The Giglio Imbroglio: The Public Inauguration of a New Moral McCarthyism A great article from Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

A new chapter in America’s moral revolution came as Atlanta pastor Louie  Giglio withdrew from giving the benediction at President Obama’s second  inaugural ceremony. In a statement released to the White House and the  Presidential Inaugural Committee, Giglio said that he withdrew because of the  furor that emerged yesterday after a liberal watchdog group revealed that almost  twenty years ago he had preached a sermon in which he had stated that  homosexuality is a sin and that the “only way out of a homosexual lifestyle … is  through the healing power of Jesus.”

In other words, a Christian pastor has been effectively disinvited from  delivering an inaugural prayer because he believes and teaches Christian  truth.

The fact that Giglio was actually disinvited was made clear in a statement  from Addie Whisenant of the Presidential Inaugural Committee:

We were not aware of Pastor Giglio’s past comments at the time of his  selection, and they don’t reflect our desire to celebrate the strength and  diversity of our country at this inaugural. Pastor Giglio was asked to deliver  the benediction in large part because of his leadership in combating human  trafficking around the world. As we now work to select someone to deliver the  benediction, we will ensure their beliefs reflect this administration’s vision  of inclusion and acceptance for all Americans.

That statement is, in effect, an embarrassed apology for having invited Louie  Giglio in the first place. Whisenant’s statement apologizes for the Presidential  Inaugural Committee’s failure to make certain that their selection had never, at  any time, for any reason, believed that homosexuality is less than a perfectly  acceptable lifestyle. The committee then promised to repent and learn from their  failure, committing to select a replacement who would “reflect this  administration’s vision of inclusion and acceptance.”

The imbroglio over Louie Giglio is the clearest evidence of the new Moral  McCarthyism of our sexually “tolerant” age. During the infamous McCarthy  hearings, witnesses would be asked, “Are you now or have you ever been a member  of the Communist Party?”

In the version now to be employed by the Presidential Inaugural Committee,  the question will be: “Are you now or have you ever been one who believes that  homosexuality (or bisexuality, or transsexualism, etc.) is anything less than  morally acceptable and worthy of celebration?”

Louie Giglio, pastor of Atlanta’s Passion City Church, is also founder of the  Passion movement that brings tens of thousands of Christian young people  together to hear Giglio, along with speakers such as John Piper. They urge a  rising generation of young Christians to make a passionate commitment to Christ.  In recent years, the movement has also sought to raise awareness and activism  among young Christians on the issue of sex trafficking. It was that activism  that caught the attention of both President Obama and the Presidential Inaugural  Committee.

Note carefully that both the White House and the committee were ready to  celebrate Giglio’s activism on sex trafficking, but all that was swept away by  the Moral McCarthyism on the question of homosexuality.

Two other dimensions of this story also demand attention. First, we should  note that Louie Giglio has not been known lately for taking any stand on the  issue of homosexuality. To the contrary, Giglio’s own statement withdrawing from  the invitation made this clear:

Due to a message of mine that has surfaced from 15-20 years ago, it is likely  that my participation, and the prayer I would offer, will be dwarfed by those  seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration. Clearly,  speaking on this issue has not been in the range of my priorities in the past  fifteen years. Instead, my aim has been to call people to ultimate significance  as we make much of Jesus Christ.

A fair-minded reading of that statement indicates that Pastor Giglio has  strategically avoided any confrontation with the issue of homosexuality for at  least fifteen years. The issue “has not been in the range of my priorities,” he  said. Given the Bible’s insistance that sexual morality is inseparable from our “ultimate significance as we make much of Jesus Christ,” this must have been a  difficult strategy. It is also a strategy that is very attractive to those who  want to avoid being castigated as intolerant or homophobic. As this controversy  makes abundantly clear, it is a failed strategy. Louie Giglio was cast out of  the circle of the acceptable simply because a liberal watchdog group found one  sermon he preached almost twenty years ago. If a preacher has ever taken a stand  on biblical conviction, he risks being exposed decades after the fact. Anyone  who teaches at any time, to any degree, that homosexual behavior is a sin is now  to be cast out.

Second, we should note that Pastor Giglio’s sermon was, as we would expect  and hope, filled with grace and the promise of the Gospel. Giglio did not just  state that homosexuals are sinners — he made clear that every single human being  is a sinner, in need of the redemption that is found only in Jesus Christ. “We’ve got to say to the homosexuals, the same thing that I say to you and that  you would say to me…. It’s not easy to change, but it’s possible to change,” he  preached. He pointed his congregation, gay and straight, to “the healing power  of Jesus.” He called his entire congregation to repent and come to Christ by  faith.

That is the quintessential Christian Gospel. That is undiluted biblical  truth. Those words are the consensus of the Church for over 2,000 years, and the  firm belief held by the vast majority of Christians around the world today.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee and the White House have now declared  historic, biblical Christianity to be out of bounds, casting it off the  inaugural program as an embarrassment. By its newly articulated standard, any  preacher who holds to the faith of the church for the last 2,000 years is  persona non grata. By this standard, no Roman Catholic prelate or priest can  participate in the ceremony. No Evangelical who holds to biblical orthodoxy is  welcome. The vast majority of Christians around the world have been disinvited.  Mormons, and the rabbis of Orthodox Judaism are out. Any Muslim imam who could  walk freely in Cairo would be denied a place on the inaugural program. Billy  Graham, who participated in at least ten presidential inaugurations is welcome  no more. Rick Warren, who incited a similar controversy when he prayed at  President Obama’s first inauguration, is way out of bounds. In the span of just  four years, the rules are fully changed.

The gauntlet was thrown down yesterday, and the axe fell today. Wayne Besen,  founder of the activist group Truth Wins Out, told The New York Times yesterday: “It is imperative that Giglio clarify his remarks and explain whether he has  evolved on gay rights, like so many other faith and political leaders. It would  be a shame to select a preacher with backward views on LBGT people at a moment  when the nation is rapidly moving forward on our issues.”

And there you have it — anyone who has ever believed that homosexuality is  morally problematic in any way must now offer public repentance and evidence of  having “evolved” on the question. This is the language that President Obama used  of his own “evolving” position on same-sex marriage. This is what is now openly  demanded of Christians today. If you want to avoid being thrown off the program,  you had better learn to evolve fast, and repent in public.

This is precisely what biblical Christians cannot do. While seeking to be  gentle in spirit and ruthlessly Gospel-centered in speaking of any sin, we  cannot cease to speak of sin as sin. To do so is not only to deny the authority  of Scripture, not only to reject the moral consensus of the saints, but it  undermines the Gospel itself. The Gospel makes no sense, and is robbed of its  saving power, if sin is denied as sin.

An imbroglio is a painful and embarrassing conflict. The imbroglio  surrounding Louie Giglio is not only painful, it is revealing. We now see the  new Moral McCarthyism in its undisguised and unvarnished reality. If you are a  Christian, get ready for the question you will now undoubtedly face: “Do you now  or have you ever believed that homosexuality is a sin?” There is nowhere to  hide.

[Read the original post at AlbertMohler.com.]

http://kirkcameron.com/2013/01/the-giglio-imbroglio-the-public-inauguration-of-a-new-moral-mccarthyism/#ixzz2HnP94iEs

Playing with Fire

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

No doubt you’ve noticed that people around you are not into absolute truth these days. When it comes to matters of morality, the prevailing philosophy is a multiple-choice view, with competing thoughts and perspectives on what is right and wrong listed as A, B, C, or D. And although these perspectives are often contradictory, prevailing pop philosophers today have added choice E: “all of the above.”

While many people are comfortable with such ambiguity in their personal choices, very few would want their material world to be this arbitrary. Everyone affirms that there are some basic, absolute physical laws that govern our experience and shape our behavior. Take, for example, the reality of heat and fire. I first learned about this when playing in my Dad’s car as a 5-year-old.

I was mesmerized by one particular feature in this new car—the cigarette lighter. I can remember not only discovering the lighter, but pushing it into the socket. I was enamored by the glow of the red circles on the lighter when it popped out. But I pushed my curiosity a little too far when I pulled the glowing lighter out and pressed it on the tip of my index finger. I still can’t explain exactly why I did this, but I quickly realized that it was not a smart idea!

In that moment I discovered that the physical laws governing heat and fire are not arbitrary. The circular lines branded on my finger were powerful evidence to convince me that fire burns and that I needed to keep a healthy distance. Understanding the absolute nature of gravity, mathematics, blood pressure, and other physical realities is essential for living life safely and successfully.

But isn’t it interesting that even though we all believe it is important to respect and submit to physical laws, many of us now believe that moral laws are up for grabs! Unfortunately, believing and living by that philosophy inevitably leads to disastrous consequences.

And the most dangerous outcome of all relates to our eternal destiny. If we live in a morally multiple-choice world where nothing is always wrong and nothing is always right, then there is no sin. No sin means no need for a Savior. If there’s no need for a Savior, there’s no point in the cross. The empty tomb means nothing, and there is neither hell to be shunned nor heaven to be gained. Our Bible becomes at best irrelevant and at worst the scheming work of ancient men designed to oppress and deny us the privilege of pleasure. Yet God has made it clear—some things are right and some things are wrong. There is sin, and we need a Savior. There is a hell to be shunned and a heaven to be gained. To ignore the reality of moral absolutes is to play with a fire that you don’t recover from.

In fact, it isn’t just eternal consequences that should concern us but the impact on life as well. The breakup of homes, the increasing violence on our streets, the alarming rise of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS, and the general unraveling of a sane and safe environment all testify to the destructive impact of ignoring God’s laws.

Thankfully, God is not a multiple-choice God. Jesus came to assure us that there is truth and that if we know and live in the realm of His truth we are truly free! Free from the inevitable consequences that come when we live to do whatever we want to do.

No wonder the psalmist wrote that those who delight in the law of God are “like a tree planted by streams of water,” and that those who scoff at the truth are “like chaff that the wind blows away” (Psalm 1:1-41).

YOUR JOURNEY…

  • Why do you think that people are willing to accept the absolute nature of physical laws, yet willing to deny the absolute nature of God’s moral laws?
  • How have you seen multiple-choice thinking in action around you? What have been the consequences?
  • Has multiple-choice thinking, even in small ways, begun to infect your life? What specific steps can you take to joyfully live in the truth today? Make a specific plan.
  • Read Psalm 1:1-41 and reflect on which category describes your life—a watered tree or worthless chaff?
  • What would it take for you to “delight” in God’s law?

http://getmorestrength.org/daily/playing-with-fire/

Have You Ever Been Alone with God? (1)

When they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples —Mark 4:34

Our Solitude with Him. Jesus doesn’t take us aside and explain things to us all the time; He explains things to us as we are able to understand them. The lives of others are examples for us, but God requires us to examine our own souls. It is slow work— so slow that it takes God all of time and eternity to make a man or woman conform to His purpose. We can only be used by God after we allow Him to show us the deep, hidden areas of our own character. It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves! We don’t even recognize the envy, laziness, or pride within us when we see it. But Jesus will reveal to us everything we have held within ourselves before His grace began to work. How many of us have learned to look inwardly with courage?

We have to get rid of the idea that we understand ourselves. That is always the last bit of pride to go. The only One who understands us is God. The greatest curse in our spiritual life is pride. If we have ever had a glimpse of what we are like in the sight of God, we will never say, “Oh, I’m so unworthy.” We will understand that this goes without saying. But as long as there is any doubt that we are unworthy, God will continue to close us in until He gets us alone. Whenever there is any element of pride or conceit remaining, Jesus can’t teach us anything. He will allow us to experience heartbreak or the disappointment we feel when our intellectual pride is wounded. He will reveal numerous misplaced affections or desires— things over which we never thought He would have to get us alone. Many things are shown to us, often without effect. But when God gets us alone over them, they will be clear.

http://utmost.org/have-you-ever-been-alone-with-god-1/

Sex Slavery a US Problem Too, Activists Highlight By Napp Nazworth , Christian Post Reporter

WASHINGTONHuman trafficking, or sex slavery, is not just a  problem for developing countries, but for the United States as well. Two  activists, Hon. Linda Smith, founder and president of Shared Hope International,  and Mark Blackwell, founder and president of Justice Ministries, brought  attention to this issue and talked about how the church can help at a Wednesday  Family Research Council symposium in Washington, D.C.

Smith began working on the sex trafficking issue when she was a congresswoman  in the 1990s. After that, she used her business expertise to research sex  trafficking and produce reports for the U.S. government. At first, her research  was focused outside the United States. At international conferences, she  recalled, people would ask her, “what about the United States?” So, she decided  to produce a report on domestic sex trafficking and was astonished at what she  found.

There are at least 100,000 American juveniles, at an average age of 13, who  become victims of sex trafficking each year in the United States. Further, 77  percent of the women who are prostitutes today first entered the sex trade as a  sex slave when they were a minor.

Smith was also shocked to find that the victims, rather than the perpetrators  of the crime, were being arrested. Law enforcement officials often found that  the only way to get a sex trafficking victim away from her “owner,” would be to  arrest her for prostitution. Under the law, though, protective services would be  unable to provide assistance because she was arrested.

Shared Hope International has been working to get these laws changed. On its  website, you can view report cards for each state to see how effective your  state is at responding to human trafficking. Smith encouraged concerned citizens  to use that information and write to their state legislators.

The way that traffickers often gain their victims, Smith explained, is to  first gain the friendship of their target. Sometimes they will pretend to be  their boyfriend. After capturing them, they will videotape them getting raped.  Then, they may threaten to post the video on the internet, or may threaten to  harm their family if they do not cooperate.

The men who pay to have sex with these victims of sex trafficking, Smith  said, are often just ordinary men; men that you could be sitting next to in  church, at the office or on the subway. These men are “95 percent wonderful men  and five percent that has started down this path that is driving this  market.”

Shared Hope has developed a video, “Chosen,” which will be available to churches and other  service organizations, that explains how sex traffickers operate. The  organization hopes that greater awareness will allow citizens to identify  potential sex trafficking crimes before more young women become victims.

Blackwell first learned about the issue of sex slavery at the 2010 Passion  Conference in Atlanta.

He “became awakened to this issue,” Blackwell said, and “the Lord told me to  go to the victims and serve that population.”

Blackwell discovered there was a lack of services for the victims of human  trafficking that had been rescued. There are only about 600 bed spaces actively  available today. So he founded Justice Ministries just after graduating from  college to help fill that void.

“I just finished college, hardly pay taxes myself, what do I know about  starting a 501c3? But the Lord opened doors,” Blackwell praised.

Justice Ministries plays only a small role in a large problem. The United  States would need 10,000 organizations like Justice Ministries to meet the need,  Blackwell explained. This is why he encourages churches to get involved in this  issue.

“At the end of the day, we’re all just rescued people that the Lord can use  to rescue people,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell used to imagine himself a hero-like figure for the work that he  does. Sometime last year, though, God taught him what his work should really be  about: “in humility and vulnerability, be willing to trade places with the  oppressed for their freedom and for God’s glory.”

The example of that standard, Blackwell explained, is Jesus: “He came down,  he traded places with you and I for our freedom and God’s glory.”

While acknowledging that he does not yet meet that standard, Blackwell said  he prays that he will continue to grow in that direction where he is able to  “love that radically.”

“If we carry His name, we should love the world like that,” Blackwell  explained.

A video of Smith and Blackwell’s presentation can be viewed here on the Family Research Council website.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/sex-slavery-a-us-problem-too-activists-highlight-88053/#k7y8RlqO2AF06Qoj.99

Human Rights Activist: Many Christians ‘Ignorant’ of Extent of Persecution By Michael Gryboski , Christian Post Reporter

WASHINGTON – A human rights activist with more than 25 years’  experience in ministering to persecuted Christians said Tuesday that many  Christians are “ignorant” of the extent of persecution  globally.

Dr. Ron Boyd-MacMilan, chief strategy officer for Open Doors International,  told The Christian Post that the church in America and elsewhere should spread  greater awareness of what is happening to Christians in many parts of the  world.

“I think the key thing though is that the church needs to get its story out  to the worldwide church better,” said Boyd-MacMilan. “There are still far too  many Christians in the world that are either just ignorant or even deliberately  so of the true extent of Christian persecution.”

Boyd-MacMilan also told CP that he felt that “we can get out our story  better, that there are literally hundreds of millions of Christians in the world  who cannot exercise their freedom of worship.”

His remarks came as he was one of two featured speakers at a press conference  on Tuesday morning sponsored by Open Doors at the First Amendment Lounge of the  National Press Club. There were two major themes of the event: first was the  release of Open Doors’ annual “World Watch List” which ranks the countries where  persecution of Christians is severest.

According to the list, for the eleventh consecutive year, the Communist  dictatorship of North Korea ranked number 1.

A majority of the nations on the list were predominantly Muslim countries and  have been noted for being strongly influenced by Islamic extremism. For example,  Afghanistan ranked at 3, Egypt at 25, Iran at 8, Pakistan  at 14, Saudi Arabia at 2, Somalia at 5, and Yemen at 9.

To form the list, Open Doors created a methodology that focused on all  spheres of life, as well as both acts of violence and structural nonviolent  restrictions on Christian populations.

“The annual World Watch List has raised awareness of the plight of  persecuted Christians for many years,” said Open Doors USA interim President and  CEO Steve Ridgway in a statement.

“It is important to get this information out to the public so it can look  beyond the headlines and be a voice for those who are often voiceless in places  such as North Korea, Syria and Somalia.”

The other theme of the event was the publication of the book The Insanity  of God by Nik Ripken, who has years of experience working alongside  churches in the developing world.

Ripken told The Christian Post about how the sources of persecution are  examples of “evil unmasked.”

“And evil can have a free market economy face or a Muslim face or whatever  kind of face it has evil wants to do two things.” said Ripken. “It wants to deny  you access to Jesus [and] it wants to keep you from sharing your faith.”

Ripken also told CP that western churches do harm to those abroad “when we  ourselves keep quiet and keep our faith to ourselves.”

“Each day, myself personally, I can decide whether or not to identify with my  brothers and sisters who are in chains or I can identify with those who have  chained them,” said Ripken.

“When … the church keeps its faith static and keep it to themselves, they are  identifying themselves with those who chain believers rather than those in  chains.”

http://www.christianpost.com/news/human-rights-activist-many-christians-ignorant-of-extent-of-persecution-87917/#65dZ8d7tGALsdtjP.99