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Chuck Colson Breakiing Point Empty Re: Chuck Colson Breakiing Point

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Sermon Text for June 5, 2016
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on June 5, 2016
By Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
(What is the Gospel? It's the good news of God's forgiving love for us, in 
Jesus Christ.)
Copyright 2016 Lutheran Hour Ministries
Listen to The Lutheran Hour podcast online
Text: Galatians 1:11-24

"I, Paul, want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached 
is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught
it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. For you have 
heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the 
of God and tried to destroy it....(But Now)....the report: "The man who 
formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy."

Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia.

Be very careful when someone says to you, "Have I got good news for you!" 
Why, because chances are that it is good news for them and not for you at 

Let me explain. I want to tell you a story about a guy named Bernard. 
Bernard started his own business in 1960. He helped people invest their nest 
and he became very, very good at it. He had real good news for people; at 
least that's what most people thought. And Bernard assured them that this 
the gospel truth, "something you can count on and be sure of!"

But this gospel, his gospel, this good news, began to crumble in 2008. 
Finally, Bernard admitted that his investing was a scam. He took money from 
person to pay another. Along the way, he raked in billions of dollars.

You're thinking now that you may have heard of this Bernard. Yes, he's 
Bernie Madoff, the man who perpetrated the biggest financial fraud scheme in 
history of the United States. His investors were duped out of $18 billion. 
He lied about nearly $50 billion in gains. He preached good news that was 
good to be true. And, like all lies, it was just a matter of time before it 
all came tumbling down. Madoff is now serving a 150-year prison sentence. 
former clients-mostly charitable organizations and elderly people-suffered 
the terrible loss of trusting Madoff's message.

I wonder if you're putting your faith in something false like that today. It 
may not be a Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, but are you telling yourself that
you'll be happy once your health is where you want it to be? Or are you 
believing that you'll be content once you meet the right person or when you 
the house that you really, really want? Are you saying that once you have 
enough money, then you'll turn your life around and then you'll settle down?
Are you putting your faith in the next thing, the next development in life, 
the next purchase, the next dream realized? Is that the gospel truth you're
counting on?

Now listen, I know that there are many things in this life that make us 
happy for a time. I'm not saying those are necessarily bad, but I do know 
they are not the "Gospel truth," the Good News that is the center of all 
things! Many blessings and dreams lift us up and boost our spirits. There is 
much to be thankful for. But can you really stake your contentment on things 
that will ultimately pass away? Can you stake your life, your attitude, your
direction, even your eternity, on things that will not and cannot last? Are 
the gospels you hear on television, or read about in social media, or are 
by friends, or the one that you tell yourself; are they really true gospels?

Dear friend, I don't want you to be swindled. I hope you see, today, what I 
am talking about is worth believing in. It's the true Gospel. It is the 
and enduring truth of God's love for you. It is the certainty of restoration 
for your soul, renewal for your spirit, and forgiveness for your sins. It
is the Gospel of being given a gift-the gift of new life through the work of 
Jesus Christ for you. That's the true, enduring Gospel.

As human beings, like I've said, we're really good at inventing gospels that 
make us feel better just for a while. But you don't need something in your
life that has no staying power. You don't need to play games with pacifying 
beliefs and false hopes. You need what's real and what is lasting.

A man named Chuck Colson discovered that. He found the true Gospel; actually 
the true Gospel found him. He had a brilliant intellect, he was a 
New York attorney, became a high-profile political operative in the Nixon 
administration, and, after he was convicted of obstruction of justice, spent
time in prison. But before prison, his life underwent a radical change. 
Chuck Colson abandoned all the false gospels he was believing because the 
Gospel made its way into his life.

It all started when he visited one of his very wealthy and powerful clients. 
Tom was a president of a major defense contractor. Chuck stepped into Tom's
office and recalled how Tom used to have a frantic look with phones ringing, 
assistants scurrying back and forth, and his desk filled with piles of 
But something had changed. Colson said, "When I entered his office, it was 
the same old Tom...But the smile was a lot warmer, radiant, in fact, and he
looked more relaxed than I had ever seen him before" (92).

The two men visited for about twenty minutes when Colson finally spoke up 
and asked Tom, "What changed in your life?" Tom said, "I have committed my 
to Jesus, and it's the most marvelous experience." He said, "I had gotten to 
the point where I thought my life was worth nothing. Now everything is 
values, the whole bit" (93).

Chuck Colson couldn't believe what he heard. The president of one of the 
biggest companies in the nation, who owned beautiful homes and drove the 
automobiles, who was married to a wonderful wife, had great kids, thought 
his life wasn't worth anything. Colson said, "But he had struck a raw 
empty life. It was what I was living with" (93).

Does that strike a nerve in you? Have you veered into an empty life? Are you 
putting your hope in yourself or in short-term gospels?

Before his conversion to faith in Jesus, the Apostle Paul was on the same 
track as Chuck Colson; same ambition, different position. Paul was a 
church leader. He had the best education. His family had the right 
bloodline. He had all the connections and was the up-and-coming expert 
leader lauded
by the people all around him. But his life was empty. He bought into false 
gospels. They felt rewarding. They stoked his ego. They made him look 
in the eyes of the world. But they were poisoning his soul and taking him 
down the track toward eternal darkness and misery.

That's when God stepped in. Paul said it this way: "But when he who had set 
me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, when he was 
to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the 
Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone" (Galatians 1:15-16). 
Paul was
pointing out that this was not a human gospel. He said, "For I did not 
receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a 
of Jesus Christ" (Galatians 1:12).

This was the true Gospel of the crucified, risen, and eternal Son of God, 
Jesus Christ. It was the Good News that Paul didn't have to impress people 
his self-worth. He didn't have to try to live perfectly to make it in life, 
because that life was impossible anyway as sinners no matter how hard you 
No, because of Jesus Christ, he was already loved by God and saved by grace. 
The real Gospel changed everything, just like it did for Tom and just like
it can for you.

It even happened to Chuck Colson. After that initial meeting with Tom, Chuck 
knew he had to see him again. So on an overcast evening, he drove to Tom's
house. The two sat in the kitchen and Chuck said to Tom, "You've changed and 
I really need to know what happened."

Tom replied, "Something was missing. I felt a terrible emptiness. I would 
get up in the middle of the night and pace the floor. My life, it just 
complete. I would go to the office and do my job, I was trying to make the 
company succeed, but there was a hole in my life. I began to read the 
looking for answers. Something made me realize I needed a personal 
relationship with God" (109).

Colson could relate to Tom. The empty life is not uncommon. He realized, 
however, that he didn't seek a spiritual answer. He didn't even know a 
with God was possible. Chuck pressed for more details. Tom said, "I didn't 
seem to have anything that mattered. It was all on the surface. All the 
things in life are meaningless if a [person] hasn't discovered what's 
underneath them all" (110).

Then Tom shared two moments that changed his life. The first was hearing a 
preacher share that if you know something is missing, Jesus Christ and faith
in Jesus is what you need to fill that emptiness. Instead of a hollow 
promise, God's promise of new life and of peace that is beyond our 
is real. God's promise of hope that is unshakable is the true Gospel-the 
real deal. Because of that Good News....Tom put faith, his faith, in Jesus 
everything changed!

What changed first and foremost was pride, the idea that you've got it all 
covered and there's no one better at it than me. This quote from C.S. Lewis
challenged Tom and Chuck Colson. Lewis said it this way, "In God you come up 
against something which is in every respect immeasurably superior to 
Unless you know God as that-and, therefore, know yourself as nothing in 
comparison-you do not know God at all. As long as you are proud, you cannot 
God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of 
course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is 
above you"

Colson started to sweat when he heard those words. Pride. That's what he was 
all about. He was about himself. He was stubborn. He didn't need help from
anyone, and he sought his way all the time. He was arrogant. And he knew he 
was lost. He described C.S. Lewis' words on pride as a torpedo that hit him
amidships (114). Chuck thought, "Of course, I had not known God. How could 
I? I had been concerned with myself alone. I had done this and that, I had 
I had succeeded, and I had given God none of the credit, never once thanking 
Him for any of His gifts to me. I had never thought of anything being 
superior" to myself, or if I had in fleeting moments thought about the 
infinite power of God, I had not related Him to my life in any way. In those 
moments while Tom read, I saw myself as I never had before. And the picture 
was ugly" (114).

False gospels. False gospels started to crumble and the true Gospel was 
beginning to work on Colson. That's what happened to the Apostle Paul as 
He was a religious man, that's for sure. But even there, his confidence was 
in his spiritual superiority and in his religious fervor. Pride comes in 
forms. It can be psychological, physical, spiritual, political, societal; 
but no matter what, if it depends on you, your effort, your expertise, 
it will come to nothing. Why, because God created you, God gave you all that 
you possess, God even redeemed you to live a life forever again with Him in
spite of your sin and pride. But, without Him, all of this comes to nothing.

What Tom learned, what Chuck learned, what Paul learned, what you and I can 
learn together today again is that "Jesus Christ is the living God who 
us a day-to-day living relationship with Him and a personal one at that" 
(125). Those words from C.S. Lewis, a former atheist, now a prolific writer 
the Good News of Jesus, they get at the heart of real good news of God that 
lasts. In Christ, you can have a relationship with God that lasts forever,
founded on His love for us, His death and resurrection for us, and His gift 
of life with Him now and into eternity.

That's the true Gospel, the very Good News of God in Jesus Christ, one that 
only He can earn, one that only He can share. It is the true Gospel. It 
fade. It doesn't falter. It is no scam. There is no expiration. It is the 
bedrock of life-it's the only bedrock of life.

Not only does it deal with the ineptitude of human pride, but it offers 
something that only God can offer and guarantee-eternal life. And, just 
think about
that with me for a moment. Eternal life, it changes everything. It puts 
everything into perspective.

Listen to what Colson realized for the first time in his life. Again, 
reading in Lewis, "Immortality makes this other difference...If individuals 
only seventy years, then a state, or a nation, or a civilization, which may 
last for thousands of years, is more important than the individual. But if
Christianity is true, then the individual is not only more important but 
incomparably more important, for he or she is everlasting and the life of a 
or a civilization, compared with this, is only but a moment" (128).

The abounding and eternal love of God for us, His children, started to hit 
Colson with full force. Everything was changing. His perspective was 
Life was not about selfishness; it was about the selfless love of God in 
Jesus Christ. In many ways that's what overwhelmed the Apostle Paul too when 
met Jesus on the road to Damascus.

In Jesus Christ, then, there is a righteousness that is pure. There is a 
holiness that is enduring, and He gifts it to all who put their trust in 
In Jesus Christ, there is a forgiveness and an absolution of guilt that took 
the death and resurrection of the Son of God to accomplish, and then He 
it to people like you and me who put their faith in Him. And, in Jesus 
Christ, there is a life to be lived, each and every day, yes, but a life to 
be lived
eternally too and He guarantees that to all who put their trust in Him.

Maybe you've heard about names like C.S. Lewis or Chuck Colson, maybe not. 
But the point is not about Lewis, or Colson, or even the Apostle Paul for 
matter. The point is about the Good News of Jesus that changed their life. 
The Good News that can change your life too!

I remember hearing another story about Chuck Colson. As he was leaving 
prison for the crimes committed in Watergate, one of the prisoners said, 
"Hey Chuck,
I don't think we'll be seeing you here again anymore, will we?" Most 
prisoners knew that, for people on the outside, even for prisoners who'd 
been set
free, they become afterthoughts; those who are still left behind. Soon out 
of sight, soon out of mind. Well, the Gospel did more than change Colson's 
about himself, it changed his mind about what he was ultimately here to do 
too. Maybe you know Colson, not from his Watergate days, but from the 
Prison Fellowship, a ministry that he started....going back to the cells of 
other inmates to tell them too about the Good News of Jesus Christ for them!

This true Gospel can change you today. It doesn't matter where you've been. 
Now is the time to begin your new life in Jesus forever! Pride aside, 
life guaranteed, and the power to love others the way that God in Christ 
loves you. That's Good News indeed! Believe it, receive it, and share it; 
nothing else in the world like it! God bless you.

Print this Sermon
LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for June 5, 2016
Topic: What is the Gospel?

ANNOUNCER: And we are back once again with Pastor Gregory Seltz. I'm Mark 
Eischer. Today in your sermon you used that word Gospel quite a bit. Let's 
on that word. What is the Gospel? What do we mean by that?

SELTZ: Listeners ask us about this all the time, Mark, and we need to talk 
about it. I love to talk about this word the Gospel.

ANNOUNCER: Let's start with the actual meaning of the word. It comes to us 
from the Greek and it means "good news" or "good message."

SELTZ: That's right. It's from that Greek word "euangelion." The "eu" just 
means "good" and the second part of that word has "angel" in it, which is 
with the "message" or "news." But the Gospel doesn't just refer to any good 
news, Mark.

ANNOUNCER: Here we're talking about the Good News of God's salvation, the 
gifts of His forgiveness and new life that comes to us through faith in 

SELTZ: That is the message. That's the Gospel. It is the true Good News 
given to our world; a world that is filled with lots of bad news and even 
good news that only lasts for a while. The Gospel is the enduring, even 
over-arching message of God's love for us in Jesus Christ.

ANNOUNCER: But why are the first four books of the New Testament called 

SELTZ: They're accounts of Jesus' life and records of Jesus' words and 
actions. Jesus is the Gospel in the flesh. In fact, those Gospels; Matthew, 
Luke and John; they converge around the core focus and message of the Good 
News of Jesus' death and His resurrection. This Good News in Christ runs 
in contrast to the bad news that we deal with every day.

ANNOUNCER: Are you talking here about the headlines or our personal 

SELTZ: In a way, both. The terrible things that are happening in our world 
and the difficult things happening in our lives are symptoms of the really 
news. We have all separated ourselves from God because of our rebellion 
against Him. Our lives, our world are broken and chaotic because we push God 
and we fall away from Him.

ANNOUNCER: And the Bible's name for that is "sin."

SELTZ: Yeah, and even sin is not so much about the bad things that we do, 
and that's bad enough, the worst thing is our condition is flawed and in 
need of repair. The Apostle Paul says it this way, "For I do not do the good 
I want, but the evil I do not want to do, that's what I keep on doing" 

ANNOUNCER: I think we can all relate to that. We try to do the right things, 
but find ourselves falling over and over again either in thoughts, words,
or actions.

SELTZ: Me, too, Mark. Whether it's at home, driving, personal life; sin is 
evident everywhere. It is true in all of us. Just look in the mirror and ask
yourself if you're perfect. Any honest person knows the answer is a 
resounding "No!" This isn't a shot at our self-esteem either. It's simply 
telling the
truth of what we all struggle with every day.

ANNOUNCER: But along with his outcry of frustration, the Apostle Paul also 
shows us the answer, doesn't he?

SELTZ: He does. He says in Romans 7: "Wretched man that I am! He's straight 
up. Who will deliver me from this body of death? I love it. Here he says, 
be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"(Romans 7:24-25)

ANNOUNCER: So, he gives us the bad news, but then along comes the Good News.

SELTZ: Well, Paul says it straight though to make the ultimate point. The 
answer to real, real bad news is the real good news of the Gospel. So Jesus 
all the bad news of our lives on His shoulders. He carries our guilt and 
brokenness-everything for all people.

ANNOUNCER: And He offered Himself to God on the cross for our punishment and 
to receive there the consequences of everything that is wrong with us and
with our world.

SELTZ: Yes, that's why He died on the cross as in the place of a criminal 
for us. God the Father punished Him in our place and that's why Paul could 
say, "There
is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus"(Romans 8:1).

ANNOUNCER: That IS Good News!

SELTZ: That's the Gospel. In fact, that is the Good News of God. Every 
listener can be in Christ Jesus by believing in Him today. Every listener 
can receive
the gift of forgiveness in baptism. It's a tangible way God pours His gifts 
into our lives. Every listener can have hope in Jesus and the certainty of
eternal life as they trust in His Good News.

ANNOUNCER: And one more point, the Gospel is not just a message; it also has 
the power to change lives.

SELTZ: Paul said that too. He said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, it 
is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).

ANNOUNCER: Our prayer is that every listener believes the Gospel that they 
hear each week on this program.

SELTZ: Absolutely.

ANNOUNCER: Thank you, Pastor Seltz. This has been a presentation of Lutheran 
Hour Ministries.

Action in Ministry for June 5, 2016
Guest: Bruce Wurdeman

ANNOUNCER: You're listening to The Lutheran Hour and this is Action in 
Ministry. Pastor Seltz, as I think about today's message, I'm reminded of 
many Bible stories we learned sitting in Sunday School all those many years.

SELTZ: The Bible is packed with wonderful stories, Mark, many of which we 
hear from the time we're old enough to sit. Our next resource...we're 
that there's always something more to learn.

ANNOUNCER: I know. Often we hear these stories but we don't dig deeper so we 
might be missing out on some important insights.

SELTZ: I agree.

ANNOUNCER: Joining us today is Bruce Wurdeman. He's the former Executive 
Director of Lutheran Hour Ministries. He is also the author and star of a 
video series called, Stuff They Didn't Teach Me in Sunday School. Bruce, 
thanks for joining us.

WURDEMAN: Yeah, star might just be a little over the top.

SELTZ: You wear it well, Bruce. You wear it well.

WURDEMAN: It's good to be here with you all.

SELTZ: Bruce, welcome back. You were at the helm here from 2009 to 2013. So, 
the first question is how has retirement been treating you and Mj?

WURDEMAN: Really good. It's a lot of fishing, a lot of golf, a lot of 
volunteering to do the things I want to do and saying no to the things I 
don't want
to do. That's the advantage of retirement.

SELTZ: Sharing the Gospel on the 19th hole.

WURDEMAN: You betcha.

ANNOUNCER: Now during your time here at Lutheran Hour Ministries you 
produced this video series. Why did you think it was needed?

WURDEMAN: I don't know that it was my idea. I was teaching a Bible class at 
the time; once a week with some of the staff; and some of the staff said, 
finding out things we didn't know before about Scripture. We ought to try to 
do a video on this." So we did six videos to start with for a Men's NetWork
series. It went from that to 186 videos. It just kept going.

SELTZ: Wow, it's a great resource. Bruce, you were also known for your sense 
of humor when you were here and that's always helpful too in sharing the 
That's who you are. So tell us a little bit about that. That's in the series 
as well, right?

WURDEMAN: Yeah, the humor comes out, I think, sometimes. I love what the 
Scripture represents. I think God has a sense of humor.

SELTZ: You're right.

WURDEMAN: He makes points in ways that we sometimes miss. One of the ways 
that I think He makes a point in the Scripture, and maybe there is some 
attached to it, is some of the names He gives to people; my favorite 
Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, the spoils speeds the prey haste. Every time that 
Isaiah calls
his son to dinner, it's a message for the nation.

SELTZ: It took a long time to call him to dinner.

WURDEMAN: I think they probably called him "Bud," though, don't you think?

ANNOUNCER: All together there are 186 episodes in this series. Are there any 

WURDEMAN: It's the story of Jacob when he's running away from his brother 
after he's cheated him out of the birthright. He goes to sleep one night and
he has a dream. The angels ascending and descending and he's got his head on 
a rock and he has this dream. And then that's the last you hear of it until
you get to the New Testament and then here's Jesus. He encounters a guy 
named Nathanael and he says to Nathanael, "I saw you when you were under the 
tree" and Nathanael's just got his mind blown because apparently Jesus 
wasn't anywhere near him. And Jesus says, "Well, in fact, you ain't seen 
yet. You're going to see the angels ascending and descending on the Son of 
Man." Well, the rabbis in that day taught that that rock that Jacob had his
head on was the foundation stone in the temple where the Ark of the Covenant 
used to sit. By Jesus' time it wasn't there anymore. And they said, "That's
where God touched earth in that foundation stone." And Jesus says, "No, it's 
in Me that God touches His world."

ANNOUNCER: And a modern reader doesn't understand that...

WURDEMAN: No, because they don't know the history. They don't know the 
rabbinical creation...

SELTZ: But again, that's the kind of stuff that's brought out in these 


SELTZ: And that's the kind of stuff that can actually reconnect the people 
back to the Bible in a meaningful way.


SELTZ: Well, Bruce, that's incredible because our listeners are going to see 
there's 186 of these things. How do you suggest one starts working through
these things so that they can be a really good resource for them?

WURDEMAN: Some churches have used them for Bible studies or small group 
Bible studies. Each one is about 5 to 7 minutes long, something like that, 
they come with a discussion guide with them. So, if you use the video, you 
look at the Scripture section itself, and then work through the discussion 
you've probably got 45 minutes, hour of discussion. Other people have just 
sat at home and watched them themselves.

SELTZ: Blessed at home.

WURDEMAN: All kinds of ways of being used.

SELTZ: Well, these videos are available right now at our website. In just a 
moment we'll tell you where to find them. Bruce, it's great to have you back
with us and God continue to be with you and Mj.

WURDEMAN: Thanks for having me. It is good to come back home.

SELTZ: There you go.

ANNOUNCER: The title of this resource is: Stuff They Didn't Teach Me in 
Sunday School. To view or download this content at no cost, go to 
and click on Action in Ministry. For information on ordering a DVD copy, 
call 1-855-john316. That's 1-855-564-6316.
Music Selections for this program:

"A Mighty Fortress" arranged by Chris Bergmann. Used by permission.

"When in the Hour of Deepest Need" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 
Concordia Publishing House)

"By Grace I'm Saved" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia 
Publishing House)
Visit lutheranhour.org

Posts : 60887
Join date : 2008-10-25
Age : 74
Location : Wales UK


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Chuck Colson Breakiing Point Empty Re: Chuck Colson Breakiing Point

Post  Admin on Fri 20 Nov 2015, 10:01 pm

Christmas Smack Down by Chuck Colson, BreakPoint
In a Texas classroom, children were told to draw a
tracing of their foot, and then put a message on the
drawing. One little girl wrote "Jesus Loves Me" on
hers. What happened next shows the abysmal state of
religious tolerance in America.
As Fox news anchor John Gibson relates in his new
book, The War on Christmas, the child's teacher ripped
the tracing off the board. "Don't you ever do this
again," she said. The little girl burst into tears.
When her outraged father called the school, nervous
officials told the child to make another tracing. She
did so--but this time, instead of scrawling "Jesus
Loves Me," she drew a tiny cross that was so small it
was almost invisible.
This little girl had learned her lesson well. Her
Christian faith was something shameful--and she should
keep it to herself.
And this little girl is not the only child learning
this ugly lesson. In a Plano, Texas, classroom, a
teacher told students not to write "Merry Christmas"
on greeting cards for soldiers in Iraq because it
might offend someone. They were even forbidden to say
"Merry Christmas" to their classmates. And this, in
Plano, Texas?
In a New York school, the halls were decked with
menorahs and Kwanzaa candles. When a father asked why
there was no Christmas tree, the principal said, "Oh,
we're trying to make sure we don't offend people."
In Maplewood, New Jersey, fifth-graders were asked to
make posters demonstrating diversity. A boy named
Anton pasted on the Star of David and a Muslim symbol.
When his mother suggested he add a Christian symbol, he
said, "No, I don't want to offend anyone." These kids
are being brain-washed.
Every December, symbols of Christmas are treated like
pornography, sex, or second-hand smoke--things that
ought to be enjoyed in private, lest others be
According to Gibson, people who treat Christian
symbols this way are acting out of a deep-seated
hostility toward all things Christian. They're often
offended by Christianity on an intellectual level.
They think it's a crutch used by the less intelligent.
And since they have begun losing battles in the
courts, they've opened up a new front called
"inclusiveness." Yes, they admit, the Supreme Court
says it's okay to have Christmas trees on public
property--but do we really want to offend neighbors
who don't celebrate Christmas? The same goes for
Christmas music and candy canes in schools; somewhere,
someone might be offended. But isn't it strange that,
in case after case, only Christian symbols seem to
have the power to offend?
Well, many Christians have had enough, and they're
fighting back. For help, they're turning to religious
liberties groups that have sprung up to defend our
First Amendment rights. Among these are the ACLJ, the
Thomas More Law Center, the Alliance Defense Fund, and
the Beckett Fund. Visit our website
(www.breakpoint.org) for more information.
Parents are right to resist efforts to try to teach
their kids that Christian symbols--and the faith they
represent--are inherently offensive. In a country that
honors religious freedom, the real offense is not
saying "Merry Christmas" to a friend, but in teaching
kids that expressing their faith is something to be
ashamed of.
BreakPoint by Chuck Colson
November 16, 2005
Copyright 2005

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  By Chuck Colson 

John Calvin said gratitude was at the center of the
Christian life, and G. K. Chesterton called it "the
mother of all virtues." It was gratitude for living in
a free country that caused me to put on the uniform of
a United States Marine officer during the Korean War.
We do our duty to our country out of gratitude for
those who went before us to defend the liberties we
hold so precious. 

I loved the scene at the end of the movie, "Saving
Private Ryan." Ryan, who is now seventy years old,
returns to Normandy, and he is looking at the grave
marker of Captain Miller, the man who died to save him
during World War II. Ryan is on his knees. The grave
marker is a stark, white cross. He addresses Miller,
now long dead: "I've tried every day to live up to what
you did for me ... I hope I've lived a life worthy of
your sacrifice."1

Ed. Note: I trust that we who call ourselves Christians
are, with God's help, living a life worthy of Jesus
Christ's sacrifice for us.

1. BreakPoint with Charles Colson. Commentary #020911 -
09/11/2002 www.pfm.org/

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Post  Admin on Sat 24 Aug 2013, 9:05 pm

Jihad Against Egypt's Christians
The U.S. Must Speak Out
By John Stonestreet of BREAKPOINT Chuck Colson Centre.
In the midst of the chaos, Islamic extremists in Egypt are burning
churches and murdering Christians. The U.S. must speak out.
In his recent book, "Fleeing Herod," the Australian writer James
Cowan retraces the steps of the Holy Family's flight into Egypt
following Joseph's dream warning him about Herod's intentions
toward the infant Jesus.

Cowan admits in the prologue that current events in Egypt made him even
more conscious of Egypt's history and "the millennia of
knowledge embodied in its sands."

Cowan's guide on his journey is a fourth-century text written by a
Coptic Pope, Theophilus of Alexandria, entitled "The Visions of
Theophilus." Along the way he meets monks, nuns, pilgrims and the
then-Coptic Pope.

Whether or not we believe the fourth century reference of Mary being
under an Egyptian tree, one Coptic belief is undeniable: "Egypt [is]
central to the birth of Christianity. "
Thus, Christians must be concerned about what is happening to Coptic
Christians today.
Since Matthew chapter 2's quoting of Hosea – "out of Egypt I
called my son" – Egypt was at the heart of the Christian story.
It provided sanctuary for the Holy Family. And later produced some of
the Church's greatest minds: Tertullian, Origen and the great
defender of orthodoxy, Athanasius.

[Daily_Commentary_ 8_21_13] The father of monasticism, Anthony, was
Egyptian, and, for much of the Church's early history, Alexandria
was the mind and soul of the faith.

Many don't realize that Egypt was Christian for six centuries before
the coming of Islam. We call the descendants of those Christians the
Copts. For fourteen centuries they and their ancestors have kept the
faith even when life would have been easier if they hadn't.

Little has changed. Today, they face what Nina Shea has called a
"Jihad. " The chaos in Egypt, like the chaos in Iraq and Syria,
has made it "open season" on the country' s Christian
minority. As Shea writes in National Review "The [Muslim]
Brotherhood&# 39;s Freedom and Justice Party has been inciting the
anti-Christian pogroms on its web and Facebook pages."

For those unfamiliar with the term, "pogroms" were the
anti-Jewish attacks in Tsarist Russia that killed thousands and led to
the emigration of millions of Jews to the United States in the late 19th
and early 20th centuries. The Brotherhood would love to see the Copts do

If they succeed it will be in part because Christians in the West did
nothing. Right now, the mainstream narrative about Egypt depicts the
Brotherhood as the victims. It is far more concerned with the impact on
Egyptian "democracy&quo t; than the fate of Egyptian Christians, or
that of any Egyptian that doesn't want to live in a theocracy.

They are not telling the story, so we have to. They are not urging our
leaders to protect Egyptian Christians, so we have to. We cannot stand
by in silence while yet another ancient Christian community is
threatened with extinction.
Of course, that requires understanding that
these are ancient Christian communities in the first place. Many
American Christians knowledge of church history barely goes back a
century. You might say we have evangelical Alzheimer' s. Because we
are unfamiliar with the past, we are ignorant of our debt to those who
went before and their descendants.

In Cowan's book, then-Pope Shenouda, who spent the early years of
his papacy under house arrest, tells him that it "seemed that
[Herod] feared the presence of a lowly peasant family in his kingdom
more than he did his enemies." Today's tyrants fear the presence
of Christians in their would-be kingdom.
It's time for us to repay an ancient debt.
Call or email your representative in Congress. Contact your Senators.
And the White House. The U.S. must speak out and condemn the targeting
and murder of Egyptian Christians.

Come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary. We'll link you
to Nina Shea's article. We'll also show you how you can reach
your elected leaders. We'll even provide a sample message.

And of course, we must pray for our brothers and sisters in Egypt.

For BreakPoint, I'm John Stonestreet. NEXT STEPS 
 More on This Topic
Gather more information on today's Daily BreakPoint by visiting
Next StepsContact your representative,
senators, and the White House.
Urge them to condemn the war being waged on Egypt's Christians. (See
sample letter below). Contact links:
Find your representative
http://links mkt3980.com/ctt?kn=21&ms= Njc5NDY1NgS2&r= OTQ0MjQwNzk2S0&b =0\
&j=ODQ2NDk2NDkS1&mt =1&rt=0> .
Find your senators.

Contact the White House.
http://links. mkt3980.com/ctt?kn=7&ms= Njc5NDY1NgS2&r=OTQ0MjQwNzk2S0&b =0&\
Before you write, please read Nina Shea's
http://links.mkt3980.com/ctt?kn=43&ms=Njc5NDY1NgS2&r=OTQ0MjQwNzk2S0&b =0\
informative article.Related Topics
Egypt's Christians Are Facing a Jihad 
http://links.mkt3980.com/ctt?kn=43&ms=Njc5NDY1NgS2&r=OTQ0MjQwNzk2S0&b =0\
Nina Shea | National Review Online | August 19, 2013
Fleeing Herod
http://links. mkt3980.com/ctt?kn=40&ms=Njc5NDY1NgS2&r=OTQ0MjQwNzk2S0&b =0\
&j=ODQ2NDk2NDkS1&mt =1&rt=0>
James Cowan | Paraclete Press (MA) | 2013

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Post  Admin on Wed 21 Aug 2013, 2:18 pm

Learning from Young Atheists (re-air)
What Turned Them off Christianity
By John Stonestreet
Have you ever asked a young atheist why he or she doesn't believe?
Well, one researcher did. And the answers may surprise you.
It's something most Christian parents worry about: You send your
kids off to college and when they come back, you find they've lost
their faith. The prospect of this happening is why many parents nudge
their kids towards Christian colleges, or at least schools with a strong
Christian presence on campus.
But in many ways, the damage has been done long before our children set
foot on campus. That's the message from a recent article in the
Atlantic Monthly.
My friend Larry Taunton of the Fixed Point Foundation set out to find
out why so many young Christians lose their faith in college. He did
this by employing a method I don't recall being used before: He
asked them.
The Fixed Point Foundation asked members of the Secular Students
Associations on campuses around the nation to tell them about their
"journey to unbelief." Taunton was not only surprised by the
level of response but, more importantly, about the stories he and his
colleagues heard.
Instead of would-be Richard Dawkins' , the typical respondent was
more like Phil, a student Taunton interviewed. Phil had grown up in
church; he had even been the president of his youth group. What drove
Phil away wasn't the lure of secular materialism or even Christian
moral teaching. And he was specifically upset when his church changed
youth pastors.
Whereas his old youth pastor "knew the Bible" and made Phil
"feel smart" about his faith even when he didn't have all
the answers, the new youth pastor taught less and played more.
Phil's loss of faith coincided with his church's attempt to
ingratiate itself to him instead of challenging him. According to
Taunton, Phil's story "was on the whole typical of the stories
we would hear from students across the country."
These kids had attended church but "the mission and message of their
churches was vague," and manifested itself in offering
"superficial answers to life's difficult questions." The
ministers they respected were those "who took the Bible
seriously," not those who sought to entertain them or be their
"buddy. "
[Newsletter_ Gen_180x180_ B] 
&j=ODQ0NTY3NjkS1&mt =1&rt=0> Taunton also learned that, for many kids,
their journey to unbelief was an emotional, not just an intellectual
one.Taunton&# 39;s findings are counter-intuitive. Much of what passes
for youth ministry these days is driven by a morbid fear of boring our
young charges. As a result, a lot of time is spent trying to devise ways
to entertain them.
The rest of the time is spent worrying about whether the Christian
message will turn kids off. But as Taunton found, young people, like the
not-so-young, respect people with conviction—provided they know what
they're talking about.Taunton talks about his experiences with the
late Christopher Hitchens, who, in their debates, refrained from
attacking him. When asked why, Hitchens replied, "Because you
believe it."
I don't know what that says about Hitchens' other Christian
debate partners, but it is a potent reminder that playing down the truth
claims of the Christian faith doesn't work. People don't believe
those they don't respect.
Here's something that one of the students told Larry Taunton; he
said, "Christianity is something that if youreally believed it, it
would change your life and you would want to change [the lives] of
others. I haven't seen too much of that."
Folks, that's pretty sobering. This puts the ball in our court. Are
we living lives that show our children that we actually believe what we
say we believe? And here's another question—do we actually
believe it? I have to say, as a parent I'm taking this very
seriously. If possible, join me in reading Taunton' s excellent
article. Come toBreakPoint.org 
Are our students and church members being challenged, or just
entertained? Today's commentary is a thought-provoking one to share with
those in your sphere of influence, and also with your pastors and youth

Two resources to equip you are Walk the Talk
 a DVD study on serious Christian
discipleship, and John Stonestreet&# 39;s Why Students Walk Away
 in CD format, links below. Also, Summit
Ministries has material specifically targeted for challenging young
people to live out their Christian faith.

Debates don't win hearts to Christ; examples of Christ-filled lives are
the best way to show teens (and the watching world) a faith that is

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August 9, 2013
Supersized Weddings
Here Comes the Bride (Bill)
By Eric Metaxas
If you're engaged—or one of your kids is—you know how
expensive weddings are. What's going on?
Two years ago, England' s Prince William and Kate Middleton—who just
became parents, in case you hadn't heard--were wed in a ceremony that
cost around thirty million dollars. That might sound like a lot, but
when you consider the cost per person attending—including some two
billion anglophiles who watched on TV—it comes to less than a penny
per person.

Which would make the royal nuptials--yep- -a "budget" wedding.

If only American brides and grooms could be so frugal. I just read an
article on National Review Online titled "The Blight of Blinged-Out
Weddings." The author, Jillian Kay Melchior, writes that she tried
to plan a simple ceremony in which to plight her troth, but found this
practically impossible—unless she eloped or "really [bucked] all

Sadly, she's correct. One moment of weakness, and you'll find yourself
sucked into the spinning, satin-lined vortex of the wedding industrial
complex. It's not as bad as sharks falling from the sky, but it sure
comes close.

Unfortunately, "Recklessly extravagant weddings have become a
cultural expectation, " Melchior adds, and "brides who succumb to
the intense pressure to Go Bigger can easily find themselves focused
more on planning a wedding than preparing for a marriage."

How much bigger? Melchior quotes a study done by WeddingChannel. com,
which found that the average bride spends more than $28,000 on her
wedding, not including the honeymoon!

Why do so many couples spend a third of their joint annual pre-tax
income on a one-day ceremony? It's "because [brides] know they're
being watched" Melchior says, and believe the "average guest
comes to rate the spectacle as much as to celebrate the sacrament."

How sad is that? And as for those hundreds of hours brides spend
planning the wedding of the century—those hours could be better
spent cementing the couple's relationship.

There may be a deeper reason so many brides and grooms choose the style
of a wedding over the substance of solid marriage preparation—why
they put themselves into debt for the food, the flowers, the bridesmaids
and the bling—all topped off by a Vera Wang dress.

My old friend Chuck Colson put it this way in a BreakPoint commentary a
few years ago. "Scripture, " he said, "tells us that God
designed marriage as a physical, emotional, and spiritual union of one
man and one woman—a union marked by fidelity and permanence. It's a
definition of marriage the secular world has spent the better part of
forty years trying to deconstruct.

"But when secular couples plan their weddings," Chuck said,
"they sense that something is missing. So they grasp at some sort of
meaning—ironically, using the very symbols and rituals"— the
white dress, the father giving away the bride—"whose meanings they
have rejected."
The lack of deeper meaning may be why so
many weddings have a slightly hollow ring to them—even if your name
isn't Kardashian.

Chuck quoted social critic Caitlin Flanagan, who suggests that a bride's
"white gown and her flock of flower-bearing attendants" may be
little more than a "frantic and terribly expensive effort to infuse
a wedding with some small measure of the meaning it once had."

But folks, it doesn't have to be that way. If you or your loved ones are
more interested in planning a sacred ceremony than a bling-fest, contact
Marriage Savers
We have their info at BreakPoint.org

They'll help you fend off the wedding
industry sharks, and organize the most important part of your nuptials:
planning for a lasting and happy marriage.

Your church can help engaged couples prepare for a healthy, holy, happy
marriage. Please check out Marriage Savers
Next StepsWhile witnessing the redefinition
of marriage into nothingness, Americans are spending ever-increasing
amounts on the trappings of a bling-filled wedding day event.
Contrary to this secular trend, it is vital that couples understand what
holy matrimony really means.
Along with other resources, we've listed a few organization
websites, such as Marriage Savers.

August 8, 2013
The Exodus of Millennials
and Mainlines
When `Relevant' Christianity Is Irrelevant
By John Stonestreet
If we want Christianity to stay relevant with young people, they say,
we've got to rewrite the way we do church, including our songs.

Recently, the Presbyterian Church (USA) dropped the hugely popular hymn,
"In Christ Alone," from its hymnal after its authors, Keith
Getty and Stuart Townend, refused to omit a reference to Jesus
satisfying the wrath of God.
In a powerful response over at First Things
 which we'll link to at BreakPoint.org,
Colson Center chairman Timothy George quotes Richard Niebuhr who, back
in the 1930s, described this kind of revisionist Protestantism as a
religion in which "A God without wrath brought men without sin into
a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without
a cross."
The response from the PCUSA, that their problem was not with God's
wrath but with the idea that Christ's death satisfied God's
wrath, doesn't change the fundamental problem of what George calls
"squishy" theology. Theology is supposed to be true, not
Along these lines, maybe you've seen the recent viral opinion piece
on CNN by my friend, Christian blogger and author Rachel Held Evans. In
it, Evans offers her answers to the truly important question, "why
are millennials leaving the Church?"
To counter the exodus of young people from American churches, Evans says
it's time to own up to our shortcomings and give millennials what
they really want—not a change in style but a change in substance.
The answer to attracting millennials, she writes, is NOT "hipper
worship bands" or handing out "lattés, " but actually
helping them find Jesus.
Amen. I couldn't agree more.

Then she goes on, "[the Church is] too political, old-fashioned,
unconcerned with social justice and hostile to [LGBT] people." Well,
okay—anytime political programs co-opt our faith, or we ignore the
needy and fail to love those with whom we disagree, we do the Gospel of
Christ great harm.
But when she writes that attracting millennials to Jesus involves
"an end to the culture wars," "a truce between science and
faith," being less "exclusive&quo t; with less emphasis on sex,
without "predetermined answers" to life's questions, now I
want to ask--are we still talking about the Jesus of biblical
The attempt to re-make Jesus to be more palatable to modern scientific
and especially sexual sensibilities has been tried before. In fact,
it's the reason Niebuhr said that brilliant line that I quoted
He watched as the redefining "Jesus Project" gave us mainline
Protestantism, which promotes virtually everything on Evans' list
for millennials. The acceptance of homosexuality, a passion for the
environment, prioritizing so-called "social justice" over
transformational truth are all embodied in denominations like the United
Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church
(USA). —especially among the young. What gives?
Well, in an another essay which appeared in First Things
over twenty years ago, a trio of Christian
researchers offered their theory on what's behind the long, slow
hemorrhage of mainline Protestant churches:
"In our study," they wrote, "the single best predictor of
church participation turned out to be belief—orthodox Christian
belief, and especially the teaching that a person can be saved only
through Jesus Christ." This, said the researchers, was not (and I
add, is still not) a teaching of mainline Protestantism. As a dwindling
denomination rejects a hymn which proclaims salvation "in Christ
alone," this research sounds prophetic.
Evans is right that evangelical Christianity is responsible in many ways
for the exodus of millennials. But ditching the Church's unpalatable
"old-fashioned " beliefs to become more "relevant" ; to the
young won't bring them back.
More on This Topic

Gather more information on today's Daily BreakPoint by visiting
Next StepsAs John emphasized, relevancy
shouldn' t trump truth. Jettisoning substance for style doesn't
help anyone become a true disciple of Jesus.
While the Church may change the methods it uses to present the gospel,
the good news of salvation through Christ never changes—and that
opportunity is available to everyone, millennials, baby boomers, and
Read Timothy George's First Things article
and check out the other links below for
information and discussion on this timely issue.
Benton Johnson, Dean R. Hoge & Donald A. Luidens | First Things | March
Top 10 Reasons our Kids Leave Church

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Post  Admin on Thu 08 Aug 2013, 7:06 pm

August 7, 2013
State of Ignorance
Americans and the First Freedom
By John Stonestreet
It's getting harder and harder to exercise our religious freedoms in
a society where a third of our citizens don't even know what's
in the Bill of Rights.

Since 1997, the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University has
published a survey it calls "The State of the First Amendment."
As the name suggests, the survey measures public attitudes towards our
First Amendment rights and freedoms.

The 2013 survey is out, and the news isn't good, especially for
those of us who value religious freedom.

When asked to name the most important freedom, nearly half of those
surveyed replied "freedom of speech." This isn't surprising,
but the gap between numbers one and two on the list is.

"Freedom of religion" came in second, but was cited by only 10
percent of those surveyed. And that's as good as it gets for
religious freedom in this survey. Once the survey went from generalities
to specifics, the results got worse, a lot worse, and in a hurry.

For instance, 62 percent of those surveyed agree that "if a
religiously affiliated group receives government funding, then the
government should be able to require the group to provide health care
benefits to same-sex partners of employees, even if the religious group
opposes same-sex marriages or partners."

Not surprisingly, a higher percentage of those aged 18-to-30 agree with
the position.

A similar bad news/worse news dynamic is on display in the responses to
the statement "a business providing wedding services to the public
should be required to serve same-sex couples, even if the business owner
objects to same-sex marriage on religious grounds."

While 52 percent of all those surveyed agreed with that statement,
agreement rose to 61 percent among 18- to 30-year olds.

As Joseph Knippenberg of Oglethorpe University and a First Things
contributor, put it, "Clearly we have not made a compelling case for
the importance of religious freedom, especially among younger people . .

He continues, "Virtually no one is effectively making the case for
the religious component of pluralism." While "we' re all
about diversity in race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, " what is
missing is any recognition of "how our love of equality and
uniformity is at war with other kinds of diversity and pluralism."

This "love of equality and uniformity" has produced
"government programs [that are] . . . homogenizing, rather than
being respectful of the liberty necessary to foster less visible kinds
of pluralism and diversity."

Chief among these "less visible kinds" is religious pluralism
and diversity. As the survey results show, there is less and less space
in American public life for people whose long-held religious beliefs
conflict with the newly-emerging orthodoxy on sexual morality.

Ironically, people who value the freedom to express their opinion above
all else are more than willing to have government impose their opinions
on others.
 The only good news in this survey is that,
frankly, Americans are fairly ignorant about what the First Amendment
says and requires: 36 percent of those surveyed "couldn&# 39;t name
any of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment," and "only
24 percent knew that freedom of religion was among them."

So, some remedial education on our part can still make a difference.

That's one reason why the Colson Center is sponsoring a series of
events this year on religious liberty. Most notably, we're the
presenting sponsor of a "National Briefing on Religious Liberty
 " September 28 in Charlotte, North
Carolina. The briefing is part of the Truth for a New Generation
Conference, one of the best apologetic conferences in the country. Add
in a 90-minute defense of religious liberty with experts such as Eric
Teetsel, Timothy George, and the Heritage Foundation&# 39;s Jennifer
Marshall, and a closing presentation by Eric Metaxas, and this becomes a
conference you don't want to miss. I'll be there, and would love
to meet you.

Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and we'll tell you
how to register for the National Briefing on Religious Liberty.
[Visit BreakPoint.org]
 Next StepsJohn mentioned the need for
"remedial education." It is sobering that so few in our day
understand the relationship between freedom of religion (and conscience)
and our other freedoms.This September, the Colson Center is sponsoring a
"National Briefing on Religious Liberty" which is part of a
larger conference called "Truth for a New Generation." Click
here http://www.truthforanewgeneration.com/
for registration information.
Stay tuned to news from the Colson Center and Breakpoint for more on the
issue of religious freedom.
 Related Topics
What Do We the People Think About the First Amendment?
Truth for a New Generation, conference registration
September 27-28, 2013 | Charlotte, North Carolina

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Post  Admin on Sun 21 Jul 2013, 8:08 pm

July 18, 2013
Abortion and Media BiasWhen the Majority Doesn't
RuleJohn Stonestreet
When it comes to same-sex marriage we keep hearing that "the
majority rules…" But that's not the case with abortion.
 Ben Domenech of Real Clear Politics begins a
great article by writing, "Obviously the overall story about how
Americans view the right to marriage is one of ever increasing
majorities. From just a few years ago, when Americans were split on the
issue at best, they now have marked majorities in favor of same sex
marriage—71 percent according to some polls, 86 percent according to
others. The argument has been won, and cultural unanimity is virtually
Then Domenech reveals his sleight of hand by saying, "Oh, my
mistake. It's actually around half of Americans who favor gay
marriage." The figures Domenech cited are actually related to the
percentage of Americans "who support banning abortion after the
first trimester (13 weeks), and after the second trimester (28 weeks),
respectively. "
Let me repeat that… More than 70 percent of Americans oppose
abortion after the first trimester. If your only news is from the
mainstream media, you'd never know this. Instead, we continue to
hear that Americans are split down the middle on abortion, even though
we really aren't.
Take the media bias in the case of the abortion-rights celebrity du
jour, Texas legislator Wendy Davis. Domenech points out that for the
last two decades, most Americans have supported a ban on second and
third trimester abortions. Yet when Wendy Davis and hordes of
pro-abortion supporters shut down the debate over some reasonable
abortion restrictions in the Lone Star State—such as a ban after 20
weeks of gestation, which is supported by 62 percent of the voters in
Texas—they were hailed as heroes, not as an angry roadblock to
That's not journalism—it&# 39;s rank advocacy. And when
Davis's supporters answered pro-lifers who were peacefully singing
"Amazing Grace" by mockingly chanting "Hail,
Satan"—I&# 39;m not making that up—somehow these same
"reporters&quo t; decided this wasn't front-page news.
When it comes to abortion, we can now say the so-called mainstream media
isn't actually mainstream after all.So thanks to Domenech for
bringing this continuing media bias to our attention, and to the folks
at the Manhattan Declaration, which brought his article to my
attention.The Manhattan Declaration
 of course, was a strategic project of our
friends Robert George, Timothy George, and the late Chuck Colson, to
call Christians to stand on three critical issues: the dignity of human
life, the sanctity of marriage, and religious liberty.
 We obviously won't get clarity, much
less help, on these issues from the Fourth Estate, which has clearly
taken sides, using its power and influence to denigrate unborn life,
redefine marriage, and flatly ignore the growing number of attacks on
religious liberty. That's not good news for our republic, which
requires that our press be free and unbiased.
That's why I devoutly—and I use the term advisedly—hope you
will go to the Manhattan Declaration website, read the statement
carefully and prayerfully, and then put your name to it and spread the
word to your friends and neighbors—knocking on doors, writing
letters, posting on Facebook and Twitter, however you usually
communicate with others.
When the Supreme Court delivered its hideous ruling in Roe v. Wade 40
years ago, many on the pro-abortion side thought the debate was over.
History has proved them wrong. Since then, medical technology allows us
to see the beautiful face of human life in the womb. And a sad and
bloody history of abuse has shown us the true nature of the abortion
So it's no wonder then that more and more Americans want to restrict
abortion—and we cannot allow the media to hide this, because
it's a strong step to ending it altogether.
Gather more information on today's Daily BreakPoint by visiting
Next StepsAs John said, signing the
Manhattan Declaration is a powerful way to show the world that the
narrative the press spins about the acceptance of abortion, especially
late term, is false. The real story is that the country is turning
against abortion.
As Christians, it is our duty not just to keep in touch with the media
to learn what is happening, but to expose and correct the media when
necessary. We must debunk the false stories that are spun to an
undiscerning culture. We can do this in many ways--through social
media, across the backyard fence, or in church or the grocery store.
Let's be light – and salt. Sign the Manhattan Declaration, and
visit ManhattanDeclaration.org

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Post  Admin on Sun 30 Jun 2013, 9:04 pm

June 28, 2013
Marriage and Imagination After the Supreme Court
Even after the Supreme Court’s rulings, can you imagine our culture returning to marriage as God designed it? I can, and I’ll explain, next on BreakPoint.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, extending benefits to same-sex married couples.
What you’ve heard from the media, which isn’t actually the case, is that the Supreme Court struck down DOMA altogether. It didn’t. Other than Section 3, it still stands. So it could have been worse.
Still, the most troubling aspect of the DOMA case were the words chosen by Justice Kennedy in the majority opinion. Words like “disadvantage,” “stigma,” “degrade” and “humiliate” made his meaning plain. The only reason not to approve of same-sex marriage is hate or bigotry.
However, Kennedy also wrote that the regulation of marriage “is an area that has long been regarded as a virtually exclusive province of the States.” And in its ruling on California’s Proposition 8, the Court rejected the opportunity to deliver a sweeping national Roe-like decision on marriage.
So for now, the political definition of marriage is yet to be decided, as my guests on BreakPoint This Week from the Heritage Foundation and the Alliance Defending Freedom carefully explained. Come to BreakPoint.org to listen in.
But what do these decisions mean for us? As we often say around here, politics is downstream of culture. Given what the current cultural definition of marriage is, the political one will soon follow, unless it is challenged and redeemed. This is where the battle must be waged.
How we collectively imagine marriage as a culture is at the heart of this battle. As I wrote yesterday at National Review, Americans “cannot imagine marriage to be anything other than the government’s endorsement of romantic love. Even many opponents of same-sex marriage share this fundamentally wrong definition.”
Since the dawn of human culture, marriage has been primarily about the procreating and raising of children and the continuation of the family and society, not romantic love.
What’s more, I wrote, this re-definition of marriage “happened because of art, not arguments; because of imagination, not debate.” Ask someone, Christian or non-Christian, about what love is and their answer will largely be the product of what they’ve seen on television or in the movies. Boy meets girl, or other boy. They “fall in love” and what happens afterwards, whether marriage or cohabitation, is merely an expression of that “love.”
Ironically, even as the movies tell us, that kind of “love” is fickle. People “fall out of love” all the time, often for reasons they can’t even explain. There’s no way this kind of “love” will hold up under the weighty foundational role marriage must play for a society.
That’s why, as I wrote, I think “marriage in America has been on an unsustainable trajectory for quite some time.” The only way to correct that trajectory is to recapture the imaginations of our culture with a more robust and stable definition of the purpose and function of marriage. And folks, it’s not that we lack these arguments. It’s that they’re not being heard.
The task of recapturing imaginations belongs primarily to the intermediate institutions that most fundamentally shape our imaginations: the family and the Church.
Both must stop being squeezed out of territory that is rightfully theirs.
Given the current trajectory of marriage, I’d suggest national same-sex marriage is likely, but I certainly do not think it’s inevitable. The Court left room for citizens to work at the state and local levels. And this is good news, and it reflects the potential for the best kind of change: from the ground up, not the top down.
I’d love to hear your ideas on how to recapture the imagination of our culture, and how to re-build a culture of marriage. Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and leave a comment. I’ll be looking forward to reading what you have to say.

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Post  Admin on Thu 27 Jun 2013, 5:17 pm

Eric Metaxas Article
Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:23 am (PDT) . Posted by: "rxbarkley" 
--Time to Reverse a Trend


The False Narrative of Gay Marriage

 Marriage rates are heading downhill, and they'll continue to do so
until we Christians can show others the value of marriage.
A recent report shows that marriage rates
are at their lowest point in more than 100 years.The study, conducted by
Demographic Intelligence of Charlottesville, Virginia, found that
between 2007 and 2013—that' s six years—the marriage rate
fell from 7.3 per 1,000 people to 6.8.
While that may not sound like a lot, it represents a more than 5 percent
decline from a rate that was already low by historical standards. Since
1970, the marriage rate has declined by more than one-third.
Just as troubling as the overall numbers is the breakdown of who is and
who is not getting married. The study found that "marriage numbers
are stagnant or declining among those with a high school education or
less, younger Americans, and the less affluent." In other words, the
kind of folks who can benefit most from the stability that marriage and
family life can provide are getting married in fewer numbers.
In contrast, marriage rates are rising among "the college-educated
and the affluent." Again, given the personal, social, and economic
benefits of marriage, the growing difference in marriage rates between
the "haves" and "have nots" can only contribute to
economic and social inequality.
[rotator] Now, the study's authors predict a short-term increase in
the number of weddings as a result of "pent-up demand" among
better-off Americans whose marriage plans were put on hold as a result
of the recession.
Not everyone agrees: Wendy Manning of the National Center for Family &
Marriage Research thinks the projections may be "overly
optimistic." She suspects that many of the new marriages in the next
few years will be second marriages, and not so-called
"Millennials&q uot; settling down.
The evidence suggests that Manning is right to be skeptical. During the
same period that marriage rates have declined by more than one-third,
cohabitation has increased nearly fifteen-fold, from one-half million
couples to more than 7.5 million.
As USA Today put it, "cohabitation has emerged as a precursor and a
competitor to marriage." Well, given the decline in marriage rates,
I would argue that it's more of a competitor than a precursor.
And the cohabitation statistics tell us very little about the growing
number of out-of-wedlock births among women in their 20s, as we've
talked about before on BreakPoint. For an ever-increasing number of
Americans, the nuclear family is, even when finances permit, just one
option among several.
Of course, none of this changes the
well-documented, if usually played-down, fact that married parents are
what's best for children and, thus, best for society on the whole.
Virtually every "adverse outcome"— poverty, poor performance in
school, crime, drug use—is significantly more prevalent among those
raised in single-parent homes.
If American marriage was about what's best for children, these
truths might have more traction. Unfortunately, it's not. Today
marriage is more about adult gratification.
That's why Christians not only have to point out the errors in our
culture' s beliefs about marriage, we have to embody the way things
should be. We have to provide a model that can be emulated. That means
teaching our kids about the joy and value of marriage. And it means
strengthening marriages in our own families and in our congregations.

It's an indispensable part of what it means to be the "light of
the world." And it's a light that an increasingly dark world
desperately needs.
Please come to BreakPoint.org and we'll link you to organizations
that work to strengthen marriage and marriages.

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Post  Admin on Thu 27 Jun 2013, 4:37 pm

June 25, 2013The False Narrative of Gay "Marriage" ;It Is Not
InevitableEric MetaxasCOMMENTARIES
In his book, "The Black Swan,"
Nicholas Nassim Taleb discussed what he calls the "narrative
fallacy." This refers to our "limited ability" to look at a
sequence of facts "without weaving an explanation into them."
While this tendency helps us make sense of the world around us, it can
and often does mislead us. It creates a mistaken impression that we
understand things better than we really do. And, it often causes us to
view the facts in ways that are consistent with the narrative we
ourselves have created.
Case in point: the recent news – or in this case, news blackout
– out of Illinois.
A few weeks ago the state legislature took up the issue of same-sex
marriage. The outcome was regarded as a foregone conclusion. Illinois is
President Obama's home state, and his party enjoys commanding
majorities in both houses. Same-sex marriage enjoyed the support of both
the governor and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The president had even
personally lobbied state legislators. Given all that, the vote in favor
of gay "marriage" ; in Illinois was inevitable, right?
Well, no one bothered to tell the state's African-American pastors.
As Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage wrote in the
National Review, the pastors "worked hard to reach and convince
African-American legislators to stand tall for the truth of
The pastors demanded that legislators acknowledge that marriage "is
an institution created by God to bring men and women together for the
benefit of children that can only be created through the union of men
and women." Their efforts paid off: Illinois did not succumb to the
"inevitable. " They defeated "gay-marriage advocates and
their supporters in the legislature in the bluest of blue states."
If you haven't heard about this important victory, you're not
alone. Until we here at BreakPoint read Brown's piece, we hadn't
heard about it, either. Not that the lack of media attention is any
surprise, because on this issue I'm sorry to say, the mainstream media
are cheerleaders and activists, not reporters.
That's not only my opinion: A study by the Pew Research Center found
that in the run-up to the Supreme Court's rulings on same-sex
"marriage, " "the news media coverage provided a strong sense
of momentum towards legalizing same-sex marriage." How strong? It
said that "Stories with more statements supporting same-sex marriage
outweighed those with more statements opposing it by … roughly
[BP subscribe] 
That kind of coverage bears no resemblance
to actual public opinion on the subject. Instead, it presents same-sex
marriage as an idea whose time has come and those who insist otherwise
as relics from a less-enlightened age.
What happened in Illinois cuts across the grain of this worldview and
the narrative it produces. Instead of considering the possibility that
the story they are telling is not true, the tellers of this story in the
media completely ignore facts that contradict the narrative.
That doesn't make their story any more true. There is nothing
"inevitable&qu ot; about the redefinition of marriage. While we face
an uphill battle, what else is new?
In this battle, the Church matters. All of the Church. What happened in
Illinois was the result of African American pastors taking the lead. In
other states it may require the leadership of Latino ministers. What
matters is that all of God's people "stand tall for the truth of
Please be sure to tune in to BreakPoint again this week, as John and I
will share our thoughts on the Supreme Court's upcoming decisions
regarding marriage.
NEXT STE More on This Topic
Gather more information on today's Daily Break Point by visiting
www.breakpoint. org 
Next StepsThe open debate about marriage has
been smothered and many are afraid to speak out. Can you stand up to the
crowd, especially when our society is caught up in what Eric calls the 
"Inevitability Narrative" of the media? Perhaps you are asking:

1) Have I bought into the narrative?
2) Where and to whom can I speak out?
3) What can I say that will matter? How can I start?

We at BreakPoint encourage you to stand strong and prepare for the
debate. Eric does a good job on the "inevitability " argument here.
Consider this: The Roe-v-Wade decision in 1973 did not stop the abortion
debate. In many ways, it opened it up on a grand scale. Whatever the
courts decide about marriage, we are headed for a long-lasting,
passionate debate. As to the question of where to speak, speak
everywhere, especially to the church. That is what happened in Illinois.

What can you talk about? Amazingly, many in our generation do not
understand either the historical or the biblical foundations for
marriage. You can help here. Read some of the great resources we have
listed below. We highly recommend the book: What is Marriage?: Man and
Woman: A Defense
Take every opportunity to educate. Realize
that understanding the true nature of marriage not only effects marriage
"redefinition, " but also impacts divorce, cohabitation and all of the
sexual mores in our society. It is a complete package. Where to start?
Why not use this conversation starter: "Did you hear the amazing thing
that happened when Illinois tried to pass a Same Sex Marriage bill a few
weeks ago?..." 
Related Topics
Break the Spiral of Silence (Video Interview With Chuck Colson)
Robin Philips | ColsonCenter. org | April 29, 2013
Websites:National Organization for Marriage
Manhattan Declaration
Marriage Savers
The Ruth Institute

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Post  Admin on Sat 22 Jun 2013, 10:32 pm

June 21, 2013
Beware Bible McNuggetsWhen Reading the Bible Can Be
Spiritually Unhealthy
John Stonestreet COMMENTARIE
The spiritual diet of too many Christians consists of a lot of Bible
McNuggets. And that's not healthy. Let's talk about it, next, on
 I've mentioned before on BreakPoint the
cruel game I sometimes play when I speak to Christian students. I'll
give a quiz on pop culture, with questions such as who sang this song,
and who starred in this movie, and so on. As you might expect, the
students get 100 percent on this quiz every time. But then, without
breaking stride, I'll throw in a Bible question like "Who was
the lead character in II Samuel?"— and you can just hear the
crickets chirping.

Look when Christians know far more about entertainment trivia than the
Bible, we've got a problem. And it's ironic, given we have more
access to the Bible than any other time in history.

According to the American Bible Society, the average household has 4.3
copies of the Bible. This doesn't even count the ones on our smart
phones and iPads, or the pew pockets in every church. We've even
personalized the Bible for every possible life situation: we've got
the Teen Bible, the Women's Bible, the Dad's Bible, the
Leadership Bible… you name it. And yet Gallup has dubbed the United
States "a nation of biblical illiterates. "

Paul Caminiti of Biblica, a ministry that promotes Bible engagement,
offers three reasons for scriptural illiteracy:
(1) We fragment the Bible into little bits that we then yank out of the
Scripture and personalize. (Phillip Yancey refers to these bits as
"moral McNuggets." )
(2) We don't understand the history or context of Scripture
passages, so we miss or manipulate the full meaning that it
And (3) we read it alone; we've stopped reading the Bible in
community. Well, Biblica has decided to confront these problems.

Over the years, we've added a lot to the Bible: a new order for the
books, two columns, study notes and lots of divisions –chapters,
verses, and paragraphs. And this impacts how we read it. The two columns
make it look long and different than other books; the chapters and
verses, which were intended just to help us navigate the text, tempt us
to break up the text. So we're less likely to read large sections
and more likely to disconnect small parts.

Biblica now offers the Scripture in a one-column format, without
chapters and verses. It's called "The Books of the Bible,"
and it restores the original order of the Old Testament while grouping
the New Testament books together theologically in a way that shows the
relationship between them. Starting with Luke and Acts gives the history
of the New Testament, and then connecting the other Gospels to the
Epistles that match their intended audience reveals connections we often
And did you know you could read the whole
New Testament in 8 weeks if you read it like other books? Me neither;
but as Gabe Lyons, founder of Q, says, with this new format and the
reading plan, "It reads just like a book."

And because these books were written for communities of believers,
Biblica has developed the Community Bible Experience where entire
churches read together through the Scriptures as a church family. The
reports they're hearing from churches who have done this are

On the latest BreakPoint This Week podcast on our website, I interview
Paul Caminiti about the "Books of the Bible" and the Community
Bible Experience. I also spoke with Steve Green, the president of Hobby
Lobby about their new Green Collection project. The Green Collection has
become one of the largest privately held collections of biblical
artifacts in the world. Much of the collection is featured in a
traveling exhibit called Passages, and will eventually be housed in a
permanent Bible museum in Washington D.C. Visit BreakPoint.org
and click on the This Week tab to listen.

You know, Chuck Colson frequently noted that we in the West had morally
starved ourselves by disconnecting from the truths of Scripture. And
biblically illiterate Christians are in no condition to help if all
we've feasted on is a diet of Bible McNuggets.
Visit BreakPoint.org
Next StepsAre you reading the Bible in
context? How about in community? Both are vital to understanding its
message, and as mentioned in today's commentary, Biblica is offering a
powerful new initiative [link below] to inspire churches to read
Scripture together.
Check out the Community Bible Experience, as well as our other exciting
links, and discover how God's Word can impact your life, and the life of
your church family.Related Topics
BreakPoint This Week: The Bible Still Matters
John Stonestreet | BreakPoint.org | June 15, 2013
Passages, the Green Collection
DeMossNews.com | 2013
Gabe Lyons on Community Bible Experience 

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Post  Admin on Tue 18 Jun 2013, 11:58 pm

June 17, 2013
Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior
Why I Became Christian EricMetaxas COMMENTARIES
By Eric Metaxas TESTIMONY
The Golden Fish
How God woke me up in a dream.
Eric Metaxas
Jesus came into my life to stay 25 five years ago. It's a good fish
story, and I'd like to share it with you, next on BreakPoint.
 I was honored and humbled whenChristianity
Today asked me to share my testimony
 in its June issue. And then it hit me: I've
been doing BreakPoint for over a year now, but BreakPoint listeners
haven't heard my testimony. So here goes.

I'm the child of European immigrants; my dad is Greek and my mother
is German. I attended a Greek Orthodox parochial school and my family
attended the Greek Orthodox church. I remember a day when I was about
ten years old my dad caught sight of the chrome fish on the back of a
car. And this, he explained, was from the Greek word ixthys, meaning
"fish," because the early Christians used this word as an
acronym—Iesus Xristos Theos Ymon Sotir. It stood for Jesus Christ
the Son of God Our Savior. It was their secret symbol.

Despite regular church attendance, my Christian faith was essentially
nominal. By the time I entered Yale University, I was committed to the
life of the mind and the search for meaning. As an undergrad I
half-heartedly attempted to divine the meaning of life, with mixed
results. I didn't believe that our lives were meaningless, but neither
did I settle on any particular alternative.

Following graduation I came up with a kind of answer, involving the
symbolic image of drilling through ice on the surface of a lake. It was
a vaguely Jungian/Freudian idea that said the goal of life and all
religions was to drill through this ice, which represented the conscious
mind, in order to touch the water beneath, which represented Jung's
"collective unconscious"— a vague "God force" that somehow connected
all of humanity.

It was an Eastern and impersonal idea of God, making no particular moral
claims on anyone. And how one went about doing any of this was, of
course, anybody' s guess.

Because I had received awards for my fiction at Yale, I confidently
expected to launch a successful writing career. Instead, after some
minor successes, I hit bottom—meaning I had to move back in with my
parents and take the only job I could really get, proofreading chemical
manuals at Union Carbide' s world headquarters in my hometown, Danbury,

But it was there, alone in the belly of a corporate whale, that I would
finally consider the question of God. In my misery I befriended a
graphic designer named Ed Tuttle, who began to engage me on the issue of
faith. I was of course wary of this born-again Christian, but in my pain
and longing for relief, I was desperate enough to keep the conversation
going. But whenever he invited me to church, I declined.
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&j=NzYwODAwMzES1&mt =1&rt=0> 
And then, one night near my 25th birthday, I
had an amazing dream in which God spoke to me in what I've come to
call "the secret vocabulary of my heart." I dreamt I was
ice-fishing with friends on Candlewood Lake in Danbury, Connecticut. I
looked into the hole we'd cut into the ice and saw the snout of a
fish poking out. I reached down, grasped it by the gills, and held it
up. And in the dazzling winter sunlight, the fish appeared positively
golden. But then I realized it didn't merely look golden, it actually
was golden. It was a living, golden fish. And suddenly I understood that
this golden fish was ixthys—Jesus Christ the Son of God Our Savior.

I realized in the dream that he was real and had come from the other
side and now I was holding him there in the bright sunlight. And I was
flooded with joy.

At work the next day, I told Ed about the dream, and that I had accepted
Jesus. And when I spoke those words I was flooded with the same joy
I'd experienced in the dream. And that joy has stayed with me for
the past 25 years—thanks to Iesus Xristos Theos Ymon Sotir.

I'd be honored and humbled again if you'd like to read the
un-condensed version of my testimony. Please come toBreakPoint.org

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Post  Admin on Sun 02 Jun 2013, 8:38 pm

Creating Life to Destroy It?
Cloning Embryos for Stem Cells
John Stonestreet
May 31, 2013

Earlier this month, a group of scientists at Oregon Health Sciences
University surprised many of their colleagues when they announced that
they had obtained embryonic stem cells from cloned embryos.

The surprise was not so much at the fact that they had succeeded as it
was at the fact that they had followed this avenue of research. As one
scientist put it, their "achievement&q uot; has "no clinical

But it has a great deal of moral relevance, which is how their actions
should be understood.

The announcement appeared in the journal Cell. The scientists used a
process known as "somatic cell nuclear transfer." In this case,
"the nucleus of a mature cell is transplanted into a human [egg]
whose own nucleus has been removed." "After the right
stimulation, this new hybrid cell starts to divide and develop just as a
sperm-fertilized egg would."

Now all of this is much easier said than done. As one researcher told
the Washington Post, "many labs attempted it, and no one had ever
been able to achieve it."

But that still leaves the question "to what end?" As the Post
put it, "few experts think that production of stem cells through
cloning is likely to be medically useful soon, or possibly ever." In
other words, don't buy all the promises about miracle cures
resulting from the use of embryonic stem cells. We've heard these

Furthermore, there's been success in what the Post calls "a far
less controversial way" of getting stem cells: adult stem cells.
These can be reprogrammed to return to "what amounts to a second
childhood from which they can grow into a new and different

A recent conference at the Vatican highlighted the many uses and medical
cures that have already come as a result of working with adult stem
cells. No such claims can be made for embryonic stem cells.

All of this reiterates the question, "Why were the scientists
creating cloned embryos?"

This is especially important given the moral landmines surrounding the
procedure. For starters, the announcement brings us one step closer to
what is called "reproductive& quot; cloning. Now let's be clear
– cloning of any sort, whether the embryo is implanted in a uterus
or not is, strictly speaking "reproductive. " Still, this shows
that there are people still interested in pursuing the research that
will lead to "the production of one-parent duplicate humans."

And there's little to stop them: only fifteen states ban human
cloning, and there's no federal prohibition on the practice.
While "one-parent duplicate humans"
may still be the stuff of science-fiction, the destruction of human life
is the stuff of science fact. The unvarnished truth is these researchers
created human life for the express purpose of destroying it and
harvesting what they regarded as the most useful bits: embryonic stem

That their "achievement&q uot; has "no clinical relevance" and
is unlikely to ever make a difference in alleviating human suffering
only underscores the perversity of their actions.

In effect, their answer to the question "to what end?" is
"because we can." This is a clear example of the pitfalls when
science operates autonomously, answerable only to its own ideas about
what should or should not be done.

The historical irony is that science is the product of Christianity.
What we know as the "scientific method" was the result of
Christian ideas about God's creation and human reason's ability
to understand it. Science was never intended to operate autonomously
from theological or moral concerns.

And yet that's what has happened. And that's why we must be
vigilant in defending the sanctity of human life.

Our friends at the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity do a terrific
job of staying on top of new ethical challenges that Christians need to
know about. And our friends at the Christian Medical and Dental
Associations inform, connect and activate the Christian professionals
working in fields of medicine and research. Come to BreakPoint.org and
we'll connect you with these terrific partner organizations.

Creating Life to Destroy It?

Cloning Embryos for Stem Cells

Next Steps
For a Christian view of bioethics and medical ethics, check out the
suggested websites and books below. The information from these resources
will help you understand the successful results coming from research
done with adult stem cells.

Get informed, then share the information with others.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook,
Twitter or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and share this with your
Come to the Breakpoint website read more
related articles and tell us how you feel about this
[Further Reading]
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Post  Admin on Sun 02 Jun 2013, 6:39 pm

Driving Parents to Church
Faith and Family
part 2

Eric Metaxas
May 30, 2013

Yesterday, I introduced you to Mary Eberstadt' s important new book,
"How the West Really Lost God." Her hypothesis is that while the
decline of Christianity has contributed to the weakness of the
traditional family, the opposite is also true.
In other words, the family that stays together is more likely to pray
Eberstadt' s principal metaphor for the relationship between faith
and family formation is the double helix of the DNA. In western
societies, faith and family are like "two spirals that when linked
to one another can effectively reproduce, but whose strength and
momentum depend on one another." When one is in decline or
ascendance, so is the other.
What's important to understand is that causality runs in both
directions: religious observance promotes strong families and strong
families produce religious observance.
The evidence for the latter, counter-intuitive, part of that equation
lies in the historical data. Measures of birth rates, average age of
first marriage, and marriage rates in general didn't trail
indicators of religiosity, such as church attendance.
Instead, declines in the "family factor" occurred simultaneously
with declines in religiosity and, in some instances, even preceded them.
For instance, "the dramatic decline of the family in
eighteenth-century France," which was unique in 18th century Europe,
coincided with a similar decline in French Christianity.
The story repeated itself with minor variations throughout Europe. What
Eberstadt writes about Britain—" British families are less religious
today because they are also less familial"— is also true for the
"advanced nations of the West," including the United States.
Here, the decline in religious affiliation has coincided with a decline
in marriage and child-rearing. We are less likely to marry, marry later
when we do, and have fewer children.This trend has been nearly fifty
years in the making. And it probably has a lot to do with the rise of
the so-called "nones"— those who claim no religious
affiliation. Which still leaves us with the question "Why are
families and faith so intricately linked?"
[Newsletter_ Gen_180x180_ B]
Eberstadt suggests several ways that
"experience of the natural family might incline some people toward
religious belief." One is that the birth of a child gives parents
the sense "that they are witnessing something that only a Creator
could have made" and this awakens their sense of transcendence.
This sense of transcendence is why people often go back to church after
the birth of a child. Not only do parents drive kids to church, kids
drive their parents to church, as well.
Another is that "the Christian story itself is a story told through
the prism of the family. Take away the prism, and the story makes less
sense." The most obvious example is that, in Christianity, God is
"our Father."
Eberstadt quotes a book on the children of divorce in which a child is
asked to imagine God as a loving parent. All he could say is
"I' m drawing a blank." Then there are Christian teachings on
family and sexuality. People for whom divorce, cohabitation and,
increasingly, same-sex marriage are normative are likely to reject
Christian teachings on these subjects.As Eberstadt puts it, "family
illiteracy breeds religious illiteracy."
All of this is to show that the battle for the traditional family has
enormous implications for the Church. I urge you to read Eberstadt' s
book—which we have for you at our online book store at
Driving Parents
to Church
Faith and Family
part 2
Next Steps
As Mary Eberstadt says in her bookHow the West Really Lost God
"family illiteracy breeds religious
illiteracy." It's a very succinct cautionary warning. Read the book
to find out how you can change this trend.The resources below will give
you more information and details on how to challenge the downward spiral
of religious and family illiteracy.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook,
Twitter or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and share this with your
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Post  Admin on Thu 30 May 2013, 8:37 pm

So Long, Family, So Long, Faith?
'How the West Really
Lost God' Part 1

Eric Metaxas
May 29, 2013
Ten years ago, the preamble to the newly-drafted constitution of the
European Union omitted any reference to Christianity. It was an
unmistakable reminder of Christianity&# 39;s diminished influence in a
part of the world it helped create.

How Christianity gave way to secularism is difficult to explain, but an
important new book, "How the West Really Lost God
by Mary Eberstadt, offers an
explanation that Christians need to hear.

That the West has become increasingly secular is difficult to deny. In
his magisterial 2010 book, "A Secular Age
," the Canadian philosopher Charles
Taylor asks why, in Western society, it was "virtually impossible
not to believe in God in say, [the year] 1500 . . . while in 2000 many
of us find this not only easy, but even inescapable? "

There's no shortage of explanations for the change. The most
popular, especially among the so-called "new atheists," is that
Western society "outgrew" its need for God. The Enlightenment
and the scientific developments of the past two centuries offered
alternative explanations for the world around us, which, in turn, made
the Christian story seem less plausible.

Another explanation is that increasing prosperity and levels of
education are to blame (or credit, depending on your perspective) . An
echo of this explanation could be heard in the infamous 1993 comment
that characterized evangelicals as "poor, uneducated," and thus,
"easily led."

The problem with both of these explanations is that, as Eberstadt
documents, they don't fit the facts. Secularization has not followed
a straight-line trajectory. Instead, periods of decreased Christian
practice have been interspersed with revivals in Christian devotion.
Both "Great Awakenings" followed periods of relative religious
indifference. The two decades after World War II saw a remarkable
upsurge in church attendance in both the United States and much of

Likewise, attributing Western secularization to rising levels of
prosperity and education doesn't square with the facts. While Marx
famously called religion the "opiate of the masses," in fact,
objective measures of religiosity such as regular church attendance are
higher among the more affluent and better educated than among their poor
and working class counterparts.

This isn't a new phenomenon: A study of church attendance in London
between 1870 and 1914 found that "the poorest districts thus tended
to have the lowest rates of [church] attendance, [and] those with large
upper-middle- class and upper-class populations the highest."
In their book, "American Grace,"
Robert Putnam and David E. Campbell write that the data disproves the
"idea that religion is nowadays providing solace to the disinherited
and dispossessed, or that higher education subverts religion."

So if the most-popular explanations are wrong, or at least problematic,
what lies behind Christianity&# 39;s diminished influence in the West?
Eberstadt' s thesis is that an important culprit is the weakening of
the family.

While no one denies the strong correlation between religious observance
and family formation, the standard explanation is that increased
religious observance produces stronger families, not vice-versa.

Eberstadt argues that while it's true that the family that prays
together stays together, it is also true that family formation can and
has affected "any given human being's religious belief and

It's an extraordinary claim that demands extraordinary proof, which
Eberstadt provides. How do things like traditional marriage and having
children incline our hearts toward God? Well, you'll have to tune in
tomorrow to BreakPoint to find out.

So Long, Family, So Long, Faith?

'How the West Really Lost God' Part 1

Next Steps
As Eric maintains, the rise of secularism led to poorer, lonelier, and
faith-less families. Like strands of DNA, however, faith and family are
intertwined. So that you can articulate these important correlations to
others, read Mary Eberstadt' s book "How the West Really Lost God

Through people equipped and informed
just like you, the cultural decline can be reversed.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook,
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Post  Admin on Wed 29 May 2013, 9:02 pm

The Kids are (not Quite) All Right
Millennials and Narcissismn

Eric Metaxas
May 28, 2013

A year ago, David McCullough, a Massachusetts high school teacher,
became an overnight sensation when he told graduating seniors that
"despite . . . that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia,
[and] no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to
save you … you're nothing special."

A year later, in its May 20th edition, Time Magazine has weighed in on
the subject. In a schizoid piece, it calls "Millennials, " those
born between 1980 and 2000, "lazy entitled narcissists, " yet it
insists that they somehow will "save us."

Author Joel Stein, who's forty-three, begins with some sobering
data. For instance, according to the National Institutes of Health, the
incidence of narcissistic personality disorder is three times as high
among twenty-somethings than among those over sixty-five.

Likewise, the average college student in 2009 scored significantly
higher on a narcissism scale than his counterparts in 1982.

The high self-regard doesn't end with graduation: forty percent of
all Millennials believe that they should be promoted every two years
regardless of their actual job performance.

Not surprisingly for a generation raised on social media, fame is also
very important to this generation. Four times as many girls in this
generation would prefer to be an assistant to a famous person than the
CEO of a corporation.

Most troubling of all are their ideas about right and wrong. "The
guiding morality of 60 percent of Millennials in any situation is that
they'll just be able to feel what's right."

If you're wondering how the people described will "save us,"
you're not alone. And Stein doesn't really say. The most he can
come up with is a series of contradictions: they are both
"optimistic&qu ot; and "wary." They have "embraced the
system" yet do not respect authority. They are "idealistic
pragmatists. " And while they "hate Joseph Kony," the
infamous Ugandan warlord, "they aren't going to do anything
about Joseph Kony," either.

In other words, they are what we made them. It's the predictable
outcome of our emphasis on "self-esteem. " If you're
constantly telling a child how "special" he is and running
interference to remove any obstacle, narcissism and a sense of
entitlement is the most likely outcome.
Of course, there are plenty of exceptionally
non-narcissistic young people. But as the response to McCullough&# 39;s
speech suggests, the portrait painted by Stein is consistent with
people's general experience of Millennials.

Fortunately, there's an alternative that Christians can and should
appreciate: as psychologist Jean Twenge told Stein, instead of telling
young people how special they are, "just tell your kids you love

Even better, show them what love—in the sense of agape—looks
like. It's the antithesis of narcissism and feelings of entitlement.
It, as C.S. Lewis wrote, "loves the unlovable," "does not
depend on our attraction" or our attractiveness, for that matter. It
is that "state of the will which we have naturally about ourselves,
and must learn to have about other people." It is not self-focus, it
is self-giving for the good of others.

Agape is why Jesus, "though he was in the form of God, did not count
equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking
the form of a servant . . ."

Having this attitude is the best way that I know to not only avoid
raising "lazy entitled narcissists, " but to also avoid becoming
narcissists ourselves.

The Kids are (not Quite) All Right

Millennials and Narcissism

Next Steps
While the situation looks dark for the mental and spiritual health of
the Millennials, don't give up on them. First, stop perpetuating
the behavior that shapes a narcissist personality in your own family.
Instead of despairing, show the young people in your life, including
those in your neighborhood, how to lead selfless lives, one small step,
one example, at a time.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook,
Twitter or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and share this with your

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and tell us how you feel about this

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Post  Admin on Wed 22 May 2013, 9:17 pm

A Worldview Just Not Big Enough
John Stonestreet
May 20, 2013

C. S. Lewis observed that the most dangerous ideas in a society are not
the ones argued, but the ones assumed. And there's little doubt that
in most universities across the United States, secularist materialism,
in one form or another, is the assumed and unquestioned perspective from
which most subjects are understood and taught.
So much so, that even professors theoretically committed to
open-mindedness and inquiry are like the proverbial fish who don't
know they're wet. And if they can't recognize their own
materialist limitations, then neither do the students they indoctrinate.

Let me be clear. The real problem with secularist materialism is not
that it is now largely assumed and unquestioned. And it's not even
that materialist explanations are never right, because they are at

Rather, the problem is that as a worldview, materialism is so severely
limited. You see, the "rules" of secularist materialism are that
nothing other than purely physical causes or processes can be considered
when looking at any area of life. Self-deluded as "neutral and
scientific," materialism disallows up front any metaphysical,
spiritual, or supernatural considerations at all.
[Daily_Commentary_ 5_20_13] But does this work in reality? Well,
consider genetic research—especially with last week's news that
scientists can now clone human embryonic stem cells. If the materialists
are correct, then human beings are nothing more than soulless products
of evolution, a chance collection of DNA, cells, and body fluids. The
logical conclusion to this worldview would be to welcome human DNA
manipulation, as well as the growing and killing of human embryos to
harvest body parts for research.
That's just one example, but my friend Dr. Mike Adams, a professor
at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington , thinks that there are
many, many more. You might know Mike for his popular column at
Townhall.com http://townhall.com/
Mike knows the limits of materialism
because, as a criminologist, he used to believe it. He's written
about what changed his mind in his new book, "Letters to a Young
As a secularist, Mike embraced moral relativism. He believed that right
was right and wrong was wrong only because someone recognized them as
such. They were mere social conventions, not a reflection of any
universal moral laws. But after witnessing the brutal treatment of
inmates at a South American jail, he saw the limitations of his
secularist assumptions. There had to be a right and wrong, he concluded,
and that set him on a new journey that led him to Jesus Christ.
Adams discovered that the Christian view of
truth, morality, human nature, and reality was, well, much bigger than
secular materialism, and provided a deeper explanation for the causes of
crime, and better resources for understanding and pursuing justice.
In "Letters to a Young Progressive
," Mike describes clearly and winsomely
why materialism just isn't big enough for the real world. And Mike
talks about this on our latest episode of "BreakPoint This
Week." Come to BreakPoint.org
to listen. http://www.breakpoint.org/features-columns/discourse/entry/15/22274?spMailingID=6178196&spUserID=OTQ0MjQwNzk2S0&spJobID=74004458&spReportId=
Here's the bottom line: Our ideas have consequences. We've all
heard of the many students who walk away from their faith in college,
and many more walk away from Christian truths by absorbing bad ideas
from the secularist worldview that dominates the university. That's
why Mike Adams and I devote our summers to teaching at the best
worldview training program for students available—Summit Ministries.
And, to help parents deal with this problem, I've created a teaching
CD called "Why Students Walk Away and What We Can Do About It."
Come to BreakPoint.org to learn about Summit, and I'll tell
you how to get a copy of this CD.
Materialism vs.Reality

A Worldview Just Not Big Enough
Next Steps
Listen to BreakPoint This Week
as John interviews Mike Adams on the subject
of a "big enough" worldview. Get a copy of Mike's book Letters
to a Young Progressive for the college-bound young people in your
life and one for yourself. And check out John's teaching CD, Why
Students Walk Away Learn how to combat the secularist mindset
prevalent on college campuses.Finally, click on the link for Summit
Ministries to get information about their training
programs and summer conferences.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook,
Twitter or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and share this with your

Come to the Breakpoint website http://www.breakpoint.org/bp-home?spMailingID=6178196&spUserID=OTQ0MjQwNzk2S0&spJobID=
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Post  Admin on Sun 19 May 2013, 9:48 pm

Gosnell and the Abortion License
Incoherence at Its Best
John Stonestreet
May 17, 2013

Last Monday, a Philadelphia jury found abortionist Kermit Gosnell guilty
on three counts of first-degree murder, one count of manslaughter and
literally hundreds of lesser charges. The verdict came after nearly two
months of testimony that described, in what the Washington Post called
"gruesome detail," the inhumanity and brutality of what can and
does happen in American abortion clinics.

It also exposed the incoherence of the legal, moral, and philosophical
reasoning underlying the abortion regime.

Gosnell avoided a possible death sentencing by forgoing his right of
appeal in exchange for life sentences.

The reactions to the verdicts ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous:
Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey said that "some
abortionists may have cleaner sheets than Gosnell, and better sterilized
equipment and better trained accomplices, but what they do . . . is the

For its part, Planned Parenthood praised the verdict and then bizarrely
cited the Gosnell case as a reason to "reject misguided laws that
would limit women's options and force them to seek treatment from
criminals like Kermit Gosnell."

Huh? Gosnell is a criminal, but his crimes did not include running an
illegal abortion clinic.

By far, the best reaction to the verdict came from Chuck Colson's
friend, Princeton Professor Robert George. Writing for First Things,
George called Gosnell a "front man" and added that "the real
trial has only just begun." In that trial, "the defendant is the
abortion license in America."

Among the many offenses of the "abortion license in America" is
its incoherence and arbitrariness. Gosnell faced the death penalty for
actions which, if they had been performed weeks or even minutes earlier,
might not have even been a criminal offense.

As George wrote, "Something as morally arbitrary as a human
being's location — his or her being in or out of the womb —
cannot determine whether killing him or her is an unconscionable act of
premeditated homicide or the exercise of a fundamental liberty."

Yet that is precisely what the "abortion license" dictates.
George asks, "If we are to condemn snipping the neck of a child
delivered at, say, twenty-four or twenty-six weeks to kill him or her,
how can we defend dismembering or poisoning a child in the womb at
twenty-six, thirty, or even thirty-four weeks?"
he answer is, of course, we can't, at
least not with any intellectual or moral integrity.

For all of his excesses – to put it charitably – George's
colleague at Princeton, pro-abortion philosopher Peter Singer, is at
least consistent with his anti-human views and avoids the kind of
arbitrary distinctions that pro-abortion groups cling to.

Singer denies George's claim that human beings "are bearers of
inviolable dignity and a basic right to life in virtue of our humanity,
and not in virtue of accidental qualities such as age, size, or stage of
development or condition of dependency."

But advocates of the "abortion license" want to have it both
ways. They affirm the inviolable dignity of human beings, but when it
comes to babies in utero, only if it doesn't conflict with the
mother's so-called "fundamental liberty."

They do this by "[pretending] that abortion and infanticide are
radically different acts or practices." But as the past two months
in a Philadelphia court room have amply demonstrated, they are not.

When the difference between life and death for both the victims and
their killers is a matter of inches, then the only radical thing about
the distinction being made is its departure from reason and simple

Last week on "BreakPoint This Week
," I interviewed Kirsten Powers, the USA
Today reporter who was the first national journalist to cover this
story—and who, by the way, shamed the rest of the national media
into paying attention. It's a great interview. Come toBreakPoint. org
click on this commentary, and I'll
link you to "BreakPoint This Week
" and to Robby George's First Things article.
Gosnell and the Abortion License

Incoherence at Its Best
Next Steps

Pro-choice advocates, like Planned Parenthood, are suffering from
cognitive dissonance regarding the case of Kermit Gosnell and legalized
abortion. As John said, the Gosnell case has done one positive
thing—it proves, without a shadow of doubt, that the reasoningfor
abortion is totally incoherent.Please listen to John and Kirsten' s
discussion and also read Dr. Robert George's piece. Then forward
the commentary to your social network.
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Post  Admin on Sun 19 May 2013, 9:43 pm

All About Babies
The Culture of Life

Eric Metaxas
May 14, 2013
If I say the word "culture" to you, what other words come to
mind? Art? Morals? Perhaps politics in its broadest sense?

Here's a word that probably doesn't come to mind: babies. Yet,
as the recipient of the 2013 Wilberforce Award, Archbishop Timothy
Cardinal Dolan of New York, argued, it's probably the first word
that should come to mind.

In accepting the award at the Colson Center's annual Wilberforce
Conference, Dolan told the audience that his "most joyful event"
in recent months was neither receiving the award nor even participating
in the election of a new pope. No, that distinction went to baptizing
his great-nephew, Charlie.

He noted that the most inspirational part of this event was observing
the "profound change" that becoming parents had worked in the
child's mom and dad. He saw how their "attention and interest,
their very lives, were now totally absorbed, not in themselves, not even
in each other, but in their baby . . . No longer were they living for
themselves, but for that baby."

To which he added "that&# 39;s exactly how God intended it to be.
That's what we call a culture of life. The human project is about
babies. A man and a woman are made for babies. Culture is all about
babies. Our lives are at their best when centered not upon ourselves but
upon babies."

Culture, in Cardinal Dolan's words, "is simply humanity' s
best effort to protect the baby, the mother, and the father." Its
"purpose is to embrace, nurture, and protect the baby, the mom, the
dad, and to see that this precious infant has the embrace of the
community to grow in age and wisdom until . . . that baby, as an adult
can tenderly and faithfully love a spouse, have his or her own baby, and
the sacred cycle begins again."

Thus, as the historian Christopher Dawson put it, "culture was
actually humanity' s attempt to `extend the womb.'"

By these standards, ours is not a culture—certainly not one worthy
of the name. A culture, as Cardinal Dolan said, that "claims the
right to redefine the very nature of the relationship that procreates
the baby [and] . . . puts conception, pregnancy and childbirth under the
domain of the Center for Disease Control" is waging war on the womb,
not extending it.
Likewise, a "culture that inhibits the
mom and dad from passing on faith, their convictions, its expression, to
their child; [and] considers a mom's desire to remain home to raise
her child as less than liberated and fulfilling . . . might be a brave
new world, but it sure is not a culture."

There's a lot more great stuff in Dolan's remarks. Please, come
to BreakPoint.org to watch the speech in its entirety—and
then please share it with your friends and family.
Dolan's diagnosis of our cultural predicament is spot on. Another
name for the "brave new world" he describes is the "culture
of death." While the most obvious example of the culture of death in
action is abortion, this culture deals out death in many ways, both
physically and spiritually.

The Christian response is to lovingly make clear what most people would
prefer remain obscure. Thus, we can and should expect criticism and
So when you come to BreakPoint.org
to watch Cardinal Dolan's speech, I
hope you'll also watch my Wilberforce Conference address on,
appropriately enough, William Wilberforce himself—a man Chuck Colson
often referred to as his "hero." You've probably heard about
Wilberforce&# 39;s decades-long struggle to end the slave trade, but in
my talk, I'll fill you in on Wilberforce&# 39;s passion to tackle a
host of social ills in his day—all in the name of Christ, and with a
stunning graciousness that we would do well to emulate in our time.
All About Babies
The Culture of Life
Next Steps
Cardinal Timothy Dolan's vigorous and upbeat proclamation about life,
marriage and culture at the Wilberforce Award Ceremony received a lot of
accolades. Be sure and check out the speech itself
(you can listen to a summary or the entire
address) at ColsonCenter. org.
http://www.colsoncenter.org/topnews/entry/44/22092?spMailingID=6143719&spUserID=OTQ0MjQwNzk2S0&spJobID=73537422&spReportId=NzM1Mzc0MjIS1 In addition, you can listen to Eric's
speech, which he mentioned, here
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Post  Admin on Sat 11 May 2013, 10:52 pm

Seeing is Believing

The Inhuman Abortion Industry

Eric Metaxas
May 10, 2013

Do you remember the great movie "Amazing Grace," about William
Wilberforce, the Christian Parliamentarian who led the charge to abolish
the British slave trade?

One scene sticks in my mind right now, especially given all the horrors
being revealed in the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell in

Wilberforce was a tireless advocate for those who were regarded as mere
chattel, but he knew that words alone often fall on deaf ears. So in the
film he arranges for what some upper-class society types thought would
be a nice boat outing.

But Wilberforce sails them right by a slave ship, close enough to smell
and see the inhuman conditions the slaves were forced to endure. The
party-goers are overwhelmed, upset, nauseated. What Wilberforce did may
not have been polite, but it was very effective!

Not surprisingly, some pro-abortion folks today are a little upset at a
series of undercover videos released by Lila Rose, a modern-day crusader
for the sanctity of human life, and her group, Live Action. Live Action
describes itself as "a new media movement dedicated to ending
abortion and building a culture of life." I only wish the old
media had the same agenda!

[Daily_Commentary_ 5_10_13] Anyway, the videos are entitled
"Inhuman: Undercover in America' s Late-Term Abortion
Industry." While not as grisly as the stories coming out of
Gosnell' s house of butchery, these videos nonetheless show the
chilling and callous attitude of late-term abortion providers. The first
video shows an abortion doctor in our nation's capital saying that
if an abortion resulted in a live birth, he "would not help" the

The second focuses on another hotbed of late-term abortions—the
Bronx, New York. We're told that 41 percent of all pregnancies in
New York City end in abortion, and that half of all unborn children in
the Bronx are being aborted.

But those are just statistics. The video puts them in context. A young
woman from Live Action pretends to be seeking an abortion for a
late-term pregnancy. And she uses a hidden camera to expose the callous
attitude toward human life of a counselor at the Dr. Emily Women's
Health Center.

When asked what happens during the procedure, the counselor—who has
worked at her job for eleven years, since the age of 16—avoids words
like "baby" or "kill," and says that the
"pregnancy&quo t; is suctioned out. Then the counselor goes into how
the clinic disposes of the remains, and what the clinic workers would do
if the baby showed signs of movement.
And when asked what to do if the baby comes
out at home before the scheduled abortion, the counselor says,
"Flush it!" as if a human being were human waste!

Listening to the counselor' s cold-blooded answers is not for the
faint of heart. But folks, the truth has to come to light—even if
it makes us and others sad and upset in the process.

These Live Action undercover videos, which are perfectly legal, are just
the kind of thing I believe Wilberforce would have done in getting the
truth out. I commend Live Action for having the courage to make them.

When the truth is out, a citizenry cannot say we didn't know... and
because these videos are not only telling the truth, but showing it,
Americans—God willing—will want to do something about it.
Please come to BreakPoint.org
We'll link you to the Live Action
videos for you to see and share with others.
Also, you'll want to tune in to "BreakPoint This Week
with my friend John Stonestreet who
will be talking with Lila Rose of Live Action about the videos and about
Lila's efforts to expose the inhumanity of abortion. John will also
be talking with my friend Kirsten Powers of USA Today about her work to
cover the Gosnell trial. You can listen in starting today, again,
atBreakPoint. org
Seeing is Believing

The Inhuman Abortion Industry

Next Steps

When pro-life activist and Live Action founder Lila Rose spoke at our
recent Wilberforce Weekend conference, she anounced the upcoming release
of a series of undercover videos taken inside abortion clinics. Several
of these videos have already been released as part of Live Action's
"Inhuman" project, and what they reveal is shocking. To watch them,
visit LiveAction.org
Then, be sure to tune in to this weekend' s forthcoming edition of
"BreakPoint This Week,"
in which John Stonestreet interviews Lila
Rose about the "Inhuman" project, her inspirational work as a crusader
for human life, and what these revealing videos mean, especially in
light of the Kermit Gosnell trial.

Finally, we ask that you'd take personal action by sharing this
information with your friends, coworkers and neighbors, by getting
involved as a volunteer with your local pregnancy care center, and most
importantly by praying for a speedy end to the abortion industry in
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook,
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Post  Admin on Wed 08 May 2013, 3:14 pm

No Place Like Home
The Little Way
of Ruthie Leming

Eric Metaxas
May 7, 2013

As a journalist and cultural commentator, my friend Rod Dreher seemingly
had it all. In addition to his strong Christian faith, Rod was a
successful writer and editor, a family man with a lovely wife, Julie,
and three beautiful kids. Yet it took his sister Ruthie's horrible
illness to show him how much he'd been missing.

Rod and Ruthie were raised in the small town of Starhill, in West
Feliciana Parish, which is not too far from Baton Rouge,
Louisiana—but not too close, either. In his arresting new book, The
Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the
Secret of a Good Life
Rod describes the little red brick house
they grew up in as "smack in the middle of plantation country."
Yet it wasn't a good fit for Rod, a bookish sort who didn't
always fit into the outdoorsy mold expected by the town.

[Daily_Commentary_ 5_7_13] Not so Ruthie, whom he describes as
"probably our town's only homecoming queen who really did know
how to skin a buck and run a trot line." For Ruthie, Starhill meant
comfort, security, and a sense of belonging. She put down roots, got
married to her high school sweetheart Mike, and began raising a family.
Rod, however, facing "the intolerance, the social conformity, the
cliquishness, the bullying," got out as soon as he could—and he
didn't plan to look back, ever.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Rod's career success out
East, writing about such things as the fragmenting modern family and
"every other thing under the sun that undermines our sense of home
and permanence" : You see, Ruthie got sick—verysick with cancer.
So Rod and wife Julie and kids left their farmhouse near Philadelphia
and came back to help.

They were stunned by the simple, practical faith they experienced.
Ruthie, always helping others, received help from them now, accepting
her illness as God's will. "The love that had sustained Ruthie
through her cancer, and that now surrounded and upheld her family,"
Rod writes, "came from somewhere." Rod saw Ruthie's death
reveal a "bright sadness." "I was able to see," he
writes, "the effect of Ruthie's love, given and returned, in
steadfast acts of ordinary faith, hope, and charity. The little way of
Ruthie Leming is the plainest thing in the world, something any of us
could choose."

Rod and Julie, sensing a longing, chose to move back to Starhill to
support, and be supported by, imperfect but incredible people. It was
messy, as family things often are, but it was real. After Ruthie died,
Mike, a man of few words, said, "We' re leaning, but we're
leaning on each other." Rod and Julie were drawn to this loving

[Newsletter_ Gen_180x180_ B]
"To look upon beauty that powerful,"
Rod says, "is to receive a calling and a command to change your
life—and that can make you afraid. It can always be refused, but
grace like that doesn't come often." So Rod began to work
through his own lingering hurts, tears, and need to seek forgiveness
from others in his past.
"Contemporary culture," Rod says, "encourages us to make
islands of ourselves for the sake of self-fulfillment, of career
advancement, of entertainment, of diversion, and all the demands of the
sovereign self. When suffering and death come for you… you want to
be in a place where you know, and are known." Friends, this
isn't about Rod Dreher. We also need to put down roots and build
relationships so we can share the love of God, minister, and be
ministered to. We need to be, not just to do. And that takes time.
I urge you to get a copy of The Little Way of Ruthie Leming
It's an amazing book. We have it at
The Colson Center Bookstore
It'll probably make you cry; it will
certainly make you think. And if you sense the call of God to
re-establish yourself in a community, well, it just may change your

No Place Like Home

The Little Way of Ruthie Leming

Next Steps
Unlike Rod Dreher, most of us won't be moving back to our childhood
hometown. But regardless of where we reside, it's imperative that we
invest of ourselves in our communities. Read Rod's story, then go
out and re-join your community. Through your involvement, you will be
helping to make the invisible Kingdom visible. Check out some of the
stories below to see how others have also made a difference.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook,
Twitter or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and share this with your
Come to the Breakpoint website and tell us how you feel about this

[Further Reading]

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Chuck Colson Breakiing Point Empty Re: Chuck Colson Breakiing Point

Post  Admin on Wed 08 May 2013, 3:05 pm

Changing the World
The Passions of William Wilberforce
Eric Metaxas
May 6, 2013

A few years ago I found myself on CNN, promoting a book I'd just written
titled "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (but Were Afraid
to Ask)
."I was expecting some hardball questions,
such as, "If God is good and powerful, why does He allow so much
evil in the world?" But instead, to my great surprise, the
interviewer asked me about William Wilberforce, the great British
abolitionist. I'd almost forgotten I'd even mentioned
Wilberforce in my book, but suddenly I was talking to a national TV
audience about him.

Not long afterward a publisher asked me if I wanted to write a biography
about Wilberforce. And of course, I did. During my research for the
book, I made a remarkable discovery: Wilberforce&# 39;s leadership in the
move to abolish the slave trade was just a fraction of what he
accomplished during his life. He was the most successful social reformer
in the history of the world. As I write in my new book, "7 Men and the
Secret of Their Greatness
" the life of Wilberforce "stands as an
incredible example of what one human being—submitted to God's
purpose for his life—is capable of doing."

Before he became a reformer, young Wilberforce was a member of exclusive
social clubs where, like other privileged young men of his era, he ate,
drank, and gambled his nights away. A renowned wit with a winning
personality, Wilberforce enjoyed rousing political debates, and at an
early age won a seat in Parliament.

But then he went on vacation with a childhood friend named Isaac Milner,
a Christian believer. The two fell into serious discussions of faith and
by the end of their trip, Wilberforce found that he believed in God and
the work of Christ with his whole mind.

The question was, what should he do next? Should he stay in the
"dirty" world of politics, or enter the ministry? At this
tremendously crucial juncture, Wilberforce visited his old friend, John
Newton, the slave ship captain turned hymn-writing preacher and
evangelist. Newton advised Wilberforce to stay in politics—a highly
unusual step for a serious Christian in those days. Perhaps, Newton
predicted, God would use him there in a mighty way.

And so he did. Less than two years later, after much prayer and thought,
Wilberforce penned these famous words in his diary: "God Almighty
has set before me two Great Objects: the suppression of the Slave Trade
and the Reformation of Manners"— that is to say, the reformation of
the culture along moral grounds. Child labor, alcoholism, prostitution,
animal cruelty—all of these evils permeated British society, and all
of them needed to be addressed.

[Newsletter_ Gen_180x180_ B]
Wilberforce believed that God had called him
to fight these great moral evils. Nevertheless, over the next two
decades, he and his allies suffered one crushing defeat after another in
Parliament. But they soldiered on, bathing their efforts in prayer and
working to change the hearts and minds of the British people. In 1807,
after nearly 20 years work, they succeeded in outlawing the slave trade.
Wilberforce, now a very famous man, also set an example of making
goodness fashionable, as he put it—helping the poor and spending
quality time with his children. His biblically-based ideas influenced
British culture at a time when the British Empire was tremendously

How God used this one man to change the world is almost unbelievable.
But like Wilberforce, you and I should be asking ourselves: Am I using
my God-given gifts for His great purposes in the proper arena? Am I
obeying Him in all areas of my life?

My book 7 Men and the Secret of Their Greatness
is my way of hoping to introduce teens, and
young men especially, to William Wilberforce and other great heroes. You
can find out more about it at BreakPoint.org
and I hope you will.

Changing the World

The Passions of William Wilberforce

Next Steps

Today we challenge you to set a goal of emulating William Wilberforce.
He was Chuck Colson's hero and someone Chuck considered a model for our

First you might want to study Wilberforce&# 39;s life. This commentary is a
good start, but there are many other places you can look. This past
weekend John Stonestreet aired a 24-minute radio show
about the Wilberforce weekend, using clips
from speeches by Eric Metaxas and Cardinal Timothy Dolan. They said some
significant things about Wilberforce. You can also watch the complete
video of Eric's speech
ere (Eric begins the Wilberforce section at
8:15 in the timeline).

Kathryn Lopez of National Review recentlyinterviewed Eric about his book
William Wilberforce, Chuck Colson, and the
other heroes he writes about.
You can also dig even deeper and find more resources, many of them
authored by Chuck Colson, at the Colson Center Library. We suggest doing
an advanced search
n the words "Colson" and "Wilberforce. "
(We found 182 results on this combo).

Of course, check out William Wilberforce in Eric's book, 7 Men and the
Secret of Their Greatness,
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook,
Twitter or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and share this with your

Come to the Breakpoint website
[Further Reading]

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Post  Admin on Sun 05 May 2013, 9:04 pm

Worldview at Work
Running Companies
More Truly
John Stonestreet
May 2, 2013

Chuck Colson was always pushing people to not only know their
Bibles—which is critical—but to know how what was in them
applied on the ground, in the real world. If you knew Chuck, he could
push pretty hard! He believed that people with impeccable theology and a
wholesome morality may still be no match for a godless culture that
played by the rules of a secular worldview. Christians need a Christian

Lots of erudite tomes have been written on the subject of worldview, so
it's easy to forget the real-world implications of Christianity that
go beyond the hot-button issues of abortion, infanticide, and marriage,
as important as those are. After all, as we often say around here, Jesus
Christ is Lord of every square inch.

Take business, for example. How does a Christian worldview—what we
think about God, people, and the meaning of life—affect the kinds of
goods and services we sell, how we market them, how we think of and
treat customers, and how we compensate employees?

Because all truth is God's truth, Christians can learn from others
in the marketplace who have stumbled upon it, whether Christian or not.
For example, a small but significant group of retailers is bucking the
common practice of seeing employees as "a cost to be minimized,"
and therefore paying them as little as possible. Zeynop Ton of the MIT
school of management recently noted QuikTrip, a convenience store-gas
station chain that pays its starting cashiers $40,000, almost double the
national average. Why do this? "They start," Ton notes,
"with the mentality of seeing employees as assets to be

Hmmm—sounds like a worldview shift to me! Whether we view people as
burdens or blessings, consumers or creators, slaves or potential
saints–this plays out in significant ways. Genesis, of course, tells
us that God put people in the Garden and on this earth to rule it in His
stead. While sin frustrates that picture in so many ways, every human,
both male and female, has been created in His image and brings value to
the world. That starting point is robust enough to survive and flourish
anywhere, even behind a cash register.
And this view of human value is something
our struggling society desperately needs. The fact is, we can learn
something from the QuickTrips of the world. This chain has higher worker
costs, of course, but also higher rates of employee satisfaction,
efficiency, and productivity. Entry-level workers are trained for two
full weeks before they see their first customers. They learn not only
how to work the register but how to order stock and even clean
bathrooms. Those who succeed have a reasonable expectation of promotion.
The result is people feel as if they're making a contribution, have
a stake in the overall business, and will be rewarded for keeping
shelves stocked and customers satisfied. In other words, they're not
just a means to an end. While many low-cost retailers have had to lay
off staff during this brutal economy, QuikTrip has been hiring, and

And they aren't the only retail employer doing well by treating its
people as assets rather than liabilities. Trader Joe's and Costco,
for example, also pay workers above-market wages, and are thriving.
Another well-known enterprise, Toyota, gives all its employees the
opportunity for input on improving its vehicles.

Of course, this approach has both literal and figurative costs.
Quarterly earnings can sometimes be affected negatively, so patience is
needed from corporate leaders and stockholders. Trader Joe's keeps
costs down by offering a smaller number of products. But the approach
works, proving that businesses can do good and make money. It sounds
like a lot of work to align our jobs with a Christian worldview, but a
worldview that makes no difference from nine to five, Monday through
Friday, isn't much of a worldview at all, and isn't very
compelling. To paraphrase Dorothy Sayers, who would want a worldview
that only works one day a week?

Worldview at Work

Running Companies More Truly

Next Steps
John Stonestreet mentioned some pretty awesome companies. Your work can
make a difference, too. First, have you considered your own view of
work—do you view work as something outside the purview of your
faith? It's not, you know.

We've also listed some resources like How Now Shall We Live?
and Doing the Right Thing
which has a session on Ethics and a
Christian worldview in the workplace especially tailored for business
leaders. These will help you gain a Christian perspective of
work—and the work toward redeeming the world.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook,
Twitter or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and share this with your

Come to the Breakpoint website
and tell us how you feel about this

[Further Reading]

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Post  Admin on Sun 05 May 2013, 8:42 pm

The Overblown War between Faith and Science

A Report on Stem Cell Research

John Stonestreet
May 3, 2013

During the second weekend in April, the Vatican hosted what the Wall
Street Journal called an "unusual conference."

At this "unusual conference," scientists, including a Nobel
Laureate, theologians, and entrepreneurs came together to discuss one of
the most contentious issues of our time: stem cell research.

This, the second annual "International Vatican Adult Stem Cell
Conference" along with various related efforts, had as a primary
goal to "lay the groundwork for a collaborative network of
scientists, educators and patrons who embrace the promise of adult stem

Another goal was to promote what the head of the Pontifical Council for
Culture called the "necessary union between science and faith."
As Robin Smith, the CEO of NeoStem, a biopharmaceutical company, told
conferees, "to address global suffering, one does not have to choose
between faith and science . . . . These two ideas fit together
symbiotically. "

By way of evidence, conferees were told about "how new discoveries
are being made for treatments of multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular
disease, cancer, diabetes, organ and tissue repair." These
treatments, using adult stem cells, have none of what Smith called the
"ethical blemishes" inherent in embryonic stem cell research
that requires the killing of human beings when they are embryos.

Tragically, the attention given to embryonic stem cells has obscured the
far greater therapeutic potential of adult stem cells.

This potential was given a human face with the story of Elizabeth
Lobato, a 14-year-old girl diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta, also
known as "brittle bone disease," when she was only ten months

In addition to breaking her bones every few months, the condition has
caused Elizabeth and others like her to suffer from a variety of
ailments including "muscle weakness, hearing loss, loose joints,
curved bones, scoliosis, brittle teeth and short stature."

But an adult stem cell treatment, using "bone marrow-derived stem
cells from her father," has helped Elizabeth grow thirteen inches
since beginning the treatment. Making Elizabeth' s story that much
more poignant is that her family refused even to consider any treatment
involving embryonic stem cells.
This made the headlines about the conference
all the more confusing: "The Vatican Announces Support for Stem Cell
Research"— as if their position had changed. It hadn't. Of
course, the Vatican and most Christian bioethicists have consistently
endorsed stem cell research that did not involve the destruction of
human life. And they have consistently rejected any scientific research
that does involve the destruction of human life.

This consistent stance has been vindicated now that so many, even
proponents of embryonic stem cell research like Michael J. Fox, have
acknowledged that embryonic stem cell research hasn't lived up to
the promises made by its supporters.

As conferees learned, real medical breakthroughs are far more likely to
come as the result of research done using adult stem cells.

And this leaves an obvious question: Why pursue embryonic stem cell
research at all? Given the "ethical blemishes," and the lack of
results, why do people still insist on pursuing this moral and
scientific dead end?

Part of the answer is that the debate over embryonic stem cell research
isn't really about scientific results. It's about the right of
"science" to operate independently of any external moral and
ethical considerations. That is, it's about science rejecting faith.

And the other part of the answer is that people don't know the
incredible success of adult stem cell treatments. Getting that word out
was the purpose of the conference. And now it's up to us to spread
the news and correct the public record. Alleviating suffering isn't
a matter of choosing between faith and science. On the contrary, it only
happens when the two work hand-in-hand.

The Overblown War
Faith and Science

A Report on Stem Cell Research

Next Steps
As John said, alleviating suffering isn't a matter of choosing
between faith and science. Positive results are being achieved using
adult stem cells. This research isn't highlighted in the mainstream
media, so it's up to us to get the word out. The resources and links
below will equip and prepare you to clarify the issue and make an impact
in your spheres of influence. Spread the news and correct the
record--adult stem cell research is paying off.
We also encourage you to post this newsletter to your FaceBook,
Twitter or LinkedIn networks. PLEASE help us, and share this with your

Come to the Breakpoint website
read morerelated articles and tell us how you feel about this
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