Monday, May 29, 2006

BibleJournals Web Site Provides "21st Century Fellowship" for Students and Spiritual Seekers

Jacksonville, FL (PRWEB) May 26, 2006 -- welcomes Christians, scholars and knowledge seekers and to join its global online community for learning and fellowship. The web site enables users to search, read and study various versions of the Bible online, while sharing notes and thoughts through online journals and other easy-to-use features. After nearly two years in development, the site recently launched its full version and began soliciting members around the world.

"Our goal in developing Biblejournals was to create a more interactive Bible experience, that allows more than just reading," said BibleJournals President Johnny Washington. "We tell people that our site encourages people to read, write and remember the truth of the Bible. People of all nations worldwide can join the online community and share their love and knowledge of God through Bible study and their own writings."

Bible was designed to allow bible enthusiasts of all types to enjoy the bible while maintaining a Journal of personal thoughts. Each member receives a personalized desktop there they can organize their readings, Journals, bookmarks and other site features.

In addition to four fully searchable versions of the Bible, the site features includes planned readings, such as reading the bible in one year and the ability to share Bible readings and journal entries with family and friends. Members can also view and search public Journals by other members to share thoughts and knowledge. Members can also send private messages to others in the community to share thoughts on their readings and writing.

BibleJournal Custom Tools include:

- Keyword search
- Bible Browser
- Quickly browse by book, chapter and verse.
- Bible Reader - go directly to any scripture in the bible
- Easton's Dictionary - Easily read definitions and retrieve relevant scriptures
- Bible Outlines - short outlines of various Bible subjects

BibleJournals is a production of 1EnormousIdea , a Florida-based publisher, software and website developer.

A Tribute to Our Troops

Beliefnet asked readers to send us photos of their family members and other loved ones serving in the U.S. military. The touching photos and heartfelt stories we received demonstrate the bravery and valor of the men and women in the armed forces--and the admiration and support of the people at home who love them. Thank you to all Beliefnet readers who shared your special photos and stories with us.

Click here for video.

Christian Directed X-Men

The Christian Behind 'X-Men'
Producer Ralph Winter on the spiritual messages in the blockbuster trilogy--and life as a person of faith in Hollywood.
By Kris Rasmussen

Producer Ralph Winter may have one of the most unusual resumes of any filmmaker in Hollywood. A history major at Berkeley, he shunned film school, and instead worked his way up through the studio ranks in various production jobs. As a producer over the past decade, Winter's credits range from successful big-budget action pictures--such as "The Planet of the Apes," "The Fantastic Four," and the "X-Men" trilogy--to smaller, overtly Christian movies, such as "Left Behind" and "The Visitation." Even more unusual by Hollywood standards is that Winter is equally comfortable giving instructions on a movie set as he is speaking to Christians at a prayer breakfast. When not working on location, Winter routinely teaches at Christian conferences and is involved with more than one ministry dedicated to furthering the communication between Hollywood and the religious community.

Click here for full article.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ugly on the Inside - Feeling good on the Outside

Their company slogan is that beauty lies within -- which is weird since they make their money on making men/women "feel" better about themselves on the outside. The owner actually has the audacity to say the products were divinely inspired -WOW, that takes some guts. If salvation through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ doesnt make you feel better about yourself(because you are unworthy to deserve it), then taking a bath with these products isnt going to do it either.

Becoming Totally Beautiful – The Trinity Cosmetics Way

New York (PRWEB) May 22, 2006 -- Trinity Cosmetics’ quality beauty products were created for women and men at every stage of life, out of an abiding belief that true beauty lies within.

Stacey Adams, co-founder and creator of Trinity Cosmetics, the first divinely inspired cosmetics company, believes that true beauty lies within. “Our bath and body collections were created to make a difference in how people feel about themselves. We created a brand that would be an inspiration and encouragement not only to women but to men as well. Each Trinity product comes with a timeless message of hope and comfort that focus on the positive.”

You only get one body and you should take care of it! ”Me time” is a dream or a goal that happens too rarely in these busy and hectic times. However, we all have to bathe and this is the perfect time to take a few minutes for you. Trinity Cosmetics provide a relaxing and aromatic escape. Whether you need to “perk-up” and reenergize with our Salt of the Earth Collection or sooth and comfort with the Milk & Honey Collection, we truly have something for everyone. When you nourish and pamper your body, your spirit and soul will be the ultimate beneficiaries!

To view Trinity’s entire collection visit

ACLU Seeks End to Jails' Deals With Ministries

Chaplain John Poffenberger figures he has a pretty good handle on what most criminals need. In charge of religious services at the Alexandria jail for two decades, he has ministered to shoplifters, drug dealers and murderers and has even had sessions with convicted Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.

"In jail, you don't have to convince inmates that they have to get help from something bigger than themselves," Poffenberger said. "It's that God sense that comes when they get into trouble. They need help, and they need it from someone more powerful than themselves."

For years, Poffenberger and his employer, the Good News Jail & Prison Ministry, have had a contract with the jail to arrange services for everything from Christmas to Ramadan and Rosh Hashanah. But now a civil liberties group is questioning whether the payment deal Good News has with the jail in Alexandria and elsewhere is constitutional.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia says the use of public funds to pay such organizations as Good News, an evangelical Christian group headquartered in Richmond, threatens the constitutional separation of church and state. The ACLU has called for three jails in the state to end similar contracts with another Christian jail ministry, the Southeastern Correctional Ministry, and last month it wrote to 25 jail administrators asking for information about their contracts with Southeastern, Good News and other organizations that provide religious services.

So far, one facility -- the Hampton jail -- has said it will suspend payments and has asked Virginia Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R) to issue an opinion on whether the practice is legal. The ACLU has no immediate plans to take the matter to court but is concerned that the use of one group to provide those services could result in undue bias, said Kent Willis, the executive director.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Center of Biblical Theology

Jim Hamilton at for His renown has two excellent articles on the Center of Biblical Theology and Salvation through Judgment for the Glory of God. I commend both of these articles to you, they are very rich in content, resources and very well thought out. I appreciate Jim's blog and these two articles are a great reason to make his blog a daily read.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

We Win!! T4G Panel Discussions Available

The much sought after panel discussions from the Together for the Gospel are now available.

If you are interested click here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Teachers Seek New Ways to Champion Evolution

The competition between evolution and intelligent design is not limited to the courtroom. Students who believe that the theory of evolution conflicts with their faith are bringing the battle to the classroom. That's forcing teachers to find new ways to defend their belief in science.

Click here to Listen to the story.

What Would Jesus Direct?

The huge box-office successes of THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST and THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA have Hollywood mining religious congregations for possible new audiences. The 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, which just concluded in New York, sponsored a panel where film industry insiders talked about the apparent new relationship between Hollywood and religion. Panelists included: actor Cuba Gooding Jr.; film producer Ralph Winter; Walden Media President Michael Flaherty; and Grace Hill Media President Jonathan Bock. Kim Lawton of RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY led the conversation.

Here are some highlights from the discussion.

What Would Jesus Direct?
May 12, 2006 Episode no. 937
Full Article

KIM LAWTON: Certainly there's a lot of buzz going around right now that there's this new partnership between Hollywood and religion.


LAWTON: Hallelujah, and that's exactly what some of the movie studios are thinking and hoping as they are contemplating the almighty dollar that they hope this might bring in. Is there some new path to salvation that we're seeing in the film industry? Has Hollywood seen the light? Or is this just a lot of hype?

MICHAEL FLAHERTY (PRESIDENT, WALDEN MEDIA): I think so. I think there's definitely an interest. One of the mistakes that people make is they think that they can just throw in a church scene here, throw in a bit of Scripture here. They're losing the point that it's all about a great story. And so, if it doesn't exist in the DNA of the story, you can't just dab it on like makeup.

LAWTON: Are we talking about big Bible stories on the big screen, or are we talking about something different? Are we talking about stories that may not be explicitly religious, but in some way have values that may talk about things like redemption or forgiveness in a less explicitly or overtly religious way?

MR. FLAHERTY: I like to think it's the latter. And, you know, it's like the Apostle Paul said at the church of Philippi: Look, whatever's good, whatever's true, whatever's praiseworthy, this is where you need to be putting your focus, this is where you need to be putting your minds. I think that there's a lot of people in the faith community who are looking for those films that are really inspirational and uplifting and might not necessarily be considered, you know, deliberately religious per se.

JONATHAN BOCK (PRESIDENT, GRACE HILL MEDIA): That's the first time the Apostle Paul's been quoted at the Tribeca Film Festival.

LAWTON: And the roof didn't cave in. Ralph, what kinds of changes are you seeing?

RALPH WINTER (PRODUCER, X-MEN): THE PASSION [OF THE CHRIST] kicked the door open for these kinds of projects. But I think they have to be entertaining. No one wants to be preached to in a movie theater.

LAWTON: Cuba, what about for you as an actor? Are you seeing more scripts? Are people approaching you saying hey, you know, there are some areas out there that maybe haven't been explored, that maybe are underserved?

MR. GOODING: I so laugh at Hollywood. It's funny. They go where the money is. Okay, PASSION OF THE CHRIST made a helluva lot of money, no pun intended, and now everybody's scurrying to have the next faith-based project that goes through the roof. The audience has been there for years. Tens of millions of people rally behind their pastors and their priests.

MR. BOCK: It's an audience that they have just discovered. The statistics are overwhelming. For example, on Sunday, 43 percent of America was in church. Forty-three percent. And for studios not to recognize that that's an audience now, it's like a studio saying, "We're not making movies to men. No movies to men." What you are starting to see is studios are starting to dip their toe in the water. For example, over at Fox they're making $2 million movies. I think you can say that all of the studios at this point are deeply committed to making $500,000 to $1 million movies. It truly is inevitable market forces at work. You've got 340,000 churches out there. Worldwide, there's probably around 2 billion Christians when you add up all the different Protestant denominations, and you add up all the Catholics. So that's a big, big audience, and they want it.

LAWTON: Is there one franchise, one brand, one type of movie that people of faith want to see?

MR. GOODING: I brought the script with me.

MR. BOCK: This is going to be, for Hollywood, an evolutionary process where they're just going to have to figure it out. And I actually think it's [not] all that different than what African Americans went through with seeing them come from, you know, there was sort of these blaxploitation films that were made for very small dollars. And then that kind of grew into "maybe we can make a buddy comedy" kind of thing. I think that's what we're going to see here, too -- low-budget Christian films that were -- let's call them "Godsploitation" films.

MR. WINTER: Christian or not, I think THE PASSION got the entire culture talking about Jesus. It didn't matter whether you saw the film, liked the film, hated the film. That's what people talked about at the water cooler on Monday after the weekend. And the same thing is going to happen, I think, with THE DA VINCI CODE. Are Christians going to engage? Try to boycott? I'm in favor of engaging. Let's engage: What is that about? Is that true? What is that based on? Let's get into that conversation. Don't we all want to do this? We all want to be involved and make films that get into meaningful dialogue in the culture. That's why we do it.

MR. BOCK: When's the next time in pop culture that people are going to care what really happened at the Council of Nicaea?

LAWTON: How do you appeal to a mainstream audience when you're also trying to reach out to this religious market?

MR. WINTER: I think you've got to find those mainstream stories. It's about finding those stories that are intrinsic to the human journey, that demonstrate that there's a God and there's another set of values, and how do we respond and live and get through that?

MR. GOODING: The ingredient to have here is that passion, whatever it is. If it's something that the faith-based audience feels is a statement that would inspire us as Christians, or as Catholics, or whatever, then they'll rally behind it. That's why, when you have these copycat movies, when people are trying to capitalize on money, people see through that.

MR. BOCK: Movies for many denominations were a sin, and I think what most Christian leaders have seen happen is that pop culture has moved on without them. And you can't stop it. And so, instead of being at the back end of the curve, I think they are interested in getting to the front end of the curve and engaging in that discussion and being at the front end of culture.

MR. FLAHERTY: I think that a lot of people underestimate how talented pastors are. If you make a great film, they'll know how to teach with it. You don't really have to just lay the whole thing out for them and just say, "Look, this scene right here, that's John 3:16 all over it."

MR. WINTER: George Barna has done the study where people, after hearing a sermon, two hours later can't recall the theme of the sermon. But months after seeing the movie, they can recite dialogue. And I think the church is beginning to understand that we are a story-based culture, and now the visual, all that stuff that's coming at us in various forms in advertising and movies, television, is the way we engage, and sermons are the new movies. That's what I think the Christian group has to understand.

MR. BOCK: I think that's mostly on the Protestant side of things, though. The Catholics -- they have always known how to put on a good show.

MR. WINTER: They have, they have. Let's name all the good Protestant directors. The list is short. But the Catholic directors -- it's much longer because they have embraced the art.

Mr. FLAHERTY: Don't forget our contributions to art and music.

Mr. WINTER: That's the next seminar.

LAWTON: How important is it that people involved in these projects have a personal passion for this that comes from something deep in their own soul? Does that make a difference in the project itself?

MR. FLAHERTY: Nothing's more transformational in human existence than faith. So no matter what story you are telling, you want to make sure that is a part of the story that's represented. I think that one of the more powerful films that will come out this year is the Oliver Stone movie WORLD TRADE CENTER. It's about two New York City cops, and they were stuck in a hole -- one for 12 hours, one for 24 hours -- and about the amazing things that happen in terms of when they were praying down there, their families that were praying for them, a gentleman in Connecticut who was in church who said that he felt like he was being called to the World Trade Center and eventually rescued these guys. I think too often we forget how mystical and magical our faith is, and I think we're really starting to recapture that.

Mr. WINTER: Movies get made for a lot of reasons, and this festival celebrates filmmakers who want to make movies and want to make statements and show their art, and it doesn't matter. They don't care how people react. That's great. Studios make movies because they want to make money, because it's corporate America, and because of the spreadsheets, and so it is a "flavor of the week" kind of business and it is "How can we get this movie to the widest possible audience?"

LAWTON: Going back to the title of this panel, which is "What Would Jesus Direct?", what is Jesus's next big project?

Mr. BOCK: I think the question can't just be what would Jesus direct. I think it's got to be what would Jesus direct and what would Paramount distribute, because, look, film is a collaborative process. It requires a lot of money. It requires literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people. You guys have all watched the credits. There's this playoff between what filmmakers want to make and what a studio wants to make as well.

MR. WINTER: The kind of stuff that Jesus might direct would be a little darker, thought-provoking, stimulating, and cause a lot of that discussion to happen afterwards. The question of the panel -- what would Jesus direct? I was thinking about some of the parables that Jesus tells -- the parable of the prodigal son. The older brother in that story was directly aimed at religious professionals, and Jesus knew he was going to piss them off by telling that story. The story is a little dark. I mean, it opens with the younger son going to the father and saying, "I want you dead." And he goes off and spends money and lives wantonly and ends up in a pigsty to eat; it's the only food he has. At the end, the older brother and the dad have some serious family therapy to go through. Maybe Jesus would direct a movie like that, whereas sometimes Christians -- we want to go after movies that have happy endings. No darkness, no subtext.


LAWTON: No bad words.

MR. WINTER: So I wonder if Jesus wouldn't be directing an R-rated art film that might play at this festival.

MR. BOCK: I think he would direct things that would be very populist. He pissed off the religious elite and was speaking directly to the people. I think it would have all the elements that all great films do. I think it would be funny. I think it would be poignant. I think it would be commercially successful. You know, the reason that the Bible is still around today is in part due to the fact that they are universal stories that have stood the test of time. And I think that's the kind of stories that he would tell even now.

MR. GOODING: They'd rather find the truths …

Mr. FLAHERTY: … than be spoon-fed.

LAWTON: Or sledge-hammered over the head.

MR. GOODING: The sequel to RADIO is what Jesus would direct. RADIO GOES TO CHURCH. I'd like that one.

LAWTON: And you're available for that?

MR. GOODING: I'm available, Jesus. We can cast Satan as a redneck.

LAWTON: Uh oh … watch out. We'll cut it off right there.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Satanic Porn Monk Shuffled to Monastery for Artwork Scandals as Cover-up Continues

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) May 11, 2006 -- The satanic pornography artwork scandals in the Catholic Church profiled in the new feature film documentary “Rape of the Soul,” continues with the Church shuffling of Marianist Brother Steve Erspamer.

Operating for many years under the watch of Archbishop Raymond Burke in St. Louis, Erspamer has recently been moved to the suspect monastery of St. Meinrad in Indiana and put on religious probation, after being caught by artist and film producer Michael A. Calace, who profiles a multitude of Erspamer’s sexual and satanic artwork in “Rape of the Soul.”

“This is yet another example of the hush culture in the Church, as none of the blasphemous artwork has been removed and nobody has been publicly scorned, yet the quiet shuffling continues,” said Mr. Calace.

Erspamer’s artwork is featured on several of the hymnals and missals of the Oregon Catholic Press (OCP) published by John Limb, including the 2006 Music Issue featuring the swastika, which is now being shown extracted live among other newly selected movie clips on the film’s website

Several American bishops including Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles and Cardinal George of Chicago have covered OCP hymnals including the 2006 Music Issue with an adhesive sticker to hide the artwork, but have not removed them from the pews or cancelled OCP contracts.

World-renowned experts Dr. Judith Reisman, Dr. Wilson Bryan Key, Dr. Stanley Monteith, and Dr. Marc Oster join Calace in the film, as the art has affected a vast multitude of churchgoers, especially Erspamer’s works, as the monk is a specialist who has steadily supplied the world with over 1500 blasphemous works of sexual, satanic and occult art, which were always readily showcased by Catholic publishers.

SSI will file complaints along with the pictorial evidence focusing on the swastika currently on the cover of the 2006 Music Issue with the Anti-Defamation League in various offices in the U.S.

Rape of the Soul,” the new documentary film that exposes real satanic and pornographic images embedded in religious artwork, and the Church’s subsequent attempts to avoid their detection, is expanding now in its eighth week to theaters in Washington, DC and metro Philadelphia May 12th.

Episcopalians Reject Gay Candidates

Schism Is Averted As Church Elects Alabamian Bishop

By John Pomfret
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 7, 2006; Page A12

SAN FRANCISCO, May 6 -- The story from the Grace Cathedral on Saturday was not so much about what happened but what didn't happen. Episcopalians in San Francisco did not elect an openly gay candidate as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, thereby preventing a schism within the 75 million-member Anglican Communion already on the verge of crisis after the election of its first gay bishop in New Hampshire three years ago.

Instead, about 700 voters representing clergy and laity chose Mark Handley Andrus, a violin-playing, yoga-practicing father of two, currently the bishop suffragan from the diocese of Alabama. Andrus, who will be succeeding Bishop William E. Swing, who is retiring, told the voters in a phone link from his home that he is "glad and humbled by the trust you have placed in me."

For full article click here.

The Vatican Wants to Make All Conversions "Equal"

Vatican, Churches Work on Conversion Plan

Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece - The Vatican and the world's largest alliance of Christian churches plan to seek a common code for religious conversions, a leader of the effort said Wednesday. The groups also will open contacts with Islam and other faiths to study ways to avoid conflicts.

Religious freedom and missionary outreach by Christian groups have become increasingly sensitive topics as many Muslims perceive their faith as under threat by the West and nations such as China struggle to maintain state controls on churches.

"How can we - anxious to maintain, develop and nurture good relations with people of other faiths - deal with this highly complex issue that sometimes threatens the fiber of living together?" said the Rev. Hans Ucko, head of the interreligious relations office for the World Council of Churches.

Envoys from the Vatican's office on interreligious dialogue and the Geneva-based WCC - which includes more than 350 mainline Protestant, Orthodox and related churches - are scheduled to open a four-day conference Friday near Rome to sketch out the broad outlines toward an eventual "code of conduct" on Christian conversions. The document could take at least three years to research and draft.

Members of other faiths, including Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims, also plan to attend the meeting in Velletri, about 25 miles southeast of Rome.

The biggest challenges to the project will be highlighted by who will be absent: Pentecostal and evangelical-style congregations that often lead the drive for conversions around the world and represent the fastest-growing bloc in Christianity.

For full article click here.

Let's Play Catch the Mormon

The FBI has added polygamous leader Warren Steed Jeffs to the Top Ten Most Wanted list.

Officials at the FBI Salt Lake Field Office announced the development in the case for Warren Jeffs at a press conference Saturday in Salt Lake City. The Top Ten designation comes with a $100,000 reward for information leading to Jeffs' arrest.

Jeffs is the leader of the FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints) church with a following of about 10,000 people who consider the fugitive to be a prophet. The FLDS church is based out of the Utah/Arizona border towns of Hilldale and Colorado City.

Jeffs has been accused of several criminal charges, including sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor. He has been on the run from authorities for over a year.

Officials said although Jeffs himself might not be dangerous, he could be travelling with several armed men that should be considered dangerous.

Monday, May 8, 2006

The Woman as Pastor

There is perhaps not a more debated issue in the church today than the issue of women serving as pastors / preachers in ministry. As a result, it is very important to not view this issue as men versus women. There are women who believe that women should not serve as pastors and that the Bible places restrictions on the ministry of women - and there are men who believe that women can serve as preachers and that there are no restrictions on women in ministry. This is not an issue of chauvinism or discrimination. It is an issue of Biblical interpretation.

1 Timothy 2:11-12 proclaims, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” In the church, God assigns different roles to men and women. This is a result of the way mankind was created (1 Timothy 2:13) and the way in which sin entered the world (2 Timothy 2:14). God, through the Apostle Paul’s writing, restricts women from serving in roles of spiritual teaching authority over men. This precludes women from serving as pastors, which definitely includes preaching to, teaching, and having spiritual authority over men.

There are many "objections" to this view of women in ministry / women pastors. A common one is that Paul restricts women from teaching because in the first century, women were typically uneducated. However, 1 Timothy 2:11-14 nowhere mentions educational status. If education was a qualification for ministry, the majority of Jesus' disciples likely would not have been qualified. A second common objection is that Paul only restricted the Ephesian women from teaching (1 Timothy was written to Timothy, who was the pastor of the church in Ephesus). The city of Ephesus was known for its temple to Artemis, a false Greek / Roman goddess. Women were the authority in the worship of Artemis. However, the book of 1 Timothy nowhere mentions Artemis, nor does Paul mention Artemis worship as a reason for the restrictions in 1 Timothy 2:11-12.

A third common objection is that Paul is only referring to husbands and wives, not men and women in general. The Greek words in 1 Timothy 2:11-14 could refer to husbands and wives. However, the basic meaning of the words are men and women. Further, the same Greek words are used in verses 8-10. Are only husbands to lift up holy hands in prayer without anger and disputing (verse 8)? Are only wives to dress modestly, have good deeds, and worship God (verses 9-10)? Of course not. Verses 8-10 clearly refer to men and women in general, not only husbands and wives. There is nothing in the context that would indicate a switch to husbands and wives in verses 11-14.

Yet another frequent objection to this interpretation of women pastors / preachers is in relation to Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Priscilla, Phoebe, etc. - women who held positions of leadership in the Bible. This objection fails to note some significant factors. In relation to Deborah, she was the only female judge amongst 13 male judges. In relation to Huldah, she was the only female prophet amongst dozens of male prophets mentioned in the Bible. Miriam's only connection to leadership was due to her being the sister of Moses and Aaron. The two most prominent women in the times of the Kings were Athaliah and Jezebel - hardly examples of godly female leadership.

In the Book of Acts, chapter 18, Priscilla and Aquila are presented as faithful ministers for Christ. Priscilla's name is mentioned first, likely indicating that she was more "prominent" in ministry than her husband. However, Priscilla is nowhere described as participating in a ministry activity that is in contradiction to 1 Timothy 2:11-14. Priscilla and Aquila brought Apollos into their home and they both discipled him, explaining the Word of God to him more accurately (Acts 18:26).

In Romans 16:1, even if Phoebe is considered a "deaconess" instead of a "servant" - that does not indicate that Phoebe was a teacher in the church. "Able to teach" is given as a qualification for elders, but not deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:6-9). Elders / bishops / deacons are described as "husband of one wife," "a man whose children believe," and "men worthy of respect." In addition, in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9, masculine pronouns are used exclusively to refer to elders / bishops / deacons.

The structure of 1 Timothy 2:11-14 makes the "reason" perfectly clear. Verse 13 begins with "for" and gives the "cause" of what Paul stated in verses 11-12. Why should women not teach or have authority over men? Because - "Adam was created first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived." That is the reason. God created Adam first and then created Eve to be a "helper" for Adam. This order of Creation has universal application to humanity in the family (Ephesians 5:22-33) and the church. The fact that Eve was deceived is also given as a reason for women not serving as pastors or having spiritual authority over men. This leads some to believe that women should not teach because they are more easily deceived. That concept is debatable...but if women are more easily deceived, why should they be allowed to teach children (who are easily deceived) and other women (who are supposedly more easily deceived)? That is not what the text says. Women are not to teach or have spiritual authority over men because Eve was deceived. As a result, God has given men the primary teaching authority in the church.

Women excel in gifts of hospitality, mercy, teaching and helps. Much of the ministry of the church depends on women. Women in the church are not restricted to public praying or prophesying (1 Corinthians 11:5), only to having spiritual teaching authority over men. The Bible nowhere restricts women from exercising the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians chapter 12). Women, just as much as men, are called to minister to others, to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and to proclaim the Gospel to the lost (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Peter 3:15).

God has ordained that only men are to serve in positions of spiritual teaching authority in the church. This is not because men are necessarily better teachers, or because women are inferior or less intelligent (which is not the case). It is simply the way God designed the church to function. Men are to set the example in spiritual leadership – in their lives and through their words. Women are to take a less authoritative role. Women are encouraged to teach other women (Titus 2:3-5). The Bible also does not restrict women from teaching children. The only activity women are restricted from is teaching or having spiritual authority over men. This logically would include women serving as pastors / preachers. This does not make women less important, by any means, but rather gives them a ministry focus more in agreement with how God has gifted them.

As the Church Turns

Evangelical Lutherans select leader of synod The Rev. Claire S. Burkat was elected yesterday.

By Kristin E. Holmes
Inquirer Staff Writer

The Rev. Claire S. Burkat, mission director of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, was elected to lead the group yesterday, making her the first woman to head the synod.

Burkat, 54, of Ambler, will become bishop in July. She defeated the Rev. Cynthia L. Krommes, senior pastor of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Phoenixville, by a vote of 307-252.

The Rev. James K. Echols, president of the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, came in third but did not make the final ballot. Echols is a Philadelphia native who also is the former president of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Mount Airy.

The election was held over the two days of the synod's annual conference, which ended yesterday, at Franconia Mennonite Church. The synod represents 95,000 Lutherans attending 175 churches in the five-county Philadelphia area.

The Ten Commandments Commission Has it Wrong

This is an interesting article worth a read.

There is zero benefit to be gained from the public display of Ten Commandments monuments. Morality will only improve when God is permitted to write His Ten Commandments on our hearts. Any effort to highlight the Ten Commandments outside of the human heart is futile and may in fact be a red herring.

Click here for full article.

How can so much change be so Bad

In a new article about America's Changing Rites of Passage it is becoming clearer and clearer where we are headed as a country. It is a sad day when the "rites" outlined in this article have become everyday no big deal issues. The sadder aspect is how many churches are embracing these "rites" without holding them up to the scrutiny of the Word, and embracing these people without confronting their sin.

Here are some quotes from the article.

Marriage and parenthood are no longer universal rites marking adulthood: some people get married and remain childless, some have children without getting married, and some do neither.

acts of consumerism—buying a first mobile phone, a first credit card, a first car—are becoming significant rites of passage themselves, marking the transition from one stage of life to the next.

The trend towards smaller families is also changing rites of passage. “Parents are having only one or two children,” says Kevin Osborn, author of the report, “so even the smallest achievements—preschool graduation, a karate belt test, a winning soccer season—are regarded as precious rites of passage.”

Divorce is now a rite of passage for many, sometimes marked with a party—a combination of bachelor-bachelorette party, exorcism, and coming-out—complete with a gift registry.

Saturday, May 6, 2006

What does the Bible Say about Homosexuality

With the recent on-slaught of Churches aligning themselves with homosexuals, I thought this would be an appropriate post to remind us what the bible says.

The Bible consistently tells us that homosexual activity is a sin (Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Romans 1:26-27 teaches specifically that homosexuality is a result of denying and disobeying God. When a person continues in sin and disbelief, the Bible tells us that God “gives them over” to even more wicked and depraved sin in order to show them the futility and hopelessness of life apart from God. 1 Corinthians 6:9 proclaims that homosexual “offenders” will not inherit the kingdom of God.

God does not create a person with homosexual desires. The Bible tells us that a person becomes a homosexual because of sin (Romans 1:24-27), and ultimately because of their own choice. A person may be born with a greater susceptibility to homosexuality, just as people are born with a tendency to violence and other sins. That does not excuse the person choosing to sin by giving into their sinful desires. If a person is born with a greater susceptibility to anger / rage, does that make it right for then to give into those desires? Of course not! The same is true for homosexuality.

However, the Bible does not describe homosexuality as a “greater” sin than any other. All sin is offensive to God. Homosexuality is just one of the many things listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that will keep a person from the kingdom of God. According to the Bible, God’s forgiveness is just as available to a homosexual as it is to an adulterer, idol worshipper, murderer, thief, etc. God also promises the strength for victory over sin, including homosexuality, to all those who will believe in Jesus Christ for their salvation (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

Recommended Resources:
John MacArthur on God's View of Homosexuality PT 1
John MacArthur on God's View of Homosexuality PT 2

Lesbian Singer to be Keynote Speaker at United Methodist's Women's Conference

Indigo Girls Singer Invitation Draws Fire
By Nate Herpich
Religion News Service

May 4 - The choice of lesbian singer Emily Saliers of the music duo Indigo Girls has as a keynote speaker at the United Methodist Women's Assembly in Anaheim, Calif. has created controversy.

Saliers will speak Saturday (May 6) at the conference along with her father, the Rev. Don E. Saliers of Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. They will address an estimated 8,000 women on their new co-written book entitled "A Song to Sing, A Life to Live."

Saliers' sexual orientation has been the topic of controversy for some conservatives, but event organizers instead have cited her "spiritual and theological understandings and (her) commitment to justice for women and children" as reasons for the invitation.

The Indigo Girls have devoted much of their 14 records spanning 18 years to themes of social justice and environmental awareness. The elder Saliers is the author of a dozen books and is president of the North American Academy of Liturgy and the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality.

For full article click here.

California Episcopalians Consider Gay Bishop

Amazing what more and more denominations are opening themselves up to.

California Episcopalians Consider Gay Bishop

(AP) SAN FRANCISCO What's left of unity in the Episcopal Church is at stake heading into a weekend election for bishop of California that sets up a major clash over gays' role in the church.

Three of the seven candidates are openly gay, and choosing one of them to head the Diocese of California would further alienate Episcopal conservatives already feeling betrayed that the church approved a gay bishop three years ago. It could also fracture the strained relationship between America's 2.3 million Episcopalians and their parent body, the worldwide Anglican Communion.

A vote against a gay bishop would likely preserve the fragile truce.

Click here for full article.

American Baptists Face Possible Schism

It is great to see Churches taking a stand.

Break looms in American Baptist Church
Christina Almeida, Associated Press
published Monday, May 1, 2006

LOS ANGELES -- Delegates from the American Baptist Churches of the Pacific Southwest voted overwhelmingly Saturday to recommend severing ties with the national denomination in a dispute over homosexuality.

Members from the region's 300 churches in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii are upset that American Baptist Churches, USA, has not disciplined congregations with liberal gay policies -- even though the denomination has a strict definition that says "homosexuality is incompatible with biblical teaching."

The matter now goes to the region's board of directors, which meets May 11 and has already recommended withdrawal from the denomination over "deep differences of theological convictions and values."

There has been a growing split within the 1.4 million-member Protestant denomination over homosexuality.

Last year, the West Virginia association, the largest regional group with 465 congregations, narrowly rejected a proposal to break with the national denomination.

If It Doesn't Work It's Probably Not True

The Truth is Always Better

I sit here tonight not able to sleep. I had an experience that I have to write about. I know that one day I will look back at today and know that I have had a life changing experience. I have just come back from a long term care facility were my father is right now. He fell down at home a couple of weeks ago and afterward was having a hard time just walking and talking. We found out today that he has had many small strokes and that this has more than likely been happening for some time. It became clear tonight that he now understands that he is going to die and it’s now causing him to think about his life. He’s reflecting on himself as a father, husband, and a Christian.

We all must face these times in our lives and they are very challenging. He began to cry, I don’t think that I have ever seen that before, and started to lament about his daughters, my sisters. He said he was not sure about their walk or even their salvation. He began to tell me with tear filled eyes that he had really missed the mark. He said that he had made many mistakes and wished that he could do it all over again and do it right this time. I had never seen him so broken in all my life. It was difficult for me to maintain and be there for him. He laid the spiritual condition of his daughters at his own feet and was taking the guilt on himself.

He is my dad and I know him well and he isn’t perfect, far from it, neither am I. But I realized that he had fallen victim to false teaching and false theology. My father had kept us in church as kids and made God the center of our lives. I would have to say that he raised us up in the ways of the Lord and bathed his wife, my mother, in scripture. He had done everything that he could to lead us all to the Lord but it didn’t seem to do any good with his children -- we all went astray. I later was drawn in by God and have since then dedicated my life to God as a Pastor.

The thing that I started realizing in my discussion with my father was that his Arminian views lead him to believe that since some of his children were not where they should be spiritually, that he could have done something to change this. He didn’t know what it was, but it was putting him in complete agony.

When I began to think about this I realized that if his Arminian thought process was true, he was guilty! If our children do have a free will choice beyond the sovereign God and we don’t teach them than we would be guilty. I might seem like a pessimist but, to steal the words of a great theologian; I’m a Calvinist. Thank you LORD!!.

My father and I were able to pour over scripture and learn the truth of the God of grace that is in control of everything! He is not in heaven hoping it all turns out good, and teaching this view of an Arminian God is at the very least error.

God is in control

I would hope that the pastors who teach this error would stop; you are doing damage to your congregation.

Be God centered not man centered!


Tuesday, May 2, 2006

The Jesus Loves Porn Stars Bible - Updated

Thank goodness I am not the only one that saw a problem with this.

Publisher rejects 'Jesus Loves Porn Stars' bibles -05/04/06

The American Bible Society is refusing to print New Testaments with covers that say "Jesus Loves Porn Stars."

California pastors Mike Foster and Craig Gross, whose anti-porn ministry is called, had ordered 10,000 of the customized Bibles to hand out at adult film festivals.

The two regularly take their message directly to the people involved with adult films, regularly handing out Bibles at industry conferences.

But the edgy cover led the publisher to cancel the paid order for the bibles.

Click here for full article.

Pentecostal Religion Turns 100

This is the church where it all started in Los Angeles

100 years Pentecostal

A century after L.A.'s Azusa Street Revival, the Pentecostal movement remains strong.

Linda Leicht

As the music begins, the room fills with people — young, old, black, white and brown.
They clap, sway, dance and jump. Some hold themselves as they cry quietly.

A woman calls out "hallelujah," while the constant murmur of prayers — in English, Spanish and the unmistakable sound of "tongues" — continues.

The description could be of the Azusa Street Mission 100 years ago during what has become the focal point of the modern Pentecostal movement. There, for three years, people crammed into a rundown church on Azusa Street in Los Angeles to witness the new worship experience, where people were filled with the Holy Spirit.

Instead, it is a description of a recent Wednesday night service at El Faro Assembly of God in Springfield.

El Faro is a modern example of a movement that eventually gave birth to the Assemblies of God, the Church of God in Christ, the Pentecostal Church, the Vineyard and many other expressions of a belief that the Holy Spirit will fill believers with the power to do miraculous things. For many believers, the ability to speak in tongues — glossolalia — or in other languages — xenolalia — was the evidence of that Holy Spirit anointing.

For full article click here.

For an explanation and definition of Pentecostalism click here.

Another New Bible - This Will Make You Puke

This is the type of thing that just about makes me lose it. I know there are those out there who think this is a great way to reach the lost. I am sorry, I am not one of them, remarketing the bible to make it more acceptable is not the way to do it -- using shock tactics is a disgrace to the word of God. The gospel is shocking enough, count on that, rely on that -- Let the sufficiency of scripture and the sovereignty of God reign.

Article Below:

Bibles to Feature Cover: 'Jesus Loves Porn Stars'

By Stan Friedman
Religion News Service

An online ministry to the pornography industry has entered a verbal agreement to distribute 10,000 copies of the popular New Testament paraphrase "The Message" that will feature a cover declaring "Jesus Loves Porn Stars."

The ministry, XXXchurch, approved a tentative deal with NavPress publishers to distribute the copies at three pornography conventions, said Craig Gross, one of the two pastors who started the ministry in 2002.

Click here for full article.

Southerners Have Highest Church Attendance Rate

I have one question: Is it culture or love of the Lord?

Gallup: Southerners Have Highest Church Attendance Rate

By Adelle M. Banks
Religion News Service

Americans living in Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina are most likely to attend church on a regular basis, a new analysis by the Gallup Organization shows.

Fifty-eight percent of people polled in each of those Southern states said they attended church weekly or almost weekly, according to data released April 27. Utah, a predominantly Mormon state, was not far behind, with 55 percent reporting similar attendance.

For full article click here.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Jesus is Blogging?

I am sure only good can come from this. I will be keeping a watch on this more for entertainment purposes than edification -- Maybe I am being to pessimistic??


Thursday (PRWEB) May 1, 2006 -- Got Jesus Talk, a new Jesus Blog, has sparked global interest with its unprecidented look at what Jesus taught in the context of current events. The title of the blog says it all: What would Jesus say?

Jesus went global overnight on the wings of this blog. One look at the front page and you can see where the last ten visitors are from. The latest report on the blog lists: Woronora Dam Australia, Guatemala, Makati Philippines, Bucharest Romania, Beirut Lebanon, Belvis DeJ arama Spain, United States, Teuringshofen Germany, and Zwolle Netherlands.

This is not your typical Christain blog. With everything from the war in Iraq, the Gospel of Judas, Scientists claiming Jesus walked on Ice, to the weeping Virgin Mary in Bogota Columbia – this new blog not only gets you thinking about what Jesus taught it challenges you to apply it in every day life.

Got Jesus Talk is not Sunday school as usual. Not everyone agrees with some of the more controversial topics, such as one of this blogs more controversial articles entitled Ancient Secret, which challenges people to find compassion for Judas. One reader was so shocked by this article he claims, “This article is hereritical”

But more and more people find themselves drawn to this blog to participate in an unusual look at the what Jesus taught in the context of current events. A few comments from readers reveals just how much this blog is opening their hearts:

“I must say your Blog is stiring the gifts within us. Good Stir!”

“Wow what a great site for us to air out views.”

“Well I’m grateful for this site really, it makes a person to be creative and think deeper. Most of these articles I’ve been reading helped me to learn from my mistake. It stroke my heart when i read Pathway of Peace, my eyes are filled with tears, will we be able to comprehend His love for us, its so unbelievable that we are able to love one another.”

“I loved your article pathway of peace. It is very true that love is simple and judgment is complex. It is very easy and simple to love than it is to hate. As Christians we ought to follow Our Lord’s example of love.”

“Thank you very much for that very great message. I must say that I am really challenge by the content especially those quotes of Jesus’ words and how you interpreted them.”

This site is a must read for Christians and non-Christians alike. People from all over the world with different religious backgrounds are participating in the lively discussion that is usually found on this blog. The articles are well written and more than a little thought provoking and the comments are truly inspiring.

Ding Ding Round 1 - Scientology Again

Spurned talent agent: I didn't have a prayer

A Delray Beach man is taking on the celebrity-heavy, space alien-loving Church of Scientology. Jonathan Elliott, 44, a former Tinseltown talent agent, last week filed a federal lawsuit against the group in Fort Lauderdale.

He alleges that his now-defunct Evolve Talent Agency was unable to flourish because of what he claims is the church's stranglehold on showbiz.

Elliott is asking for $4.5 million in lost income and business opportunities. Simply because he isn't a member of the L. Ron Hubbard-founded organization, Elliott said, he couldn't find entertainment gigs for his stable of actors.

He cites the marketplace competition-preserving Sherman and Clayton acts as his claim's basis.

"In the five years my business existed, I managed to get one of my actors one movie job," said Elliott — who says he is the son of Jack Elliot, the composer of the scores of such TV staples as Charlie's Angels and Barney Miller. Before agreeing to be interviewed, Jonathan quickly asked: "Are you a Scientologist?"

"Statistically, there are probably 100,000 different movie and TV parts on any given year," he said. "You'd think I could have done better. But if you're not a Scientologist, in Hollywood you're nothing. The church's policy is to discriminate against nonmembers, and now that their people are in key positions, it's hard."

And those include some of the biggest box office draws: actors Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Juliette Lewis and Ann Archer; musicians Chick Corea and Isaac Hayes; TV personalities including Greta Van Susteren; and movie directors and producers. Among the group's set of beliefs: that humans are inhabited by the souls of mysterious space travelers.

"Indeed there are many Scientologists in entertainment," said church spokeswoman Karin Pouw. "But there are lots of members in all facets of life.

"I haven't seen this lawsuit, but it sounds completely bizarre. We work with everybody."

Elliott said he moved out of L.A. a year ago and came to Delray to work in telemarketing. He said the church's WPB offices on Congress will be served the paperwork Monday.

T4G Worship Songs

There were some great songs sung at T4G, they were all led by Bob Kauflin from Sovereign Grace Ministries. In his kindness he posted all the songs that were sung there with links to words etc.

Click here for song info.

For those of you that don't know -- Bob also has a blog focused on worship.