Author Topic: Christian family - family and home topics  (Read 439468 times)

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[Cfamily]United Methodists Vote to Keep Traditional Marriage Stance
« Reply #1184 on: March 02, 2019, 12:00:16 AM »

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United Methodists Vote to Keep Traditional Marriage Stance

The UMC’s increasingly global delegation outweighs US push to shift LGBT positions, leading some progressive congregations to leave.

After days of passionate debate, deliberation, and prayer—and years of tension—the United Methodist Church (UMC) voted Tuesday to maintain its traditional stance against same-sex marriage and non-celibate gay clergy, bolstered by a growing conservative contingent from Africa.

The denomination’s “Traditional Plan” passed, with 438 votes in favor and 384 against (53% to 47%), in the final hours of a special UMC conference held this week in St. Louis to address the issue of human sexuality.

The decision leaves a sizable, vocal opposition, ensuring the exit of many progressive pastors and churches from the largest mainline Protestant body in America. After the final vote, protesters began chanting “no” and “stop the harm” through the rest of the session until the conference ended over an hour later.

The Traditional Plan preserves existing UMC positions and adds further accountability measures for those who violate them by performing same-sex ceremonies or ordaining gay clergy.

It was not the outcome many Americans, including most UMC bishops, had been praying for. In the States, a large portion of Methodists wanted to see the church accommodate LGBT ceremonies and clergy, as other mainline denominations have done in recent years. One poll through Mainstream UMC reported at least two-thirds of US delegates supported the more-inclusive “One Church Plan” instead.

But the growing global presence among the 12 million-member denomination held more sway. Methodists from outside the US, who favor more traditional positions on sexuality, made up 41 percent of the general conference’s 864 delegates. A full 30 percent were from Africa.

“This session of the [general ...

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[Cfamily]One-on-One with Russell Jeung on Emerging Adults in the Church
« Reply #1185 on: March 03, 2019, 12:00:15 AM »
One-on-One with Russell Jeung on Emerging Adults in the Church

“This generation is less likely to affiliate with established religious groupings than previous ones, even if they do have a sense of spirituality.”

Ed: How would you describe the state of Christianity and the church among emerging adults—18 to 29-year-olds—today? What are their biggest questions, concerns, or motivations?

Russell: According to the Pew Research Center, over 50 percent of emerging adults identify as not religious. Three out of ten emerging adults are neither spiritual nor religious, and 22 percent are spiritual but not religious. That means that this generation is less likely to affiliate with established religious groupings than previous ones, even if they do have a sense of spirituality.

This trend towards non-religiosity and non-affiliation should be alarming to the Christian church, especially in terms of the corporate character of the faith. As Americans become hyper-individualized, it will see further declines in church participation and attendance, baptisms, member financial giving, and missions.

A key factor shaping this disaffiliation from Christianity is that emerging adults see that it has become too tied to partisan politics. Since this generation has high values for social justice, diversity, and environmental sustainability, they are looking for movements and groups that support these concerns in concrete ways.

Another trend affecting this group is technology and social media. Because they have more options than before that cater to their individual tastes and interests, they become more consumer-driven in how they spend their time. Churches must adapt and respond to this shift in order to draw in non-Christians and to serve their emerging adult membership.

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[Cfamily]Dear Jesus, I Am a Sinner
« Reply #1186 on: March 04, 2019, 12:00:11 AM »
Dear Jesus, I Am a Sinner

Every time I lead a person to repeat those words, I am saying them to God on my own behalf.

I’ve led thousands of people in the sweet “repeat after me” sinner’s prayer: “Dear Jesus, I am a sinner.”

What the person praying with me doesn’t know is that every timeI lead a person to repeat those words, I am saying them to God on my own behalf. I am a sinner. No kidding, I really am—a really real sinner in utter, desperate need of God’s love and forgiveness.

Paul knew this too: “…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost” (1 Titus 1:15). The word for foremost in the Greek can mean ‘chief,’ or ‘worst’, but I don’t believe that is what Paul actually meant. Paul knew that he was a great sinner, a persecutor of Christians—even playing a part in murder!

He was a great sinner, but every time Paul uses this specific word, protos, he uses it to mean “first in time or rank.” Paul and all followers of Jesus are actually a new breed of sinner, a sinner now sinning in an age where freedom from sin is possible because of Jesus. We are like slaves who have been set free from the tyranny of an awful slave master only to return to do that master’s bidding again.

All of humanity is lost in the depravity of a soul sickness so pervasive that nothing on this side of heaven can save us or make us well. We are all sinners, but the Christ follower has been set free from the power of a depraved, soul-sickened heart. That is what makes my sin against God so terrible.

I sin while I’m free not to. This is what Paul meant by saying he was the chief, or the worst. I don’t know why this surprises me so often. I can go for some time without actually ‘feeling’ my inner ...

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[Cfamily]Should ISIS Brides Be Treated Like the Prodigal Son?
« Reply #1187 on: March 05, 2019, 12:00:16 AM »
Should ISIS Brides Be Treated Like the Prodigal Son?

N. T. Wright suggests Jesus would disagree with the British government. Christian scholars in UK, US, and Middle East weigh in.

N. T. Wright, the esteemed theologian and former Anglican bishop, recently offered brief reflections on the case of Shamima Begum—the British teen now seeking to return home after joining ISIS in 2015—in a letter to the editor of The Times of London.

He wrote that “as a tax payer” he couldn’t fault a previous writer who warned against letting Begum come back, but “as a Christian I cannot help reflecting that if Jesus had thought like that he would never have told the parable of the Prodigal Son, which neatly marks out his teaching both from Islam and from the cold logic of secularism.”

Like Begum, American Hoda Muthana also left her home in Alabama to become an ISIS bride. Both face major government resistance as they seek to leave Syria, with the UK revoking Begum’s citizenship and the US refusing to admit Muthana, saying she never was entitled to citizenship in the first place.

CT asked scholars from the UK, US, and the Middle East: Does Jesus’ memorable parable of forgiveness inform how we treat prodigal daughters who once signed up for a jihadist group? Their answers appear below, arranged from yes to no.

Gary M. Burge, visiting professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary:

There is no doubt that two reflexes are in order when a country considers repatriating a young woman such as Begum who joined ISIS in Syria. A citizenry needs to be aware of the character of Begum’s involvement and consider if she presents a danger. But certainly, a quick-reflex rejection of her return is impulsive and reactive. We also have to wonder if there is an anti-Islamic attitude here. One might wonder if an Irish-American had once joined the IRA in the 1980s, would we have ...

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Offline John

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Re: Christian family - family and home topics
« Reply #1188 on: March 05, 2019, 02:56:07 PM »
On marriage they gain the nationality of their husband and should accompany them to their national home.

One point about the Prodigal Son. He returned home saying I was wrong, I am sorry. None of these isis brides have renounced islam or isis.


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Willow Creek Investigation: Allegations Against Bill Hybels Are Credible

Independent Advisory Group releases report backing claims of pastor's “sexually inappropriate words and actions.”

An independent investigation has concluded that the sexual harassment allegations that led to Bill Hybels’s resignation last year are credible, based on a six-month investigation into the claims against the senior pastor and into Willow Creek Community Church (WCCC) and the Willow Creek Association (WCA).

The newly released 17-page report places the blame for such incidents on Hybels himself and not the broader culture at either organization, though it concludes that both the church and the association could benefit from more thorough written policies to address inappropriate behavior.

After fielding calls, conducting interviews, and reviewing forensics IT findings, the four-person Independent Advisory Group (IAG) investigating Hybels and Willow Creek found that the “collective testimony” of “allegations of sexually inappropriate words and actions” by the now-retired megachurch pastor proved reliable and would have been sufficient reason for church discipline had Hybels not left the church.

A series of allegations against the 67-year-old evangelical visionary became public in a report by the Chicago Tribune last March, where a group of former Willow Creek pastors and staff accused Hybels of a pattern of sexual harassment and misconduct, including suggestive remarks, invitations to his hotel rooms, prolonged hugs, and an unwanted kiss.

Hybels and Willow Creek initially rebutted the claims; eventually, as more women came forward, Hybels resigned, the church launched an investigation, and his successors and church elders stepped down last year as well.

The report into Hybels and the culture at WCCC and WCA was released this week through the church, six months after the team (Jo Anne Lyon, general superintendent ...

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[Cfamily]Did Trump and Kim’s Summit Help North Korean Christians?
« Reply #1190 on: March 07, 2019, 12:00:17 AM »
Did Trump and Kim’s Summit Help North Korean Christians?

Experts analyze the impact on? persecuted believers after the two polemic leaders walk away without a deal.

On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump referred to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un as “his friend.”

At extreme odds a year ago, the two leaders met this week in Hanoi, Vietnam, with a new agreement possibly on the table. This time, Trump made friendly overtures to Kim—even going so far as to say he believed the leader had not been directly responsible for the death of an American student. But when the summit ended on Thursday, Trump walked away after the US refused to agree to North Korea’s demand that all sanctions be lifted off the country.

For years, North Korea has been one of the world’s worst countries to be a Christian; Open Doors has ranked it No. 1 for nearly the past two decades. Dozens of volunteers and employees from the many Christian nonprofits that serve North Koreans—believers and unbelievers alike—have had increasing difficulty serving the beleaguered population.

CT asked six experts from the Lausanne Movement’s North Korea Committee, which held consultations before and after the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, to weigh in. Did Trump and Kim’s summit help North Korean Christians? Their answers appear below, arranged from no to yes.

Ben Torrey, director, the Fourth River Project:

My hope is that, as a result of the Hanoi Summit, the existing regional travel restriction that is preventing US citizens from traveling to the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] will be lifted allowing Christian NGOs and humanitarian workers to enter the country. These workers are doing a great deal to help the ordinary people of the DPRK in the name of Jesus Christ. The US-imposed travel restriction interferes seriously with that mission.

I do not think the summit ...

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[Cfamily]Why We Need a Church Planting Manifesto
« Reply #1191 on: March 08, 2019, 12:00:11 AM »
Why We Need a Church Planting Manifesto

The Send Institute has formulated a manifesto to serve as a rallying point for God’s church to effectively honor him in his kingdom advance.

We make statements every day. Most are quite unassuming—small facts needed to navigate life, maintain a healthy marriage, or keep our jobs. Other times we make greater claims. We pledge lifelong marital fidelity, we affirm oaths of national allegiance, or we attest to our salvation in Christ through baptism. These greater claims have life-altering implications.

Great claims are made in public—providing accountability to those making the claims as well as openly declaring a deep resolve to embody the very substance that the claims articulate. Great claims become a public declaration of personal participation in a reality that transcends other obligations. It drives a stake in the ground, avowing what we truly believe and how that belief will affect our behavior.

Our day is one in which almost anyone can make bombastic, public pronouncements regarding any big issue from the comfort of their favorite coffee shop. With a few smartphone keystrokes, we can broadly pontificate about politics, theological preferences, sexual ethics, race relations, or any other topic that draws our ire or interest.

The downside to such access is that it’s difficult to discern credibility amid the innumerable capricious voices raging on any given subject. Many who hear the public cacophony either resolve to listen to those voices that correspond to their predispositions or they grow disheartened by the contradictory array of “truth” being purported – and back away altogether.

That’s why we at the Send Institute thought it wise to make a public statement regarding the mission of church planting in North America. Our day is complex, and many boldly declare prescriptions of what we should or should not be doing.

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Source: Why We Need a Church Planting Manifesto

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