Carey S Thomas Library
Library Home Databases Reference Library Information E-Books
 
 
Christianity Today
News provided by ChristianityToday.com
Interview: Meet the Filmmaker Exposing Planned Parenthood

How a 26-year-old founded the undercover operation to take down the abortion giant.

For years, a group of pro-life activists and politicians have waged a fierce political and brand war with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a billion-dollar nonprofit that has positioned itself as a champion for women’s health.

Pro-life groups and other critics called the abortion giant—Planned Parenthood terminates more than 300,000 pregnancies per year—a rogue organization that misuses about $500 million a year in government funds to underwrite its lucrative abortion business.

After a string of victories from 2011, the movement to defund Planned Parenthood largely stalled out. A month ago, the movement was dead in the water.

Not anymore.

A series of undercover videos, showing Planned Parenthood executives haggling over the price for donated fetal tissue and organs over lunch and during a dissection, have the abortion giant on the defensive.

The videos, which claim Planned Parenthood profits from selling fetal tissue, caused public outrage and launched nationwide rallies. As many as seven states, including Texas, have planned hearings or investigations into Planned Parenthood’s tissue donation program. Pro-life members of the US Senate introduced a bill to cut all federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

All of which is what David Daleiden wanted.

Daleiden, 26, is executive director of the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), the pro-life nonprofit that produced the videos. He’s a former director of research for Live Action, a pro-life group that specializes in undercover abortion clinic videos. Daleiden told CT he started CMP to focus on more long-term, in-depth projects.

For years, he told CT, Planned Parenthood has donated thousands of fetal remains to biotech middlemen, ...

Continue reading...

3 Sermon Prep tips for Bi-vocational Pastors

Being a bi-vocational pastor can be dreadfully taxing. Marty Duren shares how to make sermon prep not as burdensome.

There may be no more under appreciated person in the Kingdom that the bi-vocational pastor. Many of them are the only staff member of a small church. They work a job during the week and are still expected to perform most, if not all, of the ministry functions of a full-time pastor.

Through the years I have known bi-vocational pastors who had to take time off work to do funerals, did periodic weddings, and still had to preach two or three sermons a week. They did counseling, attended deacons meetings, met with the personnel committee, finance committee, or any number of other groups.

The week of a church planter was recently summarized like this:

Long days have become the standard for Nathan Vedoya. As a bi-vocational church planter, there’s no such thing as typical, but this may be as close as it gets. He wakes up early, shares the breakfast-making responsibilities with his wife, and drops the kids off at school before heading to his full-time job as the shelter manager for Hope Mission in Edmonton, Alberta. His wife, Deen-Deen, also heads out to a full day of work at around the same time.

Vedoya spends every weekday—between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.—working at Hope Mission. Then, as the family reconvenes at 5 p.m. for dinner, he spends much-needed time discipling and enjoying his family.

But on nights and weekends Vedoya’s focus shifts to planting a church in one of the toughest-to-reach cities in North America. Despite the busyness, this often-hectic lifestyle is not something the father of three regrets.

“I’m working 50 hours a week and planting a church. My wife is working, too,” said Vedoya

It may not be possible to save time at every point of the week, but here are ...

Continue reading...

To Kill a Predator

What is it about this lions death that has us so outraged?

Even though the story of Dr. Walter J. Palmer and Cecil the Lion was an unusual one—a Minnesota dentist who illegally lured, tortured, and killed a famous lion in Zimbabwe— it was easy to predict how people would react:

1. Palmer would become a public enemy, criticized and declared evil. He would have to hide.
2. His news would be read in comparison to the other social justice stories in our feeds. So, those expressing outrage over the lion’s death would get shamed for caring more about the slain animal than the unborn or Sandra Bland.

I knew the first because I've been around the Internet long enough. People's lives and careers have been trampled by tweets, shares, and likes for “less” than illegally shooting a beloved lion. And I knew the second because I've been around Christians long enough.

From the time as a kid I began applying Scripture about justice to protecting animals to my current outspoken advocacy for pit bulls, I've heard people try to redirect my outrage. Why do I care more about homeless dogs than homeless people? Why do I care more about overcrowded animal shelters than overpopulated orphanages? Why am I more at ease sharing the “good news” about pit bulls than I am about Jesus?

Drained of my defensiveness, I’ve stopped responding with a resolute, “I don’t!” and started asking, "Why would you think that?" I’d pose the same question to those who think outrage over a lion’s slaughter means we don’t care about unborn children and selling baby parts or about police brutality and the suicide of Sandra Bland. This isn’t an either/or situation.

That the tale of Cecil the Lion and ...

Continue reading...

Review: Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation

Saving the world—and a dark and bloated summer movie season—at the last possible second.

mpaa rating:PG-13 (For sequences of action and violence, and brief partial nudity.)Genre:ActionDirected By: Christopher McQuarrie Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg Theatre Release:July 31, 2015 by Paramount Pictures

I suspect that by the time the next Mission: Impossible film rolls around I won’t remember a thing about Rogue Nation’s plot—or much else, except maybe Tom Cruise hanging on to an airplane door. (Or was that the one where he was hanging from a glass skyscraper?) It’s surprisingly pleasurable, a romp through a series a snazzy set pieces that are linked by familiar themes. What’s fun about it comes from how it's executed, rather than any innovation.

And execute, it does. The latest installment in the long-running franchise somehow manages to find the shrinking sweet spot between pretense and camp. The movie never winks at the audience, but it also refuses to take itself too seriously.

After its prologue–one of several echoes of the Bond franchise that seem deliberate–we see Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) adrift. He’s learned that the secrecy and integrity of the IMF force has been compromised, and then he watches a colleague’s execution. Hunt himself escapes the same fate through the intercession of the mysterious Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson), who then becomes the focus of Ethan’s attempts to find out and take down a shadowy syndicate responsible for much of the world’s terrorism.

Brandt (Jeremy Renner) and Dunn (Simon Pegg) are pressured to help bring Ethan back into the fold by Alan Hunley (Alec Baldwin) and a group of snotty government oversight types who have the temerity to suggest that the IMF’s track record is mostly the result of . . . luck! (This might be one of the film’s half winks to the audience, signaling that all of us know how absurd this genre is, one in which members of the team are saved from death or torture, by less than a second, ...

Continue reading...

Tullian Tchividjian Resigns after Admitting 'Inappropriate Relationship'

(UPDATED) Billy Graham's grandson says hiding from public eye would 'undermine the very message that I claim to believe.'

Update (July 30): Less than six weeks after resigning as the senior pastor of a prominent Orlando-based church because of an affair, Tullian Tchividjian says he has no plans to withdraw from the public eye.

“One of the big questions I’ve wrestled with is, how do I properly steward this glorious ruin?” wrote Tchividjian on his Facebook page Tuesday. While Billy Graham’s grandson wanted to crawl “into a hole and be anonymous for a long, long time,” Tchividjian said he feared that his message of grace—the topic of many of his previous books—might be undermined if he stayed quiet.

“If I only let you see me when I’m ‘good’ and ‘strong’ and polished and ‘at the top’, I undermine the very message that I claim to believe,” wrote Tchividjian. “...But if I run away because I don’t want you to see me broken and weak and sad and angry and struggling with fear and guilt and shame, then I fail to practice what I preach—and one of the many things I’ve learned from this is that failing to practice what you preach is destructive.”

Tchividjian, who has continued to tweet and post on Facebook since the news of his affair broke, said he would use the social media platforms to update the public on “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”

Some of his tweets show family life, with photos of a new grandchild. On July 29, he tweeted a photo of his late father, Stephan Tchividjian.

“My dad would've been 76 today,” he wrote. “No one would've helped me more right now than him. I miss him. Bad.”

Tchividjian’s ministry Liberate, which launched in 2012, closed indefinitely ...

Continue reading...

From the Lunch Table to the Dissection Table: The Latest Planned Parenthood Pricing Parts Video

(UPDATED) 'Another boy!' says fetal tissue procurement tech as medical director discusses strategy to avoid legal problems.

Update (July 30): A Planned Parenthood medical director in Colorado discussed in April how to talk about the organization's procurement of fetal tissue and body parts as "research," not as a business transaction to avoid violating federal law. This is featured in the fourth video from the pro-life Center for Medical Progress (CMP).

"Putting it under ‘research’ gives us a little bit of an overhang over the whole thing,” said Savita Ginde, medical director for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM), an affiliate that performs 10,000 abortions per year. "If you have someone in a really anti state who’s going to be doing this for you, they’re probably going to get caught." The comments were made as CMP plants recorded the discussion with an undercover video camera.

Later in a lab, a PPRM lab tech exclaims, "Another boy!" as the fetal body parts are examined to determine if they are not too "war-torn" and could be processed and shipped to a research lab.

CMP used two people to pose as procurement middlemen to expose the allegedly criminal trade in fetal body parts and tissue. Ginde in another clip from the video says that PPRM asked its attorney to address the legality of tissue procurement.

“He’s got it figured out that he knows that even if, because we talked to him in the beginning, you know, we were like, ‘We don’t want to get called on,’ you know, ‘selling fetal parts across states,’ ”

The CMP plant asks, “And you feel confident that they’re building those layers?”

Ginde replies, “I’m confident that our legal will make sure we’re not put ...

Continue reading...

Contraception Mandate Heading to Supreme Court

(UPDATED) Christian college cancels health insurance for students over emergency contraceptives.

Update (July 30):

Wheaton College has announced that, effective tomorrow, it is canceling its student health insurance program, which covers an estimated 700 students, in the aftermath of the appeals court ruling that the school's health insurance provider offer emergency contraception and IUDs.

The school's 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students were informed of the college's decision on July 10. Colleges and universities are not required to provide a health insurance plan for students. But many schools do require students to have health insurance and many operate a health clinic on campus. The college said it was setting aside funds to assist low-income students obtain adequate coverage before the start of the academic year in late August.

During a recent webcast, Paul Chelsen, Wheaton's vice president for student development, said, "What has brought us here is about student health insurance, but it's bigger than student health insurance. What really breaks my heart is that there are real people that are affected by our decision. But if we don't win this case, the implications down the road in terms of what the government will tell us what we can and cannot do will be potentially more significant. I acknowledge that students have been hurt by this decision and I regret that."

The college and other religious nonprofits continue with litigation over the contraception mandate under the Affordable Care Act. An appeal to the US Supreme Court has been filed by some of the nonprofits.

...........

Update (July 23): GuideStone Financial, The Little Sisters of the Poor, and other religious nonprofits are filing an appeal to the US Supreme Court, seeking relief from the Obamacare ...

Continue reading...

What Having Millions of Followers Taught Me About Christian Dialogue

Full House actress: Lets stop attacking each other with Bible verses.

Editor’s Note: It can be challenging for Christians to balance conviction and grace when they face online criticism over their faith. It doesn’t get any easier when you’re an actress with a national following. Candace Cameron Bure is all grown up and back in Hollywood—appearing in Hallmark Channel movies, competing on Dancing with the Stars, and gearing up for the new Full House spinoff series coming to Netflix. The 39-year-old actress brings her evangelical faith into her public life, and that often means bracing for controversy and negative feedback.

During a recent appearance on The View, Bure sided with the Christian bakers who refused to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding. While promoting her book last year, the wife and mom of three explained and defended biblical submission. In the post below, Bure—sister to fellow child-star-turned-Christian-celeb Kirk Cameron—shares the biblical lessons that inform how she approaches debates among her followers, fans, and haters. - Kate

Dancing with the Stars provided an opportunity for me to live out my faith on a bigger stage than ever before. While I knew I would face critics, I wasn’t quite prepared for the degree of public scrutiny I soon received—much of it online. Since returning to the spotlight, I’ve learned to embrace this scrutiny over my Christian convictions as an important part of my calling.

I believe that God has an assignment for each of us, and that standing with conviction is an important part of that assignment. It feels like you’ve been strapped into a rollercoaster: Sometimes you want to scream with excitement, and other times, you may find your stomach is in your throat. But ultimately, as the ...

Continue reading...

Arsonists Still Love to Burn Churches

2,378 houses of worship have been torched since 1996.

At least half of all fires at churches or houses of worship in the last 20 years were arson, including 29 so far this year, according to Pew Research.

While the number of church fires has declined in recent years, many are still intentionally set. That sets church fires aside from other kinds of blazes.

For example, in 2013, only about one in ten nonresidential fires—and one in twenty residential fires—were caused by arson.

Church arson is more common. From 2010 to 2014, there were about 74 church arson per year or “48% of all church fires,” reported Pew. So far in 2015, there have been 79 fires at house of worship—29 arsons, 21 accidental, and 29 of undetermined cause.

“Anytime there is a house of worship involved in a fire, ATF is automatically assigned to look into the cause,” said agency Special Agent Tom Mangan with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives in news reports concerning a major fire at Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) in Greeleyville, South Carolina, on June 30.

Less than a week later, investigators determined lightning caused the blaze that destroyed the historic African American church building.

But after the Charleston church shooting in June, a series of fires at black churches—including at least two cases of arson—caused officials to ask whether history was repeating itself. Back in 1995, two members of the Ku Klux Klan torched the same Mount Zion AME church. They pleaded guilty to arson and the court sentenced them to 20 years in prison. The arson was part of a surge in church burnings that led to passage of the Church Arson Prevention Act in 1996.

Since the law was passed, the ATF has investigated ...

Continue reading...

Babies Halt the Great Commission

Christian researchers think population growth will stall the gospels spread.

Over the past century, the Good News has taken off faster than at any other time in history.­­

It took nearly 2,000 years for the gospel to spread from the early church to nearly half the world’s population. In 1900, 45.7 percent of people everywhere were aware of the gospel, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. More than 100 years later, that number has grown to more than 70 percent.

Given that the number of mission organizations has grown from 2,200 in 1970 to 5,100 in 2015, the whole world should soon hear the Good News, right?

Not so fast, said the CSGC. By 2050, it predicts only another 2 percent of the world’s population will be evangelized, totaling 72 percent.

The root of the slowdown: babies, rival religions, and the painstaking work of building disciples.

The evangelism boom of the 20th century came primarily from the work done among African tribal groups that had no ties to the world’s major religions. The number of Christians on the continent rose from 7 million in 1900 to 470 million in 2010, according to Pew Research Center. But in the same timespan, the number of Muslims in Africa grew from 11 million to 234 million, while the number of those practicing tribal religions shrank from 76 percent of Africans to 13 percent.

In other words, most people today who have not heard the gospel already belong to a major religion, says CSGC director Todd Johnson. And those faiths are growing.

A recent Pew study found that Muslims have the youngest population—34 percent are under 15, compared with 27 percent of Christians and 20 percent of Buddhists. They also have the highest fertility rates in the world: ...

Continue reading...

Copyright 2015, Christianity Today