By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
PHOENIX – Lawmakers in Arizona passed a bill this week that seeks to protect the religious rights of business owners and shield them from unlawful discrimination lawsuits.
HB 2153 cleared the Arizona House of Representatives on Thursday 33-27, amending sections 41‑1493 and 41‑1493.01 of the state code pertaining to the free exercise of religion. The bill broadens the definition of a religious entity to include businesses and associations, and prohibits state officials from burdening the entity’s free exercise of religion without the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest.
The bill is modeled after the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed in the 1990′s, but serves to ensure that Arizona protects the right to religious conviction without punishment. The RFRA only applies on a federal level and does not pertain to state action. Click here to continue reading.
What you will hear will be empathy for Islamists and rhetoric about pacifism. There will be endless calls for peace at the CATC conferences but no acknowledgment that Israel has negotiated for peace for decades.—Jan Markell
A conference was recently held called Impact Holy Land which was attended by well meaning Mennonites. It came into being because of the Christ at the Checkpoint conferences in 2010 and 2012 that were supposedly formed to allow conversations between Christians and Messianic Jews. Impact Holy Land was meant to continue the conversation in the U.S. Because of their partnership with Bethlehem Bible College, representatives from the MCC participated in the conference, enlisting the Mennonite Church USA (Peace and Justice Support Network), to help recruit pastors and leaders to attend.
The following is how the article in the February issue of the MB Herald called Anabaptists join conversation to Impact Holy Land begins.
Shireen Awwad Hilal, a Palestinian Christian, has hope for Israel-Palestine.
“Few people view our situation with hope, and the concept of reconciliation is controversial,” she said at the Impact Holy Land conference Dec. 4–6. “Let us commit to see hope where others see hopelessness.”
Hilal teaches and is assistant dean of students at Bethlehem Bible College, a partner of Mennonite Central Committee. She believes in the power of relationships, which she sees in her role as the women’s minister for Musalaha (Reconciliation), an organization developing relationships between Palestinian and Israeli believers. Click here to continue reading.
LTRP Note: There is a lot of talk (and books) these days about people who say they are communicating with someone deceased or are having direct communication with God and/or experiences in Heaven. A few examples are: Have Heart talks about a deceased son communicating with his grieving parents; Jesus Calling and God Calling are about women who says Jesus and God communicate directly with them; Eban Alexander’s Proof of Heaven is about a mystical near-death experience that a neurosurgeon says he has in Heaven; Heaven is For Real (a New York Times best seller) is about a little boy who says he met his deceased sister and grandfather in Heaven during a near-death experience. Most of these books have been best-sellers at one time or another.
A recent Time magazine cover story is called “The Mystical Revolution,” and clearly we are seeing such a revolution today. From New Age practices such as Reiki and mindful meditation to eastern religious practices such as Yoga, to monastic practices such as centering prayer, contemplative prayer, lectio divina, and breath prayers, our world is fast becoming a mystically drawn society. Below one Cree First Nations woman from Canada, who is the daughter and granddaughter of medicine men, talks about necromancy—communicating with the dead. While we witness this extraordinary interest in communication with the supernatural, this article is a good reminder of what Scripture says.
By Nanci Des Gerlaise
(author of Muddy Waters: An Insider’s View of North American Native Spirituality)
The practice of necromancy is divination by alleged communication with the dead. When medicine men go into the sweat lodges, they summon and talk with what they believe are their dead ancestors to ask for guidance, direction, or healing. Yet, in reality, they communicate with familiar spirits or spirit guides who know intimate details about each person they are assigned to, usually without their knowledge. These spirits are what may come to you in your dreams, or you may hear their voices. In some cases, they may pose as loved ones who have passed on.
Native elders, or their followers, often become angry when there are Christians present, and in some cases they ask them to leave. If they truly worship the one and only true God, why then do they get angry or ask Christians to leave? The real explanation is that there are two opposing forces at war—God and Satan. The real reason why Christians are asked to leave the area is that the devil is afraid that Christ’s truth will expose his lies.
Medicine men, and those who practice necromancy, are speaking to and worshiping demons, which is why they become angry when Christians question them; they think that Christians are disrespecting their beliefs. Instead, they should be asking, “Could it be that the truth is making me angry?” Christians are right to reject these beliefs. In fact, they shouldn’t even be in such a session in the first place.
The Bible states there is a great chasm that prevents any type of visitation from beyond. Luke 16:26 says:
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Once when we were left home alone, I stayed up until about four a.m. hoping Dad would come home. I finally fell asleep and had a dream that I had died and could feel my soul floating upwards out of my body. It was very seductive because it felt beautiful, and there was music unlike anything I had ever heard. I was gone about five or six minutes, and then a voice said I had to go back because it was not my time. Even after I came to the Lord, I believed this for a while. Then I finally repented of it because of its association with necromancy. A Christian must have nothing to do with such a work of darkness!
Sometimes healing takes place in such situations, but it definitely is not the Lord Jesus Christ doing the healing because these beliefs and practices are clearly an abomination to Him. Only Satan would have the power to heal at a sweat lodge ceremony. Yes, the devil can bring temporary healing, but it is always for the purpose of further ensnaring a person into the works of darkness. The Bible warns of such false miracles, signs, and wonders in Revelation 13:14 and 16:14. And as for attempting to communicate with the dead, the Bible clearly warns:
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. (Deuteronomy 18:10–14)
The idea that we can communicate with the dead and they can communicate with us has begun to drift into the Christian church. In Larry Debruyn’s book review of Have Heart (written by a pastor who lost his son in a car accident), Mr. Debruyn states:
I fear, with the growing emphasis on reports of Christians visiting Heaven, or of receiving visits from Heaven, whether solicited or not, that the evangelical church is stepping onto the “slippery slope” leading to spiritualism and spiritism, something practiced by the Canaanites and forbidden by God’s Law. . . .
Spiritualism is very attractive because it promises knowledge of the future and communication with dead loved ones. Many people will be influenced by demonic spirits in this way without realizing it. . . . “God has forbidden humans to try to communicate with the departed dead; such attempts result in communication with deceitful spirits, known as ‘familiar’ spirits. . . .” The spirits are called “familiar” because people think they know them from life!
LTRP Note: For those who have not watched Roger Oakland’s Searching for the Truth on Origins DVD lecture series, we highly encourage you to do so. Roger Oakland, a former evolutionist, looks at the evolution/creation and young earth/old earth debate in a most compelling, convincing, and documented manner. Roger’s easy to understand speaking style, his humility and genuine concern for people, coupled with the incredible information he provides makes this series absolutely essential.
Underneath the article below, we have posted a few video clips from this lecture series. For your children and grandchildren’s sakes, please make sure they understand the Scriptures, the science, and the evidence behind the evolution/creation debate. This is no laughing matter. As we have clearly documented over the years, the connection between evolutionary thinking and the New Age/new spirituality is remarkable, and the influence evolutionary thinking has had on our society is astounding.
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
In providing his feedback on Tuesday’s debate between Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis and Bill Nye ‘the Science Guy,’ televangelist Pat Robertson went off on a two-minute monologue on Wednesday about why he holds to the opinion that Christians need to get over their young earth beliefs.
Speaking on his daily broadcast of the 700 Club, Robertson focused on the calculations and analysis of Bishop James Ussher, the Church of Ireland Archbishop and scholar who once dated the world as being 6,000 years old.
“Let’s face it,” he said. “There was a bishop in the Middle Ages there—1800′s or something—who added up the dates listed in Genesis and he came up with [a calculation that] the world had been around for 6,000 years. There ain’t no way that’s possible.” Click here to read more.
To order Searching for the Truth on Origins DVD lecture series, click here.
To order Searching for the Truth on Origins DVD lecture series, click here.
By Garrett Haley
Christian News Network
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced legislation last week which would give states the freedom to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
In a Thursday press release, Senators Cruz and Lee introduced the “State Marriage Defense Act” (S. 2024), which would preserve states’ ability to define marriage in a manner consistent with the values of their citizens. The act would also “protect states from an out of control administration that is seeking to force same sex marriage upon states that define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”
“I support traditional marriage,” Cruz said in the statement. “The Obama Administration should not be trying to force gay marriage on all 50 states. We should respect the states, and the definition of marriage should be left to democratically elected legislatures, not dictated from Washington. This bill will safeguard the ability of states to preserve traditional marriage for its residents.” Click here to continue reading.
Used with permission.
In an article called Pray and Work in the February issue of the MB Herald, the author attempts to answer the question; where do prayer and deed intersect? But another question remains unanswered; where do Mennonites and Benedictine monks and Jesuits intersect?
Here is an excerpt from Pray and Work (MB Herald):
The Protestant work ethic shouts: “Work harder, do more, give more!” The contemplative ethic tells us to pray more, go deeper with God, reflect on our activity. Perhaps the answer is in both.
I’ve often heard we should “pray as if everything depended on God and work as if everything depended on you.” This proverb (often attributed to Ignatius of Loyola) seems prudent – an appropriate mix of dependence on Christ and the Protestant work ethic that has served us so well.
While this saying appears wise at first glance, it’s poorly conceived. If we apply it to our lives, we risk falling into self-sufficiency and independence from God. It’s the Jesuit version of “God helps those who help themselves.”
If I work as though ministry is all my responsibility, I’m liable to create my own kingdom based on my good works. Who needs God if I work as if everything depends on me?
Some suggest that St. Ignatius’ comments were more along the lines of: “Work as if everything depended on God, pray as if everything depended on you.”
Father Mark Stengel, who contributes to the Country Monks blog, summed it up well…
What follows is a lengthy quote from Father Mark Stengel, the oblate director at the Subiaco Abbey in Arkansas, home of 40 monks who follow the rule of St. Benedict and chant prayers 5 times a day. Father Stengel is a contributor to the blog on the Abbey’s website (www.countrymonks.us).
“Saint” Ignatius of Loyola was the founder of the Jesuits, an order formed to bring about the counter reformation, which continues today (through much more civil efforts than 500 years ago) to convert Protestants back to the Mother Church of Rome. Roger Oakland says that “in a way, it is more insidious than the Inquisitions, because now it has infiltrated Christianity and is being disguised as the “new” Christianity.”
Where do Mennonites and Benedictine monks and Jesuits intersect?
Answer: at the ecumenical crossroads where the cross of Christ and the gospel of truth is compromised. Click here for more information and footnotes.