Monthly News Roundup (04.29.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

This is the last episode for the month of April. I plan to use the last episode of the month to highlight and briefly comment on some of the news stories from the last month that we haven’t discussed yet here. In this episode, we’ll be talking about the number of churchgoers who abstain from alcohol, Chinese mobile brainwashing facilities targeting Christians, and a wave of new pro-life laws across the country.Continue Reading

The Christian and Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy

Over the past few years, it seems that we are hearing more about “conspiracy theories.” A number of people have expressed increasing concern over Christians embracing such theories. Notice the following excerpt from an article from Lifeway Research. [Note: We discussed this on the podcast a couple of months ago, but I thought it would be good to deal it here as well.]

“A new study from Nashville-based Lifeway Research finds 49% of U.S. Protestant pastors say they frequently hear members of their congregation repeating conspiracy theories they have heard about why something is happening in our country. Around 1 in 8 (13%) strongly agree their congregants are sharing conspiracy theories, defined by Merriam-Webster as ‘a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.’” (Lifeway Research)

The article contrasts “conspiracy theories” with “truth,” assuming that they must be opposites. Yet that will not always be the case. What conspiracy theories were these pastors hearing? We are not told in the article. However, there is an assumption – not just from the author of the article, but an assumption that is held by many – that whatever has been labeled as a “conspiracy theory” must necessarily be false. (Keep this in mind and we will revisit this point later.)

Again, the article did not mention any specific conspiracy theories that were being spread by church-goers. And in this article, I will not be discussing any specific conspiracy theories either, whether they are about the pandemic, the recent Presidential election, or anything else. However, I do want us to consider some general principles. There are some who are very quick to believe any conspiracy theory that comes along. Others are very quick to dismiss all “conspiracy theories.” As Christians, we should not take either of these approaches.

So what are some Biblical principles we need to remember about “conspiracy theories”? In this article, we are going to consider six points.Continue Reading

Conspiracy Theories (02.11.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

In this episode, we’re delving into the topic of “conspiracy theories.” We won’t be discussing specific “conspiracy theories” that may be out there; instead, we’re going to discuss six Biblical principles that we need to remember when we encounter any “conspiracy theory.”

STORY #1 – Half of U.S. Protestant Pastors Hear Conspiracy Theories in Their Churches

“A new study from Nashville-based Lifeway Research finds 49% of U.S. Protestant pastors say they frequently hear members of their congregation repeating conspiracy theories they have heard about why something is happening in our country. Around 1 in 8 (13%) strongly agree their congregants are sharing conspiracy theories, defined by Merriam-Webster as ‘a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators.’” (Lifeway Research)

Related material:

STORY #2 – Snopes Article Says Creationism “Bears All the Hallmarks of a Conspiracy Theory”

“Last week, Snopes — a fact-checking website that was used by Facebook for several years to combat what the platform dubbed misinformation — published an article describing creationism as ‘a conspiracy theory.’ The author of the article, chemistry professor Paul Braterman, who describes himself as a ‘skeptic’ and ‘anti-creationist,’ claimed in the piece that creationists — those who embrace the seven-day creation story as it’s outlined in the Bible — ‘go to great lengths to demonize the proponents of evolution.’ Braterman bemoaned the fact that 40% of Americans, according to a 2019 Gallup survey, believe in the creationist view of the origin of humanity, which is that we are descended from the first humans God created, Adam and Eve, ‘within roughly the past 10,000 years.’ ‘Such beliefs derive from the doctrine of biblical infallibility, long accepted as integral to the faith of numerous evangelical and Baptist churches through the world,’ he wrote. ‘[B]ut I would argue that the present-day creationist movement is a fully fledged conspiracy theory.’” (Faithwire)

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The First “Abortion-Free” State, the Most Dangerous Countries for Christians, and the Presidential Inauguration (01.21.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

The big news in our country this week was the inauguration of a new President. Transitions like this remind us of the need to pray for those in authority. In this episode we’ll also discuss the first “abortion-free” state and the increase of persecution against Christians around the world.

STORY #1 – Missouri Is the First “Abortion-Free” State

“Missouri has become America’s first ‘abortion-free state,’ after all 45 abortion facilities in the state have closed or ceased performing abortions, according to a report from pro-life organization Operation Rescue: ‘Reproductive Health Services Planned Parenthood in St. Louis was the last abortion facility in Missouri,’ the report said. ‘It remains open, but Operation Rescue has confirmed that no abortion appointments have been available there for months, and none are available anytime in the foreseeable future. All abortion appointments are now being referred to the Fairview Heights Planned Parenthood facility across the Mississippi River in Illinois.’” (Disrn)

Related material:

STORY #2 – List of the Most Dangerous Countries to Be a Follower of Jesus

“The watchdog organization Open Doors USA says levels of Christian persecution are at a record high around the world. Open Doors reports that levels of Christian persecution are at a record high, revealing that the number of Christians murdered for their faith rose 60 percent in 2020. […] Their latest data indicates one-in-eight Christians now suffer for their religious beliefs worldwide. […] The top 10 countries on the World Watch List include North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Pakistan, Eritrea, Yemen, Iran, Nigeria, and India. Reasons for persecution range from communist oppression to Islamic oppression and Hindu nationalism. […] ‘The big surprise on the World Watch List 2021 is that extremists and governments are using COVID-19 as a justification to increase persecution against Christians and we see this in several places,’ [Open Doors USA’s CEO David Curry] told CBN News.” (CBN News)

Related material:

STORY #3 – The Inauguration of a New President

“Democrat Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States on Wednesday… Biden, 78, became the oldest U.S. president in history at a scaled-back ceremony in Washington that was largely stripped of its usual pomp and circumstance, due both to the coronavirus and security concerns following the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.” (Newsmax)

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Book Review: Marx, Lenin, and Jesus

Marx, Lenin, and Jesus (cover)After an election season, many may be burned out by politics. However, the subject of this book is still an important topic and one that is more than just a political one. The book we will review here is one that I recently read: Marx, Lenin, and Jesus: Communism or the Bible? by David E. Pratte.Continue Reading

What Has This Year Taught Us?

Masked couple

With a global pandemic, lockdowns, economic woes, a contested Presidential election, and more, this has been quite an unusual year. While the wise man noted that “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9), from our perspective it can seem like we are living in unprecedented times.

As the events of this year have unfolded, there are some important truths that have been highlighted. These have always been true, but they are more apparent in light of recent events. Let us briefly consider a few points.Continue Reading

Can/Should Christians Vote? (Episode 17)

Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

The question we’ll be considering in this episode is this:

Can/should Christians vote?

As we approach an upcoming election, how should we view this as Christians? Should we vote or refrain from voting? If we vote, on what basis should we decide how to vote? We will consider these questions in this episode.

Additional resources:

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