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Will Trump’s New Secretary of State Prioritize Religious Freedom?
« Reply #832 on: March 16, 2018, 12:00:13 AM »

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Will Trump’s New Secretary of State Prioritize Religious Freedom?

Fired Rex Tillerson was still shuffling strategy. Now experts are looking to Mike Pompeo to set the tone.


Top advocates have spent much of President Donald Trump’s time in office waiting for his administration’s international religious freedom efforts to fall into place.


With today’s firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, they’re left once again wondering exactly how the administration will approach the issue as part of a broader strategy for foreign affairs.


The President announced this morning that Tillerson, who ran the State Department since February 2017, would be replaced by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Mike Pompeo.


Most analysts agree that Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil CEO, fell out of favor with the administration and had a hard time rallying support within the department. As Pompeo takes on his new role, he’ll be stepping into one of the most significant leadership positions in the US government.


“He sets the tone for US foreign policy,” Chris Seiple, president emeritus of the Institute for Global Engagement, told CT. The secretary’s “attention [to religious freedom]—as with any subject—is what people inside the State Department building and foreign ministries alike watch for.”


The news of the leadership transition came just over a month after Sam Brownback was finally confirmed as ambassador-at-large to head the department’s Office of International Religious Freedom (IRF), after several months of delay.


During Tillerson’s year at the State Department, he was a few months late issuing its annual religious freedom report and had relatively brief analysis to share on the state of religious freedom abroad.


Tom Farr, president of the Religious Freedom Institute, expects that Pompeo—an Army veteran and former congressman—will ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/NIm-REjd-s8/trump-secretary-of-state-pompeo-tillerson-religious-freedom.html
http://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/81302.png?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/january/sam-brownback-is-ambassador-international-religious-freedom.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/august/state-department-international-religious-freedom-report-irf.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/march/trump-secretary-of-state-pompeo-tillerson-religious-freedom.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=NIm-REjd-s8:t-q75jwKBj8:yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=NIm-REjd-s8:t-q75jwKBj8:V_sGLiPBpWU
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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=NIm-REjd-s8:t-q75jwKBj8:qj6IDK7rITs
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=qj6IDK7rITs
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=NIm-REjd-s8:t-q75jwKBj8:gIN9vFwOqvQ
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=NIm-REjd-s8:t-q75jwKBj8:bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/NIm-REjd-s8
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Food for Thought: The Theological Life of Pi
« Reply #833 on: March 17, 2018, 12:00:16 AM »
Food for Thought: The Theological Life of Pi

The mind-boggling discoveries of computers and what we—and God?—still may never know.


For Pi Day this year, chew on this: Does God know all the digits in pi? Or does he know the answer to the myriad of unresolved mathematical problems out there today?


The great fifth-century African bishop Augustine of Hippo surely would have answered with a resounding yes, though other Christian thinkers might disagree. He also would likely have taken interest in recent mathematical discoveries made possible by today’s computers, discoveries that resurrect some of these unresolved problems.


In 2016, Swiss mathematician and evangelical Christian Peter Trüb’s computer spent 105 days calculating pi out to approximately 22.4 trillion digits—the most digits ever calculated. And this past January, Jon Pace, an electrical engineer and deacon at the Germantown Church of Christ in Tennessee, learned that his computer discovered the largest known prime number and the 50th known Mersenne prime, through an effort begun in 1996 that networks thousands of computers nationwide.


Primes are numbers greater than 1 that have no proper factors—the only numbers that can divide evenly into them are 1 and themselves (e.g., 2, 3, 5, 7, and 11). A Mersenne prime is named in honor of Marin Mersenne (1588–1648), a French mathematician, theologian, philosopher, and music theorist. These primes can be expressed as 2? – 1. In the expression for Pace’s Mersenne prime, n = 77,232,917. That’s one less than the number 2 multiplied by itself over 77 million times. Just to write it down would take up the space of about 10 novels the size of Anna Karenina. Trüb’s representation of pi is 1,000 times longer than that.


Why would anyone care to engage in projects like these? Trüb said one reason is ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/DIXmcnFuYz8/theological-life-of-pi-day-treat-numbers.html
http://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/81299.jpg?w=460
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2124418-celebrate-pi-day-with-9-trillion-more-digits-than-ever-before/
http://pi2e.ch/
https://www.mersenne.org/
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/march-web-only/theological-life-of-pi-day-treat-numbers.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=DIXmcnFuYz8:32ReXlWZMwE:yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=qj6IDK7rITs
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=DIXmcnFuYz8:32ReXlWZMwE:gIN9vFwOqvQ
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=DIXmcnFuYz8:32ReXlWZMwE:bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/DIXmcnFuYz8
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What Is Evangelicalism?
« Reply #834 on: March 20, 2018, 12:00:14 AM »
What Is Evangelicalism?

A simple definition based in doctrine, history, or sociology won’t do. But a vibrant stream really does exist.


Evangelicalism is one of the largest and most dynamic forms of Christianity in the modern world, but there is an amorphous quality to many words that end with the suffix “-ism,” and “evangelicalism” is no exception. “Evangelicalism” does not have the hard and crisp denotation of a concrete noun such as “Jesuit.” This confusion goes back to lexical roots. The English language uses the Anglo-Saxon noun “gospel” for the Greek “evangel” but retains the Greek root for the adjective “evangelical” and the abstract class-noun “evangelicalism.” There was a time when certain Protestants were called Gospellers, but the obvious link between “gospel” and “evangelical” has now been largely obscured. As an abstract noun naming things that cannot be heard, seen, or touched, “evangelicalism” seems always in need of more concrete definition.


Here history helps to clarify the meaning. In common use, “evangelicalism” deals with the doctrines, practices, and history of a class of Protestants that emerged distinctively in the early modern period, endured for three centuries, and spread to five continents. “Evangelical” identified the churches of the Protestant Reformation and their teaching, especially the Lutheran evangelische church, but the origins of modern evangelicalism, as understood in the English-speaking world, are found more in the popular spiritual awakening of the following centuries in the North Atlantic region. Seventeenth-century movements of devotion such as Pietism, Puritanism, and the Anglican “holy living” tradition fused to generate a general spiritual awakening ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/rGc5kO5EdQk/what-is-evangelicalism.html
http://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/80695.jpg?w=460
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/march-web-only/what-is-evangelicalism.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=rGc5kO5EdQk:dLuXsksGYOs:yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/rGc5kO5EdQk
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Changing Direction – Reflections on the Chicago River at St. Patrick’s Day

When we follow Jesus, we do what the Chicago River did in 1900: we change direction.


My husband and I live in downtown Chicago. Since I work at Wheaton College, people often ask, “Why don’t you live in the suburbs? Isn’t it a hassle to commute every day?” And from those who live in another state and only know the city fromknow the city the news, we often hear, “Is it safe to live in Chicago?”


Living in the city was an intentional choice for us. We wanted to rub shoulders with men and women from all different backgrounds who might be open to hearing about God’s love and his invitation into a relationship. Plus it’s fun! We love the hustle and bustle of the city, the cultural variety of people who live here, and the great activities that happen throughout the year.


As just one example, every year to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the local Plumbers’ Union dyes the Chicago River green. This tradition is more than 50 years old and draws over 400,000 spectators to the banks of our river. Some years are a little more interesting than others. In 2013, we stood by the Wrigley Building and saw a flying leprechaun! Admittedly, most of the people who gather are just there to party, but it’s a tradition that we love to attend.


What makes the whole process most amazing to me is where the plumbers put the vegetable-based dye: at the mouth of the river by Lake Michigan. Then the dye flows back through the city, slowly turning the river green. Your see, the Chicago River flows backwards, away from the lake. Until the dye starts to mingle with the water, you don’t really see the direction the water is moving. Once that emerald color starts to mix in, you can begin to trace the currents moving west.


This reversed flow is because in the 1800s as the city boomed, ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/PHCKq-sflxg/changing-direction-reflections-on-chicago-river-at-st-patri.html
http://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/81309.jpg?w=460
http://www.loopnorth.com/news/flying0321.htm
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/march/changing-direction-reflections-on-chicago-river-at-st-patri.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=PHCKq-sflxg:j45y_1j_75Y:yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=PHCKq-sflxg:j45y_1j_75Y:V_sGLiPBpWU
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=PHCKq-sflxg:j45y_1j_75Y:V_sGLiPBpWU
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=PHCKq-sflxg:j45y_1j_75Y:qj6IDK7rITs
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=qj6IDK7rITs
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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=PHCKq-sflxg:j45y_1j_75Y:bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/PHCKq-sflxg
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The Values-Driven Leader: A Mosaic of 3 Tiles
« Reply #836 on: March 24, 2018, 12:00:14 AM »
The Values-Driven Leader: A Mosaic of 3 Tiles

What can you do to keep your organization on mission?




What do these things have in common?


Each is an example of an organization that lost its way. Somewhere along the line— whether on account of market pressure (Coke), diluted identity (Sony), or the departure of a visionary (West Wing)—each of these trains ran way off its respective track.


Unfortunately, churches and non-profits are every bit as prone to wander as their business counterparts. In their award-winning book Mission Drift, Peter Greer and Chris Horst describe this as the “unspoken crisis” facing faith-based organizations today.


How do powerhouse brands like the ones I mentioned above so famously lose touch with their raison d’être? What causes churches and non-profits to slip their moorings and drift out to sea? What can you do to keep your organization on mission?


Organizational Drift Starts at the Top


So often, leaders come into their positions with a certain image of what the ideal leader should look like. For some, it’s the deeply convicted stalwart. For others, it’s the creative luminary. Still others aspire to be the courageous hard-charger.


Each of these images are great. But, when leaders exaggerate one over the others, they can quickly drift off course… and take the entire organization with them.


In short: if your values get out of whack, so will theirs.


Assembling a Leadership Mosaic


For Christians, no monolithic model of leadership will do.


We worship a God whose redemptive leadership takes shape in manifold ways throughout Scripture. He is our archetype—the one in whose image we’re made ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/YKgKH0RIOpI/values-driven-leader-mosaic-of-3-tiles.html
http://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/81344.jpg?w=460
http://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/coke-lore-new-coke
https://gizmodo.com/5477633/how-sony-lost-its-way
http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/west-wing-reunion-aaron-sorkin-exit-1201793615/
https://www.amazon.com/Mission-Drift-Unspoken-Charities-Churches/dp/0764211641/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1521478476&sr=8-1&keywords=mission+drift+by+peter+greer
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/march/values-driven-leader-mosaic-of-3-tiles.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=YKgKH0RIOpI:7G1Y439Z8ok:yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=YKgKH0RIOpI:7G1Y439Z8ok:F7zBnMyn0Lo
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=YKgKH0RIOpI:7G1Y439Z8ok:V_sGLiPBpWU
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=YKgKH0RIOpI:7G1Y439Z8ok:V_sGLiPBpWU
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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=YKgKH0RIOpI:7G1Y439Z8ok:bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=bcOpcFrp8Mo
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/YKgKH0RIOpI
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Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood
« Reply #837 on: March 25, 2018, 12:00:12 AM »
Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood [Theology for Life Podcast]

Dr. David Setran is Price-LeBar Chair of Christian Formation & Ministry at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL.


Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood


In this episode of Theology for Life, Ed and Lynn discuss with Dr. David Setran about this generation of emerging adults and how they view life and spirituality, and what this means for Christianity.


Dr. David Setran is Price-LeBar Chair of Christian Formation & Ministry at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL.


Dr. Lynn Cohick is professor of New Testament at Wheaton College.


Dr. Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.

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Source: Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood [Theology for Life Podcast]

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/yiK5zM6UxEI/spiritual-formation-in-emerging-adulthood-theology-for-life.html
http://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/81361.png?w=460
http://www.tflpodcast.com/theology-for-life-ep-50-spiritual-formation-in-emerging-adulthood/
http://www.wheaton.edu
http://twitter.com/edstetzer
http://www.billygrahamcenter.org
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/march/spiritual-formation-in-emerging-adulthood-theology-for-life.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=yiK5zM6UxEI:w_Akv_ObEuE:yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~4/yiK5zM6UxEI
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Why Russian Protestants Voted for President Putin
« Reply #838 on: March 26, 2018, 01:00:14 AM »
Why Russian Protestants Voted for President Putin

Though evangelicals’ freedom has worsened, Putin remains their best, or only, option.


Even as persecution climbs for Protestants in Russia, most of its evangelicals continue to support President Vladimir Putin, who won his fourth six-year term in last week’s election.


Given Putin’s stronghold in the former Soviet state, they don’t really have another choice.


The incumbent Russian president drew in 75 percent of the vote Sunday, up from 64 percent in 2012. With a popular leading critic, Alexei Navalny, forced out of the race, Putin soundly beat out Pavel Grudinin, a millionaire entrepreneur from the Communist Party; Vladimir Zhirinovsky, an ultranationalist with a military background; and Ksenia Sobchak, a former TV host.


For Protestant voters, who make up only about 1 percent of the heavily Orthodox nation, “their support for Putin would be only a bit below the national average,” according to William Yoder, spokesman for the Russia Evangelical Alliance. “They would not vote for a communist, or a nationalist like Zhirinovsky, and not for a movie-starlet like Sobchak.”


Like their Orthodox neighbors, Russian evangelicals prioritize family values such as traditional marriage, said Yoder. But leaders do not often speak out to address politics—especially not from the pulpit.


Pastor Alexei Smirnov, chairman of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, did post a statement this week to congratulate Putin on his victory.


“In accordance with the Word of God, the Bible, the churches of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists will support you in prayers. As before, our brothers and sisters will make every effort to build not only the Kingdom of Heaven, but also the earthly Fatherland, Russia,” an English translation read.


“I wish you ...

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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~r/christianitytoday/ctmag/~3/5TFrulysZuQ/russia-protestants-president-putin-election.html
http://www-images.christianitytoday.com/images/81379.png?w=460
https://baptist.org.ru/news/main/view/article/1460391
http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/march/russia-protestants-president-putin-election.html
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=5TFrulysZuQ:_EtxHhZ09mI:yIl2AUoC8zA
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=yIl2AUoC8zA
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http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=5TFrulysZuQ:_EtxHhZ09mI:V_sGLiPBpWU
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=5TFrulysZuQ:_EtxHhZ09mI:V_sGLiPBpWU
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=5TFrulysZuQ:_EtxHhZ09mI:qj6IDK7rITs
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?d=qj6IDK7rITs
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=5TFrulysZuQ:_EtxHhZ09mI:gIN9vFwOqvQ
http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?i=5TFrulysZuQ:_EtxHhZ09mI:gIN9vFwOqvQ
http://feeds.christianitytoday.com/~ff/christianitytoday/ctmag?a=5TFrulysZuQ:_EtxHhZ09mI:bcOpcFrp8Mo
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Empathy & Evangelism
« Reply #839 on: March 27, 2018, 01:00:13 AM »
Empathy & Evangelism

Empathizing with others leads to greater effectiveness in evangelism.


In his bestselling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey explains that empathy is a key to effectiveness. He exhorts us to “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” It’s so easy to jump right into the point that we want to get across, but if we don’t first take the time to understand where others are coming from, there can easily be unintended miscommunication.


Cultivating the ability to empathize with others leads to greater effectiveness in all forms of communication, including evangelism. In fact, Jesus himself models this as he empathizes with our brokenness.


Hebrews 4:15 explains that “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” After emphasizing that Jesus can empathize with our weakness, the writer of Hebrews goes on to say “Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).


The fact that Jesus stepped into our world and chose to humble himself is exactly what paves the way for us to understand God and approach his throne of grace with confidence. This same dynamic is true for us as we reach out to others with the gospel.


As we engage those who don’t know Jesus and humble ourselves to empathize with their weaknesses, God becomes more approachable for them.


Since empathy is crucial to our evangelism, how do we intentionally cultivate it in our lives so that we can be more effectively and clearly communicate the truth of the Gospel? Here are four practical steps to help us get started.


1. Be honest with ...

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Source: Empathy & Evangelism

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