Monthly Archives: November 2017

Sexual Harassment And The Need For Good Reporting

We all have to be aware that victims of sexual abuse, assault and harassment are legion, and that each story about a new victim or victimizer potentially impacts all survivors. We know that stories on spouses who flee domestic abuse, for example, routinely inspire other victims to seek help and shelter. That’s why careful media coverage of the recent spate of stories matters so much.

 

We also have to recall, however, that false allegations do happen. The late Cardinal Bernadin of Chicago’s Catholic Archdiocese was wrongly accused of molestation by a young man who later recanted his terrible charge. The Duke Lacrosse Team was unjustly prosecuted. Rolling Stone infamously defamed a University of Virginia fraternity over an alleged gang rape that did not happen.

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The Point: Where is Our Faith?

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 Our hope lies elsewhere. For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

As I said recently on BreakPoint, Christians can’t be selective about holding our leaders accountable for improprieties.

Ignoring or dismissing misconduct by a leader who’s “on our side,” shows a lack of faith. No election can alter the rock-solid truth that Christ is risen, Christ is Lord, and He will restore all things.

In a recent WORLD Magazine article, Marvin Olasky rightly said that “if we act (selectively)… as feminists acted toward Bill Clinton, we need to think about the message we’re sending our children: Some are concluding that conservative evangelicals care more about political power than anything else . . . what if we win an election but lose a generation?”

Olasky concludes, “More important than any particular election, more important even than our cultural direction, is the gospel . . . Our goal should be to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, not to abandon central Biblical principles regarding women’s worth, or to glorify a politician and win a Senate seat.”

Amen to that.

Resources


The Roy Moore moment 

  • Marvin Olasky | WORLD magazine | December 9, 2017

If Roy Moore cares about his faith he should drop out of the US Senate Race

The accusations against Roy Moore are credible and Moore should step down. If he continues to maintain his innocence, he should still step down so he can fight to clear his name, for the good of his state, for the success of his party, and to end the embarrassment he is causing evangelicals.

Now, what Moore is credibly accused of is horrific. Christians need to avoid even the appearance of ambivalence towards sexual assault and child molestation. The world is watching and the gospel demands us take a stand against such sin and to stand with the victims.

That should be, and has been for me and many others, our primary focus.

Yet, in addition, as an evangelical and a researcher, that damage to evangelical reputation also needs some fair-minded discussion.

The Backdrop

Just this past Sunday, Kayla Moore, wife of U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, shared a letter on her Facebook page signed by 53 Alabama pastors wishing to pledge their support for his candidacy. In the letter, the signees told of their confidence in Moore’s character—namely, his love of God’s word, care for others, and defender of just causes.

Last night, Sojourners shared an article entitled “More Than 50 Pastors Sign Letter of Support for Roy Moore” and alongside it, they simply tweeted “Forgive us, Lord.”

But why? Why does Sojourners want us to repent?

The Narrative

Since the release of this letter, countless news outlets have jumped at the chance to cast criticism on these pastors. These critiques worsened after a recent Alabama state pollasked evangelicals in Alabama how the recent allegations affect their willingness to vote for Moore in the upcoming election; 37% of evangelicals said they were more likely to support him.

In light of these results, recent article titles have included “Alabama Evangelicals More Likely to Support Roy Moore After Sexual Assault Allegations” in Newsweek and “Roy Moore’s Supporters Stand by Their Candidate, Despite Sexual Assault Allegations” in The New Yorker. All seem to be insinuating the same thing: Christians now prefer Moore as a candidate because of the recent accusations.

So, in other words, the implication is that these pastors (some of whom have now stated that they did not agree to this or any statement after these allegations surfaced) and those responding to a poll are doing so knowing he molested a child, something he denies.

Many are convinced—and now try to convince others—that Christians are somehow not bothered by a politician and U.S. Senate candidate engaging in child molestation.

But is this really the best reading of the situation and the data?

History Reveals Something Similar

Turns out, we’ve seen similar patterns.

In examining the Democratic reaction to President Clinton’s affair (and long accusations of harassment and more), it is important to recognize that it was not that Democrats likedthe notion of sexual indiscretions of their President. Rather, they doubted the accusations (at first), trusted in his denials over his accusers, and resolved to continue their support of him as a leader and party member.

At a more base level, many endured in their support in part due to their belief that a “vast right-wing conspiracy” had come against Bill Clinton. Democrats’ support for Clinton and approval of his leadership was still much higher than both Republican and Independent support even after the news of his involvement with Monica Lewinsky broke loose in the late 1990s.

Were they all supportive of a 49-year-old president’s sexual involvement with his 22-year-old intern? I never assumed so.

 

However, when people feel someone is unjustly attacked, they double down. This is in part why the biggest scandals in American political history have never been able to substantively kill party loyalty.

( Read this whole column, Roy Moore’s Evangelicals May Say More about You than the Actual Data )

Those who honor me, I will honor


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Mike is a follower of Jesus Christ, and he’s an executive with a large printing company founded on Christian principles. They had worked for two years to land this contract with a major publisher, and they got it. Mike told me about the day when their new client brought in their first job. It was exciting until he saw what it was about. It was all about horoscopes. Mike looked at his Sales Manager who had worked with him so hard to sign up this big company. Then he slid the manuscript back across the desk and said to his client, “I’m very sorry, but we can’t print this. See, we try to run our business by the Bible, and this would go against what the Bible says.”

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  • faith
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LESSONS IN LEVITICUS

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The Point: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

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Charlie Brown didn’t get much right, but Charles Schulz did. For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

We’ve all seen “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” in which Charlie Brown messes up the Christmas play and Linus reminds everyone what Christmas is all about.

Another of my favorites is “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” Poor Chuck’s friends show up expecting a feast, but he and Snoopy serve them jelly beans and popcorn.

Thankfully, Linus is there again to tell the true story of Thanksgiving.

But it’s Marcie who reminds Charlie Brown that the Pilgrims at Plymouth didn’t come to dinner expecting to receive something. They were there to commemorate what they’d already received—life, provision, and friendship with the Wampanoags.

We’re better off today than they were, yet many of us will sit around the Thanksgiving table grumbling and fighting about politics. If Linus and Marcie were thankful for Charlie Brown’s leftover Halloween candy, can’t we take one day to thank God for our blessings?

Hopefully you won’t have jelly beans and popcorn for dinner, but I do hope you enjoy some Peanuts this Thanksgiving.

BreakPoint: Thanksgiving 2017 Squanto and the Providence of God

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Hi, I’m John Stonestreet. Today, we want to share a classic Chuck Colson BreakPoint commentary on Thanksgiving, Squanto and the providence of God.

Chuck Colson: Most of us know the story of the first Thanksgiving; at least we know the Pilgrim version. But how many of us know the Indian viewpoint?

No, I’m not talking about some revisionist, politically correct version of history. I’m talking about the amazing story of the way God used an Indian named Squanto as a special instrument of His providence.

Historical accounts of Squanto’s life vary, but historians believe that around 1608, more than a decade before the Pilgrims arrived, a group of English traders sailed to what is today Plymouth, Massachusetts. When the trusting Wampanoag Indians came out to trade, the traders took them prisoner, transported them to Spain, and sold them into slavery. It was an unimaginable horror.

But God had an amazing plan for one of the captured Indians, a boy named Squanto.

Squanto was bought by a well-meaning Spanish monk, who treated him well and taught him the Christian faith. Squanto eventually made his way to England and worked in the stables of a man named John Slaney. Slaney sympathized with Squanto’s desire to return home, and he promised to put the Indian on the first vessel bound for America.

It wasn’t until 1619, ten years after Squanto was first kidnapped, that a ship was found. Finally, after a decade of exile and heartbreak, Squanto was on his way home.

But when he arrived in Massachusetts, more heartbreak awaited him. An epidemic had wiped out Squanto’s entire village.

We can only imagine what must have gone through Squanto’s mind. Why had God allowed him to return home, against all odds, only to find his loved ones dead?

A year later, the answer came. A shipload of English families arrived and settled on the very land once occupied by Squanto’s people. Squanto went to meet them, greeting the startled Pilgrims in English.

According to the diary of Pilgrim Governor William Bradford, Squanto “became a special instrument sent of God for [our] good . . . He showed [us] how to plant [our] corn, where to take fish and to procure other commodities . . . and was also [our] pilot to bring [us] to unknown places for [our] profit, and never left [us] till he died.”

When Squanto lay dying of fever, Bradford wrote that their Indian friend “desir[ed] the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven.” Squanto bequeathed his possessions to the Pilgrims “as remembrances of his love.”

Who but God could so miraculously convert a lonely Indian and then use him to save a struggling band of Englishmen? It is reminiscent of the biblical story of Joseph, who was also sold into slavery, and whom God likewise used as a special instrument for good.

Squanto’s life story is remarkable, and we ought to make sure our children learn about it. Sadly, most books about Squanto omit references to his Christian faith. But I’m delighted to say that my friend Eric Metaxas has written a wonderful children’s book called “Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving.” I highly recommend it because it will teach your kids about the “special instrument sent of God,” who changed the course of American history.

How great to hear again from Chuck Colson. I know that I and my colleagues at BreakPoint are so thankful to God for all that He accomplished through Chuck’s life.

And this Thanksgiving on behalf of Chuck and Eric Metaxas, I want you, our BreakPoint listeners, to also know how thankful to God we are for you—for all the encouraging words, and prayer and financial support you’ve provided this ministry over the years. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

And before I go today, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that my friend Eric Metaxas wrote a great children’s book about Squanto called Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving. We have it for you at the BreakPoint bookstore online.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

 

(This commentary originally aired November 26, 2015.)

 

Thanksgiving 2017: Squanto and the Providence of God

Get your copy of Eric’s book “Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving,” available at the online bookstore.

Resources

The Miracle of Squanto’s Path to Plymouth

  • Eric Metaxas
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  • Wall Street Journal
  •  

  • November 25, 2015
 
Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving

  • Eric Metaxas
  •  

  • Thomas Nelson Publishers
  • August 2012

The Point: What Prayer Is. . . and Isn’t

 

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What about unanswered prayer? For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

In the wake of the shootings in Las Vegas and Southerland Springs, Christians prayed, but quite a few atheists decided that mockery was the best response.

“The murdered victims were in a church,” tweeted one popular atheist. “If prayers did anything, they’d still be alive…”

Prayer-shaming is vile, as I said recently on BreakPoint, but what about those unanswered prayers? Don’t these atheists have a point?

Well, no. Prayer isn’t a magic spell, and God isn’t a genie. We can’t make Him do whatever we want Him to do.

Prayer is a conversation with our Heavenly Father. He wants to hear from us, and He promises good for us, but He doesn’t promise to give us anything we want or to prevent everything bad from happening to us.

In fact, the best Man who ever lived once asked God in a garden, to “remove this cup from me…nevertheless, not my will but yours be done.”

The Father heard His Son’s prayer. But thank God He answered it in His time and His way.

BreakPoint: Scandals, Politics and Faith In Whom Do We Trust

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For Christians, selectively holding our political and prospective leaders to high moral standards reveals in us an unsettling lack of faith.

The past few months have been dominated by an endless parade of revelations about the sexual misconduct and predations of powerful men. From Hollywood to New York and from Minnesota to Alabama, and just about everywhere else in between, the depths to which fallen human nature can sink have been laid bare.

While these revelations are dismaying, they aren’t, or at least shouldn’t be, surprising. But what is both dismaying and surprising is the willingness of too many people to deny, excuse, overlook, and even dismiss wrongdoing when it’s committed by someone on “their team.”

Thus, one elected official, whose Christianity is well-attested, told the press that she was “troubled” by the accusation of sexual misconduct against her party’s candidate and that she “certainly had no reason to disbelieve” the candidate’s accusers. And yet she announced her intention to vote for that candidate because, in her words, “the United States Senate needs to have in my opinion, a majority of Republican votes to carry the day.”

It’s difficult to see what distinguishes this sort of reasoning from Gloria Steinem’s infamous defense of President Clintontwo decades ago. Steinem urged feminists to defend Clinton because he was “vital” to “preserving reproductive freedom.”

Steinem concluded by writing “What if President Clinton lied under oath about [his sexual misconduct]?  . . . There seems to be sympathy for keeping private sexual behavior private.” To do otherwise, Steinem concluded, “will disqualify energy and talent the country needs.”

Now someone who disagreed with that kind of rationalizing back then and would, I’m confident, disagree now, was Chuck Colson.

At the height of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandals, he called the sympathy Steinem alluded to “completely wrong-headed.” He went on to say that “In a democracy, character and leadership are inseparable.”

He then told the story of how George Washington defused a potential mutiny by unpaid Continental Army veterans. Meeting with his officers and urging them to give Congress more time, Washington paused to put on his glasses, and said “Gentlemen, you must pardon me. I have grown gray in your service and now find myself going blind.” The soldiers began to weep. Mutiny was averted.

As Thomas Jefferson later wrote, “the moderation and virtue of a single [man] probably prevented this Revolution from being closed, as most others have been, by a subversion of that liberty it was intended to establish.”

As Chuck said, “What the Founders understood is that character is the first requirement of leadership,” because “a nation whose leaders do not lead through their own example of virtue and character cannot inspire sacrifice for the common good.”

One of the things I respect most about Chuck is that he did not apply these principles selectively. Those of us who knew him are aware of the pain that he felt when prominent Christian elected officials, some whom he regarded as sons, succumbed to temptation and saw their moral failings exposed in humiliating fashion.

Chuck stood by his friends but he never excused their actions. He told them that they needed to resign their office and get their lives in order. Character wasn’t a partisan issue for him.

Based on recent events, it’s reasonable to wonder if the same thing is true of us. Now let me be clear; due process is due to the accused.  However, too many are justifying the well-documented 180-degree turn Christians have done on the importance of character in public office by appealing to some overriding, political concern.

But if it was wrong 20 years ago, it’s wrong today. And it’s a terrible witness.

In the end, where do we place our trust? We do not have to sacrifice our principles or our witness on the altar of political expedience—precisely because of the ultimate Truth we believe in and live for: that Christ is risen, that He is Lord. And that He ultimately will restore all things. No election can ever change that.

 

 

Scandals, Politics and Faith: In Whom Do We Trust? 

As John, and Chuck, have reiterated, the character of our elected officials matters, no matter what their political party. When our leaders demonstrate virtue and integrity in their personal as well as public lives, they provide an example for future generations.

 

Resources

Washington’s Spectacles: Why Character Matters

  • Chuck Colson | BreakPoint.org | February 24, 1998
The Conviction to Lead

  • Albert Mohler | Bethany House Publishers | October 2014
Redefining Leadership: Character Driven Habits of Effective Leaders

  • Joseph Stowell | Zondervan Publishing | March 2017

When you hear, or see North Korea in the news you should be called to pray not to the spirit of fear

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