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Jesus is the Rock - Bible-believing, Fundamental, Independent Baptist Preaching! Jesus is the Rock of salvation, sonship, strength, stability, shelter, supply, and sweetness! This message was preached on Sunday evening, Sep. 13, 2020, by ...
The Independent Baptist Cooperative Program - KJV 1611 Showing how the help to Moses by Aaron and Hur is a great example of how God's work gets done today, this message was preached on Sunday morning, Sep.
Why I Plan to Stay - Bible-believing, Fundamental, Independent Baptist Preaching! Encouraging preachers and church members to long, faithful service to God in one place, this message was preached on Wednesday evening, Sept. 02, 2020 ...
Daily Devotions – Dependence Upon God We can be inclined to be independent and not feel like we need the LORD each day. But the right attitude is to acknowledge that we do need Him every day.
Let's Keep the Light Burning - Independent Baptist Preaching ! Are you one of those who USED to burn brightly for the Lord but no longer do? Is that true of your church? This message was preached on Sunday evening, July ...
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Translation was led by deaf people trained in the biblical languages.When Renca Dunn talks about having the Bible in her own language for the first time, she emphasizes the adjectives. In English, she has no problem understanding the people, places, and things of Scripture. But in her own language, the nouns vibrate with life and emotion.“The clapping trees. The singing birds. The dancing meadows,” Dunn says. “The persistent Esther. The revengeful Saul. The weeping Magdalene. Most of all, our loving Jesus.”With the translation of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel in the fall of 2020, Dunn and 3.5 million other deaf people finally have the complete Bible in American Sign Language (ASL). It’s been a long time coming. The translation has been in the works since 1981, when Duane King, a minister in the Independent Christian Church, realized that English was not the heart language of deaf people in America. ASL was.King, who is a hearing person, started learning to sign after meeting a Christian couple in 1970 who didn’t come to church much because they couldn’t understand what was going on. He and his wife, Peggy, were moved to meet this need and started a church and a mission for the deaf near one of the nation’s leading deaf schools in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Then, after years of church meetings, small groups, and Bible classes, the Kings became convinced it wasn’t enough to sign the English Bible; the Bible needed to be translated into ASL.“Most hearing people don’t understand how difficult it is to learn to read what you cannot hear,” Duane King said in 2019. “Deaf people rely so much on their eyesight that they want everything to be tangible—they want to be able to see everything. This sometimes makes it harder ...Continue reading...
Jocelyne Khoueiry inspired over 1,500 Christian women to enlist during the civil war, then shifted her efforts from arms to knees.On July 31, Jocelyne Khoueiry passed away mercifully five days before seeing Beirut destroyed, again. A key player in the civil war that once tore the city apart, she spent the rest of her life trying to stitch it back together, and all of Lebanon with it.The Beirut explosion on August 4 reminded many of the worst days of the 1975-1990 conflict. The Lebanese capital divided into a Christian east and a Muslim west, alternately shelled by militias and foreign armies vying for control.But though far smaller in scale than the blast at the port, the deaths caused by Jocelyne’s 1976 hand grenade also shook the nation.Born as one of two daughters in a Maronite Christian family of ten, Jocelyne grew up across the street from the Beirut headquarters of the Phalange.Originally a Christian youth movement dedicated to an independent Lebanon, the Phalange took great offense at the state-within-a-state formed by the 300,000 Palestinians who were fleeing war with Israel. The 1969 Cairo agreement gave the refugees sovereignty to organize their own communities and continue the armed struggle, with the blessing—though not involvement—of their host nation.The Khoueiry family provided some of the earliest fighters to the Phalange Christian militia formed in response, and a not yet 20-year-old Jocelyne enlisted with her brothers. In 1975, the civil war broke out in earnest, and several Lebanese Muslim militias sided with the Palestinians.Jocelyne was not a practicing Christian; she preferred the Beirut nightlife. But on May 7, 1976, on a routine patrol on the roof of the Regent Hotel, she had a vision. She said the Virgin Mary appeared to her, and she saw herself kneeling in veneration. But she was also overcome with a sense ...Continue reading...
By omitting several key elements of the abortion survival debate, Snopes' fact-check of the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (SB 311) is not an unbiased appraisal of the issue. Rather, it is a lackluster attempt to provide cover for U.S. senators who failed to support federal protections against infanticide.Here is a fact-check of Snopes' fact-check. Snopes' Claim:Thirty-four states have "laws offering various levels of protection for babies born alive after failed abortions, and various levels of criminal penalties set out for health care practitioners who fail to provide care for them."What's True: Actually, thirty-five states have some form of legal protection for infants born alive after failed abortions. Yet, nearly two-thirds of state laws do not have criminal penalties for physicians who fail to provide medical care to infants born alive.Snopes mentions FRC's Born-Alive Protections Map in its fact-check, but completely misses the map's main takeaway. Yes, 35 states have some form of born-alive law on the books, but only 16 of those states mandate an appropriate form of care and impose penalties on physicians who fail to provide said care. The remaining 19 states do not provide necessary protections for abortion survivors. Most simply mirror the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002, which recognized and defined any child surviving a failed abortion as a full person under the law but failed to provide any concrete ways to hold physicians accountable for killing or denying medical care to infants who survive abortion.It appears that Snopes erroneously conflates different elements of born alive laws in asserting that "two-thirds" of states have "various levels of criminal penalties" in their born-alive laws.Snopes also conveniently omits that New York and Illinois repealed born-alive laws in 2019. Snopes' Claim:Democrat and Independent U.S. senators voted against the federal Born-Alive bill (SB 311) because it would have interfered with the doctor-patient relationship and undermined legal abortion access.What's True: SB 311 contains no language that would undermine current abortion laws. The bill merely seeks to ensure adequate protections for born-alive infants who have survived an abortion. As the bill's sponsor, Sen. Ben Sasse, explained on the Senate floor before the 2019 vote: "The bill's terms are simple. A child born alive during a botched abortion would be given the same level of care that would be provided to any other baby born at the same gestational age….This bill is exclusively about protecting babies that have already been born and are outside the womb."Rather than quote the bill's sponsor, Snopes relied entirely on quotes from Democrat senators who opposed the bill. While these Democrat senators may have claimed a potential breach of the doctor-patient relationship as a reason for opposing the bill, no such breaches have been raised in the 16 states with born-alive laws comparable to SB 311. Furthermore, born-alive laws in these states have had no proven effect on access to late-term abortions. Snopes' Claim:Democrat senators voted against SB 311 because they felt it was unnecessary in light of existing law. Senator Mazie Hirono said the bill was "a solution in search of a problem."What's True:Studies from around the world confirm that infants can and do survive abortion. A 2018 European study found that over half of 241 pre-viable pregnancies resulted in live births following attempted abortions. A CDC report from 2003-14 revealed that at least 143 infants died after being born alive from an abortion. Only eight U.S. states currently require reporting on abortion survivors, but in those states, there have been at least 179 survival cases. Minnesota reported three cases in 2019 in its July 2020 report. Florida, which provides live updates of born-alive survivors, has reported four cases in 2020 alone. These reports show that infants can and do survive late-term abortions, and the states that provide accurate reporting report several cases each year.We should all agree that whether by neglect or intentional means, the killing of a baby who has been born alive is abhorrent. Since so few states provide detailed information on abortion survivors, the scope of the problem is not fully known. Even one child born alive who dies after surviving an abortion attempt because they were denied medical care is too many.Even Snopes grudgingly admitted in its article: "SB 311 would introduce a "born alive" abortion law that would apply uniformly throughout the entire country. By voting to block the progress of SB 311, the Democratic and Independent senators did undoubtedly prevent that outcome from becoming much more likely" (bolding mine).
Pentecostal leader explains 90 days of prayer for “the Zimbabwe God wants” as Christians lament problems under Mugabe's successor, President Mnangagwa.Zimbabwe, in its 40 years of independent history, has “never enjoyed life.”And as the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) stands in solidarity this week with maligned Catholic bishops accused of fomenting genocide, its president, Never Muparutsa, told CT the Southern African government is failing to honor its biblical responsibility.There are too many poor, amid official repression.The problems predate the presidency of Emmerson Mnangagwa. In 1965, white apartheid settlers declared the independent nation of Rhodesia; however, it was not until 1980 when Robert Mugabe’s violent revolutionary movement achieved universal suffrage.But failures in economic integration, anti-white racism, and political corruption plagued the renamed nation of Zimbabwe. After nearly three decades in power, an aged Mugabe was overthrown by the military following sustained popular protests in 2017.Initially lauded across the continent as a pioneering African nationalist, by the end Archbishop Desmond Tutu called Mugabe “a cartoon figure of an archetypal African dictator.”Mnangagwa, Mugabe’s vice president, was installed as his replacement by the military, and ushered in a new period of hope after he won election in 2018. He passed the National Peace and Reconciliation Act to address the 1983–85 massacres in which up to 20,000 civilians were killed.But worsening economic conditions led to sometimes riotous protests in January 2019, which were forcibly suppressed by Mnangagwa’s administration, with hundreds arrested. One month later, the Zimbabwe Heads of Christian Denominations (ZHCD) launched the nation’s first National Leadership Prayer Breakfast to appeal for dialogue.Zimbabwe’s population ...Continue reading...
by Phil Johnson (and friends)ome friends and I collected common questions that have been raised regarding the recent statement from John MacArthur and the Elders of Grace Community Church, titled "Christ, Not Caesar, Is Head of the Church." Here's our FAQ in its current form:1.Why did you consent to the original government order, citing Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2? The elders of Grace Church decided to follow the recommended procedures set forth in the original government order, not because we believed the state has a right to tell churches when, whether, or how to worship. To be clear, we believe that the original orders were just as much an illegitimate intrusion of state authority into ecclesiastical matters as we believe it is now. However, because we could not possibly have known the true severity of the virus, and because we care about people as our Lord did, we believe guarding public health against serious contagions is a rightful function of Christians as well as civil government. Therefore, we voluntarily followed the initial recommendations of our government. It is, of course, legitimate for Christians to abstain from the assembly of saints temporarily in the face of illness or an imminent threat to public health. When the devastating lockdown began, it was supposed to be a short-term stopgap measure, with the goal to "flatten the curve"—meaning they wanted to slow the rate of infection to ensure that hospitals weren't overwhelmed. And there were horrific projections of death. In light of those factors, our pastors supported the measures by observing the guidelines that were issued for churches. But we did not yield our spiritual authority to the secular government. We said from the very start that our voluntary compliance was subject to change if the restrictions dragged on beyond the stated goal, or politicians unduly intruded into church affairs, or if health officials added restrictions that would to attempt to undermine the church's mission. We made every decision with our own burden of responsibility in mind. We simply took the early opportunity to support the concerns of health officials and accommodate the same concerns among our church members, out of a desire to act in an abundance of care and reasonableness (Philippians 4:5). But we are now more than twenty weeks into the unrelieved restrictions. It is apparent that those original projections of death were wrong and the virus is nowhere near as dangerous as originally feared. Still, roughly forty percent of the year has passed with our church essentially unable to gather in a normal way. Pastors' ability to shepherd their flocks has been severely curtailed. The unity and influence of the church has been threatened. Opportunities for believers to serve and minister to one another have been missed. And the suffering of Christians who are troubled, fearful, distressed, infirm, or otherwise in urgent need of fellowship and encouragement has been magnified beyond anything that could reasonably be considered just or necessary. Major public events that were planned for 2021 are already being canceled, signaling that officials are preparing to keep restrictions in place into next year and beyond. That forces churches to choose between the clear command of our Lord and the government officials. Therefore, following the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, we gladly choose to obey Him.2.Are you saying that pastors who choose to follow the government guidelines are thereby guilty of abdicating their responsibility before the Lord and violating the God-ordained spheres of authority? To be clear, we're not trying to tie faithfulness to a particular evaluation of the severity of the virus or the best way to take precautions in response. For many churches, elders will independently conclude that the recommended regulations are the best course for the present time. Our point is that these decisions are the church's call to make, not the state's. How elders make their decisions on whether and how to meet is a Christian liberty issue, and not every faithful congregation will make those decisions exactly as we have. Given the size, health, age, and location of their congregation, as well as how the virus has affected their own community, some pastors and elders may decide to suspend fellowship for a bit longer. Our statement was not intended to target faithful pastors and elders striving to exercise their own independent discretion and navigate their own congregation's needs. Our desire was simply to equip and empower such faithful men—not cause them trouble or bind their consciences to choices we are making. With that said, it is not a Christian liberty issue for elders to farm out to the state their God-given authority to make such decisions. That is abdication. Pastors and elders who allow the government to dictate the size of their gatherings—or whether they can meet at all—give authority to the government that God has given only to Christ as the head of the church. If church leaders have ceded Christ's authority to the government, which God never gave nor intended government to have, it is our prayer that they would repent of that and reaffirm that Christ and not Caesar is the head of the church. The statement calls other faithful congregations to join us in recognizing that God has committed to elders the authority and responsibility to make these decisions, and they should not forfeit to the state that authority and responsibility in contradiction to God's design.3.Are the spheres of church and state as distinct as the statement implies? Doesn't the church submit to government fire codes and zoning restrictions? If so, why not likewise acquiesce to these public health restrictions? While it is true that the church is subject to fire codes and zoning restrictions, those are routine civil, not spiritual, matters, so the state exercises legitimate authority enforcing them. But the government's authority in civil matters associated with the church does not give it authority in spiritual matters, which are the lifeblood of the church. Attendance caps, singing bans, and distancing requirements (especially those that are established arbitrarily and by executive fiat) have the effect of suppressing or eliminating the congregational worship that is an essential element of church life. Therefore such orders fall outside the jurisdiction of civil authorities.4.Why did you ask for signatures on this statement? We wanted to find a way for other pastors and church leaders who agreed with our perspective—but who were perhaps apprehensive about reopening—to have a way to express their support and solidarity.5.Why haven't the elders of Grace Church enforced social-distancing rules and the wearing of masks? The medical community has widespread and dogmatic disagreement on the effectiveness of both of these restrictions. We do not believe it is within the elders' purview or responsibility to resolve that disagreement or act as enforcers of such a hotly debated policy dispute—especially when government authorities themselves have declined to enforce those rules during countless mass demonstrations with crowds much larger than any of our worship services have ever drawn. Instead, we leave it to each individual to be "fully convinced in his own mind" whether or not to follow these guidelines. We gladly welcome anyone to Grace Community Church and leave those choices to each individual, in the spirit of Romans 14.6.What if officials intervene in our services or force us to comply? The threat of even the most severe consequences from government has never stopped faithful people from submitting to the authority of God's Word. And we know that any opposition we receive will be within the will of our Lord, and for the good of His church. We simply desire to gather peacefully and reverently in worship of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:2), free from the prohibitions of the state. We also understand how desperately the world needs the church, because we are (in Jesus' words) "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:13-14)—an absolutely indispensible influence for truth and righteousness in society. Of all people, we understand how desperately the world needs the Gospel, a spiritual priority far more important than any physical threats which can kill the body but are unable to kill the soul. If the governing authorities feel the need to assail us for that, we will trust the Lord, rejoice, and glorify God for the privilege of suffering in the name of Christ (1 Peter 4:12þ16; cf. Philippians 1:27þ30).7.Is Grace Church open for anyone to attend? Yes. Please feel free to join us for worship.8.Must we meet in the tent, or will the worship center be open? We trust the members of our congregation to be mature adults, so they and their families are welcome to sit wherever they feel comfortable. We have ample outdoor seating available, and have uniformly observed that congregants have been respectful of those wearing masks and/or seeking to social distance.9.What if I don't feel comfortable returning? We understand that we are in unprecedented times, and that the information from governing authorities and health officials changes each day. If you are not comfortable returning to worship, please feel free to take advantage of the live stream and other alternatives. We love you, we miss you, and we are eager to welcome you back when you are able to join us (1 Pet 1:22), but we recognize there are some of our members for whom this is the right decision—especially if you are sick or experiencing symptoms of the virus, are at high risk of complications due to age or other health conditions, or have regular contact at home with someone who is at high risk. While you're away, please continue to reach out to your fellowship group pastors, Bible study shepherds, and other fellow members. We are eager to learn of and meet your needs.10.When will fellowship groups, children's ministry, the nursery, and student ministries resume? As soon as we can work out the logistics.Phil's signature
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