Feeds:
Posts
Comments

from Got Questions

Are you hungry? Not physically hungry, but do you have a hunger for something more in life? Is there something deep inside of you that never seems to be satisfied? If so, Jesus is the way! Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35).

Are you confused? Can you never seem to find a path or purpose in life? Does it seem like someone has turned out the lights and you cannot find the switch? If so, Jesus is the way of salvation! Jesus proclaimed, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Do you ever feel like you are locked out of life? Have you tried so many doors, only to find that what is behind them is empty and meaningless? Are you looking for an entrance into a fulfilling life? If so, Jesus is the way of salvation! Jesus declared, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).

Do other people always let you down? Have your relationships been shallow and empty? Does it seem like everyone is trying to take advantage of you? If so, Jesus is the way! Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:11, 14).

Do you wonder what happens after this life? Are you tired of living your life for things that only rot or rust? Do you sometimes doubt whether life has any meaning? Do you want to live after you die? If so, Jesus is the way of salvation! Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26).

What is the way? What is the truth? What is the life? Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

The hunger that you feel is a spiritual hunger, and can only be filled by Jesus. Jesus is the only one who can lift the darkness. Jesus is the door to a satisfying life. Jesus is the friend and shepherd that you have been looking for. Jesus is the life—in this world and the next. Jesus is the way of salvation!

The reason you feel hungry, the reason you seem to be lost in darkness, the reason you cannot find meaning in life, is that you are separated from God. The Bible tells us that we have all sinned, and are therefore separated from God (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23). The void you feel in your heart is God missing from your life. We were created to have a relationship with God. Because of our sin, we are separated from that relationship. Even worse, our sin will cause us to be separated from God for all of eternity, in this life and the next (Romans 6:23; John 3:36).

How can this problem be solved? Jesus is the way of salvation! Jesus took our sin upon Himself (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus died in our place (Romans 5:8), taking the punishment that we deserve. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead, proving His victory over sin and death (Romans 6:4-5). Why did He do it? Jesus answered that question Himself: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus died so that we could live. If we place our faith in Jesus, trusting His death as the payment for our sins, all of our sins are forgiven and washed away. We will then have our spiritual hunger satisfied. The lights will be turned on. We will have access to a fulfilling life. We will know our true best friend and good shepherd. We will know that we will have life after we die—a resurrected life in heaven for eternity with Jesus!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

from Got Questions:

Many in society today want to view themselves as “tolerant.” By that they usually mean “I accept people for who they are without passing judgment on any action or lifestyle choice.” But the biblically informed Christian cannot, in good conscience, approve of all actions or lifestyle choices; the Bible clearly delineates some lifestyles as sinful and displeasing to God. When a Christian’s convictions clash with the standard of tolerance set by society, the Christian is often labeled as “intolerant,” “bigoted,” or worse. Ironically, those who claim to be the most tolerant are the least tolerant of the Christian worldview.

Sometimes the conflict between Christian convictions and secular standards of tolerance involves a Christian business being forced to provide a product or service to someone in a way that would violate the business owner’s convictions. Other times, the conflict is not as public, involving personal acquaintances who disagree with a Christian’s conviction against getting drunk at a party, for example, or cohabitation before marriage.

A general principle that covers many issues was expressed by Peter before the Sanhedrin: “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (Acts 5:29). Whatever pressure society brings to bear, the follower of Christ knows who his Lord is and chooses to obey Him. In a sinful world that hated Christ, this will naturally lead to some conflict. The “tolerance” espoused by the world leaves no room for Christian convictions, but, for the redeemed who walk in the Spirit, Christian convictions are indispensable. The Bible says there is a right and a wrong, and no amount of sensitivity training or encounter group sessions can change that.

If we define tolerate as “to put up with something one does not like,” then we could say that tolerance does not require approval or support. In this sense, Christians ought to be as tolerant as possible, in order for our loving character to be visible to all (Matthew 5:16). We should be able to “put up with” a lot. In most cases, we should be able to control our impulse to resent something we find distasteful. The problem comes when tolerate is defined in a manner that implies an acceptance or even approval of what one finds offensive. A Christian with Bible-based convictions can accept the fact that people sin, but he must still call it “sin.” A Christian’s convictions do not allow approval of sin whatsoever.

No matter how it’s defined, tolerance has its limits: what message would be sent by a church holding “interactive” services with a witch coven? What if a judge decided to “tolerate” perjury—he allowed it in his courtroom, even though he personally disliked it? How much disrespect should a teacher “tolerate” in her classroom? What if a surgeon began to “tolerate” septic conditions in his operating room?

When a believer finds that his Christian convictions are in conflict with someone’s take on tolerance, he should immediately do the following things: 1) Pray for wisdom and for courage. 2) Examine his convictions to make sure they are based on what the Bible actually says, rather than personal preferences. Taking a stand against having a joint Hindu-Christian worship service is biblically supportable; taking a stand against serving ethnically diverse food at the church potluck is not. 3) Commit himself to loving his enemies and doing good to them (Matthew 5:38–48). 4) Purpose in his heart to engage the conflict “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). 5) If legal issues come into play, explore his rights under the law (see Acts 16:37–38; 21:39).

Even in the midst of a conflict between godly convictions and secular tolerance, Christians must demonstrate Christ’s love and righteousness, exemplifying how truth and love can coexist. In every situation, we should exhibit “deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13). Our conduct should be such “that those who speak maliciously against [our] good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander” (1 Peter 3:16).

from Summit News:

The Church of Sweden has published an open letter signed by a long list of priests, deacons, and other church staff, proudly announcing that it is “trans.”

Whatever that means.

The Church of Sweden represents Europe’s largest Lutheran denomination and the letter was published on the Västerås diocese’s official website.

“We write to you from a church that is also trans. A church is made up of people. People are different. We have confirmees, employees, churchwardens, elected representatives, non-profits, and other parishioners who define themselves as trans people. The church also consists of trans people. Therefore, the church could be described as trans,” the letter said.

The letter then decried the fact that some feminists are trying to protect female spaces from biological men, such as female sports or changing rooms, for which they are often denounced as TERFs (trans exclusionary radical feminists) by LGBT campaigners.

“This contributes to the normalisation of trans hate,” asserts the letter, betraying total ignorance for the fact that LGBT rhetoric is now embraced and amplified by every major cultural institution, transnational corporation and government entity in the west.

“We believe in a church and a God who welcome people beyond power, national boundaries, ethnicity, sexual orientation, sex and gender identity. A humanity in all the colours of the rainbow, absolutely amazing and infinite in its diversity. We are different and that is good. And God saw that it was good”, the letter concludes.

This is by no means the first time that the Church of Sweden has professed its ‘woke’ credentials.

In 2019, the Church of Sweden in Malmo rang its bells across the city in support of Greta Thunberg and her climate strike.

This occurred after the Church of Sweden had literally proclaimed Greta to be “Jesus’s Successor” (no, that’s not a joke, it actually happened).

Meanwhile, churches in high migrant ‘no go zones’ across Sweden continue to be attacked and set on fire on a regular basis, but that doesn’t appear to be as much of a pressing issue as transgenderism or global warming.

The very sad thing today, and I hear it over and over from people who honestly believe they are Christians in a right relationship with Jesus Christ is: The Bible is not the foundation and basis for what I believe! And “God reveals things to me personally that do not line up with the Bible, so I rely on the personal revelation”

This is why an overwhelming majority of what calls itself the Christian Church in the U.S. is utterly blind!

from Berean Research:

Ask any Christian woman if she would enjoy basing her faith on satanic lies, and she’ll look at you like you have two heads. Of course not!

No one really wants to be deceived. Yet with so many trends plowing into the modern church, it’s easy to get swept away in the latest, shiniest feel-good craze that looks like biblical Christianity, until you hold it up to the light of Scripture. That’s when the Holy Spirit reveals to us what these trends really are: counterfeit movements that actually point us away from the Jesus of the Bible.

This week I am speaking to women attending the Answers In Genesis Truth: Uncovering Lies We Believe conference, and my presentation is titled, “Discerning 10 Lies Women Believe About the Gospel.” There are many more of course, but I have only an hour to give a high-level overview. This will be my second time at AIG. I spoke at the Defend: Ready to Give an Answer conference in 2017 on the New Apostolic Reformation.

We don’t need cool new fads to grow as Christians and bring us closer to Jesus. Our most desperate need starts with the Gospel. It is the Good News of God reconciling us to Him through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our sins are cleansed through Christ alone, and no other. All He asks is that we follow Him and no other.

Today we need discernment more than ever before. Discernment is the ability to recognize the difference between true and false. That ability is a gift, yes, but it is also a skill that every Christian must hone by knowing her Savior through God’s breathed-out Word. We have an enemy who would like nothing more than to rob us of our discernment and steal our joy.

Lies we as women believe about the Gospel have turned into some of the most popular – and damaging – false gospels leading many away from the nature and character of God. I believe this is happening for three reasons: spiritual blindness, biblical illiteracy, and the belief that Scripture is not enough – that there must be something more.

An example of all three of these at play is the popularity of the book Jesus Calling. More than a decade ago, author Sarah Young told the world that Jesus Himself frequently speaks to her. This “Jesus” tells her that he loves her but doesn’t call her from sin to repentance and holiness. To this day, Young’s worldwide audience cannot get enough of this book and the other spinoff products in the multi-million-dollar franchise. When we know the real Jesus, our Almighty God and Savior, we can easily spot Sarah Young’s Jesus as an imposter.

A more recent trend sweeping through Christendom is the popular enneagram, a nine-pointed symbol that promises to classify your personality from among nine different types and point you to God. Many churches have begun using the enneagram as a “powerful tool for personal and collective transformation.” A simple question: Do you want to be transformed by the enneagram, or by the Holy Spirit as He sanctifies you and shapes you into Christ-likeness?

From enneagrams and personality profiling to mystical practices and the progressive social justice movement, there are many ways we take our eyes off of Christ to follow trends and idols. Jesus warned His followers many times throughout His ministry to avoid being deceived. His beloved apostle John pleaded with the Church, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” We do that by examining the teachings of Scripture, and then the teachings of everyone who instructs us in the faith and shapes our thinking.

Biblical discernment comes from reading and meditating on the Word of God. Every woman you know – whether she is a new believer or a seasoned veteran – needs to read the Word daily in order to equip herself with truth to prevent falling into deception. Read it for yourself every day.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

from Christian Research Network:

(Marsha West – Christian Research Network)  Dr. David F. Wells lamented that he has watched “with growing disbelief as the evangelical church has cheerfully plunged into astounding theological illiteracy.” How can a believer in Jesus Christ plunge into biblical illiteracy?  In part, the blame can be laid squarely on Christian publishing houses for printing theological rubbish.

Enter your local Christian bookstore, gaze around the shop, and eventually you will spot a couple shelves of Bibles in many sizes and colors, leather, hard cover, in every conceivable translation. Publishers promise that their version is the most “accurate” “up-to-date” and “easiest to read.”

Fortunately for me, my mother chose my first Bible. She bought it as gift for my 18th birthday. It was the KJV, Old and New Testaments, vintage black leather with gold gilding. Over the years I made many notations on the pages of that Bible. Mom was thrilled that her rebellious second born of five requested a Bible and not a trendy outfit.

The two of us spent many hours together browsing the aisles of Christian bookstores. She’d always nudge me toward the Theology section that housed giant hard cover commentaries, concordances and Greek Lexicons. I’d hang out with Mom for a short time then I’d meander over to the Christian Living, Fiction, and invariably end up browsing the “Christian” Music racks. Back then I wasn’t interested in taking a deep dive into God’s Word, even though I cherished my Bible and read it often.

Eventually I came to understand that many Bible translations are decidedly unorthodox and unfit for Christian consumption. Be aware that the translation you choose will become engraved in your mind and whatever you learn from it will become your truth. The scriptures you memorize will remain with you for a lifetime. Tragically, unorthodox material can lead immature (baby) Christians into heretical teaching, the cults, even the occult. More on this in a moment.

Visit just about any Christian bookstore (CB) and you’ll see display cases and shelves stocked with “spiritual” merchandise, including clothing, jewelry, figurines, framed pictures, posters, greeting cards, music, calendars and so on. What I find disconcerting is that some stores also stock books that attack the fundamentals of the faith!  And a large number of books contain what respected scholars deem heresy.

Clearly, some CB owners feel no responsibility for the merchandise they sell to their brothers and sisters in Christ.

So-called Christian publishing houses produce books that purport, among other things, Word of Faith theology (WoF) a.k.a the prosperity/health & wealth gospel and then distribute this rubbish to Christian retailers. You ask, “What’s wrong with believing God for health and wealth?” For one thing, this is not taught anywhere in the Bible. For those of you reading this article who are unfamiliar with WoF theology, I’m providing a nutshell version of their beliefs. Once you know what these folks believe, and how different their beliefs are from what is taught in the Bible, you’ll join me in urging brick and mortar as well as online stores to remove books that teach heresy.

May The Force Of Faith Be With You

WoF adherents hold that faith is a force.  Faith is controlled through the spoken word. When you utter the right words, or the right formula, God’s response to your “positive confession” will be to give you what you want.

For example, if you confess that you’re healthy, you will overcome disease. Confess you’re a millionaire, the money will come pouring in. Just ask health and wealth preacher and multi-millionaire Kenneth Copeland (who’s worth 27 million and utterly spiritually poverty stricken) how the faith formula worked for him. He will brag about the hangar on his estate that houses his private jet and perhaps a Rolls Royce. He owns way more expensive “stuff,” but you get the picture.

What is Copeland’s faith formula? “All it takes is 1) Seeing or visualizing whatever you need, whether physical or financial; 2) Staking your claim on Scripture; and 3) Speaking it into existence.”

Amazing Claims

According to Gary Gilley:

The Faith teachers, as is true of many other charismatics, believe that Christ provided for physical healing at the cross. As a result, not only are Christians saved from sin, they are promised a life of health, if one follows the Faith formula. Kenneth Copeland writes in Healed. . . to Be or Not to Be, “The first step to spiritual maturity is to realize your position before God. You are a child of God and a joint-heir with Jesus. Consequently, you are entitled to all the rights and privileges in the kingdom of God, and one of these rights is health and healing” (p. 25). If healing is part of the atonement, why do Christians get sick? Lack of faith, as Benny Hinn explains: “The Bible declares that the work was done 2,000 years ago. God is not going to heal you now — he healed you 2,000 years ago. All you have to do today is receive your healing by faith” (Rise and Be Healed, p. 44).

Gilley reveals even more extraordinary experiences faith healers claim to have had:

The faith leaders make some amazing claims. [Kenneth] Hagin, for example, has visited (so he says) both heaven and hell as well as had out-of-body experiences. He has had many visits from Jesus and angels. He boasts of the ability to heal, cast our demons and levitate people (p. 336).[Benny] Hinn opens his best selling book with these words:

It was three days before Christmas 1973. The sun was still rising on that cold, misty Toronto morning.

Suddenly He was there. The Holy Spirit entered my room. He was as real to me that morning as the book you are holding in your hand is to you.

For the next eight hours I had an incredible experience with the Holy Spirit. It changed the course of my life (p.1).

Benny Hinn speaks of frequent personal visits from the Lord, the first being at age eleven:

I saw Jesus walk into my bedroom. He was wearing a robe that was whiter than white and a deep red mantle was draped over the robe.

I saw his hair. I looked into His eyes. I saw the nail prints in His hands. I saw everything. . . .

When it happened, I was asleep, but suddenly my little body was caught up in an incredible sensation that can only be described as “electric.” It felt as if someone had plugged me into a wired socket. There was a numbness that felt like needles — a million of them — rushing through my body.

And then the Lord stood before me while I was in a deep, deep sleep. He looked straight at me with the most beautiful eyes. He smiled, and His arms were open wide. I could feel His presence. It was marvelous and I’ll never forget it (p.22).

When Hinn describes his conversion he does not mention the cross, repentance or faith; rather it is all couched in terms of experience:

What I really felt, though, was that this surge of power was cleansing me — instantly, from the inside out. I felt absolutely clean, immaculate, and pure.

Suddenly I saw Jesus with my own eyes. It happened in a moment of time. There he was. Jesus (p. 31).  (Source)

You may have heard people label televangelists and faith healers “name it and claim it” or “blab it and grab it” preachers. These men and women get slammed for promoting a “gospel of greed.” WoF teaching is not only rubbish, but also theological heresy. People who believe they are saved by the prosperity gospel are going to experience a very hot ever after.

The Handsome Wolves

Joel and Victoria Osteen are two of the most recognizable prosperity preachers in the world. If you’re a follower of the Osteens, please don‘t stop reading — just hear me out. I realize that it’s hard to believe that this handsome couple would steer you off the straight and narrow path. However, sad to say that Rev Osteen has been steering you onto a path with large potholes for decades. Don’t be taken in by his humble demeanor, his neatly coiffed hair and dazzling smile. Around 12 years ago, he made clear his position on faith in his blockbuster book, “Your Best Life Now”:

You have to begin speaking words of faith over your life. Your words have enormous creative power. The moment you speak something out, you give birth to it. This is a spiritual principle, and it works whether what you’re saying is good or bad, positive or negative.

What people who gobbled that book up failed to realize is that this so-called spiritual principle he promoted, and continues to promote, is known as the “law of attraction.” Do you recall New Age guru Rhonda Byrnes’ #1 best seller (thanks largely to Oprah) “The Secret”? In that book Byrnes proclaimed, “you create your life through your thoughts.” Sound familiar?  If it does, the reason is that Rev Joel is advancing the same metaphysical nonsense Rhonda Byrnes promoted in her books.

Anyone who chooses to read Joel or Victoria Osteen books, attend or live stream Lakewood Church (a church with over 2 million subscribers on YouTube, where “More that 10 Million viewers watch his weekly inspirational messages through television, and over 60 million people connect with Joel through his digital platforms worldwide”) are allowing themselves to be deceived by wolves in sheep’s clothing.  The Osteens are that bad! Moreover, they are not Christians! How do I know that? Because as a Berean (Acts 17:11) I’ve examined God’s Word to see if their teaching is true. In doing so, it is clear that Joel Osteen’s teaching is unadulterated heresy. I’m not alone in believing this to be true. Mainstream biblical scholars agree that WoF is a metaphysical cult. The truth of the matter, for those who care to hear the truth, is that anyone who embraces WoF theology has rejected biblical Christianity.

Dear reader, you must understand that WoF teachers such as the Osteens, Copeland, Hagin, and Hinn preach a false gospel…..that saves no one. Let me repeat: the WoF gospel has never saved a living soul and it never will. Why? Because their gospel message is not taught in Scripture. Theirs is the gospel of greed, inspired by Satan himself. Those of you who take what I’m saying with a grain of salt must come to terms with how dangerous and spiritually bankrupt the WoF teaching is. WoF is not historic, orthodox Christianity that the martyrs shed their blood for.

Your Best Life Is To Come

Following is an excerpt from a sermon by John MacArthur:

It was about a dozen years ago that a popular book came out written by Joel Osteen, the title of the book was your Best Life Now. And it sold about 8 million copies at the time.  It’s been 12 years since then and 12 rather dramatic years particularly, the more recent ones.

Such a jarring disturbing shift has taken place in the social order that we have in our country and around the world that I think few people are convinced that this is their best life right now. That would be a hard sell, probably good that the book came out before the current stress began, or it might not have been very popular. In fact, there may be a number of those 8 million who would like to get their money back since this didn’t turn out to be what they had hoped. We are now living under dominant deception, dominant lies, hatred, crime anger, selfishness, immorality. A pandemic of wickedness that most of all hates the truth and will assault the truth every possible way it can. And that means that the church of Jesus Christ is going to experience things that we haven’t experienced in this country or even in the West, ever perhaps. The noble experiment of America to have a just and civil society based on biblical morality and firm legal control by government exercising the threat and the reality of punishment to those who violate the law, is essentially over.

He went on to say…

Nobody really seems to care to hide any wickedness anymore. Hearts are unmasked while faces are masked. This cannot be our best life! And it’s not going to get better. Evil men grow worse and worse. This is a free fall, not temporary. We’re going down and we’re going down under the sheer force of unbelief and sin unprotected and unrestrained by the judgment of God.

Later in his sermon…

This is not our best life, not by any means. To all who are in Christ, our best life is yet to come. Our best life is the glory of heaven. (H/T Tim Hurd)

Ensnaring The Lambs In Heresies

Following is an excerpt from a blog post by Mike Ratliff where he examines the difference between apostasy and heresy. He writes,

The English word “heresy” is a transliterated word from the Greek word αἵρεσις (hairesis). In Classical Greek, it means, “seizure, taking, acquisition, choice, desire for something, and purposeful decision.” Later it came to denote “the teaching or the school of a particular philosopher with which a person identifies himself by his choice.” The Septuagint in Leviticus 22:1821 translates the Hebrew נְדָבָה (nedâbâh) a “freewill offering”. So what does this tell us? This is our context and if we look at the New Testament usage of αἵρεσις we see that it follows this very same meaning. Heresy is a choice, a deliberate decision to “seize” upon a particular teaching that is not orthodox.

Mike continues:

We must know our enemies. We must not waste time on apostates outside of the Church when we are focusing on those who are infiltrating the Church with false teaching hoping to ensnare people in heresies. Here is 2 Peter 2:1:

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Peter 2:1 (NASB)  (Source)

In our pop-culture, so-called Christian books appeal to the believer’s desire to find meaning in their faith. One would think the front line for combating this desire would be the Church, but this is not the case.  Instead of pointing out the doctrinal truth that comes from reading the Bible, Church leaders have caved to the demands of our self-obsessed culture and promoted books that will do nothing to facilitate real spiritual growth.  As long as there is a demand, you can count on the fact there will be Christian publishing houses that will give these individuals exactly what they want regardless of the harm being caused.

Our once trusted publishers are all about making a buck, even if it means compromising. And what about Christian Book dispensaries?  The same applies to them.  I do not believe for a moment that people who work for these organizations are unaware that Your Best Life Now is chock-full of unorthodox theology. The word has been out for at least 12 years that Joel Osteen is a charlatan. Dr. MacArthur was right to call him out on heretical teaching.  If only more pastors would get over their fear of man and call out men and women who seriously mishandle the scriptures.

I’ll close with words of warning from our Lord Jesus:

On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:22-23

The world is entering a very explosive and unstable period that is only going to get worse. People need to keep their eye on what is happening in Israel, it is unprecedented and it points to some prophetic events that are going to happen!

from World Israel News:

Israeli politicians and religious figures, from President Reuven Rivlin to Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, lamented scenes of anarchic violence between Jewish and Arab Israeli civilians throughout Israel which continued into the early hours of Thursday morning.

Against the backdrop of the ongoing military clash between the Hamas terror group in Gaza and the Israeli army, simmering ethnic tensions in the Jewish State have come to a boil.

More than 400 people had been arrested for rioting and related crimes as of Thursday morning, some as young as 13 years old, in cities including Jerusalem, Haifa, Tiberias, Lod, Bat Yam, and Acre.

On Wednesday evening, a Jewish mob beat an Arab driver in an unprovoked assault in the city of Bat Yam. TV news cameras at the scene to cover a march of Jewish extremists captured the violence. The man is hospitalized in serious condition.

The day before, an Arab mob beat a Jewish man in the city of Acre with iron bars and rocks, sending the man to the hospital in critical condition. Rioters in Acre also set fire to the Jewish-owned Uri Buri restaurant and a hotel affiliated with the restaurant, trapping guests inside and causing severe injury to a man in his 80s.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of emergency in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod on Tuesday, as Arab Israeli rioters set synagogues and scores of cars ablaze, vandalized Jewish businesses, and attacked Jewish residents.

he city has been under an 8:00 p.m. curfew since then, but even with the presence of Israeli Border Police, unrest has continued.

Gili Gabai, the wife of a Jewish man stabbed in Lod early Thursday morning, told Army Radio he had been attacked by a “group of Arabs [shouting] ‘Allahu Akbar,’ [who] attacked him with stones and rocks. One pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the back

“My husband is currently in the hospital. He is stable and doing okay,” she said.

Although Defense Minister Benny Gantz called up battalions of additional Border Police to restore order to the streets of municipalities around the country, it appeared that the police were ineffective at stopping the violence Wednesday night.

Israeli politicians slammed the rioters and called for the public to come to order.

“I don’t care if your blood is boiling. So it’s boiling. It’s irrelevant,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday evening. “You can’t take the law into your own hands. You can’t come to an Arab civilian and try to lynch him, just as we can’t see Arab citizens do so to Jewish citizens. This will not stand.”

Religious Zionism MK Betzalel Smotrich condemned the attack on the Arab driver in Bat Yam, tweeting that he was “shocked and ashamed to the bottom of my soul.”

Referencing the ongoing rocket fire from Gaza, he wrote, “We are in difficult days, under attack, frustrated… but damn it, how can Jews be so cruel?! Terrible.

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef encouraged Jewish Israelis to act as a positive example to the world, rather than engage in violent behavior.

“Innocent Israeli citizens are being attacked by terrorist organizations, the blood is indeed hot and our hearts are outraged; the scenes are difficult to watch,” said Yosef in a recorded statement. “However, we must not be dragged into provocations and to hurting people or harming property.

“According to the Torah, there is no permission to take the law into one’s hands and act violently. The work of restoring order must be left to the police. We must be a light unto the nations, and not, Heaven forbid, the opposite.”

This article like others about Hillsong reveal the serious issues with this organization. It was built on false theology and the “Sugar” of fame, NOT built on Sound theology and Christian living!

from MSN:

Pastor Darnell Barrett of Hillsong Church resigned on Tuesday after sharing explicit photos to at least one of his followers, a woman, on Instagram, something he claims was a mistake and not an attempt to lure the woman.

The married creative director of Hillsong’s Montclair, New Jersey, chapter is the latest pastor from the celebrity-loved mega church to resign amid a sex-related scandal.

In photos posted by Daily Mail, Barrett, 32, shared pictures two days in a row of him shirtless after a workout wearing Nike Pro Compression Tights that exposed him.

Barrett – who previously appeared on Steve Harvey‘s talk show – wrote that “depression and anxiety got the best of me in the last 30 hours” in text written over the pictures he posted to his Close Friends list on Instagram, saying the gym is what’s been helping him get out of bed, the photos obtained by Daily Mail show.

One unnamed woman – who told the Daily Mail she was a former volunteer at Hillsong – said to the outlet that the father of two had sent her similar photos, before he shared those on his Instagram Stories, claiming it was “an accident.” Barrett told the outlet that sending her those photos was “an honest mistake.”

“Hey! I think I might’ve added you to my close friends list by accident. I’m so sorry. Trying to figure out how the hell to edit it. It’s some real raw s— I send to my friends man. Lol,” Barrett messaged her in screenshots obtained by the Daily Mail.

The woman replied, “Lol rude! I’m NOT a close friend is what you’re saying. Haha that’s alright.”

“Seriously, sorry about that. I guess,” the pastor followed up with, before the volunteer blocked him.

The woman later unblocked Barrett and told him, “For you to go out of your way to make it seem like you ‘accidentally’ added me to your close friends… and then, went out of your way to message me about it KNOWING that would make me go look is bulls—,” messages obtained by Daily Mail show. “Obviously, what you wanted me to see were the shirtless photos and the outline of your d—, let’s not play and act like that wasn’t the point. Your messages to bait me into seeing your ‘raw s—’ are obvious.'”

She also accused him of employing a ” ‘fishing’ scheme” to “see if I will bite.”

“I’m sorry?” Barrett replied, in the messages Daily Mail shared, before she blocked him once more.

Barrett stepped down at Hillsong amid the photo scandal.

Hillsong Church did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Barrett told the Daily Mail outside his New Jersey home that he and his wife “thought it was best for me to move on” amid the social media behavior and that “there was infidelity in my marriage that we’re working through.”

“I was not at all trying to lure her. I get that she, within the context of what’s happening with Hillsong, that she would draw those conclusions,” he told the outlet, presumably referring to Pastor Carl Lentz who was fired in November from Hillsong due to what the church described as past “moral failures.”

Barrett added, ‘This was something that was just an honest mistake and I informed my wife as soon as it happened.”

The pastor’s stepping down comes months after Lentz admitted to being unfaithful to his wife, writing on Instagram that “this failure is on me, and me alone.”

“Today Hillsong Church East Coast advised our congregation that we have terminated the employment of Pastor Carl Lentz,” the church’s founder Brian Houston said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE at the time. “This action was not taken lightly and was done in the best interests of everyone, including Pastor Carl.”

Houston added that Lentz’s firing comes after “ongoing discussions in relation to leadership issues and breaches of trust, plus a recent revelation of moral failures.”

“We are about to find our ability to access, engage and move about in the world dependent on which camp we fall into: those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who have not.“It is the latest status symbol. Flash it at the people, and you can get access to concerts, sports arenas or long-forbidden restaurant tables. Some day, it may even help you cross a border without having to quarantine,” writes Heather Murphy for the New York Times. “The new platinum card of the Covid age is the vaccine certificate.”

from The Rutherford Institute:

“A psychotic world we live in. The madmen are in power.”― Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle

For good or bad, COVID-19 has changed the way we navigate the world.

It is also redrawing the boundaries of our world (and our freedoms) and altering the playing field faster than we can keep up.

Owing in large part to the U.S. government’s deep-seated and, in many cases, top-secret alliances with foreign nations and global corporations, it has become increasingly obvious that we have entered into a new world order—a global world order—made up of international government agencies and corporations.

This powerful international cabal, let’s call it the Global Deep State, is just as real as the corporatized, militarized, industrialized American Deep State, and it poses just as great a threat to our rights as individuals under the U.S. Constitution, if not greater.

We’ve been inching closer to this global world order for the past several decades, but COVID-19, which has seen governmental and corporate interests become even more closely intertwined, has shifted this transformation into high gear.

Fascism has become a global menace.

It remains unclear whether the American Deep State (“a national-security apparatus that holds sway even over the elected leaders notionally in charge of it”) answers to the Global Deep State, or whether the Global Deep State merely empowers the American Deep State. However, there is no denying the extent to which they are intricately and symbiotically enmeshed and interlocked.

Consider the extent to which our lives and liberties are impacted by this international convergence of governmental and profit-driven corporate interests in the surveillance state, the military industrial complex, the private prison industry, the intelligence sector, the security sector, the technology sector, the telecommunications sector, the transportation sector, the pharmaceutical industry and, most recently, by the pharmaceutical-health sector.

All of these sectors are dominated by mega-corporations operating on a global scale and working through government channels to increase their profit margins. The profit-driven policies of these global corporate giants influence everything from legislative policies to economics to environmental issues to medical care

Global Disease

The COVID-19 pandemic has propelled us into a whole new global frontier. Those hoping to navigate this interconnected and highly technological world of contact tracing, vaccine passports and digital passes will find themselves grappling with issues that touch on deep-seated moral, political, religious and personal questions for which there may be no clear-cut answers.

We are about to find our ability to access, engage and move about in the world dependent on which camp we fall into: those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who have not.

“It is the latest status symbol. Flash it at the people, and you can get access to concerts, sports arenas or long-forbidden restaurant tables. Some day, it may even help you cross a border without having to quarantine,” writes Heather Murphy for the New York Times. “The new platinum card of the Covid age is the vaccine certificate.”

This is what M.I.T. professor Ramesh Raskar refers to as the new “currency for health,” an apt moniker given the potentially lucrative role that Big Business (Big Pharma and Big Tech, especially) will play in establishing this pay-to-play marketplace. The airline industry has been working on a Travel Pass. IBM is developing a Digital Health Pass. And the U.S. government has been all-too-happy to allow the corporate sector to take the lead.

Global Surveillance

Spearheaded by the National Security Agency (NSA), which has shown itself to care little for constitutional limits or privacy, the surveillance state has come to dominate our government and our lives.

Yet the government does not operate alone. It cannot. It requires an accomplice.

Thus, the increasingly complex security needs of our massive federal government, especially in the areas of defense, surveillance and data management, have been met within the corporate sector, which has shown itself to be a powerful ally that both depends on and feeds the growth of governmental bureaucracy.

Take AT&T, for instance. Through its vast telecommunications network that crisscrosses the globe, AT&T provides the U.S. government with the complex infrastructure it needs for its mass surveillance programs. According to The Intercept:

“The NSA considers AT&T to be one of its most trusted partners and has lauded the company’s ‘extreme willingness to help.’ It is a collaboration that dates back decades. Little known, however, is that its scope is not restricted to AT&T’s customers. According to the NSA’s documents, it values AT&T not only because it ‘has access to information that transits the nation,’ but also because it maintains unique relationships with other phone and internet providers. The NSA exploits these relationships for surveillance purposes, commandeering AT&T’s massive infrastructure and using it as a platform to covertly tap into communications processed by other companies.”

Now magnify what the U.S. government is doing through AT&T on a global scale, and you have the “14 Eyes Program,” also referred to as the “SIGINT Seniors.” This global spy agency is made up of members from around the world (United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Spain, Israel, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India and all British Overseas Territories).

Surveillance is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to these global alliances, however.

Global War Profiteering

War has become a huge money-making venture, and America, with its vast military empire and its incestuous relationship with a host of international defense contractors, is one of its biggest buyers and sellers.

The American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth. For example, while erecting a security surveillance state in the U.S., the military-industrial complex has perpetuated a worldwide military empire with American troops stationed in 177 countries (over 70% of the countries worldwide).

Although the federal government obscures so much about its defense spending that accurate figures are difficult to procure, we do know that since 2001, the U.S. government has spent more than $1.8 trillion in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (that’s $8.3 million per hour). That doesn’t include wars and military exercises waged around the globe, which are expected to push the total bill upwards of $12 trillion by 2053.

The illicit merger of the global armaments industry and the Pentagon that President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us against more than 50 years ago has come to represent perhaps the greatest threat to the nation’s fragile infrastructure today. America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour)—and that’s just what the government spends on foreign wars. That does not include the cost of maintaining and staffing the 1000-plus U.S. military bases spread around the globe.

Incredibly, although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure,  spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined. In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety. There’s a good reason why “bloated,” “corrupt” and “inefficient” are among the words most commonly applied to the government, especially the Department of Defense and its contractors. Price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire.

It’s not just the American economy that is being gouged, unfortunately.

Driven by a greedy defense sector, the American homeland has been transformed into a battlefield with militarized police and weapons better suited to a war zone. President Biden, marching in lockstep with his predecessors, has continued to expand America’s military empire abroad and domestically in a clear bid to pander to the powerful money interests (military, corporate and security) that run the Deep State and hold the government in its clutches.

Global Policing

Glance at pictures of international police forces and you will have a hard time distinguishing between American police and those belonging to other nations. There’s a reason they all look alike, garbed in the militarized, weaponized uniform of a standing army.

There’s a reason why they act alike, too, and speak a common language of force: they belong to a global police force.

For example, Israel—one of America’s closest international allies and one of the primary yearly recipients of more than $3 billion in U.S. foreign military aid—has been at the forefront of a little-publicized exchange program aimed at training American police to act as occupying forces in their communities. As The Intercept sums it up, American police are “essentially taking lessons from agencies that enforce military rule rather than civil law.”

This idea of global policing is reinforced by the Strong Cities Network program, which trains local police agencies across America in how to identify, fight and prevent extremism, as well as address intolerance within their communities, using all of the resources at their disposal. The cities included in the global network include New York City, Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis, Paris, London, Montreal, Beirut and Oslo.

The objective is to prevent violent extremism by targeting its source: racism, bigotry, hatred, intolerance, etc. In other words, police—acting as extensions of the United Nations—will identify, monitor and deter individuals who exhibit, express or engage in anything that could be construed as extremist.

Of course, the concern with the government’s anti-extremism program is that it will, in many cases, be utilized to render otherwise lawful, nonviolent activities as potentially extremist.

Keep in mind that the government agencies involved in ferreting out American “extremists” will carry out their objectives—to identify and deter potential extremists—in concert with fusion centers (of which there are 78 nationwide, with partners in the private sector and globally), data collection agencies, behavioral scientists, corporations, social media, and community organizers and by relying on cutting-edge technology for surveillance, facial recognition, predictive policing, biometrics, and behavioral epigenetics (in which life experiences alter one’s genetic makeup).

This is pre-crime on an ideological scale and it’s been a long time coming.

Are you starting to get the picture now?

On almost every front, whether it’s the war on drugs, or the sale of weapons, or regulating immigration, or establishing prisons, or advancing technology, or fighting a pandemic, if there is a profit to be made and power to be amassed, you can bet that the government and its global partners have already struck a deal that puts the American people on the losing end of the bargain.

We’ve been losing our freedoms so incrementally for so long—sold to us in the name of national security and global peace, maintained by way of martial law disguised as law and order, and enforced by a standing army of militarized police and a political elite determined to maintain their powers at all costs—that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it all started going downhill, but we’re certainly on that downward trajectory now, and things are moving fast.

The “government of the people, by the people, for the people” has perished.

In its place is a shadow government—a corporatized, militarized, entrenched global bureaucracy—that is fully operational and running the country.

Given the trajectory and dramatic expansion, globalization and merger of governmental and corporate powers, we’re not going to recognize this country 20 years from now.

It’s taken less than a generation for our freedoms to be eroded and the Global Deep State’s structure to be erected, expanded and entrenched.

Mark my words: the U.S. government will not save us from the chains of the Global Deep State.

Now there are those who will tell you that any mention of a New World Order government—a power elite conspiring to rule the world—is the stuff of conspiracy theories.

I am not one of those skeptics.

I wholeheartedly believe that one should always mistrust those in power, take alarm at the first encroachment on one’s liberties, and establish powerful constitutional checks against government mischief and abuse.

I can also attest to the fact that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I have studied enough of this country’s history—and world history—to know that governments (the U.S. government being no exception) are at times indistinguishable from the evil they claim to be fighting, whether that evil takes the form of terrorism, torture, drug traffickingsex trafficking, murder, violence, theft, pornography, scientific experimentations or some other diabolical means of inflicting pain, suffering and servitude on humanity.

And I have lived long enough to see many so-called conspiracy theories turn into cold, hard fact.

Remember, people used to scoff at the notion of a Deep State (a.k.a. Shadow Government). They used to doubt that fascism could ever take hold in America, and sneer at any suggestion that the United States was starting to resemble Nazi Germany in the years leading up to Hitler’s rise to power.

from Got Questions:

Yes, Jesus is the only way to heaven. Such an exclusive statement may confuse, surprise, or even offend, but it is true nonetheless. The Bible teaches that there is no other way to salvation than through Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” He is not a way, as in one of many; He is the way, as in the one and only. No one, regardless of reputation, achievement, special knowledge, or personal holiness, can come to God the Father except through Jesus.

Jesus is the only way to heaven for several reasons. Jesus was “chosen by God” to be the Savior (1 Peter 2:4). Jesus is the only One to have come down from heaven and returned there (John 3:13). He is the only person to have lived a perfect human life (Hebrews 4:15). He is the only sacrifice for sin (1 John 2:2; Hebrews 10:26). He alone fulfilled the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17). He is the only man to have conquered death forever (Hebrews 2:14–15). He is the only Mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). He is the only man whom God has “exalted . . . to the highest place” (Philippians 2:9).

Jesus spoke of Himself as the only way to heaven in several places besides John 14:6. He presented Himself as the object of faith in Matthew 7:21–27. He said His words are life (John 6:63). He promised that those who believe in Him will have eternal life (John 3:14–15). He is the gate of the sheep (John 10:7); the bread of life (John 6:35); and the resurrection (John 11:25). No one else can rightly claim those titles.

The apostles’ preaching focused on the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Peter, speaking to the Sanhedrin, clearly proclaimed Jesus as the only way to heaven: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Paul, speaking to the synagogue in Antioch, singled out Jesus as the Savior: “I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin” (Acts 13:38–39). John, writing to the church at large, specifies the name of Christ as the basis of our forgiveness: “I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name” (1 John 2:12). No one but Jesus can forgive sin.

Eternal life in heaven is made possible only through Christ. Jesus prayed, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). To receive God’s free gift of salvation, we must look to Jesus and Jesus alone. We must trust in Jesus’ death on the cross as our payment for sin and in His resurrection. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Romans 3:22).

At one point in Jesus’ ministry, many of the crowd were turning their backs on Him and leaving in hopes of finding another savior. Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” (John 6:67, ESV). Peter’s reply is exactly right: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68–69, ESV). May we all share Peter’s faith that eternal life resides only in Jesus Christ.

from Gallup:

Americans’ membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup’s eight-decade trend. In 2020, 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999.

U.S. church membership was 73% when Gallup first measured it in 1937 and remained near 70% for the next six decades, before beginning a steady decline around the turn of the 21st century.

As many Americans celebrate Easter and Passover this week, Gallup updates a 2019 analysis that examined the decline in church membership over the past 20 years.

Gallup asks Americans a battery of questions on their religious attitudes and practices twice each year. The following analysis of declines in church membership relies on three-year aggregates from 1998-2000 (when church membership averaged 69%), 2008-2010 (62%), and 2018-2020 (49%). The aggregates allow for reliable estimates by subgroup, with each three-year period consisting of data from more than 6,000 U.S. adults.

Decline in Membership Tied to Increase in Lack of Religious Affiliation

The decline in church membership is primarily a function of the increasing number of Americans who express no religious preference. Over the past two decades, the percentage of Americans who do not identify with any religion has grown from 8% in 1998-2000 to 13% in 2008-2010 and 21% over the past three years.

As would be expected, Americans without a religious preference are highly unlikely to belong to a church, synagogue or mosque, although a small proportion — 4% in the 2018-2020 data — say they do. That figure is down from 10% between 1998 and 2000.

Given the nearly perfect alignment between not having a religious preference and not belonging to a church, the 13-percentage-point increase in no religious affiliation since 1998-2000 appears to account for more than half of the 20-point decline in church membership over the same time.

Most of the rest of the drop can be attributed to a decline in formal church membership among Americans who do have a religious preference. Between 1998 and 2000, an average of 73% of religious Americans belonged to a church, synagogue or mosque. Over the past three years, the average has fallen to 60%.

Generational Differences Linked to Change in Church Membership

Church membership is strongly correlated with age, as 66% of traditionalists — U.S. adults born before 1946 — belong to a church, compared with 58% of baby boomers, 50% of those in Generation X and 36% of millennials. The limited data Gallup has on church membership among the portion of Generation Z that has reached adulthood are so far showing church membership rates similar to those for millennials.

The decline in church membership, then, appears largely tied to population change, with those in older generations who were likely to be church members being replaced in the U.S. adult population with people in younger generations who are less likely to belong. The change has become increasingly apparent in recent decades because millennials and Gen Z are further apart from traditionalists in their church membership rates (about 30 points lower) than baby boomers and Generation X are (eight and 16 points, respectively). Also, each year the younger generations are making up an increasingly larger part of the entire U.S. adult population.

Still, population replacement doesn’t fully explain the decline in church membership, as adults in the older generations have shown roughly double-digit decreases from two decades ago. Church membership is down even more, 15 points, in the past decade among millennials.

The two major trends driving the drop in church membership — more adults with no religious preference and falling rates of church membership among people who do have a religion — are apparent in each of the generations over time.

Since the turn of the century, there has been a near doubling in the percentage of traditionalists (from 4% to 7%), baby boomers (from 7% to 13%) and Gen Xers (11% to 20%) with no religious affiliation.

Currently, 31% of millennials have no religious affiliation, which is up from 22% a decade ago. Similarly, 33% of the portion of Generation Z that has reached adulthood have no religious preference.

Also, each generation has seen a decline in church membership among those who do affiliate with a specific religion. These declines have ranged between six and eight points over the past two decades for traditionalists, baby boomers and Generation X who identify with a religious faith. In just the past 10 years, the share of religious millennials who are church members has declined from 63% to 50%.

Church Membership Decline Seen in All Major Subgroups

As would be expected given the 20-point decline in church membership overall, the Gallup data show declines among all major subgroups of the U.S. population beyond age, with some differences in the size of that decline.

Among religious groups, the decline in membership is steeper among Catholics (down 18 points, from 76% to 58%) than Protestants (down nine points, from 73% to 64%). This mirrors the historical changes in church attendance Gallup has documented among Catholics, with sharp declines among Catholics but not among Protestants. Gallup does not have sufficient data to analyze the trends for other religious faiths.

In addition to Protestants, declines in church membership are proportionately smaller among political conservatives, Republicans, married adults and college graduates. These groups tend to have among the highest rates of church membership, along with Southern residents and non-Hispanic Black adults.

Over the past two decades, declines in church membership have been greater among Eastern residents and Democrats. Still, political independents have lower rates of church membership than Democrats do.

The smaller declines seen among conservatives and other subgroups are largely attributable to more modest change among older generations within those groups. For example, conservatives in older generations have shown drops in church membership of between five and 13 points since 1998-2000, compared with the 20-point change among all U.S. adults. However, the influence of generation is apparent, in that church membership is lower in each younger generation of conservatives than in each older generation — 51% of conservative millennials, 64% of conservative Gen Xers, 70% of conservative baby boomers and 71% of conservative traditionalists in 2018-2020 belong to a church.

Hispanic Church Membership

Church membership among Hispanic Americans in 2018-2020 was 37%, among the lowest for any major subgroup. Analysis of changes over time in Hispanic adults’ church membership is complicated by a shift in Gallup methodology to include Spanish-language interviewing in all surveys beginning in 2011. Church membership rates are significantly lower among Hispanic respondents interviewed in Spanish than among Hispanic respondents interviewed in English. Thus, a comparison of current Hispanic church membership to past membership would overstate the decline by virtue of comparing mixed-language Hispanics today to English-speaking Hispanics, alone, in the earlier period.

Implications

The U.S. remains a religious nation, with more than seven in 10 affiliating with some type of organized religion. However, far fewer, now less than half, have a formal membership with a specific house of worship. While it is possible that part of the decline seen in 2020 was temporary and related to the coronavirus pandemic, continued decline in future decades seems inevitable, given the much lower levels of religiosity and church membership among younger versus older generations of adults.

Churches are only as strong as their membership and are dependent on their members for financial support and service to keep operating. Because it is unlikely that people who do not have a religious preference will become church members, the challenge for church leaders is to encourage those who do affiliate with a specific faith to become formal, and active, church members.

While precise numbers of church closures are elusive, a conservative estimate is that thousands of U.S. churches are closing each year.

2017 Gallup study found churchgoers citing sermons as the primary reason they attended church. Majorities also said spiritual programs geared toward children and teenagers, community outreach and volunteer opportunities, and dynamic leaders were also factors in their attendance. A focus on some of these factors may also help local church leaders encourage people who share their faith to join their church.

%d bloggers like this: