Archive for the ‘Same-Sex Marriage’ Category
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
ALBANY, NY – A New York farm has been fined $13,000 by the state Division of Human Rights for declining to host a same-sex ‘wedding’ on their property two years ago, and has been ordered to train their employees to accommodate homosexual ceremonies despite their Christian beliefs.
Administrative Law Judge Migdalia Peres fined Liberty Ridge Farms in Schaghticoke $10,000 and ordered that $1,500 each be paid to two lesbians who were turned down by the facility, which also serves as the owners’ home. Liberty Ridge Farms’ owners were also ordered to provide proof that they have trained their employees not to refuse requests from homosexuals. A poster noting that the business is subject to human rights law must also be displayed prominently at the business.
As previously reported, Jennie McCarthy and Melisa Erwin of Albany contacted the 50-acre Liberty Ridge Farms in 2012 to schedule their “wedding” ceremony, as the venue regularly hosts weddings and other outings. However, when the owners, Robert and Cynthia Gifford, realized that the two were lesbians, they informed the women that they could not be of assistance. Click here to continue reading.
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
KINGSTON, Tenn. – For the first time since the courts began ruling on challenges against state marriage amendments enshrining the institution as being between a man and a woman, a judge in Tennessee has upheld the state’s same-sex “marriage” ban as constitutional.
Roane County Circuit Judge Russell E. Simmons, Jr. ruled on a matter surrounding two homosexual men who sought a divorce after tying the knot four years ago in Iowa. He denied the men the divorce as he declined to recognize their relationship under Tennessee law as a marriage.
“The court finds that Tennessee’s laws concerning same-sex marriage do not violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution,” Simmons wrote. “There is nothing irrational about limiting the institution of marriage for the purpose for which it was created, by embracing its traditional definition. To conclude otherwise is to impose one’s own view of what a state ought to do on the subject of same-sex marriage.” Click here to continue reading.
World Vision Cries “Reform” – But What About Israel and the Emerging Church – The Story Behind the Story
According to a recent article by Christian News Network (CNN) titled “World Vision Under Internal Reformation After Support of Homosexuality?,” World Vision appears to be taking measures to “reform” the organization after their recent decision and 48-hour reversal to employ homosexual couples. Since that happened, according to the article, World Vision has lost 10,000 child supporters (equaling over 4 million dollars annually). According to CNN, “World Vision is asking board members to formally affirm a statement that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
CNN also reports that some board member changes are taking place at World Vision as well:
Jacquelline Fuller, director of corporate giving at Google, and John Park, another Google employee, left the board after the dust-up. Three other board members rotated off due to term limits. Rich Stearns [WV president], whose salary is reportedly near $400k per year, remains as president despite some initial talk that he could be fired for the controversy.
While such reforms may appear to be commendable signs that World Vision wants to be seen as a Christian organization after all, something the CNN article says reveals that World Vision’s reforms may not produce the “fruit” they appear to be wanting to create. The article states that the new board members will include Leith Anderson (president of the NAE) and Jerry White, president emeritus of the Christian ministry Navigators. Both Jerry White and Leith Anderson have been the subject of Lighthouse Trails articles because of their roles in the emerging “new” spirituality. And most likely, they will bring their views to the newly formed board at World Vision.
Leith Anderson, former pastor of mega church Wooddale Church in Minnesota, is discussed in Roger Oakland’s book Faith Undone. Oakland, in showing Anderson’s role in helping to form the emerging church in the 90s, states that, “Anderson says that the Word of God is still being written, and today’s experiences can dictate what that Word is.” Anderson says:
The old paradigm taught that if you had the right teaching, you will experience God. The new paradigm says that if you experience God, you will have the right teaching. This may be disturbing for many who assume propositional truth must always precede and dictate religious experience. That mindset is the product of systematic theology and has much to contribute … However, biblical theology looks to the Bible for a pattern of experience followed by proposition. The experience of the Exodus from Egypt preceded the recording of Exodus in the Bible. The experience of the crucifixion, the resurrection and Pentecost all predate the propositional declaration of those events in the New Testament. It is not so much that one is right and the other is wrong: it is more of a matter of the perspective one takes on God’s touch and God’s truth.
This minimization of doctrine and exaggerated emphasis on experience is typical of contemplative/emerging teachers. As well, in an interview with Leith Anderson, Anderson’s ecumenical propensities show through when he states:
[I]n neighborhoods people who are Catholic and Presbyterian and Lutheran are praying together. They go to Bible studies together. And an amalgam of all kinds of religious ideas has taken hold of the grass roots. Whereas denominational leaders are increasingly saying, “Well, we’ve got to stand for our distinctives.” … Well, those denominational leaders are going down the wrong path! (source)
And in a PBS profile of Leith Anderson, Anderson says:
I think that around the world there is a great deal of fear. I think war and terrorism and other issues have made people frightened and that has often driven them back to their social, ethnic and religious roots. And that has distanced people more than it has brought them together. What I would desire and hope for is that we would find our common ground, be able to be respectful of our differences, and be able to fairly hear one another in terms of what are our beliefs, and persuasively speak on behalf of our beliefs.
We find it ironic that World Vision has brought in the services of Leith Anderson when it was this idea of ecumenism and “common ground” that got World Vision into trouble in the first place. As journalist Paul Proctor explains in his article “Relationships and Religious Agendas,” a terrible breach in biblical integrity has occurred in the Christian church for the sake of relationships and unity at all costs:
Having now put so great an emphasis on our relationships with one another and the results we covet, no longer do we turn to the Bible for answers to the issues of life, instead, allowing the counsel of the compromised to compel us along with their practical advise and benevolent ventures, assuming they are anointed and appointed by God to do so. It is a sweet seduction with eternal consequences and a spiritual short cut for the shortsighted and undisciplined.
Scripture is clear that we are to let our yes be yes and our no be no, and there is a special judgement for those who name the name of Christ but are lukewarm (Revelation 3:16). It should be noted that Leith Anderson was also among those appointed by the present White House administration for the interfaith advisory council. But this shouldn’t be too surprising as World Vision has strong ties to the US government. According to the CNN article, World Vision “received nearly $179 million in grants of food and cash from the U.S. government and other agencies” in 2013.
Anderson, president of the National Evangelical Association, was also one of the signers of a document named “A Common Word Between Us and You,” which was an evangelical response to a Muslim document asking for “common ground” to be recognized between the two religions. While a number of popular evangelical leaders also signed the document (Rick Warren, Brian McLaren, Robert Schuller,Bill Hybels, Richard Cizik, and Jim Wallis), these leaders, including Anderson, appeared to be ignorant of the fact that the Muslim document contained a rebuke and an Islamic warning as Mike Oppenheimer explains in his article “Chrislam – The Blending Together of Islam & Christianity.”
As for World Vision’s decision to bring aboard the Navigator’s president emeritus, Jerry White, the Navigators (NavPress) has become one of the leaders in bringing in contemplative/emerging spirituality into the church over the last 15 years (see links below). White was international president of The Navigators from 1986 until 2005. While we cannot say whether White knew what was happening at The Navigators regarding the shift toward the emerging church, if he did not know, then this was a serious lack of discernment at the highest leadership level and could repeat itself when he becomes a board member of World Vision. As an example of this, in 2007, Lighthouse Trails wrote an article titled “CMA (Christian Management Association) Goes Contemplative,” where it was reported that Jerry White was at that time chairman of the board of directors at CMA (today he is not chairman but is still on the board). Our article explained:
CMA is promoting contemplative/emerging spirituality. In their recommended books section, they include several contemplative/emerging authors: Ken Blanchard, Bill Hybels, Leonard Sweet, Dan Allender, and Daniel Goleman (author of The Meditative Mind). Goleman, a staunch proponent of mantra meditation sees meditation as a common ground between all the world’s religions, and his book is a type of manual on the basics of mysticism. . . .
On March 12-15, CMA will be presenting their 30th Annual Conference in Palm Springs . . . Workshops will include Spiritual Formation (i.e., contemplative spirituality) and other workshop speakers include Nancy Ortberg (wife of contemplative John Ortberg), and Phyllis Hendry (President of Lead Like Jesus) . . .
Articles in CMA magazine back up the association’s affinity with contemplative. One article called “The Soul of a Leader” talks about being intimately connected to God through spiritual disciplines and recommends Richard Foster, emergent Tony Jones, and Dallas Willard as authors to read.
Some may be wondering how World Vision came to the place where they decided to begin employing homosexual couples. Such a radical shift away from orthodox Christianity didn’t happen over night. As Lighthouse Trails has reported on numerous occasions, World Vision has been engaging with the emerging church for a long time. For instance, in 2006, we wrote:
In the Summer 2006 issue of World Vision’s magazine Child View, there is a full-page article by emerging church leader, Brian McLaren. . . . We contacted Jocelyn Bell (of World Vision Canada) who is an editor for Child View and was involved with the McLaren article. We shared our concerns with her about McLaren being in the World Vision magazine, relating to her specific information about McLaren’s theology. Ms. Bell responded with, “We don’t have a problem with Brian McLaren’s viewpoints.” . . . Bell also told us that a weekly devotions group, which includes World Vision leaders and workers, was currently studying McLaren’s book, A Generous Orthodoxy. Ms. Bell told us that World Vision represents both Evangelicals and Protestants as well as Catholics. We asked her if it also included New Age Christians, of which McLaren is in that group. . . . Unfortunately, World Vision’s connections to contemplative/emerging do not stop with their promotion of McLaren. They also have a seat on the Board of Directors of the very contemplative Spiritual Formation Forum (Richard Foster and Dallas Willard) and are a Ministry Partner of the contemplative/emerging promoting Church Communication Network (originators of the Be Still project).
Another highly significant indicator as to where World Vision is heading came out in 2010 with the release of the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian state film With God on Our Side. Steve Haas, a VP of World Vision, was one of the strong proponents for the film, which was “aimed at changing the end-time views of evangelicals and the theology that says the Jews are God’s chosen people and have a divine right to the land of Israel,”1 said Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries. And in a video clip on the Internet (click here to view), you can watch Steve Haas talking in Israel to anti-Israel activist Steven Sizer. Haas talks about the financial support that World Vision has given through their program called Palestinian Church Engagement Initiative (PCEI) to help the Palestinian cause. We wonder how many World Vision donors realize that their donations have gone to hurt Israel (for more on the “Christian” Palestinianism issue, click here).
World Vision is trying to reverse some of the damage they have incurred when they made their pro-homosexual announcement recently. Thus, some of the more “liberal” board members have left, with it looking like to the average Christian that they are replacing them with traditional evangelical Christians. While their testing of the waters to see how the church would accept their homosexual employee policy didn’t come out too well, rest assured that World Vision is not making any true reform. They are merely taking a few steps back and waiting until the time is right. Richard Stearn’s (the president of World Vision) book The Hole in Our Gospel proves that the organization is not about biblical Christianity. According to a book review we posted, Stearn’s book “is the newest danger to come against true Believers in the Church Age. It promotes a false gospel within a socialistic philosophy. It fails miserably in its hermeneutic, is ecumenical in focus, promotes human performance as a method of pleasing God, and believes people on earth can do good to ‘usher in the Kingdom.’”
So while World Vision is crying “reform” right now, and most likely this will be the story that the media, both secular and Christian, will pick up and run with, the real story behind the scene is that World Vision is part of the “new” spirituality/New Age “Christianity” that will help usher in the greatest deception this world has ever seen. And countless Christians’ tax-deductible dollars will help finance it.
Chrislam? Christian Palestinianism? by T.A. McMahon
By Editors at Christian News Network
DETROIT — The 1.8 million-member Presbyterian Church (USA) voted Thursday (June 19) to allow homosexual ‘weddings,’ making it among one of the largest religious groups to take an embracing step toward openly supporting homosexuality.
By a 76-24 percent vote, the General Assembly of the PCUSA voted to allow their pastors to perform homosexual “marriages” in states where they are considered legal. Delegates, meeting in Detroit this week, also approved new language about marriage in the PCUSA Book of Order, or constitution, altering references to “a man and woman” to “two persons.”
This change will not become church law until a majority of the 172 regional presbyteries vote to ratify the new language. But given the lopsided 3-1 ratio of the vote, approval is expected.
Homosexual activists within the PCUSA rejoiced at their victory, which was remarkable for its margin of victory after multiple years of razor-thin defeats. Click here to continue reading.
By Garrett Haley
Christian News Network
BALTIMORE – Southern Baptist leaders voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to affirm the biblical model of human sexuality, agreeing that gender identity is solely determined by biological sex and not by ‘one’s self-perception.’
As previously reported, church representatives at the annual Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore considered a number of items for discussion this week, including the topic of gender identity. While many claim that a person’s gender can differ from one’s sexuality, the Southern Baptists declared just the opposite in a resolution titled “On Transgender Identity.”
“God’s design was the creation of two distinct and complementary sexes, male and female, which designate the fundamental distinction that God has embedded in the very biology of the human race,” the resolution states in part.
“The messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10–11, 2014, affirm God’s good design that gender identity is determined by biological sex and not by one’s self-perception—a perception which is often influenced by fallen human nature in ways contrary to God’s design,” the resolution continues.
LTRP Note: The following news story is posted for informational and research purposes only and not as an endorsement for the content or the source.
By National Public Radio
Fewer jokes and check your facts – those are two of the tips on handling homosexuality shared with Southern Baptist pastors gathered in Nashville [in April 2014].
The country’s largest protestant denomination is holding a first-ever summit on human sexuality this week. The Southern Baptist Convention typically avoids handing down dictates. But on homosexuality, the denomination is starting to get very specific.
“I just think we have to reject redneck theology in all of its forms,” pastor Jimmy Scroggins of West Palm Beach told ministers Monday night. “Let’s stop telling Adam and Steve jokes.”
A panel of five church leaders also told preachers to stop spreading falsehoods, like gay people were abused as children.
Overall, Greg Belser of Clinton, Miss., said pastors have to take particular care on this hot button topic. Click here to continue reading.
By Garrett Haley
Christian News Network
BELFAST, Northern Ireland – A 75-year-old Irish preacher was subjected to a police probe after he condemned Islam in a sermon and was accused of ‘hate mongering.’
James McConnell, pastor of the Whitewell Metropolitan Church in North Belfast, Ireland, discussed the religion of Islam during an evening sermon on Sunday, May 18th. During the sermon, McConnell denounced Islam and said the contrast between it and Christianity is stark.
“The God we worship and serve this evening is not Allah,” he proclaimed, according to a video of his sermon. “The Muslim god—Allah—is a heathen deity. Allah is a cruel deity. Allah is a demon deity.”
McConnell then criticized the “foolish” British government for attempting to appease Muslims financially, saying Islam is “a doctrine spawned in hell.” He also noted that Christians around the world are persecuted for their faith by the “fanatical worshipers” of Allah.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, McConnell’s remarks were inspired by the current plight of Meriam Ibrahim—a Christian woman in Sudan. As previously reported, Ibrahim was sentenced to hang after she was convicted of apostasy for refusing to deny her Christian faith and convert to Islam.
Following McConnell’s May 18th sermon, the Police Service of Northern Ireland investigated the preacher for allegations of hate crime. Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness described the preacher’s comments as “hate mongering” and said the anti-Muslim statements “must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.” Click here to continue reading.