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  • Hot Topics

    The Great Supreme Court Cake-Off: Christian Bakers vs. Gay Weddings
    UPDATED: The biggest religious freedom case of 2017, Masterpiece Cakeshop, held oral arguments today.
    To More Than a Few Good Men: Don’t Give Up on Working with Women
    Four research-based solutions beyond Mike Pence’s ‘Billy Graham Rule.’
    Johnson Amendment Repeal Removed from Final GOP Tax Bill
    (UPDATED) Trump promise to let churches make political endorsements blocked by Senate rule.
  • News & Reporting

    Friends of Zion’s Christians?

    Overtures by US evangelicals to Arab churches tested by Trump’s Jerusalem decision.

    American evangelicals rediscovered their brethren in the Middle East in recent years. The promise of the Arab Spring, followed by the threat of ISIS. Beheadings and other martyrdoms, followed by forgiveness.

    Many decided we must become better friends, and work harder for the persecuted church’s flourishing in the land of its birth.

    However, President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is putting that new friendship to the test, as Middle East Christian leaders have almost unanimously rallied against the decision.

    Trump’s decision would “increase hatred, conflict, violence and suffering,” said the patriarchs and heads of churches in Jerusalem in a statement in advance of his anticipated announcement.

    The Coptic Orthodox Church warned of “dangerous consequences.” The head of Egypt’s Protestant community said it was “against justice” and “not helpful.”

    But the strongest testimony may have come from Jordan, where the national evangelical council pleaded against “uncalculated risks” that “may well expose Christians in this region to uncontrollable dangers.”

    Despite these dire cries, many conservative US evangelicals rejoiced in Trump’s announcement. Support for Israel is a longstanding mark of much of the community.

    “Evangelicals in the US don’t spend enough time thinking about Arab Christians,” said Joel Rosenberg, a dual US-Israeli citizen who last month led a friendship-seeking delegation of evangelical leaders to Egypt and Jordan. Many were members of Trump’s unofficial faith advisory team.

    “People who love Jesus haven’t been talking to each other. But we should.” ...

    Continue reading...

    Johnson Amendment Repeal Removed from Final GOP Tax Bill

    (UPDATED) Trump promise to let churches make political endorsements blocked by Senate rule.

    President Donald Trump’s biggest religious freedom policy promise to evangelicals—repealing the Johnson Amendment—will no longer take place via Republican tax reform.

    A Democratic senator announced Thursday night that the repeal included in the House version of the tax bill, which would allow churches and other nonprofits to endorse candidates without losing their tax-exempt status, was removed during the reconciliation process with the Senate version, which did not include a repeal.

    According to Senator Ron Wyden, the senior Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, the Johnson Amendment repeal was blocked by the Senate parliamentarian. Because of a requirement called the Byrd Rule, reconciliation bills—which are passed through a simple Senate majority—cannot contain “extraneous” provisions that don’t primarily deal with fiscal policy, The Wall Street Journal reported.

    Trump made political speech by churches a major part of his president platform, and since taking office has repeatedly brought up his pledge to “totally destroy” the 1954 tax code provision named for Lyndon B. Johnson. Trump saw the Johnson Amendment as a restriction on religious groups’ free speech rights, since it prevents any nonprofit from opposing or endorsing a political candidate—therefore keeping political contributions from becoming tax-deductible.

    Democrats have opposed the measure, and Wyden said he was pleased they prevented the repeal and would “continue to fight all attempts to eliminate this critical provision.”

    Republican Senator James Lankford, a Southern Baptist and religious liberty advocate, criticized the move to block the measure.

    “The federal government ...

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    Died: R. C. Sproul, Reformed Theologian Who Founded Ligonier Ministries

    Late PCA leader influenced generations of Christians by filling the gap “between Sunday school and seminary.”

    When Reformed theologian and Ligonier Ministries founder R. C. Sproul was once asked what he wanted written on his tombstone, he replied cheekily, “I told you I was sick.”

    That was in 2015, after the esteemed teacher and author’s health declined severely following a stroke. This December, the 78-year-old was hospitalized and was forced to rely on ventilator support to breathe during his 12-day stay, due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He died on Thursday.

    “His tombstone wouldn’t be able to hold the words of what he’s meant to so many,” tweeted Kansas pastor Gabriel Hughes. “Well done, good and faithful servant. Now great is your reward.”

    Sproul’s legacy lives on in generations of laypeople and Reformed leaders whose theology was strengthened and shaped by Ligonier, the organization he founded in 1971 to fill the gap “between Sunday school and seminary.”

    Ordained in the United Presbyterian Church before transferring to the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), Sproul brought theological education to the masses through his radio show Renewing Your Mind, his ministry’s Tabletalk magazine, over 300 lecture series, 90 books, and dozens of articles.

    “Through his teaching ministry, many of us learned that God is bigger than we knew, our sin is more deeply rooted than we imagined, and the grace of God in Jesus Christ is overwhelming,” wrote Ligonier in a tribute.

    The global organization shares 2 million “biblical and theological resources” annually, with hundreds of thousands of students, readers, and subscribers in 105 countries.

    Earlier this year, Sproul said, “There are only two ways of dying. ...

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    Yes, 100 Christian Kids Are Being Raised by Muslim Families. Here’s the Actual Problem.

    The real threat to foster children in the UK (and the US) lies within our own hearts.

    For the past few weeks, headlines in the United Kingdom have been full of outrage over Christian foster children being placed with Muslim families, and vice versa.

    It began in August, when The Times of London—one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious newspapers—ran a sensational article about a Muslim family fostering a 5-year-old Christian girl. According to the article, they deprived her of bacon, suggested she learn Arabic, and took away her crucifix necklace.

    The Times reported that several of the girl’s caretakers wore a niqab or burka, inferring that “generally indicates adherence to a conservative, Salafi-influenced interpretation of Islam that is often contemptuous of liberal Western values.” The reporter blamed government social services for placing the child without considering her religion.

    The story was investigated by a senior social worker and almost entirely debunked: no food had been rejected for religious reasons; English was spoken in the home; and the crucifix was so large and valuable that the foster parents had returned it to the child’s grandmother for safekeeping. The social worker concluded the girl received “warm and appropriate care” while she waited for her grandmother—who is also Muslim—to gain approval to take custody of her.

    But the damage was already done. The Daily Mail tabloid followed up with a story detailing the reactive anger of members of Parliament, and The Sun tabloid reported that at least 101 Christian children have been placed with Muslim foster families, while 394 Muslim children have been placed with Christian foster families.

    Right-wing extremist groups such as Britain First and the English Defence League jumped ...

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  • Women

    How to Celebrate Christmas as a Cultural Minority
    Christians abroad and Muslims at home helped me find the holy day in the holiday.
    To More Than a Few Good Men: Don’t Give Up on Working with Women
    Four research-based solutions beyond Mike Pence’s ‘Billy Graham Rule.’
    Waiting Outside an Abortion Clinic Years Ago Was Worth It
    The mother of an almost-aborted baby reached out with this letter about her son.
    Charles Dickens Still Haunts Christmas
    How a 19th-century story informs the modern holiday spirit.
  • CT Music

    Interview: Don’t Miss Steven Curtis Chapman’s Point
    Even his happiest, most heartwarming music has been fueled by tragedy and pain.
    Review: Crowder Goes Hog Wild
    "Neon Steeple" is a throwback and a step forward at the same time.
    Review: The Musician Is a Master
    To understand why Phil Keaggy is receiving ASCAP's Golden Note Award, you really need just one album.
  • CT Movies

    Review: Joy
    The film is uneven, but Joy knows just who she is.
    Review: The Revenant
    In the 1820s frontier wilderness, survival is a bear.
    Review: Concussion
    Hollywood tries to turn a clash between science and a powerful institution into an immigrant doctor's "such a time as this."
    Review: 45 Years
    When the ground beneath a marriage is shaken, can it hold up?
  • Most-Read Articles

    The Biggest Loser in the Alabama Election
    It’s not Republicans or Democrats, but Christian witness.
    Christianity Today’s 2018 Book Awards
    Our picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture.
    Two Marvelous Truths Help Me Say No to Sexual Sin
    As a same-sex-attracted woman married to a man, I was struggling to ward off temptation on my own power. Then God showed me I didn’t have to.
    Evangelicals and Domestic Violence: Are Christian Men More Abusive?
    A sociologist looks at the data on domestic abuse against women.
Christmas and Cricket: Finding Two Lost C. S. Lewis Articles
Christmas and Cricket: Rediscovering Two Lost C. S. Lewis Articles After 70 Years
“A Christmas Sermon for Pagans” is quintessential Lewis at the height of his renown. “Cricketer’s Progress” is more of a mystery.
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