Southern Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd Congregation Burned Church Project

The Burned church project. Your financial support is needed to help them rebuild what was destroyed and lost in this destructive fire. Please, any amount you can contribute will go directly to Fr. Jason Crowder and the Southern Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd Congregation. Thank you and bless you for your love, prayers and support for our fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
Sincerely IHS and yours,
H.E. +++Andrew M. B. Patrick

https://www.gofundme.com/burned-church-project

Coffee and the Good Book 07/19 by Christians Refuge Radio Network | Christianity Podcasts

Relax and start your day with a cup of Joe and inspiration for the Good Book of Holy Scripture with our, Patriarch +++Andrew Patrick as your host. Each week he will read a Scripture lead by the Holy Spirit and give you divine discernment to take away with you for your walk with Christ as a faithful follower of Lord’s flock. Enriching your life and bringing the Holy Word of God into practical use today. Just straight talk from the heart, for your eternal soul ‘IS’ your most precious commodity.

Today’s reading and discernment comes from the book of

John Chapter 14, Verses 1 – 21

Topic; To Believe or Not To Believe ?

Source: Coffee and the Good Book 07/19 by Christians Refuge Radio Network | Christianity Podcasts

The Cultural Impact Of Worldview & Apologetics, Part 3

It could be argued that the primary perspective allowing so many of the other outlooks to take hold that would have seemed downright silly, bizarre, and even inimical to human liberty to previous generations of mainstream Americans is none other than Postmodernism. Modernism held that man — through observational science and objective reasoning — could on his own without reliance on God’s revelation derive truths roughly equivalent to those once deduced from religion and even improve upon those areas in which credentialed experts had concluded ecclesiastical authorities had fallen short. Postmodernism holds, in the words of J.P. Moreland, that “…there is no such thing as objective reality, truth, value, reason, and so forth. All of these are social constructions, creations of linguistic practices, and, as such, are relative not to individuals but to social groups that share a narrative (208).”

The average person may not be aware of the obtuse and technical debates that go on in academia regarding the nature of history or whether or not there is a definitive interpretation to a classic work of literature or even if there are works of literature worthy of distinction as such. However, on some level just about everyone (with the exception of those in a persistent vegetative state whose lives are actually endangered as a result of the amoralism Postmodernism advocates) is familiar with the perspective of ethical relativism.

Francis Beckwith defines moral relativism as, “the view that when it comes to questions of morality, there is no absolute objective right and wrong; moral rules are merely personal preferences and/or the result of one’s cultural, sexual or ethnic orientation (211).” This sounds quite enlightened philosophically, but as Beckwith points out, in such a system the belief that unjustified killing is wrong is reduced to the level of individual predilection such as one might have for one variety of ice cream over another.

The relativism upon which Postmodernism rests is undermined by its own assumptions and is ultimately held in place only by the sheer power of those that profess it. The unfortunate thing is it is through this mindset that such elites tend to propagate themselves and to marginalize those failing to embrace a form of diversity where everyone is compelled to espouse the same set of principles.

Inherent to Postmodern relativism is the assumption that no objective standard exists. Beckwith observes, “If the mere fact of disagreement were sufficient to conclude that objective norms do not exist, then we would have to believe that there is no objectively correct position on such issues as slavery, genocide, and child molestation; for the slave owner, genocidal maniac, and pedophile have an opinion that differs from the one held by those of us who condemn their actions (215).”

Yet especially in regards to the issue of child molestation, unless one has been severely traumatized oneself or deliberately decided to wallow in humanity’s basest perversities, one recoils in horror at the prospect of there being no higher justification protecting the innocent from such horrors. Beckwith assures, however, the fact that objections can be raised regarding such practices itself lends credence to moral standards existing above the fray of human affairs. For to insist that there are no absolutes is itself to invoke an absolute.

The human tendency to formulate moral codes, even when those cultures and individuals deriving these fall short of the aspired ideal, is a powerful tool in the hands of the apologist to point the seeker towards the existence of God. If nothing exists beyond the physical realm, man is the highest authority with the state being the highest of his institutions. In such an environment, “what is” becomes “what ought” with the nation possessing either the largest army or the nation most willing to use force in extending its policy objectives both within and beyond its borders determining this for the greatest percentage of the world’s population.

Thus for standards to exist against horrors such as slavery and genocide beyond human preference and circumstance, they must be rooted in a source existing above, beyond, and yet accessible to human beings and their institutions for the purposes of reflection and implementation. Paul Copan writes, “The existence of a good personal God, who created humans in his image, offers a simpler and less-contrived connection, a more plausible context to affirm human value and rights as well as moral obligations (87).” Since human beings posses conscious personhood, the source of the standards we are to live by must also possess this quality.

Sexual debauchery and drunken carousing might provide a shallow satisfaction for a short while; however, after awhile the typical soul longs for something it perceives as having a more solid foundation. Indoctrinated now since nearly the first day of school as to the shortcomings of Western civilization, many young skulls full of mush as Rush Limbaugh once categorized naive students are turning to what are described as Eastern religions or systems of belief in their pursuit of purpose and meaning.

By Frederick Meekins

Leftist Theologue’s Animus Towards America Extends To Nation’s Very Name

Sometimes a notion or a concept can seem insightful upon its initial articulation, but after additional consideration it seems rather vapid or out of touch with reality. For example, published in the December 2016 edition of “Christianity Today” is a column titled “Christianity Without An Adjective”.

On the surface, such a goal seems laudable as it is a reminder not to sublimate Christ to any particular ideology or social philosophy. However, such an admonition fails to take into consideration why many today feel the need to articulate a modifier when describing their particular brand of Christianity and how this admonition to avoid doing so just as easily plays into the hands of the adversary.

“Christianity Today” began in the second half of the twentieth century in order to defend sound Biblical Theology in an intellectually respectable and rigorous manner before a public whose institutions of thought had already turned markedly hostile towards religiously orthodox ideas and perspectives.

In particular, “Christianity Today” was intended to stand as an alternative to more leftist publications such as “Christian Century”, “Commonweal”, and “Sojourners Magazine”. These publications often tended to promote a more liberal outlook on a variety of social, cultural, and theological issues to the point where the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith were denied but the Christian terminology retained as a way to understand reality even if these definitions were reconceptualized in compliance with the radical fads of any given moment of the lengthy print runs of these respective publications. Coming briefly to mind was an article published a few years ago suggesting in violation of Hebrews 9:22 that the shedding of blood really wasn’t all the necessary for the remission of sins after all.

Those holding to a more traditionalist understanding of the faith once delivered unto the saints were not the ones that attempted to alter the rules in the middle of the game or the very game itself. As such, why are we obligated to be the ones verbalizing a flagellating remorse in order to differentiate ourselves from those that deny essential doctrines such as the Incarnation of Christ, His Resurrection, and heterosexual marriage as the only valid form of carnal relations between human beings?

From the article, the discerning reader also comes away with the impression that this crusade against descriptive modifiers is also a front through which to ensnare Evangelical Christianity in the leftist fads of White privilege and racial guilt.

K.A. Ellis writes, “A Christianity qualified by any adjective now feels restrictive for good reason.” That means that, .by tying Christianity to any one particular understanding, one ends up feeling guilty when making common cause with universalists, moral subversives, and any number of garden variety unbelievers.

The author continues, “…As I mentioned in a previous column, that is why some are calling themselves ‘Christian Americans’ rather than ‘American Christians’.” In other words, the truly pious or devout (those truly “sold out to Jesus” as they used to say hoping to manipulate prospects into “surrendering” to full time missionary work) have severed all meaningful ties with an identity other than their Christian one.

Yet while this is praised with one hand, the author turns around and ignores this ideal with another. What the writer probably intended to convey was that this condemnation of Christians identifying themselves in part by their particular nationality is only to be applied to those that invoke the term to signify a sort of benevolent sternness that, while desiring to advocate as much goodwill as possible to the external world, when the time comes is not going to be passively kicked around by the advocates of malevolence and tyranny.

For example, K.A. Ellis referred to Stanley Hauerwas as an “American theologian” and not as a “theologian from America”. It should be pointed out that Hauerwas is noted for markedly leftwing views.

Those that like to pat themselves on the back by playing word games in the attempt to trip people up but in the process expose just how devoid of actual wisdom and commonsense those whose primary purpose in life is to put on display just how broadminded they think themselves to be will no doubt make a fuss that in this particular instance the word “American” was paired with the word “theologian”. As such, this new standard being advocated does not apply.

However, this was not the only instance it was violated in this particular article. Ellis writes, “…we are more in concert with the orthodoxy of the two-thirds world Christians, especially those in the underground church.”

Shouldn’t Ellis have formulated the phraseology as “Christians in the two-thirds world”? So if we are to so despise America that we get jacked out of shape upon hearing the linguistic combination “American Christians” why ought those living elsewhere get an easy pass?

Worthy of note is the admonition to be “in concert with the orthodoxy of two-thirds-world Christians, especially those in the underground church.” Just what exactly does that consist of?

Does Ellis mean the strong stance against homosexuality and similar carnal lifestyles that have prompted a number of ecclesiastical functionaries to take a bold position against the wanton licentiousness allowed to fester in certain branches of the Anglican Communion by seeking their apostolic oversight under a select number of African bishops rather than traditional Western prelates? Or instead, is this sentiment articulated more in solidarity with the tendency of some in these less developed lands to prefer a less than free market and more communal distribution of resources where profit does not so much accrue to those that earned it but rather to those that shout their grievances the loudest or are perhaps the most proficient at acts of violence?

It is imperative that Christianity be articulated in such a way as to grab the attention of those that are spiritually adrift. However, their eventually comes a point where those attempting to reach the lost by adopting much of the way that the lost view the world around them become virtually indistinguishable from the lost and end up losing much of their way as well.

By Frederick Meekins

Those Denying God’s Existence Should Forsake His Cash As Well

An article titled “Christian School Teacher Fired After Deciding To Live 2014 As An Atheist” attempts to place the onus for such a state of occupational limbo on organized religion. But isn’t it even more the fault of the educator in question for attempting to turn his crisis of faith into some kind of theological publicity stunt?

According to the article, Ryan Bell was a Seventh Day Adventist minister and adjunct professor whose leftwing support of gay marriage and variance with his denomination’s eschatology resulted in his resignation from the Hollywood congregation he pastored. He was forced from his teaching positions from Fuller Seminary and Azusa Pacific University when Bell publicly announced his intentions to live as an atheist for a year to see if that particular worldview more accurately reflected his spiritual state where disillusionment caused him to question a number of his most deeply held beliefs.

The press account puts the blame for the hardship Bell would have to endure on these respective institutions of higher education. After all, Bell pointed out in the article, he has utility bills to pay and children to feed.

But shouldn’t these employers be applauded for assisting Bell in taking his experiment in atheism to its logical conclusion? For Bell is not a minister in the Unitarian or Episcopal Churches so wishy washy in their core doctrines and beliefs that they are at times willing to keep outright unbelievers on their respective payrolls.

According to the article, Fuller Seminary and Azusa Pacific University both require faculty to adhere to a statement of faith seemingly quite broad in terms of Christian specifics if these institutions of higher education claiming to be Evangelical openly embrace Seventh Day Adventism. What Dr. Bell has said is that, at the time this all came to a head in 2014, he no longer believes the bare bones required by these schools.

As such, if Bell for the time being no longer believes that there is an all powerful being sustaining the universe and providing a means whereby fallen men might be brought back into fellowship with Him, why shouldn’t Bell also forfeit the salary provided by those that do believe in such in a context that already doesn’t sound all that picky or particular regarding what are commonly referred to as secondary theological matters? After all, when the unbelievers are holding the administrative reigns and catch a whiff of doctrinal content they aren’t particularly fond of they aren’t exactly all that magnanimous either.

For example, in “Reason In The Balance”, popularizer of Intelligent Design Phillip Johnson chronicled the case of a Biology Professor that suggested that the complexity of even the simplest lifeforms pointed in the direction of a designer. Whom or what that might be was left up for the student to decide as the professor made no suggestions as to whether that designer was God in yonder Heaven or little green men zooming about the cosmos in a flying saucer. For engaging in the free exchange of ideas in an environment supposedly priding itself on such intellectual dynamism, this professor was booted out the door.

Adherents of Intelligent Design have faired little better in other settings. For example, a scientist lost his job at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for simply expressing an interest in Intelligent Design.

Yet that very same facility explicitly stated in its public propaganda how its administrators supposedly appreciate innovative perspectives. Apparently believing that a Higher Power is behind the grandeur of the universe has little to do with building better rockets with the exception, of course, of boosting the esteem of Muslims in regards to that civilization’s developments in mathematics from nearly a millennium ago. President Obama was quite explicit in making that an aeronautical agency funding priority despite their being barely a cent available for manned extra-atmospheric travel in the form of a space shuttle or lunar expeditions.

Did the atheists that got all worked up on behalf of Ryan Bell rush to meet the material needs of the occupationally displaced adherents of Intelligent Design or flagellate themselves in shamefacedness over the way the establishment media expects Christians to upon hearing of the hardships caused by the failure to at first compromise and then ultimately set aside these minimal standards derived from a set of very rudimentary beliefs one would think nearly anyone even wanting to be employed in a Christian setting would agree to? After all, it is not like Fuller Seminary these days enforces a no movies under any circumstances rule.

Proponents of the decision to impose penalties upon the bakers refusing to bake cakes for gay weddings insist that we ought to be willing to accept such punishments with little comment as the price for standing for convictions at variance with established social norms. In the case of those professing some manner of public unbelief such as itinerant academic Ryan Bell, this is to be yet another of the expanding network of exceptions and double standards.

by Frederick Meekins

The Cultural Impact Of Worldview & Apologetics, Part 1

Here at the beginning of the twenty-first century, Apologetics as an evangelistic endeavor and intellectual theological outreach finds itself in something of a paradox. When the West thought of itself in terms of resting on broadly Judeo-Christian assumptions, the discipline was not as desperately needed while most within the church at least knew of the field’s existence as a subject. At the time, the less practically inclined among the membership dabbled in the subject by contemplating abstract questions and topics. However, as society moves away from Biblical assumptions and the church finds itself in desperate need of the discipline to prevent both individuals and nations from sliding into the abyss, it seems very few even know what Apologetics is and those that do are often contemptuously dismissive of this kind of scholastic undertaking in favor of a more pietistic or even mystical approach to the Christian faith.

In the anthology “Passionate Conviction: Contemporary Discourses On Christian Apologetics”, Paul Copan and William Lane Craig have assembled a number of essays rallying the faithful as to why Apologetics is necessary and tackling head on a number of the greatest challenges to the Christian faith prevalent in the world today.

Renowned futurist Alvin Toffler has remarked that the changes sweeping over society are akin to waves that can be so unsettling that they leave those they have rolled over in a state of shock while leaving those still riding the crests of previous conceptual epochs dumbfounded as to how to address the changing situations around them. Particularly hard hit has been the humanities, of which the areas of study such as philosophy, religion, and thus ultimately apologetics happen to be a part. Unlike previous eras of world history in which the average individual often dealt with a limi

ted space in terms of both mental and physical geography, today even the poorest resident of the twenty-first century West finds himself bombarded constantly with opposing worldviews. These come at us in the forms of an omnipresent media establishment, the swarms of people pouring over our borders from every conceivable corner of the globe, and the shocking number of our own countrymen willing to abandon the worldview this civilization was built upon in favor of any number of alternatives that turn out to be less than solid upon closer inspection.

It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The confusion characterizing the spiritual scene today would not have come about unless there had been a widespread abandonment of what Francis Schaeffer termed the “Christian consensus”, what C.S. Lewis referred to as “Mere Christianity”, and what those wanting to cast the most ecumenical net possible might characterize as the Judeo-Christian belief system. G.K. Chesterton is credited with observing that the problem that arises when we abandon orthodox theology is not that we won’t believe in anything but that we will believe in anything.

The pillar or keystone of Christianity setting it apart from all other religions and philosophies is that Jesus as the only Begotten Son of God and second person of the Trinity came to earth by being born of the Virgin Mary to live the sinless life no man could, to die on the Cross as payment for our sins and to rise from the dead so that all that believe in Him might spend eternity with God in Heaven. This is what is known as the Gospel message.

All excursions into error (no matter how seemingly ancient or modern) begin as either an outright denial of or failure to recognize these fundamental truths. This can be seen in terms of both popular and academic culture.

In terms of his own theory of Apologetics, Ravi Zacharias has postulated that there is a highest refined level of philosophy that eventually filters downward to the general population in the form of mass media and entertainment. This is true of other academic humanities as well and is not a phenomena confined solely to technical philosophy.

The first decade of the twenty-first century, renowned primarily for its advances in electronic entertainment, experienced a publishing phenomena that gripped the public imagination like few things else in the form of a novel titled “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown. Underlying the suspense of this thriller is the conjecture that Jesus was not divinity in human form but rather simply an outstanding human teacher no different than anyone else but elevated to godhood for political purposes at the Council of Nicea.

Provocative as those heresies might be, what really set the book off like wildfire was the assertion that among those otherwise mundane things Jesus did as an ordinary human being was to father a child by Mary Magdalene. It was through this lineage, rather than through any organizational church structure, that true Christian teaching was passed down through history through the intermarriage of Christ’s descendants with the royal houses of Europe, especially the Merovingian of France. Of these astounding claims and their alleged justifications, Charles Quarles writes in the essay “Revisionist Views About Jesus” in “Passionate Conviction”, “This fact coupled with the enormous popularity of the book and the film require thoughtful believers to respond intelligently to the claims of the Code (96).”

It seems odd that so many — both Christian and non-Christian alike — would allow a popular novel to either so shake their faith or to allow it to justify what they already believe. Quarles writes, “Those whose faith is shaken by Dan Brown’s claims lose their faith far too quickly. If they will take the time to investigate Brown’s claims, they will find that his statements about biblical and historical Christianity are a comedy of errors and lack historical evidence (108).” Thing of it is though, Christianity has been maligned and discredited for so long in the halls of higher learning that the average person thinks such radical skepticism is the default position of the open, educated mind.

By Frederick Meekins

Coffee and the Good Book 05/17 by Christians Refuge Radio Network | Christianity Podcasts

Relax and start your day with a cup of Joe and inspiration for the Good Book of Holy Scripture with our, Patriarch +++Andrew Patrick as your host. Each week he will read a Scripture lead by the Holy Spirit and give you divine discernment to take away with you for your walk with Christ as a faithful follower of Lord’s flock. Enriching your life and bring the Holy Word of God in to practical use today. Just straight talk from the heart, for your eternal soul ‘IS’ your most precious commodity. Today’s reading and discernment comes from the book of Matthew Chapter 6, Verses 19 – 34. Faith and Treasure !

Source: Coffee and the Good Book 05/17 by Christians Refuge Radio Network | Christianity Podcasts