Archive | February, 2012

Cathi Herrod: The Discussion Our Nation Needs to Have

24 Feb

By Cathi Herrod, President
Center for Arizona Policy
Feb. 24, 2012

I had “50-yard-line” seats at the Mesa Center for the Arts for the Presidential Debate this week. The conversation finally turned to a rarely discussed but very critical topic – the family and the economy. With the eyes of the nation on the Arizona debate, the four candidates shared why our nation’s future is at risk when 40% of children are born out of wedlock. We all must realize – this is not just a “social” issue – it’s an economic issue. Our nation’s economy is only as strong as our families. For far too long public policy and our culture has weakened the family by attacking marriage and stifling any honest conversation about the importance of intact homes composed of a married mom and dad with children. President Ronald Reagan described the three major interests of our nation as a three-legged stool: a strong economy, a strong foreign policy, and strong families. We need all three in order for our country to endure.

Call to Prayer

Marriage between a man and a woman is lifegiving, and a majority of Americans understand this.

Yet marriage is under constant assault. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled the California marriage amendment was unconstitutional. In Washington State, a bill was signed into law to completely redefine marriage. The New Jersey legislature passed legislation to do the same, but Governor Christie vetoed it. Maryland’s legislature recently passed similar legislation, and their governor has vowed to sign the bill. The attacks are coming from all sides. In response, Alliance Defense Fund has called for a National Pray for Marriage Day this Sunday, February 26. This prayer guide offers suggestions to pray for a restoration of marriage in America. While there is much work to be done to protect marriage in America, we must always remember to go to the Lord first, because only He can bring us victory. Take time this Sunday to pray for marriage!

Legislative Victory! First CAP-supported Bill Heads to the Governor

Arizona Senate Bill 1047, which increases the amount individuals can receive in tax credits for donations to School Tuition Organizations to $500, and married couples to $1,000, is on Governor Brewer’s desk! These new scholarship dollars are solely designated for children on waiting lists who attend public schools and want to go to the private school of their parents’ choice. Governor Brewer has 5 days to act on this bill. Be sure to follow our Facebook page and Bill Tracker to get the latest updates.

Have you ever been to the State Capitol?

We’ve hosted a number of Inside Looks at the Capitol since session began to give CAP supporters a peek into our daily work and how it is making Arizona a better place for families. These one-hour tours are free and allow you to interact with me and some of the other members of the CAP team. I hope you can join us and bring a friend on March 6 or March 21. The tours run from noon-1:00 p.m. You must RSVP in advance by emailing insidelook@azpolicy.org.

 

Sunday is National Pray for Marriage Day

24 Feb

The institution of Marriage is under severe attack in our culture today. Will you join in a nationwide day of unified, focused prayer for Marriage in America?

The National Pray for Marriage Day is this Sunday, February 26. Please tell your pastor and your friends and refer them here for more information.

Praise God for the impact of Marriage:

• Thank Him for how marriage refines our character, creates stable community for the birth and nurture of children, and unites men & women in an enduring whole-life union.

• Thank Him for giving the distinct, irreplaceable gifts a mom and a dad each uniquely bring to children, through marriage.

Pray for the marriages in your community:

• For healing, restoration, and divine protection over the relationships between husbands and wives in your church, neighborhood, and among your friends and family.

• That Christians will hold fast to the Biblical truth about marriage and boldly stand up for children, who are most protected and impacted by marriage.

Pray for the future of Marriage

• For the nation to uphold the truth that marriage between one man and one woman is the foundation of society and the best environment for raising children.

• For Americans to remember the damage already done to marriage in our society, and how that has hurt children.

Pray for God’s design for sex and sexuality in Marriage:

• Pray for sexual purity; that sex will be reserved for marriage, and celebrated in marriage.

• Pray for those hurting and suffering from going outside of God’s plan for sexuality.

• Pray for sexual fidelity and faithfulness between husbands and wives.

• Pray for children’s innocence to be protected from false sexual indoctrination in schools.

Pray for victory in the lawsuits and legislation that threatens to undermine Marriage:

Perry v. Brown – a lawsuit to redefine marriage by creating same-sex “marriage.”

Bishop v. United States – a lawsuit to overturn our nation’s highest law about marriage.

Brown v. Utah – a lawsuit to legally recognize polygamy.

 

You Might Also be Interested in These Posts:

Why are We Silent on Gambling?

Are the Students in Your Church ‘Already Gone’?

New York Times’ Lack of Respect for Your Religious Freedom

A Sound Daily Radio Resource: The Frank Pastore Show

22 Feb

For three hours a day, Frank Pastore provides excellent perspective on life’s events through a Christian worldview. Last year, he won the National Religious Broadcasters’ award for best Christian radio program, “The Intersection of Faith and Reason.” He’s heard on KKLA Radio, 99.5 FM, in Los Angeles. You can access his shows live from 4-7 p.m. daily Pacific Time, or listen to archived programs here.  Frank is a former major league baseball pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds who gave his life to Jesus Christ after teammates and friends witnessed to him. Tell your friends about this program.

Are the Students in Your Church ‘Already Gone’?

21 Feb

Everyone knows the church in America is struggling for relevance. The Judeo-Christian culture has given way to a secularized society driven by a secular mass media culture. Today churches are more likely to be treated with disdain or as nuisances rather than as a pillar of virtue by community leaders and public officials.

Few, if any, have nailed down the problem as concisely as Ken Ham and Britt Beemer, who in 2009 authored the book, “Already Gone.” The book followed a survey of 1,000 people in their twenties who had once attended an evangelical or conservative church. Here are a few pertinent numbers from the survey:

  • 61 percent of American 20-somethings were churched as children but now spiritually disengaged
  • 95 percent attended church regularly during elementary and middle school years
  • 55 percent attended regularly in high school years
  • 11 percent still going to church in early college years
  • 39.8 percent first had doubts in middle school
  • 43.7 percent first had doubts in high school
  • The majority do not believe in evolution

One of the most amazing findings of the survey was that Sunday School was actually more likely to be detrimental to the spiritual and moral health of our children. Sunday School had no impact on what children believed in critical areas. Many SS teachers and pastors just say “believe the Bible, it’s true” without teaching apologetics.

Children get two lessons Sunday and neither is relevant to them, the authors found. Students can’t cope with attacks on the faith because they haven’t been taught to defend it. Bible stories are seen as “fairytales” which do not connect students to the real world. Children get their “facts” from and form their worldview based on what they learn in school. On Sunday morning children are told what to believe, but not why to believe it. They’ve never been taught Christian apologetics in the church, leaving them vulnerable to skeptics.

Yesterday’s Sunday School students are today’s young adults who now see the church as irrelevant. Most of them checked out of church mentally as teens. They were already gone by then.

As a result, the church and the Bible are no longer the go-to places to learn historical science. Schools are. The prevailing culture is aggressively teaching the apologetics of evolution and secular humanism. And they do teach children how to defend their worldview, while connecting it to the real world. Think environmentalism, for example. It’s no wonder so many children from Christian families are tuning out.

“The basic foundation of Judeo-Christian heritage in U.S. no longer exists,” Ham and Beemer write. “It is already gone. Bible not taken seriously outside the Church. Relevance of Scripture is already gone.”

The researchers also learned from their subjects:

  • Too often churches focus on making people feel good.
  • Music is over-prioritized, especially the evangelic church. Choirs are out, and concert-style music teams take up a lot of the worship time. But all this music is not feeding the souls or teaching people to defend their faith.
  • Irrelevant messages: people want to hear the Word, but they’re not getting enough of it.

The young people surveyed are likely to attend a non-traditional type of worship activity, such as a house church, para-church, or online ministry. These people didn’t find the Word of God in church, so they’re looking for it outside the church.

This book is not short on solutions to this crisis—foremost among them: the teaching of apologetics in the church. Ham and Beemer recommend the following solutions:

“If we’re going to stop this exodus epidemic it must happen in the church and home during elementary, middle and high school years.

“Churches must relate the Word to the world in relevant ways and teach apologetics.

“The entire structure and focus of our programs need to be reconsidered. We need to make radical changes in the format and style of these programs to determine how they can be most effective in teaching truth to our children and overcoming the issues that undermine biblical authority in their thinking and drive them away from church.

“Unless the facts behind the Christian faith are clearly and convincingly communicated in a way that students can learn and remember, their faith will not stand up to the assault of doubt from the world. It’s not enough to tell students “believe in Jesus!” Faith not founded on fact will ultimately falter in the storm of secularism that our students face every day.

“The Word of God has never changed, but the church’s perception of the Word has changed when it began to compromise with the world and scientific views undermining the Bible. Good observational science supports faith. Bring facts back into our faith.

“We must change hearts from the ground up. Culture changes from the ground up. To change the culture, hearts and mind need to changed in regard to the Word of God. It is our job to stand on the Word of God with compromise and defend the Christian faith and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Church leaders should passionately and consistently challenge church members to maximize their influence with youth and young adults. Frequent and intentional contact can either prevent or counteract the tendency of some to drop out of church.”

Ham and Beemer call on greater involvement with the young by parents, Christian educators, youth pastors, and pastors. “All must defend God’s Word with the youth.”

 

Sign the Declaration Opposing President’s Mandate, Preserve Religious Freedom

20 Feb

Sign the declaration opposing President Obama’s mandate forcing religious people and institutions to provide drugs and services that violate their faith.

Why are We Silent on Gambling?

20 Feb

Arizona is highly susceptible to the damages wrought by gambling. We have 18 casinos in our state, horse racing, and dozens and dozens of gamblers’ anonymous groups. Many people have fallen into obsessive gambling. Business executives have embezzled from their employers to feed their gambling habit – and gone to jail, leaving families behind in disarray. Given to obsessive gambling – and losing (the house always wins) — on the ponies, former Phoenix Suns’ guard Rex Chapman self-destructed and went bankrupt. Americans spent more on gambling than they did on health insurance, dentists, shoes, foreign travel, or household appliances.

What are we, as Christians, to make of gambling?

Dr. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary — the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world — writes, “The Bible is clear on this issue. The entire enterprise of gambling is opposed to the moral worldview revealed in God’s Word. The basic impulse behind gambling is greed—a basic sin that is the father of many other evils. Greed, covetousness, and avarice are repeatedly addressed by Scripture—always presented as a sin against God, and often accompanied by a graphic warning of the destruction which is greed’s result. The burning desire for earthly riches leads to frustration and spiritual death.

“Why are Christians so silent on this issue? Though some denominations have adopted strongly worded resolutions opposed to gambling, the issue is virtually off the moral map of most churches. There is little evidence of any sustained theological consideration of the issue. A review of major textbooks on Christian ethics used in evangelical seminaries reveals not a single chapter on gambling. The issue does not even make the tables of contents!

“In all likelihood, most Christians have no conception of the problem’s scope. Once confined to Nevada (and later, New Jersey), casinos now operate in states ranging from heartland Missouri to deep-south Louisiana. In many states slot machines and electronic games are found in gas stations and grocery stores, and lottery tickets are sold in a myriad of outlets. The tentacles of the gambling industry reach deeply into the nation’s economy—and the national psyche.”

Read the rest of Dr. Mohler’s article here. Then ask yourself:

1)    Why do as Arizona citizens condone what is unbiblical and what is highly destructive to families and society?

2)    Why are the churches of Arizona silent on the troubling issue of gambling?

As Dr. Mohler writes, “We are trustees who will be judged for the quality of our stewardship.” And, “The Christian trusts in God, not in the vain hope of a winning lottery number or a favorable roll of the dice.”

New York Times’ Lack of Respect for Your Religious Freedom

14 Feb

Dr. Albert Mohler Jr., is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary — the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world. He reports below on how an elite member of the media misconstrues the Obama mandate controversy:

Like so many, including the White House, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof does his best to describe the controversy over the birth control mandate as a Catholic issue. In his “Beyond Pelvic Politics” column he wrote of “Catholic universities and hospitals,” “Catholic institutions,” and “a majority of Catholics.” The fact that so many evangelical Christians share this concern and outrage is never mentioned. Read the rest of Mohler’s commentary.