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[Cfamily]Why Chile’s Churches Are Under Attack as Pope Francis Visits
« Reply #776 on: January 18, 2018, 12:00:27 AM »

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Why Chile’s Churches Are Under Attack as Pope Francis Visits

Evangelical and Catholic churches targeted by radical members of a largely Christian indigenous group.

Today vandals in Santiago, Chile, firebombed three Catholic churches just ahead of Pope Francis’s scheduled visit to the South American nation on Monday.

Notes left at the scene warned that “Pope Francis, the next bomb will be in your robe,” and indicated members of the Mapuche indigenous group were responsible.

The Mapuche originate about seven hours south of the capital city, where radical members have burned down 27 Catholic and evangelical churches in the past three years.

Responsibility for the attacks is claimed by an extremist group called Weichan Auka Mapu. It leaves behind messages with demands, such as the release of Mapuche prisoners or the return of Mapuche land which it says was taken by the Chilean government in the 19th century.

A high percentage of Mapuches now identify as Christian: 55 percent are Catholic, and 32 percent are Protestant. But for others, Christians are still seen as invaders complicit in the government’s actions.

Of the 20 churches burned down between 2015 and 2016, 12 were Catholic and 8 were Protestant. In 2017, a further 7 have been torched. These churches also served as schools, meeting places, and shelters for those fleeing natural disasters. Many belonged to the poorest sectors of the poorest region in Chile, and were attended by Mapuches themselves.

The leader of an Assemblies of God church burned down in July recalled the moment his attractive wooden church—built 15 years ago using money raised by church members—was reduced to ashes.

Juan Mella, who is also head of the local pastors’ council, said the event demonstrated an intolerance among the Mapuches.

“Each human being can have their own views with regard to faith, spirituality,” he ...

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[Cfamily]One-on-One with Scott Breslin on Embracing Our Priestly Nature at Work
« Reply #777 on: January 19, 2018, 12:00:32 AM »
One-on-One with Scott Breslin on Embracing Our Priestly Nature at Work

There is innate dignity to every occupation and job a Christian might do.

Ed Stetzer: What was the reason for writing Embracing Our Priestly Nature at Work?

Scott Breslin: I wrote the book to help rekindle the notion of the priesthood of all believers in a way that was both theologically sound and practical for ordinary Christians. There are many teachings out there on the theology of work, but very few demonstrate the link between our theology of work and our priestly identity.

Knowing that every follower of Jesus has a God-given priestly mandate adds an important degree of clarity to our role in life and gives innate dignity to every occupation and job a Christian might do. At the core of every follower of Jesus exists a priestly DNA, designed by God to be a prominent part of our self-identity. However, like a slow burning ember, our priestly nature risks remaining obscure and inconsequential unless fanned to life. This book was written to be that fan.

Ed: Why do you feel this book is necessary/critical for the global missions movement right now?

Scott: I believe it will take the whole Church to reach the whole world. It will certainly take much more than missionaries, pastors, and evangelists.

If God’s people don’t embrace their priestly identities in ‘secular’ work places, I cannot imagine a scenario where the peoples of the earth will ever be reached. The job is just too large. We need to remember that the gospel is not simply a message that can be transmitted digitally around the world via electronic media, although that is also important.

In almost all cases, God’s kingdom advances via the presence of human agents (i.e. priests) on the ground. It is a job too big to be delegated to mission organizations alone… there are just too many unreached. The unreached ...

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Source: One-on-One with Scott Breslin on Embracing Our Priestly Nature at Work

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[Cfamily]Looking for Ancient African Religion? Try Christianity.
« Reply #778 on: January 20, 2018, 12:00:28 AM »
Looking for Ancient African Religion? Try Christianity.

The African religious imagination already anticipates Christ.

It’s ironic that as I crossed the Walt Whitman Bridge to attend an urban apologetics conference in Philadelphia I encountered the very religious pluralism that makes conferences such as these a necessity. As my weathered SUV pulled up to the stoplight, I could see the Marcus Garvey–inspired Pan-African flag pirouetting in the wind, and I could hear the amplified, yet muffled, sound of a man’s raspy voice through a bullhorn. He, along with a group of other young men and women, stood on the median with their faces contorted like clenched fists yelling, “Black Power, Black Power,” while others bellowed, “the black man is God!” at passing pedestrians and vehicles.

At the next intersection, a well-groomed man in a fitted black suit, with a tightly-knotted black bow tie, walked up and down the dividing line of the highway selling bean pies and handing out Nation of Islam literature, an entrepreneurial practice that has existed since the early 1930s.

Finally, after parking and inserting some quarters into the meter, a voice behind me yelled: “As-Salaam-Alaikum” (which means “peace be unto you”). I turned around and an older Muslim man with a dyed, carrot-color beard beckoned me over to his table to see his merchandise. “Are you interested in buying some of these organic, scented body oils, beloved? I have ‘Black Coconut,’ ‘China Musk,’ and ‘Arabian Sandalwood.’” After listening to his sales pitch, I bought two scented oils for $10 before heading into the conference.

Traditional African Religions Have an Appeal

As an inner-city dweller, occurrences like these transpire on a consistent basis because our cities are hubs of ...

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Source: Looking for Ancient African Religion? Try Christianity.

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[Cfamily]God’s Message to #MeToo Victims and Perpetrators
« Reply #779 on: January 21, 2018, 12:00:27 AM »
God’s Message to #MeToo Victims and Perpetrators

Scripture offers a radical framework for understanding anger and forgiveness.

Young 20-somethings stood in line to speak with me after my workshop, “Is Christianity Good for Women?” They thanked me for tackling difficult passages in Scripture involving violence against women and asked me the expected questions about gender roles in marriage and the family. When I got to the third person in line—a young, beautiful girl, her hair falling in tousled waves—she bent closer and spoke in a low voice.

“What do you think about forgiveness?” she asked. “What role does that play in cases of sexual abuse and rape?” I suspected that she had a story of pain, betrayal, and shame. Although she didn’t tell me the full story that day (the line was long behind her), she did tearfully admit that the counsel offered to her had been to simply forgive the perpetrator. “I still feel angry,” she confessed. “Is that wrong?”

It’s one of the most important questions to ask, especially as the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements carry us in their angry tides. It’s also an important question to ask when stories like Jules Woodson’s surface and members of Highpoint Church in Memphis stand in solidarity with her perpetrator.

When women suffer violence in the Scriptures, we see God’s own righteous—if also oblique—anger. Sometimes we see divine outrage in the demise of a character, as in the case of King David. I’m not thinking of the way he forcibly took Bathsheba into his bed, although that story, ending in the death of the baby, draws its own conclusions.

Instead, I’m thinking of his daughter, Tamar, who is raped by his son, Amnon (2 Sam 13). David’s anger is impotent and weak, and he visits no judgment on ...

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Source: God’s Message to #MeToo Victims and Perpetrators

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[Cfamily]New HHS Division Defends Pro-Life Health Care Workers
« Reply #780 on: January 22, 2018, 12:00:22 AM »
New HHS Division Defends Pro-Life Health Care Workers

Under Trump, federal policy keeps shifting away from abortion rights in favor of religious conscience protections.

Ahead of Friday’s annual March for Life, pro-life Christians celebrated new federal protections for health care workers who decline to administer procedures such as abortion, sterilization, or euthanasia on religious or moral grounds.

The Trump administration announced a new division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) dedicated to hearing complaints from those who face discrimination for refusal to accommodate services that violate their beliefs.

The new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division of the existing Office of Civil Rights (OCR) enforces existing laws designed to protect conscience rights, including new provisions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that specifically allow providers and insurers to decline abortions and assisted suicide.

Thursday’s announcement continues the administration’s efforts to beef up federal protections for religious liberty, as President Trump laid out in a May 2017 executive order. In contrast, the Obama administration had rescinded conscience protections for health care workers, despite pushback from religious leaders.

“President Trump promised the American people that his administration would vigorously uphold the rights of conscience and religious freedom,” said acting HHS secretary Eric Hargan. “That promise is being kept today. The Founding Fathers knew that a nation that respects conscience rights is more diverse and more free, and OCR’s new division will help make that vision a reality.”

Evangelicals fighting for religious liberty have tried to resist efforts to confine expressions of faith to within church walls, and have pushed for greater protections for their beliefs in the workplace and public life—particularly ...

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[Cfamily]Why Ralph Winter’s Missions Mobilizer Is Up for Sale
« Reply #781 on: January 23, 2018, 12:00:27 AM »
Why Ralph Winter’s Missions Mobilizer Is Up for Sale

Shift in global evangelism prompts downsizing? of US Center for World Mission’s famous? Pasadena property—but not all alumni are ready to say goodbye.

The late missiologist Ralph Winter envisioned a place to “awaken” a million evangelicals to the world’s unreached people groups. It took nearly 10 years of fundraising, and donors big and small, to pay off the $15 million property in Pasadena, California, that became the US Center for World Mission (now Frontier Ventures) and William Carey International University (WCIU).

More than four decades later, with the missions landscape evolving and the Southern California cost of living continuing to skyrocket, Frontier Ventures and the university are in a non-binding agreement to sell the majority of the property their forebears had rallied to buy.

Frontier Ventures president Fran Patt and WCIU president Kevin Higgins confirmed to CT that they’ve been in talks with a potential buyer for the past month. Up for sale are roughly 15 acres of campus, a 2.5-acre soccer field near the Frontier Ventures office building, and a yet-to-be-determined portion of surrounding property, which includes homes, dorm-style residences, and office space owned by WCIU.

The partner ministries plan to maintain a smaller footprint in Pasadena, keeping the Frontier Ventures building known as Hudson Taylor Hall and, at this point, at least half the homes they own. Patt and Higgins declined to discuss the estimated value of the property or the amount of the offer.

“There are still a number of challenges: we need to agree on all the exact details, and that will take time,” Higgins wrote in a blog post in December. “Even once we get to that agreement, there will be significant time needed as the buyer would need to secure their funding.”

The ministries’ leaders have considered selling off a portion of the property ...

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Source: Why Ralph Winter’s Missions Mobilizer Is Up for Sale

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Overreach Is the Part of Obama’s Legacy That Trump Should Undo. And He Is.

HHS Announces New Conscience and Religious Freedom Division

Today, the Trump administration rolled back some Obama administration rules and changed how the government would approach religious and conscience objections.

The Washinton Post reported:

The document released describes an approach to conscience and religious protections that is significantly broader than current regulations. The number of entities that would be covered by the new rule is massive — as many as 745,000 hospitals, dentists offices, pharmacies, ambulance services and others — and the steps any entity must take to show it is in compliance is increased.

The Obama Overreach

The Obama administration, as many of us know, was seen as less-than-accommodating to individuals and groups with deeply-held religious convictions when those conflicted with new politics and laws. Instead of expanding opportunities for conscience-based objections, the Obama administration approach was one that stifled thoughtful conversation and prevented compromise. And, most importantly, they did not make appropriate accommodations for religious beliefs—picking unnecessary fights with groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Rather than seeking to find reasonable accommodation for sincerely held religious belief, the Obama administration consistently overreached with unhelpful mandates and more.

In response, a host of religious leaders—from Rick Warren to President Obama’s own former staffer Michael Wear—composed a letter in 2014 asking President Obama to rethink his practices. They affirmed the need to protect human dignity and advocate for just policies. They agreed that ridding our nation of discrimination was, in fact, a noble endeavor. Nevertheless, they asked that “an extension of protection for ...

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Source: Overreach Is the Part of Obama’s Legacy That Trump Should Undo. And He Is.

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Died: Chuck Murphy, Visionary Who Gave Conservative Anglicans a New Home

Founder of Anglican Mission in the Americas partnered with Rwanda to create US alternative to The Episcopal Church.

Charles H. Murphy III, retired bishop and founder of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA), died Jan. 9 of brain cancer at his home in Litchfield Plantation, South Carolina. He was 70.

Through his organization, created in response to liberal drift in the mainline Episcopal Church, Murphy gained acclaim from conservative Christians for taking a public stand against liberal theology that rejected the authority of Scripture, the divinity of Christ, and other orthodox doctrines. AMiA provided a new institutional home to marginalized conservative Christians, churches, dioceses, and bishops in the US and Canada.

“Chuck was an astonishingly eloquent speaker and expositor of the gospel,” FitzSimons Allison, who served as Murphy’s bishop in South Carolina, told CT. “He got many invitations to speak. He was billed as a person who helped raise money, but actually he was preaching the gospel, including generosity. He did it so well that there were clergy who disliked him and jealous of success. He could preach the horns off a billy goat.”

At that time, Murphy was rector of All Saints’ in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, growing the congregation to become one of the largest Episcopal parishes in the region.

By September 1997, Murphy and other conservative Episcopal clergy believed that their denomination had thoroughly embraced false doctrine and was resistant to reform. These clergy drafted and signed the First Promise statement. It declared the church had “departed from ‘the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this church has received them,’ and we declare their authority to be fundamentally impaired, and that they are not upholding the truth of the gospel.”

“The ...

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Source: Died: Chuck Murphy, Visionary Who Gave Conservative Anglicans a New Home

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