Christian Martyr is the Opposite of Muslim Suicide Terrorist

Christian Martyr is the Opposite of Muslim Suicide Terrorist by G.K. Chesterton –
A Christian martyr is the opposite of a Muslim suicide terrorist. They are at the opposite ends of heaven and hell. One man flung away his life; he was so good that his dry bones could heal cities in pestilence. Another man flung away life; he was so bad that his bones would pollute his brethren’s.

“About the same time I read a solemn flippancy by some free thinker: he said that a suicide was only the same as a martyr. The open fallacy of this helped to clear the question. Obviously a suicide is the opposite of a martyr. A martyr is a man who cares so much for something outside him, that he forgets his own personal life. A suicide is a man who cares so little for anything outside him, that he wants to see the last of everything. One wants something to begin: the other wants everything to end.

In other words, the martyr is noble, exactly because (however he renounces the world or execrates all humanity) he confesses this ultimate link with life; he sets his heart outside himself: he dies that something may live.

The suicide is ignoble because he has not this link with being: he is a mere destroyer; spiritually, he destroys the universe. And then I remembered the stake and the cross-roads, and the queer fact that Christianity had shown this weird harshness to the suicide. [Read more…]

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Moral Lives, Repentance, and Confession Before Holy Communion

Moral Lives, Repentance, and Confession Before Holy Communion Orthodox Churchby Fr. Paul Gassios –
Many times you have to say to your kids “no, you can’t do that” even if it means your child getting angry at you; they might even say they hate you when you need to enforce an admonition with some type of consequence when they defy it.

In a similar fashion our Orthodox Church teaches certain things that at times are not popular concerning the lifestyles we are to live. There are times we as priests and laity need to say to ourselves and others “no we can’t do that” and if we do; there is a consequence we face if we choose to ignore what the Church teaches. I have already stated when it comes to matters of faith such as the Nicene Creed, that if we don’t accept the tenets of the Creed and outright reject the confession of faith found in it, one should not come to communion until they change their thinking and can say “Amen!” to what the Creed professes to be true.

In the moral area, if someone commits certain sins such as murder or adultery, our Church canons (or rules) call for a certain number of years where one cannot go to communion and must do acts of penance (i.e. actions to show you are sorry for what you did) before someone can be restored to communion. [Read more…]

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Scriptures and Christian Saints: Homosexuality is an Abomination

Scriptures and Christian Saints: Homosexuality is an AbominationThe teaching is clear and unchanging. Scriptures, Christian Saints, and Church Fathers warned the faithful that homosexuality is an unrighteous act, a mortal sin, an abomination. There is no lukewarm, duplicitous, ambiguous, or confused language in their preaching.

Leviticus 18:22
“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

Romans 1:24-32
“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. [Read more…]

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The Comforting Doctrine of Hell

Jesus Christ Descent Into Hell, Resurrection Salvationby Leon J. Podles –
Modern Christians don’t deny Death, although they don’t like to think about it, and if they believe in an afterlife, they look forward to a pleasant Heaven. However, the other certainty, Judgment, and the other possibility, Hell, have vanished from the minds of Christians.

Surely God is non-judgmental, as non-judgmentalism is one of the few virtues that receive public tribute. And surely no one goes to hell, if it exists. The strong universalist strain in modern Christianity has many variations, ranging from the hope that all will be saved, held by Hans Urs von Balthasar, Richard John Neuhaus, and perhaps by John Paul II (and with which I feel the deepest sympathy), to a total rejection of the doctrine of hell as a patriarchal trick that thwarts self-liberation.

However, the traditional teaching on hell is in fact a sign of the genuineness of Christianity, and it is therefore a cause for hope. Liberal Christianity is largely a human construct; it is what happens to a revealed religion after human beings finish redecorating it to modern tastes.

H. Richard Niebuhr summarized the liberal gospel: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.” [Read more…]

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We Are Far Too Easily Pleased

Jesus Christ King and Lord of All Creation, Second Coming Every Knee Shall Bowby David Mathis –
It’s a beautiful thing when a single sentence reorients a soul for good. When one proposition proves potent enough to be life-changing for the better. Especially when it’s a short one.

For me, it was the spring of 2000 — perhaps you have your own story about being rocked by this shorty from C.S. Lewis. An older student, who was leading a Bible study on my freshman hall, picked Desiring God as our semester focus. I emphatically did not enjoy reading and had made my way through high school and my first year of college leaning heavily on Cliff’s Notes. [Read more…]

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Former Homosexual: Even Harsher Language on Homosexuality Needed from Christian Hierarchs

Former Homosexual: Call for Even Harsher Language on Homosexuality from Christian Hierarchsby Joseph Sciambra –
I will always be thankful to that priest – because, he was not afraid. Some would argue that he was about as un-pastoral as you can get: he named the sin, told me where it came from (the devil and hell itself) and then went about casting it out. It sounds harsh, but sometimes the most invasive forms of cancer require the most severe forms of therapy.

Leading up to and during the October Synod on the Family, countless pro-“gay Catholic” advocacy groups have sent out “calls for the harsh language of previous Vatican documents referring to LGBT people as ‘disordered’ to be rescinded.” Recently, even someone in the “Spiritual Friendship” group, a loose confederacy of self-proclaimed “gay” and chaste Catholics who have been embraced by some in the hierarchy, said this: “…we often stay away from the language of ‘disorder’ and ‘brokenness’ that often surrounds the issue.” [Read more…]

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Christian Pastors Must Stand for Truth, Righteousness, and Morality in the Public Arena

Fr. Josiah Trenham Christian Pastors Must Stand for Truth, Righteousness, and Morality in the Public Arenaby Fr. Josiah Trenham –
You’d be right to ask, I think, what’s a pastor doing at this conservative political conference. I certainly know some of my clerical colleagues are asking what I’m doing here. Some of my own parishioners are probably asking—if they even know—are asking what I’m doing here. The IRS is certainly asking what I’m doing here. That unbiased and non-partisan government agency has been telling lies to clergy for 50 years to keep our mouths shut and to steal freedom of speech in the pulpit.

So let me answer that question, what’s a pastor doing here at this conservative political conference. It is perfectly natural for me to be here. Absolutely natural. Pastors and politics are intimately connected and have always been intimately connected in God’s design, from the beginning, in the old and the new covenant, from Israel right through two millennia of Christian history. Where you have politics, you have pastors. It’s only the Johnny-come-lately secularists who would like us to think and act differently. [Read more…]

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The Pursuit of Happiness: Bear Your Cross With Gratitude

The Pursuit of Happiness: Bear Your Cross With Gratitudeby Fr. Thaddaeus Hardenbrook –
“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” the Declaration of Independence states, are unalienable rights granted by our Creator, to be protected by the government. Unfortunately the definitions for these terms were never truly agreed upon and, being defined by men, change over time. When does the right to life begin? In the womb or after birth? To what extent are we free? Until we hurt ourselves or others? And happiness, that popular but pitiful word constantly bent to the whim of emotions and impulses.

At the time of the writing of the Declaration, the meaning of the word happiness was greatly debated. Some restricted its meaning to only the acquisition of material possessions. For others it meant absolute freedom. Others insisted that happiness was attained only through the practice of reason and truth. [Read more…]

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By Whom Shall We Be Led – God Or Man?

By Whom Shall We Be Led - God Or Man?by Jeffrey T. Brown –
The God of the Bible is anathema to secular leftists. As evidence of that, we see a troubling rise in anti-Christian and anti-Semitic bigotry from the political left, both at home and abroad. To push the faithful farther out of the mainstream, it is now chic to target Christians and Jews for verbal and physical abuse, and worse in many places, because those who deny the biblical God are in power or rising to take it. Corrupt human power and Divinity are mutually exclusive.

As a manifestation of this rising aggression toward Western religious values, atheism and secularism have become cool and trendy among those making the absurd case for the shabbiness of human nature as the planet’s preeminent force. Though the Founders foresaw the need to constrain such force via the Constitution, secularists have decided that this is their time to rise and forcibly convert the rest of us, or punish or re-educate us. [Read more…]

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Orthodox Church is the Bridge that Can Unite Russian and American People

Orthodox Church Bridge Russia and AmericaPatriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia –
The task of our Churches is to pray and work in order that the Lord would grant His mercy on the peoples of our countries, so that God’s strength would make moral basics stronger, which originate in God’s morals of the Bible, and so that the relations between our countries would strengthen based on common moral values.

His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, and the Most Reverend Tikhon, Metropolitan of Canada and All America, concelebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Dormition Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin on December 4, 2014 – the feast day of the Entrance to the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos. Following the divine service, the Primate of the Russian Church delivered a sermon:

I would like to congratulate all of you, dear Reverend Vladyka, Emenences, fathers, and brothers, on the feast day of the Entrance to the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos! [Read more…]

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Transformation of a Homosexual: What Change Looks Like Through Jesus Christ

Sin No Longer Master, Christ Helps Homosexuals Renounce Sinby David Kyle Foster –
In a recent conference on homosexuality put on by the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission in Nashville, I was shocked and deeply saddened at the absence of those who could speak on the topic of “change” for the homosexual. Where were they? They were all sitting in the audience, ministry leaders who have been on the front lines of helping the homosexual for decades, uninvited to share about the power of Jesus Christ to heal the brokenness that causes homosexual confusion.

The message was loud and clear: “Dude, if you come to Christ, there’s no hope that you can change, so get ready for a life of celibacy, ’cause it’s your only option.”

Meanwhile, dozens of former homosexuals, many now married with children, sat in the audience unable to share the truth about the power of Christ to transform lives. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Baptist leaders were spending hours “dialoguing” with leaders of the so-called “gay Christian” movement. It broke my heart. [Read more…]

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Our Salvation is in the Hands of God

O Plowman of Christ, plow and re-plow your soulSt. Nikolai Velimirovich –
“The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but salvation is in the Lord” (Proverbs 21:31).

We are obligated to prepare ourselves but our success depends on God. All of our preparation is only a proposal to God but the proposal does not decide, but God decides. That is why people wisely say according to their experience: man proposes and God disposes. O Soldier of Christ, prepare your mind as a good horse, arm your heart with virtues, temper your will with mortifications, but know – that “salvation is in the Lord.”

O Merchant of Christ, practice good trade every day, exchanging the material for the spiritual, the earthly for the heavenly and mortality for immortality, but know – that “salvation is in the Lord.”

O Plowman of Christ, plow and re-plow your soul, sow the good evangelical seed on it every day, weed out the field of your soul from weeds, watch over it, but know that “salvation is in the Lord.” [Read more…]

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Putting on the Armor of God: Being a Warrior When It’s Popular to Be a Weaner

Putting on the Armor of GodFr. Thaddaeus Hardenbrook –
Being a warrior for Christ has no minimum age or athletic qualifications. All warriors for Christ, however, must want to “be men” or “be manly”. It means to be what a human is really meant to be: brave, courageous, and authentic in obedience to God.

Saint Nestor was only a teenager when he decided he’d had enough of the local Christians being slaughtered in forced combat against a giant named Lyaeus. The Emperor Maximian had set up a raised platform in the center of Thessaloniki where he forced Christians to fight for their lives against the seemingly unconquerable Vandal mercenary “who was a beast in both appearance and character.”

Nestor was thin and not very tall, but apparently that did not concern him. He visited Saint Demetrios in prison and took his blessing to challenge Lyaeus. The saint made the sign of the cross over his head and heart, prophesying, “You will both be victorious and suffer for Christ.” [Read more…]

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The Bible and the Poor: Jesus Did Not Preach Communism

The Bible Jesus Christ and the Poorby Robert Klein Engler –

In light of the continuing misunderstanding of Pope Francis by the progressive media, it’s time to reconsider the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark 14:7, “For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always.”

This verse is echoed by verse 15:11 in Deuteronomy, “For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’”

What on earth does this mean? The poor you will always have with you. How can that fact stated by Jesus be, when the progressive ideology and the advocates of social justice argue that it’s government’s job to abolish poverty and further income equality?

Maybe Jesus was referring to the “poor in spirit?” They could always be with us and that would not argue against a government from taxing and redistributing wealth. We know income equality may not bring happiness. You could make as much on your job as your neighbor, and still be poor in spirit. [Read more…]

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The Dark Ages: Pagans Turned Out the Lights, Not The Church

Dark Ages: Pagans Turned Out the Lights, Not The Churchby Fr. Lawrence Farley –
The Dark Ages, insofar as they were dark, were darkened by the barbarian invasions that inundated the western Roman Empire, and that it was only in the Church and monasteries that any light was preserved.

Among the literature of those who make it their main business to vilify the Christians, perhaps no concept has served a more useful purpose than the idea of “the Dark Ages.” The Dark Ages, according to this reading of history, were those centuries in which the Church was culturally ascendant, with the inevitable result that civilization sunk into superstition, ignorance, obscurantism, and moral decadence. Here everything that was bad about the world is laid at the Church’s door, especially the decline of Science (with a capital “S”), which apparently had been going great guns until the Church took over.

As evidence of the Church’s war against Science, enlightenment, tolerance, and reason in general, the name of Galileo is usually bandied about, along with the notion that everyone in the Dark Ages thought that the world was flat. It was from this ecclesiastical abyss that Science eventually pulled us all out, saving the world from the Church and restoring civilization. But as we talk about the Dark Ages, it is worth asking how the Roman Empire of the west came to be so dark in the first place? [Read more…]

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