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Scandals, Politics and Faith – In Whom Do We Trust?

For Christians, selectively holding our political and prospective leaders to high moral standards reveals in us an unsettling lack of faith.

Scandals, Politics and Faith - In Whom Do We Trust?The past few months have been dominated by an endless parade of revelations about the sexual misconduct and predations of powerful men. From Hollywood to New York and from Minnesota to Alabama, and just about everywhere else in between, the depths to which fallen human nature can sink have been laid bare.

While these revelations are dismaying, they aren’t, or at least shouldn’t be, surprising. But what is both dismaying and surprising is the willingness of too many people to deny, excuse, overlook, and even dismiss wrongdoing when it’s committed by someone on “their team.”

Thus, one elected official, whose Christianity is well-attested, told the press that she was “troubled” by the accusation of sexual misconduct against her party’s candidate and that she “certainly had no reason to disbelieve” the candidate’s accusers. And yet she announced her intention to vote for that candidate because, in her words, “the United States Senate needs to have in my opinion, a majority of Republican votes to carry the day.”

It’s difficult to see what distinguishes this sort of reasoning from Gloria Steinem’s infamous defense of President Clinton two decades ago. Steinem urged feminists to defend Clinton because he was “vital” to “preserving reproductive freedom.”

Steinem concluded by writing “What if President Clinton lied under oath about [his sexual misconduct]?  . . . There seems to be sympathy for keeping private sexual behavior private.” To do otherwise, Steinem concluded, “will disqualify energy and talent the country needs.”

Now someone who disagreed with that kind of rationalizing back then and would, I’m confident, disagree now, was Chuck Colson.

At the height of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandals, he called the sympathy Steinem alluded to “completely wrong-headed.” He went on to say that “In a democracy, character and leadership are inseparable.”

He then told the story of how George Washington defused a potential mutiny by unpaid Continental Army veterans. Meeting with his officers and urging them to give Congress more time, Washington paused to put on his glasses, and said “Gentlemen, you must pardon me. I have grown gray in your service and now find myself going blind.” The soldiers began to weep. Mutiny was averted.

As Thomas Jefferson later wrote, “the moderation and virtue of a single [man] probably prevented this Revolution from being closed, as most others have been, by a subversion of that liberty it was intended to establish.”

As Chuck said, “What the Founders understood is that character is the first requirement of leadership,” because “a nation whose leaders do not lead through their own example of virtue and character cannot inspire sacrifice for the common good.”

One of the things I respect most about Chuck is that he did not apply these principles selectively. Those of us who knew him are aware of the pain that he felt when prominent Christian elected officials, some whom he regarded as sons, succumbed to temptation and saw their moral failings exposed in humiliating fashion.

Chuck stood by his friends but he never excused their actions. He told them that they needed to resign their office and get their lives in order. Character wasn’t a partisan issue for him.

Based on recent events, it’s reasonable to wonder if the same thing is true of us. Now let me be clear; due process is due to the accused.  However, too many are justifying the well-documented 180-degree turn Christians have done on the importance of character in public office by appealing to some overriding, political concern.

But if it was wrong 20 years ago, it’s wrong today. And it’s a terrible witness.

In the end, where do we place our trust? We do not have to sacrifice our principles or our witness on the altar of political expedience—precisely because of the ultimate Truth we believe in and live for: that Christ is risen, that He is Lord. And that He ultimately will restore all things. No election can ever change that.

Scandals, Politics and Faith: In Whom Do We Trust?

As John, and Chuck, have reiterated, the character of our elected officials matters, no matter what their political party. When our leaders demonstrate virtue and integrity in their personal as well as public lives, they provide an example for future generations.

Resources

Chuck Colson | BreakPoint.org | February 24, 1998

Albert Mohler | Bethany House Publishers | October 2014

Joseph Stowell | Zondervan Publishing | March 2017

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Faith Over Fear : Overcoming Anxiety with Rachel Swanson

Today on the podcast, I am so excited to have my friend, Rachel Swanson, with me. We’re chatting about overcoming anxiety and how understanding God’s character can help you to overcome it. As moms I know that it’s very common to struggle with fear. With all the bad things going on in the world, it’s too easy to let that fear creep in—I know it is for me. With shootings, hurricanes, and natural disasters going on, my first response after getting the tragic news is to put myself in their shoes and wonder what I would do to protect my kids in those situations. Then I worry and worry! Sometimes there is no good answer, but that’s usually when the fear kicks in. The reality is that I know I have to trust God and really put my trust in Him. So, that’s what the heart of our talk about is today — you’re going to love it!

Rachel’s new book is unique. It is a devotional coloring book called Big and Little Coloring Devotional. It’s really cool. My girls and I have really been enjoying it. Each page has a little devotional — one for mom (or dad) and one for your child. My only dilemma is that I’m trying to color with BOTH my girls.

 I cannot wait for you to hear this episode!

On a “Simply” & “Joyful” side note…

I’m so excited for you to listen to this episode and hear how God restored joy to Rachel’s life after a really hard season! (CLICK TO TWEET)

Get ready for a great interview — get a copy of Big and Littles Coloring Devotional HERE and get your own Simply Joyful Podcast mug HERE!

Highlights from This Show…

  • Rachel shares a bit about the season of having three babies in diapers (they are now 5 and 3 1/2—19 months apart!) and the “funness” of being sleep deprived.
  • Rachel shares about her “bold butterfly approach” mentioned in her bio and why the butterfly is so important to her.Faith Over Fear: Overcoming Anxiety

This is the person God has designed me to be. —Rachel Swanson

He did not design the butterfly to live a caterpillar life. — Kristi Clover

  • I asked Rachel to tell her God story, and how God painted love and joy back into her life.

My relationship with God was “God-in-a-box”. —Rachel Swanson

  • Rachel shares about her stress and anxiety.

Stress and anxiety is my thorn in my flesh that I have to give to God daily. —Rachel Swanson (CLICK TO TWEET)

When we feel like something is off, that is when we need someone from the outside to help us see our blindspots. —Rachel Swanson

  • Rachel digs a little deeper into her study of Psalms, and how the character of God helped her get through her anxiety.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

  • Rachel reminds us of four truths to remember when going through stress and anxietyFaith Over Fear: Overcoming Anxiety

God is in control. —Rachel Swanson

Life is a slow cooker. Not an instant pot. —Kristi Clover

Coloring as a stress-reliever! Rachel shares about her new coloring book and the God-story of how it came to be. (CLICK TO TWEET)

Be sure to check out Jacy Corral on Instagram as well! She is the amazing illustrator behind Big and Little Coloring Devotional.

Are you struggling with stress and anxiety in your life? Please know that you are not alone! Here are some great resources to get help with Stress and Anxiety:

Focus on the Family
New Life Ministries

Please Note…

  • Be sure to grab your FREE copy of my bookSanity Savers for Moms, by joining our Simply Joyful community. It’s a great way to keep in touch…and get subscriber only freebies like my book. Click HERE to get the book and join!

Connect with Rachel Swanson…

Rachel Swanson is a dental hygienist turned author, speaker, and accredited christian life coach helping women discover their unique purpose and pursue their dreams. She inspires others by sharing personal real life refining moments with relatable truths on her blog, social media pages, in-person speaking events, and through her high-level online coaching program.

Rachel is married to her husband Jeff of 10 years. They have three children: identical twin boys (Gavin and Rylan) and 19 months later a baby girl (Aria). They reside in a wannabe country town in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California.

You can check out Rachel’s books HERE on Amazon! Be sure to visit her site as well at www.RachelCSwanson.com.

Thank you, Rend Collective for allowing me to use your incredible song “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength”!

(This podcast is by Kristi Clover. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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White Horse Inn: The Radical Reformation

On this program, the hosts continue their discussion which began last week on the influence of the Radical Reformation. How did the theology of the Anabaptist and Pietist movements end up influencing so many forms of Protestantism, both here in America and around the world? And more specifically, how did these views shape the founders of the Enlightenment and help create what we know today as Protestant Liberalism? Join us on this edition of White Horse Inn.

Christianity & LiberalismHost Quote:

“We are continuing our discussion of the impact of the other reformation we hardly ever talk about, the Radical Reformation, on liberal Protestantism. Radicalism didn’t come from the Reformation. It’s often called the ‘leftwing reformation’ but it actually came from the late Middle Ages. A movement that came to be known as radical Anabaptism was millennial and utopian, expecting a radical age of the Spirit that would wash away all history and tradition and all external authority.

“This radical impulse has been part of Protestantism down to the present day. And if you look at Protestant Liberalism today, it looks very similar to this radical Anabaptist movement, as do many evangelical movements. And so, in a really profound way, even though evangelicals and liberals are at each other’s throats, they are more engaged in a sibling rivalry than they are successors of Luther and Calvin. In this program, we want to look at the ongoing influence of this radical element in Protestantism that is totally different from the 16th century Reformation led by Martin Luther and other reformers.” – Michael Horton

Term to Learn:

“Liberalism”

In the sphere of religion, in particular, the present time is a time of conflict; the great redemptive religion which has always been known as Christianity is battling against a totally diverse type of religious belief, which is only the more destructive of the Christian faith because it makes use of traditional Christian terminology. This modern non-redemptive religion is called “liberalism.”

This movement is so various in its manifestations that one may almost despair of finding any common name which will apply to all its forms. But manifold as are the forms in which the movement appears, the root of the movement is one; the many varieties of modern liberal religion are rooted in naturalism—that is, in the denial of any entrance of the creative power of God (as distinguished from the ordinary course of nature) in connection with the origin of Christianity. (Adapted from J. Gresham Machen, Christianity & Liberalism)

(This podcast is by White Horse Inn. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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What Does the Bible Say About Social Justice?

From a sermon by Dr. Voddie Baucham:

“If the social justice movement went by its actual name, young Christians would not have been lured into it. Because the social justice movement is actually Cultural Marxism. There’s no such thing as ‘social justice,’ people. In fact, in the Bible, justice never has an adjective. There’s justice and there’s injustice, but there’s not different kinds of justice.”

The term “social justice” is an argument for the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges in a society. Sometimes that argument turns loud and violent, though many have good intentions when they speak of “social justice,” a desire for the common good. But who gets to decide what the common good is, and who carries it out?

God is the one who defines what is just and what is unjust.

“The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He.” (Deuteronomy 32:4).

Our works are not good.

Why is there in injustice in the world? Because it’s full of unjust people.

All have turned aside; together they’ve become worthless. No one does good. Not even one (Romans 3:12).

So what has a just God told us to do?

He said to preach the gospel to all nations, baptize, and teach them (Matthew 28:19-20).

That is the mission of His church.

Those who have been changed by His Spirit will do good works — the works God defines as good.

Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24)

But works are not the Gospel. You cannot change the world.

Only God changes hearts, which He does through the gospel.

I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put in you. (Ezekiel 36:26)

“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24).

That is the message of justice we should announce, so that all who hear it might be forgiven their sins and will not fall under the righteous judgment of God. He is both “just and the Justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

…when we understand the text 

(This video is by WWUTT. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central.)

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Am I Wrong to Prepare for a Nuclear Doomsday?

Saber-rattling between international leaders is a military tactic probably as old as saber swords themselves. But when those sabers are nuclear warheads, the threats come with a very sharp edge to them. Over the past several months, our president here in the States and the leader of North Korea have exchanged threats via state media, mass media, and social media. North Korea has been testing nuclear bombs and perfecting its long-range missile program. In response, our president has said the following about future threats: “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” In a speech, he went so far as to say, “The United States has great strength and patience. But if it’s forced to defend itself or allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

Those are strong words, and they are backed with movement. As we speak, the U.S. has three aircraft carrier strike groups in the western Pacific, a significant military buildup meant to get North Korea’s attention. With international tensions high, we get this question from Amber in Virginia. “Hello, Pastor John. I love your podcast and your overall ministry has deeply impacted me. North Korea has been in the news a lot lately. With threats of a nuclear attack, Christians around me are starting to fear. I know so many Christians who talk of stocking food, water, and supplies — even a few considering buying and installing an underground bomb shelter in the event of such attack. When it comes to this new cold-war era (new to a lot of us), how should Christians plan wisely?”

Well, I need to make a confession right off the bat here. Eighteen years ago, as Y2K approached — does anybody even remember that? — there was all this hysteria about how the computers would not know how to handle the switch from the 1900s to the 2000s.

People thought there would be major infrastructure breakdowns and the electricity and water would go off. They thought everybody would be forced off the grid and there would be rioting in the streets and no food available for weeks. As I watched this hysteria work its way into the church, I frankly was disgusted. I’m sorry. This is a confession. I watched Christians justify their own fear and self-protection by saying they would use their generator and their extra food for ministry purposes. Really? I wonder if the watching world saw it that way. Well, I didn’t see it that way.

To me, that very bent towards self-preservation and hoarding was a bad ministry in itself. It all made me angry, and I preached that this was not the mindset of the church in the New Testament. When I say, “Let me confess this,” I do mean that there probably was sin on my part in some of what I felt about the preppers during Y2K.

But I still feel most of what I felt, so I may have to confess again — may God help me. So, if you’re one of those folks, you’re just not going to get a lot of sympathy from me. I’ll try to explain why in the next few minutes, so here we go. I’ve got five reasons why.

Bomb Shelters

First, danger and risk are normal for the Christian life, not exceptional. The dominant New Testament approach to this fact is not self-protection, but self-sacrifice — the sacrifices of love. That’s the flavor. That’s the tone that we should see and experience.

For example, Paul describes his life like this:

Countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. (2 Corinthians 11:23–27)

Jesus had promised that’s the way it would be:

“You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives” (Luke 21:16–19).

Now how in the world did Paul press on? What was his bomb shelter? He said,

At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. (2 Timothy 4:16–18)

So you can see what he means there: “Evil deeds will not destroy my faith. I may die, but I’ll make it to the heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever.”

Our True Shelter

Second, major efforts at self-preservation are inevitably going to obscure to the world the basic message of Jesus — namely, Matthew 16:24–25:

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Third, if you are known as a person who devotes lots of money and effort and focus on creating a refuge, it is going to make the psalms sound hollow in your mouth.

You are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. (Psalms 31:3–4)

For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. (Psalms 61:3)

On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. (Psalms 62:7–8)

Here is the text of the five missionaries who went to the Huaorani tribe in 1956 and were all killed by the spears:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. (Psalm 91:1–6)

Stay, Don’t Flee

Fourth, it is allowed in Scripture, when danger comes, to flee or to stand and suffer. John Bunyan, who spent twelve years in prison for standing firm, wrote to defend both possible paths of obedience as biblical — both to flee or to stand.

I just don’t think Americans need more encouragement to flee. So when it comes to what I want to emphasize (what I’m doing right now), I preach stay. Pastorally and prophetically, flee is just not the need of the hour. I don’t think we need to encourage Americans, saying, “Oh, you really should stop being so risky. You really should stop suffering so much. You really should stop so much self-sacrifice. Let’s all be more self-protective in our bunkers.” I think pastorally and prophetically the need is almost entirely in the other direction.

And finally, fifth, it misrepresents the value of Christ and heaven to give the impression that death is the worst thing that could happen. If we are really doing all our self-preservation out of love, what about the people who are going to die eternally for lack of the gospel? Are we taking the same steps as seriously to preserve them for eternity? Bottom line: How can we make Christ look like he really is — the supreme treasure of our lives? How can we say to the world Psalm 63:3, “The steadfast love of the Lord is better than life”?

Find other recent and popular Ask Pastor John episodes here.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including A Peculiar Glory.

(By Desiring God. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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Jimmy lived most of life questioning why his dad left him at such a young age. But he was convicted and compelled by the gospel to love and pursue his estranged father in an effort to extend forgiveness and reconciliation.

A Father’s Love

My parents went to church, and my grandpa was the pastor of our church back home. During one of the mid-week services, my grandpa was up preaching and he asked the congregation, “If you died tonight, where would you lift your eyes up?”

And I started asking myself that same question. God started showing me how much of a sinner I actually was. He showed me, in a small way, my own depravity and my need for Him. I remember crying out to Him, “God, I want you to save me!”

Right then and there, He called me by name and He saved my soul.

After that, a really sweet thing took place (I call it sweet now, but it didn’t seem sweet at the time)…

A couple days later was a Sunday. My mom, my sister and my grandmother decided to go to the mall. Then, at the last second, I decided not to go with them. They came back later, and I remember looking out and seeing my mom crying in the back seat of the car. Then, I saw my grandma crying, and my sister crying.

My grandma walked up to me and told me that they had all caught my dad cheating on my mom with another woman at the mall.

I remember being so angry at that moment that I wanted to punch a hole through the light post that was standing next to me.

But then, in that same moment, I was reminded by the Holy Spirit that I’m different. I’m changed. I’m saved. And I actually need to forgive my dad.

But that just wrecked me! At the same time, I was so angry at my dad! I didn’t want to forgive him. He hurt my mom!

Still, at that moment, I realized that I needed to forgive him.

A little while later, he came back to the house. My mom and dad were arguing – screaming pretty loud. The only thing I could think to do was to pray.

I really wanted my dad to leave. I just didn’t want them to argue any more about this situation.

I mean… I was just in the sixth grade!

So, I ran to my bed and prayed. I asked God to just make him leave. Then I heard my doorknob turn and my bedroom door crack open. I heard my dad’s footsteps come through my door. The only thing I could think to do was to scream, “Daddy!”

He looked at me and the only thing I could say was, “Daddy, I love you.”

I said those words, and my own flesh and blood—my dad— looked me right square in the eyes, and just turned and walked out the house. He didn’t say a word.

That just broke my heart. I began to weep.

But, then God reminded me that I didn’t need my dad’s love.

I am loved by my Heavenly Father!

And that was all I needed.

All the way through high school, I continued to pray for my dad. When I got to college, I just stopped caring. In fact, I stopped praying about it.

I met a young man, who was in choir with me, and he asked me about my testimony. After I finished telling him my story, he asked me, “When was the last time you prayed for your dad? Actually, when was the last time you prayed for y’all’s relationship?”

I just sat back and said, “It’s been a long time.”

So, I went back to my dorm and said, “OK, Lord… I want to start praying for my and my dad’s relationship. I know it’s not good right now, and I want it to change. I want to know my dad more.”

After that, I began to call my dad. I’d call him almost every day. Many times, he didn’t answer the phone. And many times, he didn’t call me back. And there were many times when he would talk with me. And at the end of the call, I would say, “Alright Daddy… I love you.” And he wouldn’t say a thing. He’d just hang up the phone.

This happened for many years. But, I continued to pray for him and pursue him. I just kept running after him.

I actually wrote a couple songs about how I felt during that time, and how my mom felt, too. And, at one point, I actually sang one of the songs to him. I could hear my dad crying on the other end. I could feel the hurt within him. He began to repent to me. He said, “Son, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all the things that I’ve done.”A Father’s Love

When we were saying goodbye, I said, “Daddy, I love you.”

And he actually said, “I love you”, back to me.

It touched my heart so much to hear those words.

And after that night, he actually started calling me! He was calling me even more often than I was calling him. He even would tell me he loved me without me saying it at all.

I look at all this, and I can clearly see how God has reconciled our relationship, and I see the Gospel in that.

I can see, through this story, how Christ has continually pursued me.

Oddly enough, I’m glad that all this stuff happened. Because, if this hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t be the man who I am today. I would not know Jesus as well as I know Him if my dad had not done the things that he did. The times when my dad wasn’t there, I learned that my Heavenly Father was always there. He would always provide when my dad wouldn’t provide for me. When I needed somebody to tell me that he loved me, my Heavenly Father would show me how much He loved me in so many different ways!

At one point, I called my dad and said, “Daddy, I don’t want you to say a word. I’ve just got some things that I need to tell you. God has used you in a great way – to push me to want to know Him more. And, I’m closer to God because of you.”

The next day, my dad called me, and said, “Okay… it’s my turn. Let me tell you something, and I don’t want you to say a word…”

And he went on to say things that I had never heard him say before. He told me how proud he was of me. He told me how I pushed him closer to God.

I see now how God has used me to display, in a way, a part of the Gospel in my dad’s life.

Reconciliation.

I’m thankful that God has reconciled our relationship. And to this day, me and my dad are really close. I look forward to the day when he calls me to tell me that he is saved, and I’m not going to stop praying for that!

I want God to call him by name.

The Austin Stone Story Team is a community of artists who tell stories of gospel transformation. We are photographers, writers, editors, filmmakers, and musicians on a common mission to use our gifts for His glory.

(By The Austin Stone Story Team. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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There are too many myths being propagated about the Supreme Court case involving Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop. It’s time to set the record straight.

On December 5, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Masterpiece Cake Shop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission—which could be one of the most significant cases in our nation’s history involving freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

The Case of Masterpiece CakeshopIf your only source of information were mainstream media outlets, you’ve probably heard the case described along these lines: hiding behind a specious claim to religious freedom, anti-gay baker Jack Phillips refused to serve a same-sex couple in his store. The couple reported this hateful discrimination to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which rightly fined Phillips.

There’s only one problem with this description of what happened. It’s hogwash.

Here’s what you need to know about Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop—what you need to know and tell your friends, family, and co-workers when the topic comes up.

First, Jack is a cake artist, something that’s become more famous since reality television shows like “Cake Wars.” He doesn’t just bake cakes; he custom designs master cakes. However, from the beginning Jack has seen his business as an expression of his faith (hence the name), and that has led him to reject business throughout his career. For example, he’s refused to make custom cakes for Halloween and divorce celebrations, and he’s turned down requests for lewd cakes for bachelor and bachelorette parties.

Back in 2012, two men asked Jack to design a cake for their same-sex wedding. Now mind you, back in 2012, the state of Colorado didn’t even recognize same-sex weddings. Jack told them that he would gladly sell them any item in the store—including cakes—but that he could not, due to his religious convictions, use his cake-design talents to participate in the celebration of their ceremony.

The couple left fuming. Vile phone calls started pouring in—even death threats. The Colorado Civil Rights Commission not only fined Jack, but ordered that if he made custom wedding cakes for heterosexual couples, he also had to do it for same-sex couples. Then the Commission—behaving like some communist dictatorship might—ordered Jack and his employees to go through a “re-education” program and provide quarterly compliance reports.

Obviously Jack appealed, and his case has made it to the Supreme Court. Jack has stopped selling wedding cakes, and has lost 40 percent of his business, and has had to lay off employees.

Now those are the facts. You can find them at ADFLegal.org—the website of the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing Jack.

Nonetheless, the media, the LGBTQ lobby, the ACLU, and even members of Congress continue to misrepresent the case and smear Jack Phillips.

At a recent press briefing, Maryland Congressman Stenny Hoyer told the cameras,

“We’re better than exclusion, we’re better than hate, we’re better than prejudice. We respect each and every one of our fellow citizens.”

Well, each and every citizen except, I suppose, Jack Phillips.

The liberal website ThinkProgress (which by the way calls the Alliance Defending Freedom an “anti-LGBTQ hate group”) wrote that Phillips refused to sell the gay couple “any product.”

That’s simply not true. He offered them anything in the shop that was already made.

I could go on and on with the misrepresentations—and the omissions. But the facts are Jack was not singling out gay customers. He simply refuses to use his artistic talent in a way that would violate his core convictions.

Today on the BreakPoint podcast, you can hear Jack’s attorney Kristen Waggoner and the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson describe the details and significance of this case, and how you can support Jack Phillips. Come to BreakPoint.org to find out more.

Visit Breakpoint.org to get further information about the many great books and other resources available there and you can link up to our social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

 

Resources

The freedom to make decisions based upon our faith is being challenged

  • Alliance Defending Freedom | Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission

Gay couple to anti-gay baker: This is how nondiscrimination laws are supposed to work

  • Zack Ford | thinkprogress.org | October 25, 2017

Hoyer Remarks at a Press Conference Announcing Amicus Brief in Landmark LGBT Equal Rights Case

  • Press Release | Steny Hoyer | November 1, 2017

By Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.

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Discovering God’s Grace through the Seasons

This episode is going to be so fun! Today on the episode we have Ruth Simons—the woman behind Gracelaced. She has a very large Instagram following and is best known for her artwork. I have been so blessed going through her new book Gracelaced: Discovering Timeless Truths Through Seasons of the Heart. When I first got it, I really didn’t want to use it because it was so stunning. But when I started going through the devotional, I was blown away. Not only is she an amazing artist, she’s a spectacular writer! What makes this devotional so special is the gorgeous artwork on the pages. There really is something about beauty that is so inspiring — and makes you want to get into the Word.

Discovering God's Grace through the SeasonsIf you are not familiar with Gracelaced or Ruth, she is an artist, writer, entrepreneur, and speaker. As the creator of the popular GraceLaced online shop, blog, and Instagram community, she shares scriptural truths daily through her hand-painted artwork and words. Ruth and her husband, Troy, live in New Mexico and are grateful parents to six sons—their greatest adventure.

If you are a fan of Gracelaced, you are going to go wild about this episode! We chat a lot about behind the scenes of Gracelaced, how she got started, and what God did that brought around this ministry and business.

Get ready for a really encouraging interview with Ruth Simons!

 I cannot wait for you to hear this episode!

On a “Simply” & “Joyful” side note…

Ruth says schedule nothing. Make time on your schedule where there is nothing planned—I promise that it will be filled with the right things.

Get ready for a great interview — get a copy of Gracelaced HERE and get your own Simply Joyful Podcast mug HERE!

Highlights from This Show…

  • Gracelaced started off as a blog when Ruth was trying to figure out how the gospel correlated with her day-to-day life.

I mentioned the Steadfast Love art work that I purchased from Ruth’s shop. You can order your copy here.

God’s faithfulness in the seen and unseen in our lives really play a part of where I am today. —Ruth Simons

We’re in the business of directing hearts to Christ. —Ruth Simons (CLICK TO TWEET)

We need to have His words at a glance—in our homes, in our work place. —Kristi Clover

  • Ruth shares a little bit about how she started pursuing selling her art, and continues sharing what inspires her artwork.

I’m inspired by the beauty of God’s creation. —Ruth Simons

God is at work in the sunset as well as the tiniest bloom. —Ruth Simons

  • Ruth explains a little bit about how Gracelaced (the book) is set up, and why she chose to set it up by seasons.

To stand firm, to obey, to walk in faith, all comes from right believing. —Ruth Simons

It all starts with the character of God. —Ruth Simons

  • I ask Ruth to share some tips for parents going through a weary season.

It’s not a project with a completion date. —Ruth Simons (CLICK TO TWEET)

#MotherhoodIsSanctifying hashtag  came from me thinking I am blessed in this very circumstance.
—Ruth Simons

God’s not done with our kids, but God’s not done with us either. —Kristi Clover

How are they [your kids] going to see the gospel right now. —Ruth Simons

  • Ruth shares about all the many art elements that went into creatingGracelaced book — there was TONS!

I basically did two books. I wrote the book then I painted the book. —Ruth Simons

Please Note…

  • Be sure to grab your FREE copy of my bookSanity Savers for Moms, by joining our Simply Joyful community. It’s a great way to keep in touch…and get subscriber only freebies like my book. Click HERE to get the book and join!

Connect with Ruth Simons…

Ruth Chou Simons is an artist, writer, entrepreneur, and speaker who shares her journey of how God’s grace intersects daily life through word and brush at GraceLaced.com – the popular blog, online shoppe, and Instagram community that welcomes thousands daily.

Ruth is an unlikely mom to six young boys and wife to Troy, with whom she leads GraceLaced’s small but mighty team. When not painting, writing, and casting vision for GraceLaced.com, Ruth is usually busy eating chips and salsa, sorting laundry, cooking for large crowds, not finishing her sentences, and discovering off-beaten paths in the wild with her guys. She is a devotee of pho, a recovering perfectionist, a converted four-wheeling enthusiast, and a believer in waiting upon her Redeemer through every season.

You can check out Ruth’s books HERE on Amazon! Be sure to visit her site as well at www.Gracelaced.com.

Thank you, Rend Collective for allowing me to use your incredible song “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength”!

(This podcast is by Kristi Clover. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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The Radical Reformation

According to a recent Pew study, 53% of American Protestants couldn’t identify Martin Luther as the one who started the Reformation, and fewer than 30% of white Evangelicals were unable to identify Protestantism as the faith which embraces the doctrine of justification by faith alone.

On this program, the hosts will attempt to show that contemporary Christians, whether liberal or conservative, have more in common with the theology of the Anabaptist reformers than they do with the views of Luther and Calvin expressed in the great Reformation solas. Join us as we continue to think about the Reformation on this edition of White Horse Inn.

Host Quote:

“Much of the hoopla surrounding the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this year has been, well, let’s just say, blather.  At a joint service in Lund, Sweden, on October 31st, 2016, Pope Francis and the president of the World Lutheran Federation exchanged warm feelings. Reverend Martin Junge, general secretary of the mainline Lutheran body said in a press release from the joint service, ‘I’m carried by the profound conviction that by working towards reconciliation between Lutherans and Catholics, we’re working towards justice, peace and reconciliation in a world torn by conflict and violence.’  Clearly, the focus wasn’t on truth.

“Acknowledging Luther’s positive contributions, the Pope spoke of how important Christian unity is to bring healing and reconciliation to a world divided by violence.  But he added, ‘We have no intention of correcting what took place, but to tell that history differently.’ Perhaps the most evident example of missing the point is the statement by Swiss Pastor and President of an ecumenical church convention in Berlin last year, Christina Aus der Au.  She said, ‘Reformation means courageously seeking what is new and turning away from old familiar customs.’ That’s what the reformation was all about, why average lay people and archbishops gave their bodies to be burned and the western church was divided – a lot people just got really tired of the same old thing.

“The Wall Street Journal reports a Pew study showing that 53 percent of U.S. Protestants couldn’t identify Martin Luther as the one who started the Reformation.  Oddly, Jews, atheists and Mormons were more familiar with Luther than Protestants. In fact, fewer than three in ten white evangelicals correctly identify Protestantism as the faith that believes in the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Three in ten. Many today who claim the Reformation as their heritage are more likely heirs of the radical Anabaptists.  It might sound crazy, but here is my thesis. The Reformation isn’t over because it hasn’t begun in America. Protestantism is definitely over and the radicals won.” – Michael Horton

Term to Learn:

“Inner Light”

The “Inner Light,” also called “Inward Light,” is often thought to be a distinctive theme of the Society of Friends (Quakers). This Inner Light is understood to be a direct awareness of God that allows a person to know God’s will for him or her. This expression is often attributed to the teachings of George Fox in the 17th century, founder of the Society of Friends, who had failed to find spiritual truth in the English churches. He experienced an inner light and voice within, “that of God in every man.” The Inner Light should not simply be a mystical experience, but should also result in a person’s working for the good of others.

The practice of Inner Light is believed to be the direct path of ascension towards the divine nature within man. The theme of Inner Light appears in various spiritual traditions as well as in the main religions of the world. Buddhism believes that the one experiences the highest nature of the mind, reaches enlightenment and liberation from the Wheel of Samsara (i.e. bodily existence).

The Society of Friends was influenced by a pivotal figure, Jakob Böhme (1575-1624), a German mystic who was raised in Lutheranism. Böhme had considerable influence on Pietism and various mystical sects including Rosicrucianism and theosophy. Böhme sought a melding of various alchemical and Kabbalistic traditions that focused on the inner path to God, which finds parallels with the ancient heresy known as Gnosticism.  Böhme was also an important source for German Romantic philosophy, influencing F.W. Schelling. Böhme is also an important influence on the ideas of the English Romantic poet, artist, and mystic William Blake. The German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was profoundly influenced by him as well. The tradition of the Inner Light reaches back into ancient mystical philosophies which have come to profoundly shape modern thinking. (Adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica, s.v. “Inner Light;” “Jakob Böhme”)

(This podcast is by White Horse Inn. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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Is the Protestant Reformation Over?

In 1999, the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation, in an effort to resolve 500 years of conflict since the Protestant Reformation, signed a joint declaration on the Doctrine of Justification.

(I’m really not trying to spit rhymes here.)

The statement claimed that the two bodies are now able to articulate a common understanding of our justification, by God’s grace through faith in Christ.

“The present Joint Declaration has this intention: namely, to show that on the basis of their dialogue, the subscribing Lutheran churches and the Roman Catholic Church are now able to articulate a common understanding of our justification by god’s grace through faith in Christ.” (Preamble, Paragraph 5)

A Methodist council later adopted the declaration in 2006; and a communion of Reformed churches adopted it in 2017.

Many have pointed to this and other ecumenical partnerships and said, “See… the Protestant Reformation is over!”

But is it, really?

Do those churches now submit to the primacy of the Pope?

No. We’re still supposed to be protesting.

The Catholic Church has not changed its position on justification, or “how a person is declared innocent or made guiltless before a holy and righteous God”. They’ve said that if a person believes in justification by faith alone, they are cursed to hell. If a person rejects the Pope’s teaching, they’re cursed. If they’ve not been baptized or attend a Catholic Church, they’re cursed.

  • “If any one shall say, that by faith alone the impious is justified… let him be anathema.” (Council of Trent, Session 6, Chapter 16, Canon 9)

  • “Should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of [the Pope’s infallibility], let him be anathema.” (First Vatican Council, Session 4, Chapter 4)

  • “Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation.” (Catholic Catechism 846)

  • “Baptism is necessary for salvation.” (Catholic Catechism 1257)

The Catholic Church says a person is saved by a combination of faith and works. But, the Bible says that a person is saved by grace through faith, and not of works.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Roman Catholicism is a different gospel. The Bible says if anyone teaches a different gospel, they are cursed.

But, even if we, or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9)

We are not fellow workers on the mission field. They are the mission field.

Now, being Protestant doesn’t just mean we protest the Pope. We protest any teaching contrary to the wisdom of God in the Bible.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 assures us:

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God…

…when we understand the text.

(This video is by WWUTT. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central.)

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