Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Throughout the extensive history of the Church, there have been numerous events of lasting significance.
Each week brings anniversaries of impressive milestones, unforgettable tragedies, amazing triumphs, memorable births, notable deaths and everything in between.
Some of the events drawn from over 2,000 years of history might be familiar, while other happenings might be previously unknown to most people.
Here are three events that happened this week in Christian history. They include the birth of Increase Mather, the final sermon of John Flavel, and a Quaker treaty with Native Americans.
Increase Mather born – June 21, 1639
This week marks the anniversary of when Increase Mather, a prominent leader in Puritan Massachusetts, was born in Dorchester to Richard and Katherine Mather.
A graduate of Harvard College in 1656, Mather would later become a Puritan minister and serve as president of the academic institution, as well as be the father of Cotton Mather.
“Even more than his illustrious son Cotton, Increase Mather is representative of American Puritanism in seventeenth-century New England,” explained the Mather Project.
“As a leader of Boston’s ministry, he became the defender of Puritan orthodoxy during its decline; as president of Harvard, he guided the college through its most difficult period; as a political figure, he secured a new charter for Massachusetts when the old had been revoked; and as a voluminous writer, he published in widely diverse disciplines.”
William Penn signs treaty with Native Americans – June 23, 1683
This week marks the anniversary of when influential Quaker leader William Penn, founder of the modern state of Pennsylvania, signed a treaty with a local Native American tribe.
Penn made the treaty with a northern tribe known as the Lenni Lenape, making the agreement under a great elm tree located at Shackamaxon in Philadelphia.
There is some dispute as to the exact date for the treaty, with some placing it as actually having happened at other dates, such as sometime in 1682.
Nevertheless, the treaty was famously described by 18th century French intellectual Voltaire as “the only treaty between those persons and the Christians which has not been sworn to, and which has not been broken.”
John Flavel preaches final sermon – June 21, 1691
This week marks the anniversary of when John Flavel, an influential English Puritan author and preacher, preached what became his final sermon, dying from a severe stroke five days later.
His final message centered on the biblical passage of First Corinthians 10:12, rendered in one translation as “Wherefore let him that stands take heed lest he fall.”
“His life was representative of the best of England’s seventeenth century nonconformists. He was known for his passion at prayer,” noted the Institute.
“For instance, learning that a sea battle was in progress, and knowing that many Dartmouth boys were in the navy, he led his people in prayer and fasting. Not one of Dartmouth’s many sailors perished.”
Displaced Iraqi Christian children in Erbil, the largest city in Iraqi Kurdistan, hold a sign for the Catholic charity organization Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). (Credit: ACN.)
ROME – According to Bishop Mathew Kukah of Sokoto, the Church in Nigeria is one of martyrs. However, he said it wasn’t a Church of sorrows, because despite the persecution perpetrated by Islamic terrorist organizations, “our people have risen to the challenge.”
“The great news for us Christians in Nigeria is that we’ve been quite relentless, and this persecution, which is part of the life and oxygen of Christianity, has found a greater witness of faith and confidence of our people,” he said on Friday.
The prelate also said that Nigeria is a “very troubled country, almost on the verge of internal explosion,” which has created “serious pressure” for the Christian community, with Boko Haram no longer restricted to Nigeria’s northeast, reaching even Kukah’s diocese in north central Nigeria.
“Every day, we see death and destruction at a massive scale,” he said, noting that two days ago, schoolchildren and their teachers were kidnaped, and their whereabouts remain unknown.
Kidnapping girls and selling them as slaves has long been one of Boko Haram’s strategies to finance its crimes.
Kukah’s words came during the presentation of the 2020 financial report of the pontifical charitable agency Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). According to the annual report, ACN raised almost $150 million last year, a 15 percent increase from 2019.
One of the questions raised during the presentation was the impact of the allegations made earlier this year against the founder, Father Werenfried van Straaten, who after an apostolic visitation to ACN in 2009 was found guilty of “serious violations” in four areas of Catholic moral and social teaching.
Dr Thomas Heine-Geldern, executive president of ACN International, said that the donors of the charity “understand that our mission is an important one, and they’re continuing to support our work with their donations.”
He also noted that most of the benefactors were “satisfied” with the way the papal charity had handled the allegations, claiming the past five months have been the most successful in raising funds in the charity’s history.
“Not only did the pandemic turn our own work upside down, but it also dramatically worsened the plight of Christians in many regions of the world, who found themselves — literally almost overnight, without work, pay or food. And many priests and religious were also left not knowing how to make ends meet,” he added.
“In this emergency, however, ACN‘s benefactors remained true to the charity. This great generosity leaves us feeling profoundly grateful,” Heine-Geldern continued. “It was quite unforeseen, especially since the crisis has inflicted profound economic insecurity and difficulties on us all. We were particularly pleased to note that the number of our benefactors has also increased worldwide.”
In 2017, at the age of 20, Chacón was working in the cosmetics industry when she felt a need to find a greater purpose in her life. She took some time off and joined her grandmother, Michelle Corral, in Egypt where she was engaged in humanitarian and missionary work.
John Burger reported in Aleteia that while living among Egyptian Christians, Chacón was inspired to devote her life to helping persecuted Christians:
“It was in Egypt, traveling with my grandmother, that I experienced the face of the persecuted Church for the first time. I realized that there are Christians suffering for their faith, and that these were not just the older generation, but people my age were willing to risk everything for their faith, willing to risk their lives to go to church, to serve Christ and live their lives for the Gospel,” said Chacón.
Jonathan Roumie from The Chosen marches
On September 20, the first March for the Martyrs was held in Long Beach, California. Hundreds of people from many Christian denominations took part, including the actor Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in the popular series The Chosen.
Roumie addressed the marchers, recalling America’s founding and his own family’s experience as Christians in Egypt.
“The United States was founded by men and women who fled religious persecution,” he said. “My own father left Egypt in the 60s because of religious persecution. He brought his family over in search of a better life.”
“The fact that we can be here praising Jesus’ name together without apology deserves a round of applause. God called you here to celebrate with us, to march with us,” said Roumie.
Only 6% of Americans have a “biblical worldview,” according to research from notable evangelical pollster George Barna released as part of a new endeavor with the Christian conservative advocacy organization Family Research Council.
In a statement Wednesday, FRC announced that Barna, who founded the influential evangelical polling organization Barna Group, joined the organization as a senior fellow of their newly launched Center for Biblical Worldview.
FRC President Tony Perkins said that the center is “designed to give Christians a firm foundation so that they can engage the culture by being rooted in God’s Word.”
“Every Christian can and should obtain a biblical worldview — which is only achieved when a person believes that the Bible is true, authoritative, and then taught how it is applicable to every area of life, which enables them to live out those beliefs,” Perkins stressed in a statement.
As part of the center’s launch, FRC released research conducted by Barna’s Metaformation research group. Some of the new report includes questions and data compiled for the American Worldview Inventory produced by the Barna-led Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University.
The data found, among other things, that while 51% of American adults said they have a “biblical worldview, only 6% of American adults actually hold this worldview.
Barna drew the conclusion of inconsistency among the 51% reporting a biblical worldview by noting that many of the questions to determine worldview found this group technically outside of what the pollster defined as a “biblical worldview.”
For example, of the 51%, 49% said that reincarnation was a possibility after they die. Meanwhile, only 33% said they believed that “human beings are born with a sinful nature and can only be saved from the consequences of sin by Jesus Christ.”
Data for the research came from a May survey featuring a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults, with a sampling error of about plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.
“Christians have a duty to stand against the prevailing cultural tides and proclaim God’s truth to a dark and wandering world,” Perkins stated. “But before you stand, you need solid ground.”
The data comes as similar results have been found by other surveys in recent years. Last September, the Cultural Research Center revealed survey data compiled in January 2020 that showed that 2% of millenials hold a biblical worldview even though 61% identify as Christian.
In 2017, a survey from the American Culture and Faith Institute found that about 10% of Americans hold a distinctly biblical worldview even though 46% claimed to lead a Christian life.
In addition to Barna serving as a senior fellow, FRC’s new Center for Biblical Worldview will be headed by David Closson, author of FRC’s “Biblical Worldview Series” who has written pieces for publications including National Review and The Gospel Coalition. Owen Strachen, the provost and research professor of theology at Grace Bible Theological Seminary in Arkansas, also joined the center as a senior fellow.
“I am excited to work more closely with FRC to apply the research findings in ways that help to transform individuals’ lives and American culture,” Barna said in a statement. “Given FRC’s track record of making a difference in our society based upon its unwavering commitment to biblical principles, I look forward to an effective and fruitful partnership using research to guide our efforts.”
The founder and namesake of the Barna Group, Barna also founded the Cultural Research Center in March 2020.
Family Is Reunited with Late Mother’s Bible after an Oklahoma Man Finds it on His Lawn
An Oklahoma family has been reunited with their late mother’s Bible after a man found it on his front lawn.
Terry Ward, the man who found the Bible, had been mowing his front lawn last week when he noticed a Bible in his flower bed.
“It rained all night, so it must have just been there for a little while because it wasn’t wet,” Ward told NBC affiliate KFOR-TV. “Just laying there with some screws and some bullets.”
Ward immediately thought about getting the Bible back to its rightful owner after he noticed that it had the name Pearl Williams in it and was dated 1946.
“Who is Pearl Williams, and where does she live?” he recalled asking himself. “I asked City Hall, and they had no record of her.”
Ward continued this effort by calling the Nicoma Park Police Department, who found the Del City address inside the Bible.
“So, I contacted the Del City Police Department, and they went by the address,” said Lt. Mike Weiss with the Nicoma Park Police Dept. “Luckily, the Bible’s owner – her son – still lived at that address.”
Lisa Bennett, Pearl’s daughter, told KFOR-TV that her family couldn’t believe that their late mother’s Bible made its way to their home.
“It was very emotional,” Bennett said. “We lost my mom in October. So that was hard enough, and now to find out that I have her Bible gives me part of her.”
She added that the Bible also included many precious memories that her late mother tucked inside.
“Her wedding announcement was in the Bible from where she and my dad got married,” Bennett explained. “She kept different things that were very important to her.”
“She was a big part of my life, so when I lost her, I lost a lot of her,” she continued. “Finding little bits and pieces and keeping little pieces of her helps me rebuild that little loss in my heart.”
Bennett also expressed gratitude to the man who found the Bible as well as the police for their investigative work.
“This is the kind of story that makes it nice to be a police officer,” Weiss said. “It makes it nice to be an investigator that you can find somebody’s family Bible and return it to them.”
Police have since conducted a further investigation to determine whether the Bible and other items were stolen from Pearl’s home after she died.
33. And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 35. And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36. And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. 37. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.
If we are able to mentally visualize the crucifixion from the Gospel, here we can see there was a three hour span of darkness across the land. During the ninth hour or around 3pm give or take, we can read those words of the Lamb of God where it seems the Father forsaken His Son.
Biblical scholars more learned than I have written volumes on this one subject, I’ll not rehash their debates or differences but I’ll only give my opinion, regardless of how simple or Orthodox it may be.
At this ONE point during the crucifixion, all of the sins of mankind, past, present, and future were lain upon the sacrificial lamb of God, at this ONE point in time the Father turned away from His Son because of those sins of mankind which He, the Son, accepted punishment for. To my knowledge there is no point recorded in Sacred history where this happened.
The Father turned away, albeit for a short amount of time as we mortals recall time, nonetheless it was the only time the Father and Son were separated, if we could even call it that. This was something which had to be done to redeem mankind, so we who accept the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, could become sons of God as if through adoption. To the Jew first and also to the Gentiles salvation and forgiveness came because of His love towards us.
It is recorded that after this Jesus said, “It is done.” All of history turns on these few events of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lamb of God. Pre-history pointed forward this AD looks back towards it.
So…”It is done.”… accept Jesus as your Savior and learn what life is really about.
12. It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.
In the west the majority of countries don’t have kings as rulers, but I think this Scripture could also apply simply to rulers.
Leadership is established by doing what is fair, just, and equitable for all citizens. When rulers commit wickedness its an abomination, something that most refuse to or cannot see or understand.
In the USA many in positions of leadership use that position for personal gain, disregarding the very rules and/or laws they desire others to obey. Many have given into greed and other vices, losing all sense of moral clarity. This is also happening inside the Church.
Whereas the Churches use to be the center for defining acceptable societal norms and vices, nowadays the center has moved to the governmental funded educational systems. The Church has failed in its outreach to their local communities, instead turning inward. Church ministries for everybody and everything, sin is marginalized, repentance is trivialized and the heart of this nation whithers.
So wickedness is an abomination, if I may, to both kings and those in leadership positions, secular or religious. Now we are experiencing the fruit of their labor.
13. And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
The state of Nevada has agreed to pay a church $175,000 in legal fees after placing restrictions on houses of worship during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to The Christian Post, the Nevada Board of Examiners unanimously approved a request from the Office of the Attorney General to pay Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley $175,000 as the result of a tort claim.
Susan Brown, chief of the Board, explained that the payment was “to comply with the consent decree in this case that requires the state of Nevada to pay a reasonable attorney fees,” adding that the “cost will come out of the tort claim fund.
. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3. If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7. (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
6. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. 7. He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. 8. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. 9. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. 10. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
14. For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. 19. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25. And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27. Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
13. When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. 14. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. 15. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. 16. But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat. 17. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. 18. He said, Bring them hither to me. 19. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 20. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. 21. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children. 22. And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 23. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 24. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32. And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 33. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.