Monthly Archives: June 2018

From Rev. Franklin Graham no rights for parents in the East Penn Government /Public Schools

Parents in the East Penn School District are up in arms—and rightly so—about being told they can’t see videos that their children were shown without their permission. The videos about homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and “gender fluidity” were selected by the student-led Gay-Straight Alliance and parents weren’t even notified! The school district said it was all part of Unity Week, but parents are concerned that it is part of an agenda to indoctrinate young people and normalize lifestyles that go against what God teaches in His Word. Parental rights are being ignored here. We need Christian men and women running for school boards. If the majority of the school board were Christians, this wouldn’t be an issue.

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Are we close to seeing the Highest Court in the land end legal child killing

John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer review a whirlwind week at the U.S. Supreme Court, where fresh on the heels of the Masterpiece Cake Shop win for Jack Philips, the justices strike down a California law that required pro-life pregnancy care centers to advertise abortion. If all of this wasn’t big enough news, Justice Anthony Kennedy–the court’s longtime “swing vote” who sided with conservatives sometimes and liberals other times, has announced his retirement. This means President Trump will get to nominate a second justice before his second year in office is finished, potentially shifting the ideological balance of the court to the right for a generation.

( Listen to the radio program here.

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Resources

BreakPoint: Justice Kennedy’s Long Awaited Retirement

John Stonestreet BreakPoint June 29, 2018

The Next Big Threat to Religious Freedom

John Stonestreet BreakPoint June 28, 2018

BreakPoint: NIFLA vs. Becerra

Warren Cole Smith BreakPoint June 27, 2018

A pro ball player during a break in the game plays ball with a young fan

https://www.facebook.com/ESPN/videos/2152134978166580/

unChristian: Is Christianity’s Image Hurting Christ’s Image?

Read the commentaries here or listen to an audio of them.

Justice Kennedy’s Long Awaited Retirement What it Means for Life and Religious Freedom

( Download Audio )

The news from the Supreme Court keeps rolling in, and Justice Kennedy’s announcement means we’re looking at a long, heated summer.

Wednesday’s announcement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s long-anticipated retirement has launched the discussion that will dominate the news for the next four or five months.

It’s a discussion Christians should join. After all, there’s so much at stake in who is chosen as his successor. To put it simply, the stakes are much higher with this nomination than they were with Justice Gorsuch replacing the late Antonin Scalia. In that case, the President was replacing one conservative justice with another.

But this time around, Kennedy’s replacement could alter the philosophical balance on the Court. Of course, Justice Kennedy is no “liberal.” He was very often the fifth vote in cases of importance to conservatives, especially in this past term where he voted with conservative justices in all fourteen 5-4 votes.

But he certainly was not conservative in his views on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. He, along with Justices O’Connor and Souter, authored the decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which not only saved Roe but created an entirely new rationale for the right to abortion.

That now-infamous “mystery passage” stated that “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

Four years later, in Romer v. Evans, he wrote that Colorado’s Amendment 2, which prohibited state and local governments from including sexual orientation as a protected class in anti-discrimination laws, could only be based on animus toward LGBT people.

Then in 2003, in Lawrence v. Texas which overturned Texas’s anti-sodomy statute, he wrote that the law “furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the personal and private life of the individual.”

Justice Scalia accurately prophesied at the time that this reasoning opened the door to the creation of a constitutional right to, among other things, same-sex marriage. And twelve years later, Kennedy authored the opinion in Obergefell which overturned state-level definitions of marriage and forced same-sex marriage on all fifty states.

Among other things, Kennedy’s retirement and replacement puts Roe back in play, maybe even in jeopardy. Don’t take my word for it. Check out the New York Times, the Washington Post, and, especially, liberal sites like Slate.

The End of Roe” was the headline on Slate. Mark Joseph Stern, who covers law and the courts for Slate, wrote that “Soon, perhaps within the next two years, the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade.

He added that the Court might not do so officially, at least not initially, but it would chip away at Roe and eventually “allow states to outlaw abortion” altogether.

I say “Amen. From your mouth to God’s ears.” But to my fellow pro-lifers I quote what Han Solo said to Luke Skywalker: “Great kid. Now don’t get cocky!”

You see, Stern’s prediction will only happen if Kennedy’s replacement is actually willing to overturn Roe. I don’t want to be buzzkill but we’ve been down this road before. We may be closer than we’ve ever been, but were not there yet.

And if the Court does overturn Roe, the issue of abortion would most likely be returned to the states. As I said a few weeks ago on BreakPoint, “That’s when the political battle will begin in earnest…”

The prospect of replacing Kennedy with someone who would overturn Roe is welcome news, but the struggle to protect human life continues. Salvation, as Chuck Colson used to say, will not arrive on Air Force One. And it won’t be wearing black robes, either.

Justice Kennedy’s Long Awaited Retirement: What it Means for Life and Religious Freedom

Read more about the crucial selection of a Supreme Court justice by clicking on the links in our Resources section. And pray that our leaders will be guided by God to make the right choice for our nation.

Resources

Making Abortion Unthinkable: Even More Important than Making It Illegal

John Stonestreet | BreakPoint.org | June 11, 2018

Justice Kennedy Retires, and the Legal and Political Ramifications Are Immense

David French | National Review | June 27, 2018

The End of Roe

Mark Joseph Stern | Slate.com | June 27, 2018

Pittsburgh Pirates’ Pitcher Steven Brault Sings National Anthem At PNC Park

— It was a big night for one of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitchers; it just wasn’t on the mound like you’d expect.

( View it here.)

“Christians Hate Homosexuals”

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Evangelical and born-again Christians today have a well-deserved but understandable reputation as anti-gay, but attitudes can go so far as being gay-hating. Balancing conviction about the broader gay agenda and the personal sin of homosexuality with a humble compassion for gay individuals who are made in God’s image is key, especially as we model for younger believers.

The guys in my Bible study group were discussing gay marriage and the upcoming elections. The lively banter stopped when I dropped a bomb. “You know,” I said, “when most non-Christians under thirty-years-old find out we’re evangelicals, we may as well be wearing a sandwich board emblazoned with ‘God hates gays.’” I’d been reading unChristian, and it was sobering.

According to the authors, if we’re raising kids to “shun their peers who are ‘different,’ we are actually limiting their . . . spiritual influence” and may lead them to question their own faith.{6} Why? Because they’ll probably have friends who identify as gay and other sexual identities. As Probe colleague Kerby Anderson says, “One of the biggest challenges for churches and individual Christians who reach out to homosexuals is keeping two principles in proper tension: biblical convictions and biblical compassion.”{7}

    If a certain brand of sin is disgusting to us, why should that get in the way of communicating the love of a forgiving God? We need to keep in mind that all sin is disgusting to God, even our pet sins.

https://probe.org/unchristian-is-christianitys-image-hurting-christs-image/#hate )

Believers need Grace but so do non believers

Audio 

 

unChristian documents a heavy bias against Christians as hypocritical, a charge which is in part true, admit many. But it’s also an unavoidable reality of a grace-based religion, which if explained, goes a long way towards mitigating the charge and explaining the gospel message.

One overwhelming opinion among the survey group is that Christians are hypocrites and this keeps people away from church.

In fact, the survey on which the book is based reveals blatant legalism among believers, that the top priority of born-again Christians is, “doing the right thing, being good, and not sinning.” This do-your-best value topped biblical values like “relationships, evangelism, service and family faith.” In another survey, four out of five churchgoers said that “the Christian life is well described as, ‘trying hard to do what God commands’.” {2} Such a primary focus on lifestyle and sin-management as a measure of spirituality leads to what they call a “false pretense of holiness,” that is, hypocrisy.{3}It’s often like we Christians are living for others’ approval and forgetting about grace.

This isn’t lost on younger generations. “Like it or not, the term ‘hypocritical’ has become fused with young peoples’ experience of Christianity,” say the authors.{4} Eighty-five percent of “outsiders” and half of young churchgoerssay so. The book offers story after painful story of sometimes breathtaking hypocrisy based on lengthy interviews. This adds weight to the conclusions drawn by Kinnaman and Lyons. The research was not simply based on surveys (quantitative) but also on in-depth interviews (qualitative).

There may be a silver lining here. The charge of hypocrisy offers a handy starting point for turning around negative perceptions and explaining grace. Pastor and author Tim Keller admits that we Christians actually are often hypocritical and need to be humble about it. Unrepentant hypocrites don’t admit mistakes, so we immediately challenge a perception by owning up to it.

But the other unavoidable fact is that non-Christians assume we are tryingto live like Jesus to get into heaven, like the good-works motivation of other religions and cults. So, when they find out we’re not perfect people, they critique us as hypocrites. In contrast, an old saying captures the biblical worldview: “The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.”{5} Unbelievers simply cannot understand this; we have to be patient with that, says Keller.

You could respond to the accusation of hypocrisy like this: “I have a relationship with Christ not because I’m good but precisely because I am not good. He rescued me from myself and the ruin I was causing. But He’s changing me. I’m still a mess, but I’m God’s mess.”

( Read this whole commentary,  https://probe.org/unchristian-is-christianitys-image-hurting-christs-image/#hypocritical .)

Suicide

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Mention celebrity suicides and you immediately think of Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, and Kate Spade. Talk about teen suicides and you think of the lost potential of young people. After all, it is the third leading cause of death among 10-24-year-olds.

Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” We should take comfort in that verse, but also be the hands and feet of Jesus to reach out to those who are crushed and broken-hearted.

Parents also have an important role to play. Asking your child about suicide does not cause suicidal behavior, but can provide a caring and empathetic conversation that might save his or her life. They should look for warning signs. One study found that four out of five teen suicide attempts were preceded by clear warning signs.

( Read the full commentary.)

Paul, Apostle of Christ

Movie review