Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
It’s hard to believe that 2010 is almost over. It has been an incredibly exciting and very full year of ministry. The Lord has allowed me to minister to many wonderful people, as well as carry the ministry of The Alliance for Biblical Integrity forward in significant ways. I had the opportunity to teach more hours and in more venues than in any of my previous 23 years of full-time ministry.
We sincerely appreciate the many who have prayed for us, those who have sent notes of encouragement via email and Facebook, and those who have given sacrificially to make all of this possible.
I hope you will take a moment to look back over the year with me and rejoice in all that the Lord has allowed us to be a part of as partners in the ABI ministry.
THE ALLIANCE FOR BIBLICAL INTEGRITY ON THE WEB
In addition to taking ABI to new levels through the teaching aspect of the ministry, the content and influence of the ABI website has grown steadily throughout the year. Even though we launched the website less than 18 months ago, we have had over 125,000 visits and over 250,000 page-views since January, averaging over 20,000 page-views per month.
September was our busiest month with the ABI blog concerning Glenn Beck and the Black-Robed Regiment drawing over 20,000 page-views on the site in just two weeks. Interestingly, we were even getting visitors who were coming directly from the Glenn Beck website.
We have also had steady growth in the ABI Facebook Group with an average of about 40 new members each month for the year. The Facebook group now stands at over 800 members.
The website is now undergoing its second major makeover with a rework of the entire foundation. This will provide the kind of framework we need to develop the site for years to come. Building on this new foundation, we will be developing additional features and functionality that will greatly enhance the depth of our resources, as well as the overall user experience.
WABASH VALLEY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY / GRACE COLLEGE
January thru July (135 class-hours)
In January, I joined the faculty of Grace College as an adjunct professor of Bible in their external degree program at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility – a maximum security state prison. During the spring semester, I taught two 3-credit courses (Old Testament Survey and Systematic Theology) with approximately 20 men in each course. I also taught another 3-credit course (“Global Perspectives”) during the summer session. Beginning in January I will be teaching a course on “Spiritual Formation.”
Although I had never envisioned the ministry of ABI extending into prisons it has been a good fit and inline with the purposes and goals of ABI. These have been unique opportunities to teach the Word of God and equip these men to minister in one of the most difficult environments imaginable. Some of these men hope to be in the ministry in the future, but many will never be released.
COMMUNITY BIBLE CHURCH, PARIS, ILLINOIS
February to the present (approximately 60 hours)
We are thankful that the Lord led us to this wonderful church shortly after moving to the Terre Haute area.
In the spring, I taught the adult Sunday school class for 8 weeks on the living in the will of God, followed by the teen class for 12 weeks during the summer on the same topic, and then the adults again each week I’ve been in town this Fall on signs, wonders and the Charismatic movement.
In February, I began teaching theology in the church’s Bible institute for 3 hours per week for about 8 weeks. Two weeks ago, I started teaching a 16-week course on Old Testament Survey, again for 3 hours each week.
I have also been teaching the Wednesday evening Bible study each week that I’ve been in town since September. (And I’m presently scheduled to do this for the next two years.)
In addition to these ministries, I occasionally preach on Sunday morning when I’m in town and the pastor is not.
And finally, in October, I was elected to the deacon board (the functional equivalent of an elder board in many churches).
WORD OF LIFE UKRAINE
April (16 class-hours)
The Ukraine Bible Institute is the Word of Life school for the Slavic countries, with the courses being taught in Russian. I taught “Critique of the Charismatic Movement” to the approximately 80 students over four days. I am scheduled to teach there at the same time in 2011.
WORD OF LIFE HUNGARY
May (32 class-hours)
As most of our ABI partners know, we were in Hungary with Word of Life for 16 years where we were involved in establishing the Bible institute. After my week in Ukraine, Karen joined me for two weeks in Hungary where I taught the course on the Charismatic Movement as well as “Understanding Roman Catholicism.” I am scheduled to teach in Hungary for two weeks again in 2011.
Our son was also married while we were there and I had the privilege of performing the wedding ceremony. And we are thrilled about the prospect of being grandparents as they are expecting their first child in March.
IFCA CONFERENCE, SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS
At the invitation of our pastor, I had the opportunity to represent ABI at the four-day annual IFCA conference. Although this wasn’t a teaching ministry, many people visited our display and signed up for the ABI Update. I made a good number of contacts as I got to know some of the 800 pastors in the IFCA. (A couple of weeks ago, I was accepted as a member of IFCA.)
BIBLE CHURCH OF COLUMBUS, INDIANA
August (2 weekends)
In August, I spent two weekends ministering in our sending church in both the morning and evening services. In the evening services, I taught a two-part series on the Emerging Church.
PROPHECY TODAY CONFERENCE, GATLINBURG, TN
September (10 class-hours)
In September, I had the privilege of teaching alongside internationally-known prophecy teacher (and ABI co-founder) Jimmy DeYoung in a week-long prophecy conference with approximately 35 in attendance. Jimmy taught “Jerusalem in Prophecy,” while I taught “Eschatological Options.” Several of the attendees were there as part of their coursework in the School of Prophets (explained below).
SCHOOL OF PROPHETS
August to the present
A couple of years ago, growing out of a desire to formally train a new generation of preachers and teachers who specialize in biblical prophecy, Jimmy DeYoung established the School of Prophets in conjunction with Louisiana Baptist University. The school offers both master’s and doctoral-level degrees in Advanced Prophetic Studies which are granted by LBU. A certificate in prophetic studies is also available to those who complete a 6-course program.
In August, I began working part-time for the school to help Dr. DeYoung continue to develop the overall program, as well as individual courses. This includes designing and implementing a new website, overseeing the admissions process and getting it fully online, promoting the school and developing specific course assignments.
Working together with Dr. DeYoung in this way was part of our original vision for the ministry of ABI - so this is an exciting development.
(At this point, I also plan on studying for my doctorate under Dr. DeYoung and will begin on the coursework in the near future.)
WORD OF LIFE KOREA
October (20 class-hours)
This is the first year of the Bible institute on Jeju island (off the southern coast of Korea). During the two weeks in Korea I taught the Gospel of Matthew, preached in Jeju City and on the mainland south of Seoul, spoke in three student chapels and to the men during one of their evening dorm.
WORD OF LIFE PHILIPPINES
November (16 class-hours)
I taught “Current Theological Issues” to 28 second and third year Bible institute students. We discussed such topics as Neo-Reformed / Neo-Covenant Theology, the Emerging Church, the Charismatic Movement and Evangelicals and Catholics Together.
ABI co-founder Paul Barreca and I also taught three sessions each in a one-day hermeneutics conference for pastors, as well as the WOL staff and students.
I may be returning in January 2011 to teach in the BI and speak in either a prophecy conference or another conference on hermeneutics.
WORD OF LIFE CANADA
November (20 class-hours)
Just a week after returning home from Asia, I left for for the Word of Life Bible Institute in Owen Sound, Ontario. During my two weeks there, I taught the Pastoral Epistles in 20 hours, and spoke in the morning service of a local church on Sunday. Last week I received an invitation to teach these books again in November 2011.
PRAISES FOR 2010 AND PRAYER REQUESTS FOR 2011
* Praise the Lord for the opportunity to teach the next generation of leaders from a total of over 20 different countries.
* Praise the Lord for the growing reputation and influence of The Alliance for Biblical Integrity on the web.
* Praise the Lord for safety over thousands of miles of travel.
* Praise the Lord for our new daughter-in-law, Lili (as of May).
* Praise the Lord for meeting our financial needs throughout the year and for our home church in Illinois which began supporting us a few months ago.
* Chris, Lili (our daughter-in-law) and Becky are here for 3 weeks during the Christmas holidays.
* Pray for our son and daughter-in-law as they are expecting their first child and our first grandchild in March.
* Pray for Becky as she continues her studies at the Word of Life Hungary Bible Institute.
* Pray that Karen will be able to move from part-time to full-time in her job, which is particularly important because until then I am not covered by health insurance (as my COBRA extension of our Word of Life insurance end on November 30.) (I am currently part of a healthcare sharing program which is not insurance and does not cover my pre-existing condition.)
* Pray for the Lord to raise up additional ABI ministry partners as we are still several thousand dollars per month short of meeting our present personal and ministry needs.
We wish each of you the most wonderful Christmas season as we celebrate the gift of God’s Son as the Savior of the world. I trust that the new year will be filled with the Lord’s grace in your life as we eagerly await His return.
Thank you, again, for being an important part of our lives!
In His Care,
The Alliance for Biblical Integrity
Below are the results from the survey concerning ABI readers’ views on homosexuality and the Bible. (The survey was launched on April 20.)
The link to the survey was sent to the 550+ ABI Facebook Group members, 850+ Facebook friends, as well as the 470 recipients of the ABI Update emailings (although there is obviously overlap between the three groups). There have been 104 respondents so far.
Concerning the Results
The statements were presented in pairs, generally representing the two opposing views as they are often expressed concerning this subject. However, this was not to suggest that these are the only possible views. nor that one of each pair would or should have necessarily exactly represented the views held by each respondent.
Therefore, as can be seen from the results, not everyone selected one from each pair. I think this probably indicates that some are still not completely decided in certain areas. And I’m sure that some were not comfortable with selecting one because neither reflected their particular view closely enough, which is understandable given the complexity of the issue (which I will discuss in another blog in the near future).
It is also worth noting that the results of this survey indicate that the majority of ABI readers, as a group, hold a far more conservative position on this issue than any other demographic I have seen – including evangelicals as a whole.
The numbers in parentheses are the total number (and %) of respondents (out of 104) who selected each statement.
(103, 99.04%) The Bible teaches that homosexual behavior (in all its forms) is always sinful without exception.
(0, 0.00%) The biblical statements concerning homosexuality reflect ancient cultural norms and values that need not be applied directly in a modern society.
(100, 96.15%) Those who consider themselves homosexual or who have homosexual urges should be encouraged to find deliverance in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
(2, 1.92%) Sexuality is a strictly personal matter and we should not concern ourselves with the sexual behavior of others.
(5, 4.81%) Christ’s teaching and example mandates that we should recognize that God has created us with all manner of physical and psychological differences including sexual orientation.
(84, 80.77%) That the Bible refers to homosexuality as sinful indicates that it is a learned behavior and a matter of choice.
(103, 99.04%) The Bible’s consistent teaching is that sexual relations must be within marriage and that marriage is to be exclusively heterosexual.
(0, 0.00%) The Bible is more concerned about love and fidelity in a monogamous relationship, regardless of sexual orientation.
(6, 5.77%) The type of homosexual behavior condemned in the Bible is abusive deviant behavior, not relationships between consenting partners.
(90, 86.54%) The relevant passages in the Bible give no indication that a distinction is being made between different “types” of homosexual behavior or that some are acceptable and some are not.
(0, 0.00%) The growing trend in the American church to accept homosexuality (in its various forms) is something that is long overdue for a group that has long experienced discrimination by Christians.
(99, 95.19%) The growing trend in the American church to accept homosexuality (in its various forms) is yet another example of the church compromising biblical standards and accommodating anti-scriptural thinking.
When I checked my Inbox on Saturday morning I found an email from Jimmy DeYoung (one of ABI’s co-founders) concerning the Manhattan Declaration. Because the Manhattan Declaration was still breaking news, Jimmy wanted to discuss it on his weekly radio program. So I quickly went to work trying to learn as much as I could before he called back to do the interview.
The Manhattan Declaration is a 4732-word document which was made public at the National Press Conference on Friday, November 20. It was drafted by a committee that included Chuck Colson, Dr. Robert George and Dr. Timothy George and signed by almost 150 recognized Roman Catholic, Orthodox and evangelical religious leaders. On Governor Mike Huckabee’s FoxNews program on Sunday evening, while interviewing Chuck Colson, he compared its potential historical significance to Luther’s 95 Theses. While this remains to be seen, since its release it has been creating quite a buzz all across the internet in articles and blogs and producing fairly diverse reactions.
On his BreakPoint radio program on Friday, Chuck Colson stated (full article):
Today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., I and a dozen evangelical, Catholic, and Orthodox leaders face the microphones to announce the release of an historic document—one of the most important documents produced by the American church, at least in my lifetime
The Manhattan Declaration has two main goals. One goal is that it would be a wake-up call for Christians to live according to the tenets of their faith. The other goal is to serve notice to those in government that those who identify themselves as Christians are taking a stand and declaring:
We are Christians who have joined together across historic lines of ecclesial differences to affirm our right—and, more importantly, to embrace our obligation—to speak and act in defense of these truths. We pledge to each other, and to our fellow believers, that no power on earth, be it cultural or political, will intimidate us into silence or acquiescence. It is our duty to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in its fullness, both in season and out of season. May God help us not to fail in that duty.
In the closing paragraph, the final two sentences state:
We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar’s. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God’s.
On BreakPoint, Chuck Colson stated the goals this way:
The Manhattan Declaration is a wake-up call—a call to conscience—for the church. It is also crystal-clear message to civil authorities that we will not, under any circumstances, stand idly by as our religious freedom comes under assault.
Dr. Timothy George, one of the drafters of the Manhattan Declaration, wrote in a Washington Post article:
Thus we have issued this declaration of conscience calling on our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in the defense of human life, marriage, and religious freedom.
The document addresses three specific issues, identified as: “Life,” “Marriage” and “Religious Liberty.”
The Manhattan Declaration calls for a pro-life stance that recognizes the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception to natural death. And it makes clear that Christians, in faithfulness to God’s moral law, will not be forced or coerced into being involved with abortion, human embryonic research, assisted suicide or euthanasia. On Mike Huckabee’s program, Chuck Colson commented that this commitment would mean that doctors would not violate their beliefs to perform abortions and pharmacists would not dispense “morning-after” pills under threat of forfeiting their licenses or even imprisonment.
The drafters and signatories of the Manhattan Declaration bring attention to what they perceive as a growing rift between views of the American public in general and the views held by many of those in government:
Although public sentiment has moved in a pro-life direction, we note with sadness that pro-abortion ideology prevails today in our government. The present administration is led and staffed by those who want to make abortions legal at any stage of fetal development, and who want to provide abortions at taxpayer expense. Majorities in both houses of Congress hold pro-abortion
The declaration calls for a commitment to the sanctity of heterosexual marriage and to the proposition that the only acceptable form of marriage is between one man and one woman, and further observes that there must be faithfulness in the marital relationship. The importance and significance of marriage in any society is also noted:
Vast human experience confirms that marriage is the original and most important institution for sustaining the health, education, and welfare of all persons in a society.
As I have been researching the Manhattan Declaration and responses to it, I have found more than one website where this document is being denounced by those in the LGBT community. The following is fairly representative of the reaction (full article):
…the far right religious bigots never cease in their efforts to degrade and denigrate LGBT citizens and keep us a persecuted minority. Just yesterday a new anti-gay and anti-freedom of religion offense was launched by far right forces of hate and reactionarism in the form of the so-called “Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience.”
Concerning religious liberty
The declaration states:
Christians confess that God alone is Lord of the conscience. Immunity from religious coercion is the cornerstone of an unconstrained conscience. No one should be compelled to embrace any religion against his will, nor should persons of faith be forbidden to worship God according to the dictates of conscience or to express freely and publicly their deeply held religious convictions.
The document also notes two specific cases which do seem to provide cause for legitimate concern that the government is already engaging in infringement of religious liberty:
After the judicial imposition of “same-sex marriage” in Massachusetts, for example, Catholic Charities chose with great reluctance to end its century-long work of helping to place orphaned children in good homes rather than comply with a legal mandate that it place children in same-sex households in violation of Catholic moral teaching. In New Jersey, after the establishment of a quasi-marital “civil unions” scheme, a Methodist institution was stripped of its tax exempt status when it declined, as a matter of religious conscience, to permit a facility it owned and operated to be used for ceremonies blessing homosexual unions.
It is going to take some time (perhaps much time) to be able to ascertain if the Manhattan Declaration produces the desired effect on American society as a whole, on the politicians in various levels of government, on legislation and on jurisprudence and judicial decisions. But perhaps more importantly, the question is whether or not it will ultimately have an effect on the way Christians live out their faith in the American context – whatever that is or may become.
The document once again brings to the fore many of the questions that were raised in the 1970′s and 80′s with the rise of the Moral Majority. These include the role of believers in the political process and whether or not they should participate in political activism or even civil disobedience (as the document seems to suggest)?
Another significant question that is also being debated once again by conservative Christians relates to what some are viewing as the ecumenical nature of the document. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the signers of the Manhattan Declaration included scholars and leaders from the three major confessions of Christendom – Protestantism, Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox Church. Once again, this is reminiscent of the Moral Majority era. The question becomes, Is it wise and biblical to join together with those with whom we have serious theological disagreement (even to the point that we would consider them false teachers as it relates to the gospel itself)?
On the other hand, some would (rightly) observe that in the matters of life and marriage in particular, there is more genuine agreement with conservatives from all faiths than there is with many who continue to identify themselves as born-again evangelical believers – but who also support and defend “a woman’s right to choose,” as well as believe that homosexual relationships should not be regarded as sinful.
To be honest, I’m not sure how to fully answer these questions. I am still thinking this through, reading articles and blogs written by those on both sides of these issues, and studying relevant biblical passages in order to form an informed and biblical view for myself. I plan to post another blog in the next few days which I hope will provide some biblical insight and answers to these questions.
In the meantime, I would be interested in hearing from our readers – so please take a moment to provide us with your own thoughts and comments on the matter.
I encourage you to read the Manhattan Declaration for yourself – and to also read through the list of official signatories of the document.
Falwell cites an article in the August 15 edition of Newsweek entitled “We Are All Hindus Now.”
These articles discuss the changing worldview of Americans (worldview can be understood of the sum total of one’s outlook on life, including one’s understanding and belief about the total of reality).
And alarmingly, this change is apparently found within evangelical Christianity as well based on the results of a study by the Pew Forum Study last summer, which indicated that over 57% of members of evangelical churches agreed with the statement that “many religions can lead to eternal life.”
In addition, 25% of all Americans surveyed believe that God is only “an impersonal force.”
The Alliance for Biblical Integrity