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Author Topic: Christianity Today and Other Theological Topics  (Read 4205 times)

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patrick jane

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Re: Christianity Today and Other Theological Topics
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2018, 03:04:47 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2018/november/christians-drink-alcohol-survey-protestant-churchgoers.html


Can Christians Drink Alcohol? Here’s What 1,000 Protestant Churchgoers Think


Most say the Bible doesn’t ban booze, but they abstain anyway.

 
Views on Christians drinking alcohol have stayed steady among Protestant churchgoers over the past decade, according to a new study.

While 41 percent of Protestant churchgoers say they consume alcohol, 59 percent say they do not, according to a survey released today by Nashville-based LifeWay Research.

In a 2007 phone survey, LifeWay found 39 percent of Protestant churchgoers said they consume alcohol while 61 percent said they do not.

Gallup surveys over the last 75 years have typically shown that two-thirds of all American adults have occasion to drink alcoholic beverages, including 63 percent in 2018.

“While alcohol consumption continues be seen as mainstream in the United States, churchgoers’ attitudes about drinking haven’t changed much in the past decade,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.

Almost 9 in 10 of churchgoers (87%) agree that Scripture says people should never get drunk. That’s up from 82 percent in 2007.

But when it comes to total abstinence, fewer than a quarter (23%) of Protestant churchgoers believe Scripture indicates people should never drink alcohol. A majority (71%) disagree.

The share of churchgoers who say Scripture teaches against any kind of alcohol consumption has decreased six percentage points over the last decade. In 2007, 29 percent said Scripture directs people to never drink alcohol; 68 percent disagreed.

When Christians drink socially, many churchgoers believe they could cause other believers to stumble or be confused. In 2017, 60 percent agree and 32 percent disagree. (The portion who say drinking socially could cause others to stumble dropped slightly from 63 percent in 2007.)

Researchers also found slightly more than half of churchgoers say Scripture indicates all beverages, including alcohol, can be consumed without sin (55%) and that Christians exercise biblical liberty when partaking of alcohol in reasonable amounts (54%).

Attitudes and behaviors related to alcohol use vary based on age, geography, denominational affiliation, and other demographic factors.

Male churchgoers are more likely to say they drink alcohol compared to women (48% vs. 37%).

Lutherans (76%) and Methodists (62%) are more likely to say they imbibe than Baptists (33%), non-denominational churchgoers (43%), and Assemblies of God/Pentecostals (23%).

Churchgoers ages 18-34 are evenly split on their alcohol consumption, with 50 percent saying they drink and 50 percent saying they do not; 41 percent of churchgoers ages 35-49 say they drink, while 59 percent do not; and 44 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds say they consume alcohol, while 56 percent do not. Churchgoers age 65 and above were the least likely age group to say they drink alcohol, with 32 percent saying yes and 68 percent saying no.

ChurchSalary
Among churchgoers, those with a higher education are more likely to say they drink than those with less education. Churchgoers with a graduate degree are most likely to say they drink alcohol (62%) followed by those with a bachelor’s degree (59%), some college (46%) and those who are high school graduates or less (26%).

“Churchgoers’ perspectives on alcohol are not changing very fast,” said McConnell. “The majority believe that biblically they can drink, but they choose not to.”




Methodology:


LifeWay Research conducted the study of 1,010 American Protestant churchgoers Aug. 22-30, 2017. The survey was conducted using the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®, a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. For this survey, a nationally representative sample of U.S. Protestant and non-denominational adults (18 and older) which attends religious services once a month or more often was selected from the KnowledgePanel®. Initially, participants are chosen scientifically by a random selection of telephone numbers and residential addresses. Persons in selected households are then invited by telephone or by mail to participate in the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®. For those who agree to participate, but do not already have internet access, GfK provides at no cost a laptop and ISP connection.

Sample stratification and base weights were used for gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, metro/non-metro, home ownership, education, and income to reflect the most recent U.S. Census data. Study specific weights included for gender by age, race/ethnicity, region, and education to reflect GSS 2016 data. The sample provides 95 percent confidence that the sampling error does not exceed plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

Comparisons are made to a LifeWay Research phone survey conducted in April-May 2007 among 1,004 Protestant churchgoers.

For more information on this study, visit LifeWayResearch.com or view the complete report.



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Re: Christianity Today and Other Theological Topics
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2019, 12:40:15 pm »


https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/march-web-only/jesus-his-life-history-chosen-tv-series-vidangel.html



Jesus’ Life Chosen for Two Very Different TV Series




One is scholarly with a big cable budget, the other is gritty and crowdfunded.

 
This month brings two profoundly different takes on the biblical Gospels to the small screen. In Jesus: His Life, which premiered Monday and runs through Easter, History seeks to commemorate the Lenten season with a reverent, fast-paced, inclusive miniseries.

“The story of Jesus is one of the cornerstones of Western civilization,” says Mary Donahue, executive producer of the series and senior vice president of programming for History. “Our production partners at Nutopia came to us with this new angle on the life of Jesus. As a network always looking for fresh ways to tell great stories, we were fascinated by the concept.”

History’s docudrama series combines dramatic vignettes filmed on location in Morocco with a wide spectrum of talking-head faith scholars. Its narrative scenes bring to life first-century Judea with desert vistas, elaborate palace sets, and other fitting locales over eight episodes.

Meanwhile, the other TV project has less emphasis on visual spectacle and more on character development. Independent show The Chosen is already turning heads in Hollywood. When upstart platform VidAngel Studios pitched the concept to followers online, they brought in $11 million—a new crowdfunding record for any media project.

Debuting online April 15, The Chosen will reimagine the radical ministry of Christ upending societal norms in a multi-season show. Creators aim for it to be faithful to the biblical text while gritty in tone. “A lot of Jesus projects on-screen are intentionally formal, which often means emotionally detached and less human,” says writer/director Dallas Jenkins.

“We’re striving in this show to lift the curtain and get to what is authentic and real,” he says. “The approach to storytelling and how we film it, often with handheld cameras, is very raw.”

Top Cable Network Comes to Jesus
Behind-the-scenes on History’s Jesus: His Life, New Testament scholar Scot McKnight of Northern Seminary served as an advisor. After script revisions, he praises where the miniseries has landed.

“Coming at Jesus from the angle of eight different peoples’ views of him is helpful and realistic,” says McKnight, noting the installments on Peter, Pontius Pilate, and John the Baptist as standouts. “Each episode affirms a positive, accurate presentation of the Gospels.”


https://youtu.be/f7DH5PQJNes


Over two dozen faith leaders provide on-screen commentary including Joshua DuBois, former head of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in the Obama administration. Calling the series’ diversity of Christian perspectives “unprecedented,” he points to scholarship from McKnight and Miroslav Volf of Yale University Divinity School as grounding the narrative.

“Sometimes you’re forced to choose,” says DuBois. “Either you have a historically rigorous documentary approach, but you feel like they’re trying to critique the Bible. I’m not comfortable with that. Or you have an approach that is more about the spiritual themes but lacks historical scholarship. This weaves both of them together in a powerful way.”

Though only two of eight episodes have aired, Jesus: His Life already has its critics. One Catholic writer claims it “reinterprets and questions the authenticity of certain Bible passages.”

Other reviewers are wary of featured voices like televangelist Joel Osteen, known for his emphasis on believers receiving prosperity and blessing; and Episcopal Bishop Michael Curry, the minister who presided over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding and whose views on the sacrament of marriage do not comport with many orthodox Christian traditions.

“At times, I was surprised by the people chosen to offer commentary,” McKnight says diplomatically, in answer to critics. “But if one canvasses the broad church of the United States, one can see why the various people were chosen—from Michael Curry to Joel Osteen.

“In this series, they are not criticizing what the text is rather they share their perspective and angle on what it says.”

Entrepreneurs Reshaping How TV Works
With every segment wrapped up before the next commercial break, viewers of History’s docudrama always have clarity on what Gospel events are being depicted and discussed. By contrast, the first episodes of The Chosen drop audiences midstream into the story with little context.

Episode one opens mysteriously. A young girl and her father light a candle and repeat a sacred promise in dim light, referenced visually at show’s end during a significant character reveal. It reflects how the small-budget drama seeks to surprise viewers while faithfully retelling events from two millennia ago.

https://youtu.be/Iv8RsbPFyw8


“We make these characters so human,” says Jenkins, whose previous credits include faith-based comedy The Resurrection of Gavin Stone released by Walden Media in 2017.

“For example, we portray Matthew the tax collector as someone with Asperger’s, which I’ve had experience with personally,” notes the writer/director. “Because of what we can glean from the Gospels, we thought: That’s not completely out of line. Matthew was a numbers and facts guy, and he didn’t mind a job that made him socially unacceptable.”

With its storytelling approach yet to be seen, headlines have focused on the funding model pioneered by VidAngel Studios—producers of viral sensation Dry Bar Comedy. Using a little-known online public offering, or Regulation A+, The Chosen drew over 16,000 mostly small-dollar investors to back season one at $11 million. These backers receive equity in the show.

“This is not like Kickstarter or Indiegogo,” says Jenkins. “Anyone who contributed to this project wasn’t just donating; they are actually investing. It took us a few months to get approved by the SEC. Once we did, we released the pilot for free out on Facebook and said to people: ‘If you’re interested in investing in a show like this, join us in this equity crowdfunding.’”

Last year, Jenkins and his team scouted locations and landed in Weatherford, Texas—an hour outside of Dallas. They built up an existing Capernaum Village that had been used for religious tourism, in addition to filming interior scenes on a sound stage. Producers found some topography in rural Texas “similar to Israel,” they say, while visual effects will also supplement.

Four initial episodes have been filmed, with pre-production underway on the next four. Despite Jenkins’ résumé—mostly light dramas and comedies for Hallmark and PureFlix—he warns that this subject matter is hardly for children. Set to be distributed by VidAngel, a streaming service that filters profanity, violence, and mature content, the series will have its own filtering options.

“This is for sure a TV-14 show,” says Jenkins. “In fact, episode one of The Chosen is not for kids—there is demonic possession and physical violence. The setting in which Jesus came was a very depressed and oppressive time period. On the surface, little about the Gospels is bright, happy, clean, fun, and family-friendly.”

“What makes the redemption of the gospel so powerful is the depth of what they’re being redeemed from, which this show will portray.”

Seeking to Engage Diverse Audiences
Producers of both TV series say they aspire to reflect historically accurate Mideast ethnic diversity—and, through the power of story, bridge what divides various faith traditions.

History’s miniseries has a “beautifully diverse tapestry,” notes DuBois. “Angels are portrayed by actors of African descent, as well as other roles with people of color,” he says. “Even more, it’s the voices who shape the series. People like Reverend Otis Moss III and Professor Nyasha Junior from Temple University represent strong black church traditions as on-screen commentators.”

The series seeks to appeal to three different audiences, according to Donahue. “Devout Christians will find new insights they may not have heard before,” she says. “Our History fans will learn more about Jesus’ time and his political context. And people who just love great stories will find a lot of drama, excellent acting, and powerful storytelling from each episode.”

Nearly 30 advisers and faith leaders helped craft Jesus: His Life, from Fr. Jonathan Morris, who often appears on Fox News, to evangelical scholar Ben Witherington III of Asbury Theological Seminary to Rabbi Joshua Garroway of Hebrew Union College.

“Just as Pilate saw Jesus in a very different way than how his mother Mary saw him, each person brings their own relationship to this story to the table,” says Donahue. “We each have our own contexts and experiences. Having a diverse team of contributors helped us consider and hold all of those perspectives into one telling.”

The team behind The Chosen also rejects past Gospel adaptations’ “traditional white European look,” to quote Jenkins. Filming in Texas, their casting process proved challenging.

“Capernaum, where season one is based, was a melting pot,” says the showrunner. “It was on a trade route, so there were travelers from all over: people with Asian influences, Latin influences, and African influences. When you’re shooting outside of Hollywood or New York, it’s harder to find that, [yet] we were aggressive in looking to reflect the ethnic diversity of that time.”

To ensure accuracy in the storytelling, a board of three scholars reviewed all scripts. They include Fr. David Guffey of the Congregation of the Holy Cross in Santa Monica, California; New Testament professor Doug Huffman of Biola University; and Messianic Rabbi Jason Sobel, who grew up in a Jewish family and has since “become a follower of Yeshua,” his website states.

“Each of them has impeccable credentials in biblical, historical research,” says Jenkins. “They provided facts and context on the political and social structures of the day. Each has said: “This character wouldn’t say it that way.” Or, “She wouldn’t be in that location.” They had an impact on several episodes, which were going to go some other directions.”

In addition, The Chosen team welcomed input from religious experts to open up broad appeal to Judeo-Christian audiences. “From the Jewish and Catholic perspectives, because I am neither one of those, I always wanted to know how their communities would view each episode,” says the director, son of evangelical author Jerry Jenkins.

“At times, we changed how characters express themselves to have the widest audience,” he says. “We don’t mind offending people—we just want to be doing it for the right reasons.”

Will History Repeat Itself?
Among the highest-rated cable TV networks, History clearly hopes to replicate its success with 2013’s hit series The Bible. Yet advisers contend Jesus: His Life is more than a ratings ploy.

“This is not a series that avoids tough stories and issues,” says DuBois. “The life of Jesus is central, but there’s also Judas and Pilate. It grapples with evil in the world, as we have to engage with these things today. There is an element of hope, as ultimately Jesus overcomes.”

Days from its premiere, The Chosen showrunners are forging ahead with plans for a multi-season retelling of the Gospels. However, the recent demise of a similar show invites comparisons.

After premiering Easter Sunday on NBC in 2015, an episodic adaptation of the Book of Acts called A.D.: The Bible Continues faced a ratings decline. Only one third into its source material, plans for further seasons never materialized.

With its novel funding and distribution model, production of The Chosen will not be dependent on TV network metrics. Nonetheless, Jenkins, who says he admired the 2015 show, sees its fate as a cautionary tale. “To be honest with you, I don’t know that we’re going to succeed where others have fallen short,” he says. “But we are in this for the long haul.”

“Hopefully, these first few episodes people see will excite them for how much time we really are going to spend with Jesus and the characters around him.”






Josh M. Shepherd covers culture, faith, and public policy issues for media outlets includingThe Stream and The Federalist. A graduate of the University of Colorado, he previously worked on staff at The Heritage Foundation and Focus on the Family. Josh and his wife live in the Washington, DC, area with their son.













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https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/april/when-failure-isnt-option-how-to-press-forward-in-sharing-je.html




When Failure Isn't an Option: How to Press Forward in Sharing Jesus Even When We Stumble



Failure and repentance secure for us a more ample conception of the grace of God.

 
When I was in college, one of my InterVarsity leaders introduced me to the book Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders. Even though it was published in 1967, the guidance I found in those pages changed my life.

One summer break, when I was back home with my family, I found the same book on my father’s shelf. Like many college kids, I was sure that I knew more than my parents. So you can probably guess how surprised I was to learn that my father and I had both been shaped by the same writer! All these years later I still find direction and wisdom in that dog-eared copy my father passed to me.

Chapter 15 is titled “Searching Tests to Leadership,” which Sanders lists as compromise, ambition, the impossible situation, failure, and jealousy. Recently, I was reflecting on his comments about failure:

If we could see into the inmost hearts of many men whom we think are riding on the crest of the wave, we should experience some great surprises. Alexander Maclaren, the peerless expositor, after delivering a wonderful address to a large gathering, went away overwhelmed with a sense of failure. “I must not speak on such an occasion again,” he exclaimed, while the congregation went away blessed and inspired. Allowance must always be made for the reaction which comes from the rebound of the overstrung bow. Nor can we ignore the subtle attacks of our unsleeping adversary.The manner in which a leader meets his own failure will have a significant effect on his future ministry. One would have been justified in concluding that Peter’s failure in the judgment hall had forever slammed the door on leadership in Christ’s kingdom. Instead, the depth of his repentance and the reality of his love for Christ reopened the door of opportunity to a yet wider sphere of service. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”

A study of Bible characters reveals that most of those who made history were men who failed at some point, and some of them drastically, but who refused to continue lying in the dust. Their very failure and repentance secured for them a more ample conception of the grace of God. They learned to know Him as the God of the second chance to His children who had failed Him – and the third chance, too. (1967, 124)

The pressures of ministry often leave us feeling like failures, whether because we actually mess up (and moral failure is all too common these days), or because people are unhappy with us (which again is far too normal in the Church), or because we don’t see any fruit from our labor (or at least not as much as we hoped). This last pressure seems to be especially true in the area of evangelism. Sometimes, we can toil for months, or in some cases years, and not see significant growth. Other times, we are given what seems to be a great opportunity and totally blow it by pushing or arguing, or being at a loss for what to say to a serious challenge to the faith.

I still vividly remember passionately sharing the gospel with a college friend who became so upset that she not only rejected Christ but also told all our classmates what a pushy, judgmental person I was. In retrospect, I probably was pretty judgmental, and I felt like Alexander: “I must not speak on such an occasion again.” In fact, I felt like such a failure that it was a while before I was able to share the gospel with someone else.

Among other things, what eventually changed my attitude toward evangelism was gaining that “more ample conception of the grace of God” as Oswald Sanders says. When I keep in mind how patient God is with me in my spiritual journey, I become more willing to allow someone to wrestle, question, and doubt without feeling like I’m the one who has to answer all their questions and resolve all their issues. I know this is not a revolutionary idea; many other Christians have said as much. But when I’m stuck in the feeling of failure, sometimes it’s hard for me to be patient with myself, never mind this non-Christian in front of me.

Ministry is not easy, and I often find myself needing God’s grace. When I share the gospel, I am inviting that person to join me, to come find that same grace at the foot of the cross. We are not called to evangelize from a place of knowledge or success, but from a place of humility that knows the good news from our daily experience: we need God’s provision and saving, and He graciously provides it. Like Peter, we can say, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you [or solutions or quick fixes or …]. But I’ll give you what I have” – Jesus! (Acts 3:6).

For those of you who have lost heart or felt like a failure in your efforts to witness, let me encourage you to start with remembering the “ample conception of the grace of God.” It’s only from that place of resting in God’s loving salvation that we can truly testify to the good news of the cross and the resurrection.



















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Making Strides Against the Opioid Crisis: Churches and Government Working Together for Good




09/12/18


https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2018/september/making-strides-against-opioid-crisis.html


Many Americans wonder what to do and, most importantly, who to turn to for answers.


Last October, President Trump declared the opioid crises a public health emergency. With the loss of 72,000 lives in 2017 due to an overdose of prescription drugs, our country is still firmly in the midst of an opioid epidemic, leaving many Americans wondering what to do and, most importantly, who to turn to for answers.

The difficult truth is that drug overdoses are currently our nation’s leading cause of accidental death. In an otherwise healthy country with widespread access to medical care, thousands are literally dying in their excess—losing their lives to drugs purchased out of dependency rather than dire need.

Deaths by drug overdose particularly pain us because they feel senseless. All around us, friends, family members, and loved ones are slipping through the cracks of addiction, hiding from help, and trying to cope with the effects of these deadly drugs all on their own.

After all, isn’t that the greatest lie? That we’re all alone? That no one understands?

Chris Eisele, president of Warren County Fire Chiefs’ Association in Ohio, alluded to one of the greatest challenges of the opioid epidemic: “This epidemic,” he said, “It’s got no face.” People from all walks of life, economic backgrounds, professions, and cultural contexts are finding themselves battling the bitterness of substance abuse and addiction. There’s no ‘type’ or typical victim—and, most importantly, everyone is in hiding.

It is into this environment—one ripe with shame and fear—that the church has the opportunity to walk and speak boldly.


First, with biblical truth


The nation of Israel was in a state of disrepair, immersed in sin and desperately in need of repentance. During this period, it was the prophet Isaiah who was chosen to speak God’s words of forbearance to this disobedient people.

Despite their shortcomings—no, really, they always fell short—the God of Israel had a plan of redemption in the works that was both bigger than they could ever imagine and better than they could ever deserve.

In Isaiah 35, the prophet described in detail what would happen upon the arrival of this coming Messiah:

“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.”

This Messiah, as it turns out, would be a master healer—one who freed individuals from the bondage of all sorts of infirmities. And that’s just what Jesus did. He attended to the sick, gave sight to the blind, and even raised the dead—there was no person too infected, too debilitated, or too far gone for his healing touch. It is in Christ’s attitude towards the suffering in his day that we see the heart of God.


He was the Great Physician.

Looking at Scripture, it becomes clear that God cares deeply for the spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being of people. As his faithful followers, we should do the same.

Second, with treatment programs

Amidst our nation’s opioid crisis, one of the ways we can care for those affected is through access to treatment and recovery support programs.

The church should be a place where substance abuse and addiction aren’t swept under the rug, but boldly and lovingly confronted. Followers of Jesus—whether they be pastors or laypeople—should take seriously their duty to connect individuals with the resources they need to find healing.

Study after study have demonstrated the effectiveness of faith-based addiction recovery support efforts in rehabilitation centers everywhere. Drug and alcohol abuse don’t just affect people physically—if they did, doctors, nurses, and simple medications alone could rid this whole earth of addiction without delay. But as most know, addictions to opioids and other substances have an inherently spiritual component—one that can’t be adequately addressed from the confines of a hospital bed.

Faith-based treatment programs aren’t just a solution, they are a key solution to helping individuals confront and beat the root cause of addiction once and for all.

Steven Mosma, professor of political science at Pepperdine University has studied the effectiveness of faith-based social programs coming to the conclusion that “faith-based programs working with people who experience social ills will bring with them an added resource and degree of effectiveness that secular programs do not have.” Professor Mosma cites studies performed on the effectiveness of one particular faith-based rehabilitation program: Adult & Teen Challenge USA.

Adult and Teen Challenge USA is a nationwide, faith-based group dedicated to providing individuals with a “holistic model of drug and alcohol recovery.” Convinced that a restored relationship with Jesus Christ is central to the healing process, folks at this organization work diligently to teach program participants about the God of healing who created and loves them.

On Teen Challenge’s website, resources are available to help connect students and adults struggling with addiction to programs nearest to them.

Third, in cooperation with government partners

Where there is room for churches and faith-based institutions to work together in this struggle against opioid addictions, so too are there opportunities for these groups to work cooperatively with governing authorities.

This morning, I testified at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA, in cooperation with the HHS Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives, convened a one-day expert panel on “The Role of the Faith-Based Community as Bridge Builders to the Treatment Community for People with Serious Mental Illness.”

This is one of the two areas where some of this work is intersecting with the work of Director Shannon Royce, Esq., and the Partnership Center team.

The other is opioids.

Recently, I shared the Partnership Center’s tool kit that offers practical resources for communities and faith-based entities. The Practical Toolkit for Faith and Community Leaders, along with additional information and resources, can be found on the Rural Matters Institute website with permission from the office of The Partnership Center. A downloadable version is also available.

Through our Rural Matters Initiative we will be helping churches connect with resources that will help serve their communities, like the toolkit.

However, there is another opportunity here. This September, State Opioid Response Grant (SOR’s) funds will be going into communities around the country. A helpful letter from Shannon Royce and SAMHSA’s recently released Frequently Asked Questions affirms that states are allowed to use a portion of these funds to support services offered by faith-based providers —yes, faith-based providers—through indirect funding or voucher programs.

Efforts like this demonstrate that cross-sector partnerships between public and private entities are making a path forward amidst this opioid crisis. And now is the time for more faith-based providers to step forward and leverage all the resources available to them.


Where from here?


In a Washington Post op-ed last year, I explained, “Addiction is a health crisis because it affects people of all backgrounds. We can treat it as such.”

My exhortation to you, if you are a pastor or a church leader, is that you and members of your congregation might join Jesus on his mission of being the Great Physician. He is looking for churches, pastors, and people to see the need and to become part of the solution.

Ed Stetzerholds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, serves as Dean of the School of Mission, Ministry, and Leadership at Wheaton College, is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.




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Trump's efforts to tackle opioid epidemic overlooked due to link in border crisis



Charmaine Yoest says President Trump declaring the opioid epidemic as a crisis set the tone for his administration.



4 minutes
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVcQ-hOn2Zg&list=WL&index=13&t=0s
















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Artificial Intelligence: it will kill us | Jay Tuck | TEDxHamburgSalon



US  defense expert Jay Tuck was news director of the daily news program ARD-Tagesthemen and combat correspondent for GermanTelevision in two Gulf Wars. He has produced over 500 segments for the network. His investigative reports on security policy, espionage activities and weapons technology appear in leading newspapers, television networks and magazines throughout Europe, including Cicero, Focus, PC-Welt, Playboy, Stern, Welt am Sonntag and ZEITmagazin.

He is author of a widely acclaimed book on electronic intelligence activities, “High-Tech Espionage” (St. Martin’s Press), published in fourteen countries. He is Executive Producer for a weekly technology magazine on international television in the Arab world. For his latest book “Evolution without us – Will AI kill us?” he researched at US drone bases, the Pentagon, intelligence agencies and AI research institutions. His lively talks are accompanied by exclusive video and photographs.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at
http://ted.com/tedx

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Re: Christianity Today and Other Theological Topics
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2019, 08:48:46 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/june-web-only/satan-demonic-devil-lives-in-mirror.html






The Devil Lives in the Mirror



Demonic lies hide as truth. They also lurk close to home.

 
I stood before the dazed librarian as she scanned each questionable title: The Death of Satan, I See Satan Fall Like Lighting, By Authors Possessed, the books about demons piling up before her. I remember my discomfort and lame apologies about what appeared to be a sinful attraction to evil. This was a Christian university library, after all, and I had a stack of demonic literature rising to evil proportions at the checkout counter.

A similar discomfort confronts me now when I sign the author’s page of my book Giving the Devil His Due—its cover depicting a half-naked demon donning a red cape. Or when a radio personality invites me on his show in the hopes that I will denounce America’s absorption with that “demonic” holiday Halloween. Extended family members often confess their demonic encounters to me, trying to convince me that The Screwtape Letters is no mere caricature but the accurate epistolary adventures of an ancient monster.

Most discomfiting of all, I have stood before an audience of nonbelievers numbering in the hundreds and begged, “Please, for the love of all that is holy, do not listen to any little voice inside you; it may be the devil’s.” I can hear everyone thinking, What’s a nice girl like you doing reading and writing books like this? Instead of comfort, I have chosen to prize truth, in imitation of the two writers I admire most—Fyodor Dostoevsky and Flannery O’Connor. Both of them give the devil his due in order to save us from losing our souls.

The demonic has been a literary trope for centuries—think Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost, Mephistopheles from Faust, or somewhat recently I, Lucifer. So, when I began writing a book about Dostoevsky and O’Connor, I was not discovering something new by pointing to the devils in their work. No one who reads their stories will miss the demonic overlays. Rather, as I wrote about the two novelists, I began learning the identity or whereabouts of the demonic. Unlike Frank Peretti—whose demons lurk in shadows and wage war from outside of us—Dostoevsky and O’Connor depict the devil within us. O’Connor defines the novelist’s job as reflecting “our broken condition, and through it, the face of the devil we are possessed by.” If you read her stories, you will be shown a mirror that reflects a scandalous image—yourself as possessed.

Her stories, like Dostoevsky’s, describe the demonic as parasitic evil that detracts from our being, gaining energy and power by our complicity. For example, in her novel The Violent Bear It Away, the main character is a 14-year-old boy named Francis Marion Tarwater who rejects his destiny as a prophet of God. When he does, a stranger’s voice begins whispering within his mind. At first the voice irritates him, soon it sounds the same as his voice, then he sees the stranger’s eyes, and finally, the devil assaults him. Likewise, in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, readers witness Ivan Karamazov dialoguing with a devil in his apartment. Apparently, this is the little demon’s third visit. Over time, the devil has gained power in Ivan’s life.

The question should tug at us: How does this happen? How do we wittingly or unwittingly court evil until it claims authority over us?

The devil’s greatest wile is to convince us that he does not exist. When Tarwater’s demon first addresses the boy, he lies by saying, “[T]here ain’t no such thing as a devil. I can tell you that from my own self-experience. I know that for a fact. It ain’t Jesus or the devil. It’s Jesus or you.” In other words, the choice between Jesus and “you” is the one decision that we all have to make on a regular basis. But here’s what the devil doesn’t explain: The choice to follow one’s self actually enslaves a person to demonic whim.

I found similar truths while reading The Brothers Karamazov. The characters who succumbed to pride—and thus to the influence of the demonic—lived according to false narratives about their identity. One calls himself a buffoon. Another poses as an intellectual. Yet another is torn between being a romantic hero or a sensualist. The holy figure in the novel, Father Zosima, cautions these characters: “Above all, do not lie to yourself. A man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he does not discern any truth.”

When we believe that we are our own, we conform to a falsehood given to us by the “father of lies” (John 8:44). The more we believe in ourselves, the less capacity we have for discerning truth. As Paul reminds us, “You are not your own, but have been bought at a price.”

Now as ever, the devil’s lies hide as truth— in common mottos of our culture that sound appealing, inspiring, and desirable. We want to be in charge of ourselves, in control of our future, and able to make ourselves better. That sounds nice and good. But when “you do you,” as the saying goes, you become the supreme self. “If pushed too far, the quest for a ‘Supreme Self’ can blur into the most ancient human temptation,” writes Ross Douthat in Bad Religion, “the whisper in Eden that ‘ye shall be as gods.”

For believers, this struggle between good and evil, between God and Satan, comes down to our view of authority. We Protestants often cringe at this word in part because we recall abuses of power and authoritarian overreach. However, the word should also evoke the one who authored us into being. If we reject all authority in order to “think for ourselves” and “be our own guide” in the world, Dostoevsky and O’Connor (and I alongside them) suggest that we will unwittingly fall prey to demonic authority. But God is the ultimate authority.

When I wrote about “giving the devil his due,” I didn’t mean the horned figure with his bright hot poker. Rather, I wanted to partner with Dostoevsky and O’Connor to remind readers of the real devil, whose contagion of lies and violence draws on every human heart. This devil plagues each one of us. Through our media culture, in particular, he lies sweetly and constantly. Every children’s film seems to depict a hero staring at his or her image in a mirror or a pool of water and discovering that the secret to life is to believe in oneself or to trust oneself.

But “the heart is deceitful above all things,” Jeremiah warns us in Scripture (Jer. 17:9). The devil must be unmasked so that we can each see ourselves for who we are—as souls in need of a savior.






Jessica Hooten Wilson is an associate professor of humanities at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and the author of three books, Giving the Devil His Due: Demonic Authority in the Fiction of Flannery O’Connor and The Brothers Karamazov (which received CT’s 2018 book award in Culture and the Arts), Walker Percy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and the Search for Influence, and Reading Walker Percy’s Novels. She is currently preparing O’Connor’s unfinished novel for publication.





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Re: Christianity Today and Other Theological Topics
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2019, 12:00:56 pm »









The Five Heart Hopes: How God Speaks the Love Language of Our Souls





God speaks into the unique longings deep within each of us.

 
I was a newly married man when I first heard the phrase ‘The Five Love Languages.’

The concept put so much into perspective for me, both for myself and for my understanding of how to love my wife. I’m grateful that I encountered Dr. Gary Chapman’s simple little test that has helped me to see why I need ‘words of affirmation’ in order to feel loved. I understand that my words of affirmation to my wife, however, fall flat and that she doesn’t feel love from me in the same way I do.

My wife feels my love when I share ‘acts of service’ with her and my son through ‘quality time’ and my daughters through ‘gifts,’ (of course!). The point is that we all need love—we crave it—but we experience it deep in our souls through different ways. Dr. Chapman has helped the world understand this through a simple and powerful construct—the Five Love Languages!

I believe that there is an associated concept to the Five Love Languages that can be equally powerful when it comes to helping people experience God’s love. God, in fact, is fluent in our love language and is striving to make himself known to us in a way that is radically oriented around our deepest soul longing.

I believe that every single one of us has a love language and that God speaks it to us in a way that we can understand. In many ways, we cry out to God through our love language with what I call our ‘Heart Hope.’

A Heart Hope is a specific type of longing that is associated with our love language. It is the question behind the question, the drive that fuels our lives and, as you probably guessed, there are five of them!

I believe these Five Heart Hopes drive us and our spiritual journey over the course of our lives. As I describe the Five Heart Hopes, try to figure out what your own as you read the description (Hint: knowing your Love Language will be a helpful key. If you haven’t taken the free test, you can do so here).

I Am Seen: People who experience love through ‘words of affirmation’ are crying out to be seen. They want to know that what they do and who they are isn’t going unnoticed. Being seen is a powerful experience.

Think back to when you were a child learning to do something for the first time—perhaps bravely jumping off a diving board or doing your first cartwheel. The words are palpable, “Daddy, watch me!”

There is something deep within us that longs to be seen, to know that we are not invisible and that someone cares enough to see us. I believe people with the love language ‘words of affirmation’ are crying out to be noticed. As this is my primary love language, I can tell you with all assurance that my Heart Hope is to be noticed, to be loved by being seen and recognized.

I Matter: People who experience love through ‘acts of service’ are crying out to know that they matter. They want to know that they are having an impact and making a difference, regardless of whether they are ever known for it or seen doing it. This is very unlike people like me who need to be seen.

The Heart Hope ‘I Matter’ drives us to ask over and over questions like “What’s the point?” “What kind of legacy am I leaving?” “Am I having an impact?” There is something deep within us that strives to make a true difference and people with the love language ‘acts of service’ cry out to know that their lives and actions matter.

I Have Worth: People who experience love through ‘gifts’ are crying out to know that they have worth. Very frequently, they give gifts and long to receive gifts because it is in the giving and receiving where they feel their worth.

Gifts have a way of tangibly symbolizing a person’s value to the gift giver. A thoughtful, well-timed, and sincerely given gift causes our hearts to soar. It is in that moment a person who longs to be loved through gifts will tell you that he or she feels his or her worth. The Heart Hope ‘I have worth’ is so powerful that many will spend all they have to feel this euphoria again and again.

I Am Known: People who experience love through ‘quality time’ want to know and be known intimately. Unlike ‘words of affirmation’ people who want to be seen and known widely, ‘quality time’ people want to be known deeply.

They are crying out for deep, intimate connection; this is what quality time is all about. Being known is at the core of what it means to be created in the image of God and this Heart Hope burns within us and will never be fully met until we are with God in eternity. For now, however, our Heart Hope can be met through deep meaningful relationships with others and, most importantly, with Jesus.

I Belong: People who experience love through ‘physical touch’ want to know that they belong. Touch for these kinds of people is the vehicle through which they experience attachment, a sense of inner peace that comes from knowing that they are connected to others around them. The Heart Hope ‘I belong’ is a cry for deep and meaningful acceptance through embrace.

We feel this Heart Hope met when we collapse into our loved one’s arms after a long journey, wake up to the kiss or cradle of a spouse, or are clung to by our children. To be embraced is to know that we belong.

In some ways, all of us have all five of these Heart Hopes, but based on our love language type, we are usually driven by just one of these burning quests. At the very core of each and every commercial, sermon, self-help book, inspirational speech, or 12-step program is an attempt at answering the cry of one or more of these Heart Hopes. They are compelling on their own, but the great news is God speaks our Love Language and answers our Heart Hope.

We could take each of these Heart Hopes and demonstrate how Jesus, in fact, spoke the love language of his disciples as he called them, loved them, and gave his life for them.

Because I am a ‘words of affirmation’ person whose Heart Hope is to be seen, I’m particularly drawn to the calling of Nathanael. In John 1:47-49, Jesus answers Nathanael’s Heart Hope by seeing him and loving him through his words of affirmation:

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” (NIV, emphasis added)

What is your Heart Hope? What is the Heart Hope of those around you? Knowing a person’s Love Language can help us know their Heart Hope and connect the good news of Jesus to their story in such a way that is powerful and transformative!





R. York Moore is an author and serves as National Evangelist and National Director for Catalytic Partnerships for InterVarsity USA. York is a convener of leaders for evangelism and missions in America, and a founder of the Every Campus initiative.

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Re: Christianity Today and Other Theological Topics
« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2019, 02:59:16 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/august/efca-drops-premillennialism-evangelical-free-church-teds.html







EFCA Now Considers Premillennialism a Non-Essential



The denomination drops end times doctrine from its statement of faith in a move to “major on the majors” and “minor on the minors.”

 
The Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) changed its position on end times theology, voting this summer to drop the word “premillennial” from the denomination’s statement of faith.

Many of the 350,000 people who belong to EFCA churches still believe Jesus will return to earth to reign as king for 1,000 years, but the denomination no longer considers that doctrine essential to the gospel.

An internal document explaining the rationale for the change says premillennialism “is clearly a minority position among evangelical believers.” Premillennialism has been a “denominational distinctive” for the EFCA, according to the document, but shouldn’t be overemphasized.

“The thought was, we must either stop saying we are a denomination that majors on the majors … and minors on the minors, or we must stop requiring premillennialism as the one and only eschatological position,” said Greg Strand, EFCA executive director of theology, in an interview with Ed Stetzer.

The revised statement says, “We believe in the personal, bodily and glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Whether or not Jesus will set up a literal kingdom on earth for a millennium is left to individual discretion.

The EFCA has been considering the change for more than a decade. John Woodbridge, a professor of church history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), the ECFA-affiliated seminary in Deerfield Park, Illinois, spoke in favor of the shift back in 2008.

“People really saw high stakes in the move. One person of great stature told me that if you give up premillennialism, you will give up biblical inerrancy,” Woodbridge told CT. “For me, I never made that connection. John Calvin, Martin Luther, and others, certainly in the Reformed tradition, had a high view of Scripture, but they were never premillennial.”

The US church didn’t accept that argument in 2008, but the Canadian branch of the denomination did.

“It just happened to be easier for us,” said Bill Taylor, executive director of the Evangelical Free Church of Canada. “There’s a stronger dispensationalist history in the US than we have in Canada.”

Taylor said, looking back, the change was good for the Canadian evangelicals—and the darker predictions didn’t come true. “We’ve had no slippery slope to an allegorical approach to the Word,” he said. “There’s no pull toward liberalism, so there’s no negative impact in that way.”

When issue came up again in the EFCA leadership conference this year, a majority of US delegates were ready to vote to drop the word premillennial. The revision passed 79 percent to 21 percent.

Matthew Avery Sutton, a US historian at Washington State University and the author of American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism, was surprised by the timing.

“Emphasis on premillennialism waxes and wanes,” Sutton said. “There are moments of tremendous global chaos in which the church returns to premillennialism, and there are moments of more peace and stability, during which premillennialism takes a back seat. I am surprised that this is one of those moments in which the Evangelical Free Church of America is backing away from it. Things seem pretty chaotic to me, and the future looks pretty dark.”

The change was met with nonchalance at TEDS, where the faculty signed the revised EFCA statement of faith before the start of the school year.

“It’s not a huge topic,” said Graham Cole, the academic dean. “I’m not aware, of all my years here, of any big controversy over the issue.”

Dropping “premillennial” from the faith statement will mean one big change for Trinity, though.

“We’ll have a much larger pool from which to hire,” Cole said. “Our faculty have to hold to an inerrant Bible and the gospel of grace, but that eschatological barrier is removed.”





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Re: Christianity Today and Other Theological Topics
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2019, 09:07:10 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/january/christian-culture-three-ways-to-engage-with-your-neighbor.html




The Christian & Culture: Three Ways to Engage with Your Neighbor




The Great Commandment and the Golden Rule make us better listeners.


One of the things I enjoy doing is following politics and public discourse. I think it’s important for all of us to stay in the loop on what is happening in the world and in American life. More than that, however, I think it’s important to engage in these things. But it’s an understatement to say that much of what happens in public discourse is less than pretty. Unfortunately, this often includes Christians.

The last several U.S. Presidential elections have revealed the division in our culture. The amount of true discussion and debate over the issues of greatest importance has taken a back seat to well-crafted one-liners delivered at just the right time for maximum rhetorical impact. A lot of time is spent talking past each other instead of listening to each other.

But this goes beyond politics. I have seen an increasing entrenchment in our views and a vilification of people with other views. When this is the case, we are not going to work together. How do we dialogue for the common good and with the goal of solutions? I don’t hear a lot of people talking about that.

Sure, Evangelicals have many problems with where culture is going, and rightly so. But we aren’t getting far with the culture in our discourse with them. Why? I think the answer is engagement. In my book, Subversive Kingdom, I argue that we shouldn’t be about control. Rather, we should be seeking to live as agents of the kingdom who are showing and sharing the love of Christ to a world that’s hurting. But how do we get to that place of engagement?

Let me list three simple and biblical ways to wisely engage with our neighbors and our culture, regardless of how difficult an issue may be.

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
First, love your neighbor as yourself. As many of us have heard this preached or taught it ourselves, to love our neighbor is to see him or her as God does and to care for him or her as God would have us.

While we can, and should, describe love as more than feelings (which I’ll do below), I want to focus here on that feeling of love—to truly feel love for our neighbor. Love means we see people as creatures made in God’s image.

If you want to cultivate a heart that loves your neighbor, know your own heart better. Once we begin to seek to understand our own hearts, we will realize that we (not those with whom we are dialoguing) are the chief of sinners. Realizing this will break us, humble us, and open our eyes to see people as we’ve never seen them. That, in turn, will enable us to love them as we’ve never loved them. This leads to my next point.

Practice the Golden Rule
Second, love leads us to practice the Golden Rule: “Whatever you want others to do for you, do also the same for them” (Matt. 7:12). It’s unfortunate that one of the most practical and powerful teachings in scripture and from the lips of the Savior is often too quickly said and too rarely practiced. When love for neighbor is genuine and deeply felt, it changes not only what we feel for others, but also how we treat others.

The Bible includes many passages that illustrate what treating others as we want to be treated looks like. We are to consider others as more important and to look out for their interests (Phil. 2:3-4). We are to bear others’ burdens (Gal. 6:2). What if we looked at those with whom we disagree through the eyes called to bear burdens? What if we were more concerned for them than ourselves?

If we are honest, we want to be understood and be listened to. Unfortunately, too often we don’t remember that others may feel the same. They, too, are just looking for affirmation and a listening ear.

Without love, we are just clanging cymbals (1 Cor. 13:1) in the public sphere or in our coffee shop conversations. Love is the fuel for disagreeing without being disagreeable. Love elevates our dialogue and seeks the greatest good.

My goal when I critique someone else’s position is that he or she would say that I have articulated his or her position correctly even though we disagree on the position itself. Without love, people and arguments are demoted to caricatures.

Be Quick to Hear, Slow to Speak, and Slow to Anger
Finally, we need to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger (James 1:19). Following these words, James explains that our anger doesn’t accomplish God’s righteousness. This may be one of the best ways to explain what the Golden Rule looks like in an actual conversation.

As we engage with those who have different perspectives and opinions, we should focus on listening. Too often, we ‘engage’ by preparing our responses while others are still laying out their case. We can do better by listening well.

It not only makes us respond better, but it shows that we respect the person with whom we are dialoguing. We speak best when we know what someone says, what we are saying, and how we should say it. Good listening leads to good understanding, and good understanding leads to good and accurate responses.

Then, when the person responds, we refuse to get easily angered and offended. We keep focused on the discourse and not the attacks.

True Christian Discourse
Christian leaders must teach the values of civil public discourse. Before we expect it from others, we must model the path. This starts with obeying the Great Commandment to love your neighbor and following the Golden Rule. It makes us better listeners, wise as to when and how to use our words, and not easily offended or angered.

More than a good zinger or a clever quip to try to win an argument, we should desire real discourse for the good of the causes we believe in and for the good of the world that we care to convince.





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patrick jane

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Re: Christianity Today and Other Theological Topics
« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2019, 10:03:29 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/october/kirk-franklin-boycotts-tbn-dove-awards-cut-race-prayers-spe.html






Kirk Franklin Boycotts Dove Awards for Cutting His Prayers for Black Victims



This year’s broadcast wasn’t the first time TBN had edited the gospel artist’s acceptance speeches.


Prominent gospel musician Kirk Franklin says he will boycott the Christian music Dove Awards, citing frustrations with the Gospel Music Association (GMA) and Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) for editing his past acceptance speeches to remove mentions of race and police shootings.

Franklin made the announcement on Monday in a pair of videos posted to Twitter. Speaking directly into the camera, he explained that after winning a Dove Award—which is affiliated with the GMA—in 2016, he called for racial healing during his acceptance speech, noting the shooting of both police officers and black men in general.

“When we don’t say something, we’re saying something,” Franklin said during the speech, after which he received a standing ovation and led the assembly in prayer.

In his Twitter videos, Franklin said that when the speech later aired on TBN, that section of his speech was edited out of the broadcast.

“I made my disappointment and frustration known to the Dove Awards committee and to the Trinity Broadcasting Network,” he said. “I never heard from TBN, and the Dove Awards committee promised to rectify the mistake so that it wouldn’t happen again.”

Franklin won another Dove award in 2019, when he again made mention of police shootings during his acceptance speech—this time noting the death of 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson, who was shot by a white police officer in her own home in October, according to published reports.

During the awards ceremony held October 15—which marked the 50th anniversary of the Christian music awards—Franklin asked those in the audience and those watching to pray for both Jefferson’s family and the family of the police officer. Those remarks did not appear when the award show was broadcast on TBN a few days later.

“Again, that part of my speech was edited out,” he said.

Franklin said that after meeting representatives from the Dove Awards committee and TBN, he has decided to boycott the awards.

“I have made the decision after prayer, consultation with my team and my pastor Dr. Tony Evans, to not attend any events affiliated with or for the Dove Awards, Gospel Music Association, or TBN until tangible plans are put in place to protect and champion diversity, especially where people of color have contributed their gifts, talents, and finances to help build the viability of these institutions.”

Franklin stressed that his ultimate goal is reconciliation, but also accountability.

“Not only did they edit my speech, they edited the African American experience,” he said.

GMA President Jackie Patillo issued a statement in response, stating that “we had to significantly edit the Dove telecast to 2 hours” and that “many were disappointed because there were so many memorable moments and noteworthy portions of acceptance speeches absent.”

Patillo also apologized, saying the GMA “would like to publicly acknowledge that we are deeply apologetic for the missteps that happened relating to the editing of Kirk Franklin’s Dove Awards acceptance speech.”

She added: “We accept the responsibility of our error. Although completely unintentional, we understand it caused great harm and deeply wounded many in the African American and Gospel community.”

Patillo said TBN has made an unedited version of the ceremony available through Video On Demand and that GMA plans to announce new “initiatives” developed after meeting with Franklin and his team.






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Re: Christianity Today and Other Theological Topics
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2019, 07:43:36 pm »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/october/kirk-franklin-boycotts-tbn-dove-awards-cut-race-prayers-spe.html






Kirk Franklin Boycotts Dove Awards for Cutting His Prayers for Black Victims



This year’s broadcast wasn’t the first time TBN had edited the gospel artist’s acceptance speeches.


Prominent gospel musician Kirk Franklin says he will boycott the Christian music Dove Awards, citing frustrations with the Gospel Music Association (GMA) and Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) for editing his past acceptance speeches to remove mentions of race and police shootings.

Franklin made the announcement on Monday in a pair of videos posted to Twitter. Speaking directly into the camera, he explained that after winning a Dove Award—which is affiliated with the GMA—in 2016, he called for racial healing during his acceptance speech, noting the shooting of both police officers and black men in general.

“When we don’t say something, we’re saying something,” Franklin said during the speech, after which he received a standing ovation and led the assembly in prayer.

In his Twitter videos, Franklin said that when the speech later aired on TBN, that section of his speech was edited out of the broadcast.

“I made my disappointment and frustration known to the Dove Awards committee and to the Trinity Broadcasting Network,” he said. “I never heard from TBN, and the Dove Awards committee promised to rectify the mistake so that it wouldn’t happen again.”

Franklin won another Dove award in 2019, when he again made mention of police shootings during his acceptance speech—this time noting the death of 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson, who was shot by a white police officer in her own home in October, according to published reports.

During the awards ceremony held October 15—which marked the 50th anniversary of the Christian music awards—Franklin asked those in the audience and those watching to pray for both Jefferson’s family and the family of the police officer. Those remarks did not appear when the award show was broadcast on TBN a few days later.

“Again, that part of my speech was edited out,” he said.

Franklin said that after meeting representatives from the Dove Awards committee and TBN, he has decided to boycott the awards.

“I have made the decision after prayer, consultation with my team and my pastor Dr. Tony Evans, to not attend any events affiliated with or for the Dove Awards, Gospel Music Association, or TBN until tangible plans are put in place to protect and champion diversity, especially where people of color have contributed their gifts, talents, and finances to help build the viability of these institutions.”

Franklin stressed that his ultimate goal is reconciliation, but also accountability.

“Not only did they edit my speech, they edited the African American experience,” he said.

GMA President Jackie Patillo issued a statement in response, stating that “we had to significantly edit the Dove telecast to 2 hours” and that “many were disappointed because there were so many memorable moments and noteworthy portions of acceptance speeches absent.”

Patillo also apologized, saying the GMA “would like to publicly acknowledge that we are deeply apologetic for the missteps that happened relating to the editing of Kirk Franklin’s Dove Awards acceptance speech.”

She added: “We accept the responsibility of our error. Although completely unintentional, we understand it caused great harm and deeply wounded many in the African American and Gospel community.”

Patillo said TBN has made an unedited version of the ceremony available through Video On Demand and that GMA plans to announce new “initiatives” developed after meeting with Franklin and his team.






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Then maybe he should just be a gospel musician instead of a want-to-be activist....If he wants to talk about that, the Dove Awards is not the time for them. Use your speech some other time.

Blade
1 Cor 15:3-4.."For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Acts 17:11.."These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

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Re: Christianity Today and Other Theological Topics
« Reply #25 on: January 06, 2020, 05:22:44 am »

https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/july/what-does-it-really-mean-to-bear-much-fruit.html





What Does It Really Mean to Bear "Much Fruit"?




Jesus always seems to say things that hit straight at the heart and make you squirm.

For as long as I can remember, I had been extremely bothered by one of His affirmations: “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit…”

“Much fruit,” He says.

But does He explain what He means by fruit? Does He tell us what He even means by the puzzling conditional of “remaining” in Him? Does He tell us where to get the fruit?

Not so clearly. Yet He does expect not just “some fruit,” but “much fruit.”

A few verses later, in John 15:8, Jesus will go as far as saying that bearing “much fruit” will serve as a sign of a true disciple because the plentiful harvest will bring much glory to the Father.

A couple years ago I had been pastoring full time for almost a decade and my heart was beginning to feel a deep sense of anxiety. I was awakening to my lack of competency and my scattered focus. I was truly bothered by this lack of “much fruit.”

Don’t misunderstand me. For our small, mainly Mexican, immigrant congregation on Chicago’s west side, we had done well. We love our neighbors and God has granted us a thriving ministry with a truly influential presence in the life flow of our community.

Externally, our church has surfed a constant wave of growth. A couple of times in those ten years we had gone through the cycle of growing our attendance to the capacity of our building, leading us to plant congregations in other areas of Chicago’s southwest side. Over those ten years we’ve baptized an average of 30 people per year. On top of that, together with a couple of other partners, our church has begun to plant congregations in other parts of Latin America.

Yet down deep in my soul, I knew that we, and I as a pastor, were nowhere near Jesus’ “much fruit” expectation. And that bothered me...much!

A battle had been looming in my heart. After all, we are a church in America. When all things have been said and done, we are not so bad. Perhaps we could be considered, if not “a great booming church,” at least a “lively community” church or so. And hey, maybe I could ride that wave into speaking at conferences, or writing articles… all the while feeling okay about a mediocre harvest.

But what would that be? Is it not an empty shell, a childish game that we are constantly tempted to play! If the Lord of the harvest expects, desires, and promises “much fruit,” then that is what we must pursue. Shouldn’t we seek to give our Lord what He desires?

My heart ached and still does to give my glorious King “much fruit”—all the fruit He desires!

But how?

At the end of that first decade of ministry I found myself losing my compass. What American Christianity has taught me to aim for and what Jesus clearly desires seem to be two very different things. I no longer wanted to be content with a meager harvest.

I confess, my fire had gone out and I did not know what to do.

My frustration was met with God’s graciousness during a time when our citywide church was engaged in a period of prayer and fasting. God answered my angst, and it was just what I needed.

The answer came in the form of a trip to Nicaragua, where I would not speak or be known at all. All I would do is shut up, sit, and learn along many other Nicaraguan believers at a T4T training. I took in the same 16-hour training three times in one week in three different far off communities. Two eight-hour days for each training three times in a period of seven days. It was like being in a blender.

Most importantly, every day I sat down and learned fresh ways for loving the harvest next to many humble brothers and sisters, some who could hardly read or write, but who truly love the Lord of the harvest. They travelled far at great personal cost, and were willing to try anything suggested in the trainings.

Throughout those hours of training, it became clear that in order to love the harvest, three changes of heart would have to take root in me. I am now convinced that these attitudes are changing my view of the harvest to a love I had never known.

I found that, first, I had to repent from a harvest-less life. It all begins at a true self-evaluation.

Then, I had to humble myself, my Bible-university-seminary-trained-years-of-preaching self in order to learn the skills that, clearly, I did not know.

Finally, I would have to change my passions to loving the Lord of the harvest and His harvest above many competing loves and interests.

I still remember the moment while sitting at one of those trainings in a hot and unbearably humid day, at a little chapel under a tin roof, when the Holy Spirit came on me and pressed on my heart. It almost felt like a heart attack. I think He wanted me to envision what Jesus means by “much fruit.” But my low expectations had been so deeply rooted…

The contrast was so vivid that I began to weep and I asked to be excused.

I walked out alone on a little path along a very rural area. As I walked, I wept and repented before God for my lack of care for His harvest.

Eventually, I arrived at a place where the terrain was still marked by a river that had dried out many years before. On the other side, there were the biggest corn stalks I had ever seen. I sensed the Holy Spirit speaking into my soul, “On the other side of your dry river there is a mighty harvest like you have never seen before.”

So I crossed the river and admired those amazing stalks.

Further along, I found myself at a place where a volcano came into clear view. Again, I sensed the Holy Spirit speaking into my heart, “This volcano is sleeping, but if it were to awake, it would reach every community around it with its fire.”

I came back home a few days later. I am no longer frustrated. Today, I am much more focused. My heart has been ignited with a fire that many throughout our world share. Those are our brothers and sisters who will do anything to give our king “much fruit.”






Paco Amador pastors the New Life congregation in a Mexican immigrant neighborhood in Chicago. He enjoys running, dancing with his four daughters, wrestling with his three sons, and bike riding through the city. Pastor P and his wife, Sylvia, have been married for 20 years.
Hearing, believing and trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross; His death, burial and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and REPENTING, seals us with that Holy Spirit of Promise - EPHESIANS 1:10-14 KJV - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV - Ephesians 1:10-14 KJV - Romans 10:9-10 KJV - Romans 10:13 - Romans 10:17 - Ephesians 1:7 KJV - Colossians 1:14 KJV -


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