’s same-sex union isn’t marriage
A report that homosexuals are streaming into Iowa to get married is not entirely accurate.

Kagan’s past still raising concerns
Americans United for Life is expressing fresh concern over President Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court.

No Muslim prayer room
A German court says that a Berlin high school doesn’t have to provide a 16-year-old Muslim student with a private room to pray in during school hours.

The atheist and the Illinois cross
A Chicago-area atheist is unhappy that $20,000 in state money is going to an 11-story cross on southern Illinois’ highest point, and he wants the landmark’s overseers to give the money back, or be sued.

Another graduation prayer, another investigation
The ACLU of Montana is asking the state Board of Regents to investigate whether the invocation and benediction given during the Montana State University-Northern graduation ceremony unconstitutionally promoted Christianity.

Forum helps Christians vote biblically
A conservative activist says the tide on the West Coast may turn to favor conservative voters if they choose to vote in accordance with their values, and he is providing them a tool to utilize in the primary election.

Don’t ‘protect’ children from truth
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Adult stem cells, which do not involve the killing of a human embryo, have proven useful in yet another area of medical treatment.

Looking ahead?

December 28, 2009 at 9:07 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Ok…Christmas is over and things are starting to settle down. It’ll be another week or so before the credit card bills become a priority and you’ve still got a couple of days before the big New Year’s celebration. What do most people do during this time? They begin to look ahead. For the next month or so, you’ll see ad after ad telling you that they have the very thing that you’re looking for to make the new year go your way. Wanna lose weight? There will be a dozen different new weight loss machines on the market before you can say “couch potato”. Want to better your finances? There are programs and companies that want to help you get you money woes under control (including the huge debt you just built up). Want to see your marriage change? There are books, CDs, and counselors waiting for you to pick them up, pop them in, or give them a call so that they can spend the next 30 days getting your relationship in the best shape its ever been. And, once you choose which of the myriad new eye dazzlers will garner your attention, you can spend a little time plotting your course with fervor and determination because you know that this is your year.

I can’t help but wonder if all of this is really necessary? What are the real motives behind much of this New Year’s barrage? Seems like it’s just one more way for someone to try and make money. Do the methods work? I’m sure for some people they do, but is it “sure-fire” for everyone like the ad copy says? I doubt it. I also can’t help but wonder if ahead is the direction that we need to pour all of this effort (even though it’s really only a few days). Looking over scripture, I see something different and I hope that it helps balance all of the new fad hype. Continue Reading Looking ahead?…


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