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Why Complementarian Men Need Complementarian Women

By Courtney Reissig In the midst of our civil war on the Trinity, we need to put down our arms and remember that men and women are in this together. Being outnumbered by men has always been part of my life. I was raised in a family of brothers. I’m the mother to three sons. I’m also the only female editor at the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW), so I’m all too familiar with what it’s like to be the only woman around. Amid the recent “civil war” among complementarians about the Trinity and Christ’s subordination (recap by CT here), Christians following the back-and-forth on social media have been asking—where are all the women? Well, here’s one of them. I can tell you from personal experience that being the only woman in a room of complementarian men doesn’t mean that I’m ignored, overruled, or seen as a token female. At CBMW, I’m frequently called on to provide my unique perspective. More often than not, my male colleagues yield to my opinion. (And yes, that is consonant with our views.) More often than not, they’re interested in how a woman might perceive what goes up on our site. Even as we work through …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Wise Decision-Making in God’s Economy

By Anne Bradley How do we know that we are pleasing God in all that we do? Who will be our next president? It’s a question that is on everyone’s mind. In light of the upcoming presidential election, economic questions like, “Should we trade with China?” or “How do we pay for our debt?” are swirling in the minds of Americans. Questions like these are important, but they are also overwhelming and seem to best belong with pundits and academics. The reality is, the average American has little impact on the economic policies that answer these questions. The way we affect change is far more micro than macro. It starts with everyday questions like, “How should I spend my time?” or “What job should I take?” The futures of our families, churches, communities, and nation are grounded in our personal responsibility to make decisions that please God. From “What should I eat for breakfast” to “What ministry at church should I volunteer for?”, our responsibility as Christians is to be obedient to God’s desires in everything that we do. As believers in Christ, we strive to hear the blessing of our Father, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21). …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Small Church (Chicagoland) Pastor, Need a Break? I'll Preach for You Tomorow

By Ed Stetzer I’m moving to Chicago. Need a Sunday off? I’ll come preach. Need pulpit supply and you pastor a small church in Chicagoland? I’ll be happy to preach for you, July 3, 2016. As you may have heard (if you are a blog reader), I’ll moving to Wheaton, IL. It’s close to my new job. ;^) Yesterday, Jaclyn (my daughter) and I drove to Wheaton and now up so I’ll be in the Chicago area Sunday, July 3. I’m not scheduled to preach anywhere that day, and most of my family is not yet here, so here’s the deal. I’d like to start my time in Chicago at a small church. The typical church is a small church, with an average attendance of under 100, actually. And, we’ve got some exciting plans coming up at the Billy Graham Center related to small churches (more on that later). But, I’d like to start my new role in this new city at a normal church—which is a small church. So, if you pastor a church of less than 150 and would like a Sunday off, I’ll be happy to preach for you in the morning service. I can go to lunch with the pastor, staff, other key …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Arsonists Still Love to Burn Churches

By Timothy C. Morgan 2,378 houses of worship have been torched since 1996. At least half of all fires at churches or houses of worship are arson, including 29 so far this year, according to Pew Research. While the number of church fires has declined in recent years, many are still intentionally set. That sets church fires aside from other kinds of blazes. For example, in 2013, only about one in ten nonresidential fires—and one in twenty residential fires—were caused by arson. Church arson is more common. From 2010 to 2014, there were about 74 church arson per year or “48% of all church fires,” reported Pew. So far in 2015, there have been 79 fires at house of worship—29 arsons, 21 accidental, and 29 of undetermined cause. “Anytime there is a house of worship involved in a fire, ATF is automatically assigned to look into the cause,” said agency Special Agent Tom Mangan with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in news reports concerning a major fire at Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) in Greeleyville, South Carolina, on June 30. Less than a week later, investigators determined lightning caused the blaze that destroyed the historic African American church building. But after the <a target="_blank" …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Babies Halt the Great Commission

By Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra Christian researchers think population growth will stall the gospel’s spread. Over the past century, the Good News has taken off faster than at any other time in history.­­ It took nearly 2,000 years for the gospel to spread from the early church to nearly half the world’s population. In 1900, 45.7 percent of people everywhere were aware of the gospel, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. More than 100 years later, that number has grown to more than 70 percent. Given that the number of mission organizations has grown from 2,200 in 1970 to 5,100 in 2015, the whole world should soon hear the Good News, right? Not so fast, said the CSGC. By 2050, it predicts only another 2 percent of the world’s population will be evangelized, totaling 72 percent. The root of the slowdown: babies, rival religions, and the painstaking work of building disciples. The evangelism boom of the 20th century came primarily from the work done among African tribal groups that had no ties to the world’s major religions. The number of Christians on the continent rose from 7 million in 1900 to 470 million in 2010, according to Pew Research Center. But …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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20 Truths from Gaining by Losing by J.D. Greear

By Ed Stetzer You need to check out this new resource from J.D. Greear on how your church can be a Great Commission church. 1. Jesus did not say come and grow, but come and die. (17) 2. We live by losing. We gain by giving away. What we achieve by building our personal platform will never be as great as what God achieves through what we give away in faith. (18) 3. Study after study shows that most Christians have never even shared their faith—most indicating that somewhere 90 percent of evangelicals have never shared their faith with anyone outside of their family. (22) 4. The church is now Jesus’ vehicle for the completion of his mission. Jesus finished the purchase of our salvation, paying the full price for our sin on the cross and shattering the powers of death in the resurrection, but the mission of salvation is not yet complete. (31) 5. Blessing the community might certainly include growing a big church, but it would also mean giving away some of our resources. (42) 6. A “sending” ministry always starts with a heart exam. Sending out people and giving away your resources, you see, will most often compete with your church’s “bottom line,” not benefit it. …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Contraception Mandate Heading to Supreme Court

By Timothy C. Morgan and Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra (UPDATED) Christian college cancels health insurance for students over emergency contraceptives. Update (July 30): Wheaton College has announced that, effective tomorrow, it is canceling its student health insurance program, which covers an estimated 700 students, in the aftermath of the appeals court ruling that the school’s health insurance provider offer emergency contraception and IUDs. The school’s 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students were informed of the college’s decision on July 10. Colleges and universities are not required to provide a health insurance plan for students. But many schools do require students to have health insurance and many operate a health clinic on campus. The college said it was setting aside funds to assist low-income students obtain adequate coverage before the start of the academic year in late August. During a recent webcast, Paul Chelsen, Wheaton’s vice president for student development, said, “What has brought us here is about student health insurance, but it’s bigger than student health insurance. What really breaks my heart is that there are real people that are affected by our decision. But if we don’t win this case, the implications down the road in terms of what the government will tell us what we can and cannot do will be …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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3 Sermon Prep tips for Bi-vocational Pastors

By Marty Duren Being a bi-vocational pastor can be dreadfully taxing. Marty Duren shares how to make sermon prep not as burdensome. There may be no more under appreciated person in the Kingdom that the bi-vocational pastor. Many of them are the only staff member of a small church. They work a job during the week and are still expected to perform most, if not all, of the ministry functions of a full-time pastor. Through the years I have known bi-vocational pastors who had to take time off work to do funerals, did periodic weddings, and still had to preach two or three sermons a week. They did counseling, attended deacons meetings, met with the personnel committee, finance committee, or any number of other groups. The week of a church planter was recently summarized like this: Long days have become the standard for Nathan Vedoya. As a bi-vocational church planter, there’s no such thing as typical, but this may be as close as it gets. He wakes up early, shares the breakfast-making responsibilities with his wife, and drops the kids off at school before heading to his full-time job as the shelter manager for Hope Mission in Edmonton, Alberta. His wife, Deen-Deen, also heads …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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China Sees Red: Christian Protest Puts Hundreds of Crosses Back in Public

By Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra Protestants and Catholics unite for ‘safe and legal non-violent disobedience.’ The government of “China’s Jerusalem” has torn down hundreds of giant red crosses from church buildings over the past two years. Now Chinese Protestants and Catholics are joining together to put red crosses—albeit much smaller ones—back in the public eye. In an online campaign, church leaders in the eastern province of Zhejiang have called on Christians to craft hundreds of small wooden crosses, paint them red, and display them at home or on their cars. “Each time they take a cross down, we will put more up,” one church leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity, toldThe Guardian. “We are even considering making flags and clothes with cross patterns. We will make the cross flourish throughout China.” The removal campaign began in 2013, but hit Christians hardest last summer. Hundreds of crosses were removed, sometimes along with the demolition of entire churches. Christians protested, at times sitting in front of their building or cross to protect it. More than 100 people were detained or arrested in connection with cross removals in 2014, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) reported. Another 38 were beaten or injured during protests. Cross removals decreased last fall, and seemed …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Cognitive Dissonance with Life and Death: Thoughts on Planned Parenthood

By Kelly Rosati Kelly Rosati, Vice President at Focus on the Family, writes about our callousness to the life and death of the preborn. “Modern ultrasound technology produces a more-detailed image of an unborn baby’s features,” reads the photo caption in the July 17 Wall Street Journal story. The article explores whether too many ultrasound scans during pregnancy could be unhealthy for unborn children, noting that experts have begun advising women that frequent scans for low-risk pregnancies aren’t medically justified. “Routine scans do not seem to be associated with reductions in adverse outcomes for babies,” notes one study. Where has our logic gone? How can we have reasonable and compassionate concern for healthy “outcomes” for babies in the womb while at the same time, news of the atrocities committed by Planned Parenthood continues to unfold? How can beautiful in utero pictures fill the baby books and social media pages of parents across the nation at the same time preborn children are coolly destroyed—and the possible sale of their parts is negotiated over lunch? Medical professionals may debate whether frequent …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Finding the Right Church Plant Model: The Traditional Model (Part 2)

By Ed Stetzer Which church planting model is right for you? Is it the Traditional Model? In the introduction to this series, I listed the five primary models of church planting and outlined some considerations for church planters deciding between them. The challenge is that too many church planters fall in love with a model of church planting before falling in love with the people being reached. They end up disregarding some tools that might fit their context. In this post I want to provide some basic information regarding the traditional model and what reasons might compel someone to plant a church in this way. Prior to the mid 1990’s, before the church-planting boom, before church-planting became mainstream, there were unsung planters like Larry Lewis, author of Church Planter‘s Handbook, who simply embraced the mantra, “Go and tell.” In other words, they had a call to fulfill Great Commission (Matt 28:18–20; Acts 1:8). As a result, they would move to an area with an evangelistic passion to share the gospel with as many as they could. Over time, converts were made who then became the foundational base of the church. That church would start worship when they had four faith families (that was Larry’s stated plan), then would start …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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First Female Coach Enters the ‘Man’s World’ of the NFL

By Valerie Dunham, guest writer Welcome to the big leagues, Jen Welter. If you do a Google image search for Jen Welter, the pictures are striking. Beneath the bulky helmet and facemask, her bright red lips and expertly made-up eyes pop. She curls a muscled bicep just enough to indicate strength and power. The feminine tone of her face seems to war with her masculine set of muscles. This is the woman who made history last week when she became NFL’s female coach. Welter was picked up by the Arizona Cardinals as an assistant coaching intern, scheduled to work with the organization’s inside linebackers during training camp and the pre-season. As Welter puts it, “It’s exciting to show not only women and girls, but pretty much everyone that anything is possible.” For years, media, fans, and NFL insiders speculated whether or not a woman could ever join the ranks of an NFL coaching staff. Many were, and remain, skeptical. As Mike Francesa put it on his daily talk show, “I did not think, folks, that I would see a female coach in the NFL… It’s not that she can’t know the x’s and o’s—it’s not about the x’s and o’s. It’s about the idea …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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From the Lunch Table to the Dissection Table: The Latest Planned Parenthood Pricing Parts Video

By Timothy C. Morgan $76 million in federal research funds drives demand. In late 2012, Holly O’Donnell began her new job at StemExpressLLC, based in Placerville, California. She expected the firm to use her skill in drawing blood from patients as a licensed phlebotomist. But her first day found her assigned to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Concord, California, being trained to sort through fetal tissue from an elective abortion. She recalled passing out after being told to pick up a fetal leg with tweezers. “I thought I was going to be just drawing blood, not procuring tissue from aborted fetuses,” O’Donnell said during an interview in the latest undercover video from the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). “I was looking to help the public and make blood draws easy,” the 24-year-old said. She quit her job after six months. Human fetal tissue is in high demand from American biomedical research labs—whether for-profit, academic, or government. It’s a big business where scientists seek miracle cures to paralysis, Alzheimer’s, and other life-threatening diseases, in order to develop products for the commercial market. StemExpress describes itself as “a multi-million dollar company that supplies human blood, tissue products, primary cells and other clinical specimens to biomedical researchers,” according to the …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Interview: Meet the Filmmaker Exposing Planned Parenthood

By Bob Smietana How a 26-year-old founded the undercover operation to take down the abortion giant. For years, a group of pro-life activists and politicians have waged a fierce political and brand war with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a billion-dollar nonprofit that has positioned itself as a champion for women’s health. Pro-life groups and other critics called the abortion giant—Planned Parenthood terminates more than 300,000 pregnancies per year—a rogue organization that misuses about $500 million a year in government funds to underwrite its lucrative abortion business. After a string of victories from 2011, the movement to defund Planned Parenthood largely stalled out. A month ago, the movement was dead in the water. Not anymore. A series of undercover videos, showing Planned Parenthood executives haggling over the price for donated fetal tissue and organs over lunch and during a dissection, have the abortion giant on the defensive. The videos, which claim Planned Parenthood profits from selling fetal tissue, caused public outrage and launched nationwide rallies. As many as seven states, including Texas, have planned hearings or investigations into Planned Parenthood’s tissue donation program. Pro-life members of the US Senate introduced a bill to cut all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. All …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Interview: Melinda Gates: ‘I’m Living Out My Faith in Action’

By Interview by Timothy C. Morgan One of the wealthiest and most controversial women in the world believes that all lives have equal value. She’s willing to spend $3.6 billion a year to prove her point. Melinda Gates describes herself as an “impatient optimist,” something that was nurtured in her while attending Ursuline Academy, the leading Catholic all-girls school in Dallas. Since Melinda and husband Bill created the Gates Foundation in 2000, they have given away $33.5 billion of their massive wealth from Microsoft and from their close friend, billionaire Warren Buffett. The foundation started the same year as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, the 15-year antipoverty campaign centered on 8 global objectives. The two programs share many priorities, such as fighting diseases, reducing extreme poverty, and improving maternal health. The foundation partners with a wide spectrum of organizations. Faith-based groups— including Catholic organizations, World Vision, Lutheran groups, and the Salvation Army—are key recipients of more than 125 foundation grants. This January, Melinda and Bill Gates announced they were “doubling down” on their poverty-fighting efforts. “The lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than at any other time in history,” they said. But along with the foundation’s big bets and big …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Jinxed and Serialed

By Wade Bearden Why true-crime dramas are making a comeback. Last year’s Serial—a 12-episode NPR podcast investigating the 1999 murder of a Baltimore student—sparked a phenomenon. Each week, millions of listeners anxiously looked to their smartphones, tablets, and computers for new installments of the true-crime drama to appear. Serial set off a slew of social media chatter, think pieces, and more podcasts. “In the normally low-profile world of podcasting,” wrote Ellen Gamerman of The Wall Street Journal, “Serial is a certified sensation—a testament to the power of great storytelling.” Serial cocreator and narrator Sarah Koenig recounts the case of Adnan Syed, a man convicted of strangling his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, during their senior year of high school. Serial‘s first season ended ambiguously, refusing to definitively answer the basic question, “Did Syed kill Hae Min Lee?” But the show’s ambiguity only piqued listener interest. Serial quickly became one of the most popular podcasts in history, the fastest, according to Apple, to reach 5 million streams or downloads. Similarly, HBO’s documentary series The Jinx captivated audiences in early 2015. Sketching the life of enigmatic millionaire Robert Durst, The Jinx tried to prove that Durst murdered his first wife, his best friend, and a next-door neighbor. Arguably, The …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Review: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

By Kenneth R. Morefield Saving the world—and a dark and bloated summer movie season—at the last possible second. mpaa rating:PG-13 (For sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity.) Genre:Action Directed By: Christopher McQuarrie Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg Theatre Release:July 31, 2015 by Paramount Pictures I suspect that by the time the next Mission: Impossible film rolls around I won’t remember a thing about Rogue Nation‘s plot—or much else, except maybe Tom Cruise hanging on to an airplane door. (Or was that the one where he was hanging from a glass skyscraper?) It’s surprisingly pleasurable, a romp through a series a snazzy set pieces that are linked by familiar themes. What’s fun about it comes from how it’s executed, rather than any innovation. And execute, it does. The latest installment in the long-running franchise somehow manages to find the shrinking sweet spot between pretense and camp. The movie never winks at the audience, but it also refuses to take itself too seriously. After its prologue–one of several echoes of the Bond franchise that seem deliberate–we see Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) adrift. He’s learned that the secrecy and integrity of the IMF force has been compromised, and then he watches a colleague’s execution. Hunt himself …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Review: Pixels

By Jessica Gibson An insidious version of a “family friendly” movie that is a shameful artifact of nerd culture – and some recommendations for better ones. mpaa rating:PG-13 (For some language and suggestive comments.) Genre:Action, Comedy Directed By: Chris Columbus Run Time: 1 hour 45 minutes Cast: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Peter Dinklage Theatre Release:July 24, 2015 by Columbia Pictures Most of the time, I’m an unashamed nerd. I’m an unironic, overenthusiastic, equal-opportunity lover of “the miracle of human consciousness.” I enjoy a lot of things with a lot of energy and I don’t easily calm down or back off from a cultural product I’m excited about. I say all this so you can understand how serious this is: seeing Pixels has made me want to go into nerd hibernation until this horrible storm blows over. The movie can stuff in as many beloved arcade game characters as it wants, but it will never compensate for its lazy storytelling, awful characters, blatant misogyny, and deeply unsettling moral code. It’s the worst kind of bad joke dressed up to look like a generationally inclusive nostalgia-fest. The most disappointing thing about it is in the hands of a different filmmaking team its concept maybe could have made …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Review: The End of the Tour

By Jackson Cuidon In the David Foster Wallace biopic, the author’s own words are the best part. mpaa rating:R (For some language, including sexual references.) Genre:Drama Directed By: James Ponsoldt Run Time: 1 hour 46 minutes Cast: Anna Chlumsky, Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Segel, Mamie Gummer Theatre Release:July 31, 2015 by A24 The End of the Tour—based on the hybrid transcript/non-fiction Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself by David Lipsky—shows that author David Foster Wallace is easy to represent in the abstract. In the wake of his suicide, Wallace left behind thousands of pages of fiction and non-fiction, as well as at least three collections of interviews (based on the contents of my bookshelves alone), from which to glean a rough impression of the depressive, genius author. The film maybe hopes to reflect the mind of Wallace, and director James Ponsoldt decides that the best way to go about this is to have Jason Segel read quotes from Lipsky’s transcript. The result is simultaneously accurate and unremarkable. Segel portrays Wallace as schlubby, attention-shy, and a combination of externally friendly and closed-off; Jesse Eisenberg, playing Lipsky, plays Jesse Eisenberg. The plot is both pretty bare and kind of structurally cringe-worthy. Lipsky—himself a struggling NYC-based author—decides to interview Wallace for …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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To Kill a Predator

By Caryn Rivadeneira What is it about this lion’s death that has us so outraged? Even though the story of Dr. Walter J. Palmer and Cecil the Lion was an unusual one—a Minnesota dentist who illegally lured, tortured, and killed a famous lion in Zimbabwe— it was easy to predict how people would react: Palmer would become a public enemy, criticized and declared evil. He would have to hide. His news would be read in comparison to the other social justice stories in our feeds. So, those expressing outrage over the lion’s death would get shamed for caring more about the slain animal than the unborn or Sandra Bland. I knew the first the because I’ve been around the Internet long enough. People’s lives and careers have been trampled by tweets, shares, and likes for “less” than illegally shooting a beloved lion. And I knew the second because I’ve been around Christians long enough. From the time as a kid I began applying Scripture about justice to protecting animals to my current outspoken advocacy for pit bulls, I’ve heard people try to redirect my outrage. Why do I care more about homeless dogs than homeless people? Why do I care more about overcrowded …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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