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from CCC Discover:

Talk of sin and grace is out of style. Now, before we attack the culture, secularism, or those other Christians who are not part of our tribe, it’s important to ask two questions: Do I believe in sin and grace as a reality? Do I recognize sinfulness in my own life, and do I see God’s ongoing, supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in my life as a work of God’s grace?

Sin and grace are core doctrines of Christianity. Sin, rebellion against God, a state of defiance—this is not just something I do, but something I am. To be a human being, Christian or non-Christian, is to be a sinner.

This is important because only sinners are saved by grace, and Christians remain sinners. Holiness, sanctification, the work of the Spirit is only begun—Christians won’t see perfection in this life.

We are declared saints and we are becoming saints, but we don’t completely model sainthood yet. We still sin. We still have twisted desires. We still feel the tensions of this present evil age working within our heart. Anyone who is married can confirm this. A spouse is a good mirror to reveal our worst side.

So how does our denial of sin and grace show itself in our life?

1. We reveal a grace-denying heart when we treat God casually.

To treat God casually is to lose a sense that God is holy. It’s an attempt to tame God, to ignore the sides we don’t like. It’s like treating a lion as a house cat. Michael Horton explains it this way:

[T]he transcendent God of majesty and holiness succumbed to a casual familiarity. Although only one in ten Americans say that they have ever doubted God’s existence, most say that they view God exclusively as a friend rather than as a king and “only a small minority” report having ever experienced fear of God. (Michael Horton, Christless Christianity, 53)

When you read the Bible, you don’t find a God to be taken lightly. God is king over all creation. God is holy. God is working in the world to save it. God is not my homeboy, nor is God a genie granting wishes or a grandfatherly figure who turns his face from evil.

2. We reveal a grace-denying heart when we treat the gospel therapeutically.

To treat the gospel therapeutically shows itself in many ways. Tony Robbins’ I Am Not Your Guru is a good example (although please do not watch this if vulgar language offends you). The people who come to events like Tony Robbins’ pay a lot of money to find themselves, improve themselves, become successful, or find healing from some tragedy.

These are all legitimate pursuits, and maybe people like Tony Robbins, despite his language, can help people. But this is not Christianity. Christianity is not a wholesome alternative to self-improvement. God never promised prosperity or comfort in this life. The apostles were not successful by the world’s standards.

It’s true that God cares about our well-being. He provides for our needs. He wants to heal our broken lives. He wants to help us in our weaknesses. He wants to move us to good works for the sake of others. But the difference between therapy and the gospel lies in one important distinction: God cares about so much more than our emotional well-being. The gospel is not a self-help program to make us feel better. Michael Horton explains it this way:

[A]s religion is privatized into a kind of therapeutic usefulness, sin and redemption are translated in subjective rather than objective categories. Christ, then, is the answer to bad feelings, not any actual state of enmity or guilt before God. Everything that used to be considered a sovereign work of God, through his appointed means of preaching and sacrament, is now attributed to the self (or the evangelist) working through the most efficient steps and techniques. We recognize this pragmatic orientation in the “how-to” literature that lines the shelves of Christian bookstores and pastors’ studies. (Michael Horton, Christless Christianity, 53)

Salvation is more than therapy, and often the gospel leaves us weak, broken, and suffering so that God can demonstrate his grace in our lives for the sake of those around us. This seems counter-intuitive, but that is the point. God gets the glory when God keeps us dependent upon his grace and mercy.

3. We reveal a grace-denying heart when we make excuses for our own graceless Christianity.

It’s important in these discussions to realize that I am just as guilty for a therapy approach to Christianity. It’s easy to find a sinless and graceless Christianity in everyone else, but that is not the point. Self-help religion is our natural wiring. It’s easy to see this in others, but much harder to see this in my own heart. The answer to the temptation to turn the gospel of grace into a self-help religion of good morals or successful living demands practice.

  • We need to hear the law. We need to hear that we ourselves are still sinners. We need to be honest with ourselves. We need to engage in regular self-reflection and self-criticism. We need to expose our own sinful hearts, and allow the light of God’s Word to reveal our sinful desires.
  • We need to confess our sins and our continual need for grace to God. We need to pray: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:14).
  • We need to continually hear the message of grace: that God accepts us as his children through faith in Jesus and that God gives us the Holy Spirit to help us, to keep us focused on Jesus, to draw us to love those around us.
  • We need to look at other people tempted by the same self-help religion and love them. We need to be a gracious presence in their life. We need to remind them of the gospel. We need to pray with them and for them. And we need to hope that they will do the same for us.

When hearing about self-help religion, it’s easy to become proud thinking that we are immune and that we are the solution, that we need to go around pointing out sins and exposing people’s graceless approach to Christianity. But we need to watch out that our approach is not itself graceless self-help.

If we think that we are the “successful” Christians who have all our theology figured out and are truly committed to the way, we need to ask ourselves some important questions: “Is this the heart that the Holy Spirit produces?” “Do I treat others expecting that the Holy Spirit will help them?” “Is my approach toward people kind?”

Self-help religion is a problem, but so is being a graceless jerk. May God help us in both areas to continually seek the grace of acceptance with God and the grace of the Holy Spirit’s power to love people as much as doctrine. As Christians, our hope is not in how much we believe grace or how much our lives reveal the effects of grace. Our hope is in the grace of God, and the gospel is the good news that God is gracious and merciful to us.

 

from Got Questions:

The Bible does not use the phrase “one-world government” or “one-world currency” in referring to the end times. It does, however, provide ample evidence to enable us to draw the conclusion that both will exist under the rule of the Antichrist in the last days.

In his apocalyptic vision in the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John sees the “beast,” also called the Antichrist, rising out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns (Revelation 13:1). Combining this vision with Daniel’s similar one (Daniel 7:16-24), we can conclude that some sort of world system will be inaugurated by the beast, the most powerful “horn,” who will defeat the other nine and will begin to wage war against Christians. The ten-nation confederacy is also seen in Daniel’s image of the statue in Daniel 2:41-42, where he pictures the final world government consisting of ten entities represented by the ten toes of the statue. Whoever the ten are and however they come to power, Scripture is clear that the beast will either destroy them or reduce their power to nothing more than figureheads. In the end, they will do his bidding.

John goes on to describe the ruler of this vast empire as having power and great authority, given to him by Satan himself (Revelation 13:2), being followed by and receiving worship from “all the world” (13:3-4), and having authority over “every tribe, people, language and nation” (13:7). From this description, it is logical to assume that this person is the leader of a one-world government which is recognized as sovereign over all other governments. It’s hard to imagine how such diverse systems of government as are in power today would willingly subjugate themselves to a single ruler, and there are many theories on the subject. A logical conclusion is that the disasters and plagues described in Revelation as the seal and trumpet judgments (chapters 6-11) will be so devastating and create such a monumental global crisis that people will embrace anything and anyone who promises to give them relief.

Once entrenched in power, the beast (Antichrist) and the power behind him (Satan) will move to establish absolute control over all peoples of the earth to accomplish their true end, the worship Satan has been seeking ever since being thrown out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12-14). One way they will accomplish this is by controlling all commerce, and this is where the idea of a one-world currency comes in. Revelation 13:16-17 describes some sort of satanic mark which will be required in order to buy and sell. This means anyone who refuses the mark will be unable to buy food, clothing or other necessities of life. No doubt the vast majority of people in the world will succumb to the mark simply to survive. Again, verse 16 makes it clear that this will be a universal system of control where everyone, rich and poor, great and small, will bear the mark on their hand or forehead. There is a great deal of speculation as to how exactly this mark will be affixed, but the technologies that are available right now could accomplish it very easily.

Those who are left behind after the Rapture of the Church will be faced with an excruciating choice—accept the mark of the beast in order to survive or face starvation and horrific persecution by the Antichrist and his followers. But those who come to Christ during this time, those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 13:8), will choose to endure, even to martyrdom.

from The Federalist:

Politicians in the Netherlands are discussing the possibility of legalizing euthanasia for healthy people. The proposed “Completed Life Bill” would allow any person age 75 or over who decides their life is “complete” to receive euthanasia. It doesn’t matter if they are otherwise perfectly healthy.

Under current Dutch law, a person only becomes eligible for euthanasia when they have a terminal illness and are suffering unbearably. Pia Dijkstra, an MP for Dutch political party D66, is preparing to introduce the Completed Life Bill. D66 spearheaded most of the groundbreaking socially progressive legislation for which the Netherlands is famous. They are historically a smaller party—they’ve never had a Prime Minister—but they’ve proven themselves to be politically effective.

What Would It Take For This To Pass?

D66 would eventually like to legalize euthanasia for any adult who wishes to die. They openly admit that the Completed Life Bill is a step towards realizing that goal. In March, D66 leader Alexander Pechtold was confronted on a political talk show by a 57-year-old man who said he wishes to die. He asked why the Completed Life Bill is only persons age 75 and older. “I have to wait 18 more years. I don’t feel like waiting 18 years. I want it now,” he said.

Pechtold replied, “It’s my personal opinion that in our civilization dying is an individual consideration. You didn’t ask to be brought into the world.” He went on to explain that currently there is political support for legalizing euthanasia for healthy elderly persons. “If we want to maintain that support and not disrupt the discussion then we have to take it step-by-step. In 2002 we passed the euthanasia law for unbearable suffering. In my view, Pia Dijkstra can now continue persuading parliament and the country to—in my own words and personal opinion—take the next step for our civilization.”

Ironically, the Dutch public news broadcaster decided to include a notice with the number for a suicide prevention hotline directly below where the video of Pechtold’s comments is embedded on their website.

If the Completed Life Bill comes to a vote in Parliament, it will most likely pass. Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy has said he is willing to enact it. The question is whether the bill will be placed on the legislative agenda.

In Dutch politics, no party ever wins a majority of seats in parliament. The largest party has to form a coalition with several smaller ones. National elections were held in March, and Prime Minister Rutte is currently negotiating with D66 and two Christian parties—the Christian Democratic Appeal and the Christian Union—about forming a coalition. Both Christian parties are opposed to the Completed Life Bill. The Christian Union in particular is likely to make preventing a vote on the bill a condition of joining the coalition.

Some Doctors Believe This Is Too Much

While politicians debate such a drastic expansion of euthanasia, the manner in which it is currently being carried out in the Netherlands is coming under fire. Earlier this year, a group of 220 doctors took out an advertisement in a major newspaper saying they will refuse to euthanize patients with advanced dementia who are unable give verbal consent. Under Dutch law, an elderly person who is still compos mentis can write a legal declaration stating that they wish to be euthanized when they develop advanced dementia. They can specify conditions about when they want to die, e.g. when they no longer recognize their immediate family.

The doctors who signed the advertisement say they cannot accept these legal declarations. They write, “Giving a deadly injection to a patient with advanced dementia on the basis of their written declaration? To someone who cannot confirm that they wish to die? No, we’re not going to do that. Our moral abhorrence at ending the life of a defenseless person is too great.”

Many of the doctors who signed the advertisement actually administer euthanasia, but they draw the line with patients who are unaware of what is being done to them.

The doctors were motivated by a 2016 case in which the Dutch committee that oversees euthanasia concluded a doctor had acted negligently. An elderly woman with advanced Alzheimer’s had previously written a legal declaration requesting euthanasia, but her specifications about the point at which she was ready to die were open to interpretation. The doctor who euthanized her began by secretly placing a sedative in her coffee. The woman subsequently woke up wide-eyed and resisted the fatal injection. She was restrained by family members and the doctor proceeded.

The controversy flared up again in June when Boudewijn Chabot, a psychogeriatrician and prominent euthanasia supporter, published a 2,600-word op-ed in which he argued that euthanasia now “getting out of hand.” He believes that the euthanasia oversight committee is lax in carrying out its duty and also insufficiently transparent about what it communicates to the public. Chabot argued that legal protections for patients have been quietly eroded over time. He is particularly concerned about the way euthanasia is administered to patients with advanced dementia or chronic psychiatric illness.

The Increase In Euthanasia Is Shocking

In 2016, there were 6,091 reported instances of euthanasia in the Netherlands. Of those, 141 were for patients with dementia. That is up from 12 such cases in 2009. Also for patients with chronic psychiatric illness, there were 0 instances of euthanasia in 2009, but by 2016 that number had risen to 60. “The numbers are small, you could argue,” Chabot writes. “But look at the rapid increase…The financial gutting of the health care sector has particularly harmed the quality of life of these types of patients. It’s logical to conclude that euthanasia is going to skyrocket.”

Chabot is concerned that the legal guidelines for euthanasia for patients with physical illnesses are applied without any further qualification to patients with dementia and psychiatric illness. He believes that simply doesn’t work and can lead to ethical violations.

Speaking to Dutch media, Dijkstra said the concerns expressed in Chabot’s op-ed have no bearing on the Completed Life Bill. “The euthanasia law is being carried out carefully. It’s a pity that certain people constantly want to bring it up for discussion.” Though, in this instance, it is doctors who practice euthanasia who are saying things have gone too far.

“Francis has tried to clamp down on unethical behaviour ever since being made Pope in 2013 and has often spoken out against the pitfalls of ‘temptation’.”

This is exponentially worse than temptation! This is clear evidence of a reprobate mind! Clear Evidence of a polluted man made organization very far from a Godly Church!

 

from The Daily Mail:

Vatican police have broken up a gay orgy at the home of the secretary to one of Pope Francis’s key advisers, it has been reported.

The flat belonged to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is in charge of tackling clerical sexual abuse.

When police showed up, they found drugs and a group of men engaged in sexual activity, local reports state.

Reports in Italy claim the occupant of the apartment is allegedly the secretary to Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio – a key aide to the 80-year-old Pope

Coccopalmerio heads the Pontifical Council for Legislative texts and was said to have once recommended his secretary for a promotion to bishop.

The explosive claims were made in the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.

It is the latest scandal to hit the Vatican and comes after its finance chief Cardinal George Pell was charged with historical sexual offences.

Pell has protested his innocence and said he was looking forward to having his day in court after a two-year investigation, ‘leaks to the media’ and ‘relentless character assassination’.  Police have not revealed details of the charges against the 76-year-old, citing the need to preserve the integrity of the judicial process.

In March the Vatican was hit with a wave of lurid accusations of misbehaving priests across Italy with scandals involving orgies, prostitution and porn videos.

The claims were embarrassing to the Vatican, which under Pope Francis has attempted to demand high standards of the clergy.

Francis has tried to clamp down on unethical behaviour ever since being made Pope in 2013 and has often spoken out against the pitfalls of ‘temptation’.

 

from The Review Journal:

A man yelled “Freedom!” as he crashed his vehicle into Arkansas’ new Ten Commandments monument early Wednesday, nearly three years after he was arrested in the destruction of Oklahoma’s monument at its state Capitol, authorities said.

The privately funded Arkansas monument had been in place outside the state Capitol in Little Rock for less than 24 hours before it was knocked from its plinth and smashed to pieces.

Michael Tate Reed, 32, of Van Buren, Arkansas, was booked in the Pulaski County jail shortly after 7:30 a.m. on preliminary charges of defacing objects of public interest, criminal trespass and first-degree criminal mischief. An arrest report lists his occupation as “unemployed/disabled.”

Authorities did not know whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf, and a video arraignment was set for Thursday morning, a Pulaski County sheriff’s spokesman said.

Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office spokesman Chris Powell said officials believe a Facebook Live video posted on a Michael Reed’s Facebook account that depicted the destruction is authentic.

In the video, the sky is dark and the Arkansas Capitol’s dome is visible. Music is heard followed by a female voice, likely on the radio, saying, “Where do you go when you’re faced with adversity and trials and challenges?” The driver is then heard growling, “Oh my goodness. Freedom!” before accelerating into the monument. The vehicle’s speedometer is last shown at 21 mph (33 kph) and then a collision can be heard.

Arkansas’ monument fell from its plinth and broke into multiple pieces as it hit the ground. The debris had been cleaned up by midmorning Wednesday.

Oklahoma County Sheriff’s spokesman Mark Opgrande told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Reed was arrested in October 2014 in the destruction of Oklahoma’s Ten Commandments monument at the state Capitol. Opgrande confirmed that the suspect arrested Wednesday in Arkansas was the same person arrested in the Oklahoma case.

In a 2015 email to the Tulsa World , Reed apologized for wrecking Oklahoma’s monument and said he suffered from mental health issues.

“I am so sorry that this all happening (sic) and wished I could take it all back,” Reed said.

Hat tip to Apostasy Watch:

This is also apostasy, because these religions can’t all be true considering the fact they all contradict each other…

This is the one world religion the Bible speaks of in Revelation, the end is growing near.

1 Thessalonians 5:3:

 “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

The World’s Most Prominent Religious Leaders Call On Everyone To Make Friends Across Religions

Welcome to The Elijah Interfaith Institute. On June 14, 2017 many of the world’s most prominent religious leaders made a joint statement encouraging people everywhere to make friends across religions. Friendship and getting to know one another are the antidotes to negativity and divisions in society, enhancing understanding and unity. We invite you to download our toolkits for friendship and study. We pray that the message and example of unity, shown by these leaders, will contribute to bridging divisions by inspiring you and your friends to start new conversations with people of different faiths. Follow the example, spread the message.

from The Express:

Violence broke out in Shanggiu in Henan province after 300 police officers and officials demolished the Shuangmiao Christian Church—which was under construction.

Officers dragged out around 40 Christians with one worshipper comparing the brutal scenes to the Japanese invasion of during the Second World War, according to charity China Aid.

Eight Christians remain in custody following the incident amid a crackdown on churches by the communist regime.

hina Aid said: “During the demolition, officials beat dozens of church members, pushing them to the ground and twisting their hands.

“The church was completely razed, and a church member likened the scene to the Japanese invasion of China during World War II.

“Of the 40 seized, eight are still in custody, and the cases of Shuangmiao Christian Church pastor Zhang Di and the church’s vice director, Lü Yuexia, were recently transferred to the Procuratorate, which will decide whether or not to formalise their arrest.”

The Supreme People’s Procuratorate is the highest agency in China responsible for prosecutions.

According to churchgoers Xi Jinping’s Communist Party ordered the church to be destroyed after branding the building an “illegal structure”.

Party officials were sent to the church to search the building and belongings of people on site.

China Aid said the party confiscated phones and other personal property, damaged closets, smashed offering boxes, and stole laptops, money, and jewellery.

The demolition came as row between the church and government escalated over allegations the church refused to pay a £450 arbitrary road usage fee.

Pastor Zhang Di was summoned for questioning last month and accused of assaulting police officers and attacking a village official.

Church leaders are urging the government to release the pastor and churchgoers. They are also calling for police linked to the investigation to be punished.

The Chinese Communist Party has launched a major crackdown on in recent months in an attempt to oppress religious freedom and exercise control.

Churches not sanctioned by the government have been put under surveillance with hundreds of Christians arrested for disturbing public order for offences such as holding bible study groups and displaying crucifixes outside their homes.

There have been reports of Christians being banned from praying, singing hymns, crosses removed from buildings and people arrested for attending church services.

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