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NEWS ARCHIVE FOR APRIL 1st-15th, 2018
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HEADLINES AND ARTICLES —  Thursday, April 12th, 2018
ABC News: Megachurch Pastor Bill Hybels Steps Down Amid Misconduct Allegations
A pastor at an Illinois church that serves more than 25,000 worshipers at eight locations stepped down more than six months ahead of his scheduled retirement amid allegations of inappropriate behavior with parishioners.   The Rev. Bill Hybels, founder of the Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, resigned on Tuesday after an internal investigation into possible misconduct with female members of his congregation, including employees.  The church cleared him of the allegations. Hybels, 66, served as a served as a spiritual adviser to President Bill Clinton and said in 2012 that he planned to retire in October 2018. "I have decided to accelerate my planned retirement date from October of this year to tonight," Hybels, 66, said in a statement. Hybels, who founded the church more than 40 years ago, also apologized for the way he handled the allegations.....LINK 
CBN News: Faith Leaders, Conservatives Closely Watching Zuckerberg on Hate Speech Views
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg may believe that regulation of the social media industry is "inevitable" but that may or may not solve what many faith leaders and conservatives know happens regularly: their content is blocked.....LINK
Public Discourse: The Deficits of the iPhone Generation
Members of iGen suffer from serious intellectual and moral deficits: they are ill-informed, uninterested in pursuing relevant information, passionate without being active, afraid of debate with those who disagree, and uninterested in learning or exploration. ....LINK
UK Express: End of the World 2018— Will the Rapture Occur on April 23? Shock Prediction Says Yes
According to conspiracy theorists, codes in the Bible suggest the end of the world is imminent, with Earth set to be destroyed on April 23.   One theory suggests the end times dates back to astrological constellations appearing on November 23, matching the book of Revelation 12:1-2. The passage signals the start of the Rapture and the second coming of Jesus Christ.....LINK   
Christianity Today: Bill Hybels Resigns From Willow Creek
Bill Hybels has stepped down as senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, the Chicago-area megachurch he founded over 40 years ago, citing the controversy over recent allegations against him. Many in the wider Christian community have been confused by those allegations, he said, and the controversy has distracted his church’s leaders from their mission and has hurt the church’s ministries.....LINK
CBN News: How Should Believers Respond to Hybels' Resignation?
Believers and abuse victims are expressing a range of emotions and thoughts following pastor Bill Hybels' resignation from Willow Creek Community Church Tuesday.....LINK
Daily Beast: Today's Teens Are Already Bored by the Internet
Teenagers today have unprecedented access to technology, and yet many report that they’ve never been so bored. There is a notion among older people that teens, with their smartphones and unlimited internet access, never experience boredom....But today’s teens are still bored, often incredibly so. They’re just more likely to experience a new type of boredom: phone bored. A....LINK
Cranach: China’s High-Tech Plan to Control Its Citizens Completely
It is now technologically possible for a government to monitor and control its citizens as never before.  Now China is going to take advantage of that capability. The still-Communist country is in the process of implementing a “social credit system” that will give points for good behavior and deduct points for bad behavior.  In one administrative district, everyone starts with 1000 points.  If you get a traffic ticket, you.......LINK
Daily Signal: Whatever the Left Touches, It Ruins
The only way to save Western civilization is to convince more people that leftism—not liberalism—is a nihilistic force. Quite literally, whatever the left touches it ruins. So, here is a partial listing of the damage done by the left and the Democratic Party........LINK
Gene Veith: 'The Pleasure of Boredom'
Boredom has been described as one of the major spiritual problems of our time.  The hyper-stimulation that comes from our technology and our constant-entertainment mentality actually makes us more bored, since we become jaded and weary of it all, as stimulation eventually fails to stimulate.  But there is another sense in which a carefully-cultivated boredom can be an antidote to our harried minds.....LINK
David Cloud: The History of How Evangelism Was Corrupted Among Independent Baptists
Prior to the 1970s, Independent Baptist churches were spiritually stronger, and one reason was that they were more careful about salvation.
When the pastors talked of turning from sin, everyone in those days knew what they meant. They weren’t talking about reformation or a works salvation. They were talking about something that occurred in the heart. They were talking about a radical change of mind that put them on a different path. Soul winning changed dramatically in the late 1960s and early 1970s. There was a frenzy for bigness, and this was the motivation for a change in soul winning doctrine and methodology. ....LINK
Glenn Stanton: Does Faith Reduce Divorce Risk?
Religious belief and activity—particularly prayer—matter in important ways. They make a deeply practical difference in how husband and wife interact with each other in daily life.....LINK
Kevin Schaal: Angel Unaware
I sat down in the airplane seat preparing myself for the 2.5 hour ride form Ontario (CA) to Dallas....So I plopped into the window seat and waited. A big guy took the aisle seat. Then this little wisp of a girl with dark hair and a huge smile asked if the seat was taken between us. So far so good.
Then she asked THE question. “So what kind of work do you do?” As soon as I tell them I am a pastor, the conversation either closes down or turns to spiritual things pretty quickly. The conversation progressed amazingly quickly to spiritual things. ....LINK
Jared C. Wilson: Biblical Thoughts on Moral Failure
It seems every week now brings with it a new revelation of a pastor's or other evangelical leader's moral implosion. Whether it's the next step in the seismic shifts of our culture's #MeToo moment or simply evangelicalism's chickens coming home to roost, the fallout is getting gut-wrenchingly more routine -- personal shame, relational devastation, and a tarnishing of the church's witness.....LINK
David Murray: How To Be a Better Boaster
Have you ever tried boasting? It’s so deeply satisfying. Basically you spend your time showing how you are bigger, better, stronger, faster, wiser, and more wonderful than everyone else. You can do it anywhere. You can boast at home, at school, at work, with friends, on the sports field, in the coffee shop, and on and on and on. It’s really limitless. Boasting has no boundaries or borders. You can even do it in church. One of the best places is social media; it’s been tailor made for boasters. And if you’re a bit shy, you can still boast in your.........LINK
Erik Raymond: How Do You Evaluate a Pastor?
I recently read an interesting comment by a seminary president about the ministry. He said that the hardest thing about being a pastor today is the confusion about what it means to be a pastor. If this is true, and I wouldn’t rush to argue with him, think about how unsettling and unacceptable this is. The ministry is one of the most important jobs on the planet. Yet confusion abounds. Think about who this affects...LINK
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HEADLINES AND ARTICLES —  Tuesday & Wednesday, April 10th-11th, 2018
Michael Brown: California's Shocking 'You Must Stay Gay' Bill
n a brazen assault on our most fundamental freedoms, California legislators are considering a bill that would make it illegal for anyone to receive professional help to resolve unwanted same-sex attractions or gender confusion.  This would apply to people of all ages. People of all religious and moral convictions. It is an absolute outrage, and it must be opposed vigorously. For the last few years, a growing number of states and cities have embraced legislation making it illegal for minors struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions or gender confusion to receive professional help, even with the full support of their parents. This would apply to a 14-year-old girl who was raped by her uncle at the age of 8 and now feels repulsion towards men and attraction towards women. If her parents stood with her and she wanted to meet with a trained counselor to help to get to the root of her attractions, in some states, that would be illegal. No professional counselor or therapist would be allowed to help her...LINK
Prophecy News Watch: Few American Churchgoers Familiar With 'Great Commission'
....Barna surveyed 1,004 church-going Christians from across the nation to arrive at their conclusions about the state of Gospel preaching, and while what they found leaves some room for interpretation, it also gives one pause to stop and consider the state of Christianity in America. They found that 51% of respondents had never heard the term "the Great Commission" while another 25% claimed to have heard it but did not know its meaning. Another 6% of Christians thought they knew what it meant, but were not sure. ....LINK
Intellectual Takeout: The Mr. Rogers-ification of Christianity
....I may not always agree with his liberal theology, but it would be difficult to overestimate how much good Fred Rogers did for our society, and I’ve spent more time than I’d care to admit crying over Mr. Rogers stories on social media. But while I admire the man, I have frequently been disturbed by the extent to which people praise and even canonize Rogers. As a recent article in The Atlantic bearing the headline “Saint Fred” put it, “Fred Rogers was an ordained minister, but he was no televangelist, and he never tried to impose his beliefs on anyone.”....LINK
Christian Headlines: China Pledges to Protect Religious Freedom, Days After Bible Ban
 China presented an official ‘white paper’ on religion on Wednesday, 4 April, guaranteeing “protection” for religious freedom, just four days after banning the online sale of Bibles. The policy paper, titled ‘China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief’, was.....LINK
Election Forum: Are Christians Hypocrites?   Ten Surprising Realities About Christians and President Trump
Are evangelicals hypocrites if they are supporting President Trump and his policies? The media says so … social media says so … over and over again. Why did a record 81% of evangelical Christians vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 election?  Why do so many evangelicals continue to support him in spite of the Access Hollywood tape and all of the allegations of sexual misconduct in the past against him?  Isn’t it hypocritical that Christians were harshly critical of President Clinton’s sexual misconduct, but are giving President Trump a pass? Here are 10 surprising realities about why the vast majority of Christians are supporting the president........LINK
Breitbart: Trump’s Pro-Life Credo— Children Are Endowed with Human Dignity ‘from Conception’
In a powerful statement on the right to life of unborn children, President Donald Trump has declared that a child’s human dignity begins at conception. “We must always remember that all children are blessings from our Creator,” the president said in proclaiming April 2018 as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. “They are endowed from conception with value, purpose, and human dignity.”....LINK
Zondervan Academic: 12 Ways Evangelism Is Changing
You’ve heard it said the twenty-first century is markedly different from the twentieth. It’s not only because we have terrorism scares, self-driving cars, and Facebook. Church attendance is decreasing, religious Nones are increasing, and the way people view and interact with truth has changed. Yet many Christians and churches are evangelizing as if we are still living in the twentieth century—and failing to make the unbelievable news about Jesus more believable.....LINK         PLEASE SEE THE EDITOR'S DISCLAIMER BELOW
Christian Headlines: Snoop Dogg Releases a Gospel Album, Says He's a Born-again Christian
 Rap artist Snoop Dogg caused a stir recently when he released his first gospel album Bible of Love.  Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus Jr., has a past fraught with controversy and underhanded dealings, which has added to the skepticism many feel about his new album and assertion that he is a Christian.....As far as his religious beliefs, in 2009 he announced that he had joined the Nation of Islam, then in 2012 he became a Rastafarian. Now, he claims to be a born-again Christian.....LINK
Prophecy News Watch: Five Compelling Reasons Why The YouTube Shooting Has Disappeared From Headlines
Breaking news alerts announcing reports of a shooting at YouTube's headquarters quickly faded from the spotlight and out of the news cycle--and there are a number of imperative reasons why the rampage initiated by a woman who injured three people and then killed herself has not been used to push the mainstream's media obsession with gun control. Here are 5 compelling reasons why the YouTube shooting has disappeared from headlines:....LINK
Trevin Wax: On Pastoral Failings and the Fallout
.....Scripture gives us example after example of men who finished poorly. David’s adultery left his family in shambles. Solomon’s appetites turned his heart to idols. Asa fell prey to a prideful spirit that kept him from relying on the Lord when he grew ill. Hezekiah’s pride left the kingdom vulnerable....In recent months, we’ve seen a number of Christian leaders acknowledging their complicity in immoral or unethical behavior. In each of these cases, sinful patterns in the present have caused a reevaluation of ministry fruitfulness in the past.....LINK
Bruce Oyen: Does the Bible Emphasize Doctrine?
.....One striking characteristic of Bible doctrine is that it intends more than simply filling our minds with information about important subjects. It intends to transform our thinking, which in turn, transforms our behavior. ....LINK
Stand To Reason: You Are Going To See God
We will see God. Think about that. We are going to see God—you are going to see God. You, Mr. or Ms. Ordinary, are actually, in reality, going to stand before God and see Him for yourself. We say this truth with our words all the time, but I don’t think we really see it in our future like we see that tomorrow we’ll go to work and see our co-workers. Sure, we think about other people seeing God, but think hard about this: One day, it will be your turn. You. Not someone else....I imagine that thinking about this certain, future event in concrete terms could cause three very different reactions. First, for those who ignore God in this life, the idea can’t be very appealing. These are the ones who have never seen God in all His goodness, truth, and beauty. They don’t know Him as someone to be desired for true joy but, instead....LINK
Eric Geiger: Two Dumb Ways Leaders Deal With Their Weaknesses 
Just as all leaders have areas of strength, all leaders also have areas of weakness. There is no such thing as an omni-competent leader. But what should a leader do with his or her weaknesses? Books have been written and speeches have been given encouraging leaders to focus on their strengths, to leverage what they are uniquely qualified to do. And while the counsel is wise, that we should focus on our strengths and operate in our gifting, the counsel is incomplete. Our weaknesses as leaders can crush us if we do either of these things with them........LINK
Cole Deike: Real Knowledge In an Age of Facebook Friends
1,800. That’s the number of people in my life that Facebook neatly categorizes as friends. This is fascinating. Those who I disciple and my high school friends both fall under the same category: “friend.” Think of how odd this is. I spend time worshipping Jesus, reading the Bible, and confessing sins with those I disciple. On the other hand, I haven’t participated in a single substantive conversation or exchanged a single meaningful remark with most of my high school friends since 2007.....LINK
David Cloud: Earthquakes In Divers Places
Earthquakes remind us that God’s Word is true. The Lord Jesus warned that the Great Tribulation at the end of the church age would be preceded by “earthquakes in divers places” (Mt. 24:7; Mr. 13:8; Lu. 21:11).More than 800,000 people have died in earthquakes since the turn of the 21st century.  April 2015 - 9,000 died in a quake in Nepal   March 2011 -- 20,000 died in a quake and tsunami in northern.......LINK
Aaron Menikoff: Be a Gospel Neighbor
.....Every Christian wants to make a difference. It’s part of our spiritual DNA. We know humanity’s greatest need is salvation, so we long to see our friends respond to the gospel in repentance and faith. But if we’re honest, we admit we struggle here....Being a good neighbor is a crucial component to being a faithful evangelist. We should all aspire to be gospel neighbors. But first, I want to assess a couple typical ways we measure evangelistic success....LINK
Jeff Robinson: Jonathan Edwards and Why I am a Cessationist
.....He posed another excellent question: “If we aren’t really speaking in tongues, and if the Holy Spirit isn’t causing people to faint and act that way, what are we doing, then?” I told him I wasn’t sure, and today, though I remain a fairly convinced cessationist, I still wonder what’s behind such profound agitations of the body and emotions.....LINK
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HEADLINES AND ARTICLES —  Monday, April 9th, 2018
IJR: Nikki Haley Criticizes China's Ban on Online Bible Sales and Calls Religious Freedom One of Our 'Most Precious Rights'
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley lauded America's right to religious freedom during her criticism of China's recent ban on online Bible sales.  According to The New York Times, the Chinese government banned online retailers from selling the Bible, and the rules go into effect this week. In response, Haley took to Twitter to criticize the crackdown on Christianity in China and called the Bible ban an “assault on their citizens' freedoms.” “Religious freedom is one of our most precious rights, one that should be enjoyed by all no matter where they are born,” she tweeted. The New York Times reported Christianity is the only major religion in China that cannot have its holy text sold through normal commercial channels. Only church bookstores are permitted to sell the Bible.....LINK
Christian Post: Most Pastors Say Their Churches Never Discipline Members for Sinful Misconduct, Survey Finds
Protestant churches in the United States rarely reprimand their members for misconduct as a survey indicates that more than half of pastors say they don't know of an instance in which their church has disciplined a member.....LINK
Christian Post: Christian Missionary Details His Time in Sudanese Prison, Sharing a Cell With ISIS Members
Czech missionary Petr Jasek shared Saturday how God spared him from waterboard torture at the hands of Islamic State extremists and eventually used him to lead fellow inmates to Christ during his 14-month imprisonment in Sudan.....LINK
California Introduces 'Dangerous Bill' That Would Make It Illegal for Christians to Counsel LGBTQ Adults
California LGBTQ activists have introduced a bill that would make it illegal for Christians to provide biblically based counseling for those wanting to get help for unwanted same-sex attractions....LINK
YNet News: Zoabi at UN— ‘Millions of Palestinians Should March On Jerusalem’
MK Hanin Zoabi called on the Palestinians in the West Bank to join the protests on the Gaza border during a press conference over the weekend at the United Nations headquarters in New York. “We need to go on popular marches to remind the world of the siege,” Zoabi said. “We need millions of Palestinians to march on Jerusalem. That is the aspiration. But we can’t do it, because the Israelis would kill them.” ....LINK
Common Sense: Putin Is Dismantling NATO Before Starting WW III
Putin just signed trade deals with Turkey and Iran. NATO is now weaker. Further, there is a reason why Russia’s supply of natural gas to Europe will be the key reason why NATO will continue to implode. Russia just moved 70,000 soldiers in Ukraine.  These are Putin’s final chessboard moves before attacking. NATO is being destroyed right before our eyes.....LINK
CBN News: Bible Ban— God's Word Disappears from Online Stores in China
Bibles are being pulled from online retailers in China as the government cracks down on how its citizens practice religion. Christians fear a new wave of widespread persecution may be underway. The communist country has always controlled the sale of the Bible, but according to CNN, now online searches for the "Holy Bible" do not garner any results.....LINK
InfoWars: Newsweek Says, ‘White People in South Africa Should Stop Panicking About Losing Their Land’ 
White people in South Africa need to stop complaining about their land being stolen because many black South Africans view seizing their property “as essential to restoring their dignity,” so says Newsweek’s Ben Cousins.....LINK
Christian Post: New Abortion Pill Reversal Is Saving Babies' Lives, Says Study
A new medical study shows that the abortion pill reversal medical intervention is saving lives and giving hope to women who change their minds after taking mifepristone, the first drug in the medical abortion process.....LINK
Christian Headlines: Conservative Writer is Fired from 'The Atlantic' for Controversial Pro-life Views
 When conservative writer Kevin Williamson was hired at The Atlantic a few days ago, liberals decried the hiring, and now that Williamson has been fired from his position, conservatives are criticizing the move. After Williamson was first hired, liberals pointed to 2014 tweets in which he said “the law should treat abortion like any other homicide.....LINK
Christian Post: Christians React to Revelation That Orlando Shooting Was Not LGBT Hate Crime
There is a sense among some conservative intellectuals that the recent news that the 2016 Pulse Nightclub mass shooting was not based in homophobia will have no effect on the progressive narrative.....LINK
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HEADLINES AND ARTICLES —  Weekend, April 7th-8th, 2018
PowerLine Blog: 'Christian Privilege' — The Next Frontier
There’s a new privilege for malcontents to obsess over: Christian privilege. The phenomenon must be real because George Washington University is holding a program about it...Looking at a few sites that discuss “Christian privilege,” the closest thing to an example I’ve been able to find is that Christians get to take a few religious holidays. As a non-Christian, this never bothered me because I got to take them too. Sure, Christians get a double benefit. They don’t have to work or go to school, plus they are able to celebrate a holiday. But you have to be awfully small-minded to view this as consequential enough to constitute a “privilege.” When I was kid, the only privilege I thought Christians had in relation to Jews was that they didn’t have to attend Hebrew school. As an adult, I realized that the rigorous training.....LINK
CNN: Bibles Pulled from Online Stores as China Increases Control of Religion
The Bible appears to have been removed from online marketplaces in China, as Beijing clamps down on how its citizens practice religion.
China has always controlled sales of the Bible, only allowing it to be distributed and printed by state-sanctioned churches, but in recent years it had been available to buy online.   That loophole now appears to be firmly closed. Searches for "Holy Bible" did not return results on JD.com, and results on Amazon.cn did not include the main text, but did include study guides and the Koran. ....LINK
Lifesite News: ‘Catastrophic for the Catholic Church’  —World Media Reacts to Pope Francis’ Denial of Hell 
Mainstream media was in a furor last week over the news of Pope Francis purportedly saying that “hell does not exist” and that unrepentant souls in mortal sin simply “disappear.”....“Souls are not punished,” Francis allegedly said. “Those who repent obtain God's forgiveness and go among the ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot be forgiven disappear. There is no hell — there is the disappearance of sinful souls."....LINK
New York Times: Can Social Media Be Saved?
I don’t need to tell you that something is wrong with social media. You’ve probably experienced it yourself. Maybe it’s the way you feel while scrolling through your Twitter feed — anxious, twitchy, a little world weary — or your unease when you see a child watching YouTube videos, knowing she’s just a few algorithmic nudges away from a rabbit hole filled with lunatic conspiracies and gore. ....LINK
Kit Johnson: Why Do We Have a Sunday Night Service? 
....This post will share why our church holds a Sunday evening service, how it is unique from our other services, and why you should consider attending. If you already attend, I hope this post will help you do so more meaningfully, and if you do not consistently attend, I hope it will challenge you to consider if God wants you to make the Sunday nights part of your weekly routine. I must begin by acknowledging the elephant in the room: coming back on Sunday nights is not easy. Some people simply can’t drive safely after dark or they have other limitations. In addition, life is busy for most people. We go hard 6 or even 7 days a week. When you are finally able to relax Sunday afternoons, the last thing you naturally want to do is pull the family together and go back out for church. Sunday nights also tend to be a frantic time of  preparation for the upcoming week. ....LINK
Star-Telegram: Independent Baptist Pastor Arrested For Failure To Report Child Sexual Abuse In His Church Membership
The pastor of a fundamentalist Baptist church with two members already facing sex abuse charges was arrested Tuesday on charges that he failed to make a required child abuse report. Robert A. Ross, the pastor of Open Door Baptist Church in Mesquite, is in the Mesquite jail. Bond has been set at $2,500. Ross learned about that church member Steven Winn was sexually assaulting a 15-year-old on Feb. 1 and failed to immediately report it to police, according to a release from the Mesquite Police Department. Open Door Baptist Church in Mesquite has had four members accused of sexual abuse in its 50-year history. Members and ex-members say a strict culture that reveres church authorities as nearly unquestionable has led to an environment conducive to ongoing abuse.....LINK
World Religion News: China Begins To Ban The Bible
Chinese netizens can no longer buy Bibles online. Chinese shopping sites no longer display any results for “holy bible.” The restriction is limited to the Christian Holy Book only. Study guides related to the Bible are available and one can still purchase other holy books, like the Koran..LINK
Christian Post: Ken Ham Hits Back at Christian Geologist Who Lists 21 Reasons Why Noah's Flood Never Happened
Young Earth Creationist and Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham has slammed an article by a Christian geologist who has listed 21 reasons why he thinks Noah's worldwide flood account in the Bible never happened. Ham said Monday on Facebook that the article, "Twenty-One Reasons Noah's Worldwide Flood Never Happened," is "sad," because it's not only wrong, but also because the author, Lorence G. Collins, is a professing Christian.....LINK
World Net Daily: Scary, Hot New Drug Called ‘Spirit Molecule’
It’s one of the most popular new hallucinogenic drugs being smoked by young people around the world, with many users reporting “spiritual encounters” with entities that sound a lot like demons. And now, Johns Hopkins University is studying the alarming effects of DMT, or Dimethyltryptamine, asking volunteers who have taken the drug about encounters they may have had with “seemingly autonomous beings or entities.” One researcher characterized DMT as a “spirit molecule.”....LINK
World Religion News: Is Rwanda Trying to Destroy Christianity?
The Rwandan government has been clamping down on religious leaders and churches. Over 700 churches and 100 mosques have been ordered to close. The government has arrested six pastors for “illegal meetings with bad intentions.” This is in direct contradiction to Rwandan law that states that there can be no interference with the freedom of worship.....LINK
Premier News (UK): Cuba Bans NIV Bibles
Although Cuba lifted its ban on Bibles in 2015, they only allowed the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible in the country, according to a Bible publisher. According to Marti news, 17,000 New Independent Version (NIV) Bibles were returned by the Religious Affairs Department of the Communist Party but the King James Versions were not returned.....LINK
Gene Veith: The Pope, Hell, & the Papacy
An Italian journalist has quoted Pope Francis as saying “there is no hell,” a statement that the Vatican quickly backtracked, referencing an admission by the journalist that his interviews employs “reconstructions” of conversations.  But questions remain, including questions about the nature of the papacy.....LINK
Aaron Blumer: The Simplicity of Biblical Parenting
Christian parenting experts often seem unable to see the forest for the trees. Whether it’s “grace based,” “gospel centered,” “heart focused,” or some other phrase du jour, many seem to begin with a lofty concept about what the Bible ought to teach about parenting then go to Scripture and—surprise!—find it there. As a result, we have constantly clashing emphases—to the everlasting frustration of parents, who just want to know what God expects of them and how to perform those tasks more effectively.....LINK
Israel My Glory: The Rapture
When the word Rapture is mentioned, responses differ. Some people know it refers to Christ coming to take the church to heaven. Others incorrectly associate the rapture with Christ’s Second Coming. Still others have no idea what the Rapture is. Confusion prevails, primarily because many churches seldom teach the subject today or lack biblical clarity when they do teach it. In some circles, people even dislike or ridicule the doctrine. Often the Rapture passages are spiritualized, stripping the text of its true meaning. The Rapture of the church is a major doctrine in Scripture, and it is incumbent on us as Christians to understand the meaning of this important prophetic event.....LINK
Denny Burk: The Strangest Thing About the Christian Faith
The strangest thing about the Christian faith is not our views on sexuality or politics. Those things are not even our most controversial of claims. The strangest thing about us is what the apostle Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.......LINK
Kristopher Schaal: Six Reasons to Attend Sunday School In 2018
I think it is true of most churches that the Sunday morning worship service is the service with the highest attendance every week. Yet most churches offer other services to meet a variety of needs. Our church is no exception. Although we don’t take attendance during Sunday school, I would venture to say that Sunday school attendance is about half that of the main service. In light of these things, I thought it might be profitable for me to encourage you to consider making Sunday school attendance a new habit. Here are six reasons to do so.....LINK
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HEADLINES AND ARTICLES —  Thursday & Friday, April 5th-6th, 2018
CNS News: Funding of Aborted Baby Parts Research Up Under GOP
The federal money spent on research that uses tissue from aborted babies — and sometimes transplants it into "humanized mice" — has increased since Republicans won control of both houses of Congress in the 2014 elections, according to data published by the National Institutes of Health. The recently passed omnibus, which funds the government through fiscal 2018, was stripped of language........LINK
Kevin Schaal: Serious Concerns About Christian Comedy and the Christian Celebrity Culture 
God is not funny and comedy is not a fruit of the Spirit.  Where has all the reverence gone? Peter said that we are required to pass the time of temporary travel here on this planet in reverence (1 Peter 1:17). He was not talking about worship only. He meant that our entire lives ought to represent a sense of reverence for the Almighty.  Do we live that way? Generally, American Christians are theologically illiterate. Even the most learned of laypeople know much more about Bible stories than Bible doctrine—especially theology proper. If we really knew what God is like, we would not speak and act the way we do. ...LINK
World Mag: Republicans Renege On Promises To Defund Planned Parenthood
A few hours after President Donald Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill to keep the federal government funded through September, satirical news website The Babylon Bee ran a stinging headline: “Republicans Clarify That By ‘Defund Planned Parenthood’ They Meant ‘Give Them $500 Million Every Year.’” The fake-news-for-laughs carried an unfunny truth: After months of lofty promises from Republicans and Trump to defund the nation’s largest abortion business, the GOP-controlled Congress passed a bill that keeps the funds flowing. And President Trump signed it. Planned Parenthood performed 321,384 abortions last year.....LINK
National Review: The Troubling Connections Between Scientology and the Nation of Islam 
Scientology is commonly known as the religion of the stars. Its reach inside Hollywood is deep, and celebrity recruitment is a huge component of the group’s marketing strategy. It sounds strange to describe the proselytizing efforts of a religion as a marketing strategy, but Scientology is unlike any other American religion. It operates as a business at best and as a cult at worst...  There is yet another component of Scientology that has gone almost entirely unreported: its deep relationship with another troubling religious group, the Nation of Islam (NOI). The CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, explains why the NOI is so troubling, especially for American Jews.......LINK
World Mag: China Targets Christian Schools for Persecution
In 2015, I visited China’s Beatitudes (Bafu) Public School, an unregistered church-run school in the outskirts of Beijing, and was impressed by its level of professionalism....But today, the students no longer have a school to attend. Authorities pressured the site’s landlord to evict the elementary school in January. Then last week, 40 public security guards in riot gear barricaded the gate to the separate Beatitudes Kindergarten, preventing teachers and parents from entering, even though the school’s lease was not yet up, according to the U.S.-based ChinaAid. Two parents were injured in the scuffle with the guards, and police detained the pastor of the school’s sponsor church.......LINK
Israel National News: Jews Pray In Ancient Synagogue
Jews and IDF soldiers on Wednesday morning prayed the morning prayers at an ancient synagogue in Eshtemoa (now called as-Samu). The al-Samu synagogue, also known by its Biblical name of “Eshtemoa,” dates back to just after the Second Temple Period, when large Jewish communities left Jerusalem after the destruction of the Temple to settle in Har Hevron. Remains of candelabras, as well as reliefs of the Temple Menorah, have been found at the site.....LINK
World Net Daily: Air Force Sued over Flag-Folding Assault as Airman Mentions God
…It happened in April 2016 when, under orders, “uniformed Airmen abruptly interrupted a flag-folding ceremony at Roberson’s retirement and assaulted Rodriguez before he could use the word ‘God’ in a flag folding speech.”....LINK
Tim Challies: Is There Anything Wrong with Sports and Hobbies?
.....I don’t know that the Bible gives us a lot of clear direction on hobbies and sports, and I think that’s partly because when the Bible was written, people didn’t have the recreational time we do today. So, we live in a time where we have so much time available to us. I mean, we’re still very busy and we still spend our evening’s driving the children around and doing these sorts of things, but we have so much time and we consider it today this inalienable right that I should have four or five hours in the evening where I can turn my mind off of work-related matters......LINK
The Federalist: Study Says Atheists Find Meaning In Life By Inventing Fairy Tales
Atheists often snidely dismiss religion as a fairy tale. Yet a study finds the meaning atheists and non-religious people attribute to their lives is entirely self-invented.....LINK
ESV: 10 Most Significant Discoveries in the Field of Biblical Archaeology
Biblical archaeology is a wide field offering modern readers fascinating insights into the everyday lives of people mentioned in the Bible. While archaeological findings don’t prove the truth of Scripture, they do have the potential to enrich our understanding and draw us into the world of the biblical writers—giving us a glimpse of the ancient world behind the living Word. Here are the ten most significant discoveries......LINK
Kit Johnson: Isn’t Sunday Morning Enough?
I don’t recall anyone every asking me this question so bluntly, but I’m sure it’s crossed many people’s minds. They are just settling into Sunday morning worship after a hectic morning, and the pastor is giving a sales pitch for the evening service or some other special event. As the pastor speaks, the frazzled member thinks, “I’m having a hard enough time getting to one service, and you want me to come back tonight?” Maybe that’s you. The idea of attending 2, 3, or 4 church services a week is a foreign concept, and you don’t see the value of doing so. On the other hand, maybe you are on the other end of the spectrum, and you attend every service possible, but you have never considered why......LINK
Brad Wheeler: Good and Bad Excuses Not to Practice Church Discipline
It’s not often that churches find themselves in the national news. Yet in recent memory, a number of prominent congregations have found themselves in controversies covered by The Washington Post, Slate, and The New York Times. And in each, it was about a case of church discipline gone wrong. Such stories should grieve us. They’re tragic. Tragic for how they reflect shepherds who abuse their sheep thus misrepresent Christ, tragic also for how they can discourage other churches from practicing what the Bible so clearly commands.....LINK
Paul Henebury: Why I Read the Scholars Yet Still Believe That God Means What He Says
Recently, I have been immersing myself (not for the first time) in the works of writers who would disagree very strongly with the views espoused at Telos and by traditional dispensationalists in general. Trawling through these big books, paying attention to each argument and their use of Scripture, and repeatedly coming across assertions that seem to make God guilty of double-talk is, to be brutally honest, a sort of self-imposed torture. So why do I do it? I read these works because I want to be informed about the latest arguments against my position. I want to keep abreast of how many evangelical scholars think. I don’t want to be a Bible teacher and theologian who is ignorant of what’s going on around him. Another reason I read books by those with whom I disagree is because if a good argument arises which demonstrates I am wrong, I want to see it. So far, I have to report that I have not found any argument which impresses me that way. In fact, the more I read of these men, the more convinced I become that they are, hermeneutically speaking, barking up the wrong tree.....LINK
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HEADLINES AND ARTICLES —  Wednesday, April 4th, 2018
 Joe Schimmel: The Pope and Hell
....The denial of hell's existence by entertainers and cults, such as Christian Science, is nothing new. However, now Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, has allegedly made this same unbiblical denial.  In a recent interview, Pope Francis allegedly told his good atheist friend that hell does not exist and that evil souls simply disappear after death....The Vatican conceded that Scalfari held a private meeting with him. They are scrambling and suggesting that the Pope's alleged denial of hell's existence is not "a faithful transcription of the Holy Father's words." While Roman Catholics lament the Pope's alleged departure from historic Catholic teaching, the greater concern should be: what did Jesus really teach about hell and salvation? Does hell exist? Is hell eternal? Do wicked souls simply disappear after death? Jesus actually revealed that the wicked will make three stops after death, and that the final stop is hell–and it is eternal. ..LINK
College Fix: University Event Aims to Combat ‘Christian Privilege’ 
Just four days after Easter, George Washington University will host a training session for students and faculty that teaches that Christians — especially white ones — “receive unmerited perks from institutions and systems all across our country.” The April 5 diversity workshop is titled “Christian Privilege: But Our Founding Fathers Were All Christian, Right?!”....LINK
Ynet News: Saudi Crown Prince Says ‘Israel Has the Right To Exist In Peace’
In interview with The Atlantic, the young reform-minded Mohammed bin Salman says Israelis and Palestinians have right to exist in ‘their own land’, denies his country has a problem with Jews or anti-Semitism, and says Iran’s supreme leader makes Hitler ‘look good.’....LINK
Gatestone Institute: Iraq’s Christians— Eighty Percent Have “Disappeared”
Tragically, Christians living in lands formerly under the control of the “Caliphate” have been betrayed by many in the West. Governments ignored their tragic fate.....LINK
Breitbart: Colbert’s Easter Trump Show: ‘How Do Grown Adults Still Worship Jesus?’
Stephen Colbert’s anti-Trump animated show on Showtime portrayed President Trump threatening to “cut off God’s penis” and asking, “How do grown adults still worship Jesus?”....LINK
Israel National News: The World Goes for Israel’s Throat
All the hypocrites of the world are now at Israel’s throat. The satrap Erdogan, who slaughters the Kurds, who invades Afrin, who persecutes Christians and who occupies Cyprus, has the nerve to accuse Israel of “terrorism” in Gaza. At least 289 and more likely 500 people have been killed since Turkey launched its jihad against Afrin and Erdogan allows himself to give ethical lessons to Israel. But in some perverse way, Erdogan is right: Those who did not condemn the Turkish invasion and massacres in Afrin, took two minutes to turn Israel into a Nazi at the border of Gaza for defending itself.....LINK
Christian Post: See Facebook's Explanation for Why It Banned This Image of Jesus on the Cross
A Catholic college in Ohio has posted screenshots of the response Facebook gave them explaining why it banned an Easter ad featuring Jesus on the cross.....LINK
CBN News: Four Pakistani Christians Shot Dead on Easter by ISIS 'Covert Unit'
ISIS has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a Christian family in Pakistan.  It happened Easter morning in Pakistan's Balochistan province, near the Afghanistan border. Three men and a woman, all members of the same family, were riding in a rickshaw traveling through Balochistan's capital city Quetta when armed men on motorcycles opened fire.....LINK
 Rachel Alexander: How Social Media Eroded the Left's Media Dominance
While there has been considerable, and warranted, criticism lately about censorship of conservatives by the big tech companies, let's not forget that the emergence of social media cracked the left's media dominance. People moved from reading print newspapers and magazines to congregating on Facebook and Twitter. They moved from network television to YouTube videos and streaming news services...LINK
CBN News: Air Force Vet Sues After Being Thrown Out of Ceremony Mentioning 'God'
A retired Air Force sergeant who was physically removed from a military retirement ceremony two years ago is suing the Air Force. Senior Master Sergeant Oscar Rodriguez believes he was taken out of the ceremony because he mentioned "God" in a speech.....LINK
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HEADLINES AND ARTICLES —  Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018
 Mark D. Tooley: Our Sin-Drenched Nation
.....Contempt specifically for America, including among many Christians, especially in academia, reflects partly the dominance of the Howard Zinn perspective, which chronicles American history as primarily a catalog of repressions. These recalled injustices are often very real, but the distortion is tagging America as uniquely perfidious, racist, sexist, greedy, militarist, etc. America is sinful, like all nations, but it never had a monopoly on sin. And more often than not, American ideals have provided a level of human justice unusual in world history. The Christians who disdain America often suffer from particular theological confusion, believing humanity basically good, while America is the odious aberration. They are also, ironically, often themselves persons of privilege, attending or teaching at expensive and prestigious academic institutions even as they lament America's exploitation of the... ..LINK
Prophecy News Watch: Born In a Day — Israel's 70th Anniversary
Isaiah 66:8 records the famous question 'can a nation be born in a day?' 2,700 years later the question was answered. Despite insurmountable odds, Israel - armed with help from above and the heroic courage of its men and women - was born in a day on May 14, 1948.  In this article we are going to look at three unique heroes of Israel's miraculous modern-day re-birth. ....LINK
CBN News: 'All of Us are Capable of Falling'  —Why Your Pastor Implodes & What You Can Do
In recent weeks a barrage of news stories has reported the demise of multiple faith leaders. They include a megachurch minister, a large church pastor and the head of an evangelical denomination. Many believers have the sense in the wake of the #metoo and #churchtoo movements that more pastors than ever are getting caught in sexual sin, although no one can prove it. For many in the church, the bigger question is what leads to personal implosion and what can be done in the aftermath?....LINK
Israel Today: Top Israeli Rabbi Believes Trump Will Build Third Temple in Jerusalem
A prominent Israeli rabbi believes the reason for this unprecedented (at least in modern times) shift is that Trump has a big role to play in the building of the Third Temple and the coming of Messiah.....LINK
Jared C. Wilson: Laziness Is Idolatry
Let’s talk about laziness. Laziness is idolatry. It is closely related to its opposite—workaholism. Both the sins of laziness and workaholism are sins of self-worship. The behavior looks different, but the root idolatry is the same. And the problem we face is that the law cannot do for either of these sins what grace does. There is no saving power in law. Further—and this is the crucial point in this particular discussion—there is no sustainable keeping of the law apart from the compulsion of grace. We can (and should) command repentance from sin, but it is grace that enables repentance and belief that accompanies it. Repentance problems are always belief problems. When we are set free from the law’s curse, we are set free to the law’s blessings. The difference-maker is the gospel and the joyful worship it creates. Any other attempt at law-abiding is just behavior management.....LINK
Prophecy News Watch: Viral Video Exposes News Stations Across US Pumping Exact Same Script
While there was once a time when the mainstream media was run by dozens of companies, it is now controlled by six corporations, which all have ties to the Council on Foreign Relations. ....LINK
Bloomberg: Rising Rates Sounding Alarm Bells for Debt-Laden U.S. Consumers
…Americans have a history of loading up on debt in good times, then paying dearly when the bills come due. Adding to the pain: A booming economy is often accompanied by rising interest rates, which make mortgages, credit cards and other debt much more expensive. As the U.S. Federal Reserve raises rates, there are signs that consumers could be putting themselves in peril.....LINK
Christian Post: Many Evangelicals Lifted Donald Trump Above Jesus, Shane Claiborne Says
President Donald Trump is "a symptom of a much bigger disease" and many evangelicals have lifted him up above Jesus, Christian activist and author Shane Claiborne said in an interview on NPR.....LINK
Study Finds: The Happiest Teens Use Smartphones, Digital Media Less Than An Hour A Day......LINK
W. Robert Godfrey:The Word-less 'Church'
Many American churches are in a mess. Theologically they are indifferent, confused, or dangerously wrong. Liturgically they are the captives of superficial fads. Morally they live lives indistinguishable from the world. They often have a lot of people, money, and activities. But are they really churches, or have they degenerated into peculiar clubs? What has gone wrong? At the heart of the mess is a simple phenomenon: the churches seem to have lost a love for and confidence in the Word of God. ...LINK
James Faris: Hawking, Maxwell, and the Creation of the Universe
The recently deceased prominent physicist Stephen Hawking once said: "Before we understood science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe," implying that science has proven that God did not create the universe. While Hawking's views are widely reported in the media they are by no means universal among scientists.....LINK
Stephen McAlpine: Spitting in God’s Face
....It’s interesting how little space is given in the Gospels to describe the crucifixion act...To spit in someone’s face.  To slap a person in the face.
I’ve seen it happen on a crowded bus.  I’ve seen it happen in a testosterone-fuelled sports change room.  It’s dehumanising.  It’s designed to announce indignity.  To declare that the person to which you have done it to is beneath you.  To be less than the human you are.....LINK
David Cloud: The Lion
The lion is mentioned 150 times in Scripture.  The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) was once common in Israel but has been extinct since the end of the 19th century, due largely to unchecked hunting under Ottoman rule.  A male lion can reach 310 feet long and weigh 400-500 pounds.  A lion can leap as far as 36 feet and run up to 50 mph, but it can only run that fast in a straight line and for a short distance. ....LINK
David Murray: The Bathsheba Syndrome— The Ethical Failure of Successful Leaders
I was talking with a military leader recently about the growing number of devastating moral failures among prominent Christian leaders. He mentioned to me a training seminar he attended on “The Bathsheba Syndrome” and its application in the military context.....LINK
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HEADLINES AND ARTICLES —  Monday, April 2nd, 2018
Rod Dreher: The Coming Collapse Of Christian Colleges
NPR reports on a serious issue facing conservative Christian colleges: Conservative Christian colleges, once relatively insulated from the culture war, are increasingly entangled in the same battles over LGBT rights and related social issues that have divided other institutions in America.  Students and faculty at many religious institutions are asked to accept a “faith statement” outlining the school’s views on such matters as evangelical doctrine, scriptural interpretation, and human sexuality. Those statements often include a rejection of homosexual activity and a definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Changing attitudes on sexual ethics and civil rights, however, are making it difficult for some schools, even conservative ones, to ensure broad compliance with their strict positions...The report goes on to explain that Christian colleges who hold on to Biblical teaching on homosexuality are facing serious legal challenges, as well as challenges from a huge cultural shift among young Americans, even those identifying as Christians.....LINK
CBN News: NPR Fails in Easter Report— Reports  That Jesus Did Not Die, Go to Hell or Rise Again
If you thought Pope Francis is having a bad week, having been misquoted by a prominent atheist and the publisher of the paper La Repubblica, that hell doesn't exist, here's one to top it.  National Public Radio, also known as NPR, posted a story on the Pope's interview this week on its website in which someone in the news department finished the story by writing, "Easter — the day celebrating the idea that Jesus did not die and go to hell or purgatory or anywhere at all, but rather arose into heaven — is is on Sunday." This sentence has since been corrected, probably by an editor who knows a little bit more or used the Internet to research true Christian beliefs about Easter than the original writer.....LINK
Christian Research Network: 51% of Churchgoers Don’t Know of the Great Commission
According to new research conducted by the Barna Report, a large number of U.S. Christians are clueless that the Lord Jesus  gave specific instructions to His followers to make disciples (share the Gospel of salvation with the lost and teach them the entirety of God’s truth found in the Bible) as they go about their daily lives. ....LINK
Christian Headlines: Vatican Denies Pope Francis Said Hell Doesn't Exist
 Controversy surrounded the Vatican and Pope Francis after an interview was released in which the Pope allegedly claimed there was no hell and people who die without knowing Christ simply “disappear.”....LINK
Pat Buchanan: With His 'No Hell' Comment, Did the Pope Commit Rank Heresy?
.....Did the soul of Judas, and those of the monstrous evildoers of history, "just fade away," as General MacArthur said of old soldiers? If there is no hell, is not the greatest deterrent to the worst of sins removed?  What did Christ die on the cross to save us from? If Francis made such a statement, it would be rank heresy.....LINK
New York Times: Catholic Bishop Taken Into Custody In China
The authorities are trying to keep out of the public eye during Easter week an underground Chinese bishop at the center of a controversial deal between Beijing and the Vatican, according to people working in his office. A Rome-based news agency has reported that Guo Xijin was briefly detained on Monday because he refused to celebrate the Easter Mass with the government-approved bishop, but people working in his parish office said the aim was to keep him out of the spotlight during the days around Easter, which was celebrated this past Sunday.....LINK
'God is Good Even through Hard Times,' Says Wisconsin Woman Who Lost Husband and Son in Farming Accident
 A Wisconsin man and his son were killed this week in a farming accident when the grain inside a silo buried them and they were unable to escape.  FoxNews.com reports that 51-year-old Daniel Briel and his 14-year-old son David were victims of an “internal collapse of silage.” In the midst of this horrific and unexpected tragedy, mother Melissa Briel said her faith in God is sustaining her. “I have peace knowing that he was praying with our son,” Melissa Briel told FOX9. “I have peace knowing that he was holding onto our son.”....LINK
Public Discourse: How Europe's Way of Denial Became a Way of Death
“Terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.” “Islam is a religion of peace.” These are invariably among the first statements we hear from European politicians following yet another jihadist attack in Western Europe. Leaving aside the deeply contestable theological and historical claims underlying such statements, they underscore something else that...is slowly draining the life out of Europe.....LINK
The Hill: Jimmy Carter: I Pray for Donald Trump
Former President Carter said during a new interview that he prays for President Trump. "I pray that he'll be a good president, and that he'll keep our country at peace, and that he'll refrain from using nuclear weapons, and that he will promote human rights," Carter told......LINK
Yahoo News: Movie Theaters Cash In as Hollywood Turns To God
....Religion is reclaiming cinema for sacred purposes at a rate never seen in history, with faith-based movies exploding from an obscure cottage industry last century into a multi-billion-dollar business. "You can add faith-based movies to the list of genres that you can count on as box office, as much as you can count on any genre. But these movies have to come from an authentic place..." ...LINK
Eric Metaxas: 'I Can Only Imagine’ – Not Some Fluffy Christian Film
.....In the nation’s theaters, a low-budget film with a strong Christian theme is handily outperforming a heavily promoted, big-budget, Academy Award-winning film celebrating a homoerotic relationship between an underage teenager and an adult.  It did so even though the gay-themed film, “Call Me By Your Name,” is being shown in 50 percent more theaters. This is good news on several fronts—most importantly, that when films like “I Can Only Imagine” are made, they reach people who never set foot in church.   LINK
David Cloud: Changes Within Independent Baptist Churches
There is a fierce battle raging within the Independent Baptist (IB) movement between those who are committed to old Bible paths and those who are enticed by a new way. When I was saved in 1973 and joined an IB church a couple of months later it was assumed that practically every IB church was committed to the old paths. The SBC was universally condemned for its worldliness and theological compromise. A large percentage of IB churches had come out of the Convention and they tended to be plainspoken about its error. Today, a lot of former Ind. Baptists have gone back into the SBC.   In regard to “warning ministries,” they were pretty common in 70s and 80s. ....LINK
Israel My Glory: The Changing Face of Dispensationalism
A student recently came to my office and told me he had been to a conference with pastors from mainline churches. When he mentioned he was taking a course on Dispensationalism from me, one of the pastors replied, “Does that still exist?” Dispensationalism,* which holds to a literal interpretation of Scripture, is one of the most maligned and misunderstood theological concepts in the church today. Many Christians have abandoned it, while others seek to redefine it.....LINK
Grace To You: A Divine Shot at the Self-Righteous
.....The lesson of the Good Samaritan is not merely an exhortation to help those in need. It is far too simplistic to say that Jesus’ main point is about showing kindness to strangers. Rather, He told this story to illustrate how far we all fall short of what God’s law actually demands. He explains why all our good works and religious merit are never sufficient to gain favor with God. He shows what the law really demands of us—and thereby He systematically deflates the hopes of superfastidious religious people who think they can merit eternal life by.......LINK
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