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From The Daily Mail:

Around the world, people are beginning to turn their backs on religion.

For some time, researchers have observed this trend as it ripples through developed countries, with the United States standing out as the exception.

Now, a new study reveals this is no longer the case; with each passing generation, Americans too are steadily becoming less religious.

As religious belief declines in much of the Western world, it’s largely been thought that the United States had resisted the trend.

Research from Duke University and University College London (UCL) challenges this idea, revealing that the number of people in the US who claim religious affiliations or attend Church has dropped.

And, the belief in God is dropping as well.

The study published in the American Journal of Sociology examined US data from the General Social Survey, which is conducted every two years.

Comparisons with data from Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand revealed an overall drop in religious belief over time.

In the United States, this drop has been very gradual, making it difficult for scientists to detect due to lack of data.

The decline, they found, has occurred generationally.

‘None of these declines is happening fast, but the signs are now unmistakable,’ said David Voas, a social scientist with UCL and co-author of the study.

‘It has become clear that American religiosity has been declining for decades, and the decline is driven by the same dynamic – generational differences – that has driven religious decline across the developed world.’

Researchers found each generation is subsequently less religious than the one before.

In one example, the team found that 41 percent of people aged 70 and older reported they attend church services at least once a month.

For people just under that age bracket, 60 and younger, only 18 percent attend church at this frequency.

And, just 45 percent of people ages 18-30 reported they have ‘no doubt God exists,’ compared with 68 percent of those 65 and older who said the same.

‘The US has long been considered an exception to the modern claim that religion is declining,’ said Mark Chaves, the study’s other co-author, and a professor of sociology, divinity, and religion at Duke.

‘But if you look at the trajectory, and the generational dynamic that is producing the trajectory, we may not be an exception after all.’

The researchers say the data remains consistent over time, reflecting the trend seen elsewhere in the world.

‘If you break it down over five-year chunks,’ Chaves said, ‘each age group is a little less religious than the one before it.’

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from Berean Path Ministries

wolf

Never in its history has the evangelical church been more intentional and more systematic in its efforts to imitate the world than in our day. In fact, worldliness, which used to be a sin to be avoided, has not only become an obsession for the church, today it has become the evangelistic technique of choice.

In the Old Testament, God told Israel, “You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you” (Lev. 18:3). In the New Testament, the apostle Paul told the church, “Do not be conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2). Nonetheless, today’s self-appointed evangelical relevance experts tell us that the only way to reach the world is to be like the world. We must talk like them, dress like them, be entertained like them, sport tattoos like them, address human sexuality like them, and so on.

Jesus said, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own” (John 15:18). Clearly Jesus expected His followers not to be mirrors of the world. However, today in a bizarre inversion of Jesus’ intention, the goal of many evangelicals is to be as much like the world as possible in order to be loved by the world. This upside-down thinking is purportedly used as a precursor to evangelism.

Where did this notion come from? In our era, identifying with the world as a sure-fire evangelistic technique first flourished in youth groups in the 1970’s. Eventually, youth pastors like Bill Hybels spawned the church growth movement by packaging an adult version of that strategy. As a result, imitation of the world touched every facet of church life. The church buildings of the church growth movement were intentionally designed to look like shopping malls and corporate headquarters. On the inside they were laid out to remind seekers of rock concerts and coffeehouses. The messages were crafted with worldly desires in mind: light humor, self-help, plenty of sports references, and Hollywood movie clips employed as sermon illustrations.

The next generation has gone a step further. Today we do not design the church to look like a coffee house. Cool churches meet in coffeehouses and bars (Grab a brew and share your view is one church’s catchy slogan), and, to pull off this new, “We’re just like you,” evangelistic technique, Christians have to sport tattoos, various body studs, and drink their share of suds.

Unfortunately, there have been two unintended consequences of adopting worldliness as an evangelistic technique. The first is worldly pastors, or “cool pastors.” The charge toward cool has been led by a young generation of “bad-boy” preachers, always eager to test the fences with their language, risqué comments, and leisurely behaviour.

However, it’s becoming clear that preachers who push the boundaries in their sermons do so because they are living beyond those boundaries in their lives. When a preacher spends so much time admiring and courting the world, it has a way of evangelizing him more effectively than he evangelizes it. Ultimately, such preachers do not edify or disciple the flock. They become immersed in an unholy culture, and they have no ability to help others escape its clutches.

After worldly preachers, a second unintended consequence of making worldliness an evangelistic technique is worldly parishioners. What’s bad for the pulpit is bad for the pew. If the church’s meeting place, music, message, and evangelism are all crafted to shelter or promote worldliness, it’s not rocket science to figure out that eventually the congregation is going to be worldly. What you work for is what you get, and when you turn worldliness into an evangelistic strategy, what you get are Christians virtually indistinguishable from the unbelievers around them. In fact, at times one wonders if they are even Christians at all.

Where does it all lead? Well, one only has to go to the Bible and consider the Corinthian church, the New Testament’s most worldly congregation. The problem was not that the church was in Corinth, but that too much of Corinth was in the church (1 Cor. 8). If you want to know where worldliness exalted as an evangelistic technique leads, just consider what happened to the church of Corinth when they failed to unhitch themselves from the culture following their conversion.

Among other things, they esteemed worldly philosophies over divine revelation (1 Cor 1:18-21; 2:1-2, 6). Evolution and postmodernism anyone? They adopted the rampant selfism of the culture (4:6-7), and embraced, even exceeded, the culture’s tolerance of gross sexual sin (5:1-2, 6). In light of that, is it any surprise that today’s cool churches consistently capitulate on the issue of homosexuality?

The Corinthian church also mirrored the culture’s sex-on-demand attitude (6:12-20), and was promoting worldly ideas about marriage and divorce (chp. 7). Furthermore, the Corinthians’ entertainment habits were a virtual duplicate of the world’s, as they continued to enjoy the drunken and immoral revelry of the feasts at the pagan temples (10:7ff.). Also, following the lead of the Greek mystery cults, the Corinthian believers mistakenly continued to define spirituality as a state of ecstasy in which one forfeits mental and physical control, slips into trances, and speaks inaccurate and uncontrollable prophecies in the name of God (12:3; 14:26-33). That’s where worldliness led the church of Corinth, and it is not difficult to see the same things happening in churches today.

Evangelism is at the heart of the church’s mission, but how we do it is critical. Simply stated, worldliness produces worldliness, not conversions. It corinthianises the church. To evangelize the world, we must embrace a different tactic, expressed so powerfully by the apostle Paul: “Prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world…” (Phil 2:15).

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When you have a Church founded because a King wants to get a “Divorce” this is where it eventually ends up. the Anglican Church was founded to be a mechanism to be used by the State, and it is why it’s membership is in free fall. The Anglican Church, and Christianity by association with the Anglican Church was considered by most to be an extension of the Government. The Gospel was dealt a mortal blow in England because of it!

from The Daily Telegraph:

The organizers of a letter signed by more than 100 senior Anglicans, calling on the Church of England to apologize for its attitude towards homosexuality, have denied trying to split the Church.

In a letter to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the group of 105 signatories, who include cathedral deans, bishops and MPs, call on the Church to repent for “promoting discrimination” against gay and lesbian Christians, and treating them like “second-class citizens”.

The letter – whose signatories include nearly half the country’s cathedral deans – comes as the heads of almost 40 separate churches prepare to meet for the first time in more than a decade, for a week-long summit that the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, sees as a “last roll of the dice” to prevent a schism between liberals and conservatives.

Leading conservative figures warned that any concession to the signatories was likely to increase the risk of a split in the Church. Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester, said: “What we cannot do is compromise what is not ours to compromise. If they in any way compromise the Bible’s teaching, that would be an issue.”

Key figures involved in the organisation of the letter, which has been signed by eight retired bishops and the Bishop of Buckingham, insisted that they did not want the Church to split.

The Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Revd David Ison, one of the organizers of the letter, told Radio 4: “It’s a bit disingenuous to say that there is one biblical view. There are different views in scripture. Jesus had nothing much to say about sexuality, certainly not about homosexuality, but a lot to say about pride and love and judgement of others.

“What we’re seeking to do is put love first. How that’s going to work out I don’t know, and none of us do. Walking out or giving up on one another is not the way of love that we should pursue. I don’t know the way forward. I hope we won’t have to have a split, but the split I’m most concerned about is the split in love where people stop loving one another.”

Jayne Ozanne, a member of General Synod, and another of the signatories, said: “There are some within the LGBT community who are so fed up with being slandered and being held back, that they have lost patience with [the conservative wing]. My view is that it’s terribly important that we stick together because who is going to speak up for gay Christians in Africa or Asia if we go?”

The letter claims that the time has come for “acknowledgement that we, the Church, have failed in our duty of care to LGBTI members of the Body of Christ around the world. We have not loved them as we should, and have treated them as a problem to be solved rather than as brothers and sisters in Christ to be embraced and celebrated. We have made them feel second-class citizens in the Kingdom of God, often abandoned and alone”.

It also calls for “repentance for accepting and promoting discrimination on the grounds of sexuality, and for the pain and rejection that this has caused. We, the Church, need to apologize for our part in perpetuating rather than challenging ill-informed beliefs about LGBTI people, such as the slanderous view that homosexuals have a predisposition to prey on the young”.

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I have to say that I am very dismayed that Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis did not clarify what his stance is on the Roman Catholic Church in the article below. Especially seeing how the official position of the Roman Catholic Church on creation is that God performed creation through evolution and natural selection! Which is diametrically opposed to what Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis, and the Creation Museum state as one of their foundational beliefs: A literal 6 day creation. And they contend that to accept evolution is a doorway to further apostasy!

Not to mention that the current Pope of the Roman Catholic church is leaning very heavily in the direction of giving a nod of approval to Homosexuality!

There is no doubt that this court ruling sets a very bad precedent for “Religious” organizations. However Christian organizations have to be very careful with articles such as this, as it can appear by their silence in regards to the Roman Catholic Church that they are in fact giving their approval of the Roman Catholic Organization as a valid expression of the Christian Faith!

So I post this article for two reasons:

  1. To bring attention to the dangerous precedent that this court case sets
  2. To show how Christians should NOT inadvertently be seeming to give a silent approval of an apostate and despicable man made organization!

From Answers in Genesis:

There was a time when religious groups and ministries could hire without fear only those who supported their mission and core beliefs, but that day is quickly disappearing. Recently in Massachusetts a landmark decision—the first of its kind—has just been made adding an even greater threat to religious liberty: a Roman Catholic school is effectively being forced to hire practicing homosexuals despite the school’s sincerely held religious beliefs.

Man in a Same-Sex Marriage Applied for Position at Catholic School

According to a Massachusetts court, a Catholic preparatory school for girls, whose mission is “the education of young women rooted in gospel values and the teachings of the Catholic church,” was looking to hire a food services director in 2013. School policies have always required that employees must be Catholic and are considered “ministers of the mission.”

A man named Matthew Barrett applied for the position. During one of his interviews he was told that all employees are expected to model Catholic teachings and values and he “responded affirmatively” to being able to do that. The school then offered him employment and he accepted.

Later, however, Barrett filled out a new employee form and listed his “husband” as an emergency contact. The school scheduled another meeting where they told Barrett that they could not hire someone in a same-sex marriage because that’s inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church—teachings he was expected to uphold as an employee.

Court Ruled Against the School

Barrett filed a lawsuit to challenge the school policy, and last month a judge ruled in his favor stating that the school had acted contrary to Massachusetts law by discriminating against Barrett based on his sexual orientation. The judge stated that Barrett had “suffered denial of employment, that the reason for denial was his sexual orientation, and that he suffered harm as a result.”

Apparently, because the school accepts students of all faiths and because a food services director does not accord with the state’s definition of a minister of the gospel, the school does not get a religious exemption from the non-discrimination law.

It doesn’t matter that the Catholic church has always opposed same-sex “marriage” and that the school’s employees are expected to support Catholic teachings. A court has now ruled that the school must hire someone who blatantly disagrees with its core beliefs.

Religious Liberty Is Quickly Disappearing in the US

This is ridiculous! How is a religious ministry supposed to present a cohesive message if it can’t reject applicants who don’t agree with its sincerely held religious beliefs? Would an atheist group be treated the same way and be forced to hire a Bible believing Christian for its organization?

We have warned many times that such rulings as this would be forthcoming—this is one of the first. This nation in many ways (including through the court system) has determined that persons engaged in homosexual behavior should be elevated to a protected legal class and everyone must be forced to agree and comply, regardless of any religious conviction to the contrary. Religious convictions, particularly those of Christians, are increasingly being forced out of the public square. Yes, Christian discrimination and persecution is here—and it will continue to increase in the present spiritual climate.

Religious liberty is quickly disappearing in the US. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that since the Supreme Court of the United States decision to legalize same-sex “marriage” in 2015, those who oppose this redefinition of marriage are coming under attack. As our culture continues to drift further from biblical values, we can only expect battles like this to increasingly be fought. As Christians, we need to be bold in standing for God’s Word and biblical morality in a culture that is growing more and more hostile to moral absolutes drawn from God’s Word. We are a shining light in this dark world. We must continue to share the good news of Jesus Christ to people even as our religious liberty continues to fade.

Please pray for AiG and Ark Encounter as we fight our own religious freedom battle here in Kentucky. Wake up America—the First Amendment of the Constitution, and the “first freedom” listed therein, is under unprecedented attack:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. (Emphasis added)

Sadly, the Massachusetts court did not even pay lip service to the Constitution!

This essential prohibition against government infringement upon religious exercise applies equally to the state by virtue of the 14th Amendment, which reads in relevant part:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. (Emphasis added)

Moreover, the Massachusetts court totally ignored the specific exception under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which allows religious organizations to exercise religious preferences in hiring. Federal law recognizes that such preferences are necessary in order for a ministry or other religious organization to follow its core religious beliefs and effectively maintain its religious identity. To hold otherwise amounts to unlawful discrimination against the religious entity and its religious beliefs, and ignores the application of the Constitution and federal statutory law, which are expressly designed to protect these precious religious freedoms.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

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from Pirate Christian:

So, let’s think about this for a minute:

The God who created the entire universe from nothing, who was born to a virgin, lived an amazing life full of miracles, teachings and healings, then willingly gave His life on the cross to pay for the sins of all the world, then rose victoriously from the dead… all of that is not good enough to get people’s attention?

But if someone get’s a tattoo onstage during the sermon-that’s gonna make the Gospel message a lot better? If only we would have known this before!

“I didn’t want to repent of my sins, but now that some lady got a tattoo during a sermon, I believe. Plus, it’s easier to pay attention to a sermon while being completely distracted. ”

— Said Nobody Ever

Closing thoughts: If pastors continue this downward spiral, where will it end up? If we say that “people are different nowadays” and “we need a gimmick to get people to church these days” aren’t we just setting ourselves up for even more ridiculous and embarrassing stunts? And if a person comes to church only because they were attracted to the spectacle that made it “new” and “relevant,” what kind of person are we attracting, and why are they really showing up?

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1 Corinthians 11:20-22:

“Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.”

I believe and this is just my opinion nothing clearly Biblical to back it up, that God follows the “Law of Diminishing Returns” because of the carnality of mans “tyranny of good intentions” In other words Good Christians can slowly drift further and further from the pure gospel because their flesh and outside influences war against the Holy Spirit that resides within them. Their carnal side wants to see large numbers, a BIG church, and to be “relevant”, The Holy Spirit says “Stay true to the Word” But the people side with their flesh and drift further away until they reach a point that God releases them to their own desires, and they lose the guidance of the Holy Spirit and they fall headlong into Humanistic thinking and blindness, and the Holy Spirit has completely departed from dwelling within them! It’s what we all must guard against and say to ourselves when we see this “But for the Grace of God, There go I”

Related: Get a Tattoo on Stage during Sermon?!?!?

from from NY Daily News:

In a religious conundrum? Just ask yourself: What Would Jesus Brew?

A growing number of churches across the country have taken to serving beers and ales as a means of attracting younger members. Other congregations ditch the sacred space entirely and flock to the local pub, preferring neither water nor wine, but perhaps a nice IPA.

In a fascinating look into modern Christian culture in America, NPR’s The Salt blog examines the strange brew of religion and alcohol — and how it’s attracting unexpected people to Christianity.

In Fort Worth, Texas, Church-in-a-Pub gets churchgoers in the spirit, so to speak. Worship leaders hold communion at the bar and even sing hymns and songs of praise. Phil Heinze, who is part of Calvary Lutheran Church’s bold new initiative, said that the idea is to spark curiosity in those around.

“I’m interested in having people have significant relationships around Jesus,” he told NPR. “And if it turns out to be craft beer, fine.”

A parish in Portland, Ore., does much the same. First Christian Church holds an event called “Beer & Hymns” once a month, attracting about 100 swilling and singing young people.

To keep things in check, the church enforces a two-beer maximum. The casual environment, far from the notions of being in your starched Sunday bests, lends itself to attracting those who wouldn’t be seen sitting in a pew.

Even New York — a hallowed haven for microbrews and craft beers — has ministries centered around brewskis. Theology-on-Tap NYC , which came to the city in 2000, takes questions of eternal life and false prophets and puts them in the most unorthodox of settings — an Irish pub.

The group says on its website that it is “in perfect alignment with the Pope,” explaining that the Holy Father commands that the Gospel of Christ should be taken to where the people are.

The event is held at Connolly’s Bar on W. 45th St. in Manhattan every Sunday, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

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And she should not only have been suspended she should have been fired! As by saying this she is exhibits the inability to understand an elementary concept of God! And that is the God of the Bible in no way could be confused as Allah of Quran!

The one true God of the Bible is known by his attributes! And the attributes of God in the Bible are in direct opposition to the false god of Islam!

Many people fall into humanistic philosophical traps, such as Occam’s Razor to try and rationalize that the one true God of the Bible is the same as the false god, Allah of Islam! And they do this because they have already accepted the fallacy that the Bible is not clear and not the sole revelation of God to man! But is nothing more than one groups vague interpretation of who God is!

from MSN News:

A tenured political science professor at Wheaton College, an evangelical university outside Chicago, has been suspended after she wrote in a Facebook post that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.

Dr. Larycia Hawkins wrote on the social media site on Dec. 10 that she was donning the hijab head scarf during the period of advent before Christmas as a sign of solidarity with Muslims. In her post she said “we worship the same God.”

After that statement drew criticism, the school said Hawkins was on administrative leave.

“In response to significant questions regarding the theological implications of statements that Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Larycia Hawkins has made about the relationship of Christianity to Islam, Wheaton College has placed her on administrative leave, pending the full review to which she is entitled as a tenured faculty member,” said the statement, issued on Tuesday.

Wheaton College spokeswoman LaTonya Taylor did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for information about how long the suspension would last, how unusual it was and who would conduct the review. Hawkins also did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The college said that when they participate in causes, faculty and staff must faithfully represent the school’s evangelical statement of faith.

On her Facebook page on Dec. 10, Hawkins said she would wear the hijab in solidarity with Muslim neighbors. “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book.”

Hawkins, who has written on race, religion and American politics, said she had consulted with the local chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, an advocacy group, to make sure that it would not be seen as offensive for a non-Muslim woman to wear the headscarf.

The solidarity gesture comes as Muslims around the United States report worries of a backlash and growing Islamophobia after a couple who had pledged allegiance to the extremist group Islamic State killed 14 people in California in early December.

After she was criticized for saying Christians and Muslims worship the same God, Hawkins said on her Facebook page that there are convincing arguments for expressing religious solidarity with Muslims and Jews and asked people who do not agree with her to accept her love and her offering of peace.

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