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Ted Cruz implores pastors to “stand up and speak” about the evils of abortion

“There are six thing which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him; haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to do evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.” Proverbs 6:17-19

It’s a surprising, and even grievous, twist when a political candidate has to call on the church to be the voice of truth in a nation, instead of the other way around – but that’s what Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has done.

As Live Action News reported this week, Cruz issued an invite to 100,000 pastors to join him in a conference call Tuesday to address assaults on Christian liberty; however, when it comes to abortion, he says the continued choice to be assaulted may be in the hands of American pastors.  In the call, he said:

If we cannot speak about this, there is very little that we can stand up and speak about. Preaching from the pulpit biblical values on life and comparing those values, the teachings of Jesus, to this nationwide business of trafficking in the body parts of unborn children is a message that needs to be heard across this nation.

He commented that if the church cannot stand up under a crisis like the Planned Parenthood revelations, then it has lost all its authority to speak on moral issues. As a result, he implored pastors to preach this Sunday on the abortion issue in order to help call the church to action in this dark hour. 

I would encourage every pastor on this call to preach the truth about what is happening with Planned Parenthood. I recognize these are topics that are not without controversy, and they invite criticism when faith leaders speak candidly about them.

Cruz also appealed for prayer for the nation’s leaders, and prayer for action against selling human body parts, among other crimes, moral and legal, which have been exposed more blatantly than ever by the Center for Medical Progress and its undercover videos.

Cruz, whose father is a Baptist pastor, understands something many American pastors seem to not comprehend: to be faithful to the Word of God is to stand against the shedding of innocent blood. To preach the Bible and to eschew talking about an issue in which God historically has poured out His judgment on a land is to be irresponsible with the call of God to preach His word.

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Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer

When a national crisis is exposed and the sin and culpability of a nation is placed in the living rooms of Christians, the leaders must speak out. Just as pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer learned in Germany when Hitler rose to power, a pacifistic attitude would have only led to more culpability, and Bonhoeffer knew it; he not only spoke out but stepped out to help end the reign of evil. He lost his life for it, but he reflected the Christ he preached.

Now, Cruz, a politician and preacher’s son,  has shown himself to be a man who stands for life more vocally than some of the church.

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Due to a variety of current events, the name of Margaret Sanger has repeatedly surfaced in the news the past few weeks. The focus on Planned Parenthood because of a series of investigative videos has brought renewed attention to the organization’s notorious founder. Presidential candidate Ben Carson has encouraged people to “go and read about Margaret Sanger and go and read about the beginnings of this organization so that you know what you’re dealing with.” Several journalists have been criticized for accepting the “Maggie” awards for their pro-abortion coverage. And a group of black pastors sent a letter to the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery asking that the bust of Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger be removed from the museum’s “Struggle for Justice” exhibit.

Who was Margaret Sanger? Here are nine things you should know about one of the 20th century’s most controversial figures:

1. In 1916, Sanger opened the world’s first birth control clinic in New York City. Nine days later Sanger was thrown in jail and the clinic shutdown for violating the Comstock obscenity laws, which included a prohibition against literature describing contraceptive methods.

2. At the First American Birth Control Conference in 1921, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League (ABCL). In 1942 the ABCL changed its name to 1942 Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In 1952 in Bombay, India at the Third International Conference on Planned Parenthood, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) was founded. Sanger served as president of the IPPF from 1952 to 1959. (She died in 1966.)

3. Sanger was leading advocate of the eugenics movement, specifically of negative eugenics, which promoted the reduction of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with undesired traits or economic conditions. Her views on eugenics were shaped at an early age by her experience in a large family. The sixth of eleven children, she noticed as a child that the wealthy families had small families while the poor had large families. In her autobiography, My Fight for Birth Control, she wrote, “I associated poverty, toil, unemployment, drunkenness, cruelty, quarreling, fighting, debts, jails with large families.”

4. Sanger believed the use of birth control was necessary, as Jyotsna Sreenivasan explains, not only for the individual woman’s well-being but also for the economy as a whole. In her 1931 pamphlet “Family Limitation” Sanger wrote, “The working woman can use direct action by refusing to supply the market with children to be exploited, by refusing to populate the earth with slaves. . . . Pass on this information to your neighbor and comrade workers.”  Sanger arranged for this pamphlet to be distributed widely though a Socialist labor union, the Industrial Workers of the World.

5. In Woman and the New Race, Sanger included a chapter to answer the question,  “When Should a Woman Avoid Having Children?” Included in her list are the admonition that “No more children should be born when the parents, though healthy themselves, find that their children are physically or mentally defective” and “By all means there should be no children when either mother or father suffers from such diseases as tuberculosis, gonorrhea, syphilis, cancer, epilepsy, insanity, drunkenness and mental disorders.”

6. On a radio show, Sanger is reported to have said that “morons, mental defectives, epileptics, illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, and dope fiends” ought to be surgically sterilized. If they wish, she said, such people should also be able to choose a lifelong segregated existence in labor camps.

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“Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dr. Bryan E. Galloway:

Ty and Terri are from Omaha. The body of Jesus in Omaha was shocked by their deaths!

Originally posted on Living With Heart:

I join the thousands of others who have a story about the far reaching impact of Pastor Ty and Terri Schenzel.

Yesterday, like countless of other people, I received some of the most devastating news I have ever received.  The text came at 8:15. Numbly, I walked to my bed, pulled my covers up protectively against the crushing grief that was threatening to consume me and told my husband that the news just couldn’t be true and I refused to believe it. I prayed it was all a very bad misunderstanding.  Social media was still silent, allowing me a few minutes to hope, but then the horrible news began to flood in around me from a million directions and I was devastated.  This news did not just devastate me, but also countless of others in our community and beyond. There would be a tremor of crushing grief that would course…

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Originally posted on Trusting Or Tripping:

this means war

When we become aware of our sinfulness and the consequences of those sins and in response turn to Jesus for salvation and forgiveness of those sins, we begin down the path of eternal life.  Sanctification.  Salvation.  God takes out our heart of stone that is dead and opposed to Him, and gives us a heart of flesh on which is written His perfect law, and we feel convicted of sin and long to obey Jesus out of love.  We begin the difficult battle of dying to ourselves and killing our sinful desires in order to grow in Spiritual maturity and holiness.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer taught us, in quite simple vocabulary:

“When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.”

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

John Owen, upon reflecting upon the book of 1 John warned…

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Trigger warning! The Bible may disturb your emotional health (COMMENTARY) – Religion News Service

A boy from the Mennonite community reads the bible at his school in Cuauhtemoc, Mexico o November 8, 2012. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez  *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-WAX-COLUMN, originally transmitted on August 17, 2015.

(RNS) Before you read this article, be warned! You may come across something you disagree with, or an idea that makes you uncomfortable, or a statement that causes offense. Please shut off your mobile device or close your browser, and back away slowly from your computer.

I’m kidding, of course. But only a little.

There’s a movement afoot in many universities and colleges across the country. It’s driven by the vision for the campus to be a “safe space” where ideas and words that make someone uncomfortable can be easily avoided. In New York magazine, Jonathan Chait describes it as a renewed strain of political correctness, a kind of “language policing” that poisons political debate and shuts down discussion.

In The Atlantic, Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff argue that this strain of political correctness is primarily about “emotional well-being,” protecting students from psychological harm. It’s “the coddling of the American mind,” they say, in a twist on Allan Bloom’s famous work, “The Closing of the American Mind.”


READ: ‘Megareverend’ John Oliver trolls televangelists with new tax-exempt church


One example of turning college into a “safe space” is the recent trend of putting “trigger warnings” on books — alerts from a professor that something in the course may stir up a strong, emotional response from the students. The motivation behind trigger warnings is sensitivity to people who have had traumatic experiences, a way of letting them know they may be disturbed by what they read.

Unfortunately, in a collegiate atmosphere tense with the fear of perpetual offense, the number of “triggers” have multiplied, and many of the most important books in history are getting labeled, and in some cases, dismissed.

For example, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” gets a trigger warning because of its depiction of misogyny and abuse. The classic myths of ancient Greek literature get trigger warnings because of rape.

Can you imagine how many trigger warnings the Bible would get? If there has ever been a book that is designed to make you uncomfortable and challenge your way of thinking, it’s the Bible.

Christian radio stations love to say they’re “safe for the whole family,” but that slogan wouldn’t fit if they were reading the whole Bible out loud as part of their programming. Violence, abuse, torture, rape, slavery — these are the warnings we’d have to issue by the time we finished reading the Bible’s first book, Genesis.


READ: Utah governor orders state agencies to stop disbursing federal funds to Planned Parenthood


The further you read, the more challenges you find to today’s political correctness. The storyline of the Bible starts with a God who created human beings in his image as the crowning achievement of his creation (trigger warning: speciesism!). He created humans male and female (gender binary alert!) to subdue and cultivate the Earth (ecology alert!), to join together as the two halves of humanity in covenant marriage (marriage discrimination!), to be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth with icons of his glory (overpopulation!).

After the human race revolts against God, the stories of the Bible follow a long line of humans who are idolatrous to the core, willing to substitute anything and everything for worshipping God (low self-esteem!). The diagnosis for humanity is bleak, but the thread running through the narrative is one of God showing mercy and grace to his chosen people, Israel, (ethnocentrism!) in order that he might one day bless the whole world.

For Christians, God’s rescue plan happens only through sacrifice — blood sacrifice that covers our guilt and shame (Sorry, PETA!). Their Bible climaxes with Jesus the Messiah who lives the life God always intended for humanity, shows the world what God is like, extends mercy to those who oppose him, and willingly offers himself as the final and ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world. In the Gospels, the trigger warnings multiply: torture, injustice, abuse, and execution.

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Pain: A Secret Garden of Pride | Desiring God

August 19, 2015

Pain: A Secret Garden of Pride

Pain can be a secret garden of pride.

We don’t talk about it often because it’s so sensitive, so vulnerable — so painful. As touchy as the topic of pain is, though, it’s equally dangerous to tiptoe around it. John Piper writes this about our pain,

Satan uses pleasure and pain to try and destroy our faith. He wields pleasure to make us doubt God’s satisfying greatness, and pain to make us doubt God’s sovereign goodness.

Pain can be a powerful weapon for good in the heart of faith. It can produce deeper, heartfelt humility and greater dependence on God. And pain can inflict wounds far worse and more lasting than any physical agony. At its worst, it can cause us to doubt God’s goodness, to wallow in self-pity, and to isolate ourselves from him, as well as from others.

Pain becomes proud because it believes no one else understands. No one feels what I feel. And so pain distances itself from anyone who might try and speak into its suffering. But pain afflicts itself even more the farther it separates itself from others. God has given us himself, his word, and each other to produce faith, and even joy, in the midst of pain, even the most severe and unique pain.

One test to determine whether our pain is producing pride is to ask how we respond to encouragement from others, maybe especially from other believers who don’t understand our pain. Are we willing to hear the word and hope of God from someone who has not experienced or cannot comprehend our current suffering? If we’re unwilling, then pain has driven us into isolation, and Satan’s succeeding in his purpose for your suffering.

Case Study: The Pain of Unwanted Singleness

I’m learning this lesson about myself from my own experience with suffering. From far too young, I longed for the affection, safety, and intimacy I anticipated with a wife.

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Quotable: Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Judging Others

Bonhoeffer2I’ve been reading a lot about judgment/nonjudgment lately.  In my last entry I talked about Hugh Halter’s “Brimstone: The Art and Act of Holy Nonjudgment” (which gets better and better as it goes along), and the latest chapter that I read in Brian McLaren’s “We Make the Road by Walking” also had a bit to do with this issue.

So it’s been on my mind quite a bit of late, because as I’ve said on here before, when I talk to my non-Christian friends, the number one problem they have with Christians is that we’re a judgmental lot that don’t judge our own behavior or practice what we preach.  That’s a pretty damning indictment I think.  Why would people be interested in the grace and love of Jesus Christ if the messengers entrusted with delivering the “good news” don’t follow it themselves?

Well, last night I just happened to run across some writings from Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the same subject in his book “The Cost of Discipleship.”  Chapter 18 in this book deals with Christ’s “Judge not, lest you be judged” teaching in Matthew 7.  The entirety of Bonhoeffer’s writing in this chapter is quotable and I think it’s very solid teaching. Before I quote it though, let’s just mention that what you’re about to read was first written in the 1930s by a man who can’t really be pigeonholed as some “radical liberal.”  So if modern thinkers like McLaren and Halter aren’t your speed, perhaps you might consider what Bonhoeffer has to say:

Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating.  By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled as we are.

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by Lael Larrington

My Or Your Way Keys Showing Conflict Or DisagreementHow do you respond when people frustrate you? When their vision is smaller, their personalities grate, their pride annoys, their fears quash progress? Our culture nurtures a critical spirit. Social media affords more opportunities (and reinforcement) to vent and complain than ever.

German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer knew how to speak truth to people in the wrong and how to give grace when the relational issue was more a matter of personality or preference. As the Lutheran Church of Martin Luther fell under the spell of Adolph Hitler, he boldly joined the dissenting “Confessing Church,” becoming one of Hitler’s earliest and staunchest critics. (In Part 2 of this post I’ll review Bonhoeffer’s challenge, “When Politicians Fail Us.”)

But first, the personal challenge. Bonhoeffer’s commitment to speaking truth was tempered by great love. In his book, Life Together, he challenges our Western penchant for radical individualism, even (especially) in the church, and shows us, better than anyone I’ve ever read, how to forbear others who offend and try our patience. How to see and honor the image of God in each person.

If we want to quiet our critical spirit and live in Christian community, we always approach others, Bonhoeffer writes, through the person and love of Christ. Jesus stands between me and my brother or sister. “I must release the other person from every attempt of mine to regulate, coerce and dominate him with my love.

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