Archives For Evolution

Tuesday_BriefingTHE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

“The reason I am here is because I don’t want to have to rescue you.” 

Tajuan McCarty stood in front of more than 100 teenage girls and their leaders in November, pulling no punches as she told her story. Speaking in short, unflinching sentences, she explained how she was pushed into prostitution at age 15, and trafficked into every state except Hawaii and Alaska over the next 11 years.

“I am a survivor of trafficking.”

McCarty is founder and director of The Wellhouse, a ministry that rescues women trapped in the same kind of life that once enslaved her. Headquartered in Birmingham, The Wellhouse is in a prime location to fight trafficking along I-20, known as the sex trafficking superhighway. She also helps raise awareness about the global problem that is deeply entrenched in the United States.

McCarty has been a Christian for four years, so her message begins with this: All women are beautiful, because they’re made in God’s image.

“If you walk away from here thinking prostitution is a choice and/or she’s doing it because she’s on drugs, I have not done my job,” McCarty told a captivated audience at AWSOM, an annual missions event for young women in Illinois. Drugs are only a symptom of the problem, she added.

“At The Wellhouse, what we try to do is reach the core of the problem. And yes, we introduce them to Jesus because that is the only way to heal people.”

Read more in the new Illinois Baptist, online at http://ibonline.IBSA.org.

Other news:

New missions housing opens in Chicagoland
The new home of the Chicago Metro Baptist Association also has room for volunteers serving in the city. The Rockwell Street building’s 9,000 square feet on three floors have been remodeled into several large spaces for mission teams to stay, plus a chapel/meeting space, and in the basement a large dining hall and full commercial kitchen. And nine showers. At $15 per mission tripper per night, “it’s a clean, affordable, functional place,” said Jay Noh, “and I am prayerfully optimistic that many more churches will be able to bring groups to minister in the city.” Read more here, and check out page 6 of the newest Illinois Baptist for information about another mission housing opportunity in the Chicago suburb of Plainfield.

Rainer blogs 14 trends for 2014
LifeWay President Thom Rainer’s predictions for 2014 include more megachurches, downsized denominations, smaller worship centers and a stronger focus on small groups. Read more of his 14 predictions for churches at ThomRainer.com. (Note: Predictions are split into two posts.)

Creation Museum president vs. Science Guy in evolution debate
The president of a museum dedicated to creationism will soon debate Bill “the Science Guy” Nye on evolution. Ken Ham, president of the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., and Nye will engage in a sold-out public debate at the museum on Feb. 4. “It is an important debate to have as we deal with the question, ‘Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?'” Ham posted on his blog.

Nye, host of TV’s “Bill Nye the Science Guy” in the mid-1990s, made headlines last year with a YouTube video calling creationism inappropriate for kids. A recent study by Pew Research found 60% of Americans believe in evolution. Read more about the survey here, and go to anwersingenesis.org for more about the debate, which also will be live streamed.

Most popular Scripture passages of 2013
According to analysis shared on ChristianityToday.com, Philippians 4:13 was the most popular verse on the YouVersion Bible app last year, followed by Isaiah 40:31, Matthew 6:13, Joshua 1:9, and Philippians 4:6. Read YouVersion’s top 10 shared verses of 2013 at ChristianityToday.com.

THE BRIEFING | One of the most revered evangelists in history faced criticism from many fellow leaders last week.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) removed Mormonism from the list of cults on its website – billygraham,org – just days after Romney visited with Graham at the 94-year-old’s North Carolina home. The site also posted an ad featuring Graham and a message urging voters to “cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.

“I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman,” the ad reads. “Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.” The ads later appeared in newspapers including the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Iowa pastor and blogger Dave Miller maintained Graham’s right to endorse Romney, but took issue with BGEA’s decision to remove Mormonism from its list of cults, asking if the organization’s action sacrificed essential truths of the Christian faith. “What can we believe but that Billy Graham, the greatest proclaimer of the gospel in the last century, has compromised biblical truth – no, GOSPEL truth – for political reasons.

“To help elect Mitt Romney, they softened their stance against the false religion he professes.”

In a Washington Post article, BGEA spokesman Ken Barun explained the thinking behind the move. “Our primary focus at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has always been promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Barun said in a statement. “We removed the information from the website because we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign.”

But Miller said he doesn’t buy it. “This waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck. Don’t tell me it is an eagle. To claim that removing the statement identifying Mormonism as a cult was done to prevent politicizing the issue defies logic and insults our intelligence.

“Mormonism is a false cult that damns souls to hell for eternity. I pray that Mitt Romney will see the truth before his life ends. But for Billy Graham to walk back his clear statement that this religion is false is sad and indefensible.”

Other news:

Mormon church shifts missionary age requirements
A new policy announced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may enlarge the Mormon missionary force, according to CNN. The church said earlier this month it would lower the minimum age requirement for individuals who want to embark on a Mormon mission, generally a two-year assignment. Males can now serve at 18 (down from 19), and females are eligible to serve at age 19. The previous age requirement for girls was 21, making it difficult for many to consider serving when they were already entrenched in their education or family concerns.

“The narrative of young women has been that marriage trumps everything else as your most important spiritual pursuit,” Mormon author and scholar Joanna Brooks told CNN. The decision “signals a reorganizing of expectations for women’s lives. … It changes the storyline.” Read more on CNN’s Belief Blog.

Nearly 50% affirm creationism
A recent Gallup poll found 46 percent of adults say they believe God created human beings within the past 10,000 years – the highest percentage for that answer since 2006 and the second highest since the question was first asked in 1982. Another 32 percent of Americans ‘ believe in theistic evolution, agreeing that “human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided the process.” Fifteen percent of those surveyed said they believe in evolution and that God played no role. Read more at BPNews.net.

Ann Romney shares pro-life ‘view’ on TV
The wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney jumped into one of television’s toughest debates when she appeared on ABC’s “The View,” a daytime women’s talk show that presents a variety of views, but has, in the past, tended to skew away from the Romneys conservative views. Ann Romney told the ladies of the view she is pro-life, and that her husband was a pro-choice gubernatorial candidate in Massachusetts, but changed his view when faced with legislation that would have allowed embryonic stem cell research. “…I am pro-life. I’m happy to say that,” Romney said on “The View.” She added, “”I think we have to understand that this is an issue that is so tender, and there are people on both sides of the issue that have, with very good conscience, with different opinions.” Read the full story at ChristianPost.com.

THE BRIEFING | Posted by Meredith Flynn

Mitt Romney’s faith was on display at the August 27-30 Republican National Convention. In accepting the nomination to serve as the Republican Party’s candidate for president, Romney opened up and spoke about his Mormon faith, something he has been reluctant to do in the past.

“We were Mormons,” he said recalling moving to Michigan with his family while still a child. “And growing up in Michigan, that might have seemed unusual or out of place, but I do not remember it that way. My friends cared more about what sports we followed than what church we went to.”

Fellow Mormons also took to the podium to give testimony to Romney’s service through his church. Grant Bennett, the assistant pastor of the congregation Romney belonged to in Massachusetts, shared how he believes Romney lives his faith. “He found the definition of religion given by James in the New Testament to be a practical guide. ‘Pure religion is to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction.’ … Mitt taught faith in God, personal integrity, self-reliance, and service to our fellow men.”

Romney’s Mormonism was also a topic of non-Mormon speakers at the convention.  Southern Baptist and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, shared, “Let me clear the air about whether guys like me would only support an evangelical. I care far less as to where Mitt Romney takes his family to church than I do about where he takes this country.”

Paul Ryan, a Catholic and Romney’s pick for vice-president, weighed in on the subject during his speech.  “Mitt and I also go to different churches, but in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example, and I’ve been watching the example … Our faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life, there is goodness and for every person there is hope.  Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of life.”

What do you think? Do Mitt Romney remarks about his Mormon faith affect the way you feel about him as a candidate? Leave a comment below.

Lisa Sergent is contributing editor of the Illinois Baptist and reported this story for ib2news.org.

Other news:

Seminary students face sky-high debt
Seminary graduates aren’t immune to the country’s $1 trillion student loan debt, according to the Association of Religious Date Archives. It’s not unusual for seminarians to graduate with up to $80,000 in debt, and the average starting salary for full-time clergy was $44,140 last year, the U.S. Labor Department estimated. Read more at Baptist Press.

Science Guy: Kids need evolution
Bill Nye
, a scientist, actor and author best known for his TV show “Bill Nye the Science Guy” released a YouTube video where he urged parents to let their children believe in evolution, “the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology.” In the video, produced by The Big Think, Nye said denial of evolution is unique to the U.S., and the portion of the population who doesn’t hold to the theory “holds everybody back.” Watch the video.

Christian women weigh in on election
An extensive study of Christian women by Barna Research found that they will likely constitute 30% of likely voters this fall, the largest voting bloc in the presidential election. Of Christian women surveyed who plan to vote, 32% said they definitely plan to vote for Barack Obama, and 30% definitely plan to vote for Mitt Romney. However, a larger percentage (23%) of undecided Christian women are said they’re probably voting for Romney than for Obama (15%). Read more at Barna.org.

Tebow faces criticism with grace
The skin of New York Jets back-up quarterback Tim Tebow will no doubt thicken this season, now that he’s playing in one of the NFL’s most notoriously critical markets. Boomer Esiason, a former Jets quarterback and current sports analyst, got the ball rolling when he urged the team to cut Tebow because his presence does nothing to help them. Tebow, an outspoken Christian, responded with, “I’ve heard nothing but great things about Mr. Esiason. I know he was a great player here, and I just wish him nothing but the best in his announcing, and God bless him.” Read the full story at Baptist Press.