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Evangelical Views of the 2016 Election: Ethics and Theology Professor on Why Trump is the Best Candidate for President

By Norman L. Geisler, Ph.D. Ethics & Religion professor endorses Mr. Trump Basically, there are only two realistic alternatives in the coming presidential election: stay on the same liberal path we have been on for years or else try something new. But why Trump? A Prolegomena to Any Future Politics Trump is a Flawed Candidate A common charge against Trump is that he is a flawed candidate. But in a Two Party system, such as we have, our choices are limited. We do not have perfect candidates with whom to replace imperfect ones. In fact, there are no perfect candidates. Jesus is not running! We have only imperfect candidates from which to choose. However, some are more imperfect than others. “The Lesser of Two Evils” In politics, as in life, sometimes we must choose the so-called “lesser of two evils.” So when both presidential candidates have high negatives, we must choose the one with fewer. A friend once described his dilemma to me as a choice between “a known devil and a suspected witch.” If so, then we should choose the suspected witch! A More Excellent Way Actually, we never really faced with a situation where all the alternatives are evil. One alternative is always the greater good. The doctor who amputates …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Evangelical Views of the 2016 Election: Swimming Against the Stream, An Evangelical Vote for Gary Johnson

By Gena McCown Women’s Ministry Council Co-Founder is a long-time Libertarian. In the history of the United States, when Americans have begun to question or feel as if they are no longer represented by the political parties in place… a third party forms. It is the sign of disenfranchised people who cannot align themselves to one party or another. It is the call of those who see problems in our political system, feel the strain in our social systems, and step forward as agents of change. When any one of us steps out of the party lines we have grown up with, this is not without criticism and mockery. My family roots itself in generations of party loyalty. When I turned eighteen years old, my uncle asked me if I had registered to vote. When I responded that I had already mailed in my card, his next query was what party affiliation I had chosen. As the words Libertarian slipped past my lips, the look of shock on his face was something I expected. I’ve voted Libertarian in almost every election since. To understand why an Evangelical would support Gary Johnson, we have to begin with a basic understanding of the draw to the Libertarian …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Race in America: Corporate Repentance, and the Cross We Collectively Must Bear

By R. York Moore National Evangelist for InterVarsity USA Things have never been better and things have never been worse. The long string of Black men killed in the streets by police has sparked a new era of disgust, confusion, and fear. Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Tony Robinson, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, and now Terence Crutcher—all Black men killed in altercations with police, all names that help fuel our national debate of ‘Black Lives Matter,’ ‘All Lives Matter,’ and ‘Blue Lives Matter.’ Nothing has changed—that is, except body and dash cams, mobile live streaming, and YouTube. Likely, there has been no increase in racialized violence or abuses on the part of law enforcement. It’s just that now we can see it in 1080p as it happens. Before now, we in the Black community would consider such events the unfortunate normal. We live in a different world now, but it is unfortunately the same world when it comes to race. Our new world is merely showing us what we’d like to forget and presents a unique problem for Christians. As a Black evangelical, my heart breaks twice—once for my people who feel invisible, worthless, and disposable. As a Christian leader, my heart breaks a second time over godlessness of …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Died: Jack Chick, Cartoonist Whose Controversial Tracts Became Cult Hits

By Kate Shellnutt This was his life! Jack Chick, the cartoonist who wanted to save your soul from hell, died Sunday at age 92. The biggest name in tract evangelism, Chick distributed more than 500 million pamphlets, nicknamed “chicklets,” over five decades. His signature black-and-white panel comics warned against the dangers of everything from the occult to Family Guy. Chick’s messages were controversial—including among evangelicals—but his work enjoyed a global reach. His most popular tract, This Was Your Life!, was translated into more than 60 languages. Chick came to faith shortly after World War II through Charles E. Fuller’s radio show, “Old Fashioned Revival Hour.” The former technical illustrator began drawing and funding his first comic books and pocket-sized tracks in the early 1960s, according to Christian Comics International. Chick Publications grew to start its own print shop, and took off in the ’70s. His evangelistic furor was inspired by sermons from revivalist Charles Finney, whose theology continues to underline Chick’s tracks, according to researcher Daniel Sillman. He quotes Chick as saying, “When everything is caving in, and when the world laughs at the church, that’s when we need revival…. Christians are self-satisfied and complacent. God’s got a handful of people out there who really mean …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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The Hospitable Gospel

By Dr. Jerry Root Jesus modeled hospitality in the Gospels and commanded it in Acts There is no greater news than this: “The God of the Universe knows you and loves you, and all of your sins and wrong doing. He forgives at His expense in Christ.” In fact, Scripture says, “God proves His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” This is truly good news full of hope and promise. It is only fitting that those who share this good news with others should exhibit acts of kindness while speaking words of grace. Hospitality, and the utilizing of personal resources, should characterize the life of a Christian. In Matthew 10:42 we read, “And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.” Sometimes, the smallest act of human kindness produces the greatest effects, and opens doors for the gospel. Giving a cup of cold water on a hot day may open a door to share the love of God with another person. Have you ever offered your mail man an opportunity to use your bathroom while …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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The Bigger Story Behind Jen Hatmaker

By Kate Shellnutt The benefits and challenges of women’s ministry in the age of bestsellers, viral blog posts, and inspirational conferences. The most influential women’s leader at your church may be someone who has never stepped inside its sanctuary. It may be someone your pastor has never even heard of. “If you had to ask, ‘Who’s Jen Hatmaker?’ it’s time to be more directly invested in the spiritual nurture of half your church,” tweeted Jen Wilkin last month. The women’s ministry leader was responding to the wave of Christian reactions to news that LifeWay Christian Stores had stopped selling books by Hatmaker—one of the biggest writers and speakers among today’s generation of evangelical women—after she spoke out in support of same-sex marriage. Hatmaker’s popularity underscores how women’s ministry has transformed in the 21st century. Christian women increasingly look to nationally known figures for spiritual formation and inspiration—especially when they don’t see leaders who look like them stepping up in their own churches. While various evangelical subcultures may find different female teachers filling their social media feeds and Amazon recommendations (Austin-based Hatmaker seems especially popular among white women in the South and Midwest), the numbers show that the top names in women’s ministry rival or even …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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The Crown: Balancing Family and Calling Is a Royal Pain

By Laura Kenna The Netflix series focuses on the pressure around the monarch’s marriage. I recall sitting with my mother in my childhood living room and watching Diana Spencer—about to be Princess Diana—walk slowly down the aisle toward the altar and her prince. The year was 1981, and despite my tender age, the princess fantasy did not take hold. Nor did I become a “royals watcher”… at least not until Netflix released its Queen Elizabeth II bio series, The Crown, earlier this month. Why the change of heart? Maybe it was the promise of seeing Elizabeth, now the longest-reigning monarch in British history, as a young woman. Maybe it was the heady feminist air as the series debuted, just days before the US—it seemed—might elect its first female president. For others, maybe a love for British period dramas is enough to pull them in. Since I’ve been aware of the royal family, of course, but not particularly interested before, the effect of the series has been something like moving a piece of furniture in your grandparents’ house only to find that behind that bookcase, the wallpaper you’d taken for granted your whole upbringing had at one time been far more bold and colorful than …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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Faithfulness and Bridge-Building Go Together

By Shirley Hoogstra Our cultural influence begins with faithfulness to the Cross and Resurrection of Christ. When I served as a vice president at a Christian college, I had a front-row seat on the deep cultural shifts described by Gerson and Wehner. Some of the students I counseled questioned their faith, others were searching for their identity, and others seemed confused by the pluralistic culture in which they were coming of age By and large, however, students passionately wanted to follow Christ and make a difference in the world. They instinctively knew how to listen respectfully to those with whom they disagreed. These students were smart, eager, and seeking the best from their college experience. Now, as president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU)—an association of 180 Christ-centered institutions from 35 denominational and faith traditions—I am grateful for the lessons I learned from those students. They helped prepare me for this discordant time. New thinking is always required when the broader culture shifts away from a biblical worldview. What is not new, however, is Christians facing the tension of being “in this world but not of it.” And we have clear examples of faithfulness expressed in radical engagement. We have examples from the early …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Is Your Heart Ready to Help?

By Ed Stetzer A lot of noise is swirling around about refugees, America, and the local church. What do we make of it? As I have been processing my response to the crisis of people on the move, I’ve had a family on my mind. And the more I have thought about them, I realize that understanding their journey is the key to defining our response as the Global Church. The story of their dangerous travels across deserts, along borders, and through cities is well known to many of you. I try to imagine the bags they hurriedly packed in the middle of the night to get out of town. The glances back at their home as they fled . . . danger behind and danger ahead. Would they ever return to their home? What would their reception be like in a foreign place? Could they raise a family there? Like I said, you have heard this family’s story. No, it isn’t a recent Syrian family walking through Europe or a Libyan family bobbing in the Mediterranean. It isn’t even a Latino family making their way across the Sonoran deserts of Mexico. I’m thinking of Joseph and Mary of Nazareth with little Jesus in tow. Why were they …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Review: 45 Years

By Alissa Wilkinson When the ground beneath a marriage is shaken, can it hold up? mpaa rating:R (For language and brief sexuality.) Genre:Drama Theatre Release:December 25, 2015 by Sundance Selects Much about 45 Years makes it clear that it’s adapted from a short story, but nothing more than the moment when Kate (Charlotte Rampling) is surveying the hall in which she intends to host her 45th wedding anniversary party at the end of the week. “So full of history, you see?” says the man showing her the room, which after the English fashion is old and stately. “Like a good marriage.” That line is a cipher for the story, the thread you tug and hold your breath to see if the whole thing will unravel. Kate and her husband Geoff (Tom Courtenay) are just on the cusp of old age, retired but well-off and childless and still very fond of one another. The film takes place over the week leading up to their anniversary celebration, and it’s filled with the quiet shorthand that long-married couples use with one another, with a constant classical music backdrop. For much of the film, director Andrew Haight contrasts very wide shots of the fields and landscapes around Kate and Geoff’s …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Interview: What’s So Dangerous About Grace?

By Interview by Wesley Hill Biblical scholar John Barclay explains why Paul shocked his religious peers—and reminds us how radical the gospel really is. John M. G. Barclay, Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham University, UK, is recognized by his peers as one of today’s most influential New Testament scholars. Barclay began his academic career focusing on Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Since then, he has published widely on Second Temple Jewish texts and social history. His book Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora is widely regarded as the definitive treatment of the topic. In the past few years, Barclay has turned his attention back to Paul, most recently with his monumental 2015 book, Paul and the Gift (Eerdmans). For nearly four decades, scholarship on Paul has operated on the assumption that what makes Paul unique is not his view of grace. In fact, many scholars believe he had nothing new to contribute on the topic. Since the advent of the “New Perspective on Paul” in the late 1970s—which shifted attention away from “justification by faith” as the center of Paul’s theology to the social, ethical dimensions of his missionary efforts—many interpreters of Paul have neglected the topic of grace. Barclay’s new book opposes this …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Exploring Evangelicalism: An Interview With Brian Brodersen of Calvary Chapel—Part 1

By Ed Stetzer Brian Brodersen explains the uniqueness of Calvary Chapel’s approach to ministry Ed Stetzer: What are some of the distinctives that make you different from other evangelical groups? Brian Brodersen: The best way to answer that is to tell you a story. Years ago, when I was pastoring overseas, a prominent Evangelical pastor invited me to visit with him so we could get to know one another since we were pastoring in the same area. As I sat down with him in the meeting, I quickly discovered that he was very upset that I had planted a church so close to his, and he wanted to know what justified my presence in the city. He asked what our ministry offered that couldn’t already be found in the city we were in. I cited three things: First, we taught chapter by chapter through the whole Bible. I didn’t say we were the only church doing that, but I knew that if there were others, they were few and far between. And in a city of several million, I thought there was plenty of room for another church with a high priority on Bible teaching. So this is one of the Calvary Chapel distinctives: teaching through the …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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The Humble Coach Behind Celebrity Christianity

By Paul Putz Remembering the tenacity and ironies of Fellowship of Christian Athletes founder Don McClanen. On Tuesday this week I spent the day hunched over a desk, reading letters that Don McClanen had written 60 years ago as he agonized over whether or not he should leave the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an organization he had founded in 1954. On Thursday I saw the news on my Twitter timeline that McClanen had died. A historian is supposed to keep a critical distance from his or her subjects of study, and I like to think that I follow that standard. Yet when I saw the news, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of loss for a man I never met, a man I know only through dusty letters written long ago. When I first began my research on the early history of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, I had no affinity for McClanen—I barely knew who he was. At first he seemed too earnest, too persistent. In his letters he badgered, he pestered, he shared too much information too soon. Yet the more that I encountered McClanen in the archives, the more I grew intrigued by his combination of intensity, sincerity, and humility. There is a …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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How Pakistani Christians Fleeing Persecution Get Tied Up in Thailand

By Morgan Lee Churches fall victim to their own successful welcome of Pakistani refugees. Nearly four years after refugees from Pakistan began showing up at evangelical churches in Thailand, church members were overwhelmed. What started as a handful of families asking for money at Bangkok services had become hundreds. Today, nearly 10,000 Pakistani refugees are living in Thailand. An estimated half of them are Christians fleeing persecution like the Easter Sunday bombing in Lahore. It is easy and inexpensive (compared with neighboring countries) for Pakistanis to obtain 30-day tourist visas to Thailand. Further, the majority Buddhist nation has lost more than 6,000 people to Islamist extremism since 2004. This leads Pakistani Christians fleeing persecution to believe the country will be sympathetic to their plight, says Jeffrey Imm, an advocate for such refugees. Even so, after the tourist visa expires, Thailand considers all refugees to be illegal immigrants. Most left Pakistan not knowing that Thailand has not signed the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, a treaty that protects refugees’ rights. Without legal status, many families fear that they will be arrested and forced to endure harsh conditions in immigration …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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The Ministries of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism

By Ed Stetzer More info about the important work of the BGCE For the past year I have been serving as Senior Fellow at the Center and have been really impressed by the amount of ministry that happens through such a relatively small group of people. Over the past nine months, we have Equipped nearly 70,000 people for evangelism both in person and online Organized and hosted two major conferences to engage Christians in the global refugee crisis Started four new senior pastor cohorts in the Evangelizing Churches Initiative Launched the largest-of-its-kind research project to study the unchurched and churches reaching them Launched ReKindle, a YouTube channel designed to equip Christians for better gospel witness Launched the EMQ podcast designed to equip the Church to more effectively minister to the unreached Expanded the Evangelism Initiative conversation to 40 Christian colleges and universities Now let me share in more detail. Training. A number of our staff speak both nationally and internationally in churches, at conferences, and in college settings on missions and evangelism. We have invested deeply in mentoring communities and are committed to walking alongside the next generation of Christ-followers through discipleship. We also have several online training resources to engage Christians …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Missional Hymns—An Interview with Keith Getty

By Ed Stetzer Keith and Kristen Getty drive hymnody for the missionary work. Ed Stetzer: Tell us a little bit about how you put together the album in the first place. It’s very diverse. Keith Getty: It all comes out of the Facing a Task Unfinished hymn, written by Frank Houghton, 1931, in the context of mass persecution in China. He writes this hymn as a call to 200 people to come preach. China, the context, was very anti-Christian, the minimizing of Christian rights, the murdering of Christians and indeed worldwide global recession. A lot of things actually quite similar to our own times, but serious persecution. So, he writes this hymn, sends it round as a call to missionary commitment. He gets a response of 204 people to go. ES: Response to go as missionaries? KG: That’s right. He understood—foundationally—that what we sing affects profoundly how we think and how we live. So deep Christian songs, sung by real believers to each other, breeds and helps contribute to breeding deep believers. ES: A lot of church have gone with simpler choruses, rather than hymns, with streamlined music, simple tunes, and a more concert-driven sort of worship. Are they wrong? KG: We have to remember that all of us as individuals are at …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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CT Makers: 20 of the Most Creative Christians We Know

By Kate Shellnutt Meet the artists, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists using fresh ideas for common good. “The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes.” This pithy quote is usually attributed to Martin Luther, but in fact, scholars say he never said it. First, no Christian of Luther’s time would have thought to display his faith by “branding” his shoes. Second, Luther’s writings emphasized work done in service of others, not as an end unto itself. Still, as the first theologian to describe non-priestly work as a vocation, Luther directly affirmed the honorable calling of the scribe, the brewer, the tailor, and, yes, the shoemaker. Centuries later, Western Christians continue to serve their neighbors by making shoes. Most famously, TOMS popularized the one-for-one business model by giving away a pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair purchased. In the past decade, TOMS has distributed more than 60 million pairs of shoes in 70 countries, with founder Blake Mycoskie and his company ranking on lists of top innovators and effective social enterprises. Other “social good” companies such as Uganda-based sandal manufacturer Sseko Designs ensure fair wages for employees and ethical …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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Interview: Philip Yancey: Be Pioneers of Grace in a Post-Christian America

By Interview by Amy Julia Becker The author lays out a way to witness after churches have lost their cultural privilege. In his landmark 1997 book What’s So Amazing About Grace? Philip Yancey challenged fellow evangelicals to act in a way that matches their language and beliefs about grace. He returns to this theme in his latest book, Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News? (Zondervan), updating the call to grace-filled living within a culture whose Christian consensus has frayed. Author and Christianity Today blogger Amy Julia Becker spoke with Yancey about putting grace into action in contexts where Christianity no longer holds sway. Why did you choose to revisit the subject of grace? Sociologist and researcher Amy Sherman has said that Christians tend to have three models for interacting with society: fortification, accommodation, and domination. To put that in layman’s terms: We hunker down amongst ourselves, water down our witness, or beat down our opponents. For many reasons, those aren’t New Testament models. So what should we be? We need to create pioneer settlements that show the world a different, grace-based way of living. We have been spoiled in the United States because of our religious heritage. There was once a common Christian consensus. A few generations ago, …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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The Burden and Promise of Racial Reconciliation

By Mark Galli After Minneapolis, Baton Rouge, and Dallas, can we transcend optimism or despair? After the killing of two African-Americans this week, followed by the murder of five Dallas police officers, one strives to find something new to say. Right now the mind is clouded and confused, and the heart is heavy, first and foremost, for the family and friends of these victims. But the heart is also heavy because we are just so tired of our nation’s racial divide. And we’re discouraged because what we want to see is so hard to achieve. As Christians we aim for nothing less than racial reconciliation, but we know that this cannot come without racial justice. And if justice is so hard to achieve, how much harder reconciliation? We’re tempted at such times to go in one of two directions. One part of us wants to let loose our righteous outrage and double down on our efforts. But we know that commitments made in the midst of a tragedy rarely amount to much. If we are driven by emotion, when the emotion fades, so will our commitment. Our commitment to justice and reconciliation must have a more secure footing. Another part of us wants to just give up. …read more Source:: Christianity Today       ...
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