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[Cfamily]Jesus, Deliver Us from This Racist Evil Age
« Reply #1360 on: August 13, 2019, 07:21:38 AM »

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Jesus, Deliver Us from This Racist Evil Age

We believe in a Savior who redeems, a Spirit who reconciles, and a gospel that is the antithesis of white supremacy.

On August 3, 2019, a shooter entered a Walmart shopping center in El Paso, Texas, and murdered 22 image-bearers and injured dozens of others. According to news reports, the gunman was a white supremacist, and he is rightly being identified as a domestic terrorist.

This massacre marks the latest overt example of white supremacist terror in the US. The shooter allegedly wrote an online racist “manifesto” in which he refers to Latino/a immigrants as invaders into Texas who could only be stopped by deadly force. The shooter’s statement castigates immigration, making racist verbal attacks about “the heavy Hispanic population” in Texas. Of the 22 he murdered, news sources reveal that the terrorist targeted Hispanics and killed eight Mexican image-bearers.

Recent attacks like this one remind us that racism is a reality. With the rise of 21st-century hate crimes over the past several years, racism enflames the souls of those who allow the embers to burn. Racism will always be a matter of life and death for any image-bearer adjudicated by the racist as an enemy of the state.

Certainly, legislation and policies are important responses to the dangers posed by racism and white supremacy. However, for Bible-believing Christians and our churches, the gospel of Jesus Christ gives us a supernatural weapon by which to take all racist ideologies and actions captive in Christ.

The gospel of Jesus Christ can help Christians, with ears to hear, courageously speak in love the truth against racism and white supremacy. Through the power of the Spirit, the gospel can help Christians, with willing hearts, engage in the spiritual battle against racism and white supremacy, even when doing so is unpopular.

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Why Southern Baptists’ Social Justice Spat Is Actually About the Sufficiency of Scripture

The Founders documentary trailer uncovers a larger disagreement over how to approach secular theories around race and gender.

Fallout over a controversial documentary trailer rebuking an alleged social justice agenda within the Southern Baptist Convention marks the latest flashpoint in ongoing clashes over how the denomination should engage ideologies they see as contrary to Scripture.

Founders Ministries, a Calvinist-oriented Southern Baptist group, announced August 1 that three of its six board members had resigned over objections to the trailer for a forthcoming documentary titled By What Standard? Addressing recent debates over racial justice and women’s roles, the documentary alleges “wavering” commitment “to the authority and sufficiency” of the Bible among some Southern Baptists, the ministry said.

Two of the outgoing board members—Tom Hicks and Fred Malone—said in statements that they agree with the issues raised in the documentary but believe the trailer, which featured clips from the SBC annual meeting in June, conflated the problems with the denomination’s efforts to confront sexual abuse. (Initially, the four-minute trailer included an image of sexual abuse survivor and victim advocate Rachael Denhollander. After complaints, her clip was removed.)

The other resigning board member, Jon English Lee, did not release a statement.

Over the past year, two additional Founders board members had resigned, but the ministry’s president Tom Ascol said neither cited theological or philosophical differences among his reasons for departing.

At least three interviewees to be featured in the documentary—seminary president Daniel Akin, pastor Mark Dever, and author Jonathan Leeman—asked to be removed from the film over “concerns about what the tone, tenor, and content of the full documentary ...

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The Great Century of Missions Ended Over a Century Ago: Will Our Age Be the Great Century of Omission?

The People of God must boldly proclaim the gospel message both here and abroad.

People seem to be responding to the topic of missions or missionary work in one of a few ways today.

More recently, our culture has begun to see missions as a controversial reality. We saw this with John Chau and the aftermath of his journey to reach unreached people groups living in territory under the possession of India.

Chau’s story (including news of his death) was broadcasted all over the world. It was fascinating to see how the world responded to this incident in contrast to the news of Jim Elliott and his companion’s death so many decades ago. Elliott was heralded as a hero and had his story spread across the front cover of LIFE magazine.

He and those who journeyed with him to Ecuador spawned the growth of a whole new generation of young people eager to follow in their footsteps and reach unreached people groups with the gospel.

With Chau, the situation had been quite the opposite. Instead of heralded for his courage and sacrifice, the media took a much more critical approach.

Differences for Sure

As a missiologist, I aware that Chau could have changed some aspects of his approach. That’s easy to second guess at this point. But, for the most part, Chau was not the ‘crazed’ and irresponsible adventurer that the media portrayed him as.

He did have many supporters—including the mission’s agency, All Nations, that sent him. They say that he spent time in careful consideration of the risks he was taking in journeying to this tribe and clearly desired to make a positive impact for the kingdom through his work.

Despite this and other cases made in Chau’s defense, our culture has largely remained unimpressed. In fact, they are quite convinced that the idea of going to the other side ...

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[Cfamily]The ‘Jeykll and Hyde’ Church: The Long Journey Back to Our Mission
« Reply #1363 on: August 16, 2019, 07:33:02 AM »
The ‘Jeykll and Hyde’ Church: The Long Journey Back to Our Mission

Why does it seem the church is unable to be who she is called to be?

Nearly 135 years ago, British missionary C.T. Studd traveled to China to share the gospel message with those who had never heard. His spirit was both a reflection of the fervor of God’s people for millennia and also a forerunner for us today as we rediscover anew what the gospel looks like in today’s ever-evolving culture.

Studd was onto a critical mindset when he explained, “Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell, but I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.” This, I am convinced, must be our heart cry if we are to show and share the love of Jesus with any kind of authenticity, integrity, and humility today.

As editor of The Exchange, I confess I have laid my head in my hands more often than I can count as I have scanned news reports of church failings. So too I have shed tears over the atrocities such as pornography, child exploitation and bullying that have casted a very long shadow over a land that is covered by the beauty of God.

Why does it seem the church is unable to be who she is called to be—to rise above the horrors around us and to proclaim goodness and presence to any and all who will hear? Why do we remain silent, too often so affixed to our own selves that we have lost the awe of our mission, of our God?

Torn between…what?

This is not new. For as long as humanity has existed, we have failed God. We have stumbled in our mission and led people astray. We have clutched our fists so tightly around our beliefs that we’ve become impotent in loving those unlike us. For this, we always and continually lament.

But for as long as humanity has existed, we have also pleased God. We have stumbled our way to seeking after him and following him. We have ...

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[Cfamily]How Devotional Poetry Unlocks the Bible's Surprises
« Reply #1364 on: August 17, 2019, 07:08:03 AM »
How Devotional Poetry Unlocks the Bible's Surprises

A new anthology helps us see the “saints and stumblers” of Scripture with fresh eyes.

During Sunday worship at my Anglican church, a lector reads aloud from the Old Testament, the Psalms, and the Epistles. The climactic moment occurs when a priest carries the Bible above his head from the altar to the nave, where he reads the Gospel. This liturgical gesture communicates two things: first, that the enfleshed Word of God came into the world and dwelt among us (John 1:14); second, that the inscribed Word of God places the church under its authority (John 12:47–50). Before the Gospel is read, parishioners make the sign of the cross on their foreheads, lips, and hearts, signifying that we should live “on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). The bread of the Word precedes the bread of the Table; together, they form the meal to nourish faith.

As I watch the procession for the Gospel reading, I am gently chastened. For a lifelong creature of the church, there is always a danger of rising above the Bible through familiarity and study instead of responding  under the Bible through awe and obedience. Nodding to a line of verse from the poet George Herbert, let me ask: With “Bibles laid open,” how can God’s people encounter its “millions of surprises?” Devotional poetry is a vital way to become surprised by the Word again because it awakens the mind’s attention from what Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge calls “the lethargy of custom,” directing it “to the loveliness and the wonders” of God’s self-revelation. All poetry has the potential to freshen the eyes, alert the ears, and prick the heart, but devotional poetry is set apart for its ability to inspire reverence toward the miracle of divine speech that confronts ...

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[Cfamily]Bibles Escape Trump’s Tariff Fight with China
« Reply #1365 on: August 18, 2019, 07:27:39 AM »
Bibles Escape Trump’s Tariff Fight with China

America’s Christian publishers no longer have to render to Caesar an extra 10 percent.

The Good Book got good news from the Trump administration today: America’s Bibles—most of which are printed in China and imported to the United States—are now exempt from the burgeoning trade war between the two nations.

With a 10-percent hike on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods looming next month, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) posted two long lists of items: one of imports from China that will become subject to tariffs on September 1, and one of imports whose proposed tariffs will now be delayed until December 15.

It also noted that “certain products are being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security, and other factors.”

Missing from both lists: Bibles.

“Bibles and other religious literature are among the items removed from the tariff list and will not face additional tariffs of 10 percent,” USTR confirmed to CT.

The news came as a relief to Christian publishers in the US, who warned this summer that the “Bible tax” would make some translations too costly to produce. China is the world’s largest Bible publisher, thanks to Nanjing-based Amity Press which has printed almost 200 million since 1988 in partnership with the United Bible Societies.

For example, the publishing arm of America’s largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), spends 31 percent of its total printing costs in China.

“For the past several months, there has been great concern among the Christian publishing community that our important work would be threatened by proposed tariff schedules,” Ben Mandrell, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, told CT. “Today's announcement by [USTR] has ...

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[Cfamily]Methodists Cancel Plans for First Big Meeting Outside US
« Reply #1366 on: August 19, 2019, 07:13:13 AM »
Methodists Cancel Plans for First Big Meeting Outside US

The UMC has decided to relocate its 2024 General Conference from Manila, Philippines.

The United Methodist Church has scrapped plans for its first General Conference meeting outside the United States.

The global denomination had been planning to hold the 2024 meeting of its decision-making body in Manila, capital of the Philippines.

But plans for a meeting there, first announced in 2015, are now off.

Sara Hotchkiss, business manager for the Commission on General Conference, said organizers could not find convention space available for two full weeks to host the gathering of United Methodists from around the world.

So the General Conference will be held elsewhere.

“No one has done anything wrong, or there's no reason not to go. It's just simply when we did a bid process, the facilities needed for the length of our conference were not available,” Hotchkiss said.

The business manager said the commission, which chooses the locations for and plans the denomination's quadrennial meeting, had not received any bids from facilities it had contacted during the bid process to host the meeting.

Those bids were due in early July, she said.

Bishop Rodolfo Alfonso “Rudy” Juan of the Davao Area in the southern Philippines — the commission member who initially had invited the General Conference to the Philippines — told the United Methodist News Service (UMNS) the decision made him “sad.”

“I spoke passionately about my disappointment in this decision,” Juan said. “I did not support the cancellation, but I respect the decision.”

Finances and the “current climate in the church” did not play a role in that decision, the Gary George, secretary of the commission, said in the UMNS report.

The United Methodist Church is the second-largest Protestant ...

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[Cfamily]The Power of Biblical Hospitality
« Reply #1367 on: August 20, 2019, 07:53:12 AM »
The Power of Biblical Hospitality

Four characteristics that distinguish biblical hospitality from merely entertaining guests.

We all like to be entertained. An entire global industry has emerged to satisfy our longing to be amused, to somehow lift us out of the drudgery and doldrums of our ordinary lives. We take it in with reckless abandon, fully expecting to be transported to someplace better, someplace different. And just like any other idol, the gods of entertainment leave us feeling more unsatisfied, desperate, and empty than ever.

So, we’re not very good at being entertained. But how are we as the entertainer?

Entertaining guests is a cultural concept with various regional expressions, few of which translate into biblical hospitality. More recently across North America, “hospitality” is often reduced to a split check at a mutually suitable restaurant.

We may go so far as to invite someone over for dinner, but we tend to do so with those who look like us, talk like us, believe like us, and act like us. And before we even consider having these friends around, we’ll carefully engineer our homes and shape and polish our personas to communicate the best version of who we are—or at least the image that we hope to project.

But despite our cultural norms being increasingly bent toward a regaling spectacle, biblical hospitality and entertainment are not co-equal siblings. They’re really not even second cousins. In fact, they may be sourced from two opposing realms.

True hospitality is a cultural expression of other-oriented kingdom living. It transcends regional expectations of gourmet performance and focuses its energies on the blessing of honest and sincere relationships. It isn’t concerned with projecting an image of manicured lives devoid of stress, mess, and chaos. Instead, biblical hospitality flips the camera ...

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