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Posts Tagged ‘Culture Wars’

PORNOGRAPHY

Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry. And guess who’s the top video porn producer in the world? You guessed it…the U.S. The pornography industry is larger than the revenues of the top technology companies combined: Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink. Every second – $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography. Every second – 28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography. Every second – 372 Internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines. Every 39 minutes: a new pornographic video is being created in the United States.

Porn affects male and female, young and old. It’s a growing problem that brings sexual addiction. It destroys individuals. It wrecks marriages. It devastates families. It brings instant gratification but long term problems. The Internet has become a net to trap multitudes. How can people get free from this bondage to their sexual cravings? The Bible gives the answer!

Fornication is the Biblical word for sexual immorality. It comes from the Greek word porneia and indicates sexual practices that lie outside the circle of God’s revealed will. It’s a broad term that would include adultery, pre-marital sex, homosexuality, pornography, etc. The teachings of the apostle Paul especially uses this word because the Roman empire was so filled with sexual immorality. And like our world today Christians needed to be instructed that our bod is for God!

What was God’s original intent in regards to sex? (Gen 2:24) Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Gen 1:28) Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth…(Heb 13:4) Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. God created sex…not Hollywood!

The teaching of the Bible is clear in regards to sexual purity: (1 Th 4:3-4) For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; {4} that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor. Our bodies were meant to glorify God: (1 Cor 6:19-20) Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? {20} For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

How can a person handle their sex drive? (Gal 5:22-23) But the fruit of the Spirit is…self-control… What about sexual fantasies? (2 Cor 10:5)…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ… Steer clear of doorways to temptation (Mark 9:43-48; Rom 13:14). Still having a problem? Lean hard on Jesus. (John 15:5)…for without Me you can do nothing. Bring in a trusted person to pray with you (Eccl 4:9-12; Mat 18:19-20). You can get the victory! (Rom 6:14) For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. View article…

Louie

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The Real Population Threat

Albert Mohler

 

For well over a century, many prophets of doom have predicted world overpopulation would lead to ecological disaster, famine, poverty and other woes.  As Philip Longman points out in the March 24, 2009 edition of USA Today, the world’s population is expected to hit 7 billion by 2012, up from the 6 billion mark set in 1999.  So, is overpopulation a real threat?

 

Not hardly.  Though population density can threaten sustainability in some areas of the globe, the far greater danger for our future is what Longman calls “depopulation.”  On a global scale, we are seeing the population of older persons exploding and the numbers of young persons falling.

 

The trend toward depopulation started in Europe, spread to Asia, and is now detectable even in Latin America.  The United Nations now predicts that total world population may begin falling as early as 2040, and much of the surviving population will be very old indeed.

 

Consider this observation from Longman:

Under what the U.N. considers the most likely scenario, more than half of all remaining growth comes from a 1.2 billion increase in the number of old people, while the worldwide supply of children will begin falling within 15 years. With fewer workers to support each elder, the world economy might have to run just that much faster, and consume that much more resources, or else living standards will fall.

In the USA, where nearly one-fifth of Baby Boomers never had children, the hardship of vanishing retirement savings will be compounded by the strains on both formal and informal care-giving networks caused by the spread of childlessness. A pet will keep you company in old age, but it is unlikely to be of use in helping you navigate the health care system or in keeping predatory reverse mortgage brokers at bay.

 

The simple fact is that a stable standard of living depends upon a steady stream of young persons entering the work force and contributing to the economy and the culture.  When an unprecedented percentage of the total population is aged, the economy and the society in general begins to tilt toward unsustainability.  To state only the most obvious point, when the number of retirees is out of balance with the number of workers, there may simply not be enough economic activity to pay the bills.

Economists and demographers will debate innumerable aspects of this new phenomenon, but from a Christian worldview perspective certain issues stand out.  Longman underlines the fact that this looming population imbalance is the result of chosen behaviors and lifestyle changes — not to forces beyond human control.

 

Consider this one statistic alone:  Nearly one-fifth of Baby Boomers never had children at all.  As Longman observes, childlessness puts great strains on the entire system of care-giving upon which both individuals and the society in general depend.

 

CLICK HERE for the rest of the article 

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 This is a long article and while it is a slam against the church, it is a war raging in every believer who has asked, “what am I doing and why?”

A Refusal to Shun the World – John MacArthur

Part of an essay by Dr.John MacArthur called ” The Rise of Reckless Faith

 

 

“We have already hinted at another factor contributing to the decline of discernment in the contemporary church. It is a preoccupation with image and influence. Many Christians have the misconception that to win the world to Christ we must first win the world’s favor. If we can get the world to like us, they will embrace our Savior. That is the philosophy behind the user-friendly church movement, which I have evaluated in an earlier book.11

 

The express design of this user-friendly philosophy is to make unconverted sinners feel comfortable with the Christian message. People won’t come to hear the Gospel proclaimed? Give them something they want. Put on a show. Entertain them. Avoid sensitive subjects like sin and damnation. Accommodate their worldly desires and felt needs. Slip in the Gospel in small, diluted doses. The whole point is to make the church a place where non-Christians can enjoy themselves. The strategy is to tantalize non-Christians rather than confront their unbelief. That is altogether incompatible with sound doctrine. It is compromise with the world. James called it spiritual adultery (James 4:4).

 

Look at the effect of this philosophy on the church. In order to entice sinners, preaching has been replaced with entertainment. The preacher who once took his stand for truth and made the biblical message clear is now asked to take his seat. He’s a problem. He’s an embarrassment. He’s an offense to non-Christians.

 

But if the truth cannot be fearlessly proclaimed in the church, what place is there for truth at all? How can we build a generation of discerning Christians if we are terror-struck at the thought that non- Christians might not like hearing the unvarnished truth?

 

And since when has it been legitimate for the church to woo the world? Didn’t the apostle John write, “Do not marvel, brethren, if the world hates you” (1 John 3:13)? And did not Jesus say, “The world … hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil” (John 7:7)? Biblical Christians have always understood that they must shun the world. Here are our Lord’s own words:

 

If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose vou out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, “A slave is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute vou; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me (John 15:18-21).

Does that sound like it gives any latitude for an evangelistic strategy that soft-pedals the offense of the cross?

 

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Relate to the Culture – Tim Keller

In his final session with Newfrontiers Keller highlighted that we find relating to the culture to be an increasing problem in the West. We now have a post-Christian culture. The Anglo-saxons struggled with Christianity because it believed in forgiveness and compassion for the weak. They felt that culture couldn’t survive without respect and fear. Northern European paganism was bloodthirsty and power hungry. Christianity changed the attitudes to the poor and weak. Society now says we don’t need Christianity because we care for the weak, and we forgive.

They have robbed christianity of all their assets but thrown out God. The claim is that we dont need God to have a society. Lets be Christian for 2000 years then throw it out, and maybe it works. We have a new situation. Secular societies in Europe are living off the plundered capital of Christianity. But we have earned the scorn of the unbelievers.

The old problem of paganism is the idea of individual power which is creeping back in. At the street level increasingly as Christianity recedes life will be based on individual power and exploitation. Europe almost needs to get really non-Christian to get Christian again. It has many of the benefits and refinements of a Christian civilization but has lost the heart.

Have to reflect more and more about how to relate. Three wrong ways to go and one right.

1. Defensive against
– triumphalism, Marked by the Christian right. Attitude is that largely through politics we need to take back the culture by taking Christian values and making sure the law upholds them. No distinction between private and public. Get back into corridors of power. Get legislation.

2. Purity from
They say that Christians shouldn’t try and purify society at all. Neo-Anabaptist – form counter cultures but don’t salt society. Just win souls. Stay away.

3. Relevant To
Christians are so out of it we need to change. Make our music and message are culturally relevant. Hip. Get updated.

4. Faithful presence within
We are not trying to take over nor trying to be absent. We need to be willing and able to take our people into the financial world, the arts, the academic world, movies and TV. Be in all those places. Going to them to serve. We have to help people integrate their faith with their work. Churches tend to pull people out of their world into the church. “I want to teach you how to run a bible study and eventually become an elder”. We need to help people to know what kind of roles can I accept as a Christian actor. What I am doing is important.

You are salt of the earth. This is about being a preservative, medicine and seasoning. Serve people changing people, leavening. If you are not salt you are sand. It’s tough not to suck up to the culture and compromise. We must be faithful.

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Reformed Theology and Reformed Culture

I like this from Ray Ortlund:

I like Reformed theology. I believe it’s what the Bible teaches. But I don’t like Reformed culture. I don’t believe it’s what the Bible teaches.

Reformed theology is all about grace deciding to treat people better than they deserve, for the sheer glory of it all. Sometimes Reformed culture doesn’t look like that, feel like that, taste like that. It gives people exactly what they deserve, as judged by the Reformed person. But who exalted him as judge in the first place? Our true Judge stepped down to become our Friend. That theology of grace must translate into the sociology of grace as we treat one another better than anyone deserves, for the sheer glory of it all.

“If our theology does not quicken the conscience and soften the heart, it actually hardens both; if it does not encourage the commitment of faith, it reinforces the detachment of unbelief; if it fails to promote humility, it inevitably feeds pride.”

J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness, page 15.

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Separating Science from Ethics

Fort Wayne Catholic bishop John D’Arcy John D’Arcy spoke on Obama’s recent actions allowing the federal government to directly fund the destruction of “embryonic human beings in order to advance stem cell research.” He regards it as an imposition of the will of the powerful on the powerless. Oppression, in other words. His thoughts were spot on, I think. Here’s a sample:

“The president, while claiming to separate science from politics, has, in fact, separated science from ethics. He has brought the American government into supporting the direct destruction of innocent human life… President Obama claims that his decision sets aside ideology in order to advance sound scientific research. The opposite is actually the truth. This decision by the president is an imposition of a utilitarian ideology, which allows a group of human beings that some believe, do not share human dignity, to be used and exploited. Human history, of course, is rife with examples of the strong dominating the weak and defenseless.”

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Read the whole address if you like.

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The Recession — A Revealer of True Community

Could it be that one of God’s purposes in this recession is to reveal whether we are living in true community with one another as Christians?

In Acts 4:32-33, the early church is described as having “one heart and one soul” and God’s “grace was upon them all.”  They were truly a gospel-centered community.  But the evidence of their community is shown in the next verse.  Verse 34 says,

There was not a needy person among them …

Wow.  According to this verse, one way to guage whether we’re living in true community is if anyone is needy in our body.  Jesus said that all people will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.  Loving one another includes sharing our money with those who are needy, perhaps those who have just lost their job.  Contrary to Cain’s response in Gen. 4, we are our brother’s keeper.  We all are connected to one another.  So, we of all people ought to hold onto our money and resources with an open hand and give to those who need it more than we do.

John Piper sums up the challenge of this recession with a word to the church:

[In these days ahead] God will test to see if we are a church or a club. 

Read Piper’s sermon, “What is the Recession for?” View article…

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