Sermon Sunday – Samuel Davies – The Nature and Author of Regeneration

June 19, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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The Nature and Author of Regeneration

by Samuel Davies

“Marvel not that I said unto you: You must be born again.” John 3:7

Those doctrines are not strange to a well-informed mind, which are most wondered at in the ignorant world. Ignorance is apt to wonder, where knowledge discovers nothing amazing or unaccountable. My present purpose is to look into the doctrine of Regeneration, or the New Birth.

Nicodemus comes to Christ with a conviction of his high character as a Teacher from God, who attested his commission by the strong and popular evidence of miracles. From such a Teacher, he expects sublime instructions; and from his own improvements in Jewish learning, he, no doubt, flatters himself he shall be able to comprehend them; but when, instead of gratifying his curiosity by telling him strange and great things of the kingdom of the Messiah—as a secular prince, and a mighty conqueror, as he and his countrymen expected, or discoursing like a Rabbi on the Jewish law; I say, when, instead of this, Jesus opens the conference by a solemn and authoritative declaration of the necessity of something under the name of another birth—how is Nicodemus surprised!

This he cannot understand. This seems strange, new doctrine to him; and he has an objection ready against it, as an absurdity and an impossibility: “But how can anyone be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?” This objection, which was altogether impertinent, and founded upon a gross mistaken notion of the doctrine, may serve as a specimen of all the objections that have been made against this doctrine ever since; they have all proceeded from ignorance, or from gross mistaken notions of an evident truth; and hence men have imagined, like this master of Israel, that they reasoned strongly against it, when in reality they were saying nothing at all to the purpose, and did not so much as understand the case!

Our condescending Lord took a great deal of pains to give Nicodemus right notions of this doctrine. For this purpose he presents it before him in various views. He tells him, he did not mean a second natural birth—but a birth of water and of the spirit; a birth that renders a man spiritual, and consequently fit for that spiritual kingdom he was about to erect; and that the free and Sovereign Spirit of God, the Author of this new birth, operated like wind, which blows where it wills. Nicodemus still continues gazing at him, and wondering what he means. He is puzzled, after all, and asks, “How can these things be?” Jesus tells him the wonder did not lie in the doctrine—but in his ignorance of it, when he was a teacher of the law; “Are you a master in Israel, and know not these things?”

The connection of my text is this: “That which is born of the flesh—is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit—is spirit; therefore, marvel not that I said unto you, You must be born again.” That is to say, “The doctrine you are so much surprised at, is not at all absurd, so as to make you wonder to hear it from my mouth. You cannot but know, that all mankind are born of the flesh; that is, propagated in a way that communicates a depraved nature to them; and hence, they are flesh; that is, corrupt and carnal; and therefore wholly unfit to be admitted into my kingdom, which is pure and spiritual. But that which is born of the Spirit—is spirit; that is, spiritual and holy; and therefore fit for that spiritual and holy kingdom, which I have come to set up. Now, if if this is the case, you have certainly no need to marvel at this doctrine: can it seem strange to you, that impure unholy creatures must be changed, before they can be fit members of so holy a society? Can you marvel at this? No! you would have more reason to marvel at the contrary.

It is one part of my design today to inquire, Whether the doctrine of the new birth is indeed such a strange, absurd, or impossible thing in itself, as to deserve that amazement, and indeed contempt, which it generally meets with in the world; or whether it be not rational, necessary, and worthy of universal acceptance? But before I enter upon this, it will be proper to inquire:

1. What the new birth is?

2. Who is the author of it?

3. And in what way does he generally produce it?

Remove your prejudices, my hearers, against this doctrine, suspend your disbelief, and cease to wonder at or ridicule it, until these points are explained, lest you be found to speak evil of the things you know not.

1. Let us inquire—WHAT it is to be born again?

To gain your attention to this inquiry, I need only put you in mind, that whatever be meant by the new birth, it is not an insignificant speculation, not the disputed peculiarity of a party, not the attainment of a few good men of the first class—but it is essential to every godly man, and absolutely necessary to salvation. You cannot doubt of this, if you look upon Jesus Christ as a person of common veracity, and worthy of credit in his most solemn declarations; for he has declared, over and over again, with the utmost solemnity, that “No one can see the kingdom of God—unless he is born again. John 3:3, 5, and 7. Attend, then—if you think your eternal salvation worthy of your attention.

The phrase, to be born again, like most other expressions used upon divine subjects, is metaphorical, and brings in natural things with which we are familiarly acquainted, to assist our conceptions of divine things, which might otherwise be above our comprehension. We all know what it is to be born; and our knowledge of this may help us to understand what it is to be born again. As by our first birth we become men, or partake of human nature—so by our second birth, we become Christians, and are made partakers of a divine and spiritual nature. As our first birth introduces us into this world, and into human society, so our second birth introduces us into the church of Christ, and makes us true members of that holy society. As by our first birth we resemble our parents, at least in the principal lineaments of human nature, so by our second birth we are made partakers of the divine nature; that is, we are made to resemble the blessed God in holiness: or, as Paul expresses it, we are renewed after his image—in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness. Ephesians 4:24; Col. 3:10. The effect is like its cause; the child like the parent. That which is born of the flesh—is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit—is spirit. This is according to the established laws of generation, by which everything begets its like.

In our first birth—we are endowed with child-like and filial dispositions towards our human parents; and when we are born of God—we are inspired with a child-like and filial temper towards him, as our heavenly Father.

By our natural birth we are placed in an imperfect—but growing state. We have all the powers of human nature, though none of them in perfection; but from that time they grow and improve, until they at length arrive to maturity. In like manner, in our second birth, all the principles of virtue and grace are implanted; but their growth and improvement is the work of the Christian life: and from that time they continue gradually growing, though with many interruptions, until at death they arrive at maturity and perfection.

In our natural birth we pass through a very great change. The infant that had lain in darkness, breathless and almost insensible, and with little more than a vegetative life, enters into a new state, feels new sensations, craves a new kind of nourishment, and discovers new powers. In like manner, in the second birth, the sinner passes through a great change: a change as to his view of divine things: as to his temper, his practice, and his state; a change so great, that he may with propriety be denominated another man, or a new creature.

As I shall adjust my discourse to the narrow limits of an hour, I must pass over, or but slightly touch upon all the particulars suggested by the metaphor in my text, except the last, which is the most comprehensive and instructive: namely, that the new birth implies a great change in the views, the temper, the practice, and the state of the sinner; and under this head, sundry of the other particulars may be reduced.

The various forms of expression, which the Scripture uses to represent what is here called a second birth, all conspire to teach us, that it consists in a great change. It is represented as a resurrection, or a change from death to life: “You has he quickened,” says Paul, “who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Ephesians 2:1.

It is represented as a new creation: “If any man be in Christ,” says the same inspired author, “he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. “Put on,” says he, “the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:24.

These and like expressions signify a very great change, and such forms of speech are very commonly used in the same sense; which shows they are so far from being ridiculous, that they are agreeable to the common sense of mankind. When we see a man that we once knew, look, and speak, and act as he used to do, it is customary to say, “He is the old man still.” But if we see a great alteration in his appearance, his temper, or behavior, we are apt to say, “He is a new man “or, “He is quite another creature.” When we see a rugged, boisterous man become meek and inoffensive, we are apt to say, “He is become a mere child.” These forms of speech are so significant and popular, that they have even passed into proverbs, and that in various countries and languages; and hence they are used in the Scriptures as plain and familiar representations of this great truth. And hence we are bold to use them, in spite of that senseless ridicule and contempt, which some would cast upon them; but which rebounds upon themselves, for censuring modes of expression that are not only sacred—but agreeable to common sense.

Now, since it is evident the new birth signifies a great change; you are impatient, by this time, I hope, to know more particularly WHAT it is. It is the change of a thoughtless, ignorant, hard-hearted, rebellious sinner—into a thoughtful, well-informed, tender-hearted, dutiful servant of God. It is the implantation of the seeds or principles of every grace and virtue in a heart that was entirely destitute of them, and full of sin.

The sinner that was accustomed to have no practical affectionate regard for the great God—is now made to revere, admire, and love him as the greatest and best of Beings; to rejoice in him as his supreme happiness, and cheerfully to submit to him as his Ruler. Formerly his temper and conduct would better agree to the infidelity of an atheist, than to the faith of a Christian: but now, he thinks, and speaks, and acts, as one that really believes there is a God; a God who inspects all his ways, and will call him to an account.

The heart that was accustomed to spurn the holiness of the divine law, and murmur at the strictness of its precepts—now loves it; loves it for that very reason for which it was accustomed to hate it; namely, because it is so holy. This was the temper of the Psalmist: “Your Word is very pure; therefore (that is, on that very account) your servant loves it!” Psalm 119:140; and of Paul, “the law is holy, and the commandment holy”—and what follows? “I delight,” says he, “in the law, after the inward man. And I consent unto the law that it is good.” Romans 7:12, 16, 22.

The haughty, stubborn, deceitful heart—is now made humble, pliable, simple, and honest, like that of a little child. Hence Christ says, “Except you are converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whoever shall humble himself as a little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matt, 18:3, 4. This was also the temper of David: “LORD, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or awesome for me. But I have stilled and quieted myself, just as a small child is quiet with its mother. Yes, like a small child is my soul within me.” Psalm 131:1, 2.

The heart that used to have no delight in communion with God—but lived as without God in the world—now feels a filial desire to draw near to him, and address him with the humble boldness and freedom of a child. “Because you are sons,” says Paul, “God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father,” Galatians 4:6. That is, “Father, Father!” the repetition of so tender a name intimates the greatest endearment and affectionate freedom.

The heart that had no realizing, affecting views of the future eternal state—now feels the energy of that doctrine, and looks upon heaven and hell as indeed the most important realities!

The heart that was once earthly and sensual, eagerly set upon things below, as its vain pursuit—is now taught to aspire to heaven; in heaven is its treasure, and there it will be. The thoughts that were once scattered among a thousand trifles—are now frequently collected, and fixed upon the great concerns of piety.

Now also the heart is remarkably altered towards the Lord Jesus: formerly it seemed sufficient to wear his name, to profess his religion, to believe him to be the Savior of the world, to insert his name in a prayer now and then, and to give a formal attendance upon the institutions of his worship; but oh! now he appears in a more important and delightful light. Now the sinner is deeply sensible that Jesus is indeed the only Savior, and he most eagerly embraces him under that endearing character, and entrusts his eternal all into his hands. Now he appears to him all lovely and glorious, and his heart is forever captivated with his beauty. Now he prays, and longs, and languishes for him, and feels him to be all in all. Oh! now the very thought of being without Christ, kills him. Thus, God, who first commanded light to shine out of darkness, has shined into his heart, to give him the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ; 2 Corinthians 4:6, in that face where it shines with the fairest beams.

Now also the man has very different views of himself: he sees himself to be a guilty, depraved, vile creature, all overrun with sin, and destitute of all goodness—except as it is wrought in him by divine grace! How different is this from the proud, self-righteous estimate he was accustomed to form of himself!

His views of SIN are also quite different from what they used to be: he used to look upon it as a slight, excusable evil, except when it broke out into some gross acts. But now he sees sin to be unspeakably vile and base, in every instance and degree. An evil thought, a corrupt motion of desire, an indisposed heart towards God, appears to him a shocking evil, such as nothing but the infinite mercy of God can forgive, and even that mercy, upon no other account but that of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. He sees that sin does most justly deserve everlasting punishment; and he is often lost in wonder that the gospel should open a door of hope even for him, who has been so deeply guilty. It breaks his heart to think that he indulged so base a thing for so long; and he can never be fully reconciled to himself, while he feels the remains of sin within him.

His REPENTANCE now takes a new turn. Formerly he was entirely under the influence of self-love, and therefore, when he had any concern for his sin, it entirely proceeded from the servile principle of fear; fear of the punishment, and not hatred of the crime. But now his soul is ennobled with more sincere principles. Now he can mourn over sin, as a base, ungrateful evil, even when he has no thoughts of the punishment. Now he can mourn over sin as against God, and not only as against a sin-punishing God—but as against a sin-pardoning God. Now he mourns with sincere sorrow over pardoned sin; and God’s being so good as to forgive him, is so far from lessening the evil of sin in his view, that this very consideration peculiarly affects him. Oh! that he should be so base as to sin against a God who is so gracious as to forgive him after all! This thought breaks his heart; and God’s forgiving him, is a reason why he can never forgive himself.

The heart has also a new temper in the duties of religion: it can no more indulge in habitual coldness or lukewarmness in them—but exerts its powers to the utmost; and when it has a languishing interval, it cannot be easy in that condition—but tries to rouse itself again. Experience teaches that it is good to draw near to God; and the ordinances of the gospel are not tiresome formalities, as they were accustomed to be—but the means of life and refreshment; and they are its happiest hours which are spent in attending upon them.

Now the gospel is not that dull, stale, neglected tale it once was—but the most joyful tidings that ever came from heaven! As a new-born babe, the regenerate soul desires the sincere milk of the Word, that it may grow thereby, 1 Peter 2:2, and it is esteemed more than necessary food.

Now the careless, secure soul, that was always cautious of over-doing in religion, and flattering itself there is no need of being so much in earnest—is effectually roused, and strives in earnest to enter in at the strait gate, convinced both of the difficulty and necessity of entering! Now religion is no longer a trifling matter—but a serious business; and everything that comes in competition with it must give way to it. The man is resolved to save his soul at all hazards; and this, he is now convinced, is no easy work.

To sum up the whole, for I can only give a few specimens of particulars, the regenerate soul is changed universally in every part. I do not mean the change is perfect in any part. Alas! no—sin still lives, and sometimes makes violent struggles, though crucified—the old man dies hard! But I mean, the change does really extend to every part. The soul is in no respect the same it was accustomed to be, as to the concerns of religion. It has new views, new sensations, new joys, new sorrows, new inclinations and aversions, new hopes and fears. In short, as the apostle tells us, all things are become new, 2 Corinthians 5:17; and according to his inspired prayer, the whole man, soul, body, and spirit, is sanctified. 1 Thess. 5:23.

By way of confirmation, let me add a few characters of a regenerate man, which are expressly Scriptural. “Every one who loves—is born of God,” says John, 1 John 4:7. That is, every new-born soul is possessed with a sincere love to all mankind, which prompts it to observe the whole law in its conduct towards them, (for love is the fulfilling of the whole law,) and restrains it from doing them any injury: (for love works no evil to his neighbor,) Romans 13:10. This love extends not only to friends—but also to strangers, and even to enemies. It is a friendship to human nature in general; it spreads over the whole earth, and embraces the whole race of man. But as the righteous are the more excellent ones of the earth, it terminates upon them in a peculiar degree: and the reason is obvious; they are, in a peculiar sense, the saints’ brethren, the children of the same heavenly Father; and they bear a resemblance to him: and if he loves the Original—he must also love the copy. Thus, says John, “everyone who loves the Father—loves his children, too.” 1 John 5:1.

Another character of regeneration the same apostle gives you, 1 John 5:4, 5, and that is, victory over the world by faith. “Whoever is born of God, overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” That is, whatever temptations may arise from the riches, honors, or pleasures of the world, or from the society of mankind, the man who is born of God has such believing views of eternal things, as constrains him to conflict with them, and overcome them. He has not such a base, dastardly soul, as to yield to opposition. He is enabled by divine grace, to brave dangers, and encounter difficulties in so good a cause: he dares to be wise and holy, though all the world should turn against him. Oh what a change is this from his former temper!

Another distinguishing characteristic of the new birth, is, universal holiness of practice, or a conscientious observance of every known duty, and an honest, zealous resistance of every known sin. There is no known DUTY, however unfashionable, disagreeable, or dangerous—but what the true convert honestly endeavors to perform! And there is no known SIN, however customary, pleasing, or gainful—but what he honestly resists, and from which he labors to abstain.

This necessarily follows from what has been said; for when the principles of action are changed within—then the course of action will be changed too. When the heart is made holy, it will infallibly produce habitual holiness of practice. A good tree must bring forth good fruit. This John asserts in the strongest manner, and in various forms. “You know,” says he, “that every one that does righteousness;” that is, that habitually practices righteousness, “is born of God,” 1 John 2:29.

“We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin;” that is, he does not sin habitually, so as to be denominated a sinner by way of distinction; “but he who is begotten of God, keeps himself;” that is, keeps himself from the infection of sin; and that wicked one touches him not. 1 John 5:18.

“Little children,” says he, “let no man deceive you: he who does righteousness is righteous—but he who commits sin is of the devil. Whoever is born of God does not commit sin;” that is, as I explained it before, he does not habitually sin in the general tenor of his practice, so as to make his sin his distinguishing character; “for his seed remains in him;” that is, the principles of grace, implanted in him in regeneration, are immortal, and will never allow him to give himself up to sin, as formerly. And he cannot continue to practice sin—because he is born of God: his being born of God happily disables him forever from abandoning himself to sin again. “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are;” that is, this is the grand distinguishing characteristic existing between them, “Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God.” 1 John 3:7-10.

You see, then, a holy practice is one of the most certain signs of regeneration; and, therefore, in vain do such pretend to it, or boast of high attainments in inward experimental religion, who are not holy in their practice, and do not live righteously, soberly, and godly in the world.

By this time, I hope, my friends, you understand what it is to be born again. And now, upon a review of the subject, there are several things of importance, which I would submit to your consideration:

First, I leave you now to consider, whether baptism is the same thing with regeneration, or the new birth in the Scripture sense. I grant that baptism is a sacramental sign of regeneration, just as the Lord’s Supper is a sacramental sign of the body and blood of Christ; and, therefore, baptism may be called regeneration, by the same figure which Christ uses when he says of the bread, “This is my body.” In this metonymical sense, this method of speaking has been used by many great and good men: and when they call baptism regeneration, they only mean, that it is an outward sign of it, just as the sacramental bread, for the same reason, is called the body of Christ. Were it always used in this sense, it would hardly be worth while to take notice of it as an impropriety; though I must confess, I cannot find the same form of speech indisputably used concerning baptism in the Bible.

But when men are taught that the whole of that regeneration, or new birth, which the Scripture requires as absolutely necessary to salvation, means no more than just being baptized; and when they who have been baptized, begin to think that they have no more to do with the new birth, the error is too dangerous to be passed over in silence! I shall just lead you into a track of thought, by which you may easily make yourselves judges in this controversy.

If baptism is regeneration in the Scripture sense, then, whatever the Scripture says concerning people regenerated, born again, or created anew—will also hold true concerning people baptized. This is so plain a principle, that it is hard to make it plainer; for if baptism is the same with regeneration, the new birth, or the new creation—then the same things may be said of it. Proceeding upon this obvious principle, let us make the trial in a few instances.

It may be truly said of him who is born of God, in the Scripture sense, that he does not habitually sin, etc. Now substitute baptized, instead of born of God, and consider how it will read, “Every one that is baptized sins not; but he who is baptized keeps himself; and the evil one touches him not.” Has this statement any appearance of truth? Do not all of you know so much of the conduct of many who have been baptized, as to see that this statement is most notoriously false! For where can we find more audacious sinners upon earth, than many who have been baptized!

Let us make another trial. Whoever is born of God, in the Scripture sense, overcomes the world. But will it hold true, that whoever is baptized, overcomes the world?

If any man be in Christ, in the Scripture sense, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, and all things are become new. But how will it sound if you read, If any man be baptized—he is a new creature: old things are passed away, and all things are become new? Does baptism universally make such a change in the subject, as that it may, with any tolerable propriety, be called a new creation? I might easily make the same experiment with many other passages of Scripture; but these may suffice as a specimen.

And now, must it not be as evident as any mathematical demonstration, that regeneration, or the new birth, in the Scripture sense, is something else, something more divine, more intrinsic, more transformative of the whole man, than baptism? That man must labor to be deceived, who can work up himself to believe, after such a representation of the case, that if he has been baptized, he has all that regeneration which is necessary to his admission into the kingdom of heaven!

I know no absurdity parallel to it, except the doctrine of transubstantiation, the characteristic absurdity of the church of Rome. Because Christ, in the distribution of the elements in the Eucharist, said of the bread, “This is my body,” putting the sign for the thing signified, therefore Papists conclude, the bread is substantially the very same with the body of Christ signified by it, though it still retains all the sensible properties of bread.

Some Protestants have fallen into the same error as to the other sacrament of baptism, and that with less plausibility. I can find no Scripture that says of baptism, “This is regeneration:” and yet they insist upon it that it is the very thing; and make the sign—and the thing signified one and the same. Let me borrow a very plain and popular—and yet substantial, argument from Limborch. “The great design of Christ’s coming into the world was, to renew and regenerate men; this is a work worthy of his own immediate hand.” And yet we are told, Jesus baptized not—but his disciples. John 4:2. A plain evidence that he made a distinction between baptism and regeneration. Paul, writing to the Corinthians, says, “I thank God that I have baptized none of you—but Crispus and Gaius.” 1 Corinthians 1:14. But if baptism be regeneration, his meaning must be, I thank God that I regenerated none of you.

But is this cause of thanksgiving? Could he give thanks to God that he had not regenerated any of them? Christ, says he, sent me not to baptize. But can we think Christ did not send the chief of the apostles to promote the great work of regeneration? He elsewhere calls himself their spiritual father, for, says he, in Christ Jesus I have begotten you, through the gospel. 1 Corinthians 4:15. But if baptism is the new birth, he could not have been their father, or begotten them, unless he had baptized them. From which it is evident that Paul made a great difference between baptism and regeneration.”

Therefore, let no man deceive you with vain words. Baptism is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, which you should think highly of; but do not put it out of its place, by substituting it for quite another thing. Believe me, this is not that kind of regeneration which you must be the subjects of, if you would enter into the kingdom of God!

Another thing which I would now leave to your consideration is, whether regeneration, or the new birth, in the sense I have explained it—be not a rational, noble thing? And whether so great a change in a man’s temper and conduct may not emphatically be called a new birth? When a man is born again—the ruins of his nature are repaired, and every noble and divine grace and virtue are implanted in his heart. His heart is made capable of sincere sensations; his understanding has suitable views of the most interesting and sublime objects; and his temper and behavior are rightly formed towards God and man. In short, the base, depraved, earth-born creature—is made an infant-angel! Nay, Peter tells you, he is “made partaker of the divine nature!” 2 Peter 1:4. What a glorious and surprising change is this! Should you see a clod of earth rising from under your feet, and brightening into a sun—it would not be such a glorious a transformation. This change gives a man the very temper of heaven, and prepares him for the enjoyments and employments of that sacred region.

“Therefore, do not be amazed that I told you—that you must be born again!” Do not gaze and wonder at me, as if I told you some strange, new, absurd thing—when I tell you, you must be regenerated in the manner I have explained, if ever you would enter into the kingdom of heaven. Consult your own reason and experience, and they will tell you, that as heaven is the region of perfect holiness, and as you are indisputably corrupted, depraved creatures, you must be so changed, as to be made holy; or, in other words, you must be born again, before you can enjoy the happiness of that holy place!

Or consult the Bible, which you must own to be true—or own yourselves to be the most gross hypocrites in professing the Christian religion; consult your Bible, I say, and you will find the absolute necessity of being born again asserted in the strongest terms. Need I remind you of the solemn asseveration of Christ in my context, “Truly, truly, I say unto you, except a man be born again—he cannot see the kingdom of heaven!” The same blessed lips have assured us, that “Except we be converted, and become as little children, we cannot enter into his kingdom.” Matt, 18:2. Paul speaks in the same strain: “If any man be in Christ,” as we all must be before we can be saved by him, “he is a new creature!” “We are his workmanship,” says he, “created in Christ Jesus to good works!” Ephesians 2:10. “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision—but a new creature.” All external forms of religion, whether Jewish or Christian, are of no avail, without this new creation. Galatians 6:15.

This is also more than intimated in that comprehensive promise of the Old Testament. “I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will place My Spirit within you and cause you to follow My statutes and carefully observe My ordinances!” Ezekiel 36:25-27.

And are not these repeated declarations sufficient to convince you of the necessity of this great change? Will you any more marvel, when you are told that you must be born again? No; rather marvel to hear the contrary! It may indeed astonish you, to be told, that an unholy sinner, without any change—is fit for the presence of a holy God, fit to relish the holy enjoyments of heaven: and capable of being happy in what is directly contrary to his nature. This would be strange, absurd doctrine indeed! and wherever you hear it, you may justly wonder at it, and despise such nonsense!

Now if this is true, that “Except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” then it will follow, that just as many people in this assembly as have been born again—that just so many are in a state of favor with God, and prepared for the happiness of heaven. And, on the other hand, just as many as are unregenerate, that just so many lie dead in sin, under the wrath of God, and liable to everlasting misery. Let each of you particularly admit this conviction: “If I am not born again, I have not the least ground to hope for happiness in my present state!”

Upon this follows another inquiry, of the utmost importance; and that is: Whether you have ever experienced the blessed change of the new birth? Have your views, your dispositions, and your conduct been changed in the manner described? And can you lay claim to those distinguishing characters of a regenerate soul, which have been mentioned? Pause, and think seriously; recollect your past experiences; look into your own hearts; observe the tenor of your practice; and from the whole, endeavor to gather an honest answer to this grand question, “Have I ever been born again?”

If you can answer this in your favor, Peter will tell you the happy consequence; and I shall only desire you to read those most comfortable verses, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ!” 1 Peter 1:3-7

But if, on the other hand, you find that you have never been born again, what is to be done? Must you lie still in that condition? or should you try to get out of it? I am sure my design in endeavoring to let you see your condition, is, that you may escape out of it and be eternally happy; and if you are so kind to yourselves as to concur with me in this design, I hope, through divine grace, we shall succeed. This introduces the next inquiry, namely,

II. Who is the AUTHOR of this divine change, called the new birth?

The change is so great, so noble, and divine, that from thence alone we may infer it can be produced only by divine power. And the nature of man, in its present state, is so corrupt and weak, that it is neither inclined nor able to produce it. The new birth is uniformly ascribed to God in the sacred writings. The regenerate soul is repeatedly said to be born of God; “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man—but of God.” John 1:13. “All things are become new,” says Paul, “and all things (that is, all these new things) are of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:17, 18. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth,” James 1:17-18. The Spirit is repeatedly mentioned as the author of the new birth, in the chapter where my text lies. This may suffice for the truth of so plain a point.

Here then, sinners, you see to whom you must look for this blessing. You can no more regenerate yourselves—than you could beget yourselves at first. And this you must be deeply sensible of. But HE who made you at first—is able to new-make you, and to repair his own workmanship, which you have demolished. And it is he who has actually changed many a heart in our guilty world. Here the next inquiry comes in very seasonably, namely,

III. In what WAY does this divine agent produce this change?

He is pleased to use such a variety, as to circumstances, that I cannot take time to describe them. But as to the substance of the work, which is the same in all—he generally carries it on in the following manner:

The first step is, to convince the sinner of his need of this change, by revealing to him his guilt and danger, and particularly the universal corruption of his nature. He is roused out of a state of stupid security by an affecting view of the holiness of God, of the purity of his law, of the terror of its penalty, of the great evil of sin, and of his own exposedness to the divine displeasure upon the account of it.

Upon this, he becomes sad and serious, uneasy in his mind, and anxious about his spiritual condition. He endeavors to reform his life; he prays, and uses the other means of grace with earnestness unknown before. And when he has gone on in this course for some time, he begins perhaps to flatter himself, that now he is in a safe condition. But alas! he does not yet know the worst of himself!

Therefore the Holy Spirit opens his eyes to see the inward universal corruption of his whole soul, and that a mere outward reformation is far from being a sufficient cure of a disease so inveterate.

Hereupon the awakened sinner betakes himself to the use of the means of grace with redoubled vigor and earnestness, and strives to change the principles of action within. But alas! he finds his heart is a stubborn thing, and altogether unmanageable to him; and after repeated strivings to no purpose, he is effectually convinced of his own inability, and the absolute necessity of the exertion of divine power to make him truly holy. Therefore he lies at the throne of grace, as a poor, anxious, helpless sinner—entirely at God’s mercy, and unable to relieve himself.

It would take up more time than I can allow, to describe the various exercises, the anxious fears, and eager pantings, the strong cries and tears of a soul in this condition! What I have hinted at, may put such of you in mind of them, as have never been the subjects of them.

While the sinner lies in this desponding situation, it pleases God to pity him. Now the important hour is come, when the old man must be crucified; when the divine and immortal principles must be implanted in a heart full of sin; and when the dead sinner must begin to live a holy and divine life! The great God instantaneously changes the whole soul, and gives it a new, a heavenly turn. In short, now is wrought that important change, which I have already described, which is called the new birth, and denominates the man as ‘a new creature’.

Here again you may furnish yourselves with materials for self-examination. If you have been born again, you have thus felt the pangs of a new birth, and seen your guilty, sinful, and dangerous condition in a true light. And can you put your hand upon your heart, and say, “Here is the heart that has been the subject of this operation!”

Hence also may be gathered some helpful DIRECTIONS for such as are in a state of nature, as to how to attain the new birth:

Endeavor to be thoroughly acquainted with the corruption of your nature: it is from this, that the necessity of a new birth proceeds.

Be fully convinced of the indispensable necessity of this change to your salvation.

Break off from and forsake whatever tends to obstruct the new birth; as excessive worldly cares, bad company, and in short, all sin.

Seriously use all the means of grace; as, earnest prayer, attentive hearing of the Word, etc.

Persevere in so doing, until your endeavors are crowned with success. And particularly, do not grow impatient of those anxieties and fears which will at first attend your pursuit.

These short hints may suffice by way of direction, if you are sincerely desirous of being directed. And what do you determine to do? Will you not resolve to seek after this important change, upon which your eternal all depends? Oh! let us part today fully determined upon this—that we will implore the power and mercy of God to create in us clean hearts, and renew within us right spirits.

Harold Camping, the church, and the world

May 25, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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This past Saturday, after months and years of warning people about the Day of Judgment, Harold Camping was proven to be a false teacher. After months of laying out the specific mathematical calculations he used to determine that the rapture would happen on May 21st, 2011; after spending millions of dollars on billboards all across the country (and around the world) warning drivers of their impending doom and having his followers hand out t-shirts and buttons telling people of the rapture to happen, Mr. Camping’s supposed final moments came and went with little fanfare (well, from Mr. Camping anyway). Continue Reading Harold Camping, the church, and the world…

The sound of heresy…

February 16, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I know that it’s been awhile since I wrote something other than the Bible study, newslinks, or Persecution Friday spots. I’ve been kinda busy, but I haven’t forgotten. Something I saw the other day made me have to write this though. It’s going to be a long read, so if you have to take a potty break or get a cup of coffee, do it now…:)

I heard about something the other day that just about made me sick, but I didn’t want to say anything about it until I had some proof from the horse’s mouth. Now I have it and this needs to be put out in the open.

For a long time, I’ve been talking about false teachers and men who call themselves pastors. I see many both locally in my home town, nationally in the U.S., and (unfortunately) they are now spreading to other countries. Not that there weren’t false teachers there already, but the American style of prosperity gospel preachers is sadly reaching into other parts of the world that are just now opening up to real Christianity. It is one of these types of people that I am writing about today. Continue Reading The sound of heresy……

Newslinks 07/18/10

July 18, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Posted in Newslinks | Leave a comment
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Sunday’s Newslinks brought to you by At Ease Tees

PCUSA’s ‘gay’ measures reflect ‘modern paganism’
An Orthodox Church theologian who was invited to greet the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has criticized its approval of non-celibate homosexual clergy.

Zoning restrictions limit feeding homeless
Government bodies are making it difficult for volunteers to provide for the needs of the homeless at public sites or their own facilities, such as churches.

Appeal likely in ‘lunatic’ marriage rulings
Traditional marriage proponents are hopeful an appeal will be filed on federal court rulings in Massachusetts declaring part of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. An attorney with a traditional values legal firm is lambasting the court’s decision.

Transgender seeks millions for ‘distress’
A Maryland man who has made a physical change to the opposite gender has filed a lawsuit against his county for reaping “emotional distress.”

World Evangelical Alliance to Hold 2014 General Assembly in S. Korea
The World Evangelical Alliance will be holding its 2014 General Assembly in South Korea, according to an announcement Saturday. Continue Reading Newslinks 07/18/10…

How did we get here?

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

What makes something Christian?

May 17, 2010 at 6:30 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I have been in a few discussions lately that have completely boggled my mind. While I will readily admit that this isn’t hard to do, it didn’t happen because the depth of the discussion went over my head or because the words being used were too big. This happened basically because of some of the things that self-proclaimed “Christians” said during the discussion. The discussions took place on a page set up for a Christian radio station. If you’ve read my blog on Contemporary Christian Music, then you already know that this discussion didn’t start out good. The main topic of discussion revolved around the recent return to music of Jennifer Knapp.  For those of you that may not know, Jennifer Knapp, a Christian artist who decided to take a 7-year hiatus from music, has made her return to the music scene. Unfortunately, she isn’t the same person she once was. Ms. Knapp has made it known to the entire world that she is a lesbian and has been in a homosexual relationship for a few years now.

This announcement sparked a bit of a dialogue on the radio station’s page. There were questions as to whether or not the station should or would play her music anymore. This is where my adventure began. To me, this is a no brainer. Ms. Knapp, while possibly singing about God before, is no longer living a lifestyle that glorifies God. Because of this, the radio station should no longer play her music. If they did, it would look like the radio station was supporting her lifestyle and could confuse new Christians or mislead people into thinking that homosexuality is supported by the church. Then the discussions began.

A few people started posting how much they loved Ms. Knapp and her music and how “uplifting” it was. They talked about how Christian music isn’t about how many times a song mentions God or Jesus, instead it’s about “the deep emotions, the struggle, the quest to find God, live in God’s word, worship God, and be at peace”. Many of the participants overlooked her sin (because we’ve all sinned) and instead focused on the gift that God has given her and how she should be able to use it for His glory. People were upset that some would “judge” her or her lifestyle because we’re not supposed to do that. Others equated anything said against her as “hate”. They said that we need to “build her up” instead of “tearing her down”.  Others said that pastors, teachers, singers, and preachers should not be held to a higher standard than the rest of us because they face the same temptations that we do (even though it says that they are held to a higher standard by God…). The only time scripture was used in the discussion was when people wanted to remind others that we shouldn’t judge or “throw stones”.  There were even comments about how “one religion is no better than another “and how “all opinions should be respected”…on a CHRISTIAN music station’s page!

All of this got me mad, and then it got me thinking about some things. First, it made me sad that so few Christians seem to have an understanding of even the most basic of Christian doctrines. What exactly is being taught today in the church? Second, it made me think about what makes something Christian? What is it that determines whether or not something is Christian? Today, in churches, on Christian discussion boards, and all over the place, there are people talking about things being Christian; but what makes it Christian. Is it Christian because we decide that it is? What happens if we decide five years from now that it’s no longer Christian, does that mean that it’s not? Should we go by our feelings to determine if something is Christian? What if our feelings change? Is it not Christian anymore? Is the Christian faith built upon such a wishy-washy, flimsy foundation as whims or feelings? NO!

What makes something Christian has nothing to do with how we feel about it, or whether we like it, or even agree with it or not. Something is Christian because God said it is. Please stop and read that again. If something is Christian, it is because God said it is. Here’s what I mean. God Himself has determined what Christianity looks like. Jesus is the complete and perfect embodiment of Christianity. If something claims to be Christian and doesn’t match that embodiment, then it’s not Christian; no matter how strongly we desire it to be otherwise. This goes for people, doctrines, teaching, and everything else. Man has somehow gotten it into his head (I think this first happened in the garden) that he can come to God however he desires and God will be ok with it. He can live his life the way that he wants and give God lip service and things will be just fine. It has become so bad that some “churches” believe that a person can follow the doctrines of Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, or even atheism and still be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. As long as they follow the tenets of their chosen religious system, they are good to go.

Man has been trying this ever since the beginning and it has never worked. God has ordained specific ways that He wants things done and they are to be done that way or they are wrong. In the book of Genesis, God told Adam and Eve that they could eat of any tree in the garden but one. God even told them what would happen to them if they disobeyed. In chapter 3 we see Eve and Adam both thinking that they could disobey God without consequence. They ate the fruit, and they ushered death into the world.  In Leviticus 10, Nadab and Abihu were killed on the spot for offering strange fire. God had laid out for them a specific way that they were to offer incense to Him and when they didn’t do it the way He prescribed, God killed them. In Numbers 20, the people were grumbling about not having water to drink. Moses went to God to seek guidance for what he should do. God told Moses to speak to the rock at Horeb and it would bring forth water. Moses gathered Israel together and then took the rod and struck the rock twice. Because they disobeyed God, both Moses and Aaron were unable to enter the Promised Land. Numerous times in the Old Testament Israel followed after other gods instead of remaining true to the one true God. Because of their disobedience, God punished them with famine, plague, invasion from other countries, and even captivity.

As I said above, God is the one who defines Christianity (not man) and He has chosen to do so through His Son Jesus. God has determined that for someone to be born again, they need to repent of their sins and put their faith in Christ alone for salvation. He has determined that Christians are not to condone sin, immorality, or impurity. They are not to look or act like the world but should be more and more like Christ. They are to be making disciples and preaching the true gospel. They are to be teaching others to observe exactly what Jesus commanded us. Unfortunately, the church tries to imitate the world in a horrible effort to try and lure non-Christians in to church. They seem to think that those people will enjoy the worldliness of the “church” and will stay long enough to hear about Jesus (if they even hear about Him at all). When the non-Christians leave the church (and they will), it will be for one of two reasons. Either the church’s efforts to mimic the world are so bad that they can’t stand to sit there and watch; or, they have been deceived into “making a decision for Christ”, “accepting Jesus into their heart”, or “trying Jesus” and were let down when the promised better life didn’t come. Not only have they not been saved from sin and hell, they are now inoculated against the truth because of their experience.

The entire focus of the Bible revolves around one person…and it’s not you. Or me. It is Jesus. We are to pattern our lives after the scriptures that have been written down for us. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that ALL scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. The scriptures show us exactly how we are to live and not live. It shows us how we are to treat God, others, and even ourselves. It warns us of temptation, sin, pride, wrath, and hell. It encourages us to live lives that are worthy of the gospel. This and more come from scripture and scripture alone. And the church pushes that to the side in order to chase after hollow, “relevant”, worldly endeavors that will mean nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Until the church gets back to the biblical definition of Christianity, it will be filled with squishy, shallow, “feel-good” Christians who build idols of Christianity that suit them and their egos while offering no lasting hope or firm foundation.

False Teachers

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

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

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

What has God done for me?

March 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Many people today, inside and outside the church, have become focused on self. They are all about them and what they can do. They often don’t know or care what God has done for them. Those who aren’t professing Christians can’t see that their very life is a gift from God. Sadly, this affects the gospel. When people don’t understand what God has done for them or why He did it, is cheapens the gospel and lessens the effect the good news can have in a person’s life. When pastors don’t preach the true gospel, the people listening don’t receive what they need to hear to help them understand who God is and what He’s done for them. Continue Reading What has God done for me?…

Newslinks 03/07/10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Investigators Arrest Two in Texas Church Arsons

Iran Arrests Evangelical Leader; Shuts Down Church

Wis. Presbytery Approves Ordination of Openly Gay Man

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

FOTF President Pens Book on Real Strength

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anglicans Propel Vision to Plant 1,000 Churches

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

Top Protestant Bishop in Germany Caught Driving Drunk

Judge Issues Arrest Warrant for Ex-Lesbian Va. Mother

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ecumenical Head: Our Call Is to Carry the Cross

Multi-Site Churches Spreading in Post-Christian Europe

Report: U.S. Foreign Officers Need Religious Education

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

Stephen Baldwin Fan Tries to ‘Restore’ Bankrupt Star

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Campaign Gives Christians Megaphone to Support Gays

NCAA Removes Focus on the Family Ad from Site

Study: Belief in ‘Caring’ God Helps Relieve Depression

Pastor Breaks Islam Code for Christians

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EU Moves to Protect Rights of Persecuted Christians

Lawsuit Settled; 77-Foot Cross to Go Up

Utah Bill Criminalizing Illegal Abortions Sparks Debate

Deceased Man Leaves $1.2M to Salvation Army

Shane Claiborne: Faith Not Excuse to Get into Heaven

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shirley Dobson Dismissed from Lawsuit against National Prayer

Prominent Conservative Unseated in Texas Ed Board

Judge Urges Teen Convert, Muslim Parents to Reconcile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don Wildmon Resigns as AFA Chairman

Anglican Head Defends Uniqueness of Christ

Pastors Reveal ‘Aha!’ Moments in Ministry

Iranian Pastor Has Visible Marks of Torture, Says Wife

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christian Youths ‘Cry Out’ for Persecuted Believers

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

Okla. Schools Closer to Offering Bible Course

Washington Bishop: Religion Is Fault Line in Many Conflicts

UK Churches Campaign for Nuclear-Free World

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

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

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

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

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

Newslinks 01/10/09

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DHS Plans to Catch Only One in Four Travelers Committing ‘Major’ Criminal Violations While Entering U.S. on International Fights in 2010
(CNSNews.com)
– Documents produced by the Department of Homeland Security indicate that in fiscal 2010, the department is planning to catch only 26 percent of travelers committing major criminal violations while seeking to enter the United States through international airports. DHS documents also indicate that the department will fail to screen against law enforcement databases 15 percent of travelers entering the United States in 2010 through all official ports of entry.

Pro-Abortion Advocates Praise Abortionist, Blast Pro-Life Efforts
(CNSNews.com)
— The pro-abortion group NARAL Pro-Choice America is asking visitors to its Web site to cast votes for the person who has done the most for their movement. Nominations include abortionist LeRoy Carhart, who is one of the few to perform late-term abortions in his Nebraska clinic.

Combat-Related U.S. Military Deaths in Afghanistan Double Over Last Year, IEDs Major Cause
(CNSNews.com)
– There were 272 combat-related deaths of U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan in 2009, as this story went to press on Dec. 31. That number is more than double the 135 combat-related deaths in 2008. The majority of the combat-related deaths in 2009 were caused by roadside bombs, also known as improvised explosive devices.

More question legality of Senate healthcare bill
Constitutional historian David Barton says American courts would have to overturn their last 80 years of jurisprudence to uphold the constitutionality of the healthcare bill in Congress.

Senate abortion support may lead to legal battles
Healthcare reform could lead to court battles if the Senate bill becomes law.
Treasury lifts bailout cap
A regulatory policy expert says the Obama administration is pursuing an odd strategy designed to prop up the housing market – make even more bad mortgage loans.
Church votes to split from ELCA over homosexual clergy
The congregation of the First Lutheran Church of Harvey, ND, has cast the first of two votes to split from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

 Prospects rosy for adult stem-cell treatments
The past decade spelled success in research with adult stem cells.

Pray for America Campaigns Kick Off 2010

Rick Warren’s End-of-Year Plea Raises $2.4M for Church

Malaysian Gov’t to Appeal Christian ‘Allah’ Ruling

Obama Returns from Church-Less Christmas Vacation

Montana Becomes 3rd State to OK Doctor-Assisted Suicide

Report Finds Over 1,200 Crimes Against Churches in 2009

U.S. Pastors Encouraged to Join Nat’l Marriage Week Effort

Pastor Chuck Smith to Be Released from Hospital

Ministry Launches Effort to Plant Prayer Rooms Across All U.S. Colleges

Muslim Mob in Pakistan Wounds Christian Family

Obama’s 2010 budget includes ‘poverty traps’
Remember when candidate Barack Obama said he wanted to “spread the wealth around”? One researcher suggests he’s been successful in doing that.

Perspective: The faith of Tebow, the ire of the left
The media’s secular left already dislikes Tim Tebow’s public faith. Think about their reaction if he shows up in a pro-life Super Bowl ad…

A fine line – sex offenders in church
A North Carolina judge has struck down part of a state law restricting activities of registered sex offenders.

NARAL recognition a badge of honor
A national pro-life group views its recent recognition as a distinct honor.

Is Napolitano on the ropes?
Immigration reform proponent William Gheen is calling for the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in the wake of the attempted hijacking of a U.S. airliner Christmas Day. Time to replace Napolitano (commentary by Star Parker)

Car Bomb Explodes Near Iraqi Church; Dozen People Injured

Malaysian Gov’t Appeals Ruling on Christian ‘Allah’ Use

U.K. Teacher Suspended after Offering to Pray for Student

Stephen Baldwin Takes His Faith to the Celebrity Big Brother House

Moody Bible Institute, Michigan Theological Seminary Complete Merger

Homeland Security’s National Operations Center ‘Unable’ to Do Its Job, Inspector General Finds
(CNSNews.com)
– The Homeland Security Department’s National Operations Center (NOC) is “unable” to do its job of ensuring coordination among the 22 federal agencies that make up the Department of Homeland Security and focuses too much on disaster management rather than terrorism prevention, according to its own inspector general. After Hurricane Katrina, “the NOC began to dedicate most of its resources to emergency management rather than terrorism prevention. Many NOC staff contend that this shift in focus is detrimental to NOC intelligence and law enforcement functions,” the report says.

Pro-Life Advocates Plan to Protest Opening of Largest Abortion Clinic in U.S.
(CNSNews.com)
– A coalition of pro-life advocates and religious leaders plans to gather in Houston on Jan. 18 to oppose what is expected to be the largest abortion clinic in the country. Planned Parenthood is renovating a former bank into a 78,000 square foot facility, which will include a surgical wing equipped to provide late-term abortions. “It’s an abortion super center,” one pro-life activist said.

White House to State AGs: No ‘Legitimate Constitutional Concerns’ in Senate Health Care Bill
(CNSNews.com)
– The White House on Tuesday dismissed the concerns of 13 state attorneys general about the constitutionality of a clause in the Senate health care bill that singles out Nebraska for special treatment when it comes to covering the cost of expanding Medicaid coverage. “I have not seen the letter from the attorneys general” but “I do not believe that anybody has legitimate constitutional concerns about the legislation,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Pelosi Pledged to Give Public ‘Ample Amount of Time’ to Read Final Health Bill
(CNSNews.com)
– While Nancy Pelosi is now dodging a request from C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb to open up House-Senate negotiations over the final version of the health-care bill so C-SPAN’s cameras can show them to the public, back in July she pledged she would give the public an “ample amount of time” to read the final bill before brining it to a vote. Listen to her say it.

Democrats and Republicans Oppose Obama Move Giving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Unlimited Funding
(CNSNews.com)
– Democrat and Republican lawmakers alike are blasting the Treasury Department’s Christmas Eve announcement that it will send unlimited tax money to failed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, thereby eliminating the current $400 billion cap on emergency aid that Treasury can give without having to come back to Congress for authorization. This means Treasury can continue to manage the companies, which were seized last year, until the end of President Obama’s current term.

State Department Using ‘Diversity Visas’ to Encourage Immigration to U.S. from Terror-Ridden Yemen
(CNSNews.com)
–The State Department has awarded 1,011 special “diversity visas” allowing Yemeni nationals to immigrate to the United States since 2000, the year of the terror attack on the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden. The “diversity visas” are designed to encourage immigration from countries that do not otherwise send significant numbers of people to the United States.

Control-conscious Dems seek unorthodox route
Congressional Democrats will apparently bypass a conference committee in order to get healthcare reform passed more quickly.

Perspective: Obama and the Vampire Congress
Instead of a promised ethical and transparent administration, Democrats have delivered a creepy legislative environment that could double as a Twilight movie set.

Sour notes – ‘homophobia’ and music ed
The Illinois Family Institute is weighing in on an intriguing article that appeared in the December issue of the Music Educators Journal.

Restrictive home school legislation up for vote
New Hampshire lawmakers are set to vote on a bill that one attorney has described as “the most anti-home school legislation ever conceived” in that state.

Schools agree to end Bible distribution
Public school officials in Wilson County, Tennessee, have agreed to stop distributing Bibles to students during the school day on school grounds.

Persecution List: N. Korea, Iran Top Oppressors of Christians

Churches Called to ‘Do Something’

Southern Baptist Pastor Counters 2012 Doomsday ‘Prophecies’

Orthodox Christmas Marked Amid Protests in Bethlehem

Best Christian Workplaces Announced for 2010

U.S. Embassy in Nigeria Had ‘Major Problems,’ State Department Inspection Found
(CNSNews.com)
– The most recent State Department inspection, conducted in 2002, found that the U.S. consulate in Lagos was “in serious trouble” due to chronic staff shortages, while the U.S. embassy in Abuja relied primarily on junior staff, contract employees, and State Department retirees on temporary assignment to fill “key positions.” The report found that the lack of key staff hampered any and all “substantial progress” at the embassy, preventing it from making improvements in any of its functions.

U.S. Paid for Full-Body Scanners at Nigeria’s Four International Airports in 2007
(CNSNews.com)
– The four international airports in Nigeria are equipped with full-body scanners — the same technology that the United States and other countries are now scrambling to put into place following the attempted bombing of an American airliner on Christmas Day by a Nigerian terrorist. The scanners in Nigeria were paid for by the United States and installed in 2007, according to the State Department’s 2008 Country Reports on Terrorism.

One in Five Gitmo Suspects Returns to Terror, Pentagon Finds
(CNSNews.com)
– A Defense Department spokesman told reporters on Wednesday that Pentagon officials are working to declassify a report showing that almost 20 percent of the prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba are either confirmed or suspected to have engaged in terrorism again. That’s almost double the recidivism rate reported in December 2008.

Less Than One Percent of ‘Known or Suspected Terrorists’ Were Put on ‘No Fly’ List
(CNSNews.com)
– As of one month ago, less than one percent of the people designated as “known or suspected terrorists” by the U.S. government had been put on the “No Fly” list that the Department of Homeland Security uses to screen air travelers, according to data provided to the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Dec. 9.

Man in Charge of Analyzing Terror-Threat Info Did Not Interrupt Ski Vacation After Attempted Airplane Bombing, Report Says
(CNSNews.com)
– President Barack Obama did not interrupt his Hawaiian vacation when a Nigerian man tried to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner over Michigan on Christmas Day, and neither did Michael Leiter, the director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center. Leiter — appointed by President George W. Bush — was mentioned Thursday on cable TV outlets as someone who eventually may be fired as a result of the major security breach.

Ray Stevens’ Song ‘We the People’ Becoming Anthem of Tea Party Movement
(CNSNews.com)
– Grammy Award-winning music artist Ray Stevens has recorded a song that is fast becoming the anthem of the Tea Party Movement.
“We the People” is about Obamacare and the health-care reform bills that have passed both houses of Congress.

Brit Hume: Media Backlash Over His Remarks to Tiger Woods About Christianity Reflects ‘A Double Standard’
(CNSNews.com)
– Fox News analyst Brit Hume said he was “not surprised” by the media backlash over his remark that Tiger Woods look to Christianity for help in redeeming his personal life. Hume says there is a “double-standard” when it comes to speaking publicly about Christianity versus other religions.

Obama appoints transgendered LGBT activist
President Obama has named Amanda Simpson to a post in the Commerce Department, making Simpson perhaps the first-ever transgender appointment in a U.S. presidential administration.

Jesus Christ – ‘two most explosive words,’ says Hume
Fox News analyst Brit Hume says he doesn’t regret urging Tiger Woods to become a Christian so the golfer can find forgiveness for marital infidelity.

Perspective: Sarah Palin – Wrong prescription for America?
The former GOP VP candidate isn’t smart enough to be president, you say? Not articulate enough? Has poor judgment? Don’t get me started…

‘Wrecking ball’ wrong approach to reform
The president of a non-partisan seniors’ advocacy group says two U.S. senators who decided not to seek re-election are the first victims of a senior citizen tsunami.

War on terror primarily a ‘war against young Muslim men’
Terrorism expert Robert Spencer disagrees with the premise of a newly released U.S. government study on homegrown terrorism that contends extremism is contrary to the true teachings of Islam.

Obama Administration Underestimated the Immediate Threat Posed by ‘Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’
(CNSNews.com)
– President Obama and his White House counterterrorism adviser on Thursday accepted responsibility for attempted terror attack on Christmas Day that could have knocked an airliner out of the sky over Michigan. “We didn’t know [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] had progressed to the point of actually launching individuals here,” John Brennan said Thursday. “We knew that they sought to strike the United States and that they were recruiting operatives to do so,” Obama said.

Obama Declares America ‘At War’ with Al Qaeda, Offers New Security Initiatives
(CNSNews.com)
– President Barack Obama is directing all intelligence to be “distributed more rapidly and more widely” among federal agencies; he wants greater integration of intelligence analysis; and he’s order security agencies to immediately add more people to the terrorism watch list, specifically the “no fly” list.

More Independents Choosing ‘Conservative’ in Obama’s First Year, Survey Says
(CNSNews.com)
– According to a compilation of all Gallup political identification surveys from 2009, 40 percent of Americans identified themselves as conservatives, more than the 36 percent who answered moderate and far more than the 21 percent who answered liberal. The percentage of American Independents who identified as conservatives – 35 percent – increased at the fastest rate in 10 years between 2008 and 2009.

Catholic Bishops Launch New Push for Immigration Reform, Pathway to Citizenship
(CNSNews.com)
– The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is launching a new push to get immigration-reform legislation enacted in 2010. The group backs a Democrat-sponsored bill that grants a pathway to citizenship for people who came to this country illegally.

Pelosi ‘crazy,’ ‘very confused’ on church teachings
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent interview with Newsweek Magazine is creating a stir in the pro-life community.

Children best served by mom’s lesbian relationship?
An official with the Illinois Family Institute says it’s outrageous that a judge has permitted a mother to take her children from their dad in order to move in with her lesbian partner.

‘Obama Doctrine’ detrimental to U.S.
National defense analyst Frank Gaffney agrees with the assessment of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich that Americans are less safe than they were a year ago when Barack Obama took office.

Perspective: To profile or not to profile
Observing strange behavior is a legitimate and needed part of law enforcement and airline security. It is not “profiling.”

U.S. missionary’s NK incursion: Publicity stunt?
An advocate for persecuted Christians calls U.S. missionary Robert Park’s incursion into North Korea on Christmas Eve a “publicity stunt” that’s likely to do more harm than good.

N.J. Senate Rejects Same-Sex Marriage Bill

World Vision: Anti-Gay Bill Could Undermine HIV/AIDS Work

Egyptian Police Arrest Suspects in Drive-By Church Shooting

Tetrapod Footprint Discovery Busts Evolutionary Paradigm, Says Biochemist

Christian Retailers Target Mega-Retailers in Federal Probe

California gay marriage opponent fears for his life
An outspoken gay marriage opponent serving as an official litigant defending the state’s ban on same-sex weddings on Friday asked a judge to remove him from the lawsuit because he feared the trial would generate publicity that could endanger him and his family.

Pro-life group scrutinizing Catholic charity
American Life League is challenging the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Churches attacked amid ‘Allah’ dispute
Malaysian officials say attackers have fire-bombed one church and tried to set another ablaze amid a growing conflict over the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.

Fellowship trains to fight slavery
The Polaris Project is bringing the next generation into the anti-slavery and anti-trafficking movement.

U.S. missionary’s NK incursion: Publicity stunt?
An advocate for persecuted Christians calls U.S. missionary Robert Park’s incursion into North Korea on Christmas Eve a “publicity stunt” that’s likely to do more harm than good.

 

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