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The Jeremiah Johnston Show

Alister McGrath: Mere Discipleship (Encore Presentation)

January 11, 2020

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Why We Glory in the Cross! – Special message from Dr. Jeremiah Johnston

Do you know how to take “screen-shots” with your phone or computer? I would encourage you to take plenty of “screen-shots” during my video message “Why We Glory in the Cross.”

Skeptics say we cannot trust the gospels. They are not historically unreliable, says the skeptic. Really? Notice the crucifixion spike of Jehohanan discovered in 1967.

  • The iron spike is 11.5 centimeters or 4.5 inches.
  • Skeleton dates to the late 20s on the basis of coin evidence.
  • Pontius Pilate would have been governor or prefect of Judea.
  • Learn more in my video message and please feel free to share!

Dear test,

I a mountain-peak passage of importance related to the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus, Paul began in an interesting way: “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel …” Wait, what? Paul needed to remind the Corinthians “of the gospel”? Exactly. Why did the Corinthians, and why do you (and me), need to be reminded? Because the power of the Gospel is so easy to forget. Let us never forget, without Jesus death and resurrection, there is no good news or Gospel! 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central point of Christianity, and has been since the earliest days of the faith, which is why I am sending you numerous emails this week with hours of content to equip you to live a resurrection-centric faith! Followers of Christianity do not have to take the bodily resurrection of Jesus on faith alone because the evidence is so persuasive. Furthermore, I want to teach you why the resurrection of Jesus is not only historically impactful, but transformationally energizes your walk with Christ from day to day. 

The claim that Jesus was truly resurrected assumed a heavy burden of proof. What persuaded Jesus’ followers to speak of Jesus’ resurrection was their conviction that Jesus had died, had been buried in a known place, and had exited that place. These factors, in combination with His appearances, convinced His followers that Jesus was indeed the bodily resurrected messiah.

Early believers had little to gain in their society and everything to lose for believing in the risen Lord. Jesus was a pariah in both Roman and Jewish cultures. Yet, His resurrection gave proof that He was Lord, and that followers of Christ could experience eternal life as well. John 14:19 is one of the greatest promises in the New Testament: “Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.”

I have great news for you today. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and He lives, and there are great evidences for that belief.

As Christians, let’s commit to three principles related to the resurrection of Jesus:

1) we must recover a resurrection-centric faith,

2) we should refresh our minds with evidence of the resurrection, and

3) we should recommit to live the mission of the resurrection.

No matter what life throws at you, the resurrection promises that God is a God of new beginnings. The resurrection changes everything.

The fact that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to disciples and followers changed the course of history, and Christianity continues to influence the world for good. The hope that is found through Jesus is the basis for the Gospel. Paul writes, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (I Corinthians 15:14). He goes on to say, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Corinthians 15:20).

Wherever you’re at, I pray this program equips you with evidence for the faith. Let the power of the resurrection fuel you every week of your Christian life!

– Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

Some of Jeremiah’s teaching reminders from his presenter slides are below …

  • One half of John’s Gospel and 1/3rd of Matthew, Mark, and Luke focus on the death of Jesus Christ.
  • There are 10 sermons in the book of Acts: Five by Peter and five given by Paul … each of them focus on the cross and the impact of the death of Christ.
  • So convinced of the power of the cross was Paul that he determined to know nothing “except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Cor 2:2)
  • Paul authors the greatest document ever written called the Book of Romans and makes it clear that we are “justified by his blood” and “reconciled to God though the death of his Son. Romans 5:9-10
  • No wonder Paul boasted in nothing except the cross – Galatians 6:14
  • Finally, in the Book of Revelation 28 xs Jesus is symbolized as the lamb … the lamb who was slain. Our salvation is eternal, our redemption is endless because our names are written in the Lambs book of life … what’s more the redeemed people fo God … that number that no-one could count who are drawn from every nation and langue and stand before God’s throne  .that dramatic scene in Revelation 7…
  • And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb. (Rev 7:10)
  • We stand righteous before God … in robes washed white in the blood of the lamb (Rev 7:14)
  • This is where God promises to wipe every tear from our eyes.
  • The Lamb’s name is written on our foreheads in Revelation 14:1

If you missed my earlier email with links to the conversation Sheila Walsh had with me on the importance of the resurrection of Jesus, you can click here or on the image below.

Watch Interview: The resurrection is the only way we make sense of the suffering in our lives

The Resurrection of Jesus is the only way we ultimately make sense of the suffering in our lives. In this Holy Week, I want you to be reminded that the resurrection of Jesus is what energizes our faith and service for our Lord. The resurrection, as you will see in the clip and interview below, is the eternal life support we have available when faced with grief, suffering and pain.

I enjoyed visting “Wednesdays in the Word,” with my dear friend Sheila Walsh (a gifted Bible teacher, author and amazing woman of God) of Life Today with James and Betty Robison.

Here’s a clip of Why The Resurrection of Jesus Matters Today as much as it did 2,000 years ago … I also encourage you to watch the entire interview. You may be surprised to learn life expectancy in the time of Jesus and the early church averaged twenty years of age. Skeletal remains suggest that as many as one quarter (25 percent) of the Roman Empire, on any given day, was sick, dying, or in need of immediate medical attention. Suffering was everywhere. Then came the man from Galilee who said, “The dead are raised up!” (Luke 7:22). Please watch and share these encoring evidences for our faith linked in this email.

He is Risen Indeed!

– Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

Wednesdays in the Word with Sheila Walsh – Watch Full Interview

LINKS: An mp3 of the interview can be downloaded here and the transcript of the interview is available here. Please feel free to share and encourage others this Holy Week!

Key Point: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the seminal issue for the church today, as it was that first Easter morning in Jerusalem. If the resurrection did not happen, Christianity is a waste of time. If I were a critic of Christianity, perhaps the most difficult problem would be coming up with a reason for why there are any Christians (Christianoi) in the first place. Their founder was a crucified criminal. Crucifixion was considered to be the most heinous and shameful way to die. In the gospel of Luke, His disciples are said to have lost all hope following the crucifixion. They gave up, and why would they not? In that gripping scene in Luke 24:13–35, two disciples on the Emmaus road encounter an interesting stranger. Not realizing they are walking and conversing with the resurrected Messiah, they admitted, “we had hoped that he was the one” (Luke 24:21), with a particular note of defeat. The early Christian movement should have died out, but instead it thrived. Why? The resurrection of Jesus.

Coming Soon: UNLEASHING PEACE – We Need God’s Shalom! (you can pre-order now!)

Honoring my wife Audrey, on her birthday (April 5th), with a special story or two

Honoring my wife Audrey, on her birthday (April 5th), with a special story or two

Romans 13:7 … “give honor to those whom honor is due” 

Picture above is an attempted Easter selfie, 2021.

I am going to attempt to implement Romans 12:10 with this email tribute for my wife Audrey’s birthday – today – April 5th! Audrey is celebrating birthday #37 and we have now “been together” for twenty incredible years (we first went out when Audrey was 17!). I want to bring my wife honor with a few words from my heart. By the way, Romans 12:10 challenges us to “outdo one another in showing honor.”

It is easy to express faith when things are going well. My wife, Audrey, has the incredible Christian quality of expressing faith when life becomes unexpectedly difficult. So here are a few thoughts from my heart to you, Audrey.

Audrey’s Faith. 

Charles Surgeon said, “A little faith will bring your soul to heaven; a great faith will bring heaven to your soul.” Audrey, your faith brings heaven to earth.

Audrey, for your birthday, I want to acknowledge your great faith. I can think of so many different major life moments where your immediate reflex was … faith.

Specifically, I remember the time I told you I should quit Christian Thinkers Society (the year was 2011). I think I was pretty emphatic in my home office. I probably said it more than once. In fact, I know I did. In those moments of my little, weak faith, you spoke big faith into my life. By most outward appearances, Christian Thinkers Society started strong, seemed “successful,” certainly impacted lives for Christ, but I felt so inadequate (and still do). I never felt up for the task, but you reminded me that God began a “good work in me and would bring it to completion” (Phil 1:6). Christian Thinkers Society was about calling and Christian destiny.

Audrey, Christian Thinkers Society, by the grace of God, would not exist today without you speaking faith to me in those early moments.

With our children (I sometimes lose count of how many children we have!), there have been some significant health challenge moments where, again, your immediate reaction was … faith. What better example can I offer than the faith you expressed to honor God in our triplet pregnancy.

Thank you for expressing faith in the difficult moments. Thanks for praying first.

Audrey’s Faithfulness, “let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering; for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23)

As a family on the front lines of ministry, traveling often, even living in foreign countries pursuing our calling, we have not shared the familiar support system of other families. We’ve lived in the UK, Canada, and thankfully now call Texas home. You never complained. To be sure, it has not been easy. In fact, nothing worth having ever comes easy, does it? You have always been faithful. For those who watch your leadership in our home, with our five children (it is five children, right? lol), and the hope you offer so many far and wide through Christian Thinkers Society, I (and others) cannot think of a better descriptor for you than “faithfulness.” Thank you for your faithfulness to our calling, and family, but most importantly, to Jesus, because I know your faithfulness to him energizes and informs your faithfulness to everything else.

Audrey’s Fruitfulness. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Gal 5:22-23)

St. Augustine was significantly impacted by St. Ambrose of Milan. Ambrose was known as a powerful speaker; however, what impacted Augustine was Ambrose’s kindness. Augustine wrote, “To him was I unknowing led by Thee, that by him I might knowingly be led to Thee. That man of God received me as a father, and showed me an Episcopal kindness on my coming. Thenceforth I began to love him….” Augustine was powerfully impacted by the kindness shown him by Ambrose, which made Ambrose’s teaching all the more powerful.

In a time when talent, ability, and achievements are (sometimes) used by influencers as excuses not to be kind and sometimes even to “railroad” others, Audrey, your kindness makes your “other ministries” all the more powerful. Thank you for your kindness.

You also have the gift of encouragement. We were living in Oxford, England. I was pursuing my Ph.D. (as you know!). I was pretty pleased with a section I had written of my thesis, which took me some time to finish (at least, I thought I was finished!). I sent said section to my supervisors and was presently eviscerated. I remember asking you, “maybe I am not cut out for this?” “Are you sure we heard God on this? (or some nonsense like that).” The fruit of the spirit and encouragement through your life kept me going. I look back and cannot believe I thought I wouldn’t succeed, but hindsight is always 20/20. As you know, I published a nearly 96,000-word thesis as an academic monograph, but I remember the days you spoke life into my research. Thank you.

Happy Birthday, Audrey. Thank you for your faith, your faithfulness, and your fruitfulness!

– Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

What would Jesus’s New York Times Obituary Look Like? 

What would Jesus’s New York Times Obituary Look Like?

I was among a group of scholars who participated in a very interesting project on how Jesus of Nazareth’s obituary may have read in the New York Times (published in Vanity Fair, not an academic publication!).

But first …. 

The Johnston triplets (Ryder, Abel, and Jaxson), along with their classmates at Fort Bend Christian Academy, proclaiming the eternal truth: HE IS NOT HERE, HERE IS RISEN! (video is 9 second)

Jesus of Nazareth, Whose Messianic Message Captivated Thousands, Dies at About 33

 

As published at Vanity Fair … 

Sam Roberts, an obituary writer for The New York Times, imagines how, given the facts available then, his predecessors might have reported the aftermath of an execution in the Middle East one Friday two millennia ago.

By Sam Roberts

Jesus of Nazareth, a Galilean carpenter turned itinerant minister whose appeals to piety and whose repute as a healer had galvanized a growing contingent of believers, died on Friday after being crucified that morning just outside Jerusalem, only days after his followers had welcomed him triumphantly to the city as “the anointed one” and “the Son of David.” He was about 33.

For a man who had lived the first three decades of his life in virtual obscurity, he attracted a remarkable following in only a few years.

His reputation reflected a persuasive coupling of message, personal magnetism, and avowed miracles. But it also resonated in the current moment of spiritual and economic discontent and popular resentment of authority and privilege, whether wielded by foreigners from Rome or by the Jewish priests in Jerusalem and their confederates.

Still, Jesus had been preceded in recent years by a litany of false messiahs. He followed a roster of self-styled prophets who promised salvation and, with their ragtag followers from separatist sects, cults, and fractious rebel groups, were branded as bandits by the governing Romans, ostracized by the ruling priests as heretics in a period of pessimistic apocalyptic expectation, and already lost to history.

Despite the throngs that greeted him in Jerusalem and applauded his daring assault on the Temple and his attack on the money changers who operate within its precincts with impunity, it is arguable whether the legacy of this man—whom some contemporaries dismissed, if guardedly, as “the one they call Messiah”—will be any more enduring or his followers any more committed than the prophets and their devotees who preceded him.

(Moreover, what he might have accomplished further had he lived is also debatable, since the average life span today is not much more than 40.)

Jesus seems to have been universally respected as a wise man whose appeal for mercy, humility, and compassion reverberated powerfully. But he left no written record, and, according to those who heard him, he sometimes preached mixed messages. He would bless the peacemakers, but also suggest that his followers buy swords. He would insist that his mission was solely to minister to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” but would also direct his devotees to proselytize to other nations.

Read the rest of the Obituary of Jesus … click here. 

He is Risen Indeed!

– Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

Did you read our previous three Holy Week emails? For your convenience, here they are: 

Holy Week 2021 Email 1 – The resurrection of Jesus is the only way we make sense of the suffering in our lives

Holy Week 2021 Email 2 – Why We Glory in the Cross! Special message from Dr. Jeremiah Johnston

Holly Week 2021 Email 3 – 7 Reasons We Believe Jesus Rose from the Dead

Why Can We Trust in the Bodily Resurrection? – Part 1

Why Can We Trust in the Bodily Resurrection? – Part 2

LINKS: An mp3 of the interview can be downloaded here and the transcript of the interview is available here. Please feel free to share and encourage others this Holy Week!

What are the 7 best evidences for why we believe Jesus Rose from the Dead?

What are the 7 evidences for why we believe Jesus Rose from the Dead?

What is the “Body of Proof?”

The Easter event overwhelmed the followers of Jesus to such an extent that it dominated their thought and became the very center of their preaching. Indeed, the message that Jesus himself had proclaimed was subordinated to the proclamation of his resurrection. Does the resurrection of Jesus dominate your Christian life? How can we grow in our appreciation and understanding of the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus? I did my Ph.D. research on the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus, which I defended in the United Kingdom in 2012. In 2015, my 90,000+ word thesis was published as an academic monograph with Bloomsbury T & T Clark. 

What is the “Body of Proof”? Here are seven compelling reasons I believe Jesus rose from the dead (there are additional reasons, too!). Let me encourage you to watch and share the four videos linked in this email. Please note, in the video above, my message begins at the 13:47 mark.

1.     The resurrection of Jesus is the only way we ultimately make sense of the suffering in our lives.

Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

2.     Jesus foretold it – #OnTheThirdDay

Hosea 6:2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.

Mark 8:31; Mark 9:31; Mark 10:33-34

1 Corinthians 15:4 … that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures

3.     Jesus demonstrated resurrection power.

Mark 5:21-43: Jairus’ daughter.

Luke 7:11-17 Widow of Nain’s son.

John 11:1-44: Lazarus

4.     Jesus’s bodily resurrection was not what his disciples (or any other Jews, for that matter) anticipated.

Peter said, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (Matt 16:22).

4Q285 (DSS) – Messiah kills the Roman emperor.

Luke 24:21, “We had hoped he was the messiah …”

5.     The sources written and archeological overwhelmingly support the resurrection narrative embedded in the Gospels.

1 Corinthians 15:3-7 – no passage in the NT is taken more seriously by biblical scholars. Creed: Source material for this creed is the oldest in the New Testament.

6.     It is the only convincing explanation for the conversion of those who did not follow Jesus during his ministry (Then he appeared to James).

“Is this not the carpenter? … And they took offense at him.” (Mark 6:3)

“Not even his brothers believed in him.” (John 7:5)

“He is out of His mind.” (Mark 3:21)

7.     It is the only convincing explanation for the historical fact that everywhere the Christian faith goes and is embraced, culture is dramatically changed and made better.

Will you commit to living a resurrection-centric life?

He is Risen Indeed!

– Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

Did you see our previous two Holy Week emails? For your convenience, here they are:

Holy Week 2021 Email 1 – The resurrection of Jesus is the only way we make sense of the suffering in our lives

Holy Week 2021 Email 2 – Why We Glory in the Cross! Special message from Dr. Jeremiah Johnston

Why Can We Trust in the Bodily Resurrection? – Part 1

Why Can We Trust in the Bodily Resurrection? – Part 2

LINKS: An mp3 of the interview can be downloaded here and the transcript of the interview is available here. Please feel free to share and encourage others this Holy Week!

A Personal Update From Jeremiah

 

In praise of your fellowship, prayers, and our God Who answers, I am delighted to share I had the “final” appointment with my colon surgeon on Monday, March 1st. I am healed. In fact, I just finished a 4-mile jog. God’s grace has worked mightily in my life (and continues). I am so thankful for your prayers, which honestly left me overwhelmed with gratitude. I will never forget laying in the hospital room reading some of the messages from my brothers and sisters in Christ. Our ministry is powered by God’s grace and your prayers. I am focused on all God has for Christian Thinkers Society moving forward. Finally, I realize you likely receive many emails, so if you have missed some of our recent health updates (or you’re wondering, ‘wait, you had surgery on your colon?’) you can find those here, here, here, and here.

I hope you’ll join me this Thursday evening for a live-streamed event, “Finding Peace in Anxious Times” (additional information below) hosted by the wonderful Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, MI, with excellent panelists and our dear friend and gifted Bible teacher, Susie Larson.

We hide the problem behind phrases like “an unprecedented year,” “a new normal,” or “a challenging season.”

There is another virtual event I want to make you aware of, which is timely. Christian Thinkers must be activated in the mental wellness discussion! We hide the problem behind phrases like “an unprecedented year,” “a new normal,” or “a challenging season.” But the truth is that all of us are dealing with more strains on our mental health than we’ve ever experienced…and many in the church are surviving instead of thriving. When there’s a gap between what we think we should be feeling as Christians–joyful, grateful, blessed–and how we really feel–exhausted, worried, hopeless–it’s hard to know where to turn. I am delighted to join this panel of Christian Thinkers have been there, whether through personal experience with anxiety and depression or through extensive counseling training and practice. We want to equip you with practical advice for addressing mental health issues during difficult times, sharing:

-Insights on the reality of mental health struggles, even among believers

-Truths to apply to both everyday stress and overwhelming attacks of anxiety

-Ways to discern what habits and practices can provide peace and focus

Whether you’re looking to improve your own mental health or want to better understand and care for those you love who are struggling, this roundtable discussion is for you.

The event is free and all you need to do is register your attendance, here. 

Date And Time

Thu, March 4, 2021

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM CST

Add to Calendar

Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

Roundtable Discussion

Recently I participated in a roundtable discussion, “Finding Peace in Anxious Times,” with two other panelists (Jamie Grace and Jean Holthaus) hosted by Susie Larson and the Baker Book House. Our one-hour discussion and QnA session is now available in its entirety on YouTube. I hope you will watch,  share, and most importantly practice the ministry of presence is someone’s life who may be hurting.

We hide the problem behind phrases like “an unprecedented year,” “a new normal,” or “a challenging season.”

The truth is that all of us are dealing with more strains on our mental health than we’ve ever experienced…and many in the church are surviving instead of thriving. When there’s a gap between what we think we should be feeling as Christians–joyful, grateful, blessed–and how we really feel–exhausted, worried, hopeless–it’s hard to know where to turn. I was delighted to join this panel of Christian Thinkers have been there, whether through personal experience with anxiety and depression or through extensive counseling training and practice. This discussion will equip you with practical advice for addressing mental health issues during difficult times, sharing:

-Insights on the reality of mental health struggles, even among believers

-Truths to apply to both everyday stress and overwhelming attacks of anxiety

-Ways to discern what habits and practices can provide peace and focus

Whether you’re looking to improve your own mental health or want to better understand and care for those you love who are struggling, this roundtable discussion is for you.

Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

​P.S. Please don’t forget about my new book Unleashing Peace …. coming soon! We need this message of Shalom … like yesterday! 

New Discoveries in the Dead Sea Wilderness

New Discoveries in the Dead Sea Wilderness

Photo credit: Shai Halevi, The IAA (Israel Antiquities Authority), more photos can be found here.

16 March 2021

Important update from Professor Craig Evans, founding board member of Christian ThinkersSociety, dear friend, colleague, and academic mentor of Dr. Jeremiah J. Johnston.

 

This morning it was announced in Israel that more discoveries have been made in the Dead Sea wilderness region, where in the 1940s–1960s some one thousand ancient Jewish scrolls were found. What led to the recent discovery was the launch of “Operation Scroll,” an effort to survey and eventually explore hundreds of caves in this region that might contain ancient antiquities, including scrolls.

This effort led to the 2017 discovery of a cave near Qumran that contained ceramic jars that at one time probably contained scrolls. Archaeologists think that this cave had been looted in the 1950s, which could account for the appearance of ancient scrolls whose place of discovery was unknown.

The latest success of Operation Scroll has resulted in the discovery of fragments of books of prophecy by Zechariah and Nahum. These fragments were found at Nahal Hever in the “Cave of Horror,” so-called because of the discovery of forty human skeletons during the original excavation in the 1960s. It was at Nahal Hever that a Greek Minor Prophets scroll was discovered. The new fragments, eighty in all, should add to our knowledge to this important scroll. (See the image above of one of the Greek fragments.)

These scroll fragments were hidden in the cave during the great revolt against Roman control of Israel in 132 to 135 AD. This revolt was led by a man named Simon bar Kosiba, who gained the title “Bar Kokhba,” or “Son of the Star,” inspired by the prophecy of Numbers 24:17 “A star shall go forth from Jacob, and a scepter shall arise from Israel.” This important passage was understood to refer to the coming Messiah. Some thought Simon was the fulfillment of the prophecy. Alas, Simon’s rebellion led to a catastrophic defeat and the expulsion of the Jewish people from their homeland. The Jewish people were without a homeland until 1948.

One of the interesting features of the recently announced Greek fragments of Zechariah and Nahum is that the name of God appears written in Hebrew — not Greek — which testifies to the great respect the Jewish people had for God. The scribe who wrote this biblical scroll felt that the name of God could only be written in the original Hebrew, not in Greek translation.

It is very probable that more discoveries will be announced in the years to come.

Professor Craig A. Evans

Christian Thinkers Society

P.S. If you have further questions related to this discovery, please contact Professor Evans here.

Jeremiah and Craig in the Griffith Papyrology Lab, Sackler Library, Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford.

Excited to hold my first academic chapter published in German on the “Kingdom of God” in Mohr Siebeck’s “Jesus Handbuch” – co-authored with my friend and colleague, Professor Craig A. Evans Mohr Siebeck | Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company will also be publishing the chapter for an English version. This book will be read by “dozens” at most, but it is important to continue to shine the Light in the academic world, too! Plus, our article on the “Kingdom of God” is a very important subject.

Every Bible-believing American will suffer under this legislation

OPPOSE “THE EQUALITY ACT” (H.R. 5, link to Act here)

At Christian Thinkers Society, our mission is to resource and equip pastors, ministry leaders, educators, business leaders, students, children, parents, and families with the tools, information and education necessary to be a ChristianThinker. Thousands of leaders receive our CTS emails. I would not be following my calling if I did not make you aware of something extremely concerning if you care about a Christian world and life view, which the so-called “Equality Act” utterly opposes. It will be voted on by the House this week. The Church (Capital C – all followers of Jesus) must wake up!

I wrote a book called Unimaginable: What the World Would Be Like Without ChristianityHere I thought I had discovered and raised awareness for all of the grim results when Christianity is marginalized or collapses in society. I fear we will be seeing the first signs of this if the “Equality Act” is passed.

According to Family Research Council: Every Bible Believing American Will Suffer Under this Act: “Imagine an America where religious hospitals are forced to perform abortions. Where Bible-believing churches could be forced to hire pastors and other employees who don’t follow the teachings of the church and could be required to host same-sex wedding ceremonies. Where Christianschools are forced to cater to the preferences of students who identify as transgender, threatening the privacy and safety of young girls. If the U.S. House and Senate pass the ‘Equality’ Act, this is the future that could lie before us.”

Exact wording from H.R. 5: “(2) (with respect to gender identity) an individual shall not be denied access to a shared facility, including a restroom, a locker room, and a dressing room, that is in accordance with the individual’s gender identity.”; 

As a father of five children, including a daughter, I must encourage you to read Justice Alito’s dissenting opinion in BOSTOCK v. CLAYTON COUNTY, GEORGIA, here is an excerpt:

“[B]athrooms, locker rooms, [and other things] of [that] kind.” “The Court may wish to avoid this subject, but it is a matter of concern to many people who are reticent about disrobing or using toilet facilities in the presence of individuals whom they regard as members of the opposite sex. For some, this may simply be a question of modesty, but for others, there is more at stake. For women who have been victimized by sexual assault or abuse, the experience of seeing an unclothed person with the anatomy of a male in a confined and sensitive location such as a bathroom or locker room can cause serious psychological harm.”

Please be informed and then URGE your US Representative and Senator to VOTE NO on H.R. 5 – “The Equality Act.” Link: EMAIL your U.S. House Representative and urge him or her to “Vote No” on “The Equality Act” H.R. 5).

 

Read this important summary: The Inequalities of the ‘Equality Act’ – The Equality Act (H.R. 3185/S. 1858, “the Act”)

Ryan Anderson’s NY Post op-ed is a very ful summary, here.

FRC: Mary Beth Waddel: How the “Equality Act” Is Actually Unequal, Unfair, and Unjust. I also would recommend you review the Full Publication, here.

Ken Blackwell writes: The ‘Equality Act’ Would Create a Religious ‘Separate But Equal’, I urge you to read his article.  “Where the civil rights movement created real equality, the Equality Act creates a separate but equal status based on deeply held beliefs. Under the Equality Act, those who reject a historical understanding of sexuality and gender have no concerns, but those who hold to a historical understanding of sexuality and gender will have fewer professional, educational, and athletic options and face greater legal liabilities regardless of where they are or what they do. Businesses owned by people with orthodox Christian, Jewish, or Muslim beliefs should eventually expect to have higher insurance rates as well because their legal exposure will be significantly higher because of those beliefs.That’s not equality.That is a force of destruction!”

 

Our friend, John Stonestreet offers an excellent summary with the implications of the Equality Acts, here, on Breakpoint. According to John: “Late last week, Democratic lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced the Equality Act, a grave threat to religious liberty and conscience rights that would, in effect, erase all legal distinctions between male and female in public life. The Equality Act would make gender identity and sexual orientation protected classes under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, forcing compliance in areas such as public accommodation and education … The Equality Act still faces significant obstacles in the Senate. Here are three things you can do:

  • Contact your Representative and your Senators and let them know to oppose the Equality Act.
  • Share widely the resources and articles on the Equality Act found at BreakPoint.org.
  • Go to promisetoamericaschildren.org and sign the statement committing to prioritize children’s rights over adult happiness and share the resources found there with your pastor, church, and community.”

According to The US Pastors Council:  “Pastors of every city and town across the nation, it is again time for us to stand publicly for God’s created order of male, female, moral decency and equal justice by calling on our Congressmen and Congresswomen to vote AGAINST the “Equality Act”.  Please call starting TODAY and reference the following points:

-The Equality Act would declare that sexual lifestyles and shifting states of mind like gender confusion are the same as immutable and identifiable characteristics such as race, sex and religion. There is no credible comparison.

  1. The Equality Act compares anecdotal claims by individuals of being wrongfully treated to centuries of systemic discrimination suffered by American Blacks and other ethnic groups that were denied access to voting, jobs and equal justice.  No such class discrimination has ever been proven for LGBTQ.
  2. The Equality Act would criminalize the deeply held and practiced religious beliefs of millions of Americans of all major religions who accept God’s created order of male, female, marriage between one man and one woman and the separation of the sexes in state of undress as well as competitive sports.
  3. The Equality Act is in fact an “Inequality Act” that creates Unequal Rights for a tiny few at the expense of the freedom of the vast majority with the power of the federal government weaponized against God and America loving citizens of every color, every corner.
  4. The Equality Act is a massive “problem looking for a solution” giving federal government power over the hearts and minds of innocent citizens.”

I have contacted my congressional representative, Troy Nehls, urging him to vote NO on “The Equality Act,” H.R. 5.

​I encourage you to do the same with your representative. Let’s stay in prayer for Christians to be thinkers with an activated faith that impacts our communities. 

I also am thankful for my friend, Professor Craig Evans, providing some excellent insights from his experience living in Canada, which I encourage you to read below. It is dangerous when governments decide what truth is and who can speak truth. 

Be bold. Stand for Truth. If you would like to share this email with a friend, you may click on “No Images? Click here” in the top-right corner of this email. Once clicked, the email will open in a new web-browser. You can share the link to this email with anyone. 

​Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D. 

Reminder: Please be informed and then URGE your US Representative and Senator to VOTE NO on H.R. 5 – “The Equality Act.” Link: EMAIL your U.S. House Representative and urge him or her to “Vote No” on “The Equality Act” H.R. 5).

A word from Craig Evans:

My family I lived in Canada for 35 wonderful years. Our daughters grew up in Canada. The oldest got married and gave us a wonderful grandson. We became dual citizens. Although back in the US, my wife and I have no regrets for our long and positive stay in the big country in the north. Politically and socially, Canada is a bit to the left of the US, though at the rate the US is moving left, that might not be true for much longer. One of the biggest mistakes the Canadian government made a number of years ago was to pass a law against “hate speech.” For most people what constitutes hate speech is obvious. The problem, however, is that the law’s definition of hate speech is so broad and so ill-defined, that it boils down to how one feels. It is very subjective. Thus, the “victim” defines the alleged hate speech. This has effectively ended free speech in certain areas of life, especially as it relates to human sexuality and sexual behavior. It is very risky, for example, to discuss the negatives involved in the  homosexual lifestyle. To mention anything that is negative (physical ill-health, mental ill-health, psychological problems, and the like) is to run the risk of being accused of hate speech. Clergy dare not share the biblical perspective. To do so is to run the risk of prosecution and loss of tax exemption, among other things. Consequently, aspects of homosexuality simply cannot be discussed, no matter what the physical and psychological realities might be. We are moving in this direction in the US. We are now told that gender is simply a matter of choice, not physical genetics. This, of course, flies in the face of logic and science, but facts, it would appear, no longer matter. The new, radical political-correctness poses many dangers. Perhaps the greatest threat is to freedom of speech.  — Craig A. Evans, Richmond, Texas

Finding Peace in Anxious Times

We hide the problem behind phrases like “an unprecedented year,” “a new normal,” or “a challenging season.”

Our ministry never sleeps! By God’s grace, our Christian Thinkers Society online presence has grown tremendously since the Covid shutdowns. I have shared God’s truth boldly and loving in virtual events from Rice University, to retirement senior living facilities in Missouri, church worship services from Florida to Michigan, and groups I admire like the Colson Fellows. As you can imagine, so many are searching for answers, truth, and God’s peace. This week we added additional media assets to our ChristianThinkers.com website. I am amazed one of our videos has nearly 99,327 views! I am thankful we create and offer free content, blogs, broadcasts, podcasts and videos for Christians to become thinkers!

There is another virtual event I want to make you aware of, which is timely. Christian Thinkers must be activated in the mental wellness discussion! We hide the problem behind phrases like “an unprecedented year,” “a new normal,” or “a challenging season.” But the truth is that all of us are dealing with more strains on our mental health than we’ve ever experienced…and many in the church are surviving instead of thriving. When there’s a gap between what we think we should be feeling as Christians–joyful, grateful, blessed–and how we really feel–exhausted, worried, hopeless–it’s hard to know where to turn. I am delighted to join this panel of Christian Thinkers have been there, whether through personal experience with anxiety and depression or through extensive counseling training and practice. We want to equip you with practical advice for addressing mental health issues during difficult times, sharing:

-Insights on the reality of mental health struggles, even among believers

-Truths to apply to both everyday stress and overwhelming attacks of anxiety

-Ways to discern what habits and practices can provide peace and focus

Whether you’re looking to improve your own mental health or want to better understand and care for those you love who are struggling, this roundtable discussion is for you.

The event is free and all you need to do is register your attendance, here. 

Date And Time

Thu, March 4, 2021

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM CST

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Jeremiah J. Johnston, Ph.D.

(more updates below)

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It has been a tough week in Texas. We lost power temporarily. By the time we blew up the air mattresses and got our five children to sleep, the power had returned. Thank you for praying for all of the families struggling with damage; as well as the first responders. A dear friend of ours, who is a nurse, was at the hospital for four days straight this week serving patients.

Excited to hold my first academic chapter published in German on the “Kingdom of God” in Mohr Siebeck’s “Jesus Handbuch” – co-authored with my friend and colleague, Professor Craig A. Evans Mohr Siebeck | Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company will also be publishing the chapter for an English version. This book will be read by “dozens” at most, but it is important to continue to shine the Light in the academic world, too! Plus, our article on the “Kingdom of God” is a very important subject.

Audrey and I want to recommend that you watch “The Chosen” with your family and friends. I cannot recommend this series enough. I first heard about “The Chosen” when I interviewed and filmed with Jerry Jenkins and Craig Evans for our radio show while season one was in creative production. Jerry’s son, Dallas Jenkins, is the director. They’ve filmed much of the show in Texas!

We have five children (ages 4 1/2 –  11) and all of us are watching the episodes together. I thank God for this media to disciple our children. There is a creative story that weaves around the canonical gospel materials and I find the program drawing us in at several points. Episode three of season one is Jesus teaching several children and I cannot tell you how much our family loved this episode. The Chosen is:

  • the first-ever multi-season show about Jesus​
  • the #1 highest crowd-funded project of all-time at $10 million from over 19,000 people​
  • translated into 50 languages and counting​
  • consistently ranked in the top 50 entertainment apps on ios and android​
  • completely free to watch on our app that connects directly to streaming devices with no fee or subscription necessary​
  • generating income for future seasons when viewers choose to “pay it forward” after viewing

How to watch “The Chosen”: This was the part where you need to pay attention because it took us a minute.

I recommend opening your smart phone and downloading “The Chosen” app on either the android or apple store. Also, you can download the family-friendly streaming app, VidAngel to watch it on your streaming devices. Of course, you can purchase the whole season on DVD, too. Check their website for more details.

I celebrate this excellent media and hope you will take advantage of these great opportunities with your friends and family …

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