When A Culture Of Death Gives Way To Life In Christ

We in the pro-life movement have no enemies to destroy. Our weapons are chaste weapons of the spirit: truth and love. Our task is less to defeat our opponents than to win them to the cause of life. To be sure, we must oppose the culture and politics of death resolutely and with a determination to win. But there is no one—no one—whose heart is so hard that he or she cannot be won over. Let us not lose faith in the power of our weapons to transform even the most resolute abortion advocates.

Wielding truth and love won’t win over everyone to the cause of life, but it will change those with eyes to see and ears to hear. As truth beckons, “Come and witness the culture of death that undergirds abortion,” minds will be persuaded. As love invites, “Taste and see the culture of life that is Christ crucified for you,” hearts will be softened.

For abortion says, “Your life for mine,” but Jesus says, “My life for yours—even if you’ve killed your own child.”


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Martin Luther Said Some Crazy Things

For many Christians, Martin Luther is a household name. He was a monumental reformer–the father of the Protestant Reformation. Sadly, however, Luther often clashed with his fellow Protestant reformers. The bad blood between Luther and the other reformers set an example of uncivil dialogue and noncooperation between Protestant leaders that continues until this day.

If you ever got on Luther’s bad side, you’d be wise to run for cover. He wrote, “Anger refreshes all my blood, sharpens my mind, and drives away temptations . . . I was born to war with fanatics and devils. Thus my books are very stormy and bellicose.”

Luther scholars are well aware of Luther’s unkind and course tone as well as his penchant to be angry and bull-headed. In addition, name-calling wasn’t beneath him.


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Where Augustine Gets Weird

There is no question that evangelical Christianity owes an enormous debt to Augustine. In fact, there’s wide consensus among historians that next to Jesus and Paul, Augustine is the most influential figure in the history of Christianity.

Famed historian Will Durant said of Augustine, “he is the most authentic, eloquent, and powerful voice of the Age of Faith in Christendom.”

Augustine advocated the use of force against the Donatists, asking “Why . . . should not the church use force in compelling her lost sons to return, if the lost sons compelled others to their destruction?”


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The Crazy Beliefs Of Crazy Moody

He was famously nicknamed “Crazy Moody,” and it’s reported that he reached 100 million people with the gospel, in a day when televangelists, radio preachers, and Al Gore (the Internet, ahem) didn’t exist.

In Moody’s case, he was poorly educated across the board. Yet the hand of God was undeniably upon him.

Interestingly, the first time Moody applied to be a member of a local church, he was denied because he failed an oral exam on Christian doctrine!


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History Can Save Us From Apostacy

More often than not, when I talk to twentysomethings who are seriously contemplating walking away from their faith, the main stumbling block is an intellectual one. My faith didn’t have the deep intellectual roots necessary to flourish outside of a youth group setting. For many twentysomethings, the moment the intellectual credibility of faith is challenged and there’s no immediately satisfying answer, they’re out. This is where a robust understanding and deep study of Church history became my lifeboat.

The faith of my youth had mainly been informed by emotional altar calls and evangelical clichés; neither of these components are inherently wrong, but this culture alone wasn’t enough for me to face an increasingly secular world. Through their writings, ancient Church fathers became like mentors who helped me see that the doubts we wrestle with today are the same questions those who came before us struggled with too. Studying Church history  can help us develop a strong sense of what Dr. Duke calls our “intergenerational self.” Or, as Feiler puts it, we begin to understand that we’re part of something much bigger than ourselves.


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Jonathan Edwards The Shocking Rock Star

Although the Yale educated, Calvinist theologian/philosopher lived in the mid-1700s, countless Reformed youth today regard him as a rock star.

He was bitterly critical when New Englanders stole land from Native Americans, commanding them to pay for the land they took. So he — the logical Reformed personality — was a “social activist” engaged in “social justice.”

This is interesting since many contemporary Edwards followers eschew anything having to do with social activism or social justice today.

Even so, some American Christians venerate Edwards with almost cult-like regard. Thus any critique of his views is regarded by some to be on a par with blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

The following views held by Edwards will be met with shock or surprise by some Christians today…


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Calvinists Would Be Shocked By John Calvin’s Beliefs

Whether you agree with Calvin’s theological system or not, there’s no question that John Calvin has made an indelible mark on today’s Christianity, especially American evangelicalism.

And like all highly influential Christians, Calvin has been hailed and hammered, loved and loathed, adored and abhorred.

Even the most influential Christians who have changed the lives of countless people for good — Calvin being one of them — believed things that were surprising, shocking, and even outrageous.

So tread carefully the next time you come across another follower Jesus who doesn’t believe just like you do on every doctrinal point.


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Like Everyone, John Wesley Had Some Weird Ideas

“If there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitefield and John Wesley.”

~ Charles Spurgeon

Nevertheless, Wesley – like every other servant of God – had feet of clay. And he also held to some strange views. Here are some surprising beliefs that Wesley advocated…


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You Can Thank Constantine For The Pagan Influence In Christianity

Today’s Throwback Thursday recalls Greg Boyd’s explanation of how Christianity transformed from a community of persecuted, self-sacrificial, loving people into a political power structure under the influence of Constantine in the 4th century. It’s never been the same since.

Note: This video dovetails nicely with another recent entry about the pagan roots of many contemporary practices in Christian circles, including celebrations of christmas and easter.


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Surprise! Baptism Is Actually A Jewish Practice

It is commonly thought that baptism is a distinctly Christian practice. Would it surprise you to learn that baptism was central practice of Jews in their worship long before Jesus arrived? It is interesting that there is controversy today over the question of whether Jewish believers should be baptized when in fact one of the first controversies of the early church was whether gentiles should be baptized.


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Justin Martyr: 2nd Century Apologist For Messianic Judaism & Replacement Theology

Jews are called (not demanded) to continue to live and identify themselves as Jews, but we in no way feel it is right to compel Gentile believers to honor the liturgical aspects ( i.e. Circumcision, Saturday Sabbath, food laws, feasts) to be saved. I find it fascinating that one of the first proponents of one of the most damaging, murderous theologies ever to be stated, Replacement Theology, was also a proponent of Messianic Judaism!


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C.S. Lewis Was Not Right About Everything

With the popularity of his Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters, Clive Staple Lewis is regarded by many to be a “saint of evangelicalism.” The esteemed Reformed Anglican J.I. Packer called Lewis “our patron saint.” Christianity Today wrote that he “has come to be the Aquinas, the Augustine, and the Aesop of contemporary Evangelicalism” as well as “the 20th century’s greatest Christian apologist.”

Nonetheless, despite his amazing contribution to the Christian faith, here are six shocking beliefs held by Lewis…


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Contrary To Popular Belief, The Bible Actually Doesn’t Talk About Democracy

The Bible does not prescribe an ideal form of government. Yet, for a long time, and to an exceptional degree among religious types in America, evangelicals have found in their national identity a convergence of first principles: They believe in constitutional democracy and they believe that their Bible-based religion is not only compatible with this system, but actually essential to it.

So, where in the Bible do the foundations of modern democracy reside?


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How Teenagers Shaped History

“Teens are just that way! It’s who they are.”

Well, history is there to prove you wrong. It may be who they are, but it is NOT who they are meant to be.  Teens can be the most energetic, the most passionate, the most powerful people group in the Body of Christ. And Satan knows it.

I’m done watching kids go over the edge. I’m done watching hearts break. I’m done playing tea party in a war zone. Parents, pray for your kids! The Enemy is after them, not just so he can get to them, but so he can get to you!


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Odds Are That You’re A Heretic

Most American evangelicals hold views condemned as heretical by some of the most important councils of the early church. Many evangelicals do not have orthodox views about either God or humans, especially on questions of salvation and the Holy Spirit.

The church in every age has faced theological confusion and heresy. We cannot assume the next generation—or even this present one—will catch an orthodox theology merely by being in the church.


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See What A Ragamuffin Looks Like

Rich Mullins was a well-known musician during the 1980s and 1990s. A biographical film was released earlier this year, entitled Ragamuffin. Unlike most Christian-made films, this one is actually good. It tells the story of Rich Mullins’ life with an unapologetic look at the pain and loneliness he suffered and his struggles to deal with the fame and fortune that threatened to destroy him. After much pain, loss, and disappointment, he finally crosses paths with Brennan Manning who introduces him to the term “ragamuffin.” A ragamuffin knows he’s only a beggar at the door of God’s mercy. Rather than say anymore about the story, I’ll simply mention that this movie is now available on Netflix, and you should go watch it.


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How Martin Luther Found Grace And Ben-Hur Gave Up On Revenge

Luther wrestled with the idea that God is holy, and that no matter how hard Luther tried, he was a poor, miserable sinner. Martin Luther could not see how a holy, perfect and righteous God would ever forgive and love a sinner like himself. Luther had done everything the church told him to do, he had performed all the rituals, said all the prayers, done the penance, but at the end of it all, he knew that he did not have the ability to produce the kind of life that would please God.

Then came grace.


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It’s Rosh Hashanah, So What’s The Big Deal?

Today’s Throwback Thursday article reaches back only a month ago to our post about why Christians should observe the biblical calendar. It seems appropriate to recall this article considering that today is Rosh Hashanah (“head of the year”), which is the new year on the biblical calendar. It is commemorated with the Feast of Trumpets. Yom Kippur (“day of atonement”) will follow in 10 days and then Sukkot (a.k.a. Feast of Tabernacles) will finish of the Fall holidays.

We have been robbed of a significant part of our godly heritage through a calendar that was intentionally removed from the biblical one. The early believers in Jesus were all Jewish.

God has a calendar; we have a calendar. He will never get on ours, but it’s best we get on His!


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How Church History Informs Church Present And Church Future

Knowing our spiritual ancestry puts our sorrows, anxieties and wounds into perspective. Ours is a historical foundation built on the blood of martyrs — Christians willing to live so radically for Jesus they considered it joy to die for Him.  Yet I frequently experience Christians leaving contemporary churches in droves because they don’t have a category for pain.  They believe they are alone, and that sorrow is unique to them.  This is the fruit of a individualistic, self-preoccupied society which has pervaded the Western Church as well as the culture.  When people walk away from faith, it’s sometimes because they are ill-equipped to understand the paradoxical tension between the goodness of God and the reality of pain.  And this is why Church history matters.

P.S. The dropdown menu at the top of the DailyEdify site allows you to find posts by category. One of those categories is “History.” Don’t be shy about using it.


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The Case For Christians To Embrace The Biblical Festival Calendar

We have been robbed of a significant part of our godly heritage through a calendar that was intentionally removed from the biblical one. The early believers in Jesus were all Jewish.

God has a calendar; we have a calendar. He will never get on ours, but it’s best we get on His!



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Noteworthy Women Of The Reformation

All too often, the textbooks focus solely on the men of the Reformation—Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, and others—and fail to take notice of the faithful women who served among, beside, and with the Reformers.

These women were dedicated to the gospel of Jesus Christ, some to the point of martyrdom. Many of these women were well-educated, especially by the standard of their time. They read theology books, especially the Bible.


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Learning From The Life And Legacy Of J.C. Ryle

He was great through the abounding grace of God. He was great in stature; great in mental power; great in spirituality; great as a preacher and expositor of God’s most holy Word; great in hospitality; great in winning souls to God; great as a writer of Gospel tracts; great as an author of works which will long live, great as a bishop of the Reformed Evangelical Protestant Church of England of which he was a noble defender, great as the first Bishop of Liverpool. I am bold to say that perhaps few men in the nineteenth century did so much for God, for truth, for righteousness, among the English speaking race and in the world as our late bishop.


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Dietrich Bonhoeffer: A Disciple Who Counted The Cost

This 5 minute video offers a brief summary of the life and significance of Dietrich Bonhoeffer during the Nazi regime in WWII. Bonhoeffer is often known for his book The Cost of Discipleship. As you shall see, that book was not merely an academic exercise for him. He acted on faith to follow Jesus, no matter the cost.

See previous post for more perspective on how Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s story is instructive to disciples of Jesus today.


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Learning From Weirdos: What Can Christians Of The Past Teach Us?

This is why I post articles on DailyEdify about people from Church history. We can learn a lot from disciples who have lived before us. This is not to say that they are flawless. In fact, many are really really weird and even experimented with heresy at times. And yet, it seems that God gave them something that is important for the rest of the Body to see. Thus, we try to learn what we can from such “weirdos” while not necessarily consuming every word they say as gospel truth. Be a discerning reader, but by all means, learn from those who have walked before us. This article says it well…


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John Calvin Is Not The Founder Of Calvinism

It wasn’t until the 19th Century that Calvin’s works were published far enough to gain a wide readership, so after his death there spanned an almost 300 year gap before his modern influence.

In order to explain how Reformed churches and Calvinist churches spread around the world, you have to look at other actors. The total effect of Calvinism came from these ad-hoc, haphazard efforts of churchmen, ministers, leaders in various parts of the world, without any kind of larger organization trying to coordinate them. (more…)

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What Happens When Authorities Reject God As Their Authority?

The authors of the Declaration of Independence understood from Scripture that government is a sacred trust given by God to protect the inherent rights of people created in His image. They had no other recourse, they stated in the document, but to declare their independence from the tyrant who represented neither them nor the God who entrusted him with his position of leadership. They rejected his authority because King George had rejected His authority.


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See What It Looks Like To Live As A Man On Fire: The Story Of John G. Lake

John Lake’s ministry was a powerful example of faith in action. He led an extraordinary life, and believed that EVERY Christian ought to live such a life, experiencing the fullness of Christ.  Lake never ceased to exhort others to attain this fullness, which God is ready and willing to bestow.

In 1914 he opened the ‘Healing Rooms’ in Spokane, WA, where there were more than 100,000 medically confirmed healings in the space of only 5 years.


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The Story Of Francis Of Assisi

Francis was born in the stony hill-town of Assisi in Umbria, in the year 1181 or 1182. His father, Peter Bernadone, was a wealthy merchant. As a youth he was ardent in his amusements and seemed carried away by the mere joy of living, taking no interest at all in his father’s business or in formal learning. It was the age of chivalry, and he was thrilled by the songs of the troubadours and the deeds of knights.


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Science Is Thinking God’s Thoughts After Him | Johann Kepler

Kepler believed that there was an art and orderliness in God’s creation and that the more Christians recognized the greatness of creation, the deeper their worship would be. Didn’t God himself encourage the heathen to look carefully at creation so that they might come to know God? The chief aim of all investigations of the external world should be to discover the rational order and harmony which has been imposed on it by God and which He revealed to us in the language of mathematics. In his astronomical research, Kepler only wanted to, as he put it, “think God’s thoughts after Him.”


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See What Spiritual Revival Looked Like In Colonial America

This 6 minute video explains the roles of Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield in America’s First Great Awakening. See how God used these men to deliver a message of repentance and rebirth during a tumultuous time in American history. Their work resulted in a vast wave of conversions. Some call it revival. Historians refer to this time period as the First Great Awakening. Oh that such a move of God would sweep our country once more!



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Gregory The Great Was One Cool Dude

Gregory was born around 540, of a politically influential family, and in 573 he became Prefect of Rome; but shortly afterwards he resigned his office and began to live as a monk. His influence on the forms of public worship throughout Western Europe was enormous. He founded a school for the training of church musicians, and Gregorian chant (plainchant) is named for him. English-speaking Christians will remember Gregory for sending a party of missionaries headed by Augustine of Canterbury (not to be confused with the more famous Augustine of Hippo) to preach the Gospel to the pagan Anglo-Saxon tribes that had invaded England.



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The Harrowing Story Of Richard Wurmbrand

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.” – Mark 10:29-30

If there was ever a story in which the truth of this passage was made painfully visible it is the story of Richard Wurmbrand. He was born in 1909 in Romania. The events of his life after that are a chronicle of hardship, persecution, and also the unending grace and love of God. Richard and his wife Sabina have left an incredible legacy, which carried on through the ministry of Voice of the Martyrs.



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