Category: The Church

Chinese officials burn bibles, close churches, force Christian to denounce faith amid ‘escalating’ crackdown

By Lukas Mikelionis | Fox News

In this Tuesday, March 27, 2018, photo, Catholic religious paintings and figures are displayed behind bars at an underground Catholic church in Jiexi county in south China’s Guangdong province. A group that monitors Christianity in China says the government is ratcheting up a crackdown on congregations in Beijing and several Chinese provinces, destroying crosses, burning Bibles and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith.  (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The Chinese government is destroying cross, burning bibles, closing churches and forcing Christian believers to sign papers renouncing their faith as the crackdown on religious congregations in Beijing and several provinces intensifies.

The suppression of religious freedoms comes as an official government campaign to “Sinicize” religion by demanding loyalty to the atheist Communist party and removing any potential challenge to the party’s power in the country.

“The international community should be alarmed and outraged for this blatant violation of freedom of religion and belief,” Bob Fu of China Aid, said.

“The situation for Chinese #Christians becomes more dire by the day. We are working tirelessly to put maximum pressure on China stop the persecution,” Jay Sekulow, President Trump attorney and Chief Counsel at the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), wrote in a tweet.

The persecution of Christians in China is nothing new. A report by the watchdog group Freedom House found that Christians and other religious groups in China have been persecuted since 2012, Fox News reported.

A third of all religious believers in China who belong to a faith group were also found to face “high” to “very high” levels of persecution, which ranges from bureaucratic harassment and economic exploitation to harsh prison terms and even violence, the report said.

But experts and activists say the Chinese government is now waging the most severe suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedoms were granted by the Chinese constitution in 1982.

The escalating anti-Christian campaign coincides with President Xi Jinping recent consolidation of power that made him the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, the notorious communist leader responsible for millions of deaths.

Activists reportedly filmed footage of what appeared to be piles of burning bibles and forms declaring that the signatories had rejected their faith. The authorities allegedly forced the believers to sign the forms or risk being expelled from school or loosing welfare benefits.

A Christian Pastor in the Henan city of Nanyang, whose name was identified out of fear of retaliation by the authorities, reportedly confirmed that crosses, bibles and furniture were burned during a raid on his church on Sept. 5. He added that local authorities were in discussions with the church about reforming it, but no agreement had been reached.

According to Chinese laws, religious believers are allowed to worship only in government-sanctioned congregations. But many millions of Christians belong to underground or house churches that ignore government regulations.

Officials reportedly disputed the allegations raised by Christians, saying authorities respect religious freedom.

The anti-religion campaign affected not only Christian denominations. Around 1 million Uighurs and other members of Muslim minority groups in the country’s northwest have been detained in indoctrination camps where they are forced to denounce Islam and profess loyalty to the Communist Party.

The Chinese government denied setting up the camps for indoctrination, but stressed the importance to tackle extremism.

China has an around 38 million Protestants, and some have predicted that the country will have the world’s largest Christian population in a few decades.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9375

Those Who Left Church Turning to New Age, Pagan Rituals

9:30AM EDT 8/30/2018 YONAT SHIMRON/RNS

Amanda, a 28-year-old Los Angeles resident, used to go to church every Sunday.

She still prays nightly and believes in Jesus, but now she has her own rituals.

“I’ll chant, or I’ll go to Kundalini (yoga) and meditate with a group,” said Amanda, who did not want her last name used because she’s afraid religious groups will target her.

She’s also into crystals.

She keeps a bunch on her nightstand and stows a small bag of them in her purse or backpack during the day.

“The energy they hold is this ancient energy,” she said. “It helps your own energy when you work with them, when you’re near them.”

Amanda wasn’t one of the respondents in a new Pew Research poll. But she fits right in.

The poll shows that beyond a small band of reliably predictable “Sunday Stalwarts,” as the survey calls them, American religiosity is pretty casual, with less than a quarter of Americans attending worship services weekly but nearly all religious groups adhering to some New Age beliefs.

The poll, which grouped 4,729 Americans into seven types, found that though few Americans reject God altogether, most Americans mix traditional faith with beliefs in psychics, reincarnation and spiritual energy that they say can be found in physical objects such as mountains, trees and crystals.

Taken in December, the poll examined beliefs and behaviors that cut across many
 denominations using a method called cluster analysis, which produced seven broad religious typologies. The researchers gave these types pithy names such as “Spiritually Awake” and “Religion Resisters.” Those who believe in no God Pew dubbed the “Solidly Secular.”

Overall, only 23 percent of Americans attend worship services weekly, and only one group — the “Sunday Stalwarts,” who make up about 17 percent of the population — attend in overwhelming numbers. These include mostly Christians but also Jews, Muslims and Hindus who may attend on other holy days.

In addition, the number of Americans who say they read Scripture daily, at only 11 percent, is strikingly low, and those who say religion is the most important source of meaning in their lives make up only 20 percent of the population.

By contrast, New Age beliefs pervade all seven American types identified in the survey.

“New Age beliefs are something we see many group members hold,” said Becka A. Alpert, research associate at Pew, who worked on the poll. But she added, the study cannot explain why.

Fully 41 percent of Americans believe in psychics including 32 percent of “Sunday Stalwarts,” the most traditionally religious group of all.

Forty-two percent of Americans believe spiritual energy can be located in physical objects. Smaller shares believe in reincarnation and astrology.

The group with the most New Age beliefs was what researchers called the “Diversely Devout.” This group, which makes up 11 percent of Americans, consists of Protestants and unaffiliated Americans, the so-called “nones.” Among this group, solid majorities have New Age beliefs.

This is the group that snaps up “smudge sticks” or “sage bundles” — material for ritual or spiritually cleansing burning — and invests in crystals and gemstones touted as possessing energy capable of helping people heal from emotional, physical or spiritual pain.

Crystal enthusiasts say moonstone invokes creativity, citrine boosts energy, and amethyst treats addiction.

Other practices such as yoga, meditation, reiki, ayurvedic medicine — not all New Age — are fast gaining practitioners.

“New Age practices are unstructured,” said Jeffrey Kessler, a Jew who is the president of his Berkeley, Calif. congregation Chochmat Halev but also teaches tai chi, and engages in somatic healing, which combines psychotherapy and various physical therapies to heal trauma. “There’s no authority. People can pick and choose and explore. I think of it as a spiritual freeform way of beginning to connect to something other than oneself.”

Mark Chaves, a sociologist at Duke University who studies American religiosity, said he’d want to look at other surveys to see if the Pew numbers for New Age beliefs are particularly high.

But he added: “It does strike me as interesting that belief in supernatural-ly kinds of things is more prevalent among the conventionally religious.”

The Pew poll also found plenty of traditional religious measures:

* 56 percent believe in the God of the Bible.
* 61 percent believe God will judge people based on what they’ve done.
* 77 percent say God or a higher power has protected them.

But only 33 percent of Americans say it’s necessary to believe in God to be moral and only 31 percent rely on their religious teachings “a lot” to help them make decisions about right and wrong.

Some scholars have argued that society is not necessarily becoming more secular; instead traditional religions are giving way to new forms of spirituality that are supplanting, but not always replacing churchgoing.

That was the thesis of a 2005 book, “The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality.”

That makes sense to psychotherapist Stephanie Anderson-Ladd of Durham, N.C. Ladd works with women who feel alienated by patriarchal religions and helps them connect with the divine feminine through goddess archetypes that can serve as models.

“A lot of people have been turned off by organized religion,” she said. “They’re exploring alternative ways of being a spiritual being on a human path, as much as a human being on a spiritual path. We’re open to many different ways to understand the divine.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9371

From The Heart Of The Bible Belt To The California Coast, Satanism Is Experiencing Explosive Growth In America

September 2, 2018 by Michael Snyder

As attendance declines at Christian churches all over America, many Satanic groups are experiencing tremendous growth.  For some, embracing Satanism is the ultimate form of rebellion, for others it is about making an anti-Trump political statement, and yet others claim that they are attracted by the very real power that they discover in Satanism.  Every week, bizarre rituals are conducted in basements, meeting halls and public facilities all over the country, and most Americans have absolutely no idea what is going on.  Of course most mainstream news articles about Satanists attempt to portray them as ordinary people that have simply been “misunderstood”.  And ultimately that is what the Satanists are trying to do for Satan – they are trying to get all the rest of us to view Satan or Lucifer as a “misunderstood” being that only has humanity’s best interests at heart.  And since the values of Satanism line up more accurately with the values of modern society than Christian values do, Satanists are finding increasing success in bringing in new recruits.

Today, there are Satanic churches just about everywhere.  For example, a Satanic high priest named Adam Daniels started “the Church of Ahriman” in the heart of Oklahoma City

Adam Daniels, 35, is the “dastur” – or high priest – of the Church of Ahriman, which is based in Oklahoma City, USA.

The Church of Ahriman has 15 members and worships Ahriman, another name for the original Persian devil figure Angra Mainyu – the God of Hell.

The church’s followers meet in Daniels’ home, where he has converted a storage room into the ritual chamber in which he performs ceremonies including devil worshipping weddings and Satanic exorcisms.

Daniels says that he was attracted to Satanism after a deadly encounter with an armed thief sent him on a quest for answers

Seeking a way to come to terms with ending another person’s life, he began to see a therapist and turned to a variety of religions – all of whom suggested he should have turned the other cheek.

Daniels said: “I tried to find solace and I was told that I had committed the sin of wrath by the Christians and the Buddhists – even by my mom.”

Instead he found comfort in The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey, whose motto is ‘self preservation is the highest law’.

Daniels is married, and his wife is fully on board, but having a father that is a Satanic high priest has been very rough on their daughter Amber

“When I was six because I was given the Baphomet [an ancient deity, traditionally depicted as a horned goat] necklace in first grade and I wore it to school and was told by a teacher that I wasn’t allowed to wear it so I had to take it off and put it in my backpack.

“In sixth grade my grandma got me to go to my local bookstore and was able to get my full name printed on the Holy Bible – which my parents threw away.”

But before you start feeling tempted to feel sorry for this family, you should keep reading.

The truth is that Daniels is not a pleasant man.  In fact, he openly admits that he purposely commits blasphemy and that his entire goal is to offend God…

He said: “I have ritualistically burned the Holy Bible, the Qu’ran, the Talmed, the Torah, Buddhist Sutra’s, different Hindu Sutra’s you name it, I’ve burned it out of blasphemy.

“I am not responsible for God and no God is responsible for me.

“Through my words and my deeds, I am offending God and that is my whole goal, to make his people miserable, to bring about apostates, to bring about anguish.”

At one time, nuts like Daniels would have been a very rare anomaly, but times have changed.

Today there are Satanic communities that gather from coast to coast, and the following is how the Los Angeles Times described one of these gatherings in the L.A. area…

In November, in the candlelit basement of a house just above the Silver Lake Reservoir, Alexandra James walked over to an altar where her husband, Zachary, waited near a bleached human skull, teeth locked in eternal rictus. From the altar, she lifted a sword and drew points across his chest while a circle of onlookers watched solemnly (well, a few giggled too). An organist played eerie minor key chords and Alexandra turned to face the group.

“On this altar we consecrate swords to direct the fire of our unholy will,” she said. “A human skull, symbol of death. The great mother Lilith created us all, and will destroy us all.”

“Hail Satan! Hail Satan! Hail Satan!” The group chanted back.

So how many people are we actually talking about nationwide?

Well, there is not a single national organization, but all major Satanic groups have claimed large increases in membership since the election of Donald Trump.

In particular, the Satanic Temple reported gaining “thousands” of new members within the first 36 hours of Trump’s victory…

The Satanic Temple attracted “thousands” of new members in just the first 36 hours after the election of Donald Trump, according to co-founder Lucien Greaves. The 4-year-old temple, which had a pre-Trump membership of around 50,000, has never before seen a spike in registration nearly this big.

“It’s crazy,” Greaves said after a speech in front of some adoring fans at CU-Boulder. The emails, registrations, donations and social media posts are pouring in faster than the temple can respond. “People have a desperate need for something to rally to right now.”

Right now, membership in the Satanic Temple is somewhere around 100,000, and it has become a hub for the anti-Trump resistance.

Of course most have joined various Satanic groups for spiritual reasons.  Today there is a tremendous spiritual hunger in America, but Americans are also leaving traditional churches at a staggering pace.  People are looking for authenticity, but they aren’t finding it in the traditional places, and so many are seeking out new options.

Unfortunately, an increasing number of Americans are deciding that Satanism is the answer, and that is a very, very troubling sign.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9361

Alabama pastor asks church to pray for Trump, against witchcraft attacking him

Updated Aug 22, 6:25 PM; Posted Aug 22, 3:35 PM

By Greg Garrison

An Alabama pastor asked his congregation on Sunday to pray against the witchcraft that he said is attacking President Donald Trump, and the sermon is getting a lot of attention on social media.

“It’s time to pray for the president,” said Pastor John A. Kilpatrick, who founded the Church of His Presence in Daphne in 2006.

Kilpatrick quoted 2 Kings 9:22, which attributes witchcraft to Jezebel. “When Elijah faced Jezebel, he was facing witchcraft,” Kilpatrick said.

“What’s happening right now in America, is witchcraft’s trying to take this country over,” he said. “It’s witchcraft that’s trying to take America back over.”

video of the sermon that highlights the mention of witchcraft against Trump has more than 100,000 views on social media. The entire sermon can be viewed on the church’s web site.

Kilpatrick, an Assemblies of God minister, is best known for being pastor of the Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola when it hosted the Brownsville Revival, also known as the “Pensacola Outpouring.” More than four million people attended the Christian revival from 1995-2000. Kilpatrick left Brownsville in 2003 and started his own ministry. The Assemblies of God is a Pentecostal denomination with about 3 million U.S. adherents and 64 million worldwide that believes in the modern-day spiritual gifts of healing, prophecy and speaking in tongues. Church of His Presence is affiliated with the Assemblies of God.

“I am not being political, but I don’t see how President Trump bears up under it,” Kilpatrick said in his sermon. “He is as strong as I’ve ever seen a man be. But here’s what the Holy Spirit said to me last night and what He said for me to tell you. He said, ‘Tell the church that so far, Trump has been dealing with Ahab. But Jezebel’s fixing to step out from the shadows.’ That’s what the Lord said to me.

“He said, ‘Pray for him now, because he said there’s about to be a shift, and the Deep State is about to manifest, and it’s going to be a showdown like you can’t believe.’ So, I’m coming to you as a prophet, as a man of God, and I’m telling you, it’s time to pray for the president.”

The congregation applauded.

“Witchcraft was in full control and witchcraft was what knocked Elijah out of his position, took him out of power,” Kilpatrick said. “Oh my God. I heard the Lord say there’s going to be an attempt to take him out of power. Let’s stand and pray right now.”

He then began speaking in tongues, and added, “We’ve got to pray for this man.”

He spoke in tongues more, and shouted out, “God make him bold, make him strong! Preserve him, Holy Spirit! Keep him, Holy Spirit! Preserve him, Holy Spirit! Don’t let him lose his voice! Make him stronger than ever, Holy Spirit! Let no weapon be formed against him that will knock him out of power. Strengthen him, Lord! It’s time to pray, church. I believe our nation is in the balances.”

Kilpatrick, in an interview with AL.com today, said he voted for Trump in 2016 but said he’s not a Republican. “I’m an Independent,” he said. “There’s so much about the Republican party that’s offensive now. Both parties nauseate me. It’s not a Democrat thing, or a Republican thing. Trump has his faults. I don’t believe he’s a man of God. But he may be God’s man for this time. He’s a strong person. Maybe the Lord has risen him up to keep American from sliding further. He’s a flawed man, just like anybody else. He’s trying to reverse things in America.”

That’s the message he was trying to convey in the biblical analogy for Trump, he said.

“This president has been under pressure, in an Ahab-like situation,” Kilpatrick said. “When you graduate up to the main power broker, that’s Jezebel. I really do feel this way. His greatest attack is yet to come. It’s all a culmination.”

He wasn’t talking about a specific person who is a witch, he said.

“It’s not a witch after him, it’s a spirit of witchcraft trying to muzzle him,” Kilpatrick said.

Kilpatrick said he was not trying to tie in to Trump’s frequent complaint of a “witch hunt” in the special investigation into Russian meddling in the election.

“He calls it a witch hunt,” Kilpatrick said. “I didn’t put those together. It’s just a spirit of witchcraft. I’d say the source of it is evil. It’s manipulative, it’s controlling, it has its own agenda. I think it’s just a strong spirit of manipulation and control that doesn’t want to give it up.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9340

Is the Christian Flag Now the Next Offense for the Left?

The City of Boston is being sued for prohibiting the flag’s display at its public forum.

Aug 9

The City of Boston regularly allows civic and cultural organizations the freedom to raise their flags on the city hall flagpoles—which it has deemed a public forum—to commemorate important events to those organizations.

However, in 2017, when the group Camp Constitution requested that the Christian flag be raised in commemoration of Constitution Day, the city balked. Now Liberty Counsel is suing the city on the organization’s behalf, charging that officials denied Camp Constitution’s permit application based on “secret, unwritten, and unconstitutional” policies that refuse religious flags.

Liberty Counsel and Camp Constitution, which is a Christian civic organization, are seeking a federal court injunction to force the city to allow the raising of the Christian flag above Boston City Hall for the observance of Constitution Day next month. During oral arguments today, Liberty Counsel’s Assistant Vice President of Legal Affairs Roger Gannam argued the city acted unconstitutionally.

He noted the city’s own documents promise “to accommodate all applicants seeking to take advantage of the City of Boston’s public forums.” In its defense, city attorneys argued their officials only approve of these displays when the city approves the “message” of the applicant.

After the hearing, Gannam said:

“The city’s censoring of Camp Constitution’s Christian Flag is the ultimate insult to the First Amendment and Boston’s rich heritage as a focal point of liberty and free speech at America’s founding. The city’s blatant discrimination against Camp Constitution’s Christian viewpoint is now a matter of record that the city can no longer deny. It should be clear to the court after today’s hearing that Boston’s unconstitutional censorship must be undone.”

The City of Boston has previously allowed the LGBT “Pride” flag, as well as the national flags of communist China and Cuba, to be flown on the city hall flagpoles. By its attorneys’ own admission, this would mean the city’s leaders endorse the “message” of those entities.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9314

The Episcopal Church Begins Process Of Reducing God To ‘Gender Neutral’ Status In Their Book Of Common Prayer

At what point does a professing Christian church, even if it’s name only, cross the line from being merely Laodicean over into such red-hot apostasy that you have become utterly meaningless? Well, I think the Episcopal Church has done exactly that. The changes they have already made, compounded with these proposed changes they wish to make, will make their core theology 100% at odds with everything the Bible teaches. For example, the Episcopal Church is performing same-sex marriage, the Bible says same-sex anything is an abomination.

by Geoffrey Grider July 3, 2018

It is the standard cry of Laodiceans everywhere that ‘you can’t put God in a box!’, and ‘you can’t define God’. But I have news for you, yes you can.

The Episcopal Church, or ‘Catholic Lite’ as I call them, are an interesting group of people. They are hyper-focused on things like Climate Change, performing same-sex marriages and creating ceremonies to celebrate when a transgender adopts a new name. But Bible doctrine? They wouldn’t know it if they fell over it. Now they have a new mission – to remove all references to God as a male, and all instances of any masculine pronouns in their Book of Common Prayer.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3,4 (KJV)

FROM CBN NEWS: Now the Episcopal Church is debating about overhauling its Book of Common Prayer, which is used in Episcopal congregations worldwide. The debate centers on making sure that prayers in the book are clear that God is not male, but doesn’t have a gender, The Washington Post reports.  “As long as ‘men’ and ‘God’ are in the same category, our work toward equity will not just be incomplete. I honestly think it won’t matter in some ways,” the Rev. Wil Gafney, a professor of the Hebrew Bible at Brite Divinity School in Texas told the newspaper. Besides adding gender-neutral language concerning God, some advocates also want other revisions including, a Christian’s duty to the Earth’s conservation, adding same-sex marriage ceremonies to the liturgy, (since the church has been performing homosexual weddings for years) and even adding a ceremony to celebrate a transgender person’s adoption of a new name. READ MORE

The Triune God is absolutely revealed as definitely masculine in the Bible:

  • GOD IS MALE: “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” Luke 11:2 (KJV)
  • JESUS IS MALE: “My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” John 10:29,30 (KJV)
  • THE HOLY SPIRIT IS MALE: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” John 16:7,8 (KJV)

When God created Adam, the first male, the Bible says that Adam was in the very image of God Himself. What image is that? A man. When God created Eve, He created her from the male Adam, indeed the very word ‘woman’ means ‘taken out of man’.

“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 2:21-23 (KJV)

Hmm, I guess the Bible should add a TRIGGER WARNING to that passage, eh? Kind of hard to remain a feminist when you realize your entire gender is a subcategory of the male gender. But I digress, back to the Episcopal Church.

At what point does a professing Christian church, even if it’s name only, cross the line from being merely Laodicean over into such red-hot apostasy that you have become utterly meaningless? Well, I think the Episcopal Church has done exactly that.

The changes they have already made, compounded with these proposed changes they wish to make, will make their core theology 100% at odds with everything the Bible teaches. For example, the Episcopal Church is performing same-sex marriage, the Bible says same-sex anything is an abomination. The Episcopal Church wants to make God gender neutral, while the Bible reveals every aspect of God to be male at every turn.

It is the standard cry of Laodiceans everywhere that ‘you can’t put God in a box!’, and ‘you can’t define God’. But I have news for you, yes you can. Put God in a box? Absolutely, and that box is the King James Bible. There you will find everything you will ever know or that can be known about God in this life. Can’t define God? The Bible defines Him to a wonderfully granular level of understanding. But you only come to know ‘nuggets’ like these if you actually read the Bible, and then believe what you read, in the context in which it appears.

We refer to this peculiar trait as being a Bible believer. Something the Episcopal Church knows nothing about. God not a male? Let’s let the Bible answer.

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelation 1:18 (KJV)

I am He, case closed.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9275

Anne Graham Lotz: ‘The Enemy Has Unleashed an Attack on God’s People’

By Samuel Smith , CP Reporter | Jun 26, 2018 12:23 PM

Evangelist and author Anne Graham Lotz, the 70-year-old daughter of legendary evangelist Billy Graham, has said that most people in today’s American culture are essentially living as “practical atheists” and that today’s culture is a sign that “the enemy has unleashed an attack on God’s people.”

Graham, who authored the recently published book The Daniel Key: 20 Choices That Make All the Difference, was recently interviewed by the Christian Broadcasting Network’s Scott Ross to discuss topics ranging from her book, to her late father, and what she makes of the social trends happening in the world today.

Graham was asked to elaborate on a point she makes in her book about how Daniel, who was taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in the Old Testament, would go into a “spiritual warfare” when he prayed.

“When we go into prayer, there is a spiritual battle that ensues. Where the enemy, who is the devil, and all of his, you know, demons, if he can’t keep us from prayer, then he wants to distract us in prayer or he wants to keep our answers from coming,” Lotz explained. “And so it’s just — it’s a battle, but we have the victory in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

As the United States and other societies around the world over the last several decades have embraced ideas of the sexual revolution that have led to more acceptance of behaviors that the Bible considers sinful, Lotz said that she believes there is a spiritual warfare going on across the culture today.

“I believe that the enemy has unleashed an attack on God’s people, on the leaders of God’s people, on the children of God’s people,” Lotz said. “And of course it goes back to our choices. We’ve made choices as a nation that have taken us away from God’s Word, taken us away from the truth, taken us away from faith. And our foundation of faith is crumbling.”

While much attention has been placed on sexual immorality and other related issues, Ross points out that other questionable activities like gambling have become much more accepted, saying, “you’d have been stoned the way I was raised for gambling or even playing cards.” Ross asked: “Are we compromising our value system?”

“I’m not sure we’re compromising or just throwing it away. But what I’m concerned about is not so much our culture or the secular world, I look at the church,” Lotz answered. “And it’s when the church starts to throw away the values and they throw away God’s Word, and they’re not spending time in prayer and they substitute programs for prayers and orthodoxy for obedience.”

Lotz questioned how today’s generation can impact the next if the “light is dimmed” or “hidden under a bushel.”

“I think some of us are [passing on God’s Word]. But I think the culture has become so secularized, and almost practical atheists, where they live and move and have their being as though there’s no God at all,” Lotz said. “And so, I think that’s probably the majority in our culture and the majority in our nation.”

Lotz pointed out, however, that there are still many in today’s culture who are “seeking to live faithfully” and pass the word onto their children and grandchildren. She stressed that God has a “remnant in every generation.”

“I’ve met millennials and Generation Xers and people like that who are totally committed to the Lord,” she said. “In fact, I think some in those generations, they almost pay a higher price because they’re so alone. But they’re strong in faith and seeking to really make a difference.”

Lotz had previously said that her father’s passing in February served as a “wake-up call” to the Church and a “shot across the bow.” She reiterated that in her interview with CBN, saying that her father’s death was “Jesus is saying, ‘I’m coming. It is time to get right with me.'”

Lotz couldn’t provide a definitive answer when asked if her father was disappointed in the social changes of the past several decades being that he preached the Word of God to millions of people all across the globe since the 1940s.

“I don’t want to put words in his mouth, you know. But I think you would wish that it had made a greater difference corporately. It’s made a tremendous difference in individual lives. I mean, I meet them all over the world. Their lives were radically changed when they went forward at daddy’s meeting or watched him on television,” she responded. “And they’re now in ministry, they’re now missionaries, pastors, leaders or just parents leading their children. I mean, I’ve seen that. But the impact on our nation, you know, something’s missing, isn’t it?”

“And so it may go back to where you’re talking about passing the baton where somewhere Christian parents have not passed on the truth that leads to faith to their children,” she continued. “Maybe we left it up to the churches or to the professionals and we didn’t do it ourselves. But something is disconnected because instead of the nation getting better, we’ve gotten worse. We’ve gotten farther away from God’s Word.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9271

God Loves You’: Actor Chris Pratt Delivers Faith-Filled Speech At MTV Movie Awards

Actor Christ Pratt accepted the MTV Movie & TV Awards’ Generation Award Monday night and then proceeded to list “nine rules” to live by – four of which mentioned his Christian faith. He even referenced Christ’s atonement.

“God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that — I do,” he said to applause.

The actor known for his roles in Parks and Recreation, Jurassic World, and the Guardians of the Galaxy series has a Christian background. He “gave his soul to Jesus” and worked for Jews for Jesus at age 19, he told Esquire in 2014. He discusses his faith frequently.

His MTV acceptance speech rotated between serious topic and off-color humor – a trait of his.

“This being the generation award, I’m going to cut to the chase and I’m going to speak to you, the next generation,” he said, looking at the camera and to a laughing audience.

He then gave his “nine rules from Christ Pratt.”

The rules referenced the soul, prayer, God, and the cross.

“Nobody is perfect,” he said. “People are going to tell you [that] you’re perfect just the way that you are. You’re not. You’re imperfect. You always will be, but there is a powerful force that designed you that way, and if you’re willing to accept that, you will have grace. And grace is a gift. And like the freedom that we enjoy in this country, that grace was paid for with somebody else’s blood. Do not forget it. Don’t take it for granted.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9251

Animal Souls 100,000-200,000 Years Old; Human Souls Around 6,000

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz June 13, 2018 , 2:50 pm

Hashem blessed them and Hashem said to them, “Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on earth.” Genesis 1:28 (The Israel Bible™)

A new gene study presents serious difficulties for the scientific theory of evolution, while bringing science one giant step closer to the Biblical story of creation.

Dr. Gerald Schroeder, an Orthodox Jewish physicist with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), was unperturbed, noting many ways in which new discoveries such as this show how science and religious belief can be complementary.

Mark Stoeckle from The Rockefeller University in New York and David Thaler at the University of Basel in Switzerland analyzed mitochondrial DNA collected from 100,000 animal species stored in the US government-run GenBank database. Their findings were recently published in the journal Human Evolution.

In analyzing the DNA barcodes, the researchers found an indicator that showed nine out of ten of all the species of animals alive today emerged about 100,000-200,000 years ago, approximately the same time that Homo sapiens appeared.

The researchers did not provide an explanation as to what led to this sudden explosion of life, but Dr. Schroeder, did suggest a theory for this phenomenon.

“We have seen that when men show up in an ecosystem, they tend to kill off the large animals,” he told Breaking Israel News. “The presence of the first Homo sapiens 100,000 years ago may have caused a man-made bottleneck and caused a significant change in the animal population. Humans have a disproportionately significant role in these natural processes, which may be what was meant in Genesis.”

Hashem blessed them and Hashem said to them, “Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on earth.” Genesis 1:28

When discussing the timeline, Dr. Schroeder explained that the 100,000 year timeline did not contradict the Hebrew calendar which sets man’s creation at 5,778 years ago.

“The Biblical calendar of 6,000 years does not relate to the beginning of species,” Schroeder argued. “All animals have a nefesh (animal soul) but only Man has a neshama (human soul). Homo sapiens as a species did appear about 100,000 years ago but they wouldn’t be recognized as a person in the same way that we are. They had a nefesh but didn’t have a neshama. In scientific terms, people, as Homo sapiens, go back 100,000 years. But the Bible’s definition of a person is different. It includes a neshama. Science will not see the break, the change that occurred in man 6,000 years ago when we received a soul.”

“The neshama is what gives us the ability to be compassionate for someone outside your immediate clan,” Dr. Schroeder said. “Animals have a nefesh and can be compassionate to their own clan but they see anyone outside their clan as a threat. The ability to see the ‘other’ as something other than a threat, to have compassion and empathy, is what defines the neshama.”

Remarkably, man’s receiving a neshama did have an effect that even science recognized. Dr Schroeder related a visit he paid to the British Museum in London several years ago. An entire wing of the museum was dedicated to a change that occurred in mankind that museum curators believed to be the landmark that defined human society; the beginning of cities. A large brass plaque on the museum wall proudly proclaimed that this change occurred spontaneously around the world 5,500 years ago. Dr. Schroeder explained that the reason for science has yet to fully understand this sudden universal change, but can be understood in Biblical terms as the moment when man was instilled with a neshama.

“The beginning of farming 10,000 years ago led to a population explosion but without a neshama, men would not be able to live together with other people not from their clan,” Dr Schroeder explained. “One hundred thousand years ago Homo sapiens appeared, but they only had a nefesh. That is what science sees. 5,778 years ago, men were instilled with a neshama and had enough compassion, enough of a sense of the ‘other,’ to organize themselves into large societies.”

In addition to the new timeline of 100,00 years, the results of the new study are problematic for classical evolutionary theory which is based on long sequences of random mutations followed by natural selection. The gene study found a lack of variation in so-called “neutral” mutations, which are the slight changes in DNA across generations that neither help nor hurt an individual’s chances of survival. This would result in species with large, dispersed populations becoming more genetically diverse over time. The study showed that this was not the case, bringing into question evolution as it has been taught for almost 100 years.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9241

The Shroud’s Oscillating Man

By Rod DreherJune 7, 2018, 1:12 PM

Here’s something completely different for the hive mind to consider. It just came to my attention this morning, and I’m trying to get a read on it.

A friend passed on this 50-minute documentary about “new findings” on the Shroud of Turin. The documentary is from 2008, it appears; I haven’t been able to find any follow-up on these supposed new findings, so I don’t know if they’ve been disproved or validated.

In short, the documentary, based on the work of scientists in Sicily, claims to have made new discoveries about the Shroud based on “photogrammetry” — the science of making distance measurements of surfaces depicted on photographs. Using this technique, and high-resolution imagery, the scientists say they’ve found a number of objects on the body of the man in the Shroud — including, remarkably, tefillin, small leather boxes containing Scripture passages that observant Orthodox Jews wear strapped to their left arm and to their heads while praying.

Even more interesting, the scientists claim that their study has shown that the image on the Shroud is not static, but actually depicts a slight oscillation. It is, they say, like stroboscopic photograph, showing slight movement of the figure as intense bursts of energy emanate from his body. Here’s an example of a modern professionally taken stroboscopic photograph:

The movement within the Shroud image, it is claimed, is much more restricted, but still visible. If the image is in fact a glimpse of the moment of Christ’s Resurrection, then it is more like a kind of video of the first seconds of the Resurrection, depicting an oscillating movement of Christ.

See the image at the very top of this post? It depicts the right hand of the Shroud Man. But this imaging technique also shows the same hand in a semi-clenched fist. If the scientists’ theory is correct, and if the image really is Jesus of Nazareth at the moment of Resurrection, then the first thing Jesus did with his hand after returning to life was to make the hand configuration very similar to that Orthodox priests use when they bless — a hand position of great antiquity, derived in part from Greco-Roman hand gestures signifying particular meaning. Here is a detail of the famous 6th century icon of Christ Pantocrator at the Monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai:

The documentary does not point this out, perhaps because the scientists are Roman Catholic, and didn’t recognize the significance. It is also possible that the Shroud Man’s hand moved to that position as a sheer coincidence. But it is exciting to consider the possibility that the Shroud Man, if he is the Resurrected Christ, made, as his immediate first act after life returned to his body, a gesture of holy blessing.

Now, my skepticism of this documentary is twofold. One, in my (admittedly limited) search, I haven’t been able to find anything reproducing these results, or even analyzing them independently. Maybe you readers can point me to something. Second, in watching the video, I cannot see in most cases the images that the scientists claim is visible. It is certainly possible that the documentary can’t recreate the same detail visible with instruments. It is also likely that an untrained eye can’t see what trained eyes can see. But part of me wonders to what extent people are seeing what they want to see.

Cards on the table: I do believe that the Shroud of Turin was the burial cloth of Jesus Christ. Having said that, I don’t want to be quick to accept the findings of these scientists. So, I’m appealing to the wide readership of this blog for guidance.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9230