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Fresh Fire Founder Todd Bentley Asks Followers to ‘Bless’ Wife in PayPal Account on Her Birthday 

(Photos: Facebook/Fresh Fire USA)Todd Bentley, healing evangelist and founder of Fresh Fire USA (L) and his wife Jessa (R).

“My wife does not know that I’m doing this. How about that everybody,” he said with a chuckle in a Periscope Live broadcast.

“If you did not know that it was my wife Jessa Bentley’s birthday and you’re a personal friend, on Facebook or you just happen to know us, stop by my wife’s Facebook and wish her a happy birthday. I posted a beautiful picture of my wife Jessa on my Facebook,” he continued.

He then explained he was doing a “surprise” for Jessa and that a lot of her friends would be a part of it before explaining to his “friends” on social media how they could be a part of it too.

“I know we like to get on here and we talk about a lot of ministry stuff. You know we talk about feeding kids in Malawi, we talk about Pakistan, sometimes we don’t even talk about anything. But I want to talk about how to bless my wife Jessa Bentley and this is for friends and this for those who would like the chance to bless not just the message but the messenger,” he said.

Bentley explained that he wasn’t asking out of need because “definitely it’s not because we need the money.” His ministry, he said, has been very blessed already. He said he was simply giving his friends and fans an opportunity to bless and honor his wife beyond a “happy birthday” note on social media.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/fresh-fire-founder-todd-bentley-asks-followers-to-bless-wife-in-paypal-account-on-her-birthday-182923/#R1lZhPd6EcHx61DX.99

This should be covered in the Babylon Bee! ~ Bryan

 

Here is my endorsement for an important new book:

controversy of the ages cabalIf I had the power to require every Christian parent, pastor, and professor to read two books on creation and evolution—ideally alongside their mature children, parishioners, and students—it would be 40 Questions about Creation and Evolution (by Kenneth Keathley and Mark Rooker) along with the book you are now holding in your hands, Controversy of the Ages: Why Christians Should Not Divide Over the Age of the Earth.

Neither book intends to answer all of the questions definitively, but together they are like maps for Christians in the complex and confusing intersection of the Bible and science.

We cannot bury our head in the sand, or outsource study of these issues to others. Ted Cabal and Peter Rasor help us sort through the issues and the options, modeling for us how to use proportion and perspective in our rhetoric and strategies of disagreement within the body of Christ.

We live in perplexing days, but clear and clarifying books like this are a tremendous gift to the church. If the arguments and tone of this book are taken to heart, we will all be sharper, wiser, and kinder. I pray it is widely read.

Kenneth Keathley, co-author of the other go-to book I mentioned above, had this to say about the Cabal/Rasor book:

When people ask for a good book to read about the age of the earth, I have a new favorite to recommend: Cabal and Rasor’s Controversy of the Ages. With remarkable clarity, this book provides historical and theological context to the young-earth/old-earth controversy. But Cabal and Rasor move beyond mere description and prescribe the way to move forward—the Galileo approach. This is an important book, and it needs to be read by pastors, college and seminary students, and all who care about science and faith issues.

Here are the rest of the endorsements for this book:

“The time is long past when we have needed a very careful, thoroughly documented analysis and response to the claims of young earth creationists. But with this book, I am delighted to say that that time has come. I am very enthusiastic about the scholarship, careful treatment and irenic tone of this book and highly recommend it.”

J. P. Moreland, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Talbot School of Theology

“In addition to a well-informed history of evangelical moves for relating Genesis to geology and then to Darwinism, the authors have given us much more. They have provided trenchant evaluation of the argumentative strategies―theological, scientific, and philosophical. They show that of the various groups known to us today―the young earth creationists, the (non-Darwinian) old earth creationists, and the evolutionary creationists―none can be exempted from critique, and none deserves the place of exclusive privilege. This book deserves a wide readership, for it is informative, fair, and incisive. I rejoice that God spared Dr. Cabal from a terminal cancer to help write this!

C. John Collins, Professor of Old Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary

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The Gathering Storm: Religious Liberty in the Wake of the Sexual Revolution – AlbertMohler.com 


These are days that will require courage, conviction, and clarity of vision. We are in a fight for the most basic liberties God has given humanity, every single one of us, made in his image.

In the first volume of his history of World War II, Winston Churchill looked back at the storm clouds that gathered in the 1930s portending war and the loss of human freedom. Churchill wisely and presciently warned Britain of the tragedy that would ensue if Hitler were not stopped. His actions were courageous and the world was shaped by his convictional leadership. We are not facing the same gathering storm, but we are now facing a battle that will determine the destiny of priceless freedoms and the very foundation of human rights and human dignity.

Speaking thirty years ago, Attorney General Meese warned that “there are ideas which have gained influence in some parts of our society, particularly in some important and sophisticated areas that are opposed to religious freedom and freedom in general. In some areas there are some people that have espoused a hostility to religion that must be recognized for what it is, and expressly countered.”

Those were prophetic words, prescient in their clarity and foresight. The ideas of which Mr. Meese warned have only gained ground in the last thirty years, and now with astounding velocity. A revolution in morality now seeks not only to subvert marriage, but also to redefine it, and thus to undermine an essential foundation of human dignity, flourishing, and freedom.

Religious liberty is under direct threat. During oral arguments in the Obergefell case, the Solicitor General of the United States served notice before the Supreme Court that the liberties of religious institutions will be an open and unavoidable question. Already, religious liberty is threatened by a new moral regime that exalts erotic liberty and personal autonomy and openly argues that religious liberties must give way to the new morality, its redefinition of marriage, and its demand for coercive moral, cultural, and legal sovereignty.

These are days that will require courage, conviction, and clarity of vision. We are in a fight for the most basic liberties God has given humanity, every single one of us, made in his image. Religious liberty is being redefined as mere freedom of worship, but it will not long survive if it is reduced to a private sphere with no public voice. The very freedom to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at stake, and thus so is the liberty of every American. Human rights and human dignity are temporary abstractions if they are severed from their reality as gifts of the Creator. The eclipse of Christian truth will lead inevitably to a tragic loss of human dignity. If we lose religious liberty, all other liberties will be lost, one by one.

Religious Liberty and the Challenge of Same-Sex Marriage

Even though same-sex marriage is new to the American scene, the religious liberty challenges became fully apparent even before it became a reality. Soon after the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state of Massachusetts, several seminars and symposia were held in order to consider the religious liberty dimensions of this legal revolution. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty sponsored one of the most important of these events, which produced a major volume with essays by prominent legal experts on both sides of this revolution. The consensus of every single participant in the conference was that the normalization of homosexuality and the legalization of same-sex marriage would produce a head-on collision in the courts. As Marc D. Stern, of the American Jewish Congress stated, “Same-sex marriage would work a sea change in American law.”

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Proclaim Love in Word and Deed

The words “hate,” “bigotry” and “intolerance” are mis- and over-used. But that makes it more important that we speak out against the real thing when it’s there.

President Trump began his first address to Congress by citing “recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries,” and a “shooting in Kansas City.” This was his prologue to saying that the United States “stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its forms.”

I’m so glad that he spoke out.

But let me also hasten to add that we shouldn’t leave it to the President to remind us of the need to condemn hate and evil – that’s the job of the Church.

The past few months have witnessed, to borrow from Yeats’ poem, “The Second Coming,” a “rough beast” slouching to be born. That “rough beast” is open, and sometimes violent, expressions of bigotry and intolerance.

Now Christians have ample reasons to be wary of those words “bigotry” and “intolerance,” since we’re often unjustly accused of both. But to use the medieval Latin phrase, “abusus non tollit usum,” the misuse of something does not negate its proper use. There are such things as bigotry and intolerance.

Some of it, such as Texas high school students taunting their Hispanic opponents at a basketball game with chants of “build that wall!” are easy to rationalize as youthful hi-jinks, until you put yourself, as Jesus commands us to, in the shoes of the kids being taunted.

Other examples, such as the killing of an Indian-born engineer, and the wounding of two other people by a man who had earlier yelled “get out of my country!” are impossible to ignore. The fact that the man may been under the influence of alcohol when he pulled the trigger does not make the crime less troubling.

While alcohol lowers inhibitions, it doesn’t create the impulses being inhibited in the first place. To quote another Latin phrase, “in vino veritas,” or wine brings out the truth.

Likewise, the vandalizing of Jewish cemeteries in St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Rochester, New York, along with bomb threats against 120 Jewish Community Centers across the country is nothing less than alarming.

And it’s not just Jewish Community Centers. In the past two months, four mosques have been deliberately set on fire.

The good news is that, amidst all this hate, we have seen examples of grace: Two American Muslims raised over $140,000 to repair the damage done to Jewish cemeteries, and Muslim veterans have vowed to protect Jewish cemeteries. As one veteran tweeted, “If your synagogue or Jewish cemetery needs someone to stand guard, count me in. Islam requires it.”

Strictly speaking, while I am thankful for his words, I am not sure that it does. But there is no questions about Christianity. As Paul says in Acts 17, God determines when and where we live. And as Esther so courageously demonstrated in difficult times, silence is not an option.

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By Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr.


The publishing world sees very few books reach blockbuster status, but William Paul Young’s The Shack has now exceeded even that. The book, originally self-published

The publishing world sees very few books reach blockbuster status, but William Paul Young’s The Shack has now exceeded even that. The book, originally self-published by Young and two friends, has now sold more than 10 million copies and has been translated into over thirty languages. It is now one of the best-selling paperback books of all time, and its readers are enthusiastic.

According to Young, the book was originally written for his own children. In essence, it can be described as a narrative theodicy — an attempt to answer the question of evil and the character of God by means of a story. In this story, the main character is grieving the brutal kidnapping and murder of his seven-year-old daughter when he receives what turns out to be a summons from God to meet him in the very shack where the man’s daughter had been murdered.
In the shack, “Mack” meets the divine Trinity as “Papa,” an African-American woman; Jesus, a Jewish carpenter; and “Sarayu,” an Asian woman who is revealed to be the Holy Spirit. The book is mainly a series of dialogues between Mack, Papa, Jesus, and Sarayu. Those conversations reveal God to be very different than the God of the Bible. “Papa” is absolutely non-judgmental, and seems most determined to affirm that all humanity is already redeemed.

The theology of The Shack is not incidental to the story. Indeed, at most points the narrative seems mainly to serve as a structure for the dialogues. And the dialogues reveal a theology that is unconventional at best, and undoubtedly heretical in certain respects.

While the literary device of an unconventional “trinity” of divine persons is itself sub-biblical and dangerous, the theological explanations are worse. “Papa” tells Mack of the time when the three persons of the Trinity “spoke ourself into human existence as the Son of God.” Nowhere in the Bible is the Father or the Spirit described as taking on human existence. The Christology of the book is likewise confused. “Papa” tells Mack that, though Jesus is fully God, “he has never drawn upon his nature as God to do anything. He has only lived out of his relationship with me, living in the very same manner that I desire to be in relationship with every human being.” When Jesus healed the blind, “He did so only as a dependent, limited human being trusting in my life and power to be at work within him and through him. Jesus, as a human being, had no power within himself to heal anyone.”

While there is ample theological confusion to unpack there, suffice it to say that the Christian church has struggled for centuries to come to a faithful understanding of the Trinity in order to avoid just this kind of confusion — understanding that the Christian faith is itself at stake.

Jesus tells Mack that he is “the best way any human can relate to Papa or Sarayu.” Not the only way, but merely the best way.

In another chapter, “Papa” corrects Mack’s theology by asserting, “I don’t need to punish people for sin. Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside. It’s not my purpose to punish it; it’s my joy to cure it.” Without doubt, God’s joy is in the atonement accomplished by the Son. Nevertheless, the Bible consistently reveals God to be the holy and righteous Judge, who will indeed punish sinners. The idea that sin is merely “its own punishment” fits the Eastern concept of karma, but not the Christian Gospel.

For the rest of the post…

by 

 Last year the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a committee of experts to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature regarding the health effects of marijuana use. The committee considered more than 10,700 studies for their relevance and arrived at nearly 100 different research conclusions related to marijuana (cannabis) or cannabinoid use and health. Their findings were recenty published in a 400-page report.

Here are nine things about the effects of marijuana you should know based on this report:

1. The terms marijuana and cannabis refer to all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., including the seeds, the resin extracted from any part of such plan, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds, or resin. The compounds that cause intoxication and may have medicinal uses are cannabinoids, a class of chemical compounds that acts on cannabinoid receptors in cells that represses neurotransmitter release in the brain. The marijuana plant contains more than 100 cannabinoids. Currently, the two main cannabinoids from the marijuana plant that are of medical interest are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

2. There is substantial or conclusive scientific evidence for only three medical benefits of cannabis or cannabinoids: treating chronic pain in adults; treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, and nausea after chemotherapy; and improving symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

3. There is substantial evidence of a statistical association between cannabis use and increased risk of motor vehicle crashes.  Self-reported cannabis use or the presence of THC in blood, saliva, or urine, has been associated with 20 to 30 percent higher odds of a motor vehicle crash.

4. In states where cannabis use is legal, there is increased risk of unintentional cannabis overdose injuries among children. There is insufficient evidence to support or refute a statistical association between cannabis use by adults and death due to cannabis overdose.

5. Recent cannabis use (within the past 24 hours) impairs the performance in cognitive domains of learning, memory, and attention. A limited number of studies also suggest there are impairments in cognitive domains of learning, memory, and attention in individuals who have stopped smoking cannabis. Cannabis use during adolescence is related to impairments in subsequent academic achievement and education, employment and income, and social relationships and social roles

6. Cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses—the higher the use the greater the risk. However, cannabis use does not appear to increase the likelihood of developing anxiety, depression, or posttraumatic stress disorder.

7. The evidence suggests that any cannabis use is related with increased suicidal ideation (i.e., suicidal thoughts or preoccupation with suicide), augmented suicide attempts, and greater risk of death by suicide. Studies reveal that heavy cannabis use (used 40 or more times) is associated with a higher risk of suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts.

8. There is substantial evidence that initiating cannabis use at an earlier age is a risk factor for the development of problem cannabis use. There is moderate evidence that during adolescence the frequency of cannabis use, oppositional behaviors, a younger age of first alcohol use, nicotine use, parental substance use, poor school performance, antisocial behaviors, and childhood sexual abuse are risk factors for the development of problem cannabis use. Anxiety, personality disorders, and bipolar disorders are not risk factors for the development of problem cannabis use.

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Christians, Let’s Pray for President Trump

  January 20, 2017

Today I have a piece in The Washington Post on why Christians ought to pray for our new President, Donald Trump.

Here’s an excerpt:

Consistently, no matter who is in office we are to pray for success. That doesn’t mean we pray for all of any leader’s ideas to be realized. But it means that we pray that he or she would succeed, would carry out an agenda that leads to the flourishing of the rest of society and, particularly, so that the church may “lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” In contemporary American society, we’re supposed to want those we like to leave office as heroes and those we don’t to bumble and fail. That should never be our attitude.

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Martin Luther King, Jr. shared his dream with the world.

He did more than denounce; he dreamt. He did not merely paint the bleak landscape of racial hostility in the world’s leading nation, but dipped his brush in vibrant colors and painted a country as it could be. He imagined a day when blacks and whites were not only equal in the eyes of the law, but joined together around a table in fellowship: “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

On this day when we honor the sacrifice, vision, and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we should ask whether his beloved dream has not only made it into our hearts, but also found a seat within our homes, and around our dinner tables.

Who’s Been at Your Table?

Dr. King imagined a day when the sons of former slave owners and the sons of former slaves could sit down and break bread together. Are any of us cut by the recent words of Albert Tate:

Look at your social calendar over the past six months. If you are a Republican, how many people have sat around your dinner table that voted for a Democrat in the most recent election, or vice versa? If you are an African American, how many people have you invited to dinner who have to put on a lot more sunscreen than you when they go to the beach? This should be a telling experience, as you examine the reality of your social calendar.” (Birmingham, 168)

Our flawed imaginations and deceptive hearts prefer to “round up” when we evaluate ourselves, rather than dealing with specific numbers. Perhaps we should let our calendars speak to us: Do we allow our tables to reflect the love of the entire body of Christ as well as our theological convictions? What specific number of people unlike ourselves have come into our homes, and sat at our dinner tables, since we last celebrated King’s influence a year ago?

History of Distrust

We live in a time when one consistently sees more ethnic diversity in shopping malls, McDonalds drive-thrus, and pee-wee football games than in the local church. We live in a time when one wonders whether the demographics of our congregations may reflect the vision of Jim Crow more than the apostle John. We live in a time when we often eat with those who like us, agree with us, and look like us. Our true church fellowship reflects our dining-room fellowship; our communion around our dinner-tables will impact, over time, who’s sharing communion at our churches.

Historically, the white church’s unbiblical orthopraxy has alienated the black church from its biblical orthodoxy. In other words, a scarred history around the dinner table has caused a breach of trust between white and black Christian communities.

During the era of American slavery (1600–1865), blacks did not break bread with their masters. If they were even in the dining room, it was to serve, not to fellowship as equals. The slave in the room was too often synonymous with the tables they set and the plates they carried — as property, not persons.

In times of segregation and Jim Crow (1865–1949), blacks were allowed to have their own dinner tables. Drinking fountains, movie theatres, restrooms, and (sadly) many conservative, Bible-believing seminaries were marked “white only” and “colored only.” “Separate but equal” reigned supreme, as did oppression, racism, inequality, and mutual hostility. Neither the restaurant nor the dinner table displayed God-honoring fellowship.

In the Civil Rights Era (1950–1968), Martin Luther King, Jr. and others protested the continued injustices. Blacks fought for the right to legal equality with regards to voting, racial segregation, and dehumanizing discrimination. But too often they were met with silence, and even hostility, from evangelical, Reformed, and Bible-believing churches and churchmen who “remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows,” as King wrote in “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.” Only through tumultuous times of police brutality, riots, hosings, and dog-bitings, was a place at Uncle Sam’s table legally granted to African Americans. But even then, segregation still flourished within American homes.

Pass the Potatoes, Bridge the Gap

Our history has shown us segregation in our neighborhoods, segregation in the pews, and segregation around our dinner tables. Today, we still can see segregation in our neighborhoods, segregation in the pews, and segregation around our dinner tables. Dr. King’s dream has yet to fully be realized.

Such is the opportunity before us as the church of the risen Christ.

We the blood-bought people of God know that Jesus alone tears down the Great Wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14). The world has merely humanistic motivates for diversity; we have the word of our Creator and the blood of our Redeemer. Jesus bought a place for that diverse brother in Christ to have a seat at our table. Invite him and his family to sit in it.

God Has a Dream

Revelation 19:6–8 is a banner for Christian dinner fellowship:

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure.”

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“You’re Hired!”

For many of us, it’s more a sigh of relief than a victory shout. We wanted him – largely, at least – because of who he wasn’t, voting him in like a kid settling for a prom date he wasn’t crazy about but, since he couldn’t take the girl he really wanted, he could at least avoid taking the other girl who he really disliked.

Kinda hard to get too excited under those circumstances. But relief provides its own sort of rush, the tired Thank You Lord! joy of realizing that your fears aren’t going to be realized; you’ve been given a reprieve. That’s how I felt, at least, when I saw the numbers change this morning to prove we’ve officially said “You’re hired!” to the man so closely associated with the opposite phrase.

That’s hard and even scary news to the many Americans who see Donald Trump as a symbol of our basest instincts. He deserves some of that. The strutting, blustery guy who elbowed his fellow Republicans out of the way during the primaries, then made his opponent look Presidential during the debates with his interruptions and bombast, has his own mouth to blame for many of the image problems he’s carting to the White House with him.

We can argue whether his policies are xenophobic or harsh as so many claim, an argument I’d side with him on. But his posturing did make most of us, whether supporters or detractors, wince and worry.

New Beginnings?

Yet the man I saw early this AM acknowledging his victory deflated a lot of those worries, prompting me to wonder if I’ve been wrong all along about his temperament, or whether the gravity of his position is sinking in and birthing new levels of calm and maturity in our new President Trump. This was less La Donald and more Commander in Chief, a man in control showing gratitude and grace, inspiring fresh confidence. May this be an upward trend we see continue.

As for us, I’m speculating that some of my Christian friends who couldn’t in good conscience vote for him are also quietly relieved today. He got in, after all, without them having to dirty their hands at the voting booth, which is something akin to win/win. Maybe I’m wrong; just guessing.

For my part, I positioned myself as a Trump voter a couple months ago because I supported the direction I felt he would take the country, along with the policies and appointments I expected to come with his presidency. I don’t regret my position, and would have defended it if he lost. God grant that I was right.

God also grant that Christian Americans make this a time of serious repentance, sober thinking, and recommitment.

We just came razor-sharp close to a systematic, ruthless dismantling of religious liberty, crippling our ability to express and enforce Biblical teaching. Not in the culture, mind you, but within our own congregations.

Our positions on abortion, same-sex marriage, and transgenders would have put us at odds with a government which would have, under a different administration, insisted it knew better than us. From our Christian universities to our Sunday services, we would have eventually heard Big Brother telling us how to manage our bathroom facilities, hiring policies, and sermon content. And that would have only been the beginning.

Our identity as a nation also came close to taking a huge and possibly fatal hit. The blurring of borders and the denigration of American exceptionalism would trend us away from independence and towards a collective identity more associated with the UN than the US.

And that’s not to mention the taxation and hyper-regulating that business and individuals would face under a system committed to broadening government powers domestically while weakening them internationally.

Those are the just some of concerns I had, disputable for sure, and I’m very aware of my friends and family who strongly disagree. But for my part, I feel the people chose rightly, and that God has given the American church and nation
another chance.

Repentance, Not Revelry

In response, I hope we’ll repent like zealots for every sin we’re rightfully accused of by our critics. Whether it’s the hypocrisy of the Christian man who opposes gay marriage but secretly gorges on porn, or the indifference of the comfortable believer to the homeless in her city, or the laziness of the church member who neglects prayer and Bible study but expects God’s blessing nonetheless, let’s grieve and wear the sackcloth for awhile  Not morbidly, but sincerely, thanking God for not giving up on us and beseeching Him to help us appreciate His “new every morning” mercies.

I also hope we’ll take seriously the concerns of fellow citizens and believers – and there are plenty – who are in real distress over the election results. Let’s consider their fears as we hoped ours would be considered if the outcome was different today. We can learn from them where the weaknesses in our positions are and, when they’re right, let’s admit it, then act on that admission. Where they’re wrong, let’s explain why and try to persuade them.

And for those of us who supported him, let’s pray at least as hard for Donald Trump’s growth as we prayed for his election.

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