WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY – Feb 13, 2019
In this week's Intersect, read about:
JOHN ROBERTS JOINS LIBERAL JUSTICES, BLOCKS LOUISIANA ABORTION CLINIC LAW
A divided Supreme Court stopped Louisiana from enforcing new regulations on abortion clinics in a test of the conservative court’s views on abortion rights. The justices said, by a 5-4 vote late Thursday, that they will not allow the state to put into effect a law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined the court’s four liberals in putting a hold on the law, pending a full review of the case. President Trump’s two Supreme Court appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch, and Brett M. Kavanaugh were among the four conservative members of the court who would have allowed the law to take effect. Kavanaugh wrote a dissenting opinion. The law is very similar to a Texas measure the justices struck down three years ago. Roberts dissented in that case. But the composition of the court has changed since then, with Kavanaugh replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy, who voted to strike down the Texas law. Trump had pledged during the campaign to appoint “pro-life” justices, and abortion opponents are hoping the more conservative bench will be more open to upholding abortion restrictions. read more
In 2017, there were 8,706 abortions performed in the state, down by more than 200 from the previous year. While this decrease is good news, the court ruling is bad news. In an ideal world, the court would make abortion illegal. But in this broken world, the church must make abortion unthinkable. According to a study, women cited their primary reason for getting an abortion was that the child created an undesirable interference in their current life. We should continue to vote for life every election year, but we can also lead by example by celebrating life, no matter the circumstances. Daniel Ritchie published his powerful story on Fox News just a few days ago. Ritchie was born without arms, and the doctor told his parents he was “not viable.” They did not believe his life would be worth living. How wrong the doctors were. Now, 35 years later Ritchie is married, with two kids, and he serves as a pastor and motivational speaker. I encourage you to read Daniel Ritchie’s inspiring perspective encouraging states across the nation to stand for life. Scripture is clear; children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). In an ideal world, abortion would not be an option. But in this broken world, the church has the chance to make abortion the most undesirable option due to our love and hospitality.
The Supreme Court will likely have another opportunity to rule on this subject, and it could be as soon as next year if they choose to hear oral arguments on this case. Continue to pray for our nine Supreme Court justices. Pray that they would uphold pro-life state laws.
Read the Charlotte Lozier Institute article, How the Legal Status of Abortion Impacts Abortion Rates to better understand this issue. They provide significant evidence to support the pro-life cause.
ABOUT HALF OF MILLENNIAL CHRISTIANS THINK IT'S WRONG TO EVANGELIZE, BARNA FINDS
New research from Barna reveals that about half of millennial Christians believe it's "wrong" to evangelize. The new report, "Reviving Evangelism," commissioned by Alpha USA, examines the experiences of persons who share their faith and their attitudes toward evangelizing. Nearly every practicing Christian believes that part of their faith is being a witness about Jesus and that the best thing that could occur for someone is to receive Christ, survey results in the study show. Millennial Christians, those born between 1984 and 1998, say they feel equipped to share their faith with other people with nearly three quarters responding that they both know how to respond when someone asks faith-related questions and are gifted at sharing their faith. Such confidence is considerably higher than older generations, the survey found. However, millennials may not be doing that much evangelism. A significant percentage regard it as at least somewhat "wrong". read more
According to a Gallup poll, 44 percent of millennials said they don’t go to church because they prefer to worship on their own. Thirty-three percent cited their distaste for organized religion. Fear of being labeled a judge, cause many to withhold their disagreements. Despite this thinking, you are still, in fact, judging even if your words aren't expressed out loud. You are just judging your perception of them, which is Supreme Court level judging a book by the cover. Instead of sitting on the bench, take the stand. You are a witness, testifying about how you were blind but now you see (John 9:25). It may be wrong in the court of public opinion, but I would rather stand condemned in public than convicted in heaven (Galatians 1:10).
Pray for millennials to understand the truth of the Great Commission and to live it out (Matthew 28:19-20). Pray for God to give you increased opportunity to share the Gospel with others and disciple the next generation.
For many of us, we have frequent opportunities to share our faith with the people at our workplace. Take a few minutes to read The Gospel Coalition article, 3 Tips for Sharing Your Faith at Work.
PAKISTANI AUTHORITIES STOPPING ASIA BIBI FROM LEAVING COUNTRY, DESPITE ASYLUM OFFER
Christian mother Asia Bibi is reportedly being kept from leaving Pakistan, despite a final Supreme Court decision that rejected a final bid from hardline Islamists to have her acquittal overturned. Bibi, who has been offered asylum in Canada, has now been moved to a new “secure area” and is unable to flee the country that has terrorized her for the past decade, according to a close friend and campaigner. The source, Aman Ullah, told The Associated Press that embattled mother of five had been transferred to a location in Karachi, along with her husband. According to Ullah, the pair are locked in a room, the door to which only opens at “food times.” “She has no indication of when she will leave,” Ullah said, noting that Bibi was frightened and frustrated. “They are not telling her why she cannot leave.” read more
Pakistan’s information minister, Fawad Chaudhry, issued a statement to the Associated Press saying Bibi is permitted to leave. “She is living with her family and given requisite security for safety. She is a free citizen after her release from jail and can move anywhere in Pakistan or abroad.” However, some are skeptical that Pakistan has not made it easy for her to leave. As long as she remains in the country, she is still in extreme danger. We often take for granted our religious freedom here in America. Asia Bibi’s situation should remind us that there are millions of Christians across the world who need our prayers as they stand firm for their faith in the midst of persecution (Matthew 5:10).
Pray for Asia Bibi and her family as they remain in hiding. Pray for them to be released if Pakistan authorities are prohibiting them from leaving the country. And pray for people around them to provide wisdom and assistance in helping them leave the country.
The organization, The Voice of the Martyrs, provides you an opportunity to pray specifically for a front-line worker (a missionary) working to advance the Gospel in some of the most difficult and dangerous mission fields across the world. We encourage you to pray for missionaries and persecuted Christians. Prayer is powerful. We cannot underestimate what God will do through the power of our prayers.
NEW BORDER-SECURITY DEAL IN CONGRESS WOULD LIKELY OFFER TRUMP JUST A FRACTION OF REQUESTED $5.7B FOR WALL
Details of a likely bipartisan border-security deal in Congress are being worked out after the White House indicated it will accept an agreement giving President Trump just a fraction of the money he's demanded for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall. Congressional negotiators said the money allocated to the border wall will be far below Trump’s requested figure of $5.7 billion, a demand that led to a showdown with congressional Democrats and the longest-ever federal government shutdown. The number is likely to be somewhere around $1.6 billion. The deal would not only partially fund the wall, it would also prevent another government shutdown next weekend. Trump threatened to go with the shutdown again, though congressional Republicans are unlikely to have the stamina for another shutdown for which they have been held responsible. One White House aide indicated that Trump will accept whatever agreement comes out of the negotiations as he understands there isn’t enough willpower among Republicans to fight for the full border-wall funding. But even with a breakthrough in negotiations, Democrats are insisting that the money given to the border security shouldn’t be just for the physical barrier. read more
A wall divides the two camps, with one side dismissing the need for it and the other side pointing to the effectiveness of it. Some will make strong arguments for a wall (Romans 13:1-6, 1 Timothy 5:8), others will make an argument for compassion (Deuteronomy 10:18-19, Matthew 25), but every Christian should be influenced by the biblical narrative when reaching a decision. In a 2015 study, approximately 10 percent of Christians said the Bible influences their views of immigration. In an AEI study released last week, more Americans said they get their “sense of community” from people who share their political ideology over people who share their theology. As Christians, our theology shapes our ideology. When our theology is shaped by our political ideology, our God no longer reigns in heaven but abides in a White House.
Continue to pray for your representatives, President Trump, and his cabinet as they seek to both care for people and secure the border to ensure national security.
Pastor Todd Wager from Watermark Church wrote an informative blog on the immigration issue from a biblical perspective. Check out the blog, Do we have to choose between love and the law?
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