News of Note: “Has King David’s Palace Been Found?”

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1. “Have Archaeologists Found King David’s Palace?” – John D. Currid of Reformed Theological Seminary reviews the the evidence of archaeologists’ recent claim that they have found remnants of King David’s palace in Israel. (The Gospel Coalition)

2. “How to keep Millennials in the church? Let’s keep church un-cool.’ – Brett McCracken responds to Rachel Held Evans’ article on how to keep Millenials in church. (The Washington Post)

“As a Millennial, if I’m truly honest with myself, what I really need from the church is not another yes-man entity enabling my hubris and giving me what I want. Rather, what I need is something bigger than me, older than me, bound by a truth that transcends me and a story that will outlast me; basically, something that doesn’t change to fit me and my whims, but changes me to be the Christ-like person I was created to be.” – Brett McCracken, Washington Post

3. “Dear BBC, please stop ignoring God” – Post on the BBC ignoring references to God made in their news reports, and Maureen Greaves’ statement after the court’s sentencing of the two men who murdered her husband. (God and Politics)

4. “Tragic Comic” – Russell Moore’s 2008 review of David Michaelis’biography depicting the tragic life of Peanuts’ creator Charles Schulz. (Touchstone)

“Only by finding himself in Christ’s story can a person find a way out of the illusions of eternity. In a biblical pattern, he can see himself as “hidden in Christ” (Col. 3:3): crucified with him, buried with him, resurrected with him, seated at the Father’s right hand with him. His story isn’t self-constructed or imagined but objectively before us, received in faith. According to this book, (Charles) Schulz’s deathbed was, to him, a pumpkin patch on the day after Halloween, haunted only by disappointment in a Being who never showed up. I hope the biography is wrong and that Charlie Brown’s maker made peace with his own. This past Christmas, I watched once again the Charlie Brown Christmas special, this time with my four young sons. And just as before, I wept at the lisping recitation of King James’s Luke. Charles Schulz may not have believed it, but, somewhere within him, a large-headed kid with a blanket did. I can only hope that Linus had the last word.” – Russell Moore, Touchstone

5. “3 Distinctive Aspects of Biblical Faith” – R.C. Sproul describes three distinct aspects of Biblical faith. (Ligonier Ministries)

6. “Jordan and Jessica’s Story” – Story of Jordan and Jessica who found each other after being widowed in their twenties. (DennyBurk.com)

News of Note: “Pat Robertson Claims There Is No Sin In Being Transgender”

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1. “No sin in being transgender?” (UPDATED 8/1)

“Pat Robertson on Sex Change Operations: ‘I Don’t Think There’s Any Sin Associated With That’” – Heather Clark’s report on Pat Robertson’s comments. (Christian News)

“Pat Robertson On Transgender Community: ‘I Don’t Think There’s Any Sin Associated With That” – No sin in being transgender? (Huffington Post); The following is Robertson’s comments on the 700 Club:

2. “Whatever happened to the wrath of God?” – Russell Moore on PCUSA, the Getty’s hymn “In Christ Alone”, and the wrath of God. (The Washington Post)

3. “Changing Hearts, Laws or Cultures?” – Politics or the gospel? Bill Muehlenberg gives his reasons why it would be wise for Christians to be involved with both. (Culture Watch)

4. “A different kind of coming out” – Three evangelical leaders in Great Britain go public about their struggles with same sex attraction after Rob Bell and Steve Chaltke affirmed same sex relationships. (Christianity)

5. “How Being Part Of A Local Church Helped Save A Young Drunk’s Life” – 20 Schemes intern, Ricky Smith, gives his testimony on how the Lord saved him from alcoholism. (20 Schemes)

News of Note: “Desmond Tutu Would Rather Go to Hell than a Homophobic Heaven”

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1. Desmond Tutu and other world leaders recent remarks about homosexuality

“Former ‘Archbishop’ Desmond Tutu: I Much Rather Prefer to Go to Hell Than a ‘Homophobic Heaven’” – Desmond Tutu stated during a recent public appearance that he would rather go to hell than a homophobic heaven. (Christian News)

“Three Church Leaders on Homosexuality” – Three church leaders and a political leader’s recent remarks on homosexuality. (Culture Watch)

2. “Rampant Biblical Illiteracy” – Bill Muehlenberg on western culture’s rampant Biblical illiteracy. (Culture Watch)

3. “The Extra Mile” – Dan Dumas tells pastors why it is better to be a plow horse rather than a show horse. (Leaders Don’t Panic)

4. “Spiritual Heroin and Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit: A Personal Testimony” – Tony Miano gives his personal testimony about his experiences with the Charismatic Movement. (Cross Encounters)

5. “How Can I Tell If I’m Called to Pastoral Ministry?” – Kevin DeYoung gives ten questions to consider if you think you are being called to pastoral ministry. (DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed)

Notable Quotable: “Spiritual Addicts In False Spiritual Movements Are Like Heroin Addicts” – Tony Miano

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“As the addiction progresses, heroin addicts need not only more heroin, but a higher grade of heroin to maintain the high and minimize the drug’s crushing after-effects. Sadly, the same is true of those who follow these false spiritual movements. Spiritual addicts were once content with periodic doses of Benny Hinn, Marilyn Hickey, Paul and Jan Crouch, Ken and Gloria Copeland, Mike Bickle, and Rodney Howard-Brown. But instead of getting well, instead of entering into spiritual recovery, instead of breaking bad spiritual habits, these spiritual addicts have moved on to stronger more harmful spiritual drugs–people like Bill Johnson and Bethel Church, Todd Bentley, International House of Prayer, Jesus Culture, the New Apostolic Reformation (just 2,000 year old heretics and Gnostics dressed in nicer clothes), and others.

“The only thing, the only One who can bring spiritual addicts out of bondage is the true Holy Spirit–the Third Person of the Godhead. Only the Holy Spirit can take a heart and mind that craves what is false and change it to love what is true. Only the Holy Spirit can so regenerate the heart of the spiritual addict, enabling them to come to genuine repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. While I don’t question the salvation of my Christ-loving, Bible-believing, gospel-sharing, discerning Charismatic friends, I most certainly do question the salvation of spiritual addicts who seek the gift with no concern of who the giver might be. I do question the salvation of those who ignore what the Bible says about discerning every spirit and, instead, simply swallow whatever the latest spiritual snake oil salesman is selling. I do question the salvation of those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit by attributing to the Holy Spirit that which should rightly be attributed to Satan (i.e. the magical appearance of gold dust and gold teeth, fire tunnels, healing evangelism, treasure hunting, trips to heaven, swine anointing (I can’t make this stuff up), toking the Holy Ghost, and other outrageous, man-centered, Holy-Spirit degrading, demonic, blasphemous activities).

“My hope for those addicted to false spiritual movements is not their eternal demise. On the contrary: my hope and prayer is that the Holy Spirit will bring them to their senses and extend to them the most precious gifts–repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And may the Lord bless His Church and the world with yet another Great Awakening, true revival that brings true glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”

(Tony Miano, “Spiritual Heroin and Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit: A Personal Testimony”, Cross Encounters)

Notable Quotable: “The Only Hope for Homosexuals Is Repentance” – Mike Gendron

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“There are two issues here: One is that the word of God has already judged homosexuality, but secondly, you’ve got a papal infallibility [conflict],” he explained. “You’ve got two popes now disagreeing on what is definitely an issue of faith and morals. One pope says that homosexual men should be barred [from the priesthood], and now the new pope says that he is not to judge gays as long as they’re seeking God. So, it’s a contradiction and infallibility is at stake here.”

(Mike) Gendron said that by failing to outline what the Scriptures state about homosexuality, (Pope) Francis is causing eternal harm to the souls of men.

“The pope is doing homosexual men a disservice by in essence giving them a license to continue in their sin,” he explained. “The only way to seek the Lord if you’re gay is to repent and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And it is not just homosexuals; anyone who is sexually immoral is living contrary to sound Biblical teaching.”

“Those people who do not repent and trust Jesus to not only save them from the punishment of sin, but also from the power of sin–the power of homosexuality–[will perish],” Gendron continued. “The pope should be calling these people to repentance. That’s their only hope.”

(Heather Clark quoting, Mike Gendron on Pope Francis’ statement that he will not judge homosexual priests, “Pope Francis on Homosexual Priests: ‘Who Am I to Judge?’” , Christian News)

News of Note: “Pope Open to Gay Priests?” (UPDATED: Commentary from Al Mohler; Fox News and Washington Times Commentaries on San Antonio’s Proposed Ordinance Punishing Citizens Who Oppose Homosexuality)

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1. “Pope Won’t Judge Gay Priests” (UPDATED August 1: Jesse Johnson and Al Mohler on Pope Francis’ comments and Fox News’Todd Starnes, the Washington Times, and Christian Institutes’ video report on San Antonio’s proposed ordinance)

“Breaking News: the Pope is still Catholic” – Jesse Johnon on Pope Francis’ comments regarding gay priests. (The Cripplegate)

“Who Am I to Judge? The Pope, the Press, and the Predicament” – Al Mohler on Pope Francis’ recent comments about gay priests. (AlbertMohler.com)

“Pope Francis on Homosexual Priests: ‘Who Am I to Judge?’” – Christian News reports on Pope Francis’ statement on gay priests. (Christian News)

“Pope Francis says he won’t judge gay priests” – Pope states that he won’t judge gay priests. (Fox News)

“Pope Signals Openness to Gay Priests” – Is the Pope now open to gay priests? – (Wall Street Journal)

2. “A Mess in the Maternity Ward?” – Fred Butler responds to Michael Brown’s critical comments about John MacArthur and the upcoming Strange Fire conference. (Grace To You)

3. “Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt” – New York Times article on Mormons doubting their faith after doing research on the internet. (New York Times)

4. San Antonio’s prosposed ordinance that may punish citizens and City employees who oppose homosexuality

“Unprecedented’ Ordinances Could Prohibit Christians From Working in San Antonio City Government” – Revised City ordinances in San Antonio could punish City employees if they expresses their religious views against homosexuality. (Christian News)

“[T]he proposed ordinance includes ‘words’ against sexual orientation or gender identity as discriminatory acts,” the document explains. “It allows City Council to prohibit those that speak their religious beliefs regarding homosexuality from serving on city boards. This violates First Amendment freedom of speech and freedom of religion. … For example, if a person publically expresses their religious belief that homosexual behavior is a sin—even if this expression is at a church service—that person could be frozen out of involvement with city government.” – Garrett Haley, Christian News

“San Antonio Proposal Could Bar Christians From City Council” – Fox News’ Todd Starnes on San Antonio’s proposed ordinance. (Fox News)

“Churches across San Antonio are expressing outrage over a proposed anti-discrimination law that would protect LGBT workers but would not provide a religious exemption and would effectively prohibit anyone who opposes homosexuality from holding public office or getting a city contract. The proposed change would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the city’s discrimination ordinance. It would protect gays, lesbians, transgender, and veterans – a move that had critics accusing the council of playing politics with the military.” – Todd Starnes, Fox News

“EDITORIAL: Tolerance in San Antonio” – Washington Times editorial of the proposed ordinance in San Antonio (Washington Times)

“Such bigots, for bigots is what they are, have no qualms about using such power as they have to bully anyone who holds views rooted in tradition or religion. The first draft of the San Antonio proposal would also have forbidden the city from doing business with anyone who fails to espouse politically correct views, and could, theoretically be used to remove anyone from office with a traditional view, or even a view not believed fervently enough, for “malfeasance.” Such discrimination is proposed under the cloak of a “non-discrimination” ordinance. George Orwell is alive and hiding in Texas.” – Washington Times

“San Antonio pastors oppose city’s proposed anti-discrimination law” (YouTube – The Christian Institute)

Notable Quotable: “The Very Heart of Childishness” – Carl Trueman

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“I suspect that future generations may well look back on the present day as an era of unsurpassed childishness in the history of mankind. The vast amounts of money paid to grown men to play playground games for the entertainment of the rest of us simply beggars belief. The cultural influence ascribed to young pop stars is quite bizarre. I mean, whatever one’s opinion of government health care, surely we can all agree that Justin Bieber’s opinions on the matter can be safely ignored? And the compulsive need of otherwise apparently intelligent people to tweet the most mind-boggling banalities of their lives into the public domain is startling. To these relatively trivial acts of childishness we might also add the more sinister: the development of a political and legal culture which refuses to recognize any shades of grey. As to morality, the spoiled infants really have taken over the universe of moral discourse when a man who deserts his wife for another man is more likely to be hailed as a cultural hero because of his courageous honesty than decried as a sleazy cretin for his cowardly capitulation to his hormones.

“Sadly, this pervades the church as well. Many megachurches have grown prosperous through the strange, unexpected but undoubtedly successful marriage of a broadly orthodox theology with childish idioms. Further, many Christians in churches that are not so ‘mega’ have their childish ways and their childish people. It is not simply those pastors who dress like slovenly thirteen year olds when they preach that exhibit such qualities. All of us can be tempted in this direction when we are not given what we want and proceed immediately thereafter to throw out of our little prams whatever toys we happen to have. And what can one say about the consistent failure of the Christian twitterati, from the least to the greatest, to understand that some things are for public consumption and that some things are to be kept private? Knowing when to speak in public and when to keep discreetly and modestly quiet (especially about one’s own successes) used to be a basic part of what it meant to grow up.

“Perhaps at the very heart of childishness lies the inability to acknowledge any kind of external authority. The toddler screaming for the confiscated teddy bear is expressing outrage that his world has been changed against his will, in much the same way as the teenager whose life has (and I quote) ‘been like totally ruined’ because her cell phone has been taken away from her for the evening by an irate parent. So much of what we think of as childish behavior, such as tantrums, petty rule breaking, and insolence, contains a significant dose of the repudiation of external authority.”

(Carl Trueman, “An Important but Neglected Distinction”, Reformation 21)

News of Note: “Federal Court Rules In Favor of Hobby Lobby”

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1.  “Hobby Lobby wins enormous victory in federal court”  – Federal court issues injunction requiring Hobby Lobby to not purchase health insurance plans that provide abortion-inducing drugs to their employees.  (The Aquila Report)

“Today the Christian-owned company has won an enormous victory. A federal court has issued an injunction so that Hobby Lobby will not be required to purchase insurance plans that provide abortion-inducing drugs to their employees. The Obamacare mandate would require them to purchase the coverage or face crippling fines. The federal court says otherwise.  Specifically, the court’s ruling says that the owners’ “rights” are “substantially burdened by the contraceptive-coverage requirement” and that the mandate causes “an irreparable harm” to the company.” – Denny Burk, The Aquila Report

2.  “7 Ways Satan Tries To Destroy a Church” – Ron Edmondson gives seven ways Satan tries to destroy a church.” (Christian Post)

3.  “Is ‘Background Information’ Ever Necessary to Understand the Bible?” – Is background information important or not important in understanding a passage in Scripture?  (The Gospel Coalition)

4.  “12 Most Compelling Reasons to Homeschool Your Children” – Lisa Nielsen, a former public school educator and administrator, gives twelve compelling reasons to homeschool your children.  (12 Most)

5. “Mormon church to end door-to-door missionary practice?” –  Is the Mormon Church considering ending door-to-door missionary practice to concentrate on social media?  (Beaumont Enterprise)

News of Note: “City of Detroit Files for Bankruptcy”

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1. “Once-Mighty Motor City Files for Bankruptcy” –   Detroit files for bankruptcy. (ABC News)

“Once the very symbol of American industrial might, Detroit became the biggest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy Thursday, its finances ravaged and its neighborhoods hollowed out by a long, slow decline in population and auto manufacturing.  The filing, which had been feared for months, put the city on an uncertain path that could mean laying off municipal employees, selling off assets, raising fees and scaling back basic services such as trash collection and snow plowing, which have already been slashed.” – Corey Willams and Ed White, ABC News

2.  Child Frozen in Time  

“Brooke Greenberg’s ‘Syndrome X’ Condition Defies Age, Baffles Doctors” –  A child now twenty who has stoppped growing and developing since the age of five baffles doctors.  (The Huffington Post)

“Brooke Greenberg may appear to be no older than 4 or 5, but the girl, who suffers from a mysterious medical disorder, is actually 20 years old. Her extremely rare condition, dubbed “Syndrome X,” has puzzled medical professionals for years. Even some of the world’s leading experts have been unable to find a medical precedent for her stunted development. However, one doctor believes that studying Brooke’s biology could offer clues to other mysteries of the human body.” – Sara Gates, Huffington Post

“Child Frozen In Time – My Shocking Story”  –  Christian Post on Brooke Greenberg’s story.  (Christian Post)

3.  “Too Many Churches in North America Are Playing the Number Game” – J.I. Packer on churches relying too much on numbers.  (The Gospel Coalition)

4.   “Indulgences for following the Pope on Twitter?”

 “Vatican Tweaks Indulgences for Tweeting” – The Vatican promoting indulgences for anyone who follows the Pope on Twitter? 

“The Vatican is offering indulgences, a reduction of time spent in purgatory, to those who follow Pope Francis on Twitter during World Youth Day. As foolish as this sounds to intelligent people, we must wonder when will Catholics wake up and realize their religion teaches a false and fatal gospel that leads them on the broad road to destruction? How many more blatantly false teachings must come out of the Vatican before Catholics realized they have been deceived about life’s most critical issue – the salvation of their soul?” – Mike Gendron, Proclaiming the Gospel 

“Vatican Offers Time Off ‘Purgatory’ for Following Pope on Twitter During World Youth Day” – Christian News interviews Mike Gendron about the Catholic Church offering indulgences for anyone who follows Pope Francis on Twitter. (Christian News) 

5.   “Ministry Means War: Ten Pastoral Lessons Seminary Could Have Never Taught Me” –  Jeff Robinson gives ten pastoral lessons seminary could have never taught him.   (Founder’s Ministries)

Notable Quotable: “Ministry Means War” – Jeff Robinson

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“During the unholy hours of morning on June 6, 1944, U.S. Army paratroopers jumped from their airplanes into the occupied countryside of northern France, miles inland from the beaches at Normandy. My father was one of those soldiers. As a member of the rough and ready 101st Airborne, my dad had the best combat training available in the free world. He had studied in vivid detail the topographical features of the French countryside. Basic training and AIT had coached him on the deadly perils of anti-aircraft fire, the shock and unique challenges of jumping out of an airplane into the yawning darkness, the proper way to land, roll to avoid injury, gather oneself and set about engaging the enemy, along with hundreds of other battlefield eventualities. Dad had undergone enough drills on weapons and tactics that he could repeat the steps in his sleep for decades to come.

“But this was not a drill; it was war. He was not quite prepared for the relentless ferocity of the German machine guns, the exploding mortar shells, the omnipresence of deadly Bouncing Betty mines. Basic training had given him wonderful training, but they could not have simulated the sights, sounds, smells and overall horrors of war. Only one thing could cause him to grow as comfortable as a loving man can on the battlefield: engagement in war itself.

“Ministry is like that. It is war. Only war can prepare you to man up in the heat of battle. Will you fight or will you run in the face of the menacing realities of ministry? Only the front lines of Christian ministry called the local church will answer that question for you. ”

(Jeff Robinson, “Ministry Means War: Ten Pastoral Lessons Seminary Could Have Never Taught Me”, Founders Ministry)