August - Christian Community Year Devotional

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August - The Christian Church, Modern History

August 1

Jamestown Colony

Jamestown, Virginia the First Permanent English Settlement in America 1607 AD

Jamestown was a settlement in the Colony of Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 24, 1607 (O.S., May 14, 1607 N.S.), and considered permanent after brief abandonment in 1610, it followed several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost [occult] Colony of Roanoke. Jamestown served as the capital of the colony for 83 years, from 1616 until 1699.

The settlement was located within the territory of a political entity known as Tsenacommacah, the state of the Powhatan Confederacy, with around 14,000 native inhabitants, and specifically was in part of the subdivision known as the Paspahegh tribe. The natives initially welcomed the colonists with dancing, feasting and tobacco ceremonies, and they provided crucial provisions and support for the survival of the colonists, who were not agriculturally inclined. Relations with the newcomers soured fairly early on, leading to the total annihilation of the Paspahegh in warfare within 3 years.

Within a year of Jamestown's founding, the Virginia Company brought Polish and Dutch colonists to help improve the settlement. In 1619, the first documented Africans were brought to Jamestown, though the modern conception of slavery in the future United States did not begin in Virginia until 1660. When the colony was subdivided into the original eight shires of Virginia in 1634, the town became located in the eponymous James City Shire.

The London Company's second settlement, Bermuda, claims to be the site of the oldest town in the English New World, as St. George's, Bermuda was officially established (as New London) in 1612, whereas James Fort, in Virginia, was not to be converted into James towne until 1619, and further did not survive into the present day. In 1699, the capital was relocated from Jamestown to what is today Williamsburg, after which Jamestown ceased to exist as a settlement, existing today only as an archaeological site.

Today, Jamestown is one of three locations comprising the Historic Triangle of Colonial Virginia, along with Williamsburg and Yorktown, with two primary heritage sites. Historic Jamestowne, the archaeological site on Jamestown Island, is a cooperative effort by Jamestown National Historic Site (part of Colonial National Historical Park), and Preservation Virginia. The Jamestown Settlement, a living history interpretive site, is operated by the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation in conjunction with the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Source: wiki.com

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August 2

George Whitefield

George Whitefield famous English Anglican Preacher

George Whitefield (December 27 [O.S. December 16] 1714 - September 30, 1770), also known as George Whitfield, was an English Anglican preacher who helped spread the Great Awakening in Britain, and especially in the American colonies. He was one of the founders of Methodism and of the evangelical movement generally. He became perhaps the best-known preacher in Britain and America during the 18th century, and because he traveled through all of the American colonies and drew great crowds and media coverage, he was one of the most widely recognized public figures in colonial America.

Evangelism - Calvinism

Whitefield preached his first sermon at St Mary de Crypt Church in his home town of Gloucester a week after his ordination. He had earlier become the leader of the Holy Club at Oxford when the Wesley brothers departed for Georgia. He adopted the practice of Howell Harris of preaching in the open-air at Hanham Mount, near Kingswood, Bristol. In 1738 he went to Savannah, Georgia, in the American colonies, as parish priest. While there he decided that one of the great needs of the area was an orphan house. He decided this would be his life's work. He returned to England to raise funds, as well as to receive priest's orders. While preparing for his return he preached to large congregations. At the suggestion of friends he preached to the miners of Kingswood, outside Bristol, in the open air. Because he was returning to Georgia he invited John Wesley to take over his Bristol congregations, and to preach in the open-air for the first time at Kingswood and then Blackheath, London.

Whitefield accepted the Church of England's doctrine of predestination but disagreed with the Wesley brothers' views on the doctrine of the Atonement, Arminianism. As a result Whitefield did what his friends hoped he would not do-hand over the entire ministry to John Wesley. Whitefield formed and was the president of the first Methodist conference. But he soon relinquished the position to concentrate on evangelical work.

Three churches were established in England in his name: Bristol, and two churches in London: "Moorfields Tabernacle"; and "Tottenham Court Road Chapel". The society meeting at the second Kingswood School at Kingswood, a town on the eastern edge of Bristol, was eventually also named Whitefield's Tabernacle. Whitefield acted as chaplain to Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, and some of his followers joined the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, whose chapels were built by Selina, where a form of Calvinistic Methodism similar to Whitefield's was taught. Many of Selina's chapels were built in the English and Welsh counties, and one was erected in London-Spa Fields Chapel.

In 1739, Whitefield returned to England to raise funds to establish the Bethesda Orphanage, which is the oldest extant charity in North America. On returning to North America in 1740, he preached a series of revivals that came to be known as the Great Awakening of 1740. In 1740 he engaged Moravian Brethren from Georgia to build an orphanage for Negro children on land he had bought in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. Following a theological disagreement, he dismissed them but was unable to complete the building, which the Moravians subsequently bought and completed. This now is the Whitefield House in the center of the Moravian settlement of Nazareth. He preached nearly every day for months to large crowds of sometimes several thousand people as he traveled throughout the colonies, especially New England. His journey on horseback from New York City to Charleston was the longest then undertaken in North America by a white man.

Like his contemporary and acquaintance, Jonathan Edwards, Whitefield preached staunchly Calvinist theology that was in line with the "moderate Calvinism" of the Thirty-nine Articles. While explicitly affirming God's sole agency in salvation, Whitefield freely offered the Gospel, saying at the end of his sermons: "Come poor, lost, undone sinner, come just as you are to Christ."

Benjamin Franklin and Whitefield

Benjamin Franklin attended a revival meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was greatly impressed with Whitefield's ability to deliver a message to such a large group. Franklin had previously dismissed, as an exaggeration, reports of Whitefield preaching to crowds of the order of tens of thousands in England. When listening to Whitefield preaching from the Philadelphia court house, Franklin walked away towards his shop in Market Street until he could no longer hear Whitefield distinctly. He then estimated his distance from Whitefield and calculated the area of a semicircle centered on Whitefield. Allowing two square feet per person he computed that Whitefield could be heard by over thirty thousand people in the open air.

Franklin admired Whitefield as a fellow intellectual but thought Whitefield's plan to run an orphanage in Georgia would lose money. He published several of Whitefield's tracts and was impressed by Whitefield's ability to preach and speak with clarity and enthusiasm to crowds. Franklin was an ecumenist and approved of Whitefield's appeal to members of many denominations, but it is unknown if Franklin was converted. While Franklin did not publicly express conversion, his belief in a personal God is evident in his famous speech at the Constitutional Convention where he recited the verse that not a single sparrow falls to the ground without God's notice; how then could the Constitution convention hope to succeed without God's careful oversight?

Source: wiki.com

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August 3

Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards the first great American Preacher

Jonathan Edwards (October 5, 1703 - March 22, 1758) was a Christian preacher, philosopher, and theologian. Edwards "is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian," and one of America's greatest intellectuals. Edwards's theological work is broad in scope, but he was rooted in Reformed theology, the metaphysics of theological determinism, and the Puritan heritage. Recent studies have emphasized how thoroughly Edwards grounded his life's work on conceptions of beauty, harmony, and ethical fittingness, and how central The Enlightenment was to his mindset. Edwards played a critical role in shaping the First Great Awakening, and oversaw some of the first revivals in 1733-35 at his church in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Edwards delivered the sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", a classic of early American literature, during another revival in 1741, following George Whitefield's tour of the Thirteen Colonies. Edwards is well known for his many books, The End For Which God Created the World, The Life of David Brainerd, which served to inspire thousands of missionaries throughout the 19th century, and Religious Affections, which many Reformed Evangelicals still read today. Edwards died from a smallpox inoculation shortly after beginning the presidency at the College of New Jersey (Princeton). He was the grandfather of Aaron Burr [who dueled with Alexander Hamilton], third Vice President of the United States.

The Great Awakening

On July 7, 1732, Edwards preached in Boston the "Public Lecture" afterwards published under the title "God Glorified - in Man's Dependence," which was his first public attack on Arminianism. The emphasis of the lecture was on God's absolute sovereignty in the work of salvation: that while it behooved God to create man pure and without sin, it was of his "good pleasure" and "mere and arbitrary grace" for him to grant any person the faith necessary to incline him or her toward holiness, and that God might deny this grace without any disparagement to any of his character. In 1733, a Christian revival began in Northampton and reached an intensity in the winter of 1734 and the following spring, that it threatened the business of the town. In six months, nearly 300 were admitted to the church.

The revival gave Edwards an opportunity for studying the process of conversion in all its phases and varieties, and he recorded his observations with psychological minuteness and discrimination in A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God in the Conversion of Many Hundred Souls in Northampton (1737). A year later, he published Discourses on Various Important Subjects, the five sermons which had proved most effective in the revival, and of these, none was so immediately effective as that on the Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners, from the text, "That every mouth may be stopped." Another sermon, published in 1734, A Divine and Supernatural Light, Immediately Imparted to the Soul by the Spirit of God, set forth what he regarded as the inner, moving principle of the revival, the doctrine of a special grace in the immediate, and supernatural divine illumination of the soul.

By 1735, the revival had spread and popped up independently across the Connecticut River Valley, and perhaps as far as New Jersey. However, criticism of the revival began, and many New Englanders feared that Edwards had led his flock into fanaticism. Over the summer of 1735, religious fervor took a dark turn. A number of New Englanders were shaken by the revivals but not converted, and became convinced of their inexorable damnation. Edwards wrote that "multitudes" felt urged-presumably by Satan-to take their own lives. At least two people committed suicide in the depths of their spiritual distress, one from Edwards's own congregation-his uncle Joseph Hawley II. It is not known if any others took their own lives, but the "suicide craze" effectively ended the first wave of revival, except in some parts of Connecticut.

However, despite these setbacks and the cooling of religious fervor, word of the Northampton revival and Edwards's leadership role had spread as far as England and Scotland. It was at this time that Edwards was acquainted with George Whitefield, who was traveling the Thirteen Colonies on a revival tour in 1739-40. The two men may not have seen eye to eye on every detail. Whitefield was far more comfortable with the strongly emotional elements of revival than Edwards was, but they were both passionate about preaching the Gospel. They worked together to orchestrate Whitefield's trip, first through Boston and then to Northampton. When Whitefield preached at Edwards's church in Northampton, he reminded them of the revival they had experienced just a few years before. This deeply touched Edwards, who wept throughout the entire service, and much of the congregation too was moved.

Revival began to spring up again, and Edwards preached his most famous sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", in Enfield, Connecticut in 1741. Though this sermon has been widely reprinted as an example of "fire and brimstone" preaching in the colonial revivals, this is not in keeping with Edward's actual preaching style. Edwards did not shout or speak loudly, but talked in a quiet, emotive voice. He moved his audience slowly from point to point, towards an inexorable conclusion: they were lost without the grace of God. While most 21st-century readers notice the damnation looming in such a sermon text, historian George Marsden reminds us that Edwards' was not preaching anything new or surprising: "Edwards could take for granted... that a New England audience knew well the Gospel remedy. The problem was getting them to seek it."

The movement met with opposition from conservative Congregationalist ministers. In 1741, Edwards published in its defense The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, dealing particularly with the phenomena most criticized: the swoonings, outcries and convulsions. These "bodily effects," he insisted, were not distinguishing marks of the work of the Spirit of God one way or another; but so bitter was the feeling against the revival in the more strictly Puritan churches, that in 1742, he was forced to write a second apology, Thoughts on the Revival in New England. His main argument being the great moral improvement of the country. In the same pamphlet, he defends an appeal to the emotions, and advocates preaching terror when necessary, even to children, who in God's sight "are young vipers... if not Christ's."

He considers "bodily effects" incidental to the real work of God, but his own mystic devotion and the experiences of his wife during the Awakening (which he gives in detail) make him think that the divine visitation usually overpowers the body, a view in support of which he quotes Scripture. In reply to Edwards, Charles Chauncy wrote Seasonable Thoughts on the State of Religion in New England in 1743 and anonymously penned The Late Religious Commotions in New England Considered in the same year. In these works he urged conduct as the sole test of conversion; and the general convention of Congregational ministers in the Province of Massachusetts Bay protested "against disorders in practice which have of late obtained in various parts of the land." In spite of Edwards's able pamphlet, the impression had become widespread that "bodily effects" were recognized by the promoters of the Great Awakening as the true tests of conversion.

To offset this feeling, Edwards preached at Northampton, during the years 1742 and 1743, a series of sermons published under the title of Religious Affections (1746), a restatement in a more philosophical and general tone of his ideas as to "distinguishing marks." In 1747, he joined the movement started in Scotland called the "concert in prayer," and in the same year published An Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God's People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ's Kingdom on Earth. In 1749, he published a memoir of David Brainerd who had lived with his family for several months and had died at Northampton in 1747. Brainerd had been constantly attended by Edwards's daughter Jerusha, to whom he was rumored to have been engaged to be married, though there is no surviving evidence of this. In the course of elaborating his theories of conversion, Edwards used Brainerd and his ministry as a case study, making extensive notes of his conversions and confessions.

Legacy

The followers of Jonathan Edwards and his disciples came to be known as the New Light Calvinist ministers, as opposed to the traditional Old Light Calvinist ministers. Prominent disciples included the New Divinity school's Samuel Hopkins, Joseph Bellamy and Jonathan Edwards's son Jonathan Edwards Jr., and Gideon Hawley. Through a practice of apprentice ministers living in the homes of older ministers, they eventually filled a large number of pastorates in the New England area. Many of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards's descendants became prominent citizens in the United States, including the Vice President Aaron Burr and the College Presidents Timothy Dwight, Jonathan Edwards Jr. and Merrill Edwards Gates. Jonathan and Sarah Edwards were also ancestors of the First Lady Edith Roosevelt, the writer O. Henry, the publisher Frank Nelson Doubleday and the writer Robert Lowell.

Edwards's writings and beliefs continue to influence individuals and groups to this day. Early American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions missionaries were influenced by Edwards's writings, as is evidenced in reports in the ABCFM's journal "The Missionary Herald," and beginning with Perry Miller's seminal work, Edwards enjoyed a renaissance among scholars after the end of the Second World War. The Banner of Truth Trust and other publishers continue to reprint Edwards's works, and most of his major works are now available through the series published by Yale University Press, which has spanned three decades and supplies critical introductions by the editor of each volume. Yale has also established the Jonathan Edwards Project online. Author and teacher, Elisabeth Woodbridge Morris, memorialized him, her paternal ancestor (3rd great grandfather) in two books, The Jonathan Papers (1912), and More Jonathan Papers (1915). In 1933, he became the namesake of Jonathan Edwards College, the first of the 12 residential colleges of Yale, and The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University was founded to provide scholarly information about Edwards' writings. Edwards is remembered today as a teacher and missionary by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on March 22.

Source: wiki.com

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August 4

John Wesley

John Wesley a noted British Evangelist who inspired a Methodist, Holiness 'Piety' Movement

John Wesley (June 28, 1703 - March 2, 1791) was an Anglican cleric and Christian theologian. Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement which began when he took to open-air preaching in a similar manner to George Whitefield. In contrast to Whitefield's Calvinism, Wesley embraced the Arminian doctrines that were dominant in the 18th-century Church of England. Methodism in both forms became a highly successful evangelical movement in Britain and later in the United States. His work also helped lead to the development of the Holiness movement and Pentecostalism.

Wesley helped to organize and form societies of Christians throughout Great Britain, North America and Ireland as small groups that developed intensive, personal accountability, discipleship and religious instruction among members. His great contribution was to appoint itinerant, unordained preachers who travelled widely to evangelize and care for people in the societies. Under Wesley's direction, Methodists became leaders in many social issues of the day, including the prison reform and abolitionism movements.

Although he was not a systematic theologian, Wesley argued in favor of 'Christian perfection' and opposed Calvinism, notably the doctrine of predestination. He held that, in this life, Christians could come to a state in which the love of God "reigned supreme in their hearts", allowing them to attain a state of outward holiness. His evangelical theology was firmly grounded in sacramental theology and he continually insisted on means of grace as the manner by which God sanctifies and transforms the believer, encouraging people to experience Jesus Christ personally.

Throughout his life Wesley remained within the Established Church and insisted that his movement was well within the bounds of the Anglican tradition. His maverick use of church policy put him at odds with many within the Church of England, though toward the end of his life he was widely respected and referred to as "the best loved man in England."

Persecutions and Lay (Amateur) Preaching

From 1739 onward, Wesley and the Methodists were persecuted by clergy and magistrates for various reasons. Though Wesley had been ordained an Anglican priest, many other Methodist leaders had not received ordination. And for his own part, Wesley flouted many regulations of the Church of England concerning parish boundaries and who had authority to preach. This was seen as a social threat that disregarded institutions. Clergy attacked them in sermons and in print, and at times mobs attacked them. Wesley and his followers continued to work among the neglected and needy. They were denounced as promulgators of strange doctrines, fomenters of religious disturbances; as blind fanatics, leading people astray, claiming miraculous gifts, attacking the clergy of the Church of England, and trying to re-establish Catholicism.

Wesley felt that the church failed to call sinners to repentance, that many of the clergy were corrupt, and that people were perishing in their sins. He believed he was commissioned by God to bring about revival in the church, and no opposition, persecution, or obstacles could prevail against the divine urgency and authority of this commission. The prejudices of his High-Church training, his strict notions of the methods and proprieties of public worship, his views of the apostolic succession and the prerogatives of the priest, even his most cherished convictions, were not allowed to stand in the way.

Unwilling that people should perish in their sins and unable to reach them from church pulpits, following the example set by George Whitefield, Wesley began field preaching. Seeing that he and the few clergy co-operating with him could not do the work that needed to be done, he was led, as early as 1739, to approve local preachers. He evaluated and approved men who were not ordained by the Anglican Church to preach and do pastoral work. This expansion of lay preachers was one of the keys of the growth of Methodism.

Ordination of Ministers

As the societies multiplied, they adopted the elements of an ecclesiastical system. The divide between Wesley and the Church of England widened. The question of division from the Church of England was urged by some of his preachers and societies, but most strenuously opposed by his brother Charles. Wesley refused to leave the Church of England, believing that Anglicanism was "with all her blemishes, ... nearer the Scriptural plans than any other in Europe". In 1745 Wesley wrote that he would make any concession which his conscience permitted, in order to live in peace with the clergy. He could not give up the doctrine of an inward and present salvation by faith itself. He would not stop preaching, nor dissolve the societies, nor end preaching by lay members. As a cleric of the established church he had no plans to go further.

When in 1746 Wesley read Lord King on the primitive church, he became convinced that the concept of apostolic succession in Anglicanism was a "fable". He wrote that he was "a scriptural episkopos as much as many men in England."

Many years later Edward Stillingfleet's Irenicon led him to decide that ordination could be valid when performed by a presbyter rather than a bishop. Nevertheless, many believe that Wesley was consecrated a bishop in 1763 by Erasmus of Arcadia, and that Wesley could not openly announce his episcopal consecration without incurring the penalty of the Praemunire Act.

In 1784, he believed he could no longer wait for the Bishop of London to ordain someone for the American Methodists, who were without the sacraments after the American War of Independence. The Church of England had been disestablished in the United States, where it had been the state church in most of the southern colonies. The Church of England had not yet appointed a United States bishop to what would become the Protestant Episcopal Church in America. Wesley ordained Thomas Coke by the laying on of hands although Coke was already a priest in the Church of England. Wesley appointed him to be superintendent of Methodists in the United States. He also ordained Richard Whatcoat and Thomas Vasey as presbyters. Whatcoat and Vasey sailed to America with Coke. Wesley intended that Coke and Asbury (whom Coke ordained) should ordain others in the newly founded Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States.

His brother Charles grew alarmed and begged Wesley to stop before he had "quite broken down the bridge" and not embitter his [Charles'] last moments on earth, nor "leave an indelible blot on our memory." Wesley replied that he had not separated from the Church, nor did he intend to, but he must and would save as many souls as he could while alive, "without being careful about what may possibly be when I die." Although Wesley rejoiced that the Methodists in America were free, he advised his English followers to remain in the established church, and he himself died within it.

Source: wiki.com

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August 5

Holiness Movement

The Holiness Movement a further and continuing Holy Spirit work

The Holiness Movement refers to a set of beliefs and practices emerging from 19th-century Methodism, and to a number of Evangelical Christian denominations who emphasize those beliefs as a central doctrine. The movement is distinguished by its emphasis on John Wesley's "Christian perfection" teaching-the belief that it is possible to live free of voluntary sin, and particularly by the belief that this may be accomplished instantaneously through a second work of grace. {More accurately a person can live a biblical, acceptable, pleasing, harmonious life (not a sinless or perfect life) here and now in the current Kingdom of God on earth and in the Ages-Dispensations to come.}

The Key Beliefs of the Holiness Movement

(1) regeneration by grace through faith, with the assurance of salvation by the witness of the Holy Spirit [salvation from the 1st work of 'Holy Week' the Cross and eternal life Resurrection of Jesus Christ].

(2) entire sanctification as a second definite work of grace [the 2nd work from 'Pentecost' and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit], received by faith, through grace, and accomplished by the baptism and power of the Holy Spirit, by which one is enabled to live a holy [in pleasing fellowship with God] life.

In the context of the holiness movement, the first work of grace is salvation from sin. Adherents believe that without it, no amount of human effort can achieve holiness. The movement's teaching on salvation is conventionally Protestant - God's people are saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ who made atonement for human sins.

Holiness adherents believe that the "second work of grace" refers to a personal experience subsequent to regeneration, in which the believer is cleansed of the tendency to commit sin. This experience of sanctification enables the believer to live a holy life, and ideally, to live entirely without wilful sin, though it is generally accepted that a sanctified individual is still capable of committing sin.

Holiness groups believe the moral aspects of the law of God are pertinent for today, and so expect their adherents to obey behavioral rules - for example prohibiting the consumption of alcohol, participation in any form of gambling, and entertainments such as dancing and movie-going. This position does attract opposition from some evangelicals, who charge that such an attitude refutes or slights Reformation (particularly Calvinist) teachings that believers are justified by grace through faith and not through any efforts or states of mind on their part, that the effects of original sin remain even in the most faithful of souls.

Relation and Reaction to Pentecostalism

The traditional holiness movement is distinct from the Pentecostal movement, which believes that the baptism in the Holy Spirit involves supernatural manifestations such as speaking in unknown tongues. Many of the early Pentecostals were from the holiness movement, and to this day many "classical Pentecostals" maintain much of holiness doctrine and many of its devotional practices. Additionally, the terms Pentecostal and apostolic, now used by adherents to Pentecostal and charismatic doctrine, were once widely used by holiness churches in connection with the consecrated lifestyle described in the New Testament. However, Pentecostals add and emphasize that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is evidenced specifically by supernatural manifestations, a position which Churches in the traditional Holiness Movement do not accept {instead of supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit the Holiness Movement is looking for a Holy Spirit, biblically, altered individual life}.

During Azusa Street revival (often considered the advent of Pentecostalism), the practice of speaking in tongues was strongly rejected by leaders of the traditional holiness movement. Alma White, the leader of the Pillar of Fire Church, a holiness denomination, wrote a book against the Pentecostal movement that was published in 1936; the work, entitled Demons and Tongues, represented early rejection of the new Pentecostal movement. White called speaking in tongues "satanic gibberish" and Pentecostal services "the climax of demon worship".

However, most contemporary Holiness Churches believe in speaking in unknown tongues, some even agree with Pentecostalism in that speaking in unknown tongues is evidence of reception of the Holy Ghost.

The Holiness Pentecostal movement is a denomination that holds to the belief in supernatural manifestations of the Holy Ghost speaking in unknown tongues.

The Roots of the Holiness Movement

• The Reformation itself, with its emphasis on salvation by grace through faith alone.

• Puritanism in 17th century England and its transplantation to America with its emphasis on adherence to the Bible and the right to dissent from the established church.

• Pietism in 17th century Germany, led by Philipp Jakob Spener and the Moravians, which emphasized the spiritual life of the individual, coupled with a responsibility to live an upright life.

• Quietism, as taught by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), with its emphasis on the individual's ability to experience God and understand God's will for himself.

• The 1730s Evangelical Revival in England, led by Methodists John Wesley and his brother Charles Wesley, which brought Wesley's distinct take on the Eastern Orthodox concept of Theosis and the teachings of German Pietism to England and eventually to the United States.

• The First Great Awakening in the 18th and early 19th centuries in the United States, propagated by George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, and others, with its emphasis on the initial conversion experience of Christians.

• The Second Great Awakening in the 19th century in the United States, propagated by Francis Asbury, Charles Finney, Lyman Beecher, and others, which also emphasized the need for personal holiness and is characterized by the rise of evangelistic revival meetings.

Source: wiki.com

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August 6

Charles Finney

Charles Grandison Finney a Holiness and Free Will Evangelist

Charles Grandison Finney (August 29, 1792 - August 16, 1875) was an American Presbyterian minister and leader in the Second Great Awakening in the United States. He has been called The Father of Modern Revivalism. Finney was best known as an innovative revivalist during the period 1825-1835 in upstate New York and Manhattan, an opponent of Old School Presbyterian theology, an advocate of Christian perfectionism, and a religious writer.

Together with several other evangelical leaders, his religious views led him to promote social reforms, such as abolition of slavery and equal education for women and African Americans. From 1835 he taught at Oberlin College of Ohio, which accepted both genders and all races. He served as its second president from 1851 to 1866, during which its faculty and students were activists for abolition, the Underground Railroad, and universal education.

Theology

As a young man Finney was a third-degree Master Mason, but after his conversion, he dropped the group as antithetical to Christianity. He was active in Anti-Masonic movements.

Finney was a primary influence on the "revival" style of theology which emerged in the 19th century. Though coming from a Calvinistic background, Finney rejected tenets of "Old Divinity" Calvinism, which he felt were unbiblical and counter to evangelism and Christian mission.

Finney's theology is difficult to classify. In his masterwork, Religious Revivals, he emphasizes the involvement of a person's will in salvation. He did not make clear whether he believed the will was free to repent or not repent, or whether he viewed God as inclining the will irresistibly. (The latter is part of Calvinist doctrine, in which the will of an elect individual is changed by God so that he or she desires to repent, thus repenting with his or her will and not against it, but the individual is not free in whether to choose repentance as the choice must be what the will is inclined toward.) Finney, like most Protestants, affirmed salvation by grace through faith alone, not by works or by obedience. Finney affirmed that works were the evidence of faith. Acts of unrepentant sin were signs that a person had not received salvation.

In his Systematic Theology, Finney remarks, "I have felt greater hesitancy in forming and expressing my views upon this Perseverance of the saints, than upon almost any other question in theology." At the same time, he considered the presence of unrepented sin in the life of a professing Christian as evidence that the person must immediately repent or be lost. Finney draws support for this position from Peter's treatment of the baptized Simon (see Acts 8) and Paul's instruction of discipline to the Corinthian church (see 1 Corinthians 5). Finney's writings emphasized this strong emphasis on personal holiness.

Finney's understanding of the atonement was that it satisfied "public justice" and that it opened the way for God to pardon people of their sins. This was part of the theology of the so-called New Divinity, which was popular at that time period. In this view, Christ's death satisfied public justice rather than retributive justice. As Finney wrote, it was not a "commercial transaction." This view of the atonement is typically known as the governmental view or government view.

Albert Baldwin Dod, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, reviewed Finney's 1835 book Lectures on Revivals of Religion. He rejected it as theologically unsound. Dod was a defender of Old School Calvinist orthodoxy (see Princeton theologians) and was especially critical of Finney's [Arminist] view of the [Calvinist] doctrine of total depravity.

Source: wiki.com

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August 7

Second Great Awakening

The Second Great Awakening enrolled millions of new members in existing Evangelical denominations and led to the formation of new denominations

The Second Great Awakening was a Protestant revival movement during the early 19th century in the United States. The movement began around 1790, gained momentum by 1800, and after 1820 membership rose rapidly among Baptist and Methodist congregations whose preachers led the movement. It was past its peak by the 1840s. It has been described as a reaction against skepticism, deism, and rationalism, although why those forces became pressing enough at the time to spark revivals is not fully understood.

It enrolled millions of new members in existing evangelical denominations and led to the formation of new denominations. Many converts believed that the Awakening heralded a new millennial age. The Second Great Awakening stimulated the establishment of many reform movements designed to remedy the evils of society before the anticipated Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

People at the time talked about the Awakening; historians named the Second Great Awakening in the context of the First Great Awakening of the 1730s and '40s and of the Third Great Awakening of the late 1850s to early 1900s.

Background

The second Great Awakening occurred in several episodes and over different denominations, however the revivals were very similar. As the most effective form of evangelizing during this period revival meetings cut across geographical boundaries, and the movement quickly spread throughout Kentucky, Tennessee and southern Ohio. Each denomination had assets that allowed it to thrive on the frontier. The Methodists had an efficient organization that depended on itinerant ministers, known as circuit riders, who sought out people in remote frontier locations. The circuit riders came from among the common people, which helped them establish rapport with the frontier families they hoped to convert.

The Methodist circuit riders and local Baptist preachers made enormous gains; to a lesser extent the Presbyterians gained members, particularly with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in sparsely settled areas. As a result, the numerical strength of the Baptists and Methodists rose relative to that of the denominations dominant in the colonial period-the Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists. Among the new denominations that grew from the religious ferment of the Second Great Awakening are the Churches of Christ, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormons), the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada. The converts during the Second Great Awakening were predominantly female. A 1932 source estimated at least three female converts to every two male converts between 1798 to 1826. Young people (those under 25) also converted in greater numbers, and were the first to convert.

Political implications

Revivals and perfectionist hopes of improving individuals and society continued to increase from 1840 to 1865 across all major denominations, especially in urban areas. Evangelists often directly addressed issues such as slavery, greed, and poverty, laying the groundwork for later reform movements. The influence of the Awakening continued in the form of more secular movements. In the midst of shifts in theology and church polity, American Christians began progressive movements to reform society during this period. Known commonly as antebellum reform, this phenomenon included reforms in temperance, women's rights, abolitionism, and a multitude of other questions faced by society.

The religious enthusiasm of the Second Great Awakening was echoed by the new political enthusiasm of the Second Party System. More active participation in politics by more segments of the population brought religious and moral issues into the political sphere. The spirit of evangelical humanitarian reforms was carried on in the antebellum Whig party.

Historians stress the understanding common among participants of reform as being a part of God's plan. As a result, local churches saw their roles in society in purifying the world through the individuals to whom they could bring salvation, and through changes in the law and the creation of institutions. Interest in transforming the world was applied to mainstream political action, as temperance activists, antislavery advocates, and proponents of other variations of reform sought to implement their beliefs into national politics. While Protestant religion had previously played an important role on the American political scene, the Second Great Awakening strengthened the role it would play.

Source: wiki.com

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August 8

Mennonite Confession of Faith

Note: provided as an informative, typical modern Protestant Evangelical Denomination Confessional

Statements of what Mennonites believe have been among us from earliest beginnings. A group of Anabaptists, forerunners of Mennonites, wrote the Schleitheim Articles in 1527. Since then, Mennonite groups have produced numerous statements of faith. This Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective takes its place in this rich confessional history. The historic creeds of the early Christian church, which were assumed as foundational for Mennonite confessions from the beginning, are basic to this confession as well. ... This confession guides the faith and life of the Mennonite Church and the General Conference Mennonite Church. Further, the Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective is commended to all Christian churches and to those of other faiths or no faith, that they may seriously consider the claims of the Gospel of Jesus Christ from this perspective. May these articles of faith encourage us to hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for the One who has promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23). Praise and thanksgiving be to our God!

This confession is the work of two Mennonite groups in North America, the Mennonite Church (MC) and the General Conference Mennonite Church (GC).

Confession of Faith - Article Summary Statement

1. We believe that God exists and is pleased with all who draw near by faith. We worship the one holy and loving God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit eternally. God has created all things visible and invisible, has brought salvation and new life to humanity through Jesus Christ, and continues to sustain the church and all things until the end of the age.

2. We believe in Jesus Christ, the Word of God become flesh. He is the Savior of the world, who has delivered us from the dominion of sin and reconciled us to God by his death on a cross. He was declared to be Son of God by his resurrection from the dead. He is the head of the church, the exalted Lord, the Lamb who was slain, coming again to reign with God in glory.

3. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the eternal Spirit of God, who dwelled in Jesus Christ, who empowers the church, who is the source of our life in Christ, and who is poured out on those who believe as the guarantee of redemption.

4. We believe that all Scripture is inspired by God through the Holy Spirit for instruction in salvation and training in righteousness. We accept the Scriptures as the Word of God and as the fully reliable and trustworthy standard for Christian faith and life. Led by the Holy Spirit in the church, we interpret Scripture in harmony with Jesus Christ.

5. We believe that God has created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them, and that God preserves and renews what has been made. All creation has its source outside itself and belongs to the Creator. The world has been created good because God is good and provides all that is needed for life.

6. We believe that God has created human beings in the divine image. God formed them from the dust of the earth and gave them a special dignity among all the works of creation. Human beings have been made for relationship with God, to live in peace with each other, and to take care of the rest of creation.

7. We confess that, beginning with Adam and Eve, humanity has disobeyed God, given way to the tempter, and chosen to sin. All have fallen short of the Creator's intent, marred the image of God in which they were created, disrupted order in the world, and limited their love for others. Because of sin, humanity has been given over to the enslaving powers of evil and death.

8. We believe that, through Jesus Christ, God offers salvation from sin and a new way of life. We receive God's salvation when we repent and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. In Christ, we are reconciled with God and brought into the reconciling community. We place our faith in God that, by the same power that raised Christ from the dead, we may be saved from sin to follow Christ and to know the fullness of salvation.

9. We believe that the church is the assembly of those who have accepted God's offer of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. It is the new community of disciples sent into the world to proclaim the reign of God and to provide a foretaste of the church's glorious hope. It is the new society established and sustained by the Holy Spirit.

10. We believe that the mission of the church is to proclaim and to be a sign of the kingdom of God. Christ has commissioned the church to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe all things he has commanded.

11. We believe that the baptism of believers with water is a sign of their cleansing from sin. Baptism is also a pledge before the church of their covenant with God to walk in the way of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Believers are baptized into Christ and his body by the Spirit, water, and blood.

12. We believe that the Lord's Supper is a sign by which the Church thankfully remembers the New Covenant [promises of God] which Jesus established by His death [and by His Resurrection of Eternal Life]. In this Communion [togetherness - fellowship] meal, the Church renews its Covenant with God and with each other and participates in the life and death of Jesus Christ, until He comes.

13. We believe that in washing the feet of his disciples, Jesus calls us to serve one another in love as he did. Thus we acknowledge our frequent need of cleansing, renew our willingness to let go of pride and worldly power, and offer our lives in humble service and sacrificial love.

14. We practice discipline in the church as a sign of God's offer of transforming grace. Discipline is intended to liberate erring brothers and sisters from sin, and to restore them to a right relationship with God and to fellowship in the church. The practice of discipline gives integrity to the church's witness in the world.

15. We believe that ministry is a continuation of the work of Christ, who gives gifts through the Holy Spirit to all believers and empowers them for service in the church and in the world. We also believe that God calls particular persons in the church to specific leadership ministries and offices. All who minister are accountable to God and to the community of faith.

16. We believe that the church of Jesus Christ is one body with many members, ordered in such a way that, through the one Spirit, believers may be built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

17. We believe that Jesus Christ calls us to discipleship, to take up our cross and follow him. Through the gift of God's saving grace, we are empowered to be disciples of Jesus, filled with his Spirit, following his teachings and his path through suffering to new life. As we are faithful to his way, we become conformed to Christ and separated from the evil in the world.

18. We believe that to be a disciple of Jesus is to know life in the Spirit. As the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ takes shape in us, we grow in the image of Christ and in our relationship with God. The Holy Spirit is active in individual and in communal worship, leading us deeper into the experience of God.

19. We believe that God intends human life to begin in families and to be blessed through families. Even more, God desires all people to become part of the church, God's family. As single and married members of the church family give and receive nurture and healing, families can grow toward the wholeness that God intends. We are called to chastity and to loving faithfulness in marriage.

20. We commit ourselves to tell the truth, to give a simple yes or no, and to avoid the swearing of oaths [i.e. signing of church covenants].

21. We believe that everything belongs to God, who calls the church to live in faithful stewardship of all that God has entrusted to us, and to participate now in the rest and justice which God has promised.

22. We believe that peace is the will of God. God created the world in peace, and God's peace is most fully revealed in Jesus Christ, who is our peace and the peace of the whole world. Led by the Holy Spirit, we follow Christ in the way of peace, doing justice, bringing reconciliation, and practicing nonresistance, even in the face of violence and warfare.

23. We believe that the church is God's holy nation, called to give full allegiance to Christ its head and to witness to every nation, government, and society about God's saving love.

24. We place our hope in the reign of God and its fulfillment in the day when Christ will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. He will gather his church, which is already living under the reign of God. We await God's final victory, the end of this present age of struggle, the resurrection [reconciliation] of the dead [and living], and a new heaven and a new earth. There the people of God will reign with Christ in justice, righteousness, and peace for ever and ever.

[25.] We support God's Covenant Jewish people and the Zionist Nation of Israel and the coming 1,000 year Millennial Reign on earth of the Messiah in Jerusalem our King and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ.

Copyright © 1995 by Herald Press Scottdale PA 15683. Published by arrangement with the General Boards of the General Conference Mennonite Church and the Mennonite Church. All rights reserved.

Source: mennonitechurch.ca

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August 9

George Müller

George Müller director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England, cared for 10,024 orphans in his life

George Müller (27 September 1805 - 10 March 1898), a Christian evangelist and Director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England, cared for 10,024 orphans in his life. He was well known for providing an education to the children under his care, to the point where he was accused of raising the poor above their natural station in life. He also established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children, many of them being orphans.

The theology that guided George Müller's work is not widely known, but was shaped by an experience in his mid twenties when he "came to prize the Bible alone as his standard of judgement".

He records in his Narratives that "That the word of God alone is our standard of judgment in spiritual things; that it can be explained only by the Holy Spirit; and that in our day, as well as in former times, he is the teacher of his people. The office of the Holy Spirit I had not experimentally understood before that time. Indeed, of the office of each of the blessed persons, in what is commonly called the Trinity, I had no experimental apprehension. I had not before seen from the Scriptures that the Father chose us before the foundation of the world; that in him that wonderful plan of our redemption originated, and that he also appointed all the means by which it was to be brought about. Further, that the Son, to save us, had fulfilled the law, to satisfy its demands, and with it also the holiness of God; that he had borne the punishment due to our sins, and had thus satisfied the justice of God. And, further, that the Holy Spirit alone can teach us about our state by nature, show us the need of a Saviour, enable us to believe in Christ, explain to us the Scriptures, help us in preaching, etc. It was my beginning to understand this latter point in particular which had a great effect on me; for the Lord enabled me to put it to the test of experience, by laying aside commentaries, and almost every other book, and simply reading the word of God and studying it. The result of this was, that the first evening that I shut myself into my room, to give myself to prayer and meditation over the Scriptures, I learned more in a few hours than I had done during a period of several months previously. But the particular difference was, that I received real strength for my soul in doing so. I now began to try by the test of the Scriptures the things which I had learned and seen, and found that only those principles which stood the test were really of value."

Müller also wrote of how he came to believe in the doctrines of election, particular redemption, and final persevering grace while staying in Teignmouth, Devon in 1829. George Müller was a founding member of the Plymouth Brethren movement. Doctrinal differences arose in the 1840s and Müller was determined to determine the truth by the "infallible standard of the Holy Spirit". At the time, he and Craik were pastors of the Bethesda and Gideon fellowships in Bristol. Membership at Gideon was open to all believers, while only believers who had been baptised could claim full membership of Bethesda, although all believers were welcome at Communion. Müller consulted Robert C Chapman on the issue of accepting unbaptised believers, and Chapman stated that distinction should be made between unbaptised believers who "walked disorderly" and those who lived according to the Bible. Müller and Craik independently contemplated the issue and decided that unbaptised believers, who otherwise lived according to Scriptural principles, should not be denied membership.

Dissension arose at Gideon regarding the presence of unbelievers at Communion and the view held by some that pews were private property, and eventually Müller and Craik withdrew from this fellowship on 19 April 1840, concentrating thereafter on the Bethesda Chapel.

John Nelson Darby and Benjamin Wills Newton became opposed concerning certain matters or doctrine and a discussion was held in Plymouth on 5 December 1845. A document entitled The Principles of Open Brethren stated: "Certain tracts issued by Mr Newton were judged to contain error regarding the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the question arose whether it was sufficient to exclude from fellowship those who held the erroneous teaching, or whether all who belonged to a gathering where the error was tolerated were to be put outside the pale, even if they themselves had not embraced it. One party, led by Mr Darby, took the latter view. Others, in particular the Bethesda Church, in which Messrs Müller and Craik ministered, refused to admit any who were convicted of holding the evil doctrine themselves, but did not exclude those who came from Mr Newton's meeting. The exclusive party thereupon declined to have any further fellowship with members of the Bethesda Church or others like-minded. The latter soon came to receive the title of 'Open Brethren'." The more exclusive side of the brethren movement became known as the Exclusive Brethren and was led by Darby. Darby called on Müller in July 1849 to discuss the split, but Müller had many prior engagements and could only receive Darby for 10 minutes. It was impossible to fully discuss the problem in such a short time, and the two men never met again.

Though the pre-tribulational rapture doctrine gained momentum as a result of the literature of the Brethren movement, Müller's church was wary of such teachings. George Müller held to a Post Tribulation Rapture doctrine along with others such as Benjamin Wills Newton and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, and said that "scripture declares plainly that the Lord Jesus will not come until the Apostasy shall have taken place, and the man of sin shall have been revealed..."

Müller wrote frequently about the stewardship of money and the non-reliance on earthly riches, and how God would bless the man who kept to these principles, and felt that laying his own experiences bare would prove the truth of his claims. His personal income, from unsolicited gifts (he refused any kind of salary) rose from £151 in 1831 to more than £2,000 in 1870. However, he retained only around £300 a year for himself and his family, the rest he gave away.

William Henry Harding said, 'The world, dull of understanding, has even yet not really grasped the mighty principle upon which he (Müller) acted, but is inclined to think of him merely as a nice old gentleman who loved children, a sort of glorified guardian of the poor, who with the passing of the years may safely be spoken of, in the language of newspaper headlines, as a "prophet of philanthropy." To describe him thus, however, is to degrade his memory, is to miss the high spiritual aim and the wonderful spiritual lesson of his life. It is because the carnal mind is incapable of apprehending spiritual truth that the world regards the orphan Houses only with the languid interest of mere humanitarianism, and remains oblivious of their extraordinary witness to the faithfulness of God.

Note: much of George Müller's orphanage ministry, and the necessity for it was in response to various outbreaks of cholera, typhus and other widespread epidemics of the time. George Müller consistently put himself, his staff and occasionally others at risk in unhealthy circumstances this is in part what garnered some opposition to his ministry and methods. George Müller is somewhat controversial in his doctrines, policies and practices but the amount of mercy and the vital ministry that he helped provide during a perilous time in human history cannot be understated or overvalued.

Source: wiki.com

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August 10

Hudson Taylor

Hudson Taylor a Missionary to China

James Hudson Taylor (21 May 1832 - 3 June 1905), was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China, and founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM) now OMF International. Taylor spent 51 years in China. The society that he began was responsible for bringing over 800 missionaries to the country who began 125 schools and directly resulted in 18,000 Christian conversions, as well as the establishment of more than 300 stations of work with more than 500 local helpers in all eighteen provinces.

Taylor was known for his sensitivity to Chinese culture and zeal for evangelism. He adopted wearing native Chinese clothing even though this was rare among missionaries of that time. Under his leadership, the CIM was singularly non-denominational in practice and accepted members from all Protestant groups, including individuals from the working class and single women as well as multinational recruits. Primarily because of the CIM's campaign against the Opium trade, Taylor has been referred to as one of the most significant Europeans to visit China in the 19th Century. Historian Ruth Tucker summarizes the theme of his life: "No other missionary in the nineteen centuries since the Apostle Paul has had a wider vision and has carried out a more systematized plan of evangelizing a broad geographical area than Hudson Taylor."

Taylor was able to preach in several varieties of Chinese, including Mandarin, Chaozhou, and the Wu dialects of Shanghai and Ningbo. The last of these he knew well enough to help prepare a colloquial edition of the New Testament written in it.

First visit to China

Taylor left England on 19 September 1853 before completing his medical studies, arriving in Shanghai, China, on 1 March 1854. The nearly disastrous voyage aboard the clipper Dumfries through an Easterly passage near Buru Island lasted about five months. In China, he was immediately faced with civil war, throwing his first year there into turmoil.

Taylor made 18 preaching tours in the vicinity of Shanghai starting in 1855, and was often poorly received by the people, even though he brought with him medical supplies and skills. He made a decision to adopt the native Chinese clothes and queue (pigtail) with shaven forehead, however, and was then able to gain an audience without creating a disturbance. Previous to this, Taylor realised that wherever he went he was being referred to as a "black devil" because of the overcoat he wore. He distributed thousands of Chinese Gospel tracts and portions of Scripture in and around Shanghai. During his stay in Shanghai, he also adopted and cared for a Chinese boy named Hanban.

Scottish evangelist, William Chalmers Burns, of the English Presbyterian Mission began work in Shantou, and for a period Taylor joined him there. After leaving he later found that all of his medical supplies, being stored in Shanghai, had been destroyed by a fire. Then in October 1856, while travelling across China he was robbed of nearly everything he owned.

Relocated in Ningbo by 1857, Taylor received a letter from a supportive George Müller which led to Taylor and his co-worker John Jones deciding to resign from the problematic mission board which had sent them, and instead work independently in what came to be called the "Ningpo Mission". Four Chinese men joined them in their work: Ni Yongfa, Feng Ninggui, Wang Laijun, and Qiu Guogui.

In 1858, Taylor married Maria Jane Dyer, the orphaned daughter of the Rev. Samuel Dyer of the London Missionary Society, who had been a pioneer missionary to the Chinese in Penang, Malaysia. Hudson met Maria in Ningbo where she lived and worked at a school for girls which was run by one of the first female missionaries to the Chinese, Mary Ann Aldersey.

As a married couple the Taylors took care of an adopted boy named Tianxi while living in Ningbo. They had a baby of their own that died late in 1858. Their first surviving child, Grace, was born in 1859. Shortly after she was born, the Taylors took over all of the operations at the hospital in Ningbo that had been run by William Parker. In a letter to his sister Amelia Hudson Taylor he wrote on 14 February 1860," "If I had a thousand pounds China should have it-if I had a thousand lives, China should have them. No! Not China, but Christ. Can we do too much for Him? Can we do enough for such a precious Saviour?"

Later Years

Because of health problems, in 1860 Taylor decided to return to England for a furlough with his family. The Taylors sailed back to England aboard the tea clipper Jubilee along with their daughter, Grace and a young man, Wang Laijun, from the Bridge Street church in Ningbo, who would help with the Bible translation work that would continue in England.

Due to health issues, Taylor remained in Switzerland, semi-retired with his wife. In 1900, Dixon Edward Hoste was appointed the Acting General Director of the CIM, and in 1902, Taylor formally resigned. His wife, Jennie, died of cancer in 1904 in Les Chevalleyres, Switzerland, and in 1905, Taylor returned to China for the eleventh and final time. There he visited Yangzhou and Zhenjiang and other cities, before dying suddenly while reading at home in Changsha. He was buried next to his first wife, Maria in Zhenjiang in the small English Cemetery near the Yangtze River.

Taylor was raised in the Methodist tradition but in the course of his life he was a member of the Baptist Westbourne Grove Church pastored by William Garrett Lewis, and he also kept strong ties to the "Open Brethren" such as George Müller. His theology and his practice were non-sectarian.

Source: wiki.com

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August 11

American Bible Society

The American Bible Society

American Bible Society (ABS) is an interconfessional, non-denominational, nonprofit organization, founded on May 11 in 1816 in New York City, which publishes, distributes and translates the Bible and provides study aids and other tools to help people engage with the Bible.

Structure

The government of the Society is entrusted to a board of managers, consisting of 36 laymen, one-fourth of whom retire from office each year, but are eligible for reelection. Laymen who were constituted directors for life before 1 June 1877, and ministers who are life members are authorized to attend the meetings of the board, with power to speak and vote.

19th Century

American Bible Society was founded in 1816 by people who were committed to the word of God and to the end of slavery. The first President was Elias Boudinot, who was also President of the Continental Congress from 1782 to 1783 and later Director of the U.S. Mint.

John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was named President in 1821 and a number of illustrious individuals like Frederick Theodore Frelinghuysen, Johns Hopkins University President Daniel Coit Gilman and Edwin Francis Hyde, a former president of the Philharmonic Society of New York, headed up the organization over the years. Francis Scott Key, the writer of the United States' National Anthem, was a Vice President of the organization from 1817 until his death in 1843.

American Bible Society provided the first Bibles in hotels and the first pocket Bibles for soldiers (during the American Civil War). The first translation by the Bible Society was in 1818 into Lenape of Delaware, a Native American language.

In 1852 the Bible House was built, occupying the whole of the ground bounded by Third and Fourth Avenues, Astor Place and Ninth Street in New York City. By 1920, it was one of the oldest office buildings in the city.

One goal of the Bible Society is to reach the destitute of all classes and conditions. During the 19th century, four canvasses of the United States for this purpose were undertaken. These canvasses were begun in 1829, 1856, 1866 and in 1882. During the fourth canvass, begun in 1882, more than 6,300,000 families were visited, and 473,806 families were supplied with Bibles; in addition nearly 300,000 individuals received Bibles.

American Bible Society sold 437,000 Scriptures and portions in 1898 in China.

20th Century

By 1912, the Society issued Bibles for use in the United States in 83 languages besides English. Foreign circulation was rising steadily, increasing from 250,000 copies in 1876 to over 2,000,000 copies in 1915.

American Bible Society celebrated a century of service to China in 1934. Vice President John R. Mott recalled that in 1833 the Society sent $3,000 to Dr. Elijah Coleman Bridgman, first U. S. Protestant missionary to China, to print scriptures in Chinese. As of 1934 the Society had spent $2,897,383 distributing nearly 70,000,000 volumes of Scripture in China.

A major supporter of the society was the philanthropist, oilman, and rancher Joseph Sterling Bridwell of Wichita Falls, Texas.

In 1999, ABS launched its first major internet ministry, a free church webbuilder. Since then, it has released many different ministry sites which allows users to share stories of how the Bible has changed their life.

Decline

American Bible Society is probably best known for its [paraphrased] Good News Translation of the Bible, with its contemporary vernacular and unique line drawings of Bible events with a snippet of text interspersed throughout the book. The line drawings were done by Annie Vallotton, a Swiss religious artist. They also publish the Contemporary English Version.

The stated mission of American Bible Society is to make the Bible available to every person in a language and format each can understand and afford, so all people may experience its life-changing message.

ABS is headquartered in New York City. Its headquarters building at 1865 Broadway houses an extensive museum of religious art and a 45,000 volume collection of Scriptures, making it the largest Bible museum in the western hemisphere and second largest in the world behind the Vatican.

Source: wiki.com

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August 12

Third Great Awakening

Third Great Awakening 1850's to 1900's

The Third Great Awakening was a period of religious activism in American history from the late 1850s to the early 20th century. It affected pietistic Protestant denominations and had a strong element of social activism.

Overview

The Protestant mainline churches were growing rapidly in numbers, wealth and educational levels, throwing off their frontier beginnings and becoming centered in towns and cities. Intellectuals and writers such as Josiah Strong advocated a muscular Christianity with systematic outreach to the unchurched in America and around the globe. Others built colleges and universities to train the next generation. Each denomination supported active missionary societies, and made the role of missionary one of high prestige.

The great majority of pietistic mainline Protestants (in the North) supported the Republican Party, and urged it to endorse prohibition and social reforms.

The awakening in numerous cities in 1858 was interrupted by the American Civil War. In the South, on the other hand, the Civil War stimulated revivals, especially the Confederate States Army revival in General Robert E. Lee's army.

After the war, Dwight L. Moody made revivalism the centerpiece of his activities in Chicago by founding the Moody Bible Institute. The hymns of Ira Sankey were especially influential.

Across the nation drys crusaded in the name of religion for the prohibition of alcohol. The Woman's Christian Temperance Union mobilized Protestant women for social crusades against liquor, pornography and prostitution, and sparked the demand for woman suffrage.

The Gilded Age plutocracy came under sharp attack from the Social Gospel preachers and with reformers in the Progressive Era. Historian Robert Fogel identifies numerous reforms, especially the battles involving child labor, compulsory elementary education and the protection of women from exploitation in factories.

All the major denominations sponsored growing missionary activities inside the United States and around the world.

Colleges associated with churches rapidly expanded in number, size and quality of curriculum. The promotion of "muscular Christianity" became popular among young men on campus and in urban YMCA's, as well as such denominational youth groups such as the Epworth League for Methodists and the Walther League for Lutherans.

The Holiness and Pentecostal Movements

The goal of the Holiness movement in the Methodist Church was to move beyond the one-time conversion experience that the revivals produce, and reach entire sanctification. The Pentecostals went one step further, seeking what they called a "baptism in the spirit" or "baptism of the Holy Ghost" that enabled those with this special gift to heal the sick, perform miracles, prophesy, and speak in tongues.

Source: wiki.com

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August 13

Postmodern - Emergent church

The Emergent Deconstructional Metaphorical church

The emerging church was a Christian movement of the late 20th and early 21st centuries that crossed a number of theological boundaries: participants were described as Protestant, post-Protestant, evangelical, post-evangelical, liberal, post-liberal, conservative, post-conservative, anabaptist, adventist, reformed, charismatic, neocharismatic, and post-charismatic. Emerging churches can be found throughout the globe, predominantly in North America, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. Some attend local independent churches or house churches while others worship in traditional Christian denominations. Proponents believe the movement transcends such "modernist" labels of "conservative" and "liberal," calling the movement a "conversation" to emphasize its developing and decentralized nature, its vast range of standpoints, and its commitment to dialogue. Participants seek to live their faith in what they believe to be a "postmodern" society. What those involved in the conversation mostly agree on is their disillusionment with the organized and institutional church and their support for the deconstruction of modern Christian worship, modern evangelism, and the nature of modern Christian community.

Emerging churches are fluid, hard to define, and varied; they contrast themselves with what has gone before by using the term "inherited church." Key themes of the emerging church are couched in the language of reform, Praxis-oriented lifestyles, Post-evangelical thought, and incorporation or acknowledgment of political and Postmodern elements. Terminological confusion has occurred because of the use of words with similar etymology. When used as descriptors "emerging" and "emergent" can be interchangeable. However, when used as names, they are different. In this case "Emerging" refers to the whole informal, church-based, global movement, whilst "Emergent" to a formal, organisational subset [of] the "Emergent stream."

According to Mobsby the term "emerging church" was first used in 1970, when Larson and Osborne predicted a movement characterised by: contextual and experimental mission; new forms of church; the removal of barriers and division; a blend of evangelism and social action; attention to both experience and tradition; the breakdown of clergy/laity distinctions. The term emergent church was also used in 1981 by Catholic political theologian, Johann Baptist Metz for use in a different context. Marcus Borg says "The emerging paradigm has been visible for well over a hundred years. In the last twenty to thirty years, it has become a major grassroots movement among both laity and clergy in "mainline" or "old mainline" Protestant denominations." He describes it as: "a way of seeing the Bible and the Christian tradition as a whole as historical, metaphorical, and sacramental, and a way of seeing the Christian life as relational and transformational.

There has been a strong bias in the US to ignore a history to the emerging church that preceded the US Emergent organization. This began with Mike Riddell and Mark Pierson in New Zealand from 1989, and with a number of practitioners in the UK including Jonny Baker, Ian Mobsby, Kevin, Ana and Brian Draper, and Sue Wallace amongst others, from around 1992. The influence of the Nine O'Clock Service has been ignored also, owing to its notoriety, yet much that was practised there was influential on early proponents of alternative worship.

What is common to the identity of many of these emerging church projects that began in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, is that they developed with very little central planning on behalf of the established denominations. They occurred as the initiative of particular groups wanting to start new contextual church experiments, and are therefore very 'bottom up'. Murray says that these churches began in a spontaneous way, with informal relationships formed between otherwise independent groups and that many became churches as a development from their initial more modest beginnings.

The emerging church is a response to the perceived influence of modernism in Western Christianity. As some sociologists commented on a cultural shift that they believed to correspond to postmodern ways of perceiving reality in the late 20th century, some Christians began to advocate changes within the church in response. These Christians saw the contemporary church as being culturally bound to modernism. They changed their practices to relate to the new cultural situation. Emerging Christians began to challenge the modern church on issues such as: institutional structures, systematic theology, propositional teaching methods, a perceived preoccupation with buildings, an attractional understanding of mission, professional clergy, and a perceived preoccupation with the political process and unhelpful jargon "Christian-ese".

As a result, some in the emerging church believe it is necessary to deconstruct modern Christian dogma. One way this happens is by engaging in dialogue, rather than proclaiming a predigested message, believing that this leads people to Jesus through the Holy Spirit on their own terms. Many in the movement embrace the missiology that drives the movement in an effort to be like Christ and make disciples by being a good example. The emerging church movement contains a great diversity in beliefs and practices, although some have adopted a preoccupation with sacred rituals, good works, and political and social activism. Much of the Emerging Church movement has also adopted the approach to evangelism which stressed peer-to-peer dialogue rather than dogmatic proclamation and proselytizing.

A plurality of Scriptural interpretations is acknowledged in the emerging church movement. Participants in the movement exhibit a particular concern for the effect of the modern reader's cultural context on the act of interpretation echoing the ideas of postmodern thinkers such as Jacques Derrida and Stanley Fish. Therefore a narrative approach to Scripture, and history are emphasized in some emerging churches over exegetical and dogmatic approaches (such as that found in systematic theology and systematic exegesis), which are often viewed as reductionist. Others embrace a multiplicity of approaches.

Under this movement, traditional Christians' emphasis on either individual salvation, end-times theology or the prosperity gospel have been challenged. Many people in the movement express concern for what they consider to be the practical manifestation of God's kingdom on earth, by which they mean social justice. This concern manifests itself in a variety of ways depending on the local community and in ways they believe transcend "modernist" labels of "conservative" and "liberal." This concern for justice is expressed in such things as feeding the poor, visiting the sick and prisoners, stopping contemporary slavery, critiquing systemic and coercive power structures with "postcolonial hermeneutics," and working for environmental causes.

Source: wiki.com

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August 14

Aimee Semple McPherson

Sister Aimee a Canadian-American Los Angeles based evangelist and media celebrity in the 1920s and 1930s

Aimee Semple McPherson (October 9, 1890 - September 27, 1944), also known as Sister Aimee, was a Canadian-American Los Angeles-based evangelist and media celebrity in the 1920s and 1930s. She founded the Foursquare Church. McPherson has been noted as a pioneer in the use of modern media, especially radio, and was the second woman to be granted a broadcast license. She used radio to draw on the growing appeal of popular entertainment in North America and incorporated other forms into her weekly sermons at Angelus Temple.

In her time she was the most publicized Christian evangelist, surpassing Billy Sunday and her other predecessors. She conducted public faith-healing demonstrations before large crowds, allegedly healing tens of thousands of people. McPherson's articulation of the United States as a nation founded and sustained by divine inspiration continues to be echoed by many pastors in churches today. Her media image, which sensationalized difficulties with her mother and daughter, as well as a mysterious five-week disappearance, shrouded her extensive charity work and significant contributions to the revitalization of American Christianity in the 20th century.

McPherson [scammed people by] preach[ing] a [fake] conservative gospel but used progressive methods, taking advantage of radio, movies, and stage acts. Advocacy for women's rights was on the rise, including women's suffrage through the 19th Amendment. She attracted some women associated with modernism, but others were put off by the contrast between her different theories. By accepting and using such new media outlets, McPherson helped integrate them into people's daily lives.

Career

In 1913 Aimee Semple McPherson embarked upon a preaching career. Touring Canada and the United States, she began evangelizing and holding tent revivals in June 1915. At first she struggled to gain an audience. Standing on a chair in some public place, she would gaze into the sky as if intently observing something there, perhaps reaching upwards as if to gesture for help or supplication. An audience, curious as to what the woman was doing or looking at, would gather around her. Then after 20 minutes to an hour, she would jump off the chair, declare something to the effect "I have a secret to share with you, follow me...," go to a nearby meeting room she had earlier rented out. Once inside, the doors were shut behind them and McPherson would begin her sermon.

The female Pentecostal preacher was greeted with some trepidation by pastors of local churches she solicited for building space to hold her revival meetings. Pentecostals were at the edge of Christian religious society, sometimes seen as strange with their loud, raucous unorganized meetings and were often located in the poorer sections of town. McPherson, however, perhaps because of her Methodist upbringing, kept an order to her meetings that came to be much appreciated. She wanted to create the enthusiasm a Pentecostal meeting could provide, with its "Amen Corner" and "Halleluiah Chorus" but also to avoid its unbridled chaos as participants started shouting, trembling on the floor and speaking in tongues; all at once. Because of the negative connotation of the word "pentecostal' and though McPherson practiced speaking in tongues, she rarely emphasized it. McPherson organized her meetings with the general public in mind and yet did not wish to quench any who suddenly came into "the Spirit." To this end she set up a "tarry tent or room" away from the general area for any who suddenly started speaking in tongues or display any other Holy Ghost behavior the larger audience might be put off by. McPherson wrote: "A woman preacher was a novelty. At the time I began my ministry, women were well in the background.... Orthodox ministers, many of whom disapproved even of men evangelists such as Moody, Spurgeon, Tunda and the rest chiefly because they used novel evangelistic methods, disapproved all the more of a woman minister. especially was this true when my meetings departed from the funeral, sepulchrelike ritual of appointed Sundays...."

After her first successful visits, she had little difficulty with acceptance or attendance. Eager converts filled the pews of local churches which turned many recalcitrant ministers into her enthusiastic supporters. Frequently, she would start a revival meeting in a hall or church and then have to move to a larger building to accommodate the growing crowds. When there were no suitable buildings, she set up a tent, which was often filled past capacity.

McPherson was a strong woman, hefting a maul to hammer in tent stakes and involved herself in all the physical labor a revival setup required. She could fix her car, move boulders and drag fallen timber out of the roadway as she traveled to her destinations. McPherson was also known as a successful faith healer as there were extensive claims of physical healing occurring during her meetings. Such claims became less important as her fame increased.

In 1916, McPherson embarked on a tour of the Southern United States in her "Gospel Car", first with her husband Harold and later, in 1918, with her mother, Mildred Kennedy. She was an important addition to McPherson's ministry and managed everything, including the money, which gave them an unprecedented degree of financial security. Their vehicle was a 1912 Packard touring car emblazoned with religious slogans. Standing on the back seat of the convertible, McPherson preached sermons over a megaphone. On the road between sermons, she would sit in the back seat typing sermons and other religious materials. She first traveled up and down the eastern United States, then went to other parts of the country.

By 1917 she had started her own magazine, The Bridal Call, for which she wrote many articles about women's roles in religion; she portrayed the link between Christians and Jesus as a marriage bond. By taking seriously the religious role of women, the magazine contributed to the rising women's movement.

Azusa Street Revivals starting in 1906 were noted for their racial diversity as blacks, Hispanics, whites and other minorities openly worshiped together, led by William J. Seymour, an African American preacher. As the participants of the Azusa Street Revivals, dispersed, local Pentecostals were looking for leadership for a new revival and in late 1918, McPherson came to Los Angeles. Minnie Kennedy, her mother, rented the largest hall they could find, the 3,500 seat Philharmonic Auditorium (known then as Temple Auditorium). People waited for hours to get in and McPherson could hardly reach the pulpit without stepping on someone. Afterwards, grateful attendees of her Los Angeles meetings built her a home for her family which included everything from the cellar to a canary bird.

While Aimee Semple McPherson had traveled extensively in her evangelical work prior to arriving in Baltimore, she was first "discovered" by the newspapers while sitting with her mother in the red plush parlor of the Belvedere Hotel on December 5, 1919, a day after conducting evangelistic services at the Lyric Opera House. In December 1919, she went to Baltimore's Lyric Opera House to conduct seventeen days of meetings. The Baltimore Sun ran a thousand-word interview with her in the December 6, 1919, issue. Her mother Mildred Kennedy had booked the 2,500 seating capacity Lyric Opera House at US $3,100, a huge sum compared to earlier engagements. Considering her daughter's success elsewhere, Kennedy thought the risk well worth taking

Death

On September 26, 1944, McPherson went to Oakland, California, for a series of revivals, planning to preach her popular "Story of My Life" sermon. When McPherson's son went to her hotel room at 10:00 the next morning, he found her unconscious with pills and a half-empty bottle of capsules nearby. She was dead by 11:15. It was later discovered she previously called her doctor that morning to complain about feeling ill from the medicine, but he was in surgery and could not be disturbed. She then phoned another doctor who referred her to yet another physician; however, McPherson apparently lost consciousness before the third could be contacted.

The autopsy did not conclusively determine the cause of McPherson's death. She had been taking sleeping pills following numerous health problems - including "tropical fever". Among the pills found in the hotel room was the barbiturate Seconal, a strong sedative which had not been prescribed for her. It was unknown how she obtained them.

The coroner said she most likely died of an accidental overdose compounded by kidney failure. The cause of death is officially listed as unknown. Given the circumstances, there was speculation about suicide, but most sources generally agree the overdose was accidental, as stated in the coroner's report.

Source: wiki.com

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August 15

Kathryn Kuhlman

Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman an Aimee Semple McPherson devotee, faith healer and evangelist

Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman (May 9, 1907 - February 20, 1976) was born in Concordia, Missouri, to German-American parents. She was "born-again" at the age of 14 in the Methodist Church of Concordia, and began preaching in the West at the age of sixteen in primarily Baptist Churches.

In 1935, Kathryn met Burroughs Waltrip, a Texas evangelist who was eight years her senior. Shortly after his visit to Denver, Waltrip divorced his wife, left his family and moved to Mason City, Iowa, where he began a revival center called Radio Chapel. Kathryn and her friend and pianist Helen Gulliford came into town to help him raise funds for his ministry. It was shortly after their arrival that the romance between Burroughs and Kathryn became publicly known.

Burroughs and Kathryn decided to wed. While discussing the matter with some friends, Kathryn had said that she could not "find the will of God in the matter." These and other friends encouraged her not to go through with the marriage, but Kathryn justified it to herself and others by believing that Waltrip's wife had left him, not the other way around. On October 18, 1938, Kathryn secretly married "Mister," as she liked to call Waltrip, in Mason City. The wedding did not give her new peace about their union, however. After they checked into their hotel that night, Kathryn left and drove over to the hotel where Helen was staying with another friend. She sat with them weeping and admitted that the marriage was a mistake. No one seems to know exactly when the separation took place. In a 1952 interview with the Denver Post she (Kathryn) said, "He charged-correctly-that I refused to live with him. And I haven't seen him in eight years." That would put the separation in 1944-which is probably accurate. This means they lived together for the better part of six years." She was divorced by Burroughs Waltrip in 1948.

Kuhlman traveled extensively around the United States and in many other countries holding "healing crusades" between the 1940s and 1970s. She had a weekly TV program in the 1960s and 1970s called I Believe In Miracles that was aired nationally. The foundation was established in 1954, and its Canadian branch in 1970.

Following a 1967 fellowship in Philadelphia, Dr. William A. Nolen conducted a case study of 23 people who claimed to have been cured during her services. Nolen's long term follow-ups concluded that there were no cures in those cases. One woman who was said to have been cured of spinal cancer threw away her brace and ran across the stage at Kuhlman's command; her spine collapsed the next day, according to Nolen, and she died four months later.

By 1970 she moved to Los Angeles conducting faith healing for thousands of people each day as an heir to Aimee Semple McPherson. She became well-known despite, as she told reporters, having no theological training.

In 1975, Kuhlman was sued by Paul Bartholomew, her personal administrator, who claimed that she kept $1 million in jewelry and $1 million in fine art hidden away and sued her for $430,500 for breach of contract. Two former associates accused her in the lawsuit of diverting funds and of illegally removing records, which she denied and said the records were not private. According to Kuhlman, the lawsuit was settled prior to trial.

Death and legacy

In July 1975 her doctor diagnosed her with a minor heart flareup and she had a relapse in November while in Los Angeles. As a result, she had open heart surgery in Tulsa, Oklahoma from which she died in February 1976. Kathryn Kuhlman is interred [near Aimee Semple McPherson] in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. A plaque in her honor is located in the main city park in Concordia, Missouri, a town located in central Missouri on Interstate Highway 70.

After she died, her will led to controversy. She left $267,500, the bulk of her estate, to three family members and twenty employees. Smaller bequests were given to 19 other employees. According to the Independent Press-Telegram, her employees were disappointed that "she did not leave most of her estate to the foundation as she had done under a previous 1974 will." The Kathryn Kuhlman Foundation has continued, but in 1982 it terminated its nationwide radio broadcasting.

She influenced faith healers Benny Hinn and Billy Burke. Hinn has adopted some of her techniques and wrote a book about her.

In 1981 David Byrne and Brian Eno sampled one of Kuhlman's sermons in their album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. The track was entitled "The Spirit Womb," a mis-hearing of Kuhlman's actual utterance "the spirit world." When Kuhlman's estate refused to license the use of her voice, the track was re-recorded as "The Jezebel Spirit" with an unidentified exorcist's vocal replacing Kuhlman's. The original Kuhlman-vocal has been released on a bootleg but not officially.

Source: wiki.com

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August 16

Chuck Smith Sr.

Church Smith Sr. the problematic and controversial Pastor who led the embellished Calvary Chapel Movement

Charles Ward "Chuck" Smith (June 25, 1927 - October 3, 2013) was an American pastor who founded the Calvary Chapel movement. Beginning with the 25-person Costa Mesa congregation in 1965, Smith's influence now extends to thousands of congregations worldwide, some of which are among the largest churches in the United States. He has been called "one of the most influential figures in modern American Christianity."

Smith was born in Ventura, California in 1927 to Charles and Maude Smith.

Smith graduated from LIFE Bible College and was ordained as a pastor for the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. In the late 1950s, Smith was the campaign manager and worship director for healing evangelist Paul Cain. After being a pastor for a different denomination, he left his denomination to pastor a non-denominational church plant in Corona, California, and eventually moved to a small pre-existing church called Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California in December 1965.

Life Pacific College was founded in Echo Park, Los Angeles, California, in 1923 as Echo Park Evangelistic and Missionary Training Institute by Aimee Semple McPherson. Its name was changed to LIFE Bible College, LIFE standing for "Lighthouse of International Foursquare Evangelism".

In his 1978 book End Times, Smith predicted the generation of 1948 would be the last generation, and that the world would end by 1981 at the latest. Smith supported his convictions again in his 1980 manuscript "Future Survival," postulating that from his "understanding of biblical prophecies... "I am convinced that the Lord will come for His Church before the end of 1981." He identified that he "could be wrong" but continued in the same sentence that "it's a deep conviction in my heart, and all my plans are predicated upon that belief." Calvary Chapel held a New Year's Eve service in 1981 for their followers to wait for the end to occur in accordance with Smith's prediction. When the world failed to end, many disillusioned followers left the Calvary Chapel movement.

Chuck Smith announced during the New Years Day 2012 service that he had lung cancer. In June 2013, Smith's doctors found that his lung cancer had morphed from stage three to stage four. Smith died in his sleep from a heart attack around 3:00am on October 3, 2013.

Source: wiki.com

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August 17

Operation Rescue

Suspicious Group - Operation Rescue a Fundamentalist Christian Conservative Pro-Life Organization

The history of Operation Rescue involves a split between the original American anti-abortion group and a branch of the original group. The original Operation Rescue group is now known as Operation Save America, while the branch, once known as Operation Rescue West is now known as Operation Rescue.

Operation Save America (formerly Operation Rescue National) is a fundamentalist Christian conservative organization based in Dallas, Texas, that opposes human induced abortion and its legality, non-Christian religions, and homosexuality. In 1994, Flip Benham became the director of the organization, then called Operation Rescue National. Benham replaced Keith Tucci, who had replaced Randall Terry.

Operation Rescue was founded by Randall Terry in 1986. The slogan of Operation Rescue was "If you believe abortion is murder, act like it's murder." Randall Terry stepped down as director of Operation Rescue in early 1990, appointing Keith Tucci as his successor to lead the national organization, then called Operation Rescue National (ORN).

Operation Rescue's initial tactics involved peaceful sit-in demonstrations to block the doors at abortion clinics in Cherry Hill, NJ and select boroughs of Metropolitan NY, inspired by decades-earlier civil rights demonstrations led by Dr. Martin Luther King in the 1960s. Operation Rescue sprang to infamy during the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, where over 1200 rescuers were arrested in July and August, capturing national attention. Independent OR-style organizations cropped up around the country during these early years, the most successful being the California organization, Operation Rescue West (ORW), founded by OR's National Tactical Director, Jeff White. More than 40,000 people were arrested during OR's demonstrations over the first four years.

The N.O.W. and abortion clinics filed lawsuits against OR beginning in 1988. The suits alleged violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), adding Randall Terry and Operation Rescue into the National Organization for Women v. Scheidler cases which were rejected twice over a 20-year period by the Supreme Court of the United States in favor of Scheidler.

Activities

Operation Save America conducts mass protests at abortion clinics to promote pro-life cause. Operation Save America has mobilized its members for other causes common to the Christian right ...

In August 2006, after Wal-Mart publicly announced its corporate partnership with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), Operation Save America began a nationwide campaign to protest the alliance. Headlining the campaign was the slogan, "Corporate America is Being BLACKMAILED by the Radical Homosexual Agenda". Wal-Mart did not renew their membership with the NGLCC the following year.

On July 12, 2007, three members of the organization (Ante and Kathy Pavkovic, and their daughter Christan Sugar) were arrested after they tried to shout down a Hindu clergyman as he offered the traditional morning prayer on the US Senate floor. The protest was denounced by Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Operation Save America states that it is dedicated to non-violence and asks those that participate sign a disclosure of non-violence.

Source: wiki.com

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August 18

The Dove Foundation

Suspicious Group - The Dove Foundation is an organization that endorses unbiblical content (i.e. occult, LDS, sexual innuendo and spiritual necromancy) while presenting itself as a family-safe reliable watchdog group

The Dove Foundation is US organization based in Grand Rapids, Michigan that issues film reviews, ratings and endorsements of movies that it considers suitable for family audiences.

At one time, the organization was identified for its partnership with a for-profit entity that engaged in telemarketing activities that were alleged to be in violation of the Missouri Do-Not-Call Implementation Act.

Despite their similar logos, the Dove Foundation is not connected to Unilever, manufacturer of Dove soap.

Description

The organization was founded in 1991 as a not-for-profit organization. According to the organization's website, its stated mission is "to encourage and promote the creation, production, distribution and consumption of wholesome family entertainment". Although its programs are diversified, it is perhaps best known for reviewing movies for suitability for family viewing, and endorsing acceptable ones with the Dove "Family-Approved" Seal. The organization has also commissioned independent studies completed by the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University to analyze the comparative profitability and return on investment of MPAA-rated films in 1999 and 2005. Those studies have reinforced its efforts to advocate for the production of more values based films and have been relied upon by some in the industry seeking support for their projects. Additionally, Dove has sponsored its Family Film Festival in partnership with local theaters featuring films with its Family-Approved Seal and pioneered a pilot project, "The Dove Movie Channel," to bring free movies to hospitalized children.

Dove's web site states that review standards and criteria are based on Judeo-Christian values gauging the amount of sex, coarse language, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, nudity and behavior deemed unchristian by the site. The website states that Dove's fund-raising strategy of not soliciting contributions from the film industry for its operations eliminates commercial pressure as a factor in its reviews. However, The Dove Foundation has partnered with commercial enterprises. In one instance, its former association with Feature Films for Families, an on-line retailer of home entertainment, led to questions regarding the nature of the partnership.

Telemarketing

The organization previously conducted a telephone opinion poll regarding movie content. As of July 31, 2007, the telephone survey had been concluded. The poll's results and motivation were questioned: The methodology was cited by one source as having a sampling bias in which respondents were screened for participation that might suggest they generally agreed with The Foundation's mission. The surveyor requested to speak with "The lady of the house..." while disqualifying households without children as part of the study for not meeting the requirements of the sample population. The Dove Foundation has noted that screening questions are commonly used by market research firms for validating respondents. Additionally, Dove and its partner were accused by the state of Missouri of violating its "Do Not Call Implementation Act" (Missouri No Call suit nets $70,000 settlement. St. Louis Business Journal. August 22, 2006.) by using the opinion poll as a means of circumventing the Act to allow Feature Films For Families to market its products. The US opinion poll was also criticized for using a set of pre-recorded scripts which were played in different sequences according to the responses received and as chosen by an operator listening to the calls. Response choices were presented in a yes-or-no format together with several multiple-choice questions. Respondents' continuation was limited by a finite number of scripts based on responses to qualifying questions. The use of a single operator monitoring four calls simultaneously was also seen as a methodological weakness. In addition, the pollster asked for permission for a follow-up call. In the follow-up call, respondents were solicited to buy films by the for-profit partner, Feature Films for Families. Although the foundation did not directly sell films, DVDs or videos, it was closely associated with the for-profit partner which paid for call center expenses.

Over four and one half million participated in the survey, and there were complaints on blogs and bulletin boards. Some of those telephoned by Feature Films for Families were annoyed by the way the call was conducted, at any hour of the day and regardless of whether or not the family was on the United States National Do Not Call Registry. Complaints cited the bluntness of the telemarketers and their aggressive interviewing techniques. The Missouri Attorney General's office received approximately 300 complaints.

The Attorney General of Missouri alleged that the mode of operation was a means to bypass the FCC do-not-call list restriction and imposed a restraining order on these activities in Missouri in March 2006.

As a result of the Missouri Attorney General's action, Feature Films for Families Inc. of Murray, Utah, and the Dove Foundation reached a settlement agreement in the amount of US$70,000 in August 2006 for the alleged violation of state "No Call" laws.

During this period, The Dove Foundation's call center was listed by whocalled.us as their most-reported telephone number.

The Dove Foundation currently has no active relationship with Feature Films For Families.

Source: wiki.com

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August 19

AFA

Suspicious Group - American [Un]Family Association AFA founded in 1977 by Donald Wildmon - A secretive; private, mostly family, group with multiple hidden motives and secret agendas

The American Family Association (AFA) is a United States non-profit organization that promotes fundamentalist Christian values. It opposes same-sex marriage, pornography, and abortion. It also takes a position on a variety of other public policy goals and has lobbied against the Employee Free Choice Act. It was founded in 1977 by Donald Wildmon as the National Federation for Decency and is headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi.

The AFA defined itself as "a Christian organization promoting the biblical ethic of decency in American society with primary emphasis on television and other media," later switching their stated emphasis to "moral issues that impact the family." It engages in activism efforts, including boycotts, buycotts, action alert emails, publications on the AFA's web sites or in the AFA Journal, broadcasts on American Family Radio, and lobbying. The organization is accredited by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and posted a 2011 budget of over US$16 million. AFA owns 200 American Family Radio stations in 33 states, seven affiliate stations in seven states, and one affiliate TV station KAZQ TV) in New Mexico.

AFA has been listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as of November 2010 for the "propagation of known falsehoods" and the use of "demonizing propaganda" against LGBT people.

Operations

Reverend Donald Wildmon served as chairman of AFA until he announced his retirement on March 3, 2010. His son, Tim, is president of AFA. AFA is governed by an independent Board of Directors. AFA Journal is a monthly publication with a circulation of 180,000 containing news, features, columns, and interviews. In addition to the publication, AFA Journal articles are made available online. The journal reviews the content of prime-time television shows, categorizing them based on profanity, sex, violence, homosexuality, substance abuse, "anti-Christian" content, or "political correctness". The categorization is accompanied by short descriptions of the content of the episode under review. The review also lists the advertisers of each show and invites readers to contact the advertisers or television networks to express concern over program content.

American Family Radio (AFR) is a network of approximately 200 AFA-owned radio stations broadcasting Christian-oriented programming.

OneNewsNow (formerly AgapePress), the AFA news division, provides online audio newscasts and a daily digest of news articles, Associated Press stories, and opinion columns.

The AFA Foundation is a planned giving program that allows participants the ability to set up bequests, charitable gift annuities, trusts and wills, that will provide income with tax advantages while supporting charity. In July 2011 the Charity Navigator gave the foundation a four star rating for sound fiscal management.

Center for Law and Policy, the legal and political arm of the AFA, was shut down in 2007. It specialized in First Amendment cases. The Center for Law and Policy lobbied legislative bodies, drafted legislation, and filed religious-discrimination lawsuits on behalf of individuals. Chief among its efforts were the recognition of Christmas in seasonal print advertisements; the criminalization of homosexuality; lobbying against same-sex marriage, and in opposition of equal-rights and hate-crime legislation that would include sexual orientation and gender identity under categories already protected and advocating censorship of print and electronic media.

The AFA has a history of activism by organizing its members in boycotts and letter-writing campaigns aimed at promoting socially conservative values in the United States. The AFA has promoted boycotts of a number of television shows, movies, and businesses that the group considers to have promoted indecency, obscenity, or homosexuality. In addition to promoting activism via mail to AFA members, 3.4 million subscribers receive AFA "Action Alerts" via email.

Source: wiki.com

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August 20

ECFA

Suspicious Group - ECFA the Evangelical Council for Financial [Un]Accountability - The secretive ECFA will not even open its own records to the public

The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) is an accreditation agency to promote fiscal integrity and sound financial practices among member organizations. Founded in 1979, it comprises nearly 1,800 evangelical Christian organizations which qualify for tax-exempt, nonprofit status and receive tax-deductible contributions. As of 2006, the total income of ECFA member organizations is reported to be approximately $15 billion. The organization has, since its inception, been based in the Washington, DC area with offices presently in Winchester, Virginia.

History

In 1977, Senator Mark Hatfield, who was since 1973 a member of the board of World Vision, told evangelicals that they needed to formalize some means for financial accountability or government legislation would be required. At the same time, Texas Congressman Charles Wilson had drafted a bill that would have required ministries to disclose "at the point of solicitation." A group of representatives from more than thirty evangelical groups met in December of that year to formulate a plan. At that meeting, Hatfield's chief legislative assistant told them that "a voluntary disclosure program" would "preclude the necessity of federal intervention into the philanthropic and religious sector." The call for more regulation was also a reaction to public pressure caused by several media reports about scandals related to misuse of funds in charities.

Two years later, in 1979, the ECFA was founded by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the US branch of World Vision (World Vision International is not member of ECFA). World Vision's president Stan Mooneyham stated, "There is no denying that this threat of government action was one of the stimuli" for the founding of the ECFA.

ECFA was founded with the establishment of seven standards of accountability that covered board governance, the requirement for audited financial statements, the requirement for public disclosure of the audited financial statements, the avoidance of conflicts of interest, and standards regarding fundraising activities. It was believed that the proposed standards of accountability generally exceeded the requirements of law. Charities that met those standards and paid the membership fee were granted a seal of approval. Membership fees were based on donated income. Evangelical charities could apply for accreditation and were required to submit information that would be reviewed and evaluated against those standards. Those meeting the standards would be accredited and granted a seal of approval.

Mission

The mission of ECFA was to assist religious charitable organizations to gain and maintain the public respect and confidence in the operations of the respective charity through the compliance with the Standards, and to protect the donor public from possible unethical conduct in the management of the affairs of the charities. There was a religious witness component to the mission statement that served as a motivation for member compliance with the Standards.

The mission statement adopted by the ECFA is as follows: "ECFA is committed to helping Christ-centered organizations earn the public's trust through developing and maintaining standards of accountability that convey God-honoring ethical practices." Commentary on the mission statement can be found on the ECFA Website.

Membership

The ECFA members are organized charities in the US, typically 501(c)3 Evangelical nonprofits and churches. Members range "from evangelism in foreign jungles to race car driver evangelism, from ministry to the elderly, children, the impaired, to those in the military, those on the streets, and to many in between. All members are fulfilling a calling to reach a lost world for Christ. ECFA members are located across the U.S. and U.S. territories and range from the very large national ministries to smaller local ministries and churches."

Members are required to submit annually a renewal document which includes the recent copy of the audited financial statement and answers to a number of questions related to the membership standards. Field reviews are conducted on a regular basis by ECFA employees and representatives typically on location.

Integrity Standards

As an accrediting organization, ECFA attempts to protect the integrity of its seal. ECFA has taken action against member organizations who are unable or unwilling to comply with the Standards for Responsible Stewardship. Typically, members are allowed to resign but in some cases are suspended for a period of time that the ECFA determines is sufficient to put "affairs" back in order. The ECFA learns of Standards violations both through results of field audits which are conducted on a regular basis by ECFA employees as well as complaints received directly from the public.

Source: wiki.com

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August 21

Focus on the Family

Suspicious Group - Focus on the Family, a lightning rod for rallying liberal issues, causes and finances while virtually ineffective in furthering Conservative causes

Focus on the Family (FOTF) is a non-profit organization founded in 1977 by psychologist James Dobson, based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is active in promoting an interdenominational effort toward its socially conservative views on public policy. Focus on the Family is one of a number of evangelical parachurch organizations that rose to prominence in the 1980s.

Focus on the Family's stated mission is "nurturing and defending the God-ordained institution of the family and promoting biblical truths worldwide." It promotes abstinence-only sexual education; adoption by married, opposite-sex parents; creationism; school prayer; and traditional gender roles. It opposes abortion; divorce; gambling; LGBT rights, particularly LGBT adoption and same-sex marriage; pornography; pre-marital sex; and substance abuse. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and social scientists have criticized Focus on the Family for misrepresenting their research to bolster FOTF's political agenda and ideology.

The core promotional activities of the organization include a daily radio broadcast by its president, Jim Daly, and his colleagues, providing free resources according to Focus on the Family views, and publishing magazines, videos, and audio recordings. The organization also produces programs for targeted audiences, such as Adventures in Odyssey for children, dramas, and Family Minute.

History and Organization

From 1977 to 2003, James Dobson served as the sole leader of the organization. In 2003, Donald P. Hodel became president and chief executive officer, tasked with the day-to-day operations. This left Dobson as chairman of the Board of Directors, with chiefly creative and speaking duties.

In March 2005, Hodel retired and Jim Daly, formerly the Vice President in charge of Focus on the Family's International Division, assumed the role of president and chief executive officer.

In November 2008, the organization announced that it was eliminating 202 jobs, representing 18 percent of its workforce. The organization also cut its budget from $160 million in fiscal 2008 to $138 million for fiscal 2009.

In February 2009, Dobson resigned his chairmanship, and by early 2010 he was no longer the public face of Focus on the Family, nor hosting the daily radio program.

Marriage and family

Focus on the Family sees its primary ministry as the strengthening of what it considers traditional marriages and families, based on an evangelical view of Biblical teachings

Source: wiki.com

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August 22

Westboro Baptist Church

Suspicious Group - The Westboro Baptist (agent agitators and disinformation) - The WBC is not affiliated with any Baptist denomination

The Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) is an American unaffiliated Baptist church known for its extreme ideologies, especially those against gay people. The church is widely described as a hate group and is monitored as such by the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Law Center. It is headed by Fred Phelps [November 13, 1929 - March 19, 2014 - a self-professed CIA agent - note: this devotional was written prior to the passing of Fred Phelps] and consists primarily of members of his large family; in 2011, the church stated that it had about 40 members. The church is headquartered in a residential neighborhood on the west side of Topeka about three miles (5 km) west of the Kansas State Capitol. Its first public service was held on the afternoon of November 27, 1955.

The church has been involved in actions against gay people since at least 1991, when it sought a crackdown on homosexual activity at Gage Park six blocks northwest of the church. In addition to conducting anti-gay protests at military funerals, the organization pickets other celebrity funerals and public events that are likely to get it media attention. Protests have also been held against Jews and some protests have included WBC members stomping on the American flag.

The WBC is not affiliated with any Baptist denomination. The Baptist World Alliance and the Southern Baptist Convention the two largest Baptist denominations have each denounced the WBC over the years. The church describes itself as following Primitive Baptist and Calvinist principles.

On May 8, 2009, members of the church protested at three Jewish sites in Washington, D.C., including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) offices, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the city's largest synagogue. Margie Phelps, daughter of Pastor Fred Phelps, led the protest, holding signs stating that "God Hates Israel", "Jews Killed Jesus", "America Is Doomed", "Israel Is Doomed", and "ADL Jew Bullies". The protest was apparently part of a series of upcoming protests which the church has planned at Jewish institutions in Omaha, St. Louis, South Florida and Providence. The group reportedly posted a list of the upcoming protests' locations and dates, along with the statement "Jews Killed the Lord Jesus."

In an interview, Margie Phelps said that her church was targeting the American Jewish community because church members had "testified" to Gentiles for 19 years that "America is doomed" and that "Now it's too late. We're done with them." She also claimed that Jews were "one of the loudest voices" in favor of homosexuality and abortion, and that "Jews claim to be God's chosen people. Do you think that God is going to wink at that forever?" Phelps concluded by stating, in an apparent reference to the Book of Revelation, that all the nations of the world would soon march on Israel, and that they would be led by President Barack Obama, whom she called the "Antichrist".

History

The Westboro Baptist Church originated as a branch of the East Side Baptist Church in Topeka, established in 1931. In 1954, East Side hired Phelps as an associate pastor, and then promoted him to be the pastor of their new church, Westboro Baptist, which opened in 1955. Soon after Westboro was established, Phelps broke all ties with East Side Baptist.

Protest activities begin

Westboro Baptist began picketing Gage Park, Topeka in 1991, alleging it was a den of anonymous homosexual activity. Soon their protests had spread throughout the city, and within three years the church was traveling across the country. Phelps explained in 1994 that he considered the negative reaction to the picketing to be proof of his righteousness.

In 2011 the BBC's Louis Theroux reported that Westboro was in a state of "crisis" and documented the departure of several young members. Since then, two more prominent members have left the church.

Source: wiki.com

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August 23

American Tract Society

Suspicious Group - American Tract Society (ATS)

The American Tract Society (ATS) is a nonprofit, nonsectarian but evangelical organization founded on May 11, 1825 in New York City for the purpose of publishing and disseminating Christian literature. On September 1, 2012, American Tract Society [was absorbed] into a joint publishing agreement with Good News Publishing [Crossway is a not-for-profit Christian ministry -- Contact: Crossway, 1300 Crescent Street, Wheaton, IL 60187 USA], which is a division of Crossway. ATS traces its lineage back through the New York Tract Society (1812) and the New England Tract Society (1814) to the Religious Tract Society of London, begun in 1799. Over the years, ATS has produced and distributed many millions of pieces of literature. There is a printed pamphlet titled "Constitution of the American Tract Society, instituted in Boston 1814" referencing the distribution of 'Religious Tracts' by Christians in Europe and America during the previous twenty years. The purpose of which was to combine the energy & activities of various groups & individuals across New England.

ATS is theologically conservative. It receives funding through a combination of private donations and tract sales. ATS accepts donations to fund tract and evangelistic resource distribution including start-up funding for foreign tract distribution in countries including Africa, Asia, India, South and Latin America, Canada, Australia, and Europe. Churches and other evangelistic groups in the United States can purchase ATS literature at nominal cost for use in their own evangelistic ministries.

ATS is board-governed and benefits from the visibility of its Council of Reference, an advisory board of evangelical notables from business, ministry, and other walks of life. ATS is currently headquartered in Garland, Texas. Contributions to ATS are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. It is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).

American Tract Society in the News

In 2010, MainStreet.com and the Dallas Morning News reported American Tract Society as the least efficient charity in America citing a rating from Charity Navigator based on 2007 financial data. Using data from ATS's 2007 federal income tax return, Charity Navigator reported that administrative and management expenses comprised 68% of total expenses and assigned ATS their lowest efficiency rating.

While MainStreet.com recognized that ATS receives income from other sources than contributions (i.e. tract sales), their analysis counted the production cost of the tracts as "administrative and management" expenses. Tract sales are ATS' primary source of revenue and including these production costs in the calculation of total expenses improves ATS's organization efficiency as measured by Charity Navigator and more closely aligns ATS with other charities performing similar types of work.

While ATS' ratio of Management and Administrative expenses to Total Expenses was unusually high in 2007, it should be noted that 2007 was a year in which ATS incurred unusual management expenses related to reorganization. ATS emerged from the reorganization a much leaner and more effective operation as evidenced by the 2008 and 2009 financial data presented in the Organizational Efficiency Table included below.

In December 2010, The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) announced their accreditation of ATS based on the ECFA Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship™, including financial accountability, transparency, sound board governance and ethical fund raising.

Vision of American Tract Society

Every Christian effectively sharing the life-changing gospel in their world.

Source: wiki.com

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August 24

Revised Version (RV) bible 1881 AD

The Westcott and Hort 1881 (Egyptian) 'Sinaiticus Text' (RV) edition was fraudulently substituted as a Revision of the KJV (AV) Byzantine 'Textus Receptus'

The Revised Version (RV) or English Revised Version of the Bible is a late 19th-century British revision of the King James Version of 1611. It was the first and remains the only officially authorized and recognized revision of the King James Bible. The work was entrusted to over 50 scholars from various denominations in Britain. American scholars were invited to cooperate, by correspondence. The New Testament was published in 1881, the Old Testament in 1885, and the Apocrypha in 1894. The best known of the translation committee members were Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort; their fiercest critic of that period was John William Burgon.

The New Testament revision company was commissioned in 1870 by the convocation of Canterbury. Their stated aim was "to adapt King James' version to the present state of the English language without changing the idiom and vocabulary," and "to adapt it to the present [corrupt] standard of Biblical scholarship." Further, it was to be "the best version possible in the nineteenth century, as King James' version was the best which could be made in the seventeenth century." To those ends, the Greek text [Sinaiticus] that was used to translate the New Testament was believed by some to be of higher reliability than the [Byzantine] Textus Receptus used for the KJV. The readings used were compiled from a different text of the Greek Testament by Edwin Palmer.

While the text of the translation itself is widely regarded as excessively literal and flat, the Revised Version is significant in the history of English Bible translation for many reasons. At the time of the RV's publication, the nearly 300-year old King James Version was still the only viable English Bible in Victorian England. The RV, therefore, is regarded as the forerunner of the entire modern translation tradition. And it was considered [by bias scholars] more accurate than the King James Version in a number of verses.

Source: wiki.com

Note: all of the modern English bible translations are from the uncertain Revised Version (RV) text.

INTERNAL EVIDENCE FOR INCLUSION of 1 John 5:7

In the seventeenth century the framers of the Westminster Confession of Faith accepted the inclusion of 1 John 5.7-8 and used it to defend the doctrine of the Trinity. Others, believing the passage to be Scripture, have given internal evidence for the inclusion of the passage. This evidence, which comes from the passage itself, has been cited throughout the centuries in defence of the passage and of the Trinity which it supports. ...

The Nineteenth Century: Robert Lewis Dabney

In addition, 1 John 5.7-8 is not without witnesses in the nineteenth century. Well known among these is Robert Lewis Dabney. Dabney "was the most conspicuous figure and the leading theological guide of the [American] Southern Presbyterian Church, the most prolific theological writer that Church has as yet produced… As a preacher, as a teacher and as a writer equally he achieved greatness… [He helped] reorganize the historical faith of the Reformed Churches in the face of the theological ferment which marked the earlier years of the Nineteenth Century."

Of the Johannine Comma Dabney says, "The often-contested text in 1 John v. 7 also furnishes us a good instance of the value of that internal evidence which the recent critics profess to discard." "The internal evidence against this excision, then, is in the following strong points:

First, if it be made, the masculine article, numeral, and particle are made to agree directly with three neuters-an insuperable and very bald grammatical difficulty. But if the disputed words are allowed to stand, they agree directly with two masculines and one neuter noun...where, according to a well known rule of syntax, the masculines among the group control the gender over a neuter connected with them...

Second, if the excision is made, the eighth verse coming next to the sixth, gives us a very bald and awkward, and apparently meaningless, repetition of the Spirit's witness twice in immediate succession.

Third, if the excision is made, then the proposition at the end of the eighth verse [and these three agree in one], contains an unintelligible reference… "And these three agree to that (aforesaid) One"… What is that aforesaid unity to which these three agree? If the seventh verse is exscinded, there is none… Let the seventh verse stand, and all is clear: the three earthly witnesses testify to that aforementioned unity which the Father, Word, and Spirit constitute."

"There is a coherency in the whole which presents a very, strong internal evidence for the genuineness of the (AV) received text."

Dabney then reminds his readers of the circumstances under which the apostle John wrote his first epistle. "The purpose of his writing was to warn [the recipients] against seducers (ii.26), whose heresy, long predicted, was now developed, and was characterized by a denial of the proper sonship (ii.26) and incarnation (iv.2) of Jesus Christ." In response to these heresies, in 5.7 the apostle declares "the unity of the Father, Word, and Spirit, and with the strictest accuracy". He declares "the proper humanity of Jesus, and the actual shedding and application by the Spirit of that water and blood of whose effusion he was himself eye-witness, and to which he testifies in his gospel so emphatically, in chapter xix. 34,35… Now, when we hear the apostle tell his ‘children,' in the chapter above cited from his own Epistle, that the two heresies against whose seductions he designed by this writing to guard them were these, the denial of Christ's sonship to God and the denial of his incarnation, and…we see him in his closing testimony exclude precisely these two errors." "Is it not hard to believe that he should, under the circumstances, write anything but what the received text ascribes to him? If we let the seventh verse stand, then the whole passage is framed, with apostolic wisdom, to exclude at once both heresies."

Dabney freely admits that, according to strict Greek manuscript tradition, there is not strong manuscript support for the inclusion of 1 John 5.7. But here "the Latin Church stands opposed to the Greek" church. "There are strong probable grounds to conclude, that the text of the Scriptures current in the East received a mischievous modification at the hands of the famous Origen." "Those who are best acquainted with the history of Christian opinion know best, that Origen was the great corrupter, and the source, or at least earliest channel, of nearly all the speculative errors which plagued the church in after ages… He disbelieved the full inspiration and infallibility of the Scriptures, holding that the inspired men apprehended and stated many things obscurely… He expressly denied the consubstantial unity of the Persons and the proper incarnation of the Godhead-the very propositions most clearly asserted in the doctrinal various readings we have under review."

Let the candid reader choose…in the light of these facts. We think that he will conclude with us that the weight of probability is greatly in favor of this theory, viz., that the Anti-trinitarians, finding certain codices in which these doctrinal readings had been already lost through the licentious criticism of Origen and his school, industriously diffused them, while they also did what they dared to add to the omissions of similar readings.

Source: scionofzion.com/why_1_john_5_7_8.htm

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August 25

ASV bible 1901 AD

American Standard Version (ASV)

The Revised Version, Standard American Edition of the Bible, more commonly known as the American Standard Version (ASV), is a version of the Bible that was first released in 1900. It was originally best known by its full name, but soon came to have other names, such as the American Revised Version, the American Standard Revision, the American Standard Revised Bible, and the American Standard Edition. By the time its copyright was renewed in 1929, it had come to be known by its present name, the American Standard Version. Because of its prominence in seminaries, it was in America sometimes simply called the "Standard Bible".

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King James Version (1611) - Genesis 1:4-5 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Douay-Rheims (1899) - Genesis 1:4-5 And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness. And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning [evolution affirming] one day.

American Standard Version (1901) - Genesis 1:4-5 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, [evolution affirming] one day.

ESV (2011 - Good News Publishers - Crossway) - Genesis 1:4-5 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

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King James Version (1611) - Revelation 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

Douay-Rheims (1899) - Revelation 5:10 And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.

American Standard Version (1901) - Revelation 5:10 and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon the earth.

ESV (2011 - Good News Publishers - Crossway) - Revelation 5:10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.

The American Standard Version is rooted in the work that was done with the Revised Version (RV). In 1870, an invitation was extended to American religious leaders for scholars to work on the RV project. A year later, 30 scholars were chosen by Philip Schaff. The denominations represented were the Baptist, Congregationalist, Dutch Reformed, Friends, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Protestant Episcopal, and Unitarian. These scholars began work in 1872.

Source: wiki.com

Note: a deliberate philosophical (non-scholarly) editing of the modern bibles becomes more apparent with each translation examined.

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August 26

N by NW part 1

Introduction - The 1959 Movie North by Northwest is a Conspiracy Movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

A partial decoding of the movie North by Northwest (1959) directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

North by Northwest (N by NW) besides being a direction on a map it is also a way of telling time. When the little hand of a clock is pointing North (12) and the minute hand is almost 12 (NW) the time is almost Midnight [or almost High Noon]. Alfred Hitchcock has directed a film about a complex modern day international conspiracy and has declared that the time of its setting is almost Midnight or almost High Noon, except that High Noon would imply a chance where Midnight implies little or no chance at all.

North by Northwest is a 1959 American spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason. The screenplay was written by Ernest Lehman, who wanted to write "the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures". North by Northwest is a tale of mistaken identity, with an innocent man pursued across the United States by agents of a mysterious organization who want to stop his interference in their plans to smuggle out microfilm containing government secrets. This is one of several Hitchcock films with a music score by Bernard Herrmann and features a memorable opening title sequence by graphic designer Saul Bass. This film is generally cited as the first to feature extended use of kinetic typography in its opening credits. -- wiki.com

Also: in decoding the movie North by Northwest we are going to bring back Mephibosheth, can you find Mephibosheth in the movie North by Northwest? Mephibosheth makes at least two appearances in the movie and since we are going to do only a partial decoding we won't really be looking for any more appearances by Mephibosheth. Then we are going to use the decoded content from North by Northwest to consider the usefulness of the modern ESV bible translation in particular and modern Calvinism in general in determining if they are helpful and sophisticated enough in our complex times to be embraced or avoided by well-meaning Christians.

Source: 3C-Christianity.com

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August 27

N by NW part 2

Mephibosheth is a biblical person who was constantly out of his element and therefore unable to assist those around him in a meaningful, helpful manner

1st Appearance of Mephibosheth - North by Northwest (YouTube)

In the 1959 Movie North by Northwest directed by Alfred Hitchcock there are several scenes that mirror each other. The scenes we are going to look at involve the first and second 'Mirror' appearances of our character Mephibosheth. The first is when the main character Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) is diverted to a desolate road where he is very much in danger of losing his life. The Mephibosheth character a local man arrives on the scene having emerged essentially from a forest of corn. The first time the audience glimpses the unhelpful Mephibosheth character he is in a car that emerges from behind what amounts to a field or forest of corn.

The interchange between the city stranger Roger O. Thornhill and the unnamed country local is awkward, unsettling and unnecessary. In one of the great scenes of the movie Alfred Hitchcock has the two men staring at each other and facing each other from opposite sides of the road as if they are about to have a (High Noon) gunfight. Roger O. Thornhill was desperate he had been accidently placed in a dangerous predicament that was not of his making yet he was finding no way out of it. Seemingly the first person or a person who could begin to help the desperate Roger O. Thornhill had just arrived unfortunately the recently arrived stranger was in the person of Mephibosheth and Roger O. Thornhill's dilemma would continue.

2nd Appearance of Mephibosheth

The 2nd appearance of Mephibosheth is a different person in a different scene but is just as unhelpful in a desperate situation.

The second appearance of the Mephibosheth character would this time be Roger O. Thornhill himself as in the mirror scene to the deserted road this time it isn't near a forest of corn but is in a forest of trees as Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) is in grave danger and even Roger O. Thornhill the sophisticated city person is out of his league and unable to comprehend the situation and assist Eve Kendall in a meaningful and helpful way mirroring the helplessness displayed earlier by the unnamed rural Mephibosheth character.

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August 28

N by NW part 3

Conclusion: is it a real conspiracy or is it just imaginary lines on paper?

During the opening sequence of the opening credits in the 1959 movie North by Northwest directed by Alfred Hitchcock there are a series of lines being drawn. The lines start out as simple meaningless trajectories. Then the meaningless lines connect together and being to be joined together to form a drawing that then becomes a slight work of art. The work of art is a clever drawing that depicts a building. Then the drawing dissolves into an actual real building mirroring the real life images on the street below. Is the movie lines on a paper and just doodling or does it resolve into a real conspiracy, that is are the fictitious events that are being portrayed in the movie North by Northwest a fiction or is there a real N by NW (NWO) conspiracy?

Note: director Alfred Hitchcock is extremely careful not to directly reveal the conspiracy. Is it communism? Is it Fascism (Nazism)? Is it Luciferianism, once in the house of the conspirators all the symbols are Luciferian, the prominent clock on the stone wall is a "morningstar" occult Luciferian symbol and later the female servant holding the gun says "god (Lucifer) bless you" to Phillip Vandamm (James Mason) the lead conspirator character. Or is the conspiracy a mixture of all three elements and a few more?

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August 29

Joshua part 1

Introduction - Joshua 2002 a (Gnostic) Christian Film

A partial decoding of the Christian movie Joshua (2002) staring Tony Goldwyn, F. Murray Abraham and Kurt Fuller as Father Pat Hayes.

Joshua is a 2002 film based on the novel of the same name by Joseph F. Girzone (JOSEPH GIRZONE retired from the Catholic Priesthood in 1981 - he entered the Carmelite Order in 1948 and was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1955). The movie was produced by Crusader Entertainment LLC and directed by Joseph Purdy.

The movie is about a mysterious man named Joshua (Tony Goldwyn) who appears in a small town named Auburn and begins changing the lives of everyone he meets, simply by being around them.

He takes up residence in a barn that he rents from Joan Casey to use as his home and woodcarving shop. To the surprise of a local priest, the roof does not leak after Joshua moves in, despite the many holes in it.

The more time he spends in town, the more attention he draws to himself simply by doing what he does. He begins by rebuilding the Baptist Church which was destroyed during a storm the year before. He gets the attention of many locals by carrying a huge log of ash through town and out to his barn, some estimates range that it weighs at least 500 pounds.

Later, Father Tordone (F. Murray Abraham) of the local Catholic Church hires him to carve a statue of the Apostle Peter, to which Joshua responds that it should be made of Ash and that he "knows Peter."

He spends his next few weeks helping out anyone he meets, who in return help him rebuild the Baptist Church. Joshua intervenes in a Tent Revival, where a con artist is tricking people into believing that he is healing people through the power of God. Joshua tells him, "You don't have to do it this way," and proceeds to restore sight to a blind woman sitting in the audience.

Father Tordone becomes very suspicious of Joshua's behavior and motives, and tries to convince the Roman Catholic Church to step in and stop him before he gains more followers and creates his own cult. It isn't until Joshua resurrects a man (Theo) from the dead that the Vatican takes interest in him and invites him to Rome.

Source: wiki.com

The movie Joshua - Partially Decoded

The movie Joshua (2002) portrays a Gnostic, hidden meaning Christianity.

In the opening credits of the movie scrambled letters are unscrambled (decoded) and the name Joshua [Hebrew for Jesus] soon appears on screen.

Continuing in the opening credits a vehicle 'Gnosticism' [Dualism - two lights the brighter true light of Lucifer and the lesser light of Christianity] with two headlights is bearing down the road coming directly at the viewer. The brighter light is the 'left-hand' light [Luciferianism] of the driver.

Out of the vehicle steps the Gnostic Jesus "Joshua" played by (Tony Goldwyn).

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August 30

Joshua part 2

Conclusion: four religions are presented as friendly and thriving in a united Gnostic neighborhood

1. Roman Catholicism 2. Protestantism - Baptist 3. Judaism 4. Luciferianism

Roman Catholicism - the true mover and shaker church in the community.

Protestantism - good intentions but only at their best when charring burgers and hot dogs on a grill.

Judaism - well-meaning and forever aiding and abiding near the Cahtolic Church.

Luciferianism - leadership, entertaining and an intrigal part of any inner circle.

Roman Catholicism - in one of the more interesting scenes in the movie the Catholic Father Pat is brought, after the bar scene, to an outreach concert. Joshua instructs a questioning Father Pat that "one man's rock concert is another man's church service" Father Pat then without saying anything looks away apparently in disbelief and slightly in disgust because only the Catholic church has a real church service.

Protestantism - the helpless Protestants can't even build their own small church building.

Judaism - always likeable and pleasant to be around.

Luciferianism - at the concert outreach Luciferian Kevin Zumbar (Matt Zeigler) is introduced to the audience by the perennial hipster youth leader. Kevin who was lost but is now found [by who is the question] he then gives what has an appearance of a person testimony but really isn't "all I did was open my heart to god" then flashing a Luciferian hand gesture over the audience he raises his Luciferian hand signal over his head and dedicates his new-found performance to the audience and to "him" god.

In the movie in a bar scene Joshua and Father Pat are playing a game of pool, concluding outside with a surprising amount of profanity. While inside the bar Joshua suddenly gives a lesson in what faith is all about although he completely confuses confidence with faith and actually gives a meaningless demonstration of personal confidence and personal ability that completely misrepresents the true biblical Resurrection faith in Jesus Christ.

The movie is surprising laden with Antichrist types of miracles, signs and wonders but of course because the movie presents another Jesus.

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August 31

Problematic Bibles

Problematic Bibles the KJV and the ESV

The KJV 1611 Bible was commissioned by the English Government Monarchy

With the KJV being commissioned by the English Government Monarchy the KJV 1611 has a decided tendency to translate verses in order to assure that the Church and citizens are in submission to the higher authorities i.e. the government.

KJV - Romans 13:1-7 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the [world] powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

The ESV bible also has an Agenda

Where the KJV Bible had the certain agenda that the Crown-Government would preside as a final authority over both Church and State the modern ESV retains the secular authority of the KJV and goes a step further in denying the individual rights and freedoms offered by the KJV and instead frequently presents the reader in the position of servant i.e. slave.

ESV the Enhanced Slavery Version

ESV - Matthew 20:27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,

ESV - Mark 10:44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.

The Greek word (G 1401 - doulos) can be translated as servant or slave, usually slave in the OT and servant in the NT. The ESV translators chose in the NT to use the term slave where the KJV translators chose to translate the same word as servant.

ESV - Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

KJV - Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the Throne of God.

Slaves are not yet finished working and must continue to strive on in a 'found' [worldly] prescribed (Churchianity) 'perfection' while Christians are Sons of God already resting in the Finished works of Jesus Christ.

Note: each of these Bibles and all modern bibles have a bias and as the reader we should be aware that the Bibles were translated with varying degrees of agendas and biases.

The Wrath of God Satisfied
Not all agree with the propitiation proponents, and one who did not agree was C.F.D. Moule. Recently Robert Morgan and Patrick Moule, nephew to that great NT scholar, Charlie (C.F.D.) Moule, published some previously unpublished writings of Professor Moule and the title is Christ Alive and At Large. ...

4. If the acted upon is sin, then the term does not mean "propitiate" but "expiate."

Thus, Moule: "If, then, God is the subject or originator, not the object or recipient, of hilas-procedures, it is manifestly inappropriate to translate them as propitiatory [Old Testament concept]; one is driven to use a word such as 'expiatory' [New Testament reality], which has as its object not propitiating a wrathful God but removing a barrier (114)."

The theme of NT atonement then is 2 Cor 5:19: God was reconciling the world to Himself. God doesn't need to be propitiated [as in OT], Moule observes; God is the one doing [NT - expiate] the reconciling. - Jun 22, 2012 @ 0:04 by Scot McKnight

Source: patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2012/06/22/the-wrath-of-god-satisfied/

Is Calvinism Spiritual Racism? (i.e. bigotry - intolerant of other views)
In this brief article I will contend that Hinduism, Racism, and Calvinism have many things in common; too many for Christians not to be alarmed. Such disturbing common denominators should give pause to all Calvinists and any who are entertaining thoughts of embracing the doctrines espoused by Calvinism and Reformed theology.

... God has demonstrated his love for all people many times over. He did so by promising to make Abraham, a.k.a. Abram, from Ur of the Chaldeans (Gen. 11:31), a blessing to all the families of the earth (Gen. 12:1-3). Abraham, placed faith in the biblical God, obeyed God, and became the spiritual father of faith (Heb. 11:8-19), blazing the trail for others to follow as he demonstrated what it truly means to place faith in God and live out that faith.

Source: sbctoday.com/is-calvinism-spiritual-racism/

Note: Calvinism is literally the visage of a medieval exploitation system [the ancient Manorial system of serfs (bondage) and peasants]. In order for Calvinism [itself a man-centered (John Calvin) Think-Tank religion] to exist it attempts to inforce Old Testament Theocracy [the church is the state (government)]. In doing so Calvinism misrepresents both God and NT Christianity. Calvinism has wrongly concluded that NT Christianity is the mirror image of the OT with an angry God and a people unable to please God. In short Calvinist are still going to the now empty Mt. Sinai (Hebrews 12:18-21) while New Testament Christians (Hebrews 12:22-29) are directed to go meet God in the Resurrection Garden of Mt. Zion. Keep in mind that no one in this current physical life is approved of by God (Hebrews 9:27) and that conversely Calvinism doesn't speak for God [only the Bible speaks for God] and in fact modern Calvinism greatly misrepresents the Goodness of the One True, Loving, Living God. ~ David Anson Brown

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