CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH
Steve Chalke: Literal readings of Genesis fuel erosion of confidence in Bible
January 4, 2018 — ChristianToday.com reports: “Conservative evangelical readings of the Genesis creation story have fuelled the erosion of confidence in the Bible, a prominent Baptist pastor is claiming.
Steve Chalke, a well-known leader arguing for same-sex marriage in the church, says the biblical creation story is actually about a ‘radical message of inclusion and equality’ and traditionalist readings have missed its true message.
‘By taking the Bible literally, we often fail to take it seriously,’ he says, adding that knowing this reading of Genesis ‘might save the faith’ of young people shunning the Church’s conservative approach to sexuality.
‘Because aspects of the Church have for too long tried to defend the historicity of the Genesis 1 creation poem, Noah’s Ark and various other stories, they have failed to grasp the opportunity its real message presents us with,’ he says in a statement on Thursday linked to a video release. ‘At the same time, they have unwittingly played a role in the erosion of confidence in the Bible’s authority and relevance.’
The Bible’s creation account was not written to explain history or science, Chalke argues, but instead as a deliberate parody of the version held by the Babylonian empire, which had taken the Israelites into exile at the time Genesis was written…” (“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was… But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” – II Timothy 3:1-9; 13-17 [emphasis mine].)
Gunmen attack Coptic Christian church near Cairo, killing at least nine
December 29, 2017 — The Jerusalem Post reports: “Gunmen killed at least nine people including three police in an attack on a Coptic Christian church south of Cairo on Friday, medical and security sources said.
The two attackers opened fire at the entrance to the church of Mar Mina in Helwan district, which was being guarded by police in the run-up to Orthodox Christmas celebrations next week, security sources said.
One attacker was shot dead by security forces, the sources and the state-run news agency MENA reported. State television said the second had been captured.
Islamist militants have claimed several attacks on Egypt’s large Christian minority in recent years, including two bomb attacks on Palm Sunday in April and a blast at Cairo’s largest Coptic cathedral last December that killed 28 people.
The Health Ministry said that nine people had been killed on Friday in addition to the gunman, and five wounded, including two women in serious condition.
Local media said the dead attacker had been wearing an explosive belt, and that two other bombs had been defused near the church…” (If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning” – John 15:18-27.)
Iraqi Archbishop: ‘Gang Rapes, Torture and Murder of Christians’ Are Ongoing
December 29, 2017 — Breitbart.com reports: “An Iraqi Catholic archbishop says that Christians in Iraq ‘are afraid of another wave of persecution that will be the end of Christians,’ despite news of the ‘defeat’ of the Islamic State.
‘The daily practice of robberies, gang rapes, torture and murder of Christians is ongoing,’ said Basra Archbishop Habib Al Nawfali in a recent interview with Catholic News service. ‘Therefore, they are pondering what will be next.’
Speaking during a meeting on intercultural dialogue sponsored by the European Parliament earlier this month, Al Nawfali, who has been Archbishop of Basra since 2013, condemned the ‘genocide’ of Iraqi Christians, while calling on leaders in the West to defend the rights of native Iraqis, including Christians.
‘We need support politically from Western leaders, and Christian villages need help economically to open workshops to provide employment or for the reconstruction of houses,’ Al Nawfali said.
He also lamented the exodus of Christians from the Holy Land, noting that as many as 1 million Christians have been forced from their ancient homeland, a situation he described as a ‘disaster.’…” (Christians who suffer and die for Christ will receive the “Crown of Life” to place at the feet of Jesus – James 1:12; Revelation 2:10. The 24 elders represent 12 Old Testament Tribes and 12 New Testament Apostles – saved Jews and redeemed Christians. In Revelation 4: 10 & 11 they cast their earned crowns before the Lord Jesus Christ.)