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Shades of Gray–Abortion

10 Mar

Shades of Grey – Abortion from Sun Valley Messages on Vimeo.

Focus on the Family’s Reply to: “Dear Conservative Christians: It’s OK to Evolve on LGBT Equality”

7 Feb
By Jeff Johnston, Focus on the Family

Pastor Louis Giglio, well known for his leadership in fighting human trafficking and for founding the Passion worship conferences, was invited last month to give a prayer at President Obama’s second inauguration. Then a liberal blog unearthed a sermon he’d given in the 1990’s where he described same-sex sexual behavior as a sin and talked about people coming out of homosexuality. After a huge outcry was raised by lesbian-, gay-, bisexual- and transgender- identified (LGBT) activists and their allies, Pastor Giglio withdrew from the event.

Shortly afterward, Joseph Ward III published a letter at an LGBT – focused religious web site that’s been re-posted around the Internet, “Dear Conservative Christians: It’s OK to Evolve on LGBT Equality.” Below is my reply.

Dear Joseph (and other LGBT-identified activists and allies),

Your recent letter invites conservative Christians “to evolve” and embrace the LGBT agenda. The letter also labels our deeply-held beliefs about humanity, sex, marriage and family as “anti-gay” and says they deny the “full human dignity” of some people. Perhaps most importantly, you state that our beliefs are no longer “welcome in the public square.” But for Christians to “evolve” and embrace homosexual unions and LGBT demands about human identity would be to tear from our faith remarkable truths that are woven through all of Scripture; it would be to shred and tear God’s word and make Christianity into something it isn’t. Let me explain why we cannot accept your invitation.

In Genesis we learn foundational truths: humanity is created in the image of God – male and female – and marriage is designed by God to be the union of a husband and wife . This is not peripheral theology, but is central to the Bible. Marriage imagery runs from Genesis through the books of the law and the poets and prophets; it continues in the New Testament with Christ and His Bride, the church; and the picture ends with a marriage feast in Revelation. Humanity’s existance as male and female is a reflection of who God is, and male-female marriage is the central picture of our relationship with Him.

In the beginning, God creates the first human and puts him to sleep, separating out the side of the man and fashioning a woman. Our word “sex” reflects this separation or division or cutting into two – male and female. Genesis points out that humanity is unique among creation for being made in the image of God. The woman and the man are fully human, both valuable, yet they are distinct and uniquely made for each other. It’s not just the Bible and Judaism and Christianity that teach this, but experience, nature and science acknowledge humanity’s sexual dimorphism, a sexual complementarity that virtually all cultures recognize.

It’s important  to understand that Christians cannot and will not leave the truth of revelation, a revelation that comes to us through nature and our own bodies, through millennia of Jewish and Christian living and teaching, and through God’s revelation in the Bible and by His Spirit. It would be folly for Christians to leave God’s truth. God’s truth about marriage, sex and sexuality stands now and throughout eternity, regardless of how politicians, academics and entertainers “evolve” and attempt to redefine things.

Same-sex unions do not reflect the reality of male and female bodies. Humans can participate in a variety of relationships and be quite inventive with sexual behaviors. But only a male and female sexually uniting can produce children. This is why all cultures have recognized marriage between a husband and wife as a unique relationship, a relationship designed to keep husbands and wives together and designed to keep children with the parents who made them – to be loved, nurtured, educated, disciplined and equipped to become healthy and functioning adults.

Despite years of brainwashing from academia, radical feminists, the media, and entertainment, most people know that men and women are different, unique and complementary. A society that attempts to erase male and female or to create new categories to stand next to male and female is living in unreality. Which of the supposed “other genders” being created by individuals or groups can reproduce or replicate itself?

The issue is not “equality” or “fairness.” It’s not “equal” that only women can carry another human and give birth. It’s not “fair” that only a man and a woman can make a child. It’s not “equal” that men and women are different. It’s “not equal” that people have different gifts and talents. And as I tell my kids, it’s “not fair” that they are born and live in the U.S. while others are born into abject poverty. Equality does not mean identical or interchangeable; it means we all have equal value and rights. But the issues are: what is marriage and what do children need?

Just as male and female are needed to create a baby, male and female are needed to raise a child. Children need a mother and father. Yes, there are tragic circumstances where a child loses one or both, but society works to mend that loss, as best it can, by providing what was lost – a mother or father or both. That is the ideal that society must acknowledge and promote and support, if it wishes to thrive. The growth of fatherless homes and of divorce has wreaked havoc in our world.  Further removing gender from the home will only compound the pain for children.

Be assured that Christians will work so that the needs and well-being of children are placed ahead of the desires of adults. We will fight to keep children from being sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. We will work to give children what they deserve, a mother and a father. In the past weeks there has been a remarkable uprising in France against the notion of “same-sex marriage.” The movement includes gay-identified people and Christians of all stripes. Their marching cry: The rights of children trump the right to children.

Our love for children leads us to oppose abortion, to support and encourage marriage, to train parents to raise healthy children, to teach and equip the church and society to respect all life, and to protect all people from bullying and hatred – not just select groups or identities.

As Christians we also reject the reduction of humanity to groups defined by their sexual attractions and behaviors. Male and female are categories of existence – there is the biological reality of being male or female, and we live in the spiritual reality of a masculinity or femininity that reflects God’s image. It is de-humanizing to categorize individuals by the ever-proliferating alphabet of identities based on sexual attractions or behavior or “gender identity” – LGBBTTQQIAAFPPBDSM – however many letters are added. No. We stand with the truth that there are male and female. There is no recently discovered race of “homosexuals” or “gays” or “lesbians.” We don’t define people’s essence, their being, by their sexual appetites or by other desires.

Just as we don’t label people by sexual behavior or attractions, it would be helpful if activist groups would really engage on the issues, instead of smearing those who disagree with labels such as “haters,” “bigots,” “homophobes” and “anti-gay.” We stand opposed to an agenda that we believe harms individuals, families and our culture. But we don’t hate the individuals pushing that agenda. And we don’t hate individuals who wrestle with same-sex attractions or who are confused about their identity as male or female. We offer support, encouragement, resources and hope for these individuals.

We will also continue to speak out in the public square, arguing for the rights of all to freedom of speech, religion and association. We know these rights are being assaulted, from groups like the ACLU, the Freedom from Religion Foundation and from a number of LGBT-identified activists and their allies. Recent examples include trying to eliminate funding for organizations like The Boy Scouts and The Salvation Army, attacking businesses like Chick-fil-A and its charitable foundation, creating laws against counselors who help men and women with unwanted same-sex attractions to follow their faith and vilifying a pastor who leads people to worship God and who works to stop sexual trafficking.

Do you notice something about these efforts? The groups and individuals under siege are doing good things – yet many LGBT-identified groups want to take away their rights, to silence them, to force them to agree, even if it means stopping the good they do. This is destructive and wrong, and it’s time for all people to recognize it and speak out against this – honestly and with civility, as difficult as that may be.

Our inalienable rights to life, liberty, free speech and freedom of religion do not come from the government, the media, academia, the entertainment world or those attempting to redefine marriage. They come from God. And they do not stop because someone disagrees or is offended.

Finally, I would appeal to you, Joseph, and to others who read this, to consider the message of Christianity. Yes, we are all made in God’s image, male and female, but we are all horribly impacted and broken by sin. Sin is a destroyer. When Jesus began his ministry, he preached a gospel of repentance. In essence, he said stop going the direction you are going, turn around and put your confidence in me. I will forgive your sins, and as you follow me, I will free you from bondage to sin, guilt and shame. Jesus said that he is the way to Father God, and that he will send his Spirit to live in you to bring truth, change, healing and new life. We have the choice to bear our sins or to allow Jesus to be the sin-bearer for us.

I wrestled for years with same-sex attractions, lust, pornography and sexual sin (and plenty of other sins, too). It was not an easy path, but through the church and through God’s grace, truth and power, I followed Jesus and allowed him to change my life. I will not turn back down that road again, through God’s strength and grace. Joseph – I urge you to turn and follow Jesus with me.

Arizona Pastor Leading Flock Astray on Virtue, Spiritual Discernment

11 Jan

Warren Stewart Sr. is the senior pastor of First Institutional Baptist Church, an inner city congregation in Phoenix, and president of Paradise Missionary Baptist State Convention of Arizona, Inc. He has just come under fire by homosexual activists for having expressed disappointment with President Barack Obama for endorsing same-sex “marriage.”

The introductory remarks to that statement bear close scrutiny. They are highly problematic for lack of spiritual discernment and leadership. Following are the pastor’s evaluations of President Obama, followed by The Arizona Christian’s response:

Pastor Stewart: He is very intelligent, successful, effective and courageous.

Arizona Christian: President Obama does show some signs of intelligence. Yet he also shows signs of a lack of intelligence. He is not dedicated to truth, but to political deception in the tradition of one of his leading role models – the late Saul Alinsky, whom he worked for. Alinsky’s notorious book, “Rules for Radicals,” was dedicated to Lucifer.  Obama is succeeding at demonizing his political enemies. He is effective at spending taxpayer money far beyond America’s means – immorally saddling future generations with mountainous debt, effective at downsizing America’s national defense, effective at attacking free speech, religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and America’s highest ideals. He is a highly effective socialist. He is not in the least way courageous. Obama is supporting Planned Parenthood despite the abortion giant’s defrauding of taxpayers and its insistence on killing a sizeable portion of America’s future – including a highly disproportionate number of preborn African Americans. He is extremely skilled at bringing into the highest levels of government people with poor (humanist, communist, Marxist) values and scandalous backgrounds. He revels in the demonization of America’s achievers and wealth creators. He is destroying the business climate during a down economy. He has presided in the nation’s highest elected office over a sharp rise in Black poverty. Much of what Obama says on a daily basis is located 180 degrees from truth.

Pastor Stewart: He is probably the highest profile role model as a leader, husband and father in the world.

Arizona Christian: Obama appears to be dedicated and faithful to his wife and family. But he is modeling anti-Christian values to them. He is not encouraging their spiritual growth or standing up as a godly husband and father. If he is corrupting America, he is corrupting his family. He and his family are spending millions upon millions on lavish vacations while his kinfolk in Africa live in squalor. He is not his brother’s keeper, and all the world knows this. There are many great role models in America — Tony Dungy, for example — but Obama is not one of them.

Pastor Stewart: Since he campaigned for the presidency and became president he has been an agent of change not only in our nation, but the world.

Arizona Christian: Indeed he has been an agent of change, but it’s the wrong kind of change, pastor. It is destroying America’s prosperity, morality, national defense and economy and business climate. Obama would prefer businesses close down – exposing families to the loss of jobs and income — for not providing abortion-inducing drug insurance to employees. Many things in America need changing, but not the changes wrought by the dominant left-wing, progressive, socialistic influences pervading the Obama Administration. Obama is trying to destroy God’s plan for marriage in America, and by endorsing same-sex “marriage” he is dooming more children to the ravages of fatherless homes. We need changes for the better in leadership and morality, and we are not getting them from this president or his administration.

Pastor Stewart: In addition, he speaks often about Jesus Christ being his personal Savior. For this and more we are thankful.

Arizona Christian: He has been labeled by former White House spokesman Robert Gibbs as a “mainstream Christian.” But talk is cheap, and nothing could be further from the truth. Where is any evidence of the fruits of the Spirit in this president? Where are the outward workings of a life based on faith? There are none. In fact, no president in America’s 237-year history has so openly and brazenly attacked religious freedom as Obama has. Obama at best could most accurately be described as an “election year Christian.” In his book, Obama admitted to doubts about his “faith.” He has never worshipped in a mainstream church, only in a church preaching hate for America and radical liberation theology. He frequently mischaracterizes scripture in attempts to make veiled cases in support of big government socialism, which is part and parcel of anti-God humanism. Obama spoke of “collective salvation” – a concept nowhere found in the Holy Bible. Obama is trying to drum Bible-believing chaplains out of the military, attacking a tradition going back to President George Washington’s time. If anyone believes Obama is a “mainstream Christian,” he is seriously deluding himself.

In conclusion, one would expect and hope for much more spiritual discernment and leadership from a leading Arizona pastor than what Pastor Stewart has demonstrated with this particular message. President Obama reflexively governs against the Christian worldview. With his vast government power, he is opening the door for sin and depravity, and slamming the door shut on religious freedom and free speech.

Evangelicals for Mitt Romney Explain Their Case

8 Sep

Submitted by Evangelicals for Mitt

Editor’s Note: The summary below is based primarily upon our first  support statement, drafted when this site launched in 2006.  It holds  up well, we think, but since 2006 the case for Mitt Romney has only  grown stronger.  While EFM believes that cultural issues are — and will  remain — central to the life and health of our country, we cannot  focus on cultural issues to the exclusion of the very real economic and  military challenges we continue to face.  While the surge has led to a  fragile victory in Iraq, our economy has not fared so well.  Between now  and the date when Governor Romney decides whether (or not) to pursue  the Republican nomination, we will often speak of the “relentless logic”  of his candidacy.  After all, which (potential) candidate combines his  level of proven economic expertise with the right character,  temperament, resolve, and commitment to life and the family?

We want a candidate who shares our political and moral values and  priorities, can win in 2012, and can govern effectively thereafter by articulating and  implementing an intelligent, values-based governing strategy. This is just what Mitt Romney did as  governor, this is just what Mitt Romney did in business, and this is  what he would do as president.

Governor Romney Shares Our Political & Moral Values

Political and moral values are informed by — but not the same as — one’s religion. That’s why we are not casting our lot with the  person whose theology we like most.  History shows that to be a poor  approach.

For example, in 1980 voters had two choices: a divorced movie actor who did not regularly attend church and was not on good terms with all of his children, and a once-married Southern Baptist whose evangelicalism was at the core of his public identity. Voting on the basis of whose religious doctrine was better would have meant electing the second guy — Jimmy Carter — over the first, Ronald Reagan. Excluding those who don’t hold to orthodox Christianity would also have meant excluding such great Americans as Thomas Jefferson — who denied the divinity of Christ — from positions of authority. But Is anybody going to argue someone else should’ve written the Declaration of Independence?

We need a president who embraces a comprehensive and positive values agenda: standing for the sanctity of life, protecting traditional marriage, defending religious liberty and basic human rights at home and abroad, combating poverty and disease within the world’s poorest communities, fighting for better quality of life for our citizens, and winning the War on Terror.

We need a president who has the right economic values.  We too often  place the economy and culture in completely separate spheres, content to  worry about “social issues” when (and only when) our paychecks are  secure.  This is exactly the wrong approach.  Governor Romney  understands that the health of the economy and the health of the family  are inextricably intertwined.  There can be no long-term prosperity  without healthy families, and it is a profound moral problem when we pay  for the sins of the present by bankrupting our children

Governor Romney Can Unite the Conservative Movement and Forge a Winning Coalition

If the debacle of 2008 taught us anything, it’s that you cannot  abandon the base and win an election.  We must unite fiscal and social  conservatives within the same tent.  We cannot argue over which of the  self-described “wings” of the party are most crucial.  At its best, the  Republican coalition combines a fierce commitment to national security,  sound economic conservatism that is responsive to changing economic  conditions, and an abiding commitment to life and the family.  When this  coalition breaks down, when any one of the three “legs” of the stool  break, we lose.  And lose big.  In 2008 we nominated a national security  conservative who knew very little about the economy (and was  dangerously prone to ineffectual bouts of populist outrage), seemed to  enjoy skewering fellow Republicans, and held many religious voters in  near-contempt.  In the next primary season, we must choose better.

But there’s more than that. Above all else, the president has to lead — he has to be a good executive.  Fortunately, Governor Romney has been a leader longer than he has been a politician. Prior to his political career, Governor Romney helped to launch the very successful Bain Capital — which helped launch such successful franchises as Staples and the Sports Authority — and then led a turnaround at Bain Consulting. He also saved the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City which, prior to his leadership, were mired in debt and corruption but subsequently became one of the most successfully-run Games in memory.

And he’s governed in a difficult political environment, too. Massachusetts is the most left-wing state in the union. If you think Bay State Democrats aren’t any different from their Arkansas or Alabama or Tennessee counterparts, try defending traditional marriage or vetoing stem-cell funding up in Boston, as Governor Romney did, and see what they do. But Governor Romney did — in addition to helping turn the economy around, opposing driver’s licenses and in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants, and defending Catholic Charities’ right to restrict adoptions to man-woman couples. No other candidate has a record of such successful, across-the-board conservative leadership—especially on such hostile terrain.

Summing It All Up

Mitt Romney has been a standout conservative governor of a very liberal state. He believes in the traditional family, and he has fought for it — just ask Massachusetts’ pro-family leaders. He’s admitted he was wrong on abortion, and is now solidly pro-life — as his record in Massachusetts testifies. He also opposes embryonic stem cell research’s speculative and open-ended carelessness with human life. He’s shown courage under fire in several challenging situations, and has lived out his values (both publicly and privately) during a time when other Republicans, sadly, have not.

In addition, we challenge our readers — friendly or hostile — to  name one national political leader on either side of the aisle with a  better record of business and economic leadership than Mitt Romney.  We  do not know what the economy will be like in 2012, but if it’s anything  like it is today, who would you want at the helm?  The former community  organizer we have today?  Or the founder of Bain Capital, the man who  rescued the Salt Lake City Olympics, and the Governor who brought a  state back from the brink of bankruptcy?

In other words, he’s not just a man evangelicals can support — he’s the best choice for people of faith. It’s not even close.

Marriage Faithfulness the Way it Should be

24 May

The world says marriage is all about individual happiness. If you’re not happy in your marriage, dispose of it and move on.

God says: “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

This video portrays a faithful young couple united in marriage AFTER the groom’s disabling brain injury.

 

Pray Today!

21 Apr

Pray. Because somewhere in Arizona right now, today, this very moment —

A discouraged pastor is contemplating quitting the ministry.

A teen-age “church girl” wants to get an abortion because she’s afraid her parents will get angry with her if they find out she is pregnant.

A Christian businessman is thinking about embezzling from his employer to feed his gambling habit.

A church is under spiritual attack.

Junior high and high school students are mentally tuning out the church.

College students are walking away from their faith because they were never taught how to defend it.

A mother is discouraged and feeling alone.

A teen is thinking about suicide.

Someone is have a crisis of faith, doubting God.

A marriage is crumbling.

The Body of Christ is bickering.

Temptation is everywhere: to view pornography, do drugs, drink excessively, engage in destructive behavior.

Pray for your spouse. Your children. Your grandchildren. Your pastor. Your church. Your community.

Talk to your loved ones today. Be IN their lives. Never cease praying.

 

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.

 

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