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At least for us. But for God, nothing is impossible.Knowing God is maybe the most central thing in the Christian life. Also, possibly the hardest.The other day I was talking to a student, relatively new to a life of discipleship, who confided just how frustrating it is that he’s taking so much time to grow. He lamented how much he struggles to trust God when others seem to do so with ease.As I struggled to think of how to encourage him, I remembered one of the most curious prayer requests in all of Scripture, found in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, which I had just been working through.Towards the end of chapter three, Paul asks “out of his glorious riches may [God] strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all God’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:16-19).We’re tempted to glance over this and think, “Okay, great, Paul prays that they understand God’s love. Typical Paul prayer. What’s the big deal?”I was stopped short, though, when I realized Paul is asking that they be strengthened, that they have “power” to be able to know this love that surpasses all knowledge.Now perhaps it’s because I’m a grad student who happens to study the doctrine of God, but if I were writing Ephesians, I might have rendered the relationship differently. I might have said that coming to know God takes weakness (and not just because you spend all your time in the library and not ...Continue reading...
Smashed headstones challenge image of Muslim-Christian-Jewish coexistence.The grainy footage is unmistakable. The interpretation isn’t. And the implications could reverberate from Moscow to Tehran to Tel Aviv.Dozens of men with sledgehammers pound slabs of stone in an otherwise empty mountainous field. Filmed in 2005 by the prelate of northern Iran’s Armenian church, Bishop Nshan Topouzian, the clip purports to show the destruction of khachkars, ornately carved headstones from a Christian graveyard, some dating back to the 6th century.The site is in Nakhchivan, an enclave of primarily Muslim Azerbaijan geographically separated from the country by primarily Christian Armenia. Iran shares its southern border in the ethnically tangled web of states that make up the Central Asian Caucasus. Russia is to the north, Turkey to the west.The destruction of more than 2,000 khachkars has been labeled “the greatest cultural genocide of the 21st century” by Simon Maghakyan, an Armenian American activist. He believes the move represents a campaign by the Azerbaijani government to wipe out its Christian heritage.“The destruction of these khachkars seems to match in scale and tragedy ISIS’ destruction of Palmyra in Syria and the Taliban destruction of the Bamayan statues in Afghanistan,” said Wissam al-Saliby, advocacy officer at the United Nations for the World Evangelical Alliance.“This issue goes beyond religious freedom. It is the heritage of mankind.”But Azerbaijan denies Armenians ever lived in Nakhchivan, and cites similar cultural cleansing of Muslim heritage across the border. Centuries of mutual recrimination have resurfaced, as Azerbaijan presents itself internationally as a model of interfaith coexistence.Other political factors also interfere. ...Continue reading...
Less than a week after Muslim Fulani herdsmen kidnapped six teenage girls from a Christian-run high school in north-central Nigeria, another attack in the same county led to the killing of a Baptist woman and the kidnapping of four others from the same church, sources said.
Christian communities in northcentral Algeria have been kicked out of their own church buildings at the hands of police just days after area Christians protested the government's crackdown on churches.
Less than a week after Muslim Fulani herdsmen kidnapped six teenage girls from a Christian-run high school in north-central Nigeria, another attack in the same county led to the killing of a Baptist woman and the kidnapping of four others from the same church, sources said.
The North American church has much to learn about developing children's small groups from these two examples from Central America and South America.
By Aaron Kesel The fifth of November only happens once a year, quickly approaching, activists who associate themselves with the decentralized leaderless Anonymous collective are...
By Tyler Durden It’s not just “tinfoil blogs” who (for the past 11 years) have been warning that a monetary reset is inevitable and the...
A day before the Kaduna governor said kidnappers terrorizing the state are working with Boko Haram, Muslim Fulani herdsmen on Thursday (Oct. 3) kidnapped six teenage girls and two staff members from a Christian-run high school in north-central Nigeria, sources said.
Muslim Fulani herdsmen have kidnapped six teenage girls and two staff members at gunpoint from a Christian-run high school in north-central Nigeria amid escalating violence in the region.
A day before the Kaduna governor said kidnappers terrorizing the state are working with Boko Haram, Muslim Fulani herdsmen on Thursday (Oct. 3) kidnapped six teenage girls and two staff members from a Christian-run high school in north-central Nigeria, sources said.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Protect Life Rule, which separates abortion activities from federally-funded family planning clinics, is currently in effect, as further court proceedings play out in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In response to this rule, Planned Parenthood and several pro-abortion states decided that performing abortions is more important than providing family planning services to underserved women when they voluntarily withdrew from the Title X Program on August 19th.This week, HHS announced that $33.6 million of the funding forfeited by pro-abortion grantees will now be awarded to 50 current Title X grantees that do not promote abortion as a method of family planning.This supplemental funding will enable current grantees to better meet the family planning needs of underserved women across America. Contrary to what opponents of the Protect Life Rule claim, Title X patient coverage will not suffer. Clinics like Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Centers (RHCs), which do not promote or perform abortions, will now be able to provide high-quality and affordable family planning services to even more women and families in need than they did before.Here is the list of Planned Parenthood entities and pro-abortion states that chose to reject millions of dollars in federal funding rather than stop referring patients for abortion:Grantees Voluntarily TerminatedAK Planned Parenthood of Great Northwest & Hawaiian IslandsCT Planned Parenthood of Southern New EnglandID Planned Parenthood of Great Northwest & Hawaiian IslandsIL Illinois Department of HealthIL Planned Parenthood of IllinoisMA Health Imperatives Inc.MA Massachusetts Department of Public HealthMD Maryland Department of HealthME Family Planning Association of Maine Inc.MN Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South DakotaNH Planned Parenthood of Northern New EnglandNY Public Health SolutionsNY New York Department of HealthOH Planned Parenthood of Greater OhioOR Oregon Health AuthorityUT Planned Parenthood Association of UtahVT Vermont Agency of Human ServicesWA Washington State Department of HealthGrantees Receiving Supplemental AwardAL Alabama Department of Public HealthAR Arkansas Department of HealthAZ Arizona Family Health PartnershipCO Colorado Department of Public HealthCT Cornell Scott-Hill Health CorporationDC Unity Health Care Inc.DE Delaware State Department of HealthFL Primary Care Medical Services of Poinciana Inc.FL Community Health Centers of Pinellas Inc.GA Neighborhood Improvement Project Inc.GA Family Health Centers of Georgia Inc.IA Family Planning Council of IowaID Idaho Department of Health & WelfareIL Aunt Martha's Health and Wellness Inc.IN Indiana Family Health Council Inc.KS Kansas Department of Health & EnvironmentKY Kentucky Cabinet for Health & Family ServicesMA Action for Boston Community Development Inc.MD The Community Clinic Inc.MS Mississippi State Department of HealthMN Ramsey CountyMT Montana Department of Public HealthND North Dakota Department of HealthNE Family Planning Council of NebraskaNM New Mexico Department of HealthNV Nevada Primary Care AssociationNV City of Carson CityNV Washoe CountyNV Southern Nevada Health DistrictNY The Floating Hospital Inc.OH Ohio Department of HealthOK Community Health Connection Inc.OK Oklahoma Department of HealthPA AccessMattersPA Family Health Council of Central Pennsylvania Inc.PA Maternal and Family Health Services Inc.PA Adagio Health Inc.RI Rhode Island Department of HealthSC South Carolina State Department of HealthSD South Dakota Department of HealthTN Tennessee Department of HealthTR FSM Department of Health & Social AffairsTR Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.TR Family Planning Association of Puerto RicoTR American Samoa Medical Center AuthorityTX Women's Health and Family Planning Association of TexasTX City of El PasoWI Wisconsin Department of Health ServicesWV West Virginia Department of HHSWY Wyoming Health CouncilYou may find more information about the Title X program here.
Muslim Fulani herdsmen this month kidnapped and killed a pastor's wife in north-central Nigeria's Kaduna state three days after suspected herdsmen killed a Baptist pastor in another part of the state, sources said.
Important developments in the church and the world (as they appeared in our July/August issue).Burkina Faso: Terrorists kill Pentecostal, Catholic worshipersTwenty Christians in Burkina Faso died in four terrorist attacks in four weeks last spring. Gunmen raided an Assemblies of God church and two Catholic churches during Sunday services, executing the leader each time, before vandalizing their buildings. Another ambush came during a weekly Catholic procession, killing four. The raids follow three years of mounting jihadist violence in the West African nation—which is approximately 60 percent Muslim and 25 percent Christian—but are considered the first to directly target houses of worship. The Assemblies of God in Burkina Faso stated the shift represents “a new turning point in terrorism” and have called for peace and unity.China: US report bashes China’s religious freedom violationsChina’s persecution of Christians and other faiths belongs in a category unto itself, according to the annual report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The commission has condemned China’s violations for 20 years straight but never as strongly as in the 2019 report, which notes the communist country’s moves to shutter underground churches, jail pastors, and arrest human rights activists. USCIRF urged the US to hold China accountable. The report also named Burma, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam as the top religious freedom violators.Pakistan: Asia Bibi leaves, another Christian fights blasphemy sentenceAfter nearly a decade living in a country where courts wanted her condemned to death and rogue clerics wanted her killed ...Continue reading...
Muslim Fulani herdsmen this month kidnapped and killed a pastor's wife in north-central Nigeria's Kaduna state three days after suspected herdsmen killed a Baptist pastor in another part of the state, sources said.
Proverbs says the "highway of the upright is to depart from evil". It's a highway -- a way of life so to speak. And this proverb coincides with the central teaching of Yeshua (Jesus) -- "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand." What does it mean to repent? The Greek Word is "metanoia" which simply means to change your mind about sin or to depart from evil.The post Choose Godspeed! appeared first on Worthy Christian Devotional - Daily Devotions.
Muslim Fulani herdsmen this month kidnapped and killed a pastor's wife in north-central Nigeria's Kaduna state three days after suspected herdsmen killed a Baptist pastor in another part of the state, sources said.
By Tyler Durden Overnight mass protests popped up in the streets of Cairo involving hundreds, possibly thousands, who took over a central square of the...
Committing to Jesus and committing to the church, while interlinked, are not the same thing.What’s happening with church attendance?In just the last few weeks I’ve heard some of my fellow pastors say “What is it with people lately? Does church just not matter anymore?” “Is it just me, or do people in your church use the summer months as a get out of church card, too?” “Anyone have ideas how to keep people committed to church attendance? It’s getting harder every year.” “Why don’t people make church attendance a priority like they used to?”As a pastor, I sympathize with these frustrations. Shrinking or inconsistent attendance can short-circuit our plans, frustrate our expectations, and reduce our ministry impact.But I also see a problem with the way we often look at this.Committed To Jesus FirstIt’s not our job to get people to commit to the church. It’s our calling to help them commit to Jesus.Yes, I know they go hand in hand. I’ve written regularly about the importance of church attendance and its relationship to spiritual well-being here and here for starters. But committing to Jesus and committing to the church, while interlinked, are not the same thing.As church leaders, our emphasis has to be on helping people worship and serve Jesus. Church attendance is only of value when it serves that cause.So yes, we should keep inviting people to church. Gathering with other believers is a central aspect of spiritual growth. But we should never leave anyone with the impression that church attendance is the point. Following Jesus is the point.The Right EmphasisWhile we should always pay attention to attendance patterns (and, even more importantly, to the actual people who we miss when they don’t show up), when church members skip ...Continue reading...
The central issue among creationists is whether any purported fossil forests are truly autochthonous.
The year 2019 is the ten-year anniversary of a statement that drew the line for Christians on three central issues: life, marriage, and religious liberty.
by Hohn Chon March 29-30, the organization Sparrow Women, which claims as its mission, "We want to pursue racial harmony by equipping women through Sparrow Resources, by partnering with churches and organizations in the training of leaders, by unifying women through Sparrow Conference, and by pursuing justice and mercy by partnering with like-minded non-profits," held its annual conference. A discussion at the conference with Ekemini Uwan, a "Nigerian-American public theologian," became the subject of controversy, particularly after Uwan made comments such as, "whiteness is wicked" and that people should "divest from whiteness." (An unofficial discussion transcript retweeted by Uwan can be found here.)In response to some respectful pushback, which Uwan rejected as an attempt to "mansplain" her, Uwan proceeded to double down with her "whiteness is wickedness" claim. Putting aside the seeming bravado of her Twitter feed that included hiring an attorney (which I'm sure is different from the biblical criticism that James MacDonald rightly received for suing other believers in violation of 1 Corinthians 6 because oppression, or something), putting aside the factual and historical disagreements I have with her presentation, putting aside even the massive semantical confusion relating to the word "whiteness" in its common meaning (which would be assumed by most people) versus its sociological critical race theory meaning (which Uwan never even overtly or fully defines, although Neil Shenvi does a good job here, despite the grave risk of mansplainin'), two things stand out to me about Uwan's presentation.First, I continue to be amazed when professing Bible-believing Christians forward the notion that worldly theories and terminology from humanistic realms such as sociology and critical race theory ought to be adopted by other Christians. If we truly believe 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that Scripture equips us for every good work, and 2 Peter 1:3 that we already have everything we need pertaining to life and godliness, and indeed, that the Scripture is sufficient, then we should be able to recognize readily that grafting a oppressor/oppressed lens onto everything is at best an unprofitable recipe leading to bitterness, discontentment, disunity, unforgiveness, and an overly temporal rather than eternal focus, and at worst the overt heterodoxies of liberation theology.According to Scripture, it is not the worldly-wise sociology Ph.D.'s who have the truth, it is the worldly-foolish—yokels and bumpkins who cling to the divine power and wisdom of one Book, rather than the ever-expanding reading lists of secular books assigned by Uwan and her fellow travelers. This message is crystal clear in the classic passage on the topic, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, in addition to numerous other verses such as 1 Corinthians 2:6-8, 1 Corinthians 3:18-20, Colossians 2:8, James 4:4, and 1 John 2:15.Far too often, sadly, contemporary Christian social justicians seem enamored of currying the world's favor, particularly its academies and professors and intellectuals and entertainers. After all, to take any other path would be to risk being branded as a racist or narrow-minded religious bigot, attacks which have become so routine and vicious that even many faithful Christians are hesitant to stand up for the self-evident truth (reflected in Article XIII of the Statement on Social Justice, -ay) that—with zero regard for the cultures' outward appearances—cultures which are either founded upon or closer to a biblical worldview are better than those cultures antagonistic to or further away from a biblical worldview.Ultimately, in light of the woeful state of biblical literacy among typical professing Christians, I would submit that the time spent on Uwan's secular reading list would instead be far better spent reading the Bible, and solid systematic theologies, and even Christian biographies about martyrs and heroes and heroines of the faith. To be clear, by saying this, I am not advocating for Luddite paranoia, but rather a maintaining of wise priorities. Why spend so much time chasing after the wisdom of the world, when the perfect Scriptures that we have ready access to, with more solid biblical resources now than at any other time in human history, overtly warn in Colossians 2:8 against such empty and deceptive philosophies as the traditions of men and principles of the world?To the extent we do opt to read such chaff, it should be with a testing and discerning eye, comparing every truth claim and assertion against the Word per Romans 12:2 and 1 John 4:1. My own experience has been that secular materials tend to be of greater benefit when they are based upon observable and repeatable science relating to God's natural revelation, hard data gathered and analyzed using proper and objective methodology, and universally understood truths about human nature that the Bible would affirm, and far less benefit when they start moving into the social sciences and humanities, particularly when viewed through the increasingly leftist lenses of today's academia. So hard neuroscientific studies based on brain scans could be far more compelling than soft psychological studies that increasingly can't even be replicated; but even those would likely have more value than the humanistic religion of critical race theory that Uwan appears to endorse so heartily.Second, Uwan proposes that instead of "whiteness" people ought to focus on ethnic identity, even going so far as to claim, "It's like 'Oh, I'm just being a Christian' not knowing that their Christianity is also mediated through whiteness, and ours is mediated through our Blackness, through our ethnic identity, so we have to be careful about that." I suppose it's an interesting concept, but it's also a completely unbiblical one.We have precisely one mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), and His name is Jesus Christ! And as Christians, our identity in Christ is our first and foremost and primary and increasing identity. John 3:30 aptly states, "He must increase, but I must decrease." Every other group identity pales in comparison to our Christian identity, and our unity in Christ is a reality and a command that must overwhelm any other tendency toward tribalism or factionalism, which we must actively resist. Think about it, Christ told us plainly in Luke 14:26 that our Christian calling could require us to leave behind even immediate family, how much more so must we leave behind ties of far less importance, such as ethnicity or class or tribe or political party? Consider verses such as these:Romans 10:12-13, "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for 'WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.'"1 Corinthians 12:13, "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit."2 Corinthians 5:16-17, "Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come."Galatians 3:28-29, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's descendants, heirs according to promise."Colossians 3:9-11, "Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him-a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all."1 Peter 2:9-10, "But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY."The theme of these verses could not be more clear: in Christ, all of us are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. We are unified in Christ right now, in the present, and all other temporal distinctions, all other recognitions of the flesh, are unimportant distinctions, so unimportant, in fact, that when compared to Christ, they are not even distinctions at all.This truth is brought out even more clearly in Acts 6 and Galatians 2, two of the passages most often cited by social justicians in support of their position, ironically. In Acts 6, we saw a conflict in Jerusalem where the native ethnic majority Hebraic Jews were neglecting the distribution of charity to the widows of the ethnic minority Hellenistic Jews. Meanwhile, in Galatians 2, we saw a conflict in Galatia (near what is now central Turkey) where the ethnic minority Jews were arrogantly keeping themselves separate from the native ethnic majority Gentiles (many of whom were of Celtic background, interestingly).In both of these conflicts, we see the clear call to crush down the importance of our ethnic culture, and to elevate our unity in Christ, which is what truly matters. This reality is true regardless of whether it's a majority group or a minority group acting wrongly! The answer is the same, repent and cut it out. (And by the way, nowhere in either conflict is there any evidence of reparations being made after the fact. The solutions were to be diligent in ensuring a fair distribution of charity, and to sit together in unity.)Neither do the descriptive passages in Revelation (as opposed to the prescriptive passages I cite above) which state matter-of-factly that Heaven will have people from every nation, tribe, people, and tongue equal some kind of ethnocentric mandate. Indeed, when we look at a passage such as Revelation 7:9-10, we see that the focus of that passage is on worship of the Lamb and not at all the ethnic makeup of the worshippers. In fact, upon closer examination, the most noteworthy aspect of the worshippers is that they're all so astonishingly unified, even (gasp) uniform in many ways, standing in the same position before the throne, wearing the same white robes, waving the same palm branches, and saying the exact same thing, in unison. These descriptive passages are hardly a justification for elevating the importance of ethnicity. In fact, they speak far more to the elevation of our unity in Christ!The dangers of emphasizing ethnicity in comparison to the vastly more important unity we share in Christ are manifold, and I think Pastor Todd Pruitt of the PCA put it extremely well when he said, "Tribalism and ethnocentrism are easy and enticing. Kinism and Black Liberation Theology wallow in this sinful mess. Reject them for the sake of Christ and his church".It's a call I pray that the leaders of the faithful church universal, in particular, will heed, and heed soon. Sadly, with the steady drumbeat of the outside world demanding obeisance to its leftist secular values, and all too many church "leaders" either remaining silent or even enthusiastically agreeing with them in some cases, I have not been overly encouraged. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!Hohn's signature
by Hohn Chot has been an eventful week on the topic of sexual abuse and the church, as the Houston Chronicle published a series of articles on the scope of the problem within the Southern Baptist Convention, a problem which has been exacerbated by the relative lack of oversight, information sharing, and accountability within the highly decentralized organization. Highly-ranking SBC leaders have already spoken out, acknowledged the magnitude of the problem, and promised reforms, including and most importantly for the purposes of this piece, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.The statement is a good model for taking ownership and responsibility for one's own past words and actions, and although a few critics have persisted in demanding Mohler's resignation or questioning his sincerity, and others are (perhaps more understandably) adopting a "wait and see" attitude, the general response from interested Christians has been appreciation, and gratitude to God, and this latter group includes internationally-recognized sexual abuse expert and survivor advocate, Rachael Denhollander.I was honestly somewhat surprised to see criticism of Mohler from the other direction, however, with one commenter Monday calling it a "gratuitous and unnecessary apology" in the midst of an article that missed the point so badly that I can only assume it originates from a massive blind spot. The author, Doug Wilson, is certainly no stranger to either controversy or verbal pugilism (ha!), and yet despite that fact I cannot recall even a single time over the past decade-plus that he's ever actually issued a material apology or owned up to a significant mistake in thinking, so perhaps the blind spot lies somewhere therein. Perhaps more likely, however, is the reality that Wilson's perspective on sexual abuse is so astonishingly wrong-headed that it has led to tragic results in at least two cases which have been documented thoroughly in the public record. If the records are a bit too dry for you, Rod Dreher went into the Sitler case in some detail a few years ago.Given Scripture's clear admonition to us in Matthew 7:3-5, one might think that perhaps Wilson is not the most appropriate or helpful messenger on the topic of either apologies or sexual abuse, even as Mohler heeds his own conscience in extending his own apology and seeking forgiveness for his own overt statements and actions in support of C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Churches (formerly known as Sovereign Grace Ministries). And that is precisely where Wilson misses the point. He spills much ink on the concept of the presumption of innocence, despite the fact that aside from some secular Title IX administrators and other radical left wingers, most people are not really contesting that point, certainly not that I've seen within the church.The point here relates to integrity of speech. Mohler is not apologizing for his presumption of innocence. He is apologizing for going far beyond that in his own past, overt statements of support for Mahaney and Sovereign Grace, which he made without sufficiently investigating the other side of the story per Proverbs 18:13 & 17, and with partiality in judgment per Proverbs 24:23 & 28:21. Obviously, Mohler is personally convicted over these matters, and when one has erred publicly, one ought to make amends publicly as well. As someone in a position of spiritual authority myself, I would be loath to get in the way of a man moved by the Spirit to correct himself, lest he risk grieving the Holy Spirit per Ephesians 4:30 or searing his conscience per 1 Timothy 4:2. And for any Christian minister, we know from 1 Timothy 1:4-5 that maintaining a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith are fundamental to efforts toward loving instruction and advancing the Kingdom of God.There's another important point to consider here, however, and that is the fact that an elder must be above reproach and have a good reputation with those outside of the church, as clearly stated in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. One need not discard either the presumption of innocence or the requirement in 1 Timothy 5:19 for a charge against an elder to have two or three witnesses in order to note that there exist differing levels of proof, and that the Bible nowhere requires conviction of a crime—which requires "proof beyond a reasonable doubt" under our criminal justice system—in order to establish that an elder is not qualified for the office, as Wilson seems to imply. Indeed, for many matters relating to moral failure, there will never be a criminal conviction, because adultery, to use one example, is simply not enforced as a crime in any US jurisdiction.Instead, in even the T4G statement itself (since deleted) that Mohler, Mark Dever, and Ligon Duncan released to defend Mahaney and Sovereign Grace, they indicated in an apparent nod to being above reproach and having a good reputation with those outside of the church that "A Christian leader, charged with any credible, serious, and direct wrongdoing, would usually be well advised to step down from public ministry."What Mohler now seems to acknowledge is that the charges against Mahaney and Sovereign Grace were more serious than he'd initially believed. As a trained attorney, Denhollander has done an admirable job of highlighting precisely why this is, and her devastatingly detailed March 1, 2018 summary not only provides a credible charge with witnesses that has existed for years, for those who took the time to investigate,[*] in my view it basically establishes a prima facie case that demands a substantive response. It is simply light years more substantial than mere gossip, or biased axe grinding, or anonymous complaints.Sadly, from my perspective, the response from Sovereign Grace has been to attack straw men, disingenuously deflect, point to procedural maneuvers as a vindication, and steadfastly refuse to address the issue in an (increasingly vain) effort to move along in the apparent hope that people will just forget about it.[**] They're also eager to tout their relationship with "Ministry Safe" as an apparent talisman against criticism, but given the fact that Ministry Safe has become the go-to organization for many major insular entities when accused of sexual abuse (including Doug Wilson's own denomination, and others such as the United States Olympic Committee, Bob Jones University, and Nazarene Global Ministries), at the risk of seeming jaded, I've become rather skeptical of how strong the safeguards implemented by the husband-and-wife legal team at Ministry Safe truly are.Regardless, in light of this background, I literally laughed out loud when Wilson scolded, "[Denhollander] has gotten out of her lane." It's a backhanded insult that attempts to define and confine her only in relation to her direct testimony as a survivor, when in fact she has become the best advocate for and expert on sexual abuse reform that I have ever known. She's really a textbook example of what earnest and well-intentioned Christian "social justice" advocates might be able accomplish, were they laser-focused on a real and present issue with tangible and measurable injustices, and proposing specific and effective reforms consistent with biblical principles. Her "lane" is precisely sexual abuse and the law, and despite Wilson's patronizing comment about not being trained to identify ambulance chasers, the legal code of ethics which Denhollander presents and teaches on actually requires lawyers to identify and avoid ambulance chasers.The comment was so ludicrous, so lacking in self-awareness and situational understanding, that I have to wonder whether any of it stems from discomfort that Denhollander has righteously barged into the lanes of coddlers and enablers of abusers who would vastly prefer that she simply shut up and allow them to remain under cover of darkness, rather than expose them pursuant to Ephesians 5:11.On that note, as someone who deeply appreciates statistics as a basis of measurement and comparison, especially in relation to demographics, I wanted to challenge Wilson's attempt to dismiss the Houston Chronicle articles. First, the reporters were only able to catalog cases where reporting could be found, so the count necessarily excludes many rural areas that have very limited reporting, and cases that were not considered newsworthy. Second, obviously, the cases fail to include situations where direct or indirect or cultural pressure resulted in no report being made, this number is currently unknown due to a lack of studies on the topic, but investigations into various organizations such as the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, Bob Jones University, Ethnos 360 (formerly known as New Tribes Mission), the Independent Fundamental Baptists, the Southern Baptist Convention as mentioned previously, and Protestants generally all sadly seem to indicate a major problem. Third, it has been known from insurance reports since at least 2007 that the scale of the sexual abuse problem in Protestant churches is arguably at least as large as the one in the Roman Catholic Church, which nearly all observers (including Wilson) agree is a genuine scandal.Finally, I wanted to say a word about Wilson's concerns regarding the trajectory of "woke" justice and capitulation on biblical principles to the worldly spirit of the age. Candidly, I share a number of his concerns, and have said as much on this blog, many times. I'm well aware that numerous egalitarians are using legitimate concerns over sexual abuse to attack the notion of biblical complementarianism itself, just as certain other social justicians are using a legitimate hatred of the sin of racism to attack a biblical understanding of what it means to regard no one according to the flesh, in true unity, which refuses to elevate the importance of trivial surface distinctions between Jew and Greek.But whether from the left or the right, pragmatic concerns over trajectory and potential results should never trump basic biblical ethics. Mohler obviously believes that in his prior full-throated defenses of Mahaney and Sovereign Grace, he spoke too soon, with partiality, and without sufficient investigation. It is right and proper that he make equally public amends for that, just as it is right and proper that Mahaney and Sovereign Grace provide a substantive response for their actions in light of Denhollander's prima facie case. The alternative is a cloud of scandal persisting over their ministry as they remain subject to legitimate reproach, and establish and confirm an increasingly poor reputation with those outside (and inside) the church.An independent investigation, which Denhollander, Mohler, and even all Wilson appear to support, despite the latter's skepticism about the existence of an appropriate organization—and by the way, my understanding is that although Denhollander has spoken well of Boz Tchvidjian's GRACE organization, she has not at all insisted it is the only legitimate organization—would be one way of commencing to clear that cloud. With every passing day of intransigence, however, Mahaney and Sovereign Grace make the dispersal of that cloud more and more difficult, and at this point I do wonder whether they will ever recover any credibility whatsoever. Like Wilson, they've badly missed the point, whether it's their responses to sexual abuse cases, their attitudes and actions toward survivors, or their doubling down on a continuing strategy of stonewalling and diversion after being called on it.Learning from Mohler's apology, rather than Wilson's defense, would perhaps be the bare beginnings of a start.Hohn's signature[*] I was one who failed to do so, instead simply accepting the assurances of people like Dever, Duncan, and Mohler, until a bit under two years ago when a blogpost commenter pointed me to Mahaney's May 22, 2014 statement in which he claimed, "I look forward to the day when I can speak freely. For now, the simple and extraordinarily unsatisfying reality—for myself and others—is that in the face of an ongoing civil lawsuit, I simply cannot speak publicly to the specifics of these events." And yet even after the dismissal of that lawsuit, Mahaney has refused to address any of it substantively, an omission that seems so out of step with his May 22 statement that it again implicates the issue of integrity of speech.[**] A point-by-point establishment of these patterns I've perceived is beyond the scope of this blogpost, but pick just about any public response by Sovereign Grace over the years, and I'd be happy to break it down and fill out my opinion more specifically.
A caravan of nine buses carrying migrants arrived at the southern border this week.
I had the privilege of traveling to Zambia to speak at the Ekklesia Leadership Conference hosted by Central Africa Baptist College and Seminary (CABC).

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