Billboards claim ‘Jesus is Muslim’

Posted by    |    April 1st, 2014 at 11:45 am

'Jesus is Muslim' billboard in Columbus, Ohio (Credit: Billboards in Columbus, Ohio state “Jesus is Muslim,” “Mohammed is in the Bible,” and “Muslims love Jesus too.”  They were paid for by a local Muslim group whose website is “dedicated to educating you about Islam.”

Their billboards claim nothing new.  Muslims the world over believe that Jesus was a Muslim, and in fact view him as one of their six key prophets (Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad).  And they believe that Muhammad was prophesied several times in Scripture (especially Deuteronomy 18:18, where God tells Moses he will “raise up for them a prophet like you”).

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Church is not important: 51% of U.S. adults say

Posted by    |    March 31st, 2014 at 11:45 am

Americans Divided on the Importance of Church - Sacred Roots: Why the Church Still Matters (Credit: Barna Group) What helps you grow in your faith?  The Barna Group, a Christian polling organization, asked American adults that question.  They listed prayer, family, friends, reading the Bible, even having children.  But going to church did not crack the top-10 list.

Half of us (49 percent) say church attendance is “somewhat” or “very” important, but half (51 percent) say it is “not too” or “not at all” important.  The younger we are, the worse the numbers get.  Only two in 10 adults under the age of 30 believe church is important; more than a third take an anti-church stance.

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March Madness: Why Baylor has already won

Posted by    |    March 28th, 2014 at 11:45 am

Baylor gets a boost from Kenny Chery, who delivers in overtime with 12 of his 20 points (Credit: USA Today Sports Images) REVISION: We thought Baylor played Friday night when writing this Cultural Commentary.  We have revised the essay below to reflect the fact thay they played Thursday night, and apologize for the error.

As March Madness continues, Baylor played last night for a chance to continue in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.  The Bears had already gone further than most expected.  Though they lost to Wisconsin, they have already achieved what matters most, in athletics and in life.

FOX Sports Southwest headlined the story: “Baylor’s ‘extraordinary’ season has left lives changed.”  It begins with the Bears’ loss to Kansas last February 4, their seventh defeat in eight games.  Head coach Scott Drew stopped one of the team chaplains after the game and said, “We may not win another game this year, and I may be a horrible coach, but if any of these guys leave without knowing Christ, that will be the real loss.”

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World Vision board reverses same-sex marriage stand

Posted by    |    March 26th, 2014 at 10:00 pm

World Vision headquarters in Federal Way, Wash. (Credit: AP/Ed S. Warren)World Vision U.S., one of the largest benevolent ministries in the world, made global headlines this week with its decision to begin hiring employees engaged in legal same-sex marriages.  Now the board has reversed its position.

Here is how its open letter begins: “Today, the World Vision U.S. board publicly reversed its recent decision to change our employment conduct policy.  The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman.”

Why the reversal?  “We failed to be consistent with World Vision U.S.’s commitment to the traditional understanding of Biblical marriage and our own Statement of Faith, which says, ‘We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.’  And we also failed to seek enough counsel from our own Christian partners.  As a result, we made a change to our conduct policy that was not consistent with our Statement of Faith and our commitment to the sanctity of marriage” (their italics).

I believe the Lord is pleased with the board’s decision, and with the way it was communicated with the world.  Here’s why.

First, the board has reaffirmed its commitment to biblical authority.  Scripture and 20 centuries of Christian faith and practice consistently teach marriage to be a covenant between a man and a woman.  World Vision has now returned to this historic, orthodox theological position.

Second, the board has initiated reconciliation within the body of Christ.  Jesus taught us: “if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go.  First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).  The board sought such reconciliation with fellow believers: “We have listened to you and want to say thank you and to humbly ask for your forgiveness.”

Third, the board has reaffirmed its original intent to demonstrate grace to all persons, whatever their sexual orientation: “While World Vision U.S. stands firmly on the biblical view of marriage, we strongly affirm that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are created by God and are to be loved and treated with dignity and respect.”  This was the spirit of Jesus to all people, and should be ours as well.

God redeems all he allows.  One way he would redeem the World Vision reversal is to use it as a model for Christian fellowship.  What if more believers were this willing to admit a mistake and initiate reconciliation?  In announcing the board’s earlier position, President Richard Stearns hoped their action would “inspire unity” within the body of Christ.  Today’s response to the body’s concerns may well foster even greater unity around the authority of Scripture and the Spirit of Jesus.

To God be the glory.

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World Vision’s same-sex marriage stand: what does God think?

Posted by    |    March 26th, 2014 at 11:45 am

Richard Stearns, president, World Vision U.S. (Credit: World Vision) UPDATE: On the afternoon of Wednesday March 26th, 2014, World Vision reversed its decision to make changes to their employment conduct policy regarding same-sex marriage.  Click here to read more.

World Vision is one of the world’s largest benevolent organizations, and has been extremely effective in serving the poor around the world.  Now, according to President Richard Stearns’ letter to their employees, their board has chosen “to allow a Christian in a legal same-sex marriage to be employed at World Vision.”  What does God think about this decision?  Consider four biblical principles.

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Why the Hobby Lobby case is so significant

Posted by    |    March 25th, 2014 at 11:45 am

Hobby Lobby President Steve Green and his mother Barbara Green stand outside the federal courthouse in Oklahoma City on Friday, July 19, 2013. (Credit: The Oklahoman/Brianna Bailey) Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.  In question is whether for-profit religious employers can be forced to provide abortion-causing drugs to their employees.  Other writers offer introductions to the arguments; I’m focusing this morning on an even more fundamental issue illustrated by these cases.

Let’s begin with Damon Linker’s fascinating new essay in The Week: “Why churches should brace for a mass exodus of the faithful.” 

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Bill Gates explains his faith

Posted by    |    March 24th, 2014 at 11:45 am

Bill Gates, Microsoft Chairman and Co-Chair and Trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, takes part in a panel discussion titled ''Investing in African Prosperity'' at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California May 1, 2013 (Credit: Reuters/Ruelas) Bill Gates is the richest man in the world, with a net worth of $76 billion.  He is usually listed among celebrity atheists or agnostics, due to statements such as this claim in 1997: “In terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient.  There’s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.”  That quote got him included among “27 Celebrities You Probably Didn’t Know Are Atheists.”

However, Gates is now involved in his local Catholic church.  In an interview for the current issue of Rolling Stone, he says, “The moral systems of religion, I think, are super important.  We’ve raised our kids in a religious way; they’ve gone to the Catholic church that Melinda goes to and I participate in.”  Gates is not yet what we might call a committed disciple: “I think it makes sense to believe in God, but exactly what decision in your life you make differently because of it, I don’t know.”  However, despite his theological reservations, his religious beliefs have clearly evolved in the direction of God.

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