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In the U.S., the week of September 5-11 marks National Suicide Prevention Week. Suicide is an indisputably painful topic to consider, summoning grief for all those who have lost a loved one to it. This tragedy does not take only one form, however; even as the nation remembers those who grievously have been taken by suicide, a steadily increasing number of states have created an avenue for legal physician-assisted suicide (PAS).When Oregon passed the nation’s first Death With Dignity Act in 1997, it was an anomaly that can be traced as a root cause of the pervasive devaluing of human life we see in America. Following this legislative model, nine other states and the District of Columbia have created “death with dignity” statutes or provided state Supreme Court protection for PAS: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, and Washington. Perhaps most alarmingly, seven of these 11 jurisdictions have created their provisions since 2016.The National Alliance on Mental Illness states their desire for “any person experiencing suicidal thoughts or behaviors to have a number to call, a system to turn to, that would connect them to the treatment and support they need.”Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden claims that his state’s Death With Dignity Act “has helped to improve end-of-life health care for thousands of Oregonians. We are proud Oregon leads the way […] providing peace of mind for the terminally ill.”Though the soothing language of these two perspectives is similar, their messages are decisively contrary; the former urges patients to resist suicidal thoughts, while the latter encourages their fulfillment.The paradox of the American desire to prevent suicide, while simultaneously creating legal avenues for it, demonstrates a deep disparity between the proclaimed values of the nation and the legislation being passed by its representatives. It is illogical to oppose suicide when a healthy individual performs it, but to champion the “right” to commit it when a person is terminally ill.Though advocates for these laws cry “Death with dignity,” the message they send to those with terminal illnesses is that their lives are burdensome, unworthy, and less dignified than everyone else’s. When considering that those struggling with depression are more likely to request assisted suicide, it is clear that causing vulnerable patients to regard their own lives as less worthwhile creates the demand for PAS.Consistent messaging about the purpose that every human life possesses is crucial in order to successfully advocate for suicide prevention. If terminally ill patients are told that they qualify to end their own lives due to physical suffering or deterioration, how can mentally ill individuals be told to turn away from suicidal thoughts caused by their mental strife? The increasing prevalence of PAS in the states contradicts the culture of suicide prevention, which is so widely accepted that the nation designates a week to recognize it.The Death With Dignity National Center, which advocates for the legalization of PAS across the states, ironically advises those who have not yet received their suicide prescription, “While you are waiting, don’t forget to live your life and look for a little bit of joy in every day.” Outside of the context of PAS, this advice would ring true; actual “death with dignity” must come naturally, and the life that exists before it must be treasured and lived abundantly.In order to appropriately recognize the worth and purpose of human life, we must ban PAS and take a consistent stance in opposition to all forms of suicide.Joy Zavalick is Research Assistant for the Center for Human Dignity at Family Research Council.
The Church SteepleThe Rev. John Alderson, Jr., founder of the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church, Alderson, was born in New Jersey on March 5, 1738.  His father, the Rev. John Alderson, Sr., who came New Jersey in 1719, and his grandfather, the Rev. John Alderson of Yorkshire, England, were distinguished ministers of the gospel, the latter of the Established church.  the former, born in England in 1699, came to America in 1719, settled in New Jersey, married Jane Curtis, became a Baptist minister, served Bethlehem Church, New Jersey, and later located in Germantown, PA.In 1755, he moved to Rockingham County, Virginia, where he had the pastoral care of Lynville's Creek Church.  While there, the call came to his son, John Jr., to enter the ministry.  In 1775 John took charge of the Lynville Creek Baptist Church upon the removal of his father to Botetourt County.However, in 1774 and again in 1776 Rev. John Alderson, Jr. made two missionary tours across the Alleghenies into the Valley of Greenbrier.Impressed by the need for a constant missionary effort on behalf of the settlers there, he determined to make that region his home, and in 1774 he went with his family to live and teach the gospel of Christ west of the mountains.  It is said he was eighteen months making the journey across themountains, coming in the first wagon to make such a journey.On reaching Jackson's River, he learned that the Indians had attacked the home of Col. James Graham in Greenbrier, killing one member of his family and taking another prisoner.  Consequently, he delayed there several months, reaching his destination in October.The Indian depredations continues for a number of years.  The inhabitants, for their mutual protection, mostly resided in forts.  So, protected by an armed escort through the woods, from one fort to another, this zealous minister traveled in pursuit of his dangerous vocation.M. Alderson organized the Old Greenbrier Baptist Church, North Alderson, on November 24, 1787, with twelve members, including himself, his wife, and his brother, Thomas, a Revolutionary soldier who had just returned from his battle of Yorktown which had occurred thirty-six days earlier.In 1784, the congregation built a log church on a lot given by William Morris, a brother in law of Rev. John Alderson, Jr.  they having married the Carroll sisters, Nancy and Mary.  These sisters were distant relatives of Charles Carroll of Carrollton.The twelve members organized into the Greenbrier Church petitioned the Ketochton Association, from which Mr. Alderson had come, to receive them into its membership.  This was done.  But in 1796 they united with the New River Association, which had recently been formed with ten churches.  In 1800, Rev. John Alderson, Jr., with the aid of Rev. James Johnston and Rev.Josiah Osborne, the latter two having recently come into this section, petitioned and obtained leave to form a separate Greenbrier Association. The first meeting was held in Big Levels (Lewisburg) Church in 1801.Mr. Alderson founded nine churches, from Greenbrier to the Kentucky line, in about forty years.  He closed a long life, in the full confidence of his brethren, on March 5, 1821.  He was buried just a few feet back of the church.His contemporaries speak of him as "A man of much more than ordinary ability" and as "one of the leading men of his day."  Besides the trials incident to work upon the frontier, he had, like his father, the distinguished privilege of suffering in behalf of Christ for the promotion of religious liberty, having been imprisoned for preaching and performing marriages contrary to the laws of the Established Church of England.  Paul's list of perils might well be applicable to this "Apostle to the Greenbrier."He established a numerous family.  A number of his descendants have been zealous heralds of the cross in this and other states.  One or more members have gone into nearly every state in the union from this church.From the Greenbrier Church have come at least a score of churches, while through the instrumentality of agencies which he set in motion thousands of men and women have been led into the Kingdom of God.   The twelve original members of the Greenbrier Church have grown to 685, and the four original churches, in the Greenbrier Association, to fifty, with 6,354 members.  The fourth church building of handsome stone stands on the same spot where the first log building and the two successive frame buildings stood.  Many of his descendants are members of the church he founded even to the eighth generation.The twelve original members of the Greenbrier Church have grown to 685, and the four original churches to fifty with over 6,354 members.  The fourth church building is on the same spot where the first log building and its successors stood.In connection with the life of the Rev. John Alderson, Jr. some one has said the beautiful words inscribed upon Moody's tomb are strikingly appropriate: "The world passeth away, and the dust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever."Dale R. Hart D.D.Pastor, Author, conference speaker, camp meeting preacher.
A New Jersey man trying to exterminate insects in his apartment blew it up instead, the New York Daily News reported on Monday.
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