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Charleston attack: when God is at work, Satan reacts

Jun 19, 2015

by Jim Denison

  • Friday, 19 June 2015
  • Denison Forum
  • Read the entire article - click here.
  • ......
  • "There is no greater coward than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of Scripture." So said NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks, condemning Wednesday night's shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

    Emmanuel AME Church, the scene of the attack, is historically African-American, tracing its roots to 1816. One of its founders tried to organize a slave revolt in 1822; white landowners had his church burned in revenge. Members worshiped underground until after the Civil War. Wednesday's shooting took the life of the church's pastor and eight others, and has been labeled a hate crime (For more, see Nick Pitts's article Tragedy in Charleston).

    Wherever God is at work, Satan reacts. His first strategy is "to steal and kill and destroy" (John 10:10). When Jesus' movement gained a national following, Satan led Judas to betray our Lord (John 13:2, 27). When Peter preached at Pentecost and 3,000 were converted, Satan incited the religious authorities to arrest them and demand that they cease preaching (Acts 4). When Paul's ministry reached global status, Satan led the authorities arrest and eventually behead him.

    More people are coming to Christ today than at any time in human history, and Satan is again responding through violence. According to John Allen, longtime Vatican journalist, 80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination around the world are directed at Christians. Ninety percent of all religious martyrs are Christians. Terror attacks against Christiansescalated 309 percent between 2003 and 2010.

    Persecution is strongest where the Kingdom is advancing the fastest. In the Muslim world, where more have come to Christ in the past 15 years than the previous 15 centuries, attacks on Christians are more common than ever before. Newsweek recently reported: "In recent years the violent oppression of Christian minorities has become the norm in Muslim-majority nations stretching from West Africa and the Middle East to South Asia and Oceania." The magazine then stated, "The conspiracy of silence surrounding this violent expression of religious intolerance has to stop." (For more, see my Respected to Irrelevant to Dangerous.)

    Read the entire article - click here.

  • ...
  • Canadian bioethicist attacks conscientious objection

    Apr 18, 2015

    by Michael Cook

    • April 18, 2015
    • BioEdge.org
    • Read the entire article - click here.
    • ......
    • The Canadian Medical Association is digging in its heels to protect doctors’ right of conscientious objection to euthanasia and assisted suicide, which will soon become legal. In an interview with the National Post, CMA president Chris Simpson said recently, “we simply cannot accept a system that compels physicians to go against their conscience as individuals on something so profound as this.”

      Don’t listen to him, warns one of Canada’s most prominent bioethicists. No doctor should have the right to conscientious objection, he says.

      Professor Udo Schuklenk, of Queens University and editor-in-chief of the journal Bioethics, delivered a blistering attack on conscientious objection in medical practice in his blog:

      "The very idea that we ought to countenance conscientious objection in any profession is objectionable. Nobody forces anyone to become a professional. It is a voluntary choice. A conscientious objector in medicine is not dissimilar to a taxi driver who joins a taxi company that runs a fleet of mostly combustion engine cars and who objects on grounds of conscience to drive those cars due to environmental concerns."

      Professor Schuklenk puts forward two reasons. First, medicine is a service industry and “Patients are entitled to receive uniform service delivery from health care professionals. They ought not to be subjected to today’s conscientious objection lottery.” This is a particular concern in a country as vast as Canada, where doctors may be scarce in rural areas.

      Second, he regards and appeal to conscientious objection as a fig leaf to give privileged protection to practicing Christians. “Conscience clauses today are by and large a concession of special rights to Christian health care professionals, at least in secular Western democracies.”

    Must Christianity Change Its Sexual Ethics?

    Apr 11, 2015

    History May Hold the Key

    • by Trevin Wax
    • April 9, 2015
    • Crosswalk.com - Religion News Service
    • Read the entire article - click here.
    • ......
    • Whenever people today say that Christianity needs to update and adapt its moral standards for the 21st century, I hear echoes from 100 years ago. Back then, the calls for change had less to do with morality and more to do with miracles. But the motivation was similar, and the results are instructive.

      What rocked the early 20th century was the call of many church leaders to adapt the Christian faith to the scientific age of discovery. One could not expect thinking men and women to accept at face value all the miracles in the Bible, the thinking went. The biblical testimony of the miraculous was embarrassing to an educated mindset.

      In order to rescue Christianity from superstitious irrelevance, many church leaders sought to distinguish the kernel of Christianity (the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man) from the shell of Christianity (miracle stories that came from another cultural vantage point). One could still maintain the moral center of Christianity while disregarding the events that required suspension of disbelief.

      As this adaptation spread, belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus was reinterpreted and given a solely spiritual meaning (he is alive in the hearts of good people). Miracle stories such as Jesus’ feeding the 5,000 were given a moral twist (the true miracle is that suddenly everyone shared). The Virgin Birth was rejected altogether.

      Meanwhile, churches outside the West were appalled to hear “Christians” reject the clear testimony of Scripture and what the church had always believed. In North America, the rise of the evangelical movement was due, in part, to a desire to reclaim the center of Christianity and refuse to allow contemporary sensibilities to alter the faith “once for all delivered to the saints.”

      Presbyterian minister and theologian J. Gresham Machen made the case that this refashioning of Christianity was no longer Christianity at all, but a substitute religion with a Christian veneer.

      Over time, the effort to save the kernel of Christianity and leave aside its shell had the opposite effect. The distinctiveness of Christian teaching disappeared, and the shell of church rituals was all that remained. This is why, even today in some denominations, bishops and pastors and parishioners openly reject the core tenets of the faith but continue to attend worship and go through certain rites. The denominations that followed this course have since entered a sharp and steady decline.

      More... click here.

    The curious unseriousness of all our moral debates

    Apr 03, 2015

    by Anthony Esolen

    • March 31, 2015
    • Life Site - News
    • Read the entire article - click here.
    • ......
    • I've come to believe that there is something fundamentally unserious these days about moral discussions.

      Imagine two farmers, brothers working the same five hundred acres, arguing about whether to take a big chance on the next harvest, by sowing a lucrative crop in fields that are already worn thin in nutrients. Jim wants to do it, thinking that they may as well, since they're in debt and the only way to clear it will be to win big. John thinks that the risk isn't worth it, and that if they sow the usual crops while letting half of their fields lie fallow, they'll go deeper in debt for the coming year, but they'll stand a decent chance to clear things up the year after.

      Nobody will say, “John, you must be gentle in addressing the gamblers,” or, “Jim, you are unwelcoming to the cautious.” We would all understand that the tone of the argument is not to the point. The stakes are high. A mistake could mean losing everything.

      Or imagine your daughter is being pursued by two young men who want to marry her. One of them is good looking, well spoken, full of life, wealthy, and shiftless. He is unemployed. The other is ordinary looking, slow of speech, solid, of modest means, and absolutely trustworthy. He has not been unemployed since he was sixteen. She has had her head turned by the shiftless man, and you see her as in a car speeding along a mountain road with hairpin turns.

      Some people may advise you to be chary of your criticism, because if you push too hard, you may push her right into the arms of the bad man. But not even they would tell you not to take the matter seriously. The stakes are high. Misery threatens on the horizon.

      So why do we not view with the same sobriety such questions as now beset what remains of our culture? We wouldn't say to a child, “Each of us has his own opinion regarding whether it's good to eat the strange fruit on that tree, so go ahead and eat it if you like.” We wouldn’t say to someone about to drive a car recently repaired, “Each of us has his own opinion about the steering differential, and whether it will disengage at a high speed, but go ahead and try it out if you like.” That's because we take poison seriously, and cars careening over a guard rail. No one calls the cautious man a toxophobe. No one accuses him of prejudice against unknown berries, or alternative gear styles.

      More... click here.

    Enshrining ‘absurdity’: Alberta poised to impose acceptance of ‘gender

    Mar 26, 2015

    • by Steve Weatherbe
    • March 25, 2015
    • Life Site - News
    • Read the entire article - click here.
    • ......
    • EDMONTON, Alberta

      Alberta was once considered Canada’s most socially conservative province, but these days, critics say, it seems more transfixed by trendiness as it pursues gay straight alliances and “gender fluidity.”

      The first came earlier this month when the Progressive Conservative government passed an education reform bill forcing all schools to provide clubs to promote homosexuality, even Christian or Muslim private schools with definitive teachings condemning homosexuality.

      The flavour of the second half of the month is “gender identity” and “gender expression,” which the Alberta government is seriously considering protecting from discrimination through the Alberta Human Rights Act.

      “We are considering introducing an amendment to the Alberta Human Rights Act, but at this point we are not in a position to comment on when that might happen,” Jessica Jacobs-Mino, the press secretary for Justice Minister Jonathan Denis, told the Calgary Herald by email.

      While the Herald clearly approved, as did all those it found for comment, conservative Christians say this official recognition of a social trend can only add to cultural confusion about human nature and sexuality with dangerous consequences.

      “This is totally an expression of post-modern relativism,” Dr. Peter Ambery, a Victoria, B.C., psychotherapist told LifeSiteNews. “According to Facebook we now have 50 genders. It is what happens when intelligent people stop believing in God. They believe in absolute absurdities.”

      And Fr. Stefano Pella of Newman Theological College in Edmonton, Alberta, warned that the government appeared to be enforcing a “passing fad” whose purpose was to turn people totally into consumers not only of sexual experiences but even of genders. “You have to ask, ‘Who is making a profit from this?’, especially when such ideas are being forced on children. We call that abuse.”

      More... click here.

    God, Reason, and Our Civilizational Crisis

    Mar 22, 2015

    • by Samuel Gregg
    • Mar 12, 2015
    • The Witherspoon Institute - Public Discourse
    • Read the entire article - click here.
    • ......
    • The way that a culture understands the nature of God shapes its conception of man, reason, and society. Though this presents enormous challenges for the Islamic world, it also has significant implications for the sustainability of Western civilization.

      Leaving aside the specifics of Huntington’s thesis, his very use of the word “civilization” was one point of criticism. The expression implies that some cultures are more advanced than others. In an age when many are in thrall to various versions of moral and cultural relativism, this doesn’t go over well.

      One criterion by which a culture’s civilizational attainments are often assessed has been the extent to which it gives scope to man’s capacity for reason. National Socialism’s Nietzschean glorification of an untrammeled Will of the Volk and the State, not to mention the regime’s efforts to exterminate entire categories of people, reflected a thoroughgoing irrationality; thus the absurdity of the Third Reich’s claims to be promoting European civilization. Less appreciated, however, is the extent to which a society’s capacity to embrace full-bodied conceptions of reason depends heavily upon the dominant understanding of the Divine prevailing in that community. In that regard, modern Western civilization may be more at risk of cultural decline than many presently realize.

      More... click here.

    Will God Find Another Jonah?

    Mar 02, 2015
    • Janet Denison's Blog
    • Feb 25, 2015
    • Read the full article - click here.
    • ......

    This year I am teaching through the Minor Prophets. That study has caused me to see the news differently than I would have before. A recent article caused me to reconsider a group of people living in that ancient land today. We know them as ISIS.

    Jonah was sent to Ninevah, the capital of Assyria. Ancient Ninevah is across the river from Mosul, the headquarters for much of what ISIS is accomplishing today. When Jonah was asked to go to this region he ran the other way. After a few days in the belly of a fish, he chose to walk straight into Ninevah and preach God's warnings. Jonah had come to realize that nothing was as important as obedience to God's call. And the word of God, more powerful than any sword, brought the Assyrians to their knees.

    The repentance that Jonah witnessed didn't last long. About 80 years after Jonah preached to the people of Ninevah, Nahum wrote his prophecy against the people of that land. Nahum 1:14 says, "The Lord has given a command concerning you, Nineveh: "You will have no descendants to bear your name. I will destroy the images and idols that are in the temple of your gods. I will prepare your grave, for you are vile." Ancient Ninevah was destroyed by the Babylonians and is still dirt and ruins today. A recent news article reports that many of the people dwelling in that region today have, once again, become vile. We need another Jonah.

    USA Today ran the article on the second page, telling the story of a 17-year old girl who showed up at a hospital in Northern Iraq on February 10th. She had escaped her captors, the soldiers of ISIS, during a recent airstrike. She had to leave her sisters behind and was almost dead when she arrived at the hospital, but she has survived to tell her story. Nareen Shammo, a journalist, is determined to share her story, and the stories of many others with the world.

    Shammo is now a target of ISIS. She has interviewed and helped as many women as she can who have escaped from ISIS and suffered their evil. She told USA Today, "Girls, some as young as 13, awarded as prizes to Islamic State fighters; some forced into marriage. Women routinely raped, sold in slave markets and passed around as playthings. She heard accounts of forced conversions, suicides and babies ripped from mothers' arms." She also said that the women were often used to provide blood transfusions for injured ISIS soldiers. Another article in the same edition of the paper reported that mass graves have been found containing bodies that had vital organs removed, supposedly for use on the black market. The Assyrians have become ISIS and are once again a people who are hated and feared.

    More... click here.

    94% have nomophobia—do you?

    Feb 18, 2015

    Denison Forum on Truth and Culture
    Dr. Jim Denison, President
    Feb 18, 2015
     

    Read the full article - click here.

    "Nomophobia" is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. The psychological term abbreviates "no-mobile-phone phobia." "Cell Phone Loss Anxiety" is a related term for those who lose their mobile devices. Such diagnoses are more needed today than ever. According to a Psychology Today report, when asked how they felt after misplacing their cell phone, 73 percent said they panicked, 14 percent became desperate, and seven percent became physically sick.

    The founder of an online dating site observed, "People in the 21st century are alone. We have so many new ways of communicating, yet we are so alone." One expert notes: "It's a great psychological truth that if we don't teach our children how to be alone, they will always be lonely."

    How would Jesus have handled a cell phone?

    We find a clue in Mark 1:35. After large crowds gathered to meet our Lord, did he begin the day turning listeners into followers? Networking with his leadership team? Forging strategies for continued growth? None of the above: "Rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed." He knew that we must be much with God before we can be much for him.

    In Genesis 46 we read, "Israel took his journey with all he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night" (vs. 1-2). Israel (Jacob) learned that sacrifice precedes revelation. I must get alone with God in worship and submission before I can hear his Spirit's voice clearly. Solitude does not earn revelation—it positions us to receive what our Father wants to tell us. 

    More... click here

    Islamists won’t kill free speech—we will

    Jan 10, 2015

    Barbara Amiel - Mclean's Magazine - January 9, 2015
    Read the full article in the magazine or click here.

    ‘In my view there is no media outlet in Canada brave enough to allow a full and proper discussion of Islam’

    "It is difficult not to be intemperate in the face of nine murdered journalists, two murdered policemen and a janitor, lying in pools of blood in Paris, the City of Lights: the cold, calculated killing spree a response to journalism that was displeasing. The magazine Charlie Hebdo was firebombed in 2011. Though it regularly heaved dung across and beyond the political spectrum and satirized many religious figures and religions including the Pope, Jews, Christians et al, it was Charlie’s caricatures of Islam that brought on the bombs and murders. Not surprising, in our time when virtually all terrorism of the last few decades—whether in Russia, China, Germany, the killing fields of Syria and the Middle East, New York or Boston—has been carried out in the name of Islam..."

    "... The West has been ready to give up on itself for some time now. We have no idea of what we stand for and seem to have no faith other than lip-service in the superiority of our institutions. If 9/11 can somehow be made to feel like partly the fault of America, then change foreign policy or administrations and the problem will go away. If young Islamic terrorists are created by feelings of “alienation” then the problem will be solved by getting them to like us. It’s so comforting. Fundamentalist Islam is on the march and all we can do is worry about giving offence. When the blood of journalists can only be expunged by denying other journalists the right to say or show what they died for, we are hemorrhaging freedom. I have no children but some coming generation will pay the price for their parents’ cowardice."

    The music of man and of woman

    Nov 24, 2014

    Read article in Mercatornet.com about the interreligious colloquium on The Complementarity of Man and Woman in Marriage held at the Vatican

    "A new affirmation of marriage by world religious leaders:"

    Why do weddings still move us? We do not become emotional when business partners strike a deal. We shed no tears at a friendly handshake. We feel no such joy to hear of “casual” mating. A wedding is different. Here stand a man and woman, entering together into a new life.
    And yet it is more than this. They are about to enter the generations. Their union proclaims life: their parents and grandparents still live within them. Humankind lives within them. The cultures and creeds of the world live within them. They are there—in the blood. Those bearing witness know this truth. They too have been born from a union of man and woman.
    See the grandmother who looks on, now frail. She was once that bride, and the memory of her own mother and father dwells within her still.
    See the brother who welcomes guests—he will one day be that bridegroom, and he too will enter in a new way the long history into which he was born.
    See their friends and neighbors. They are more essential than any might guess. For it is they who will help make this marriage flourish. Their investment will return to them, for marriage is a cup that runs over.
    See the mother of the bridegroom, hugging her son amid smiles and tears. He was once a helpless baby whom she nursed at the breast. Now he stands tall above her, and his voice is deep, and his shoulders broad. She remembers his birth. He who was once her child will one day be a father.
    See the father of the bride, holding her by the hand. He recalls when her mother bore her, and he envisions in her what is so hard to believe, the mother-to-be. She is the bearer of a future. She is irreplaceable.
    See man and woman together. They are not just two people. He is for her, and she for him; it is inscribed in their bodies. Their union will bring life that binds and mingles families, encourages faith to flourish, and brings humankind and the world’s diverse cultures to flower again.
    Both are eager to undertake their new responsibilities—their gift of self to the other—and think little about what is owed them. They know nothing yet of the difficulty of the years ahead, only of their desire to travel it together.
    It is hard now to speak of such obvious and beautiful things, but they are there. All the witnesses know it. It is the music of man and of woman. Man with woman brings out the finest in him, directing his blood and his mind toward what makes life possible; and woman with man brings out the finest in her, directing her love and her care toward what makes life sweet.
    Today, however, the homes that marriage makes are exposed to an army of distractions, and to the thief and the enemy who comes to steal and destroy. Weddings are rarer and children fewer. Where poverty erodes, marriage feels out of reach. Where war afflicts, families are crushed. Anywhere marriage recedes, we lose the transcendent and material goods that all human beings should enjoy.
    And we too are at fault, for when marriages are exposed to the wind and the rain, we have paid little attention. When the needs of children succumb to the wishes of adults, we have often remained silent. Love is reduced to a consumer item, an airbrushed image, or a slogan to export. It will not work. We will not flourish.
    For marriage is no mere symbol of achievement, but the very foundation—a base from which to build a family and from there a community. For on earth marriage binds us across the ages in the flesh, across families in the flesh, and across the fearful and wonderful divide of man and woman, in the flesh. This is not ours to alter. It is ours, however, to encourage and celebrate.
    And so it is that we rejoice at weddings.
    This we affirm.

    What's Happening This Week

     

       The sermon from July 15th. is posted. This sermon, as well as previous sermons, can be played back from the Website.

    • Sunday Sunday School classes for ages 3-5, 6-8, 9-11. The Nursery is available for children aged two and younger.
    • No regular Midweek services during July and August. If you wish to host a cottage meeting, please see Pastor Keith.

    Please Also Note

    • Anyone who wishes to be baptizedis asked to see Pastor Keith as soon as possible. A Baptismal Service will be arranged for a suitable date in August.
    • During coffee time, feel free to browse through our Garage Sale items. You may leave a donation for your purchase, in the container provided. All donations will support the building fund.
    • After coffee you are invited to help clean up – sweeping, washing, tidying, taking out garbage, etc.
    • The Leadership Team will meet on Thursday, August 2.

    Church Services:

    • Wednesday Evenings - 7:00PM  - No regular Midweek services during July and August.
    • Sunday Mornings - 11:00AM

    Children's Ministry - for ages 2-11 during service time. All children welcome to attend. The Nursery is available for children under two.

     

     

    Upcoming Events

     

    Coming Events
    • Badlands Passion Play ends July 22. Tickets: 403-823-2001
    • Today – Junior Week starts at Pioneer Bible Camp

    Pioneer Bible Camp 2018
    Junior Week Age 10-12Sun. July 15-Fri. July 20$275
    Kids' Camp Age 7-9 Sun. July 22-Thu. July 26$250
    Family CampFri. July 27-Sun. July 29*
    * $50 per adult $25 per child (3-12)Children 0-35 mo. free.
    Maximum Family Camp fee $175
    Register online: pioneerbiblecamp.ca

    • ...

    Regularly Scheduled Worship Times:

    • Wednesday Evenings at 7:00 PM - No regular Midweek services during July and August.
    • Sunday Morning at 11:00 AM, including Sunday School for the children
     

     


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