Former Benedictine Monk Reflects Upon Rod Dreher’s “The Benedict Option”

Posted at Heart and Mouth:

[The following is a guest post by David Bancz, a Welshman and former Benedictine monk. The post, while quite self-explanatory, is primarily a reflection on Rod Dreher’s book The Benedict Option, but is also a beautiful contrast to the series of posts by Paul Liberati earlier this year, “Reformed Seminarian Converts to Roman Catholicism”. Lord willing, Paul will have his own forthcoming reflections on this wonderful example of God’s grace on behalf of His Children.]

What should repentance look like? In particular, what should repentance from a system of false belief look like? I ask because for roughly 20 years I was not only an enthusiastic Roman Catholic, but one who was convinced that he had a vocation in the Church. In 2006 I joined a Benedictine monastery in the UK and progressed through the various levels of formation and vows. Purely by the gracious action of God, I was liberated from the cloister in 2014 and was consequently freed from the Roman sacrame…

A platform for porn and a dialogue with the devil

By Jordan Standridge - Posted at The Cripplegate:

A few years ago my wife and I were invited to what was being called “The Great Porn Debate.” A Christian man who was anti-porn was going around the country with a famous porn actor and they were debating the question: Is porn harmful or helpful? They were debating this on college campuses, but the meeting we were invited to was in a church—a large church in San Diego where thousands of Christians would be exposed to a man who was going to try to convince the crowd that porn can be good for you and your marriage.

Needless to say, we declined — a decision for which I was subject to ridicule. I was called a Pharisee, and also I was mocked for being “afraid” to hear inappropriate language.

It did make me wonder, though: Should Christians allow debates like these to occur in our churches? Should we expose our congregations to worldly thinking and allow people to come in and attempt to convince our loved ones that the Bible is wrong, or that…

High court backs church in public benefits case

By Tom Strode - Posted at Baptist Press:

WASHINGTON (BP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court struck a blow Monday (June 26) for the freedom of churches to participate in government programs with secular purposes.

Seven of the high court's nine justices agreed the state of Missouri violated a church's right to exercise its faith freely by barring it from participating in a government-run, playground-resurfacing program. In its opinion, the court said excluding Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia "from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious" to the U.S. Constitution

Religious freedom advocates applauded the ruling.
Read more here.

Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life: Public Worship

By Rev. Ryan Barnhill - Posted at Reformed Free Publishing Association:

"My purpose is not to elaborate on the principles and elements of worship; many fine articles, pamphlets, and sermons can be consulted for that. Rather, I will make only a few brief points that touch on worship as a spiritual discipline."
The final spiritual discipline of the Christian life we consider together is public, corporate worship. By public worship is meant the gathering of believers and their seed in church, on Sunday (or during the week for a special service), to meet with God and give him the honor due to his name. This worship is the meeting of God with his people in covenant fellowship, the purpose of which is to give glory to God for who he is and what he has done in Jesus Christ.

Sadly, the public worship of God in the church world has become largely optional. Attendance at worship services has dropped off. The elderly who come to church scan the auditorium with grief as they note the absen…

Matthew Thornton: His Epitaph was “An Honest Man”

Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History:

He was the fifty-fifth delegate to sign the Declaration of Independence, even though he signed the historic document three months after July 4, 1776. He was a Presbyterian, and a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church of Londonderry, New Hampshire. He was in local, state, and Federal governments, serving his fellow citizens. But beyond all these kudos, it was said that he was “consistent and zealous Christian.” He was Matthew Thornton.

Born in Ireland of Scottish ancestry, from the northern Ireland Protestant section of that country, Matthew Thornton was brought to this country by his parents at the age of three. Settling in what later on became Maine, God’s providence preserved them from hostile Indian attacks. Once, his parents and Matthew had to flee a burning cabin to save their lives. They all moved to Worcester, Massachusetts. Later they moved to Londonderry, New Hampshire in 1740, where Matthew would live for the next fou…

Ecumenical vs. Evangelical

By Mike Riccardi - Posted at The Cripplegate:

One of the most devastating attacks on the life and health of the church throughout all of church history has been what is known as the ecumenical movement—the downplaying of doctrine in order to foster partnership in ministry between (a) genuine Christians and (b) people who were willing to call themselves Christians but who rejected fundamental Christian doctrines.

In the latter half of the 19th century, theological liberalism fundamentally redefined what it meant to be a Christian. It had nothing to do, they said, with believing in doctrine. It didn’t matter if you believed in an inerrant Bible; the scholarship of the day had debunked that! It didn’t matter if you believed in the virgin birth and the deity of Christ; modern science disproved that! It didn’t matter if you embraced penal substitutionary atonement; blood sacrifice and a wrathful God are just primitive and obscene, and besides, man is not fundamentally sinful but basically …

The Rebel’s High Priest

Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History:

On this day of June 23, 1780, an American Revolutionary Battle took place in Springfield, New Jersey. Ordinarily we might think that this has no place in a historical devotional, but it does, because of the presence of the Rev. James Caldwell, pastor of the Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church.

Rev Caldwell was known as “the Rebel’s High Priest.” His congregation in present day Elizabeth, New Jersey, had provided forty line officers to the American Continental army. And Caldwell himself was the chaplain of Col. Elias Dayton’s Regiment in George Washington’s army.

Read more here.

Political Violence and Political Rhetoric in a Divided Nation

By Shane Vander Hart - Posted at Caffeinated Thoughts:

Published 6.15.2017

When James Hodgkinson attacked the Republican practice for today’s Congressional Baseball Game wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and three others, it was evident his attack was politically motivated.

Hodgkinson volunteered for the Bernie Sanders campaign, and he also was a supporter fo the Southern Poverty Law Center and before firing on the Republican team made up of members of Congress he asked if the group was Republican or Democrat.

Some on the right want to pin the blame on SPLC and Sanders.

They are no more responsible for yesterday’s attack than pro-life groups are when abortionists are targeted, or Sarah Palin was when former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot (some on the left blamed her because of Sarah PAC’s map of targeted congressional races with cross hairs).
Read more here.

Rev. Hezekiah James Balch: Unwavering Devotion to Christ and Country

By David T. Myers - Posted at This Day in Presbyterian History:

Here and there in these posts, you have read about Presbyterian clergy who were instrumental in preparing and molding the popular minds of Americans for the great struggle of the American Revolution. From both pulpit and battle field worship service, these Presbyterian chaplains challenged the troops to fight for their freedom and win the day. The British were certainly aware of the tremendous influences of these clergy toward that end and viewed it with alarm that it was thrown into the side of the rebellion. Among the many pastors of all denominations who joined the ranks were Presbyterians such as the Reverend Hezekiah James Balch, who is our character study today.

Born in 1741 in Deer Creek, Hartford County, Maryland to Col. James Balch and Anne Goodwin, there is little known about his early years. The whole family moved south to Mecklenburg, North Carolina when he was young. At some time in his teens, due to a recomm…

Does The Gospel Coalition Believe in the Heinousness of Homosexuality?

By Shawn Mathis - Posted at Pastor Mathis:

Published 6.14.2017

(This is part of a multi-part series investigating the subtle changes in conservative views on homosexuality. Part one here)

The promotion of Sam Allberry by The Gospel Coalition (TGC) is disconcerting.

It is disconcerting because of what Allbery teaches. And an investigation into those public teachings in turn brings up an important question about TGC’s promotion of this man: does The Gospel Coalition believe in the heinousness of homosexuality?

Allberry’s book, Is God Anti-Gay, was published in 2013. The book was warmly reviewed at TGC’s website and promoted far and wide with glowing endorsements from other respectable Reformed leaders. Allberry is an editor at TCG. Meanwhile, Allberry’s speaking engagements spread and his 2017 video clip came across my facebook feed:

“I am same-sex attracted and have been my entire life. By that I mean that I have sexual, romantic and deep emotional attractions to people of the same sex. …