Judeo-Christian Culture: Daily Bread 6—Small and Simple Things can still be Important Things

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Daily Bread 6—Small and Simple Things can still be Important Things

Small and Simple Things

Dallin H. Oaks 

6) Simple and Easy Does Not Mean It Is Unimportant

After reciting a seemingly small event that had great consequences, Nephi wrote, “And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things” (1 Nephi 16:29). The Old Testament includes a memorable example of this. There we read how the Israelites were plagued by fiery serpents. Many people died from their bites (see Numbers 21:6). When Moses prayed for relief, he was inspired to make “a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole.” Then, “if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived” (verse 9). Such a small thing for such a miraculous result! Yet, as Nephi explained when he taught this example to those who were rebelling against the Lord, even when the Lord had prepared a simple way by which they could be healed, “because of the simpleness of the way, or the easiness of it, there were many who perished” (1 Nephi 17:41).

That example and that teaching remind us that the simplicity of the way or the easiness of the commanded task cannot mean that it is unimportant to achieve our righteous desire.

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Judeo-Christian Culture: Daily Bread 5—Small and Simple Things, Resist Worldly Influences

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Daily Bread 5—Small and Simple Things, Resist Worldly Influences

Small and Simple Things

Dallin H. Oaks

5) Continual Resistance to Worldly Influences

We are surrounded by media influences and cultural deteriorations that will carry us downstream in our values if we are not continually resisting. To move upstream toward our eternal goal, we must constantly keep paddling. It helps if we are part of a team that is paddling together, like a rowing crew in action. To extend that example even further, the cultural currents are so strong that if we ever stop paddling, we will be carried downstream toward a destination we do not seek but which becomes inevitable if we do not constantly try to move forward.

A father reads to his three young children from the Holy Bible.

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Judeo-Christian Culture: Daily Bread 4—Small and Simple Things, Daily Decisions in Life

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Daily Bread 4—Small and Simple Things, Daily Decisions in Life

Small and Simple Things

Dallin H. Oaks

 

4) Commonplace Tasks, Private Decisions

 Howard W. Hunter taught that “frequently it is the commonplace tasks … that have the greatest positive effect on the lives of others, as compared with the things that the world so often relates to greatness.4

A persuasive secular teaching of this same principle comes from former Senator Dan Coats of Indiana, who wrote: “The only preparation for that one profound decision which can change a life, or even a nation, is those hundreds and thousands of half-conscious, self-defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private.”5

Those “seemingly insignificant” private decisions include how we use our time, what we view on television and the internet, what we read, the art and music with which we surround ourselves at work and at home, what we seek for entertainment, and how we apply our commitment to be honest and truthful. Another seemingly small and simple thing is being civil and cheerful in our personal interactions.

None of these desirable small and simple things will lift us to great things unless they are practiced consistently and continuously. President Brigham Young was reported as saying: “Our lives are made up of little, simple circumstances that amount to a great deal when they are brought together, and sum up the whole life of the man or woman.”6

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Judeo-Christian Culture: Daily Bread 3—Obedience to God in Small and Simple Things brings Small Miracles

Judeo-Christian Culture:

Daily Bread 3—Obedience to God in Small and Simple

Things brings Small Miracles

Small and Simple Things

Dallin H. Oaks 

3) The Lord’s Pattern: Small and Simple Things

Surely these are small things, but surely they are good examples of what Alma taught his son Helaman: “And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord … bringeth about the salvation of many souls” (Alma 37:7).

President Steven C. Wheelwright gave an audience at Brigham Young University–Hawaii this inspired description of Alma’s teaching: Alma confirms for his son that indeed the pattern the Lord follows when we exercise faith in Him and follow His counsel in small and simple things is that He blesses us with small daily miracles, and over time, with marvelous works.3

 

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Judeo-Christian Culture: Christian Word on Parents, Marriage, and the Nuclear Family

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Dinner Topics Month-Defining Moment Defining Moment: Today there are many who are changing the definition of the traditional family. Here Christian leaders clearly define the real family, and warn of the consequences of abandoning Biblical values and moral absolutes. The … Continue reading

Quotations: Thomas Jefferson and Christianity

Dinner Topics for Friday

The media in Thomas Jefferson’s day tried to slander him, saying he was an atheist. The quotations below set the record straight.

 

ThomasJeffersonHistorical Note about Jefferson’s contributions to the Great Seal of the United States

Thomas Jefferson, April 13, 1743

Together with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, Jefferson was appointed to draw up a proposal for the Great Seal of the United States. Although Congress later adopted a simpler design, Jefferson took this occasion to emphasize the historical influence of two earlier civilizations on the liberties of his countrymen. One side of his proposed seal depicted the Anglo-Saxon leader Hengist and Horsa, while the other side portrayed the ancient Israelites being led through the wilderness by God’s pillar of fire. (Allison, The Real Thomas Jefferson, pp. 73-74)

“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.”

We can surely boast of having set the world a beautiful example of a government reformed by reason alone, without bloodshed. . . but the world is too far oppressed to profit by the example.

In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. (Allison, p. 200)

“I am for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another; for freedom of the press, and against all violations of the constitution to silence by force and not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents. “

“As to the calumny of atheism, I am so broken to calumnies of every kind. . .that I entirely disregard it … It has been so impossible to contradict all their lies that I have determined to contradict none, for while I should be engaged with one they would publish twenty new ones. [My] thirty years of public  life have enabled most of those who read newspapers to judge of one for themselves.”

My views of [the Christian religion] are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished anyone to be—sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others.

I hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by himself, to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have ever been preached to man.

If the freedom of religion guaranteed to us by law in theory can ever rise in practice under the overbearing inquisition of public opinion, truth will prevail over fanaticism, and the genuine doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by his pseudo-priests, will again be restored to their original purity. This reformation will advance with the other improvements of the human mind, but too late for me to witness it.

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Read more about Jefferson—Wikipedia

Thomas Jefferson: Christian Leadership

Dinner Topics for Thursday

The Real Thomas Jefferson, Part 1-3

The Real Thomas Jefferson, by Andrew M. Allison, Part 4-5

keyI hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by himself, to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have ever been preached to man.

If the freedom of religion guaranteed to us by law in theory can ever rise in practice under the overbearing inquisition of public opinion, truth will prevail over fanaticism, and the genuine doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by his pseudo-priests, will again be restored to their original purity. This reformation will advance with the other improvements of the human mind, but too late for me to witness it.

Notes and Quotes on the life of Thomas Jefferson, Part 4 His Presidency

This is a large book, very easy and enjoyable reading, but also packed with valuable information. I will share with you some notes and quotes, a little at a time. But don’t miss reading the entire book with your family. It belongs in every American’s home library.~C.A. Davidson

Thomas_Jefferson_by_Rembrandt_Peale,_1800Jefferson’s Presidency

“Though we differ on many points, he displayed an impartiality and a freedom from prejudice that. . .were unusual. There was a mildness and amenity in his voice and manner that at once softened any of the asperities of party spirit that I felt. . .No man can be personally acquainted with Mr. Jefferson and remain his personal enemy.”  (Justice William Paterson of the Supreme Court, one of Jefferson’s most inveterate political opponents p.219)

The tone of Jefferson’s presidency was low key. Believing that American political leaders were aping European royalty too much, he led with a simple style. He never used public funds for his social gatherings.

“A Noiseless Course”

“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.” (p.225)

Slander

James Callender, one of the victims of the Sedition Act who was pardoned by President Jefferson, became embittered when he didn’t receive a government post he wanted. He made up a series of scandalous stories, the ugliest of which accused Jefferson of an illicit relationship with Sally Hemings, a young mulatto slave at Monticello.

Federalists, jealous of Jefferson’s popularity, took up these false accusations, creating a relentless torrent of slander. Jefferson made no public response to these unscrupulous attacks. “I should have fancied myself half guilty,” he said, “had I condescended to put pen to paper in refutation to their falsehoods, or drawn to them respect by any notice from myself.” (p230)

In the face of it all, Jefferson defended the right of his countrymen to free press. He remained silent all during the calumny and instructed his cabinet to do the same.

Under the guise of “modern scholarship”, some recent scholars have “brought forth a rash of sensational and poorly researched publications designed to discredit America’s Founding Fathers.  Many of the ‘facts’ [Callender] dished up are known to be false.” (pp231-232)

Douglass Adair, one of the most highly respected historians of our era, concluded after examining all of the evidence on this matter which has now come to light: “Today, it is possible to prove that Jefferson was innocent of Callender’s charges.”

One of the recently discovered documents to which Adair referred was a letter written by the nineteenth-century biographer Henry Randall, recounting a conversation at Monticello between himself and Jefferson’s oldest grandson, Thomas Jefferson Randolph. In this conversation Randolph confirmed what others close to the family had already disclosed: that Sally Hemings was actually the mistress of Jefferson’s nephew, Peter Carr, and that “their connection . .  . was perfectly notorious at Monticello.” He also pointed out that “there was not the shadow of suspicion that Mr. Jefferson in this or any other instance had commerce with female slaves.” (from essays by Douglass Adair, cited by Allison on p.233)

It is virtually inconceivable that this fastidious gentleman whose devotion to his dead wife’s memory and to the happiness of his daughters and grandchildren bordered on the excessive could have carried on through a period of years a vulgar liaison which his own family could not have failed dot detect. It would be as absurd as to charge this consistently temperate man with being, through a long period, a secret drunkard. (Professor Dumas Malone, author of Pulitzer-Prize-winning six-volume biography of Jefferson p.234)

Jefferson wrote privately that he “feared no injury which any man could do me;. . .I never had done a single act or been concerned in any transaction which I feared to have fully laid open, or which could do me any hurt if truly stated.” (p234)

First Term

1801-1805—Jefferson sent American naval ships to the Mediterranean area, where they were victorious over the Barbary pirates, freeing up trade.

1802—Napoleon was threatening to establish a French empire in the Louisiana territory. Jefferson sent Robert Livingston to solve the situation diplomatically.

1803—The Louisiana Purchase. Almost one million acres were purchased for 15 million dollars, nearly doubling the physical size of the United States.

1804—Jefferson commissioned Lewis and Clark to explore the Louisiana Territory and reach the west coast

These brilliant public achievements were overshadowed by the personal tragedy of the death of his 26-year-old daughter Mary. He deeply mourned her death, but submitted to the will of God. (He was not an atheist!)  (pp. 240-245)

Second Term

Jefferson was reelected by a large margin.

Native Americans

Jefferson was an enthusiastic student of Indian tribes and sought to provide them with instruction in agricultural and domestic arts. He had good relations with Native Americans. (pp250-253)

Aaron Burr

As Vice President in the first term, Aaron Burr often used his tie-breaking votes to favor Federalists. He was replaced as Vice President by George Clinton.

Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. There were warrants for arrest in New Jersey and New York. He lived out the last few months of his term in disgrace and exile. Burr later became involved in a plot to divide the Union. He was arrested and tried for treason.  (pp255-257)

John Marshall

Chief Justice John Marshall acquitted Burr of treason on technicalities. Federalist judges sought to consolidate all power in hands of the federal government.

Judicial Review (pp259-260)

John Marshall established the concept of “Judicial Review”, enabling the federal courts to void Congressional laws by declaring them unconstitutional.

President Jefferson warned that Judicial Review endangered the separation-of-powers principle.

The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the legislative and executive also in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch.

Jefferson was urged by his friends to run for a third term, but he declined. He recommended an amendment to the Constitution limiting the President to two terms.

Teach your family why Religious Freedom Matters

Dinner Talk Topics

1. If our young adults are to restore the culture of liberty, why is it vital we seek truthful history from reliable sources? Watch out for Wikipedia versions of history. Its articles on Jefferson give credence to the slanderous Sally Hemings story. The Real Thomas Jefferson was recommended by Glenn Beck. You can find many sources of historical truth and helpful analysis at his web site.

2. Do you think  today’s “Judicial Review” threatens our liberty? Why?

The Real Thomas Jefferson: The True Story of America’s Philosopher of Freedom

Part 5

Andrew M. Allison

Dear Reader,

This is the final segment of my notes and quotes from this American Classic. The Real Thomas Jefferson, by Andrew M. Allison, is a character education experience that your children must not miss. Truly, Thomas Jefferson was an exemplary epic hero. Not only is this book easy and interesting reading—it is memorable. Bless your children by reading it together with them. You, and they, will be glad you did. And they will never forget it. ~C.A. Davidson

 

Notes and Quotes on the life of Thomas Jefferson, Part 4: Retirement and Closing Years

Character Education, Thomas-Jefferson-style

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Awards for foot races were as follows: three pieces of dried fruit—figs, prunes, or dates—to the victor, two to the second, and one to the lagger who came in last. One of his granddaughters described his method of character education.

He talked with us freely, affectionately, and never lost an opportunity of giving a pleasure or a good lesson. He reproved without wounding us, and commended without making us vain. He took pains to correct our errors and false ideas, checked the bold, encouraged the timid, and tried to teach us to reason soundly and feel rightly. Our smaller follies he treated with good-humored raillery, our graver ones with kind and serious admonition. He was watchful over our manners, and called our attention to every violation of propriety. (Ellen Coolidge, p278-279)

In 1820 he received 1,267 letters. He wrote more letters by his own hand than any other public man that ever lived. An invention  by John Hawkins of Philadelphia called the polygraph preserved 19,000 letters by duplicating them. After 1804 he produced a file copy of almost every letter he wrote. He made several improvements on the polygraph. (p 283)

Dr. Benjamin Rush, a good friend of Jefferson, wrote to both Jefferson and John Adams, urging both men to heal a rift caused by political differences. Both of the former Presidents indicated that they wanted to put aside past disagreements and renew their friendship. Adams said, “I always loved Jefferson, and still love him.” (pp284-285)  The two renewed their friendship and wrote letters for fourteen years.

Monroe Doctrine

monroe-doctrine1823—Jefferson’s successor,  James Monroe, consulted him about European influence in Latin America, which was widely feared. Said Jefferson, “Our first and fundamental maxim should be never to entangle ourselves in the broils of Europe. Our second, never to suffer Europe to intermeddle with cis-Atlantic affairs. From this emerged the Monroe Doctrine. (p287)

Missouri Question

Jefferson very reluctantly accepted Missouri’s entering the union as a slave state, because they threatened to secede.

“I can say, with conscious truth, that there is a not a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would to relieve us from this heavy reproach [i.e., slavery]in any practicable way.” He maintained hope to his dying day of emancipating the slaves. (p 289)

Visitors to Monticello

Jefferson was so loved that he had thousands of visitors continually for eight months of the year, from all over the world. Although Jefferson welcomed the visitors cheerfully and graciously, they often proved a burden to him and to his daughter Martha, who served as hostess. She would often have to prepare for as many as fifty overnight guests.

People even invaded the halls of his home just to get a look at him. One woman actually punched through a window with her parasol just to get a better view of him.

People would gaze at him point-blank as at a creature in the zoo. “They wanted to tell their children, and have it told to their grandchildren, that they had seen Thomas Jefferson.” (pp290-291)

The accommodation of these visitors, the social events in Washington that he paid from his own pocket, neglect of his plantations during his forty years of public service; his enormous generosity to his grandchildren, to local beggars, and to various charitable organizations, all mounted the great indebtedness he struggled with. One biographer wrote, “His contributions to religious, educational, and charitable objects through his life would have made his old age opulent!” (p 305)

University of Virginia

Jefferson spent the closing years of his life establishing a state university. “He believed that these two great purposes—‘the freedom and happiness of man’—should serve as the polestars of all educational programs throughout the Republic. (p 296)  The university opened in 1825, one year before his death.

I am a Real Christian

Another project of Jefferson was to compile in several languages all the New Testament passages which he understood to be the actual utterances of Jesus Christ. He titled this little book, “the Philosophy of Jesus.”

A more beautiful or precious morsel of ethics I have never seen. It is a document in proof that I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus—very different from the Platonists, who call me infidel and themselves Christians and preachers of the gospel, while they draw all their characteristic dogmas from what its Author never said nor saw.(p 299)

Jefferson was reticent on the subject of religion. This caused his political enemies to label him as an atheist. During his presidency, he wrote to Benjamin Rush:

My views of [the Christian religion] are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished anyone to be—sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others.

I hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by himself, to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have ever been preached to man. (pp 300-301)

Many Americans in the early nineteenth century shared the hope of a re-establishment of the Christian religion in its “original purity” in the United States.

Anticipation of the Restoration of Pure and Original Christianity

If the freedom of religion guaranteed to us by law in theory can ever rise in practice under the overbearing inquisition of public opinion, truth will prevail over fanaticism, and the genuine doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by his pseudo-priests, will again be restored to their original purity. This reformation will advance with the other improvements of the human mind, but too late for me to witness it.

Closing scenes of a noble life

Jefferson and his old friend John Adams passed away within hours of each other on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence—that immortal document which he wrote.

He had desired a private interment, but crowds of neighbors and friends waited at the grave to bid farewell and a last tribute of respect and affection.  The “nation’s newspapers and lecture halls overflowed for months with eulogies to honor America’s champion of liberty.  His countrymen of that day seemed to sense, as we do now, that the world is not likely ever to produce another Thomas Jefferson.”

One American declared eloquently, “The grief that such a man is dead may be well assuaged by the proud consolation that such a man has lived.”  (pp 316-318)

Teaching Youth their Biblical Heritage  Click Here

Dinner Talk Topics

1. What comment by Jefferson indicated that he looked forward to a restoration of Christianity in its pure form?

2. Discuss the wisdom of the Monroe Doctrine

3. Together with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, Jefferson was appointed to draw up a proposal for the Great Seal of the United States. Although Congress later adopted a simpler design, Jefferson took this occasion to emphasize the historical influence of two earlier civilizations on the liberties of his countrymen. One side of his proposed seal depicted the Anglo-Saxon leader Hengist and Horsa, while the other side portrayed the ancient Israelites being led through the wilderness by God’s pillar of fire. (Allison, The Real Thomas Jefferson, pp. 73-74)

List principles and actions by Jefferson which exemplified, supported, and perpetuated the Judeo-Christian culture of liberty.

 

Quotes by Thomas Jefferson

Historical Note about Jefferson’s contributions to the Great Seal of the United States

Together with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, Jefferson was appointed to draw up a proposal for the Great Seal of the United States. Although Congress later adopted a simpler design, Jefferson took this occasion to emphasize the historical influence of two earlier civilizations on the liberties of his countrymen. One side of his proposed seal depicted the Anglo-Saxon leader Hengist and Horsa, while the other side portrayed the ancient Israelites being led through the wilderness by God’s pillar of fire. (Allison, The Real Thomas Jefferson, pp. 73-74)

Quotations

“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.”

We can surely boast of having set the world a beautiful example of a government reformed by reason alone, without bloodshed. . . but the world is too far oppressed to profit by the example.

In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. (Allison, p. 200)

“I am for freedom of religion, and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another; for freedom of the press, and against all violations of the constitution to silence by force and not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents. “

“As to the calumny of atheism, I am so broken to calumnies of every kind. . .that I entirely disregard it … It has been so impossible to contradict all their lies that I have determined to contradict none, for while I should be engaged with one they would publish twenty new ones. [My] thirty years of public  life have enabled most of those who read newspapers to judge of one for themselves.”

My views of [the Christian religion] are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions. To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished anyone to be—sincerely attached to his doctrines in preference to all others.

I hold the precepts of Jesus, as delivered by himself, to be the most pure, benevolent, and sublime which have ever been preached to man.

If the freedom of religion guaranteed to us by law in theory can ever rise in practice under the overbearing inquisition of public opinion, truth will prevail over fanaticism, and the genuine doctrines of Jesus, so long perverted by his pseudo-priests, will again be restored to their original purity. This reformation will advance with the other improvements of the human mind, but too late for me to witness it.

Teaching Youth their Biblical Heritage  Click Here

Biblical Truth, Moral Character, the Pope, and Hell

Biblical Truth, Moral Character, the Pope, and Hell

If you take hell out of that equation, if any religion officially took hell out of the equation, then you would, in a psychological, maybe even a realistic sense, you would eliminate one of the greatest deterrents to living a moral and just life that there is in religious life today. If it makes no difference, if there is no eternal life, if there is no heaven, if there is no hell, then what difference does it make what you do in your life?~Rush Limbaugh

 

RUSH: You hear what Pat Buchanan said when he learned that the pope said that there’s no hell? Buchanan said, “Well, then what did Jesus die on the cross for if not to save us from going there?” Which is a brilliant and very simply logical question to ask. Buchanan, by the way, is a devout mainstream Catholic. Now, as far as the controversy is concerned, the pope, even before this — I’m not Catholic, so let me get that stated up front. I have great admiration for many people who are. Do not misunderstand. But I’m not Catholic.

And the pope said (paraphrasing), “No, there is no hell. Those souls just cease to exist. There is a giant nothingness. Nothing happens. They just die. That’s it. But there is no hell.” So this gets reported, and like many other things that this pope says, the Vatican then began an immediate race to correct this and to suggest the pope was not saying this officially as pope. He was engaged in a private conversation and the journalist happened to leak it, but it was not even a journalist interview.

It was a simple conversation between two human beings, one of whom happened to be the pope, but he wasn’t pope that day, essentially. Not the words they used. But he was not the pope that day. He was this guy’s friend and they were chatting about things. He was not, in other words, the Vatican says articulating anything new in terms of church doctrine.

But it’s easy to see that with this pope, the left is even corrupting the Catholic Church. I can remember 25 years ago on this program when Cardinal O’Connor was cardinal of New York City. I met him on a pro-life cruise, actually, around New York harbor shortly after my arrival there. I’d been invited by people I didn’t even know who had heard this new guy on the radio in town who was actively, proudly, publicly pro-life. And that was my first introduction to some really powerful people in New York.

This pope comes along, and I tell you, not just this. This pope is left-wing politically active on things like climate change. The whole left-wing agenda, the whole liberal agenda, this pope articulates it, and this pope is doing what he can to intermingle his own personal political beliefs with church doctrine. I never thought I would see that. I mean, I know there are leftists and liberals all over every organization, I’m not being naive, but the church is the church. What it believes is what it believes. It doesn’t change because public opinion changes, and yet it is, at least this pope seems to be doing just that.

So this controversy over the pope saying there is no hell, he apparently was having a conversation with a good friend of his who happens to be an atheist, who then happens to be a journalist. And those two things kind of follow on each other. A journalist who is an atheist makes perfect sense. And this pope talking to this guy, he’s a friend before he’s a journalist, that also makes sense as well.

Now, I’m not objecting to the pope, Il Papa, talking to atheists. In fact, that might be a great mission for a pope to deal in, try to help somebody through their atheism. That would be the mission of the church. But what is reported to have happened by this atheist journalist is that the pope was asked by the journalist, what happens to fallen souls? And do they go to hell? Do they spend eternity rotting in hell?

But the Vatican is hustling now, and they’re doing everything they can to walk this back. Because if this, for example, were an official papal bull, so to speak, or a proclamation, well, this would blow everything up sky-high. I know this is gonna sound really old-fashioned and dated, but the existence of hell in religious doctrine and teachings is as a deterrent. For believers, the last place you would ever want to end up anywhere is hell.

And so hell is presented as what happens if you fail to seek forgiveness for your sins, however your religion says that must be done. And if you fail to repent — and it’s not a matter of doing good works. This gets me in trouble every time I say it. You know, getting to heaven versus getting to hell is not a matter of good works, because there’s nobody who could get to hell if good works were the requirement, because we are all sinners, according to religious doctrine.

So the way to accommodate the sin is Jesus Christ died on the cross in this day for our sins, and if we accept him and accept that, this is the very, very CliffsNotes short version, then we can gain acceptance to the house of the Lord, heaven, and eternal life. If we don’t, we don’t seek the forgiveness, we don’t seek absolution for our sins, we go to hell.

If you take hell out of that equation, if any religion officially took hell out of the equation, then you would, in a psychological, maybe even a realistic sense, you would eliminate one of the greatest deterrents to living a moral and just life that there is in religious life today. If it makes no difference, if there is no eternal life, if there is no heaven, if there is no hell, then what difference does it make what you do in your life?

What possible thing can happen, what’s the worst thing that can happen to you if there is nothing after you die? And that’s the risk that people don’t want to take with removing hell. And I know people say, “Come on, Rush, nobody can prove it, even the fact that it’s a deterrent, it never stopped anybody.”

Oh, it does when they’re about to die. Many people have a, quote, unquote, “come to Jesus” moment as they age and get older. But, anyway, without getting into more detail on that and the psychological or sociological aspects, just the pope even flirting with this is causing a whole bunch of trouble and a lot of trouble. But to me it’s not a surprise at all, given this pope’s previous political statements that the Vatican has then had to run around and fix and try to restate, and so forth.

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What the Hell? Vatican Scrambles to Correct Pope

Christian News: Christian Conversion Numbers rise in Communist China; Christian Jews number almost One Million

Christian News:

Christian Conversion Numbers rise in Communist China;

So shall my word be that goeth forth out or my mouth: it shall not return unto my void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. ~Isaiah 55:11

Report: Christianity Sweeping Communist China as Millions Convert

By Cathy Burke

China’s on track to contain the world’s largest Christian population thanks to a surge in underground house churches and state-sanction places of worship, according to the Council of Foreign Relations.

In a background document titled “Christianity in China,” the CFR estimates of the number of Protestants at anywhere from 58 million to 115 million and higher — though fewer than 30 million attend officially registered churches.

The CFR reported underground house churches exist parallel to state-sanctioned Christian churches, operating outside of the guidelines of the government, and their regulation by party authorities is largely determined by local leaders.

According to the background report, the number of Chinese Protestants has grown by an average of 10 percent annually since 1979, putting China on track to have the world’s largest population of Christians by 2030.

Estimates of the Catholic faithful in China, meanwhile, range between 10 to 12 million — despite the fact that the Holy See and Beijing haven’t had formal diplomatic ties since 1951. According to the CFR, the two sides now are reportedly close to finalizing a deal on the appointment of Catholic bishops.

According to the CFR, social scientists are linking the rise in Christianity with that of a spiritual vacuum following decades of unbridled economic growth in China. And with a richer and better educated society and a renewed interest in religion, the Chinese Community Party philosophy loses its public traction, the CFR noted.

Protestantism “appeals to Chinese traditions of ritual and community,” according to French Jesuit and China scholar Benoit Vermander, the CFR report states.

Christians in China — who are predominantly Protestant — are drawn to the religion’s emphasis on egalitarianism and spiritual community within the church, adds Fenggang Yang of Purdue University’s Center on Religion and Chinese Society.

It is also possible that more Chinese may choose Christianity over other faiths, such as Tibetan Buddhism, Islam or Falun Gong, because Christianity is more tolerated and is potentially a safer option in China, says Freedom House’s senior research analyst for East Asia, Sarah Cook.

Still Christian Persecution in Communist China

Still, Christians have faced growing repression in recent years — and China has ranked 10th as a country where it’s most difficult and dangerous to practice Christianity, according to Open Doors, a U.S.-based Christian non-profit that tracks the persecution of Christians worldwide.

 

Report: Christianity Sweeping China as Millions Convert

Christian Jews number almost One Million

Nearly 1 million U.S. evangelicals are ‘Jewish’

Shocker survey shows huge messianic movement in American Judaism

WASHINGTON – A new survey by LifeWay Research shows an estimated 871,000 American evangelical Christians have at least one Jewish parent or grandparent – almost three times the largest estimates previously assessed in past studies.

The messianic Jewish movement has been growing in the United States and Israel, but the latest survey is a shocker to those who track the size and scope. There are hundreds of messianic congregations in the U.S. attracting Jews and non-Jews alike because of the unique teachings and beliefs that emphasize a literal Israel-centric view of the Bible – both Old Testament and New.

“We are thrilled with the growth of the messianic movement both within and outside of the nation of Israel,” said Mitch Glaser, president of Chosen People Ministries, one of the sponsors of the survey. “The number of evangelicals saying they have a Jewish parent or grandparent is far greater than we imagined. Probably one of the reasons for this, according to the LifeWay Survey, is because over 70 percent of evangelicals in the United States believe in the importance of reaching out to their Jewish friends with the good news of Jesus.”

The study found that among American adults, almost 40 million have evangelical beliefs using the LifeWay Research definition. Two percent of these evangelicals indicate that one or more of their parents or grandparents are Jewish. This yields the estimate of 870,771 adult Americans who have evangelical beliefs and self-report that they have at least one Jewish parent or grandparent.

In addition, about half of the evangelicals surveyed, or 47 percent, agree with the statement, “Jewish people continue to be significant for the history of redemption as Jesus will return when the Jewish people accept Jesus.” Twenty-three percent disagree, and 31 percent are not sure.

 

 

http://www.wnd.com/2018/03/nearly-1-million-u-s-evangelicals-are-jewish/

Teaching Children about Easter

Teaching Children about Easter

Can kids comprehend the cross?

Teddy James

American Family Association Journal

Jesus and ChildrenExcept for a few details such as being “with child from the Holy Spirit,” children don’t seem to have much problem understanding the Christmas story. God came to earth as a baby. His mother was Mary; his earthy father, Joseph. They had traveled a long way and were sleeping in a barn the night He was born. The good guys, like the shepherds and the wise men, celebrated His birth, but others did not.

Compare that story with the 33-year-old Jesus voluntarily traveling to Jerusalem, celebrating Passover, staying silent before His accusers, being flogged, beaten, spat upon, having a crown of thorns forced onto His head, carrying the instrument of His homicide, nailed to a rough, wooden cross, and suffering for six hours until He died. Easter is difficult to explain and understand for adults, but much more so for children.

It is here that traditions can help families explain the tragedy and hope of Easter. Using tactile items to tell the story of Easter helps children understand the events on a level appropriate for their sensitivity and maturity. It also leaves room for their understanding to grow through the years. On top of that, new traditions help families mark, remember, and celebrate the most important of holy days in Christendom.

Resurrection Eggs
The ubiquitous plastic eggs have become synonymous with the Easter season. This has led some families to create a new tradition that embraces them but also points away from the commercialization of Easter and toward the reason we celebrate.

Parents get children to help them create or find items that go inside the eggs to symbolize the events of Easter. Most limit the items to 12 so the eggs can be kept in a common egg carton.

teaching-children-easterFamilies choose different symbols including: a cracker to symbolize the Last Supper (Matthew 26:26), silver coins (Matthew 26:14-16), a piece of leather or rope (John 19:1), a twig of thorns (Matthew 27:29), a cross (19:16-17), a large nail (John 19:18), a sign reading “King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38), a sponge (Matthew 27:48), a spear (John 19:34), cloves or spices (Luke 24:1), a rock (Matthew 27:59-60), and a white piece of linen (John 20:7). The last egg is left empty to show that Jesus left the tomb on the third day.

No matter what items are chosen, it is important to include a Scripture reference inside each egg. This will also help children see Scripture as living, breathing, and applicable rather than dry and boring.

Resurrection Tree
Building on the idea of gathering items that symbolize Easter, many families build a Resurrection Tree. The tree is unique in that it takes families from Creation to Jesus’ resurrection. Some families take 30 days to decorate the tree and spend a few minutes each day leading up to Resurrection Sunday to read Scripture and create ornaments.  (See sidebar below.)

On the first day, parents read Genesis 1-2 and children place an ornament that resembles earth on the tree. That ornament can be papier-mâché or a colored balloon. On day seven, families can read Genesis 37, 40-46 (or excerpts from those chapters) and place an ornament symbolizing Joseph’s coat of many colors. On day eight, a lamb is placed on a branch while reading Exodus 12, the story of the Passover. This is a perfect time to discuss how the Passover is a foreshadowing of Easter. Families continue working their way through God’s story of redemption to its culmination in the resurrection.

But the Resurrection Tree doesn’t have to take 30 days. Some families make one ornament for every week of Lent. (See sidebar.) Others choose to make only four ornaments the first year, carefully explaining each symbol. They add a few more the next year and further explain the ramifications of Easter to their children.

Seder Meal
Messianic Jewish congregations possess a great way of teaching that the gospel did not begin in the New Testament but was in God’s plan from the very beginning. They celebrate Passover with a Seder meal, and some choose to end the dinner with Communion.

The Seder meal consists of many elements including the washing of hands, a time during which children ask four questions and are answered by the leader of the Seder meal, the hiding and finding of the Afkomen (unleavened bread), the four cups of wine that involve a reading and response filled with history and Scripture, the partaking of the Seder plate consisting of Karpas (greens), Beltzah (a boiled egg), Maror (a bitter herb), Charoset (a sweet mixture of chopped apples, nuts, honey, and cinnamon), and the shank bone of a lamb.

Every aspect of the Seder meal has a powerful, symbolic meaning. That meaning is amplified when viewed through the lens of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. The Seder meal is a tradition thousands of years in the making and will bring extra meaning to your family’s Easter celebration.

Easter is certainly difficult to explain and hard to understand, especially for children. However, it can also be the most celebratory, meaningful, and maturing seasons in a Christian child’s life. These traditions, and many others like them, will ensure that your children remember that Easter isn’t about new clothes, candy, and an oversized bunny. It is about the Creator of the Universe clothing Himself in flesh and offering Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. Whatever traditions you choose to establish, make sure they will be remembered, treasured, and repeated.

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Lent – This year, Lent began on February 18, Ash Wednesday. Although the Lenten season is almost complete, it isn’t too late to prepare your family for Easter through this traditional time marked by self-examination, prayer, fasting, self-denial, and repentance.

Here are some ideas for Lent to help you get started.

  • Practice self-denial. Give up something important to you. A few examples include withholding food for one meal a day, giving up coffee or tea, abstaining from television, or choosing to read only Scripture.
  • Serve those around you. Make a special effort to follow Jesus’s life of service by finding families in your community to bless, or by making a sacrificial gift to a gospel ministry.
  • Make pretzels. Pretzels are a traditional Lenten food symbolizing arms crossed in prayer. Making pretzels is a memorable way to include children in the Lenten season.
  • Prepare your heart. Like an annual physical exam, use this time to access your relationship with Christ. Pray through the verses of Psalm 51 and meditate on it daily.
  • Begin a focused family Bible time. If your family is not in the habit of studying Scripture together, Lent is a great time to begin. The Easter story found in Mark 14-16 is an appropriate passage.

http://www.afajournal.org/recent-issues/2015/april/can-kids-comprehend-the-cross/

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New Easter traditions

Resurrection Eggs kit
1-800-358-6329

Resurrection Tree

Seder Meal Resources

Full copy of a Haggadah

How to make an Easter Garden

How and why to celebrate the 40 days Jesus stayed on earth after His resurrection

40-day journey to Easter