founder of City Harvest Church, was arrested for allegedly using millions of
dollars of church funds to help his pop star wife, Ho Yeow Sun, advance her
Singapore police plan to charge the founder of one of Singapore’s largest evangelical churches with conspiracy to commit criminal breach of trust on Wednesday.
The 8th of June, Bauke Stelma from
the Netherlands graduated from Thomas Edison State College (TESC), New
Jersey, at the age of 16 and received the Arnold Fletcher Award for his
accomplishments. He received his diploma today. The advanced American system
of distance education allowed him to reach this goal.
"I worked hard to accomplish this goal," says he. "Graduating before my seventeenth birthday was not what I set out to do. However, the further I proceeded in my college career, the clearer it became that it might be a feasible goal and I decided to rise to the challenge and to pull out all the stops."
congregation in Azerbaijan is waiting pensively to see if a judge will uphold a
court order that banned its right to meet and “liquidated” the church.
“They are upset, but at the same time they continue coming out hoping for the best,” said Mechti Suleymanov, an elder at Greater Grace Church in Baku, Azerbaijan, which has been meeting for roughly 20 years.
truck drivers rack up almost 400 billion miles transporting goods across the
Now, truckers are putting those miles to good use by participating in an initiative to stop human trafficking.
Although the U.S. Military fight and die to uphold freedom, high-level military chaplains report they are increasingly being denied freedom of conscience and freedom of speech. There is also alarm about the negative effects on troop morale over the undoing of the 237-years’ practice of providing traditional religious support for U.S. soldiers.
Catholic Advocate, a leading lay Catholic grassroots organization in Washington, D.C., is answering our Catholic Bishops' call for a "a time of prayer, education, and action in support of religious liberty" during a "Fortnight for Freedom" today with the launch of the "Virtual Vigil for Religious Liberty."
evangelism is back in en vogue—and that's good news for millions of people who
may not otherwise understand the gospel.
According to the International Orality Network, 70 percent of the world’s population learns orally. That’s 4.35 billion people who can’t or won’t rely on written instruction for learning.
What's more, there are still 2,700 language groups that don’t have their own version of written Scripture.
Well-versed in living a "fishbowl" experience, Pam Tebow, mother of NFL quarterback Tim Tebow and a former missionary to the Philippines, joined Jeannie Elliff, wife of the International Mission Board's president, for the Pastors' Wives Conference June 18 prior to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in New Orleans.
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So here is the beginning of a huge topic. First.....
So, Ben hit a few points that were important.
1. Romans 1:26-27
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
Paul was pretty clear here in Romans. This chapter was really about certain people who were involved in idolatrous practices. Keep in mind, this passage is about homosexuality, but the context is part of Paul's discourse on people who the wrath of God is coming upon. "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth." So Paul is talking people who are clearly going to have issues already. Within that group of people there are those who deny God as creator and practice idolatry. That same group practice homosexuality. That is not all that uncommon. In the first century the Greeks and the Romans both practiced male homosexuality with very little issues. In fact, for some it was a sign of power and authority. Event Plato makes mention of it is his famous dialogue, "The republic."
It is important to understand that Paul's mention of women having sex with other women is a big deal. Male to male sex was the norm for homosexual behavior. The mention of female homosexual behavior blows the lid off this passage because it can no longer just be a prohibition of pedestry or male prostitution.
Most importantly, Paul describes their actions as "trading natural sexual functions." In other words, the natural sexual function of a male or female is to be with the opposite sex.....kinda like putting the square peg in the square hole in preschool. It is the only thing that physically makes sense. It is also the only way two can reproduce naturally.
2. 1 Corinthians 6:9 (Also see 1 Tim 1:9-10)
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals
The translation of effeminate (μαλακοὶ, malakio) is hard to translate, but most scholars agree that it refers to passive homosexuality. In that culture that would be someone younger or of lesser social status who allows another male (usually higher status) penetrate him. It could also refer to someone who (as the translation suggests) acts feminine or even the clothes of a male prostitute (as mentioned by Jesus in Luke 7:25 and Matthew 11:8. However, either translation suggests male homosexuality in a passive sense.
The word for homosexuals (ἀρσενοκοῖται, arsevokoitai) literally means "male bed." It is typically translated from the active sense, as opposed to passive (μαλακοὶ, malakio). Some have tried to make the case that this work only refers to pedestry, which is sexual union with young boys, but that argument has very little to work with. It's purest translation suggests male to male sexual behavior.
3. The Bible does not mention homosexuality as a tendency, identity, or orientation.
Those are things that require much deeper discussion. But the Bible DOES mention homosexual behavior. That is separate from the other 3 things just listed.
4. Jesus affirms Genesis 1, when questioned about divorce and human relationships in Matthew 19:4. He even adds that God puts man and woman together an no one should separate them. It may be true that Jesus did not mention homosexuality but that is only because it wasn't as big a deal for him. He was more with the Jews than anyone else and they for sure treated homosexual behavior as an abomination. Secondly, just because Jesus did not mention it, that does not make it OK. He does not mention cussing and fowl language...but Paul does in Ephesians 4:31 and Colossians 3:8-9.
So what does this mean for the church? I think it means a few things. First, if you want to be a Christian you have to turn from sin. I do not mean that we will never sin, but we have to admit our faults and pray for God's help resisting temptations. Secondly, homosexuals can be Christians, but just like every other human being alive, they have to renounce their own sin and pray for God's love and help. I realize many feel they were born gay, and that could or could not be true; but that does not make it right. Having a born tendency for any sin does not make it right. Not alcoholism, pedophilia, abusive behavior, or anything else. I understand this is a lot easier to say than to do, but we all have burdens to bear in this world. We were all given a certain deck of cards to play. How we play them matters a lot. If we get a bad hand that doesn't mean we should fold.
I would like to point out, though, that homosexual sin is no worse than any other sin. Yes it is more obvious than other sins, and the consequences in this physical life are different than other sins, but a sin is still a sin. Those who are without sin can cast the first stone. We need to love and accept people who struggle with homosexual tendencies just like we do any other person. That does not mean we are affirming their sexual practices. It affirms that they too are a child of the almighty God and they are MORE than the sum of their parts and they are not defined by their flaws.
If you are gay/lesbian and you are reading this....Jesus loves you, I love you, and someday the church will love you too.
Here are some resources for those interested.....