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GOP Tax Reform Recognizes Unborn Babies as Beneficiaries
« Reply #704 on: November 07, 2017, 12:00:56 AM »

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GOP Tax Reform Recognizes Unborn Babies as Beneficiaries

Conservative Christians respond also to proposed changes on adoption credits and pulpit politics.


Taxes are more commonly associated with death than life, but the long-awaited Republican tax bill includes a new provision celebrated by expectant pro-life parents for recognizing their belief that life begins at conception.


Under the proposed reform plan released this week, “nothing shall prevent an unborn child from being treated as a designated beneficiary” of a 529 college savings account, GOP lawmakers wrote.


Pro-life advocates see the move as federal acknowledgement of a baby’s life prior to its birth. (Under the current tax code, a person must have a Social Security number in order to be a 529 beneficiary, and babies are not assigned a number until after they are born.)


Christian pro-life leaders disagreed somewhat over the extent to which the language furthers the pro-life cause; March for Life president Jeanne Mancini called it a “huge leap forward for an antiquated tax code,” while Susan B. Anthony List spokesperson Mallory Quigley said it’s a “a small increment in the momentum that we’re building to ensure that one day every child is welcomed and protected under the law.”


Mancini also said, “We hope this is the first step in expanding the child tax credit to include unborn children.”


March for Life Action said that the change was not something the group had lobbied for. Pro-choice groups including NARAL Pro-Choice America criticized the move as ideologically driven, backwards, and nonsensical.


CBN reported that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) also recently acknowledged life in the womb in its strategic plan starting in 2018, which states that HHS “accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum ...

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http://www.lifenews.com/2017/11/03/gop-tax-plan-recognizes-unborn-children-are-human-beings-from-conception/
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/02/gop-tax-bill-abortion-rights-college-savings-244486?cid=apn
http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/november/tax-reform-unborn-529s-adoption-johnson-amendment.html
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Researchers: Faith Helps Mass Shooting Survivors
« Reply #705 on: November 08, 2017, 12:00:58 AM »
Researchers: Faith Helps Mass Shooting Survivors

Psychologists find support from community and trust in God make a measurable impact.


No one expects their church to become the target of an attack—especially not the kind of spare-no-one shooting that took place Sunday at a Southern Baptist church in rural Texas.


A gunman shot nearly 50 worshipers, 26 fatally—a figure that nears the total attendance at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs many weeks. For survivors and their neighbors, it’s the kind of unimaginable tragedy that will change their small single-stoplight town forever.


However, recent research around mass shootings indicates that people of faith, particularly those who receive support from their churches and religious communities, fare better in their recovery.


“Finding comfort in one’s faith and faith community is particularly important to helping mass shooting survivors hold onto hope amidst such horrible tragedies,” said Jamie Aten, executive director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) at Wheaton College. “Now is the time for First Baptist Church and surrounding churches to gather, pray, and lament in community.”


The first in-depth empirical studies examining faith and mass shootings—which HDI presented during the American Psychological Association convention last year—found that faith communities that rally together in the wake of a mass shooting make a measurable difference in the lives of survivors.


After a mass shooting, people who felt supported by their religious communities ultimately experienced fewer symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and their faith didn’t suffer as much.


The research—which studied recovery efforts from shootings over the past two years in Orlando, Dallas, and Roseburg, Oregon—is currently under ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/W2Qjgf75u2A/after-mass-shootings-faith-helps-most-sutherland-texas.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/79624.png?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/november/mass-shooting-sutherland-springs-first-baptist-church-texas.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/november/after-mass-shootings-faith-helps-most-sutherland-texas.html
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One-on-One with Daniel Treier on the Updated Evangelical Dictionary of Theology
« Reply #706 on: November 09, 2017, 12:00:56 AM »
One-on-One with Daniel Treier on the Updated Evangelical Dictionary of Theology

First published in the 1950s, the last major revision was in the 1980s.


Ed: Why produce another edition of this classic dictionary now?


Daniel Treier: The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology began its life as the Baker Dictionary of Theology in the 1950s. Walter Elwell produced a massively revised and expanded version in 1984, and then a smaller-scale revision in 2001. Every other decade counts as a half generation or so, and that makes it time for another update.


Our goal was to maintain the central evangelical perspective, the readability, and the comprehensiveness of the prior editions while diversifying the contributor list, addressing contemporary topics, and making sure that articles were up to date in light of recent scholarship.


In important respects, evangelical theology should not really change; yet dictionaries that seek to reflect evangelical scholarship need updating in order to articulate that theology for the current situation. For instance, the prior editions had no articles on either technology or Islam.


Ed: What are the distinctive features of this new edition?


Treier: Most importantly, almost half of the new authors contribute female, ethnic minority, and/or Majority World perspectives, so we have more fully reflected the diversity of Christ’s global body in this edition.


Second, we have replaced major articles, especially on the church fathers and on key doctrines, to keep them current, and we have introduced contemporary topics as noted above.


Third, we have focused a bit more on theology but somewhat reducing the size. The coverage of biblical theology and the history of Christianity remains substantial, but a little more focused.


Fourth, we have updated the bibliographies. I confess that I was initially unsure about whether to include them, or how to do so in a way that would ...

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http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/79634.png?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/november/one-on-one-with-daniel-treier-on-updated-evangelical-dictio.html
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Church Security: How Do We Keep Our Churches Safe in a World Where Evil Is Present?

As we think through how to keep our people safe, we remember that our hope is secure in God.


The shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs continues to shock the nation. As stories of the victims begin to filter out into the news, our heartbreak is compounded by the contrast between their faith and the violence, hate, and cowardice of the act.


In my article for CNN, I called for the body of Christ to persist in prayer and to take seriously our call to humbly seek solutions to this kind of violence. We must reject our inclination to retrench behind the superficial political talking points parroted in these times and ask what we—as the Church of Jesus Christ—can and should do to keep those that bear his image safe from this violence.


In response to the article, I received many questions from churches asking what they can do to protect their people. I can empathize with their situation, as I’ve actually had a security incident at a church that got dangerous. I imagine I’m not the only one.


While there is comfort in knowing that the faithful gathering of believers endures despite this act and will continue this Sunday around the United States, the tragedy in Texas presents a pressing need facing ministry leaders. In light of this past weekend, churches across the country will begin thinking and praying through security for their upcoming service—painfully aware that, on any given Sunday, it could be them facing this situation.


While I have experience in consulting in church security, I have always tried to connect churches with experts in the field of security who can give recommendations out of their weight of experience and training.


So, in trying to help pastors, my team reached out to security professionals both in and out of the church to ask how we can think through questions ...

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http://www.ssfb.net/
http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/06/opinions/how-christians-should-respond-to-texas-shooting-stetzer-opinion/index.html
http://kdvr.com/2017/11/05/local-churches-reconsider-security-measures-following-texas-mass-shooting/
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/november/church-security-how-do-we-keep-our-people-safe-in-world-whe.html
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When Combat Trauma Tests a Marriage
« Reply #708 on: November 11, 2017, 12:01:03 AM »
When Combat Trauma Tests a Marriage

PTSD impacts not just veterans but their spouses and children too. How can the church help military families heal?


“I feel like a silent warrior,” a fellow military wife told me. “I don’t want people to think badly of him. They have no idea what he’s been through. But they also have no idea what I’m going through.”


Though she felt isolated, this military spouse was far from alone. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) disability claims by military veterans have soared to over 940,000 cases. More concerning is the fact that many veterans are unlikely to speak up about their symptoms due to fear of being viewed as weak or experiencing negative repercussions in their military career. Spouses often fear that speaking out to others about PTSD-related struggles at home may permanently sever an already strained marriage. Though this military wife had sought my advice as a counselor, she could not have anticipated how deeply I understood.


As the wife of a soldier who served for three years in Iraq, I had wrongly assumed that because my husband was so strong, he would somehow be immune to the toll war would take. He shared only tiny glimpses of war with me at first: describing car bombs targeting mosques and the pandemonium that ensued or what it was like watching hysterical family members search for loved ones in piles of charred bodies that included women and children. The sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of horror and helplessness he experienced mingled to form memories that would stay with him indefinitely. He was just 22 years old.


Over the years, he shared even less with me. I would question how he earned awards, including a Bronze Star, and he would give vague answers to dismiss my questions. He’d share bits occasionally, but he mostly sought to forget—and to protect me from—the ...

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http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/79513.jpg?w=460
https://www.armytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2017/07/25/ptsd-disability-claims-by-vets-tripled-in-the-last-decade/
http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2017/november/ptsd-combat-trauma-tests-marriage-veterans-military-family.html
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Evangelical Distinctives in the 21st Century
« Reply #709 on: November 12, 2017, 12:00:59 AM »
Evangelical Distinctives in the 21st Century

The first in a series on the meaning and place of a historic movement.


The evangelical faith is going through another of its spasms of critical self-reflection. Every week, it seems another prominent person claims that “evangelicalism is in crisis” or that they no longer want to be identified with the word evangelical.


This sort of thing happens when some evangelicals do something scandalous in the eyes of another part of the movement. In the recent past, many were disturbed by the televangelist scandals of Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and others. Over the last year, many American evangelicals have been aghast at other evangelicals’ support for Donald Trump and their general political conservatism. Meanwhile, the movement has seen increased division over racial reconciliation and sexual ethics.


There is nothing new under the sun. I remember my days at evangelical Fuller Theological Seminary in the mid-1970s, deciding that evangelical had no real meaning other than a code word for some that meant “real Christian.” After 50 years in the movement, I’ve come to believe it really does mean something. But like many realities we can’t define with absolute precision (gender differences, happiness, time, consciousness), the reality exists.


This series of essays will try to describe the hard-to-pin-down reality that is evangelical faith as it has expressed itself throughout history and today across the globe. It has been and continues to be an extraordinary phenomenon of God, changing not only individual lives but the trajectory of nations. Like all great movements, it is subject to misunderstanding and mischaracterization. Because of the way the media covers it, the larger public today tends to think of it as primarily a political movement with a religious veneer. ...

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33% of Protestant Churchgoers Don’t Know Billy Graham’s Ministry
« Reply #710 on: November 13, 2017, 12:00:57 AM »
33% of Protestant Churchgoers Don’t Know Billy Graham’s Ministry

For the rest, here’s how they’ve interacted with the legendary 99-year-old evangelist.


In the fall of 1949, a little-known Baptist preacher launched a series of revival meetings at a “canvas cathedral” at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Hill Street in Los Angeles.


The meetings were supposed to last three weeks. Instead, they continued for eight weeks, drawing more than 300,000 people and making Billy Graham a household name.


Nearly 70 years later, the 99-year-old evangelist remains one of the best-known preachers in America, according to a survey from Nashville-based LifeWay Research.


Half of Protestant churchgoers in America (48%) have seen one of his sermons on television, while 1 in 10 (11%) attended one of his revivals, known as crusades.


If you go to a Protestant church, chances are you know of Billy Graham, said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research. “We’d be hard-pressed to find another American Christian leader who has that kind of name recognition.”


The survey of 1,000 churchgoers—those who attend a Protestant or nondenominational church at least once a month—found Graham has had widespread influence.


Two-thirds of those surveyed have had contact with his ministry, including:



     
  • 48% have watched a Billy Graham sermon on television

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  • 18% have listened to one of his sermons on the radio

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  • 15% have read one of his books

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  • 14% have read a Billy Graham newspaper column

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  • 11% have attended a Billy Graham crusade

  •  
  • 8% have watched a Billy Graham sermon online





Among churchgoers with evangelical beliefs:



     
  • 54% have watched a Billy Graham sermon on television

  •  
  • 23% have listened to one of his sermons on the radio

  •  
  • 19% have read one of his books

  •  
  • 18% have read a Billy Graham newspaper column

  •  
  • 14% have attended a Billy Graham crusade

  •  
  • 10% have watched a Billy Graham sermon online


A third ...

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Source: 33% of Protestant Churchgoers Don’t Know Billy Graham’s Ministry

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/4XC_lAU44gs/protestant-churchgoers-billy-graham-crusades-sermons-books.html
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http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2015/november/what-is-evangelical-new-definition-nae-lifeway-research.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/november/protestant-churchgoers-billy-graham-crusades-sermons-books.html
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Adoption Tax Credit Saved by Both House and Senate
« Reply #711 on: November 14, 2017, 12:01:04 AM »
Adoption Tax Credit Saved by Both House and Senate

Republicans heed evangelical outcry on tax reform.


A popular tax credit for adoptive families that was controversially cut by House Republicans in their initial tax reform plan has finally been restored.


Meanwhile, the adoption benefit will be preserved in the tax proposal released by Senate Republicans today, report The Washington Post and The New York Times. Senators Ted Cruz and John Hoeven confirmed to reporters that the credit would remain.


This afternoon, the House Ways and Means Committee voted 24–16 to add the credit back in.


“This [new] amendment will preserve the adoption tax credit,” said committee chairman Kevin Brady. He added:



 

“Now, I know Americans who adopt are not doing this for the tax benefit. We’re doing it because we want to provide a safe and loving home for a child. I know from personal experience the adoption process can be expensive and time-consuming and ultimately so rewarding. And I know the adoption tax credit is important to many members of our committee, Republicans and Democrats.


 

We’ve had very thoughtful discussions about it over the past few days. So with this amendment, we’re proposing to preserve this credit … to ensure that parents can continue to receive additional tax relief as they open their hearts and homes to an adopted child.”



Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), told CT that he was “very thankful.”


“This is not just some other policy, but a lifeline to children in need and to families trying to welcome them into their homes,” said Moore. “It is in the national interest to see to it that vulnerable children are protected, not exiled in a system. I’m glad to see that interest upheld rather than torpedoed ...

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Source: Adoption Tax Credit Saved by Both House and Senate

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/4cGWucLwZ0M/save-adoption-tax-credit-house-senate-gop-evangelicals.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/images/79685.jpg?w=460
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/senate-gop-plan-would-delay-corporate-tax-cut-until-2019-breaking-with-trump/2017/11/09/92ea07ec-c55d-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html?utm_term=.39ec9dde8dc0
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http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/senate-tax-bill-keeps-adoption-tax-credit-breaking-with-the-house/article/2640188
https://waysandmeansforms.house.gov/uploadedfiles/summary_of_chairman_amendment_2.pdf
https://www.c-span.org/video/?436990-101/house-ways-means-committee-marks-tax-reform-bill&vod&start=59
http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/november/save-adoption-tax-credit-house-senate-gop-evangelicals.html
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=4cGWucLwZ0M:yA1iT6jzNh8:gIN9vFwOqvQ
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=4cGWucLwZ0M:yA1iT6jzNh8:bcOpcFrp8Mo
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/4cGWucLwZ0M
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