Recently in Faith Category

Robin Williams, Suicide, Depression, and Evil Spirits | RedState

Dan McLaughlin writes: "At the opposite end of the scale, however, it is perilous and maybe more harm than good to reduce depression strictly to a question of chemistry.... It's actively dangerous to tell people their problems are just a matter of chemicals, then give them drugs and tell them it will all be OK, when it actually won't and they may feel like they have just lost the only hope there was. It's dangerous to tell people they have no free will in the face of depression, when they do - when the thing they need most is to have it pressed into their brains that no matter how dark things get, there is always help, always hope. Depression is a sickness of the soul, and the fact that we can diagnose its physical manifestations doesn't change that.... The mind and the soul are complex things. But while depression is a disease, it's not just a disease, and combating it is a matter of treating a person, not treating a disease alone."

McLaughlin quotes Ben Stein: "In my own life, I have found that prayer, intense rest, fresh air, and above all, 12-step programs for helping persons who want to get off the suicide express before it reaches its final destination in hell, work miracles. I have never known a person injured by prayer. I have never known a person driven to suicide by going to 90 meetings in 90 days and maybe 180 meetings in 90 days....I carry with me a gift from a friend who said it had saved his life many a time. It is a simple piece of paper that reads, "NOT TODAY." It has brought me peace and salvation many a time. Anyone can get through just one more day and by tomorrow you might feel completely different."

Constitution of the State of Sequoyah

In 1905, delegates from across Indian Territory met to draft a constitution for the proposed State of Sequoyah, incorporating the land of the Five Civilized Tribes and the Quapaw Agency. Many of the leaders in this constitutional convention, including Charles Haskell and Alfalfa Bill Murray, would go on to lead the drafting of Oklahoma's constitution soon thereafter, producing a strong resemblance between the two documents in length and subject matter.

One interesting aspect: The Sequoyah Constitution forbids the government from funding religious organizations, but it also invokes "the blessing of Almighty God" in the preamble, mandates that "Sunday[] shall forever be respected as a day of rest" and forbids public office to anyone "who denies the existence of a Supreme Being."

Constitution of the State of Sequoyah

In 1905, delegates from across Indian Territory met to draft a constitution for the proposed State of Sequoyah, incorporating the land of the Five Civilized Tribes and the Quapaw Agency. Many of the leaders in this constitutional convention, including Charles Haskell and Alfalfa Bill Murray, would go on to lead the drafting of Oklahoma's constitution soon thereafter, producing a strong resemblance between the two documents in length and subject matter.

One interesting aspect: The Sequoyah Constitution forbids the government from funding religious organizations, but it also invokes "the blessing of Almighty God" in the preamble, mandates that "Sunday[] shall forever be respected as a day of rest" and forbids public office to anyone "who denies the existence of a Supreme Being."

Karaites, the Jews History Forgot - Tablet Magazine

Sola scriptura Jews: "And since at least the eighth century CE, Karaite Jews across the world have kept to an interpretation of Judaism in which the Bible is taken as the ultimate authority on religious practice. Long centered in Egypt, Turkey, and Crimea, Karaites will consider the insights of the Oral Law, but they don't accept their rulings as binding, and outright reject rabbinic traditions that contradict the plain meaning of scriptural verses.... In some ways, the Karaites still live in the mind-set of the Talmud, where each scholar can consider and establish law according to his own understanding of the Bible. A Karaite motto, quoted in much of their literature, is: 'Search scripture well, and don't rely on my opinion.' This doesn't make it a total free-for-all--like rabbinic Jews, Karaites derive law from scripture according to their own traditions, scholars, and standards of legal interpretation. They just don't think man's word can ever override the written word of God."

Making Sense of Bioethics: Parents and "Sex Ed"

Perspective from Father Tad Pacholczyk of the National Catholic Bioethics Center:

"At the end of the day, the parental duty to influence in a positive way a child's upbringing around sexuality cannot be abdicated or delegated. Parents know their children in a personal and individual way and are able to determine their readiness for, and receptivity to, sexual information.

"Moreover, the reality of parental love toward their children enables a parent to say certain 'hard things' in love that may need to be said, in a manner that only a parent may effectively be able to say it."

Telegraph.co.uk: British Christianity isn't dying. It's sleeping. Evangelism can awaken it

Tim Stanley says that the Christian faith was at a low ebb in the late 18th century.

"Easter Day in St Paul's Cathedral in 1800: can you guess how many people took communion? Six. Six people took communion. In the late 18th century the Church of England was in a dire crisis. Churches stood empty, clerical numbers were dwindling, people complained that priests were out of touch with their congregations. Worse: scepticism was on the rise - even atheism - and Jacobinism, which was violently anti-clerical, was on the march in Europe. Every complaint made about contemporary Christianity was made in 1800. Including the sad decline of Christmas, although the problem back then was one of uninterest. Most public workers just got one day off work. Scrooge was the rule, not the exception....

"Most critical, however, was the rise of evangelism in the 19th century. The Anglicans turned things around by launching missions: they treated Britain as if it was near-pagan and needed to be brought back to the faith. They decided that the faith had to be seen to be relevant to people's needs - so it was the churches that campaigned for workers' protections, the outlawing of child prostitution and the creation of the welfare state. The early Labour Party was dominated by Methodists, many of them obsessed with the evils of alcohol. But the Victorians didn't just pursue social justice for its own sake - as many contemporary liberal Christians do - they saw it as a tool of religious mission. They sought to feed both the belly and the soul....

"Imagine, say, that the Anglican Church was like Tesco. If Tesco stopped advertising, people would stop shopping there. If Tesco constantly banged on about how its own products are old fashioned and in need of updating, people would stop shopping there. If Tesco said that it would be nice if you'd visit once in a while but entirely understood why you don't, people would stop shopping there. Christians have become their own worst enemy - killing their faith with silence.

"Advertise. Speak up. Tell people about your beliefs. At the centre of the faith is the truth that Jesus died and rose from death to herald a new era. The power of the Good News is so great that it cannot fail to win converts. Time to share it."

How Do My Unbaptized Children Relate to the New-Covenant Promises? | Desiring God

"Now, it is just as impossible, therefore, for a paedobaptist parent to be sure that his child is elect as it is for a Baptist parent. Paedobaptists may feel better about themselves by labeling the child a covenant member, but those children have no better standing before God than the children of Baptists....

"1) We view them as gifts of God, blessings of God, to be loved and served (Psalm 127:3).

"2) We view them as responsibilities that we have been given by God to bring up in the teaching and discipline of the Lord. That is, we are to lavish them with the Word of God and with love and with wisdom morning, noon, and night.

"3) We view them as objects of daily mercies in prayer in the hope that God would exercise his saving sovereign grace in their lives.

"4) We view them as little ones before whom God has charged us to rejoice so that they can see what it is like to taste that the Lord is good.

"5) Finally, we view them as little pilgrims in hope on the way to faith, woven into the fabric of relationships in the family and the church. And we have nothing to be ashamed of in this relationship with our children. It is every bit as hopeful for a good outcome of eternal covenant membership as any other way of viewing children."

A Response to John Piper: Why Gun Ownership is Biblical and Good -Part A | Pulpit & Pen

"First, Piper needs to understand that stopping a crime in progress is not bearing the sword in a Romans 13 fashion. Romans 13 deals with trial and penology. The man stopping his wife from being kidnapped and raped by a Muslim man in a gas station restroom (like what happened in North Dakota a few weeks ago) is not 'bearing the sword' Romans 13 style. He's not enacting vengeance. He's stopping a crime in progress. Throughout this article, Piper repeatedly cites verses that speak against vengeance, misapplying them to his position on self-defense. Any serious Bible student or teacher should know better than this simple but subtle difference-turned-distraction."

'I Am Called a Cult Leader. I Really Don't Care.' | Christianity Today

A revolting story of spiritual, financial, and sexual abuse in an independent "evangelical" "teaching" "ministry."