Pope Warns of Danger of Godless Society


Pope Warns of Danger of Godless Society



Arguably one of the most memorable lines in Pope Benedict XVI’s latest encyclical Caritas in Veritate (charity in truth) is that “a humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism.”

The tendency in today’s society to emancipate itself from God’s laws by denying his existence is a concern Benedict XVI has repeatedly expressed, even before he was elected Pope. He believes such an atheistic worldview is leading societies down a path that increasingly disrespects the dignity of all human life, whether it be in the form of abortion, euthanasia, or the destruction of human embryos in the name of science.

On Aug. 9, he returned again to the theme in front of a large crowd that had gathered to see him at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo near Rome. Referring to the examples of saints and martyrs, he said they showed through their actions the difference between “atheistic humanism and Christian humanism, between holiness and nihilism.”

The Pope drew particular attention to two Catholic saints: Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan priest, and Edith Stein, a Jew who became a Catholic nun. Both of them were martyred at Auschwitz — a camp that, he said, showed in stark terms the hellishness of a place that denies the existence of God. It was “an extreme symbol of evil,” the Pope said, “of the hell that comes to earth when man forgets God and when he is replaced, usurping from him the right to decide what is good and what is evil, to give life and take life.”

But the Pope warned this phenomenon isn’t confined to the Nazi death camp, nor is it a relic of the last century, but is an ever growing menace in today’s world. "On the one hand, there are philosophies and ideologies, but also on an increasing scale, ways of thinking and acting that extol the freedom of man as the only principle, as an alternative to God, and thus transform man into a god, whose system of behaviour is of an arbitrary nature,”

Benedict XVI explained, “On the other hand, we note the saints who, practicing the gospel of love, make reason of their hope, show the true face of God who is love, and at the same time, the true face of man, created in the image and likeness of God.”

Benedict XVI said he believed the examples of these saints “provide a credible and comprehensive answer to the human and spiritual questions which give rise to the deep crisis of the contemporary world: charity in truth.”

Towards the end of Caritas in Veritate, the Pope spelled out these arguments in greater detail, but no less succinctly. “Without God, man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is,” he wrote. “Man cannot bring about his own progress unaided, because by himself he cannot establish an authentic humanism. Only if we are aware of our calling, as individuals and as a community, to be part of God's family as his sons and daughters, will we be able to generate a new vision and muster new energy in the service of a truly integral humanism.”

He added: “The greatest service to development, then, is a Christian humanism that enkindles charity and takes its lead from truth, accepting both as a lasting gift from God. Openness to God makes us open towards our brothers and sisters and towards an understanding of life as a joyful task to be accomplished in a spirit of solidarity.”

However, ideological rejection of God and an atheism of indifference, oblivious to the creator and at risk of becoming equally oblivious to human values, “constitute some of the chief obstacles to development today,” he said.

“A humanism which excludes God is an inhuman humanism. Only a humanism open to the absolute can guide us in the promotion and building of forms of social and civic life — structures, institutions, culture and ethos — without exposing us to the risk of becoming ensnared by the fashions of the moment.”

But the Pope doesn’t believe in imposing this view on others; to do so would contradict the essence of Christian humanism. Rather he takes an approach in keeping with his scholarly background: by appealing to reason. In his book “Without Roots”, published when he was a cardinal in 2004, Benedict wrote of his hope that debating the rationality of the church’s arguments could help “close the gap between secular ethics and religious ethics and found an ethics of reason that goes beyond such distinctions.”

It’s yet to be seen whether Western societies, particularly European ones, have ears to hear these arguments, or if they will increasingly prefer to continue along a destructive path that denies God’s existence.

But one thing’s for sure: Benedict XVI isn’t going to leave this issue anytime soon.

Why We will not Win in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Anywhere we want Western Democracy


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Defining The Emergent Church Movement~Nathan Jones

Defining The Emergent Church Movement

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

One of the signs of the end times is a great proliferation of false doctrines and teachers (Matt. 24:11,24; 2 Pet. 2:1). And, one of the most growing of these false doctrines today is the Emergent Church Movement. But, many people are scratching their heads trying to figure out just what this movement is all about.

Eric BargerAn explanation of just what the Emergent Church Movement is was taken to one of today's foremost defenders of the faith, Eric Barger, the founder and director of Take a Stand! Ministries headquartered in the Dallas area. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become one of today's greatest defenders of Christianity in America.


Eric, just what is the Emergent Church Movement and what do they believe?

The Emerging Movement came out of the young leadership network about 10 years ago, so it is a very, very new thing. But, it is all about the idea that the post-moderns have been left behind, that group of people, and there needs to be a new church now emerge to meet their needs or to reach them. And, I am all for reaching post-moderns, before-moderns, after-moderns.

Post-modern would be people who are in the post-modern generation. That would be people around my age (57) and younger. The Post-modern Age can be defined by its lack of formally accepted standards, a lack of good doctrine, and a lack of knowing what truth really is. Your reality is what you make it, which in reality is a New Age idea that you create your own reality and do your own thing.

The standard of where truth is has changed or where the anchor of what holds us together and where we can figure out what the word "truth" is. That is called "Epistemology," where we find out where our knowledge comes from and where beliefs and truths intersect.

Origins

One of the fellows that came out the Emergent Movement from right in the very beginning said that the conversation about doctrine is what bothered him. They were conversing on whether God really know the future? Does gender come with distinction? Is homosexuality really a sin? Do we have to keep the doctrine of the Trinity? Is there a need for the doctrine of the atonement? They began to check off these things that they were conversing about.

It seems to me like that the whole thing in the Garden of Eden that caused the fall of mankind was a conversation about whether God's truth was God's truth or not. This is the exact same thing again. This is the new liberalism and it is extremely prophetic. Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2 to let no one deceive you by any means for that day shall not come until there come a falling away first. A falling away, or rebellion the Greek word there of course is, apostasia, an apostasy. And this is what we see happening.

An Emergent church in the Emergent Movement starts as the youth group of an evangelical church and they emerge out of it. So, I can see why there is a strong feeling that they are conservative because they come out of it. And then the church realizes, "Hey, wait a minute! They are not following what we are doing. They are cutting all ties. They are not listening to leadership." And, they go and spin off and form their own church.

Redefining "Evangelicalism"

The catcher is that those in this new liberalism hide under the guise of conservatism, calling themselves evangelicals. These people claim to be us, and if this is evangelicalism, I am no longer an evangelical.

The word "evangelical" has lost it's meaning. It has been redefined. It used to mean that a person who was an evangelical was a person who relied on the Word of God for everything they believed and all of their actions and attitudes in life. Today, for "evangelical," it just doesn't.

Reinterpreting the Bible

For three days in February this year at Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, Brian McLaren, a leader of this movement, redefined Christianity. He said the term "the world" in John 3:16 is not talking about spiritually lost people, but is talking about the Earth. They then showed a film by the Sierra Club.

He says Jesus came to save and die for the Earth? He then said the term "Kingdom of God" is not a spiritual term or a religious term, but it is a political term and that it meant God's eco-system or God's global love economy.

What They Believe

The Emergent Movement is just the same old liberalism. It is the old Social Gospel in new clothes.

The are looking for something different then conservatism or atheism. They want a spiritual experience. Rob Bell, another one of the leaders in this movement from Grandville, Michigan, has 10,000 people in his church. And to paraphrase he said, "This is just not Christianity dressed up. We are discovering Christianity as an Eastern Religion." That is where it is going!

To sum up the Emergence Movement, it teaches:

  1. experience over reason
  2. spirituality over doctrine and absolutes
  3. images over words
  4. feelings over truth
  5. earthly justice more important then salvation
  6. social action that trumps eternity

Brian McLaren

That explains to me how the leader Brian McLaren on the back cover of his book Generous Orthodoxy could make the comment that he is a Buddhist, a Confuscist, a Jew, is in everything, and is also a Pentecostal, non-Pentecostal, charismatic and non-charismatic. In reality, he doesn't believe in anything! Now, his books are being published by major and once reliable Christian publishing houses.

While Brian McLaren is considered a leader of the Emergent Movement, he is more the godfather of it. There really is no leader as these people are all self-styling and do their own thing.

I went to a conference that hosted Brian McLaren and I was of course shocked that this was happening. I wanted to go hear from the horse's mouth. And so, a pastor friend of mine and I went together. We both took a lot of notes. In the Friday night meeting, the songs that were sung any Wiccan priest could have sung along with because they were so morbid. They were all about the earth, that it has been tortured and raped. No glory of God, no worship of God in them could be found. Then they showed a film by the Sierra Club. Next, McLaren went through the redefinition of the terms of Christianity. At the end, we were looking up and front and we couldn't quite tell what it was up there in front on these tables that they had. We were a few yards away from it. McLaren said, "Now if you feel lead, come up and take water out of the vat and rebaptize yourself into the new Christianity." And then he said, "While you are there, make sure you put your hands in the dirt to find out what needs to be saved."

Now, again, this is not a voodoo ritual we are talking about. These are people who claim to be evangelicals, who are sold at Christian Bookstores, and are speaking in our seminaries and Bible colleges around the country.

We must take the churches and seminaries back for God. We should be concerned about it. This has become a problem for all denominations.


Suffer the Little Children to Come unto Me

Amazing Grace

TAMIL NADU, India – Anyone who has ever volunteered as a VBS worker can testify that VBS is an exciting, challenging and rewarding experience. But picture this: On VBS opening day 4,635 boys and girls show up, and most of them stay on the premises until the conclusion of VBS five days later. That is exactly what happened in early May on the campus of Gospel Friends, one of Fishhook International's partners in south India.

  • (Photo: Fishhook International)
  • (Photo: Fishhook International)
  • (Photo: Fishhook International)
  • (Photo: Fishhook International)

In what is believed to be the largest VBS held in one location in India, these 4,635 children and youth were fed, cared for and taught from the Word of God on the Gospel Friends Mount Zion campus. Even though the staff and volunteers had been accustomed to handling large numbers of children at their VBS in recent years, this year's turnout amazed them as well, far surpassing last year's record attendance of about 3,200.

Because few of the children would have had transportation to come to the VBS at Mount Zion, the ministry rented vans to pick them up from the surrounding villages and also to take them back home. Sleeping arrangements were not a problem either. In India nearly everyone sleeps on the ground with only a mat or a small blanket. And the warm, dry weather in south India in May is ideal for sleeping outside.

While preparing and serving food for so many children over a five day period was a “Herculean task,” according to Gospel Friends” director Ghuna Kumar, it was well worth the effort. Most of the teenagers who attended, numbering several hundred, committed their lives to the Lord during VBS week. Seeing the tears on their cheeks and the smiles on their faces as they experienced the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ gave way to much joy and celebration.

Formal plans for next year's VBS have not yet begun to take shape, but there is every reason to believe that this move of God will continue to draw children in south India to hear of His love. Fishhook International President Will Turkington says,”We are excited to be a part of this ministry through our Indian partner, Gospel Friends. God is using this VBS to reach precious Indian children with His saving, transforming grace.

Fishhook International is a Lexington, Kentucky based organization which partners with two Indian ministries to serve the poor and offer the love of Jesus Christ in India.

Hearing the Cries of the Poor~Richard Land

Hearing the Cries of the Poor

As Christians, it is our responsibility to care for the downtrodden. Scripture makes clear the joy inherent in doing so. Proverbs 14:21 observes that “whoever shows kindness to the poor will be happy.”

The biblical account of Boaz, a “prominent man,” and Ruth, a young widow attempting to support herself as well as her widowed mother-in-law, is a beautiful example of personal financial sacrifice for the sole purpose of helping someone living in poverty and despair.

Scripture recounts that after Ruth asked the workers harvesting Boaz’s barley crop if she could walk behind them and pick up, or glean, the grain they had dropped, Boaz instructed the men: “Be sure to let her gather [grain] among the bundles, and don’t humiliate her. Pull out [some] stalks from the bundles for her and leave [them] for her to gather. Don’t rebuke her” (Ruth 2:15-16).

Boaz was following the instruction to God’s people from Leviticus 9:9-10: “When you reap the harvest of your land, you are not to reap to the very edge of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You must not strip your vineyard bare or gather its fallen grapes. Leave them for the poor and the foreign resident.” Note that Boaz not only followed the law but also went beyond what it required. And being a man “of noble character,” he made sure that Ruth would be protected while working in his fields and not rebuked or humiliated because of her vulnerable state.

You can make compassion for the poor a part of your Christian lifestyle by practicing modern-day versions of gleaning. You might offer to pick up the day-old bread from local grocery stores and distribute it to food ministries, or you might simply use a bread bank to collect your family’s change for the World Hunger Fund.

Proverbs 21:13 tells us plainly that our prayers will not be heard if we close our ears to the cries of the poor. It seems unlikely, therefore, that the church in America will experience blessing and revival if we fail to demonstrate concern and care for poor and hungry people.

And the bottom line is that meeting physical needs through hunger ministry opens doors for sharing Christ. As believers, that’s what God expects of us.

___________________________________________

Dr. Richard Land is president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention's official entity assigned to address social, moral, and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families and their faith.

WHAT IS YOUR 'REALITY'?~" A bible belt grandmother"

My Photo"I'm a Bible-belt grandmother who likes to read, share, sing, and dance when no one is looking!"

WHAT IS YOUR 'REALITY'?

Today, as I have spent several hours with the Lord ministering to me, I have come to realize a great gap in what I perceive my 'reality' to be and how the Lord sees it.
I recognize, and admit, that as long as I dwell in this house of clay, I am subject to faults and even sin, because of the choices I make based on my perception of 'reality'. Does it sound complicated? It really is quite simple.

We perceive our 'reality' based on how it relates (relative morality) to our core beliefs, standards set individually or by society or by the paradigms by which we govern our lives. In other words, we basically write our own 'reality'. The atheist or unbeliever and even the Church buy into the following: there are no absolutes; if it feels good, do it; if it doesn't hurt anyone, do it; there is no God, do it; there is a God but He is love, do it; everyone is doing it; there are no consequences....etc.

The Truth is there are absolutes that govern our life here on earth, beginning with: there is a God. We want to hide from this absolute, so that we do not have to experience guilt and can continue to satisfy our own lusts, of which there are many. It's just easier to go with the flow, than to follow the Truth, which was placed in all of our hearts at conception

The Truth died and was resurrected two thousand years ago, so that we might have life and that more abundantly. Not for us to squander it upon ourselves, but to let the Truth live through us.

We need to consider the way we interpret our 'reality'. God has placed Eternity in the heart of every man/woman. Whether we accept this or not is irrelevant. What His Word says is relevant and what His Word says is the guideline for being 'real'; how we must define our own 'reality'.

"You draw near to me with your mouth, and honor me with your lips, but your heart is far from me." (Matthew 15:8)

WHAT IS YOUR REALITY?

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