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Sep 27, 2015

Ragbag Headliners

Oldest Bible Text Since Dead Sea Scrolls Deciphered

Archaeologists in Israel have claimed to decipher writing on a 1,500-year-old piece of parchment, the oldest biblical text since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Charisma News reports the archaeologists were able to interpret the writing through digital imaging and advanced technology. Though the parchment was found 45 years ago, technology was not able to decipher the script until now.

Israel Antiquities Authority curator Pnina Shor said, "This is a really big discovery. After the Dead Sea Scrolls, this has been the most significant find of an ancient Bible.”

The parchment was reportedly discovered at Ein Gedi in 1970. Sefi Porat, who co-directed the dig, said the scroll is dated around the year 600; it was uncovered inside the remains of a synagogue. –Christian Headlines

The Religious Beliefs Of Kim Davis, The Anti-Gay Clerk Who Refuses To Do Her Job, Explained

A same-sex couple entered the county clerk’s office of Rowan County, Kentucky to ask for a marriage license. Kim Davis, the local county clerk, refused, openly defying the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. When the couple demanded to know under whose authority she could deny them their legal right, Davis appealed not to the high courts, but to a higher power.

“Under God’s authority,” she said defiantly, staring back at the questioner.

The incident was one of the several instances where Davis has declined to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, often justifying her position by citing her faith — an action that even conservative think tanks agree is probably illegal. But while the legality of Davis’ actions will likely be resolved at a Thursday court hearing, many have pointed out that Davis’ own life invalidates her claim to spiritual superiority over LGBT people: Davis has reportedly committed adultery and been divorced three times, things that are explicitly prohibited in the Bible. Davis’ detractors argue that if she applied the same righteous fervor to other parts of scripture as she does to her opposition to homosexuality, then she shouldn’t have received licenses for some of her own marriages.

So where does Davis’ seemingly inconsistent theology come from, and how can she justify her actions using scripture? The answer begins with Apostolic Christianity, a tradition she claims to have converted to only four years ago. It’s unclear what specific worship community Davis calls home, but she is likely affiliated with one of two different traditions that nonetheless share similar beliefs on same-sex marriage and divorce — namely, Apostolic Pentecostalism (the most probable option — see the footnote and updates at the bottom of this post) or the Apostolic Christian Church (ACC). The former tradition — often called Oneness Pentecostalism — has a different theological starting point than the ACC, but shares its embrace of strict biblical interpretation, and, like the ACC, faced schisms over divorce and remarriage. In addition, one of the church’s main branches — United Pentecostal Church International — issued a statement following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage that condemned the decision but also noted that members “should recognize everyone’s civil rights.”

The ACC, on the other hand, is a small Christian denomination founded in 1830s by Samuel Froehlich, a pastor who was dismissed from the Swiss Reformed Church for refusing to compromise his biblical convictions. While the historical connection to Apostolic pentecostalism is distant at best, it similarly embraces so-called biblical literalism. It is also staunchly anti-hierarchal, with all ministers — ordained “elders” or unordained lay leaders — serving their congregations without pay.

One such lay leader is Mark Hoffman, who identifies as a “servant” of an ACC community in Clarendon, Vermont that claims 6 members and around 20 Sunday worshippers. He explained to ThinkProgress that while the church roots itself in scripture, the denomination does not have lengthy, codified statements on marriage, divorce, or homosexuality. Instead, he said, members usually look to one document for answers.

“We use the King James Bible,” he said, repeating the phrase several times when asked specific theological questions.

Hoffman did hint that issues of both homosexuality and divorce could be grounds for loss of church membership, however, although he insisted such things would be handled on a case-by-case basis and that forgiveness and reconciliation are possible.

“If someone is going to be outside of God’s law or God’s grace, then they are not a member of this church,” said. He later added, “But we can’t prohibit anything — people have a free choice!”

Like apostolic pentecostalism, this fusion of selective biblical interpretation and theological ambiguity permeates the ACC’s short faith statement, which does define marriage as existing solely between a “man and a woman” but describes it as “a lifelong union.” Meanwhile, a “lifestyle” section of the church’s website claims that divorce should be “rare” for ACC members, but leaves the exact details of why up to interpretation.

The hesitant embrace of divorce (which is bluntly condemned by Jesus Christ) while firmly rejecting homosexuality (which is discussed in various parts of the Bible but never mentioned by Jesus) is a relatively recent development within Christianity. For centuries, most Christian denominations have opposed divorce, typically leaving exceptions only in cases of adultery, abandonment, or — in what is called “Pauline privilege” because it is pulled from Paul’s letters — when one member of a couple refuses to be baptized.

But as time wore on and the demand for divorce became increasingly common (including when Henry the VIII created his own Christian denomination largely so he could divorce his wife), many groups began to create more exceptions for divorce. Like most theological issues, the change caused strife: The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) passed a resolution in 1904 prohibiting pastors from solemnizing the marriages of people divorced for non-scriptural reasons, and one branch of Apostolic Christianity — Christian Apostolic Church — reportedly formed in 1955 in part because they disagreed with the larger denomination’s slow embrace of divorce. Many groups, such as the Reformed Church in America, still officially prohibit divorce in most cases.

Meanwhile, as debates over homosexuality raged in the United States from the mid to late 20th century, some denominations began to articulate denunciations of LGBT relationships, eventually culminating in faith-based campaigns against same-sex marriage. The move altered the way many Christians understood their own faith, and today many conservative Christians are often willing to excuse blatant violations of the biblical 10 Commandments but vehemently oppose marriage equality — all while citing the Bible as inspiration.

The obvious disconnect between these two positions — particularly if one clings to concepts of “biblical literalism” — is sometimes lost on Christians who crusade against marriage equality, as many were raised unaware of their religion’s longstanding opposition to divorce. Those that do engage in the debate will typically explain that divorce is a “forgivable” sin, whereas a same-sex marriage leaves two individuals in a constant state of unrepentant sin. Another Kentucky clerk explained her support for Davis just this way, saying “[Divorce is] something that’s forgivable just like any other sin, but if you continue in it [meaning homosexuality] and live in it, there’s a grave danger in that.”

This interpretation, of course, ignores that an individual who remarries someone else after a divorce — like Davis — would also be in a constant state of sin. Some denominations have tried to rectify the perception of hypocrisy around these issues, as the SBC recently launched an initiative to discourage divorce in their own ranks. But in a country where divorce is common and divorce theology is rarely discussed, cries of hypocrisy are likely to fall flat among Christians who have already accepted divorce as theologically permissible — including groups that largely discourage it.

Davis-style hypocrisy around divorce and same-sex marriage is all too common in many conservative Christian circles, and will likely remain even if it appears self-contradictory. That said, there is another, arguably more prescient hypocrisy at work when Davis — an elected government official — refuses to grant state marriages licenses. Regardless of whether Davis is ACC or Apostolic Pentecostal, both traditions have called for followers to either respect governmental authority and/or the civil rights of others — even if society disagrees with church teaching. –Think Progress

Deputies Reportedly Say They Want To Issue Marriage Licenses But Are Too Afraid Of Davis

In an interview with the Kentucky Trial Court Review, Rowan County Attorney Cecil Watkins expressed exasperation with Kim Davis, the anti-gay clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses due to her objections to marriage equality. Davis, Watkins said, “does not represent” the county or its values, and he added that he told Davis that he “will not and cannot support” her in her refusal to obey the Constitution.

Perhaps most significantly, Watkins also says that he learned that Davis’s deputy clerks would issue marriage licenses to all couples legally entitled to one, but that they are too afraid of Davis to do so. If Judge David Bunning, the federal judge who is expected to hold Davis in contempt after a hearing Thursday morning, orders Davis’s deputies to issue marriage licenses, Watkins says, the deputies will comply.

Davis’s refusal to comply with the Constitution has potentially placed her deputies in legal jeopardy. In an order announcing the contempt hearing, Judge Bunning said that Davis “and each of her deputy clerks shall be present at the hearing.” The deputies’ willingness to issue licenses if Davis is no longer an obstacle, however, may save them from sanctions since the primary purpose of the contempt hearing is to pressure Davis’s office to comply with the law.

In an editorial note accompanying its reporting, the Trial Court Review paints a grim picture of life in the Rowan County courthouse after Davis began a symbol of anti-gay defiance. “The takeaways from the Watkins interview are clear. Davis is acting alone in her zealous mission. Her conduct has terrorized not just her staff but everyone that works in the courthouse. And all for a foolish mission aided by out of state charlatan lawyers trying to raise money for their ‘religious liberty’ mission.” -Think Progress

We're All In This Together

Is Kim Davis A Hero Or A Hypocrite?

In Rowan County Kentucky, a county clerk is facing stiff penalties for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Her name is Kim Davis, and she’s become some kind of a hero in conservative circles.

I too am in the camp cheering her on. But perhaps not for the same reasons as other conservatives. This is not even an issue of what you believe concerning homosexuality. This is a clear-cut case where the federal government, and the Supreme Court specifically, overstepped its boundaries and imposed a dictatorial edict on all the states on an issue that was already being handled adequately by the states. The Supreme Court judgment was premature, unnecessary, self-important, and unconstitutional.

So, whatever your views on same-sex marriage or homosexuality (I think I have made mine clear), Kim Davis is supporting counties’ and states’ rights in the face of an over-reaching and tyrannical federal power. So more power to her. In one sense.

My heart sank a little bit though when I heard this:

    Davis was born in Breathitt County, the heart of Appalachia, about 60 miles (97 km) south of Morehead. She has been married four times, twice to the same man, her current husband Joe Davis. Of her four children, twins were born out of wedlock in 1994.

Ugh. So of course, everyone in the homosexual camp is pointing out Davis’ own checkered past as a reason why she, along with every other conservative by the way, is a horrible selfish hypocrite.

Before you are too quick to fall into the same tu quoque arguments the homosexual lobby loves falling into, it should be admitted that homosexuals are right at least in this. They did not single-handedly cheapen or destroy marriage in this country. Heterosexuals did.

It’s true. Over the course of a few hundred years, heterosexuals have degraded, cheapened, upturned, perverted, and hollowed out the institution of marriage. Kim Davis has been married four times. Twice to the same man. She had kids out of wedlock. Not exactly the paragon of traditional family values.

Yet, there is a silver lining here. Almost all of Davis’ less than stellar life decisions occurred before she was a born-again believer. By her own testimony, her faith has become central to her life in only the last four years.

This should not be overlooked. It highlights the central issue at the heart of the protection of “traditional family values.” For a long time, conservatives have pretended that their principles were embedded in natural laws. That people could be moral without necessarily being religious, because conservative principles were drawn inevitably and incontrovertibly from logic and nature.

Well, here we are. This is where natural and logical law and policy gets you. Kim Davis herself makes it clear: we won’t save the institution of marriage by upholding foundationless moral principles floating in a void of good intentions. No. There are two options here: human law or divine law. Natural law is a myth. No one can know it. It contradicts itself. Ultimately, when people claim natural law, they are merely attempting to give more gravity to their own merely human opinions. Most people that claim God’s Law are doing the same. At least the straightforward champions of merely human law are partially honest about the arbitrary boundaries of their jurisprudence.

And that’s why, if you are a Christian, your first job is to let God’s Law reign in your own life first. If enough of us would actually do that, we would see a difference in the world. The fact is that we are hypocrites. Don’t get me wrong. The leftists that oppose traditional family values are hypocrites too. They say anything and everything goes for themselves, but they want to force you to go against your beliefs. We do the same thing though, we just have different desires. Are we all like Josh Duggar, who headed up a traditional family values council while he was addicted to porn and actively pursuing adulterous affairs? No. But he is just the extreme example of how homosexuals view all of us.

Would it not be better if we lived according to the principles we wish society were shaped by? What if we expended more effort being personally pious and less effort trying to get the civil government to write or enforce pious laws. Wouldn’t that, even in some small way, shape society more than any legal revolution could? So keep doing what you’re doing, Kim Davis. Just make sure your life matches your convictions. –Last Resistance

White Evangelicals Are The Only Religious Group That Agrees With Kim Davis

In case you were wondering if Kim Davis’s holy struggle to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples was actually about religious freedom, take this data point from this new Washington Post/ABC News poll, which found that nearly two thirds of Americans think Kim Davis should be required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples:

White Evangelical Protestants were also the only religious subgrouping that had a plurality indicate that when religious beliefs and the need to treat everyone equally under the law come into conflict, religion should take precedence. And it wasn’t even close, with the percentage giving priority to religion nearly tripling the figure from the next-highest sub-group, and three quarters of all respondents siding with equal protection:

While the poll’s religion section only broke out a handful of religious sub-groupings, the results are clear: When Kim Davis says her refusal to do her job as a public official and issue marriage licenses to same sex couples is grounded in a concern for her religious freedom, the only group of people who think those words mean what she says they mean are white Evangelical Protestants. Everyone else — those who don’t share her beliefs — are well aware that she isn’t talking about them when she waxes Jeffersonian about religious liberty.

As I’ve written before, these claims of LGBT equality somehow coming at the cost of religious freedom only make sense if you torture the concept of religious freedom until it becomes synonymous with Christian privilege. Members of the non-Evangelical religious sub-groupings listed in the poll — along with the ones not listed —  know perfectly well that if they are allowed to use their religious beliefs to deny others rights, it opens the door for others to use their religious beliefs to deny them rights. That isn’t religious freedom; it’s a religious free-for-all.

If white Evangelical Protestants were really concerned with religious freedom, then they wouldn’t be trying to prevent Muslims from building cemeteries (or community centers). And they’d speak up a little louder when Muslim flight attendants refuse to serve alcohol. And they’d be a little more accommodating to members of non-traditional faiths who want to take advantage of the same privileges Christians have won for themselves.

But no, this isn’t about that. It’s just about a particular brand of Christianity maintaining what grip it can on American government and culture. And the rest of us — religious and irreligious — know it. –America Blog

Future Church Service????

PASTOR: "Praise the Lord!"

CONGREGATION: Hallelujah!"

PASTOR: "Will everyone please turn on their tablet, PC, iPad, smart phone, and Kindle Bibles to 1 Corinthians, 13:13.

And please switch on your Bluetooth to download the sermon."


"Now, Let us pray, committing this week into God's hands.

Open your Apps, BBM, Twitter, and Facebook, and chat with God"


"As we take our Sunday tithes and offerings, please have your credit and debit cards ready."

"You can log on to the church Wi-Fi using the password 'Lord909887.'

The ushers will circulate mobile card swipe machines among the worshipers:

a. Those who prefer to make electronic fund transfers are directed to computers and laptops at the rear of the church.

b. Those who prefer to use iPads can open them.

c. Those who prefer telephone banking, take out your cell phones to transfer your contributions to the church account.

The holy atmosphere of the Church becomes truly electrified as ALL the smart phones, iPads, PCs and laptops beep and flicker!

Final Blessing and Closing Announcements.

a. This week's ministry cell meetings will be held on the various Facebook group pages where the usual group chatting takes place.

Please log in and don't miss out.

b. Thursday's Bible study will be held live on Skype at 1900hrs GMT. Please don't miss out.

c. You can follow your Pastor on Twitter this weekend for counseling and prayers.
God bless and have a nice day.

And Jesus wept…..

~Author Unknown/Contributed by Mary

The Kim Davis Ordeal Reveals A Frightening Truth

The saga of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who went to jail for a weekend rather than sign off on same-sex marriage certificates, might seem like it’s a last gasp for the anti-gay right; an attempt to eke out some kind of victory after having lost their two-decade fight against same-sex marriage. Unable to stop same-sex couples from marrying, Davis, along with a handful of anti-gay florists and bakers, strives instead to just make getting the license an embarrassing hassle. It’s childish sore loser behavior, the equivalent of a baseball player pouting in the dugout and refusing to shake hands with his opponent because he didn’t win the game.

Because of this, liberals can be forgiven for laughing and moving on, not particularly worried about Davis, whose temper tantrum isn’t even preventing the licenses from being issued any longer, as the judge authorized her deputies to hand them out.

Unfortunately, though, Davis’s behavior isn’t just a bratty tantrum. This whole incident is also a sign of a troubling development in the religious right: As their cultural power declines in the face of growing diversity and liberalism, religious conservatives are embracing scary levels of radicalism. They don’t have the numbers anymore, so they are turning to scarier and more radical demands to seize power in any way that they can.

No doubt Davis is a comical figure whose self-righteousness is only equaled by her ignorance both of the text of the Bible she clings to and what it means to have a job as a government employee. But she’s being used by her legal team and other religious right leaders to spread the idea that religious conservatives are entitled to ignore — or even overthrow — democracy and seize power just because they feel like it.

Some supporters, like Ryan Anderson of the New York Times, are claiming that Davis wants an “accommodation” for her religious beliefs. This is, to put it bluntly, a lie. Davis was offered just such an accommodation and told that she doesn’t have to personally issue the licenses so long as her deputies were allowed to do so. She declined that compromise, insisting that she be able to actually prevent same-sex couples from getting licenses in her county altogether.

What Davis is asking for is not an accommodation at all, but for the right to declare, by fiat, that Rowan County, Kentucky, is a mini-theocracy not beholden to the laws of the land, but by the whims of Kim Davis. Her legal team wants you to see her as a sweet but faithful woman, but in fact she’s trying to pull a coup here, claiming that “God’s authority” — read Kim Davis’s authority — trumps our entire democratic system.

It’s not just her, either. Rena Lindevaldsen, who works for the Liberty Counsel that is handling Davis’s case, has taken to boldly arguing that Christians have the right to overthrow the democratically elected government and simply impose their will by fiat. “Whether it’s zoning or taxes or marriage or abortion, in those issues, government doesn’t have authority to say that these things are appropriate because they’re contrary to Scripture,” Lindevaldsen recently argued in front of Liberty University. Which is to say that even though the government has declared abortion legal, if you decide you don’t want your neighbors getting abortions, you should be able to declare yourself a God-appointed authority and simply shut it down. If you don’t want to pay taxes, declare yourself a “sovereign citizen.”

Mike Huckabee has been at the frontlines of pushing the claim that Christian conservatives simply have the right to ignore or overturn democracy to impose their will, and not just because he’s been running around Kentucky, trying to get himself on camera as much as possible in support of Davis’s attempt to ban gay marriage by fiat. He’s also been using the campaign trail to argue that the president should be able to simply end rule of law and start ruling like a dictator.

He doesn’t use the word dictator, of course, but make no mistake, Huckabee has repeatedly and shamelessly promised that if he is elected president, he will start declaring his beliefs to be the law of the land without the cooperation of Congress. In a Google hangout, he laid out the scheme: Declare as president that there are “constitutional rights of the unborn” and simply ban abortion by fiat. He claimed a similar authority during the Republican debate, a moment that got startlingly little play even though it was literally a candidate for president arguing that he would make himself a dictator.

Despite his regular references to the constitution when making these proclamations, Huckabee’s scheme would mean voiding out the constitution, as well, and not just because, despite his claims to the contrary, there is not a single word in it that gives citizenship status to embryos. It’s also because his scheme would mean ending the balance of powers, concentrating all the power of the legislature and the courts into the hands of the president.

And once you believe that your interpretation of what God wants trumps rule of law, not just for yourself but for your neighbors, then it follows very quickly that you are entitled to use force and even violence to get your way.

Some religious right leaders are, in fact, making noises that sound very much like justifying the use of violent force in order to overturn the social progress brought upon the U.S. from the democratic system. “No one should want it and no one, myself included, does want it,” conservative pundit Erick Erickson argued in an op-ed about the Davis case. “But how much longer until we have another civil war?” You can be forgiven for being skeptical of his claim not to want this, of course. On the contrary, it reads very much like a threat: Either give up the gains made under the democratic system or face violent overthrow by religious fanatics.

Huckabee plays the same game of fantasizing about violent struggle to overturn democracy while pretending to abhor violence. In his Google hangout, he said that he expected that banning abortion by fiat would likely result in “extraordinary pushback, and goodness, perhaps riots in the streets.” He’s not wrong that simply dissolving rule of law and declaring yourself the sole authority would likely result in people resisting, but he shrugged this off as merely the price of doing business.

To be clear, all these fantasies of governmental overthrow to stop gay couples from marrying will likely remain fantasies. The religious right is aging and losing numbers quickly. This is why they’re getting increasingly fanatical in their rhetoric, of course, but it also makes it hard to imagine they could really get it together to act out their fantasies of seizing power by force.

Still, this isn’t just talk. The Republicans are still beholden to the religious right in many ways. The fact that so many Republican candidates were afraid to defend the rule of law and denounce Davis for her actions is a troubling symptom of this. The Christian right may not be up to armed revolution, but they are increasingly demanding that Republicans turn their backs on the basic rules of democracy to cater to a theocratic minority. That Republicans are listening is a danger to us all. –Raw Story

FRC Honors Kim Davis With 'Cost of Discipleship Award'

The Family Research Council will honor Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed six days for being in contempt of federal court after refusing to issue marriage licenses due to her biblical opposition to same-sex marriage, as the recipient of this year's "Cost of Discipleship Award" later this month.

FRC, a social conservative activist group, announced Monday that the 49-year-old Rowan County clerk will be honored with the award at the organization's 10th annual Values Voter Summit on Sept. 25 in Washington, D.C.

Davis follows in the footsteps of last year's award winner, Sudanese mother Mariam Ibraheem, who was sentenced to death on charges of apostasy for marrying a Christian man, and was forced to give birth while her legs were chained in a Khartoum prison.

FRC President Tony Perkins met with Davis before her release from the Carter County Detention Center last week to personally invite her to the summit.

"We are pleased to announce that Kim Davis will be honored at this year's Values Voter Summit. After meeting with her last week, I can tell you that Kim Davis wasn't looking for this fight, but she is not running from it either," Perkins said in a statement shared with The Christian Post on Monday.

"What militant secularists are almost certainly afraid of is what is coming to pass: courage is breeding courage. When other people might have cowered in fear, Kim took a stand. And today, millions of Americans stand with her and for the religious freedom upon which our nation was founded."

Davis fell into the national spotlight in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that state bans on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

Although Davis has no objection to her office issuing same-sex marriage licenses, doing so herself violates her Apostolic Christian faith to have her name and title on a certificate authorizing a marriage that she believes goes against God's definition of marriage.

After the Supreme Court's ruling, Davis instructed employees not to approve marriage licenses for same-sex couples to prevent having her name on the certificates.

Upon her return to her office Monday, Davis issued a statement saying that she would not interfere if her deputies chose to issue same-sex marriage certificates in order to obey a federal court order. She added, however, that certificates will be unauthorized and will not have her name or title on them.

"While the court redefined marriage, it did not redefine the First Amendment," Perkins added. "Thank goodness for people of courage like Kim Davis, who refuse to let religious liberty be trampled by legal tyranny. We applaud her. In the face of intense pressure, she's shown more courage than 99 percent of the elected officials in Kentucky."

Davis has repeatedly asked the Kentucky state government to create an accommodation so that same-sex marriage licenses can be issued without requiring her name and title. North Carolina passed an accommodation law earlier this year that allows clerks to opt-out of issuing marriage licenses, while at the same time, same-sex couples are ensured that they can get married.

"Far from the media's portrayal, Kim isn't trying to impose her views on anyone, she is simply asking that her orthodox religious views be accommodated. The courage of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis isn't just changing the conversation — it's changing the political landscape," Perkins stated.

"In places like Missouri, where state officials watched with horror as Davis was hauled off to jail for her Christian beliefs, leaders are moving quickly to protect their people from the same fate. The Supreme Court created this mess — now it's incumbent on states to protect the victims mired in it." -Christian Post

The Self Life

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)

This despondent cry follows Paul’s disturbing monologue on the inner strife between his two natures (Romans 7:13-24). Here the apostle describes the conflict that goes on in the life of every Christian, until the self-life is completely subjugated and the will of Christ reigns supreme. The ascendancy of self is indicated in these verses by the fact that the personal pronouns “I,” “me,” “my” are used no less than 35 times in verses 15-24 alone as Paul records his inner thoughts and feelings (e.g., “that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I”—v. 15). Such a testimony is pervaded with introspection, relating everything to self instead of to Christ. No wonder the conclusion is so miserable: “O wretched man that I am!”

Unfortunately, this is the status of most Christians whose interests are almost completely self-centered. Most Christian books and sermons are designed to appeal to such personal interests, and the explosive modern growth of Christian professional “counseling” likewise reflects the existence of multitudes of self-centered Christians.

But the happy and useful Christian is the one whose concerns and activities center around others and who earnestly seeks to follow and honor Christ and His Word. And this is exactly the conclusion to which the apostle Paul comes in his melancholy soliloquy. “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” he cries. Immediately the answer comes: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25).

We do still have to battle the old nature, but in Christ we have both the incentive and power to “put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:9) and to “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). HMM

What We Learned From The Arrest Of Kim Davis

If Kim Davis had been on the opposite end of the conflict and stood for "gay rights," refusing to obey a law that she felt discriminated against them, she would be praised from coast to coast.

It is jarring to write the words "the arrest of Kim Davis," speaking of the Kentucky clerk who was remanded to jail for refusing to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples, but for years now I and others have been warning that committed Christians could soon face jail time in America for holding to our convictions.

That time is now here, and the only thing that is surprising is that anyone is surprised. How could we not see this coming?

To be sure, there is a healthy debate taking place among both believers and non-believers concerning the rightness of Kim Davis's actions. Should she simply have resigned if, in good conscience, she could not issue those certificates? Does she have any legal, moral, or constitutional ground on which to stand?

That is a legitimate debate, and it is one that is sure to continue.

But what cannot be debated is that the national outrage against Kim Davis has nothing to do with her refusing to obey the law and everything to do with her Christian beliefs.

Had she found herself on the opposite end of the conflict and had she stood for "gay rights," refusing to obey a law that she felt discriminated against them, she would be praised from coast to coast.

Instead, she is being vilified in the ugliest terms and has quickly become the target of death threats simply because, in conscience before God, she cannot comply with the judge's order.

Yesterday I tweeted, "It's interesting that gay activists who praised SF mayor Gavin Newsom for illegally issuing marriage licenses now vilify Kim Davis."

Hector Alvarez (@eltoritolociito) responded, "@DrMichaelLBrown how is it interesting? He was for marriage equality, she was an anti gay bigot who wasnt doing her job."

Doesn't that say it all?

As Andrew (@AKUContraMundum) tweeted later in the day: "Civil disobedience is only cool when it is God's Law that's being broken." Or, as expressed by Sean Davis, writing on the Federalist.com, "Kim Davis Uproar Shows That Breaking The Law Is Only Okay When Progressives Do It."

When Gavin Newsom refused to submit to the law in 2004, he was a hero. When Kim Davis refuses to submit to the law, she is a bigot and a monster. (And make no mistake about it: His actions were far more flamboyant and aggressive than hers, and whereas as she is a self-professed "very private person" who does not want the spotlight to the point of being overwhelmed and in tears because of the national attention, Newsom actively sought it out.)

Let's also remember that while Newsom, who was sworn in as mayor under national and state laws that recognized marriage as the union of one man and one woman, violated his oath of office to uphold that law, the exact opposite was true of Davis. When she was sworn in, Kentucky did not recognize same-sex "marriage."

As attorney David French pointed out, while it is true that her act was revolutionary, "she didn't fire the first revolutionary shot. That distinction belongs to a Supreme Court that concocted out of whole cloth a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, using legal 'reasoning' that reads more like a religious tract than a court opinion. Justice Kennedy took the moral sensibilities of five justices and rendered those moral sensibilities the law of the land."

Let's recall that just last year, Jack Conway, Kentucky's attorney general, refused to defend the state's ban on same-sex "marriage," despite his oath of office, explaining that, "Once I reached the conclusion that the law was discriminatory, I could no longer defend it. At that point, being true to myself became more important than the political considerations." (Conway was planning to run for governor of Kentucky.)

Where was the national condemnation of Conway?

And where was the national condemnation of then Attorney General Eric Holder when he instructed attorneys general nationwide that they were not obligated to defend state laws – meaning, specifically, bans on same-sex "marriage" – if they found them to be discriminatory?

Ironically, liberal websites like the Huffington Post, which are leading the assault on Kim Davis, celebrated Gavin Newsom's actions as recently as 18 months ago in the article, "Ten Years Ago Today, San Francisco Set The Stage For Marriage Equality."

The article begins: "Ten years ago today, San Francisco issued the United States' first same-sex marriage licenses -- a move then-mayor Gavin Newsom ordered of the city clerk after President George W. Bush declared his stance against them in his State of the Union address. The marriages were annulled by a Supreme Court ruling four months later, but the landmark event set the stage for the national fight for marriage equality that's still blazing forward."

And Newsom, portrayed as a champion and icon, is quoted as saying in 2004, "I took an oath of office to bear truth, faith and allegiance to the constitution of the state of California, and there is nothing in that constitution that says that I have the right to discriminate against people on any basis … And I simply won't do that. And if that means my political career ends, so be it."

What, then, is the difference between Newsom, who did not lose his job and who spent no time in jail, and Davis, who was told by the judge that she would be jailed until she complied?

Newsom stood for redefining marriage, Davis is standing for marriage as God intended it and, more fundamentally, is refusing to violate her conscience as a Christian – and that, not the breaking the law, is the issue at hand.

Make no mistake about it. Following Jesus in America today will be increasing costly until God's people awaken and stand.

The arrest of Kim Davis has made that clear. –News  Now

Kim Davis Returns Home To Face Taunting Billboard & More Controversy

The media and liberal pundits continually preach that they are all about peace and tolerance and how the “religious right” is devoid of love and acceptance. This exact opposite could not be more evident than in the media circus surrounding Kim Davis and her stand against issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Whether or not you agree with Davis’s stance on refusing to issue the marriage licenses, it’s undeniable that the hypocrisy of the left has reared its ugly head again.

Davis, who was in jail for contempt of court, was released last week under the condition that she does not interfere with the issuing of marriage licenses in Rowan county. Davis agreed to the condition and said she would return to work on Monday, but that was not welcomed with the warmest reception.

A billboard in support of gay marriage was erected in Moorehead, Kentucky with a taunting message to Davis. Planting Peace, a non-profit organization who says that Davis needs to take a closer look at how marriage has already evolved, is behind the mocking billboard.

The billboard’s taunting message reads:

    “Dear Kim Davis, The fact that you can’t sell your daughter for three goats and a cow means we’ve already redefined marriage.”

Aaron Jackson, the president of Planting Peace, said this about the controversial billboard:

“The intent of this billboard is to expose how the anti-LGBT movement is selective in what rules to follow and how they choose to define traditional institutions or values, it’s important and relevant to call this out, because the actions of Kim Davis and the messages from the anti-LGBTQ movement are not simply about a political or religious debate. There are LGBT youth across the world who are taking their lives at an alarming rate because of these messages from society that make them feel broken or less than.”

Jackson also added:

    “We have to meet hate with love, intolerance with compassion. Our message to our LGBT youth is simple: You are loved, valued, supported, and beautiful. There is nothing wrong with you, and we will stand by you. You are not alone.”

That statement from Jackson seems to be hypocritical. The LGBT community would like us to believe that they are discriminated against and treated poorly, when in all reality they have become a protected class. If they truly believed in tolerance and love, why would they erect a billboard in Davis’s town to openly mock her and her core beliefs?

Furthermore, what the misguided folks at Planting Peace seem to be referencing would be referred to as a dowry, where a man gave something of value for a woman’s hand in marriage. There are no biblical references to “three goats and a cow,” and marriage was never defined as such. It seems they have mistaken a historical practice for a defining factor, which it is not and never was. A dowry was an accepted practice in many cultures throughout history, not just unique to Christians alone, but it was never the definition of marriage.

Oddly enough, it is actually on the rise in some Islamic cultures. They attempted to mock Christianity, but actually insulted Muslims. They may want to be careful with that, since Muslims aren’t known to be very tolerant of homosexuality. While Christians love the sinner, a Muslim would throw a homosexual off a tall building if given the opportunity.

Although gifts aren’t typically given to the parents of the bride in the form of a dowry any longer, women are often given a diamond in exchange for their hand in marriage. Does this mean that the definition of marriage has evolved to women selling themselves for jewels? Obviously, not. While traditions involving marriage may have changed, the core definition of marriage has not. It has always been between a man and a woman, at least until the government got involved.

The LGBT community has every right to live as they please and have not had any of their rights denied to them that are stated in the Constitution. However, when these people do not get their way, they resort to bullying tactics and misinformation in order to push through their agenda and attempt to force acceptance, which simply doesn’t work.

Now, more than ever, Christians have to stand firm for our religious rights. If we don’t, they may be done away with in the name of “tolerance.” -Mad World News

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