PCUSA Makes Marriage a ‘Unique Commitment’ – ChristianityToday.com

PCUSA Makes Marriage a ‘Unique Commitment’ | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com.

marriagepic-1Christianity Today’s latest “Gleanings” feature (March 18, 2015) carried this note of further apostasy from the teaching of God’s Word about marriage on the part of the mainline Presbyterian church in this country.

Below is the first part of that story; for the full news item, visit the “CT” link above. The report includes a map showing how the various states have voted to this point (Michigan has not yet decided.)

May the Lord call out of this apostate denomination those who are truly His and who desire to be faithful to His Word and the true Presbyterian heritage (Rev.18:4).

The Presbyterian Church (USA) will now define marriage as a “unique commitment between two people,” rather than a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman as an act of Christian discipleship.

Last June, the PC(USA) general assembly voted to change the language in its Book of Order, the denomination’s governing constitution. Following the vote, a majority of the PC(USA)’s 171 presbyteries also had to approve the measure for it to go into effect. On Tuesday, this number (86) was reached.

The conservative Presbyterian Lay Committee (PLC) criticized the denomination’s shift.

“In terms of the PCUSA’s witness to the world, this vote demonstrates a complete accommodation to the prevailing winds of our culture,” said Carmen Fowler LaBerge, PLC president, in a statement. “Any prophetic voice that the denomination may have once had to speak truth and call people to repentance is now lost.”

Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. – The Washington Post

Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right. – The Washington Post.

YP reading-1Here is another striking report (posted Feb.22, 2015) on the reading preferences of those who have grown up with digital content (young people known as “digital natives”). Once again, reading printed material is the choice for such college-age young people who read for “pleasure and learning.”

Warms my heart – and I do a fair amount of digital reading during the course of a day too. But when I can grab that printed book or magazine or newspaper in hand and feel the pages between my fingers and read the content on real paper – ah, I am a happy man. And I haven’t even mentioned the smells! :)

What’s your preference for reading – digital or print? What would you say is the percentage breakdown for your reading on any given day?

Here’s the first part of the news item as it was carried by the Washington Post; find the rest at the link above.

Frank Schembari loves books — printed books. He loves how they smell. He loves scribbling in the margins, underlining interesting sentences, folding a page corner to mark his place.

Schembari is not a retiree who sips tea at Politics and Prose or some other bookstore. He is 20, a junior at American University, and paging through a thick history of Israel between classes, he is evidence of a peculiar irony of the Internet age: Digital natives prefer reading in print.

“I like the feeling of it,” Schembari said, reading under natural light in a campus atrium, his smartphone next to him. “I like holding it. It’s not going off. It’s not making sounds.”

Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally. A University of Washington pilot study of digital textbooks found that a quarter of students still bought print versions of e-textbooks that they were given for free.

“These are people who aren’t supposed to remember what it’s like to even smell books,” said Naomi S. Baron, an American University linguist who studies digital communication. “It’s quite astounding.”

How Libya’s Martyrs Are Witnessing to Egypt | Christianity Today

How Libya’s Martyrs Are Witnessing to Egypt | Christianity Today.

This “CT” story of how Egypt’s Christians are responding to the intense persecution they are suffering at the hands of Muslim terrorists (ISIS) is as heart-warming as the recent slaughter of 21 Libyan Christians is heart-chilling.

As you read the report of this response, may we be led to pray for the body of Christ in that part of the world, and for many others suffering for the name of Christ throughout the Middle East and, indeed, throughout the world.

Here is the first part of the story; read the rest at the “CT” link above.

Undaunted by the slaughter of 21 Christians in Libya, the director of the Bible Society of Egypt saw a golden gospel opportunity.

“We must have a Scripture tract ready to distribute to the nation as soon as possible,” Ramez Atallah told his staff the evening an ISIS-linked group released its gruesome propaganda video. Less than 36 hours later, Two Rows by the Sea was sent to the printer.

One week later, 1.65 million copies have been distributed in the Bible Society’s largest campaign ever. It eclipses even the 1 million tracts distributed after the 2012 death of Shenouda, the Coptic “Pope of the Bible.” [A full English translation is posted at bottom.]

Arabic tract (outside)Image: Bible Society of Egypt

Arabic tract (outside)

The tract contains biblical quotations about the promise of blessing amid suffering, alongside a poignant poem in colloquial Arabic:

Who fears the other?
The row in orange, watching paradise open?
Or the row in black, with minds evil and broken?

“The design is meant so that it can be given to any Egyptian without causing offense,” said Atallah. “To comfort the mourning and challenge people to commit to Christ.”

The Scheide Library at Princeton University: A $300 Million Rare Book Bequest

Princeton University Receives $300 Million Rare Book Bequest.

Scheide_Library,_Princeton_University,_Princeton_NJThis item has been in the news this week, and it is significant both from a library standpoint and from an archive standpoint.

Lisa Peet, writing for Library Journal, summarizes the story and the holdings of this wonderful collection of rare books and manuscripts (for the full story, visit the link above).

To read about it on Princeton’s website, visit this page (along with some amazing pictures). I think you will find it interesting as well.

I might also add that the Scheide Libraryfound within the Firestone Library at Princeton, is itself quite amazing; be sure to check out the images of that as well.

Princeton University’s Firestone Library recently received the largest gift in the university’s history, the university reported on February 16: some 2,500 rare books and music manuscripts, with an expected appraised value of nearly $300 million. William Hurd (Bill) Scheide, a Princeton alumnus and third-generation collector of rare books, bequeathed the collection to the university upon his death, at age 100, in November 2014.

And here is a description of some of the materials in the Scheide collection:

The collection focuses strongly on the history of printing in Europe and the Americas. Other themes include the exploration and development of America, the history of the Bible—including the first six copies ever printed, starting with a 1455 Gutenberg Bible that Bill’s father, a member of Princeton’s class of 1896, purchased in 1924—and the history of science. It is not primarily concerned with literature, although it does contain two copies of Shakespeare’s first folio (as well as the second, third, and fourth); Needham considers it to be more about “the history of thought.” In addition, Bill Scheide, a musicologist, added a small but important collection of music manuscripts and notebooks by Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart, and others, including many autographed pieces.

Magna Carta Mania | Book Patrol

Magna Carta Mania | Book Patrol.

The “Book Patrol” reports (Feb.10, 2015) on an amazing historical archive discovery in the town of Sandwich, England, just as the British Museum is preparing to display all the original copies of the Magna Carta.

Here’s the opening segment of the “BP” post, along with a picture of the four copies to be displayed at the British Museum (photo: Clare Kendall/British Library/PA).

The timing is impeccable.

On the heels of the beginning of the festivities celebrating the 800 year anniversary of the Magna Carta, in which all four surviving copies of the original edition of 1215 edition will be displayed together for the first time, word comes that another early copy has been discovered!


Unearthed at the Council Archives for the town of Sandwich the copy was found when researchers happened upon it while looking for a copy of the town’s original Charter of the Forest.

National Readathon Day Today

National Readathon Day on Saturday.

i love reading bagAre you ready to do some reading this Saturday afternoon? I hope so. Especially because it is National Readathon Day, sponsored by the National Book Foundation as well as some other book and reading promoters.

Publishers Weekly carried the story as introduced here. Follow the link above to learn more about it – and better yet, to participate! That could include reading to your child or grandchild! :)

This Saturday, January 24, marks the first National Readathon Day sponsored by Penguin Random House, GoodReads, Mashable, and the National Book Foundation to raise money for NBF’s reading programs.

Since the program was first announced last fall, readers have been encouraged to pledge their support and to participate in the Readathon from noon to 4 p.m. (in respective time zones). They are also encouraged to share their experience on social media, using the hashtag #timetoread.

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The Top 20 Most-Read Gleanings of 2014 – ChristianityToday.com

The Top 20 Most-Read Gleanings of 2014 | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com.

Every year at this time Christianity Today posts the top stories in the world of Christian news based on what its readers visited the most on the “Gleanings” section of its website (“important developments in the church and the world”).

MIbrahim-2014At the link above is this year’s list of twenty (20) most read stories – with a brief introduction from “CT”. When you see their list, you will understand why these were indeed the stories people were most interested in.

What do Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, Meriam Ibrahim, and the KJV have in common? All were subjects of the most-read Gleanings posts of 2014.

This one goes with the picture above, as reported by “CT”:

As advocates for the Sudanese mother sentenced to death for not renouncing her Christian faith topped more than 1 million, Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag gave birth early this morning to a baby girl in a Khartoum prison hospital wing.

So reports Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), as well as her lawyer Elshareef Ali to the BBC. The 27-year-old mother sentenced to death for apostasy named her little girl Maya, according to The Telegraph.

Sudanese authorities are allowing Ibrahim two years to nurse her daughter before they will carry out the death sentence. Ibrahim’s lawyers lodged an appeal last week, according to CSW.

C.Hansen’s Top 10 Theology Stories of 2014 – The Gospel Coalition

My Top 10 Theology Stories of 2014 | TGC | The Gospel Coalition.

Year in review-1I have learned to appreciate Collin Hansen’s (editorial director for the Gospel Coalition) annual list of a different nature – the top 10 theology stories of the year. Past years have shown a church world in turmoil for various reasons – doctrinal controversy, persecution, and sin within and without. 2014 revealed more of the same (Posted Dec.22, 2014).

Yet we believe that the church remains our Lord’s and that He is at work in the church, in the world, and in us to accomplish His master plan of ultimate redemption and renewal when He returns in glory, executes His righteous judgment, and makes all things new. May our remembrance of this year’s theological stories remind us of the goal of all things.

Here is Hansen’s introduction and one of the picks that was of particular interest to me. To see the rest of the stories that make his list, visit the “Gospel Coalition” link above.

I’m not satisfied with how we ascribe value to certain news stories over others. While social media direct us to stories that might have been overlooked in older newsrooms, these outlets and cable news lead us to obsess with certain stories and ignore others for no apparent reason. While news editors formerly acted as judge and jury for public knowledge, our mob mentality hardly produces better results. The trending hashtag does not necessarily reflect what’s most valuable in the kingdom of God. In fact, this fallen world threatens to distract us from from thinking about “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable” (Phil. 4:8).

As you’ll see in my list of top theology stories, I haven’t solved this problem. You may recognize these stories from your news feed, but you might arrange them in a different order or replace some altogether. I don’t claim unbiased perspective, and even if I did, past failings would betray me (see my lists from 20082009201020112012, and 2013).

…So consider my list an admittedly foolhardy attempt—written from the vantage point of an American who subscribes to The Gospel Coalition’s confessional statement—to discern the most important theology stories of 2014. Consider it an opportunity to reflect on whether your priorities align with God’s and a challenge to spread good news in a world that seeks peace but finds none apart from Jesus Christ.

8. Debate over justification and sanctification reaches breaking point.

Can someone be too focused on the gospel? Of course not. Unless “gospel” becomes shorthand for privileging certain biblical teachings and isolating them from others. Then again, Paul told the Corinthians that the matters of “first importance” are Jesus’s death for sins and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:3–4). Shouldn’t those priorities dictate how we read the rest of the Bible? This hermeneutical tension didn’t suddenly leap from the biblical text in 2014, but as co-founders Don Carson and Tim Keller noted with regard to recent changes at TGC, the debate over the relationship between justification and sanctification became “increasingly strident” this year with charges of legalism and antinomianism. They said, “Recently it became clear that the dispute was becoming increasingly sharp and divisive rather than moving toward greater unity.” How do Christians find that unity? Perhaps futher debate will resolve the outstanding issues. But we must all first humble ourselves before the God of the Bible and each other to live out the grace we so fervently preach.

14 Best Books of 2014 | T.Reinke

14 Best Books of 2014 | Desiring God.

The lists of “best books” are starting to roll in on various blogs and websites. I will begin posting the ones that I am interested in and that I believe will be of benefit to you.

This is Tony Reinke’s list for 2014, posted at “Desiring God”. As always, his “best” or favorites may not be mine, but they are still profitable to see and be aware of.

Here is part of the introduction to his list, along with his first pick. Find the rest at the link above:

In 2014, delicious non-fiction Christian titles ran off presses like hot donuts rolling off the assembly line at Krispy Kreme. As I narrowed my list of finalists down (to about five dozen!), it dawned on me that I should begin with thanks to the wise and dedicated writers, editors, and publishers who brought us such an excellent offering. Thank you!

The bibliophilic bounty makes choosing my top list difficult (in a fun way). I pulled it off by using my scientifically subjective algorithm of intuition about what books I think (1) serve the widest crowd, (2) offer the most unique insights, (3) and seem to promise the most enduring impact in the years ahead.

Here’s my top 14 (with 14 runners-up).

Top 14 Books of 2014

1. Tim Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (Dutton). Unique, fresh, and deeply rooted in history — this book is vintage Keller in his most carefully researched and most Reformed self. In part, it’s a celebration of the rich tradition of prayer enjoyed by our forefathers. But its greatest strength is the use of Scripture to frame the prayer life (a bulk of the book is about how Scripture is essential to it). When I finished this book, it instantly topped this year’s book list. Reformed to the core, practical, comprehensive, God-centered, Christ-focused, and joy-saturated — the book is rich on many levels. (And be sure to read the footnotes, where you’ll discover a second book of bonus content!)

Sherlock Holmes for the masses | Book Patrol

Sherlock Holmes for the masses | Book Patrol.

Study in Scarlet - DoyleOn December 1 “Book Patrol” carried this note about the first publication of Sir Arthur Canon Doyle’s detective stories featuring Sherlock Holmes.

If you were like me and were introduced to these stories in childhood, you will rejoice to know Doyle’s books are now in the public domain. And you will be happy, then, to introduce them to your older children – with discretion, of course. I still have my old collection of Holmes’ detective exploits.

Good writing makes for good reading. And good reading for good thinking skills. Even at Christmas. :) Perhaps a classic set is in order this year.

Here’s the opening part of “BP”‘s post. At the bottom of the post are the links to places where you can buy rare and new titles of these classic stories.

It was this time of year in 1887 when we got our first taste. 

A Study of Scarlet, originally titled A Tangled Skein, was published by Ward Lock & Co. in Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1887.

A. Conan Doyle got £25 for the story and the world was introduced to Sherlock Holmes.

He has since gone on to become the most famous literary character on the planet.

And last month when the U.S. Supreme court refused to hear an appeal by the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle over licensing fees Sherlock Holmes has finally come to rest in the public domain.

Christmas books-2014


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