December 3, 2010, Volume 11, Issue 49
GRAPHICAL PDF VERSION
The Friday Church News Notes is designed for use in churches and is published by Way of Life Literature’s Fundamental Baptist Information Service. Unless otherwise stated, the Notes are written by David Cloud. Of necessity we quote from a wide variety of sources, but this does not imply an endorsement. For instructions on how to unsubscribe to this list or to change mailing addresses, please consult the information paragraph at the end.
EMERGING CHURCH PASTOR SAYS YOUNG PEOPLE NEED A CALLING, NOT RULES (Friday Church News Notes, December 3, 2010, www.wayoflife.org firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143) - Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, says that what this generation needs is not more rules to live by, but a calling to live for (“Charlotte Pastor,” The Christian Post, Nov. 26, 2010). This is typical emerging church philosophy. In reality, what youth need is BOTH rules to live by and a call to real discipleship. In Scripture, discipleship involves keeping divine rules. Jesus instructed the churches to teach converts to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20), and those “all things” are found in the New Testament Scriptures. Consider the epistle of Ephesians. This epistle tells us that salvation is by God’s grace without works, but it also contains three chapters packed with rules for believers to live by, rules that cover every aspect of life, private, family, and work. Addicted to the pop culture, this generation has rejected rules for a “me first” lifestyle and philosophy, and the emerging church is tickling itching ears with a lusty Christianity (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Assuming an upbeat emerging stance, Furtick claims that this is “the most driven, most opportunistic, most positioned generation in history to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ all over the world.” In fact, this is a generation that typically lacks the self-sacrifice, discipline, and long-term commitment to accomplish such a task, but when a young person rejects his “generation,” repenting of his love for the ungodly, vain pop culture, and becomes a true disciple of Christ, submitting himself to Christ’s rule as expressed in Scripture, he can indeed help take the Gospel of Christ to this needy world. This is the objective that every church should have for its young people. What we do agree with is that young people in Bible-believing churches don’t need JUST rules, and they particularly don’t need a focus on a mere list of shallow external standards divorced from training in genuine heart-level discipleship.
ATHEIST BILLBOARD SAYS CHRISTMAS STORY IS A MYTH (Friday Church News Notes, December 3, 2010, www.wayoflife.org email@example.com, 866-295-4143) - A billboard sponsored by a group of atheists claims that the Christmas story is a myth. Located near the New Jersey entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, it shows three wise men on camels approaching a Nativity scene with the words, “You KNOW it’s a Myth / This Season, Celebrate Reason.” First of all, the Bible doesn’t say that there were three wise men and it also indicates that the wise men arrived after Mary and Joseph had left the manger and were living in a house. Beyond that, to claim that atheism is reasonable is laughable. They would have us believe that everything came from nothing, that life came from non-life, that there is no God in spite of the witnesses we observe on every hand, that man is nothing but evolved bacteria with no more purpose and destiny than bacteria. If you think that is reasonable, help yourself, but it sounds like wild-eyed nonsense to me. Furthermore, the Bible believer has nothing to lose if atheism is true, but the atheist has everything to lose if the Bible is true and Jesus Christ is the only Lord and Saviour.
MUSLIM PERSECUTION IN OBAMA’S INDONESIA (Friday Church News Notes, December 3, 2010, www.wayoflife.org firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143) - President Barack Obama visited Indonesia on a recent overseas trip, the world‘s largest Muslim nation, and praised its democracy and religious tolerance. Obama visited the Istiqlal Mosque, which is the largest in southeastern Asia. The trip was considered something of a homecoming, since Obama attended elementary school in Jakarta from 1967 and 1971. The fact is that Islam in Indonesia is anything but tolerant of other religions. Christians are often the targets of attacks, and there is only one Jewish synagogue left in the country, and it is attended by only about 10 people. The only other one, located in Surabaya, was shut down in November 2009 by Muslims protesting Israel’s “war on Gaza.” The Muslims who attack other religions are called “extremists,” but the Indonesian government “fearful of offending Muslim groups, is doing little to prevent the attacks” (“In a Sliver of Muslim Indonesia,” NYT news service, The San Diego Union Tribune, Nov. 23, 2010). If Islam is inherently peaceful and the violent ones represent only a “few extremists,” as Obama said in his visit to India, why would the Indonesian government fear offending “Muslim groups”? The fact is that there is not true religious liberty in any nation that has a majority of Muslims.
53 MILLION ABORTIONS IN U.S. SINCE 1973 (Friday Church News Notes, December 3, 2010, www.wayoflife.org email@example.com, 866-295-4143) - The following is from LifeNews, Nov. 26, 2010: “In January, the National Right to Life Committee provided a new analysis of the total number of abortions done in the 37 years since the Roe v. Wade decision. The Supreme Court handed down its controversial ruling--allowing virtually unlimited abortions at any time throughout pregnancy--in January 1973. The NRLC analysis found that 52 million unborn children had been killed in abortions as of January. The analysis also found that the best estimate for the current number of annual abortions in the United States--involving both the surgical abortion procedure as well as the dangerous abortion drug RU 486--is 1.2 million. ... Obama has done everything in his power to advance abortion and continue that pro-abortion legacy of the Supreme Court, including naming two more pro-abortion jurists in Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. He has also expanded that 53 million abortions by authorizing abortion funding in various instances and decreasing funds for abstinence education.”
SWEDISH PARENTS JAILED FOR SPANKING CHILDREN (Friday Church News Notes, December 3, 2010, www.wayoflife.org firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143) - The following is excerpted from The Local, Sweden’s News in English, Nov. 27, 2010: “A Swedish court has jailed the parents of three children who were regularly beaten since the age of three in what they claimed was a method of discipline prescribed in the Bible. The couple, from Karlstad in central Sweden, were imprisoned for nine months apiece, according to a Sveriges Television (SVT) report. Corporal punishment, formally outlawed in Sweden in 1979, was a regular feature of three of the couple’s four children’s lives, the Värmland district court heard. ... The court heard that the couple had used a hairbrush, a wooden plank or a hand to punish their three eldest children, SVT reported. The father explained that when the children did something wrong they were given a first warning and then a second and if they, for example, carried on cycling in the street without permission, they would then receive a physical punishment. The court found that ‘despite the details of the case at hand’ the parents ‘had a loving and caring relationship to their children,’ but that the systematic treatment metered out was in breach of the law and deserving of a custodial sentence. The parents were furthermore order to pay damages of 25,000 kronor to each of the affected children. The three children at the centre of the case, as well as a younger sibling, have been in care since the preliminary investigation was opened against their parents in the beginning of the summer. Parents’ rights to meter out physical punishment was revoked already in 1966 in Sweden, with a formal legal ban coming into into force in July 1979.”
ATHEIST LIKENS GOD TO NORTH KOREAN DICTATOR (Friday Church News Notes, December 3, 2010, www.wayoflife.org email@example.com, 866-295-4143) - In a recent debate with former British prime minister Tony Blair on the existence of God, Christopher Hitchens called God a Celestial Dictator and likened God’s kingdom to the North Korean dictatorship. Hitchens, who is the author of the blasphemous book God Is Not Great, lumps the God of the Bible in with the false gods of the world religions, claiming that all religions are harmful to mankind. In fact, while false religion is exceedingly harmful, the true religion of the Bible is the only truly bright spot in this dark world. The God of the Bible is a holy lawgiver and judge, but He is anything but a North Korean-style dictator. He made man in his own image and put him in a delightful environment. He made man and woman the king and queen of creation and gave them only one law. When they broke that law, God provided free eternal salvation through great cost to Himself. The God of the Bible is merciful, compassionate, longsuffering, gentle and easy to be entreated, meek and lowly in heart. Yes, there is an eternal Hell, but man goes there of his own foolish and stubborn rebellion against a gracious Creator.
PAKISTAN GOVERNMENT BARRED FROM PARDONING CHRISTIAN ON DEATH ROW (Friday Church News Notes, December 3, 2010, www.wayoflife.org firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143) - The following is excerpted from The Christian Post, Nov. 29, 2010: “The Pakistani government was barred on Monday by the country's high court from pardoning a Christian woman sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy. Asia Bibi was sentenced early this month to death by hanging for allegedly speaking ill of Prophet Muhammad. The Christian mother of five is the first woman to receive a death sentence for blasphemy in Pakistan. Bibi’s attorney filed an appeal and signed a petition pleading for a presidential pardon. Religious leaders, including Pope Benedict XVI, and human rights groups have called for her release but conservative Muslims have threatened anarchy if President Asif Ali Zadari pardons the woman. Federal Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti said he expects Bibi to be freed. He was charged with investigating the accusations against Bibi and said preliminary findings show that she is innocent. Bibi was arrested in 2009 following a petty argument she had with fellow field workers. She was picking fruit in the field with fellow Muslim workers and went to get water for the group. Upon returning, the Muslim women in the field refused to drink the water because the container was touched by a Christian. Bibi was offended and argued with the women, but then afterwards thought nothing of the incident. However, a few days later dozens of Muslims dragged her away. She was accused of blasphemy against the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, which she denies.”
TEACHING CHILDREN TO HAVE A DAILY BIBLE READING TIME (Friday Church News Notes, December 3, 2010, www.wayoflife.org email@example.com, 866-295-4143) - One of the most important things that parents can do for their children it to help them develop a habit of daily Bible study. It is by the Word of God that the young person can cleanse his way in this wicked world (Psalm 119:9). The Scripture must get down into the heart and soul and thus permeate the individual’s life, and this will not happen unless reading, study, memorization, and meditation become a daily practice. Pastor David Sorenson gives some advice about this as follows: 1. Start early. When our children were small, we had them read from the Bible as soon as they could barely read. It was short, but they started late in their kindergarten year. 2. Plan their reading. The Bible is a complex book, even for adults. When our children were small, we had them read in I John because of its simple vocabulary and syntax. At first, we had them read just a verse or two a day. As they progressed through grade school, the daily reading assignment grew to a chapter a day and by the time they were in junior high school, we had our girls reading four chapters a day. That is the basic amount to read the Bible through in a year. But the greater point is that we planned their reading for them. 3. Provide positive incentives. When our girls were small, we prepared a chart which was on the refrigerator and as they did their requisite daily Bible reading, they received a star on their chart each day. When they had faithfully filled their chart for several weeks or a month, we planned a special reward for them. 4. Enforce the policy. We made sure that our girls did their daily Bible reading as assigned. A refrain oft heard at the breakfast table was ‘Did you do your Bible reading this morning?’ Though they eventually grew out of the charts and stars on the refrigerator, we still checked up on them throughout their adolescent years. 5. Just do it because it is right. As the girls grew out the stage where they needed little incentives, we shifted to the philosophy of doing your Bible reading just because it was right. As we developed the principle of righteousness in the meantime, it was easy to mesh the practice of daily Bible reading with the principle of righteousness. Indeed it is right to be in God’s Word each day (Training Your Children to Turn out Right).”
THE SLIPPERY SLOPE OF CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC (Friday Church News Notes, December 3, 2010, www.wayoflife.org firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143) - The following is excerpted from “The Rhythm of Rock” by Graham West; this is available as an e-download from the Way of Life Literature online bookstore. “Once a church begins to dabble with CCM, they will wind up at the bottom of the hill! Whether you understand it or not, once you begin listening to soft rock, immediately you begin sliding down that slippery slope to the more aggressive forms of rock. Soft rock begins to orientate the whole way of perceiving music -- around rhythm and away from melody. Your musical interest will change. Hymns will seem dull in comparison to your newly acquired tastes. It’s a progression I’ve seen over and over again in the lives of Christians. It’s like a downward spiral. It happens in the lives of individuals; it happens in the lives of families; it happens in the lives of churches.”
CONCLUSION: The Friday Church News Notes is designed for use in churches and is published by Way of Life Literature’s Fundamental Baptist Information Service. Unless otherwise stated, the Notes are written by David Cloud. Of necessity we quote from a wide variety of sources, but this obviously does not imply an endorsement. We trust that our readers will not be discouraged. It is God’s will that we know the times (1 Ch. 12:32; Mat. 16:3) and that we be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. The News Notes remind us that the hour is very late, and we need to be ready for the Lord’s coming. Are you sure that you are born again? Are you living for Christ? “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:11-14). This material is sent only to those who personally subscribe to the Fundamental Baptist Information Service mailing list. To SUBSCRIBE, go to http://www.wayoflife.org/wayoflife/subscribe.html. TO UNSUBSCRIBE OR CHANGE ADDRESSES, go to the very bottom of any email received from us and click "Manage My Subscription." Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, email@example.com.
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