Saturday, July 5, 2014

All Around the Web - July 5, 2014

Canon and Culture - Ladies, Don’t be Fooled: Women Won in the Hobby Lobby Case
“This is the scariest thing the Court has ever done,” emailed a friend to me yesterday. Understandably, women’s hearts are beating fast and our heads are spinning with confusion due to uproars declaring a heightened “war on women” in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius decisions.

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold citizens’ First Amendment right to live and work according to our moral convictions should not scare women. What should frighten us is the deceptive and potentially harmful misinformation so-called “progressive” voices within pro-abortion lobby groups, mainstream media, and, most disappointingly, from some within the Church are feeding us.

Lending to the “war on women” outcry yesterday was Cecil Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. According to Huffington Post, Richards stated, “Today, the Supreme Court ruled against American women and families giving bosses the right to discriminate against women and deny their employees access to birth control coverage.”

First, let us quickly debunk Richards’ misleading sentiments by clarifying that women are not denied access to birth control coverage. In fact, Hobby Lobby and Constenaga wood are willing to provide 16 out of the 20 forms of contraception dictated by the Obama Administration’s invasive Health and Human Services mandate. The point of contention arose when the Southern Baptist Green family and Mennonite Wood family declined to pay for abortion-inducing emergency contraception, including Plan B, Plan B One-Step, Next Choice, and Ella.

John MacArthur - The Apparent Paradox of Sanctification

The quietist says, “Do nothing.”

The pietist says, “Do everything.”

In Philippians 2:12–13, Paul presents the appropriate resolution between the two. He makes no effort to rationally harmonize the believer’s part and God’s part in sanctification. He is content with the paradox and simply states both truths, saying on the one hand, sanctification is of believers (Philippians 2:12), and on the other hand, it is of God (Philippians 2:13).

The truth is that sanctification is God’s work, but He performs it through the diligent self-discipline and righteous pursuits of His people, not in spite of them. God’s sovereign work does not absolve believers from the need for obedience; it means their obedience is itself a Spirit-empowered work of God.

Today there is an intense debate within the church about this vital issue. The stakes are high—your view of sanctification informs and directs how you understand your new nature in Christ, how you evangelize others, pursue godliness, govern your heart and mind, how you raise and discipline your children, and how you understand and follow God’s commands in Scripture. For pastors and church leaders, your position on this issue will determine how you preach and teach, how you give counsel to troubled hearts, and how you engage in church discipline.

Neither quietism nor pietism represents the biblical path of sanctification. Both are spiritual ditches to steer clear of—they will impede your spiritual progress, and potentially obstruct it altogether.
In the days ahead, we’re going to examine the model of sanctification Paul presents in Philippians 2, and explore the dual realities of God’s sovereign work and man’s responsibility.

Adrian Warnock - VIDEO: Michael L Brown and Matthew Vine debate: Can you be a Gay Christian?

Thom Rainer - Six Symptoms of a Dysfunctional Church
  1. Severe theological errors are pervasive in the church. I’m not referring to differences over minute matters of eschatology. These errors to which I refer were denials of the essential truths of the Christian faith. In some cases, leadership no longer held to the exclusivity of salvation through Christ.
  2. The church is known as a “pastor-eater.” The congregation often terminated pastors on a regular basis. At the very least, pastors felt the pressure to leave. Short pastoral tenure was thus normative.
  3. The congregation experiences severe conflict. Any group will eventually have some level of conflict: families; fellow employees; students; and churches. But dysfunctional churches take conflicts to a new level, often resulting in emotional outbursts by members and leaders.
  4. Hardly anyone in the community knows the church exists. One of the simple steps I take in many consultations is to visit businesses within about a mile radius of the church. I ask them for directions to the church. If no one has ever heard of the church in that close proximity, I know something is wrong.
  5. The church is declining while the community is growing. An example works better here. Suppose your church has declined in worship attendance by 3% the past two years. Now suppose the community in which the church is located has grown by 4% the past two years. The contrast between the two growth rates is stark, a symptom of a dysfunctional church.
  6. The church is “family owned and family operated.” One particular family, even if it’s an extended family, makes all the decisions in the church. Nothing gets done without the nod of typically the patriarch or matriarch of the family. The church exists largely to meet the needs of one family.

Entertainment Weekly - First look: Christian Bale as Moses in Ridley Scott's 'Exodus'
Thou Shall Not Attempt to Outdo Charlton Heston. Okay, so that’s not an official Hollywood commandment, but the prospect of taking on the role of Moses in Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings (in theaters Dec. 12) did give Christian Bale pause. “Charlton Heston does Charlton Heston better than anyone,” says Bale. “But the biblical account of Moses is extraordinary, and there was lots of room for us to go to places that [Heston’s movie] The Ten Commandments never dreamed of going.” (Bale’s biggest stipulation before signing on? “No fake beards,” he says with a laugh.)

A pivotal figure in the Old Testament, Moses was a prophet who fought against Pharaoh Ramses to free 600,000 slaves, whom he then led through the desert to escape from Egypt and its 10 deadly plagues. (Along the way he parted the Red Sea and unveiled the Ten Commandments.) But the biblical journey was even more epic than the director remembered. “What I thought I knew about Moses I didn’t really,” Scott says. “Either I wasn’t paying attention in Sunday school or I had forgotten. I was knocked out by who he was and the basics of the story—it has to be one of the greatest adventures and spiritual experiences that could ever have been.”

Explaining colors to a blind man

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