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Texas Senator Ted Cruz Says Politicians Who Want to Keep Churches Closed “Hate Faith”

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Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas on Thursday said that progressive elected officials who are issuing orders to curb the spread of COVID-19 that restrict churches but not secular entities do so because they “hate faith.”

On an episode of “First Liberty Live!” streamed online by the First Liberty Institute on Thursday, Cruz spoke about constitutional rights and states’ lockdown orders that were initially put in place to ensure hospitals were not overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients but have been extended by some state governors and mayors.

Cruz said he believed “crisis reveals character” and as a result, Americans were seeing some politicians act as “jack-booted authoritarians” by going after religious groups.

“It’s one thing to put reasonable public health restrictions in place, it’s another thing to arbitrarily trample on liberty,” Cruz said.

The senator argued that “there are these politicians on the left who hate faith, who have a demonstrable antipathy to people of faith, to Christians, to observant Jews, to anyone for whom faith is anything real and tangible in their lives.”

He cited as an example New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his controversial comments in which he said he would permanently close down any church found in violation of the city’s gathering restrictions.

“De Blasio repeatedly has demonstrated an over-eagerness, a zealousness to target people of faith,” Cruz said.

“No tin-pot mayor has the power to permanently close down any church or any synagogue, and the fact that they are licking their lips trying to put a padlock on the church demonstrates that level of antipathy.”

Cruz also defended drive-in church, in which congregations gather in parked cars practicing social distancing in worship, denouncing the efforts of some to close such services down.

In Massena, New York, Pastor Samson Ryman was warned that he would face a fine of up to $1,000 for holding a drive-in church service on May 3 with 23 worshipers in 18 vehicles, which the chief of police said was a violation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 Executive Orders. Last week, Cuomo said churches can begin hosting drive-in worship services as long as they follow “strict social distancing guidelines.”

In April, the Department of Justice intervened after authorities in Greenville, Mississippi, fined attendees at a drive-in church service $500 each for purported violations while permitting citizens to attend nearby drive-in restaurants.

Cruz said such efforts to punish attendees of such services “absurd” and criticized it as an example of “targeting and singling out people of faith because they are people of faith.”

“There is no coherent constitutional argument that a massage parlor or a bar is somehow more protected, more constitutional privileged, more sacred, more worthy of legal protection than a church service,” Cruz said.

Cruz also talked about how his church has put a halt on in-person worship for three months, so he and his family watch worship services on Zoom instead.

In addition to Cruz, the episode also featured comments from First Liberty Institute President & CEO Kelly Shackelford, whose organization hosted the livestream.

Shackelford explained that when it comes to the debate over churches reopening, “the good news is in most places, churches who want to can open up safely.”

“We’re going to have to fight in some places,” said Shackelford, noting that there are “petty tyrants” who want to keep church buildings closed until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, which he said is “unacceptable.”

Some churches have filed legal action against state and local governments, arguing that they are not treating houses of worship fairly when planning out which entities can open up and when.

For example, Church of the Word of Fenton, Missouri sued St. Louis County over a local order limiting in-person worship to 25% capacity while secular businesses are allowed 100% capacity.

“We are actively engaging with the civil realm to make sure that the establishment of religious liberty and freedom of speech isn’t lost in these days [of] government expansion and fear,” stated the church.

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Concerning Stats Reveal Why Knowing Scripture Is So Important

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Believers serious about following Jesus need to understand Scripture.

That’s the argument Dr. Peter Bylsma, author of “The Bible I Never Knew: A Closer Look At Christianity’s Main Themes,” made on a recent episode of CBN’s “Faith vs. Culture.”

A survey released last year by the American Bible Society found a majority of Americans wish they cracked the covers of their Bibles more often. The State of the Bible analysis showed more than half (52%) of Americans aspire to reading Scripture more regularly, CBN News reported.

More than a quarter of them, though, said they just “don’t have enough time” to do it.

Perhaps even more concerning is only 6% of professing Christians hold to a biblical worldview, with the overwhelming majority (96%) choosing syncretism, a “term used to describe a customized blend of philosophies of life that a person pieces together for their own satisfaction,” the survey explained.

Failing to study and understand the themes of the Bible, Bylsma asserted, shows a lack of seriousness about following Jesus and adhering to Christianity.

“Our culture is working against us,” he explained. “In fact, we don’t even realize we are in a culture that is influencing us in different ways. For a person to take on a different perspective based on Scripture … [you need] a network of people who are thinking like you and can support one another because the message of the Gospel and the message of the Bible are countercultural and that is hard to live in today’s society.”

Another concern is New Age philosophies creeping into Christianity.

A Pew Research Center survey from 2018 found six-in-10 Christians believe in at least one of four of the New Age themes outlined in the study: “Believe spiritual energy can be located in physical things,” “believe in psychics,” “believe in reincarnation,” and “believe in astrology.”

Additionally, a YouGov poll released in late 2022 found 87% of Americans believe in at least one belief that falls loosely under the umbrella of “new-age spiritualism.” The study found more than half of respondents (55%) said they believe karma is real, with 41% believing in hypnosis, 39% believing in UFOs and extraterrestrials, and 29% believing in the “law of attraction,” known by many as “manifesting.”

It’s often a failure to understand Scripture and the tenets of the Christian faith that result in those who claim to follow Jesus espousing beliefs antithetical to Christianity. While many come to faith without a deep knowledge of the Bible, it’s critical they, upon salvation, invest in understanding Scripture and the teachings of Jesus.

“We usually come to Christ in a simple way, usually not having counted the cost, usually not having a knowledge of what you’re getting yourself into,” Bylsma said. “You jump in and then you have that relationship and then you think that’s enough. And I would say the church doesn’t really do a good job of nurturing mature Christians.”

“Some of the churches I go to kind of have the same themes over and over,” he continued. “I would say it’s elementary; it’s almost spiritual milk. And there really needs to be a deeper dive into the concepts and the themes [of the Bible]. Twenty minutes once a week just doesn’t do it.”

It’s tempting, he continued, to feel satiated in just knowing a handful of Bible passages. But those who believe they are saved and are desiring of a relationship with Jesus “need to go further.”

To make his case, he pointed to the teachings of the Apostle Paul.

In 1 Corinthians 13:11, he wrote, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me” (NIV). Paul’s point was that, as believers continue in the Christian faith, they should mature spiritually.

The central — and most important — theme of the Bible, of course, is the message of Jesus. Everything throughout Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments, points to God becoming a man, taking on the insurmountable debt sinful humanity could not pay by dying on the cross and rising from the grave three days later.

Believers who have accepted Jesus as their savior ought to invest time in truly understanding the whole of Scripture, knowing that it is fundamentally transformational. It is, as Hebrews 4:12 explains, “alive and active” and “sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (NIV).
Sources:faithwire

http://theendtimeradio.com

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Bible Museum’s New Worship Exhibit Gives Viewers a ‘Foretaste of Heaven’

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There’s something new at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., just in time for the busy summer season. It’s a worship experience like you’ve never seen or heard before.

It’s called “All Creation Sings” and is inspired by Psalm 148 which declares, “Let them praise the name of the Lord!” It’s a 45-minute experience posing the question: What is worship?

Garrett Hinton, Chief Revenue Officer at the Museum of the Bible, says, “When somebody says worship to me, my mind immediately goes to the thing that we do at church on Sundays before the pastor gets up and gives the sermon. That’s worship and indeed, that is worship. But as the Bible talks about worship, it’s so much more than that. So the story is the story of the Bible, and it’s taking you from Creation or Genesis all the way to Revelation.”

Using the latest light detection and 3D laser technology, you can literally interact with the walls.

“Suddenly I’m a little kid again and I could go and create and paint on the walls at the beginning and at the end of this story,” Hinton explained.

The Museum of the Bible teamed up with a group called CREATR to feature some of Christian music’s biggest names for this project.

“So you think of people like Jackie Hill Perry, Tasha Cobbs, Brandon Lake, Kari Job, Cody Carnes, Phil Wickham, Brooke Ligertwood, Chris Tomlin. It is the who’s who that have come together to create this organization called CREATR, lending their voices to this before you go into the experience, really setting up the experience so that your heart and your mind is prepared to talk about worship and what it is and who deems it worthy,” Hinton said.

“A Heavenly Experience”

“All Creation Sings” is not so much an exhibit but an experience. It takes guests on a journey through four acts, immersing them in a worship adventure that can only be described as heavenly.

Mother and daughter, Laura and Madison DeMichael from Ohio were enthralled.

“To see the Word of God come alive in front of me and just to be a part of that cacophony of praise, like they said in the beginning, it is a continual praise that is echoing to our Lord and our Savior, beyond a shadow of a doubt, it was an experience by far,” Laura told us.

Her daughter Madison said, “Oh, it was incredible, I’ve never seen anything like it, all the colors, all the sounds.”

When asked if it felt like a little foretaste of heaven Laura said, “Oh absolutely, absolutely, to just be a part of it and have it surrounding you.” Madison added “It makes me excited to see what heaven will be like, but not yet!” she said.

Sixth graders from our Lady of Victory School in Washington, D.C. appeared captivated by the experience.

Twelve-year-old Eleanor Rooney, thought the interactive part was really cool. “I’ve been to an interactive thing like that before, but not all around and with the screens and the projectors and everything, it was amazing,” she said.

Classmate Alex Vassallo, also 12, said, “I think it was amazing and it was kind of out of this world. My favorite part was probably the running around and touching the walls,” he said.

Sixth grader Chat Dakat added, “It was so awesome. There were all the colors and all the lights and the sounds. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve been to so far in my life,” she said.

And 12-year-old Sofia Bohr added, “It was fantastic, actually. There were all these colors and the animation, and I just really loved it.”

For their teacher, Jenna Drummond, it helped bring to life the Old Testament stories she’s been teaching her students.

“It was really awesome to see it 360 all around different walls and then seeing all my students just in awe of everything, that just brought me a lot of joy. But also going back to what we’ve been talking about all year, I teach religion for sixth grade, which is Old Testament. So, the Creation story, how we continue that in our daily lives now, and how we continue to pay that forward,” she said.

“Worship Is Our Purpose”

And for the Bible Museum, it’s a way to focus guests on our original purpose as children of God.

Matthias Walther, Chief Marketing Officer at the Museum of the Bible, told us, “Worship is our purpose. That’s what we’re created for. So, God created us, and he created our universe. That’s where it all starts. And I think to discover this, to see the greatness of our Creation, the greatness of God’s design in our existence, it takes you to a humble, really reflective place. And I think that’s always a good starting point to kind of find your space in the context of our existence of this world. And I think that’s specifically attractive for people who don’t have a faith background because it gives them a new North Star to understand, ‘So, what on earth am I here for?'” Walther said.

The “All Creation Sings” exhibit will be at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. for the foreseeable future.
Sources:faithwire

http://theendtimeradio.com

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Concerning Stats Reveal Why Knowing Scripture Is So Important

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Believers serious about following Jesus need to understand Scripture.

That’s the argument Dr. Peter Bylsma, author of “The Bible I Never Knew: A Closer Look At Christianity’s Main Themes,” made on a recent episode of CBN’s “Faith vs. Culture.”

A survey released last year by the American Bible Society found a majority of Americans wish they cracked the covers of their Bibles more often. The State of the Bible analysis showed more than half (52%) of Americans aspire to reading Scripture more regularly, CBN News reported.

More than a quarter of them, though, said they just “don’t have enough time” to do it.

Perhaps even more concerning is only 6% of professing Christians hold to a biblical worldview, with the overwhelming majority (96%) choosing syncretism, a “term used to describe a customized blend of philosophies of life that a person pieces together for their own satisfaction,” the survey explained.

Failing to study and understand the themes of the Bible, Bylsma asserted, shows a lack of seriousness about following Jesus and adhering to Christianity.

“Our culture is working against us,” he explained. “In fact, we don’t even realize we are in a culture that is influencing us in different ways. For a person to take on a different perspective based on Scripture … [you need] a network of people who are thinking like you and can support one another because the message of the Gospel and the message of the Bible are countercultural and that is hard to live in today’s society.”

Another concern is New Age philosophies creeping into Christianity.

A Pew Research Center survey from 2018 found six-in-10 Christians believe in at least one of four of the New Age themes outlined in the study: “Believe spiritual energy can be located in physical things,” “believe in psychics,” “believe in reincarnation,” and “believe in astrology.”

Additionally, a YouGov poll released in late 2022 found 87% of Americans believe in at least one belief that falls loosely under the umbrella of “new-age spiritualism.” The study found more than half of respondents (55%) said they believe karma is real, with 41% believing in hypnosis, 39% believing in UFOs and extraterrestrials, and 29% believing in the “law of attraction,” known by many as “manifesting.”

It’s often a failure to understand Scripture and the tenets of the Christian faith that result in those who claim to follow Jesus espousing beliefs antithetical to Christianity. While many come to faith without a deep knowledge of the Bible, it’s critical they, upon salvation, invest in understanding Scripture and the teachings of Jesus.

“We usually come to Christ in a simple way, usually not having counted the cost, usually not having a knowledge of what you’re getting yourself into,” Bylsma said. “You jump in and then you have that relationship and then you think that’s enough. And I would say the church doesn’t really do a good job of nurturing mature Christians.”

“Some of the churches I go to kind of have the same themes over and over,” he continued. “I would say it’s elementary; it’s almost spiritual milk. And there really needs to be a deeper dive into the concepts and the themes [of the Bible]. Twenty minutes once a week just doesn’t do it.”

It’s tempting, he continued, to feel satiated in just knowing a handful of Bible passages. But those who believe they are saved and are desiring of a relationship with Jesus “need to go further.”

To make his case, he pointed to the teachings of the Apostle Paul.

In 1 Corinthians 13:11, he wrote, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me” (NIV). Paul’s point was that, as believers continue in the Christian faith, they should mature spiritually.

The central — and most important — theme of the Bible, of course, is the message of Jesus. Everything throughout Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments, points to God becoming a man, taking on the insurmountable debt sinful humanity could not pay by dying on the cross and rising from the grave three days later.

Believers who have accepted Jesus as their savior ought to invest time in truly understanding the whole of Scripture, knowing that it is fundamentally transformational. It is, as Hebrews 4:12 explains, “alive and active” and “sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (NIV).

You can watch our full conversation with Bylsma in the episode of “Faith vs. Culture” above.
Sources:faithwire

http://theendtimeradio.com

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