1. “Ohio gay marriage ban is rejected in narrow ruling” – Gay marriage ban in Ohio is struck down by Federal judge. (Associated Press)
“A federal judge Monday ordered Ohio authorities to recognize gay marriages on death certificates, saying the state’s ban on such unions is unconstitutional and that states cannot discriminate against same-sex couples simply because some voters don’t like homosexuality. Although Judge Timothy Black’s ruling applies only to death certificates, his statements about Ohio’s gay-marriage ban are sweeping, unequivocal, and are expected to incite further litigation challenging the law. Ohio’s attorney general said the state will appeal.” (Associated Press)
2. “Brenda Schmitz’s Christmas Wish” – Radio station grants Christmas wish to mother who died from ovarian cancer for her surviving husband and his new wife.
3. “And Them That Mourn”—Celebrating Christmas in the Face of Grief and Sorrow” Reposted 2011 article by Al Mohler on facing grief and sorrow- (AlbertMohler.com)
4. My Two Big Mistakes When Meeting Francis Schaeffer – Jim Eliff recalls two big mistakes he made when meeting Francis Schaeffer on Christmas. (Christian Communications Worldwide)
5. “Beth Moore Worships at Joel Osteen’s Church as Pastrix Christine Caine Preaches” – Ken Silva reports on Beth Moore worshipping at Joel Osteen’s church while female pastor, Christine Caine, is preaching. (Apprising Ministries)
1. Duck Dynasty Controversy
“The Genuine Conflict Being Ignored in the Duck Dynasty Debate” – The Atlantic’s Larry Alex Tauton describes the real conflict being ignored in the Duck Dynasty debate. (The Atlantic)
“Missing in the controversy over A&E’s handling of its golden goose—or duck, rather—is the fact that the real conflict here is not between Robertson and A&E; it is between gay activists and a solid majority of Christians who believe homosexual acts are wrong. Again, Robertson’s views are hardly anomalous. Christians may disagree on the details, but the Bible strongly condemns homosexuality in both the Old and New Testaments; the marriage model of one man and one woman is first given by God in Genesis 2 and reiterated by Jesus in Matthew 19; and in Romans 1 the Apostle Paul denounces homosexuality as a hallmark of a degenerate culture. The point here isn’t that you have to believe any of this, but many Christians do believe it and feel morally bound to believe it. Instead of acknowledging this tension, however, A&E, GLAAD, and their supporters have responded with disingenuous expressions of shock and horror. And it matters that it’s disingenuous, because if they actually acknowledged that there is a genuine conflict between orthodox Christianity and homosexual sex (along with several forms of heterosexual sex) they would have to confront head-on the fact that calling for a boycott or pressuring for Robertson’s suspension tells orthodox Christians that their religion is no longer acceptable, and that’s not a very politically correct thing to do. Right now, they are trying to weasel out of it by characterizing Robertson as a backwoods bigot who takes his moral cues from Deliverance rather than from a straightforward reading of the Bible and the historic teachings of the Christian religion.” – Larry Alex Taunton, The Atlantic
“Dr Brown on Piers Morgan with Ben Ferguson and Marc Lamont Hill” (YouTube); Dr. Michael Brown appears in panel discussion on the Piers Morgan Show.
“Paglia: Duck Dynasty uproar ‘utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist’” – Gay atheist Professor Camille Paglia responds to Duck Dynasty controversy. (The Daily Caller)
“To express yourself in a magazine in an interview — this is the level of punitive PC, utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist, OK, that my liberal colleagues in the Democratic Party and on college campuses have supported and promoted over the last several decades,” Paglia said. “This is the whole legacy of free speech 1960’s that have been lost by my own party.” – Camile Paglia
“The Robertson Family Official Statement” – Robertson family responds to Phil Robertson’s suspension.
“We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E’s decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Phil would never incite or encourage hate.We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right.We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family.”
“Duck Dynasty – The Hidden Controversy” – Josh Buice on the controversy behind the Duck Dynasty controversy. (Delivered by Grace)
“I agree with much of what Phil Robertson and his family believe regarding politics, the state of our nation, gun rights, hunting rights, and more. I laugh at their “southern style” jokes. I watch the show. I applaud Phil Robertson’s comments on the issues of sexual sin – after all – they originated in the Bible. However, I must draw the line when it comes to the gospel of Christ. When I listen to the Robertson family share the gospel I’m constantly frustrated with their language of “believe in Jesus and get in the water.” The greater controversy to me is not that it has taken so long for America and the LGBT community to pick up on the biblical language of the Robertson family related to sexual sin. The hidden controversy has yet to be discussed openly. Why has it taken so long for the church to discern the language of baptismal regeneration that is continually overflowing from the gospel presentations of the Duck Dynasty family. Could it be that the church is using the Duck Dynasty phenomenon in much the same way that A&E has been using them? We need to be clear on where we stand on human sexuality. Even more importantly is where we stand on the issue of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” – Josh Buice
“A&E suspends ‘Duck Dynasty’s’ Phil Robertson” – Fox News reports on Duck Dynasty controversy. (Fox News)
“You Have Been Warned—The “Duck Dynasty” Controversy” – Al Mohler on what the Duck Dynasty controversy means. (AlbertMohler.com)
“So the controversy over Duck Dynasty sends a clear signal to anyone who has anything to risk in public life: Say nothing about the sinfulness of homosexual acts or risk sure and certain destruction by the revolutionaries of the new morality. You have been warned.” – Al Mohler
“So, even as most evangelical Christians will likely have concerns about the way Phil Robertson expressed himself in some of his comments and where he made the comments, the fact remains that it is the moral judgment he asserted, not the manner of his assertion, that caused such an uproar. A quick look at the protests from gay activist groups like GLAAD will confirm that judgment. They have protested the words Robertson drew from the Bible and labeled them as “far outside of the mainstream understanding of LGBT people.”
“So the controversy over Duck Dynasty sends a clear signal to anyone who has anything to risk in public life: Say nothing about the sinfulness of homosexual acts or risk sure and certain destruction by the revolutionaries of the new morality. You have been warned.”
(Al Mohler, “You Have Been Warned—The “Duck Dynasty” Controversy”, AlbertMohler.com)
“Of course, the moral revolution that has transformed marriage in our times did not start with the demand for legal same-sex marriage. It did not begin with homosexuality at all, but with the sexual libertinism that demanded (and achieved) a separation of marriage and sex, liberating sex from the confines of marriage. So sex was separated from marriage, and then sex was separated from the expectation of procreation and child-rearing. Marriage was separated from sex, sex was separated from reproduction, and the revolution was launched. Adding to the speed of this revolution, then, was the advent of no-fault divorce and the transformation of marriage into a tentative and often temporary contract.
“Once that damage had been done, the demand to legalize same-sex marriage could not be far behind. And now polygamy is enjoying its moment of legal liberation. Once marriage was redefined in function, it was easy to redefine it in terms of permanence. Once that was done, it was easy enough to redefine it in terms of gender. Now, with the logic of moral revolution transforming marriage in all respects, polygamy follows same-sex marriage. If marriage can be redefined in terms of gender, it can easily be redefined in terms of number.”
(Al Mohler, “Moral Mayhem Multiplied—Now, It’s Polygamy’s Turn”, AlbertMohler.com)
1. “Fed Judge Declares Anti-Gay Sermon a “Crime Against Humanity” – Massachusetts federal judge states in opinion that pastor’s sermon against homosexuality is a “crime against humanity”.
“A federal judge ruled that a biblically based denunciation of homosexuality was a “crime against humanity.” In his decision in the case of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) v. Lively, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Ponsor held that Scott Lively, an evangelical pastor, was “aiding and abetting a crime against humanity” when Lively spoke in Uganda and in America against homosexual behavior. Ponsor wrote in his 79-page opinion that Lively’s message was “analogous to a terrorist designing and manufacturing a bomb in this country, which he then mails to Uganda with the intent that it explode there.” The plaintiff in the case is a consortium of groups based in Kampala, Uganda that fight for “fair and equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people” in the East Africa region. Ponsor says that Lively, by publishing tracts and delivering discourses condemning same-sex relationships, was acting as “an upper-level manager or leader of a criminal enterprise.” While in Uganda, Lively praised local pastors working to fight the proliferation of sexual activity between those of the same gender, basing his remarks on his interpretation of the Bible’s condemnation of such behavior. “I’ve never done anything in Uganda except preach the Gospel and speak my opinion about the homosexual issue,” Lively told the New York Times. Reading between the lines, it becomes apparent that the “criminal enterprise” in which Ponsor found Lively engaged was that of believing, preaching, and promoting Judeo-Christian morality in an age that glorifies ungodliness and exalts satisfaction of appetites above the sacrifice of self to the will of God.” – Joe Wolverton II, The New American
2. “Aaron Hernandez: Patriots Tight End Violent Evolution” – Rolling Stone’s feature on former Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez accused of first degree murder. (Rolling Stone)
3. “California Senate Approves Bill Allowing Nurses to Do Abortions” – Senate in California approves bill allowing nurses to do abortions. (Life Site News)
“The abortion lobby says abortion should be between a woman and her doctor, but the California Senate on Monday approved a bill allowing… nurses to do abortions, even though licensed physicians kill and injure women in abortions. “The Senate approved AB 154, a measure that would reduce medical standards that currently require surgical abortions to be performed by a physician and would instead allow first trimester abortions to be performed by physician assistants, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives. The Senate approved AB154 on a mostly party-line, 25-11 vote and now the state Assembly must sign off on the changes the Senate made.” – Steven Ertelt , LifeSite News
4. Todd Friel and Matt Walsh on Robin Thicke and why he is just as culpable as Miley Cyrus
“Forget Miley, what about the “man” on stage with her?” – Todd Friel on why we should also be focusing on the man on stage who was with Miley Cyrus during her MTV VMA performance. (Wretched)
“Dear son, don’t let Robin Thicke be a lesson to you” – Matt Walsh writes an open letter to his son about Robin Thicke and Mily Cyrus. (The Matt Walsh Blog)
5. “Martin Luther King, Jr. at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary” – Al Mohler on Martin Luther King’s sermon at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1961. (AlbertMohler.com)
6. “Five Reasons We Don’t Evangelize” – Michael McKinley gives five reasons why Christians don’t evangelize. (9Marks)
“Compromise, Justice Bosson argues, “is part of the glue that holds us together as a nation, the tolerance that lubricates the moving parts of us as a people.” That compromise, Justice Bosson wrote, is just a fact of American life: “In short, I would say to the Huguenins, with the utmost respect: it is the price of citizenship.”
“So the price of citizenship is the denial of religious liberty when the Christian convictions of this couple run into a head-on collision with the “contrasting values” of others. This is a “compromise” that requires the Huguenins to give up their convictions or go out of business. What does the “compromise” require of those who push for the normalization of same-sex relationships and the legalization of same-sex marriage? Nothing.
“The same-sex couple in this case did not contest the fact that there were many other professional photographers available to them. Indeed, they hired another photographer after Elane Photography declined. But they still pressed for the force of law to require all commercial photographers to provide services for same-sex ceremonies. And they got what they demanded.
“That is the true nature of the “compromise” that Justice Bosson argues is “the price of citizenship.” His language about the Huguenins and their plight is moving and respectful, almost an elegy. But the decision itself is a denial of religious liberty and the constitutional guarantees of religious expression and free speech.
“Justice Bosson asserts that “there is a price, one that we all have to pay somewhere in our civic life.” The New Mexico Supreme Court has now made clear that the price to be paid by many is the forfeiture of their religious liberty.”
(Al Mohler, “It is the Price of Citizenship”?—An Elegy for Religious Liberty in America , AlbertMohler.com)
New Mexico’s Highest Court Rules Against Christian Photographers
“Christians: You Must Deny the Lordship of Christ. It is the Price of Citizenship in this Secular Nation.” – James White’s commentary on the ruling. (Alpha and Omega Minsitries)
“In other words, the cost of citizenship in post-revolutionary, post-Christian, post-constitutional America? Bow to Caesar. Say Caesar is Lord rather than Jesus is Lord. Celebrate evil with us, or pay the price. We’ve been here before. But only Christians who know their past even realize it. Wake up, believers. These words are were written long, long ago: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. (John 15:18–21)” – James White
“The Hamfisted Jackboot” – Douglas Wilson on the possible consequences of the New Mexico Supreme Court’s ruling against Christian wedding photographers (Blog and Mablog)
“But doing business is not the issue here. Christian photographers, florists, caterers, etc. are absolutely right to refuse to do such events. And the reason for this is the reason these professions are being singled out in these court cases in the first place. This is not about economic exchange, but is rather about mandated social approval. The demand is we must all applaud. And is the reason why photographers and florists are going to be at the center of this next round of fights. The homosexual agenda is not to make us do business with them. The point is to make us approve of them.” – Doug Wilson
“It is the Price of Citizenship”?—An Elegy for Religious Liberty in America – Al Mohler’s commentary on the New Mexico Supreme Court’s ruling. (AlbertMohler.com)
“So the price of citizenship is the denial of religious liberty when the Christian convictions of this couple run into a head-on collision with the “contrasting values” of others. This is a “compromise” that requires the Huguenins to give up their convictions or go out of business. What does the “compromise” require of those who push for the normalization of same-sex relationships and the legalization of same-sex marriage? Nothing. Some compromise. The same-sex couple in this case did not contest the fact that there were many other professional photographers available to them. Indeed, they hired another photographer after Elane Photography declined. But they still pressed for the force of law to require all commercial photographers to provide services for same-sex ceremonies. And they got what they demanded.” – Al Mohler
“Court Says Christian Couple’s Refusal to Photograph Same-Sex Ceremony Was Illegal — Why ‘You Will Be Made to Care’” – The Blaze’s report on the New Mexico Supreme Court’s ruling. (The Blaze)
“NM Supreme Court: Christian Photographers Must ‘Compromise’ Faith, Shoot Homosexual ‘Weddings’” – New Mexico Supreme Court rules against Christian photographers that they must compromise their faith to shoot homosexual weddings. (Christian News)
“The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Thursday that Christian photographers may not refuse to shoot homosexual ‘weddings’ in the state, as all citizens must ‘compromise … to accommodate the contrasting views of others.’” – Heather Clark
“Clashing Claims” – Ryan T. Anderson’s article on the New Mexico photographers’ case. (National Review)
“Citizens must insist that government respect those who continue to stand for marriage as the union of a man and a woman. When he “evolved” on the issue last year, President Obama insisted that the debate about marriage was a legitimate one, that there were reasonable people of good will on both sides. Obama explained that supporters of marriage as we’ve always understood it (a male-female union) “are not coming at it from a mean-spirited perspective. They’re coming at it because they care about families.” He added that “a bunch of ’em are friends of mine . . . you know, people who I deeply respect.” But in a growing number of incidents, government hasn’t respected the beliefs of Americans. Citizens must insist that government not discriminate against those who hold to the historic definition of marriage. Policy should prohibit the government — or anyone who receives taxpayers’ dollars — from discriminating in employment, licensing, accreditation, or contracting against those who believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman. We also must work to see marriage law reflect the truth about marriage. If marriage is redefined, then believing what virtually every human society once believed about marriage — that it is the union of a man and a woman ordered to procreation and family life — would be seen increasingly as an irrational prejudice that ought to be driven to the margins of culture. The consequences for religious believers are becoming apparent.” – Ryan T. Anderson
“NM Court Says Christian Photographers Must Compromise Beliefs” – Todd Starnes’ report on the New Mexico Supreme Court’s ruling. (Fox News)
“A concern for true biblical worship was at the very heart of the Reformation. But even Martin Luther, who wrote hymns and required his preachers to be trained in song, would not recognize this modern preoccupation with music as legitimate or healthy. Why? Because the Reformers were convinced that the heart of true biblical worship was the preaching of the word of God.
“Thanks be to God, evangelism does take place in Christian worship. Confronted by the presentation of the gospel and the preaching of the word, sinners are drawn to faith in Jesus Christ and the offer of salvation is presented to all. Likewise, the Lord’s Supper and baptism are honored as ordinances by the Lord’s own command, and each finds its place in true worship.
“Furthermore, music is one of God’s most precious gifts to his people, and it is a language by which we may worship God in spirit and in truth. The hymns of the faith convey rich confessional and theological content, and many modern choruses recover a sense of doxology formerly lost in many evangelical churches. But music is not the central act of Christian worship, and neither is evangelism nor even the ordinances. The heart of Christian worship is the authentic preaching of the word of God.”
(Al Mohler, “Expository Preaching—The Antidote to Anemic Worship” , AlbertMohler.com)
1. “Jay-Z’s New Magna Carta: Follow the Religion of Self” – Bryant Parsons on music mogul Jay Z and his new religion of self. (Reformed African American Network)
“Everybody has a religion. We will either submit to the true God through faith in his Son Jesus, or we will establish our own reality. The latter is what the Bible refers to as idolatry; and it is evident from Jay-Z’s lyrics that it is the latter he is encouraging his listeners to choose to do. I would advise all of those reading who may have religious questions to check their motives. Do we genuinely want truth, or do we want to use our intellect to lay waste to any authority that keeps us from viewing the world the way we want to? I would also charge those who know the Lord to pray for our culture, and lovingly try to reach those like Jay-Z with the truth of Jesus Christ.” – Bryant Parsons, Reformed African American Network
2. “Too Many Old People?” – What does it mean when we find too many old people in the church? (Pyromaniacs)
3. Two articles by Al Mohler on the church and the digital age and America’s fertility rate linked to its religions views
“The Digital Divide: A Wake Up Call to Christian Leaders” – Al Mohler explains the importance of the digital age and the church’s need to utilize it as a resource. (The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)
“And the Millennials are a formidable challenge as they move into adulthood. They represent the future buying public. Of course, The Wall Street Journal is interested in what this means for retailers and the business community, but the article is a wake-up call for the church and Christian leaders as well. Christian leaders who want to influence the Millennials and other young Americans must join them where they are — online — and in an effective manner. Otherwise, we will find ourselves talking only to older Americans. Churches that refuse to connect with people online will find themselves in the same peril as the shopping malls.” – Al Mohler, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“What’s Missing from this Picture?—Fertility on the Rise, Worldview on Display” – Is America’s fertility rate linked with its view of religion? (AlbertMohler.com)
4. “The Expository Sermon: Illustrations” – Why including illustrations in an expository sermon is important. (Leaders Don’t Panic)