Sunday, July 08, 2012

The 3 - July 7, 2012

This week's edition of "The 3", my week-in-review feature, points to legislation in California that could further contributes to the redefinition of the family there.   Also, a major denomination wrestles with approving a new definition of marriage to include same-sex marriage.  And, a large conference in Australia draws Christians from dozens of nations around the world. 

3 - Gay-friendly parenting measures advance in California

There's an unfortunate saying that states that if you want to see the future in your state and area, just look at what's going on in California.   And, indeed, in the name of being progressive and even futuristic, lawmakers in the Golden State are considering more measures that serve to redefine the traditional family and legitimize alternative family structures, consistent with the homosexual agenda.

CitizenLink reports on 2 bills making their way through the California Legislature that attempt to redefine what it means to be a "family":
SB 1476, authored by San Francisco Democrat Mark Leno, seeks to allow any number of adults to share legal custody of a child. The bill has already passed the Senate and at least one committee in the General Assembly, and could soon come up for a floor vote in that chamber soon.  The bill would, according to the text, "in the case of a child with more than 2 legal parents, require the court to allocate custody and visitation among the parents based on the best interest of the child, including stability for the child.”

Glenn Stanton, Focus on the Family’s director of family formation studies, pointed out how such arrangements may actually harm children, rather than help them.   He said, "You talk about the ping-ponging between (a divorced) mom and dad?...Now it’s three parents, four parents, five parents — and that is crazy for the kid.  If the family breaks up, it will create a very difficult situation for the child.  Increase that by more numbers, and you’ve got a horrible situation.   He added that, "No new family form that we have seen has elevated any form of important child well-being...They’ve all harmed it. This is just another one of those changes that will hurt children and is driven simply by an adult desire to have them.”

Stanton reminds us, "No family, no culture anywhere has found a family alternative that is more effective at raising good children than the mom-and-dad family.”

Another bill that could advance the gay agenda in the state is pending before the state Senate, after already passing the General Assembly.  According to CitizenLink, under the proposed legislation, those who wish to be foster parents would be required to first spend 40 hours in the classroom learning how to become more sensitive to children who may be confused about their gender or sexual orientation.

Author Dale O'Leary is quoted as saying that the bill would likely drive Christian couples away from becoming foster parents, and have a serious impact on children struggling with their sexuality.    She contends that the bill is based upon the false - and harmful - premise that sexual orientation is an immutable, fixed trait.  She says, "It’s very scary because children in foster care have already been seriously damaged.  You don’t get into foster care because you’ve had a perfect life...A child who’s been sexually abused by a person of the same sex, (particularly if the child is a boy), is going to have doubts about his identity...And he needs help to get through that...If we push homosexuality on him, or these gender-identity ideas, it’s just going to confuse him.”

These and other measures introduced and/or passed in the California Legislature represent attempts to redefine marriage and the family.  In an age where we need the structure and security that comes from a  Biblically-based definition of family, these lawmakers, and those who hold the same philosophy across the country, are contributing to further erosion of the traditional family unit, and a less stable society as a whole.  

2 - Presbyterian denomination affirms traditional definition of marriage

The biennial General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) had another issue concerning homosexuality on its agenda in Pittsburgh this week.   A church committee had voted to change the wording of its definition of marriage from "between and woman and a man" to "between two people".   After that 28-24 vote, the proposal was put to the entire body, which rejected the change by a narrow vote of 338-308, according to a report in The Christian Post

This was the latest proposal coming before the denomination dealing with various elements of the gay agenda.    Back in 2010, a majority of the presbyteries ratified a constitutional amendment at the General Assembly to remove the 1996 standard that required "fidelity in the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness".  That opened the door to "partnered gay clergy", a move that has resulted in the defection of at least 100 congregations from the denomination in recent years, according to the Presbyterian News Service.

This year, some presbyteries had called for the restoration of the 1996 standard for all clergy.  Five other presbyteries sought an authoritative interpretation of the constitution that would allow pastors to officiate at wedding ceremonies in states where same-gender marriage is legal.

Earlier in the week, the vice moderator of the General Assembly, the Rev. Tara Spuhler McCabe, resigned  after realizing that her recent participation in a same-sex marriage was going to be disruptive.   She had just recently been elected to that high position in the denomination.

Some of the more liberal denominations are in various stages of tolerating gay clergy and accepting gay marriage.  This year, the PCUSA has taken a significant step to reject the attempts of many leaders in the denomination to embrace the gay lifestyle, behavior which is viewed by many as contradictory to Scriptural teaching.    

1 - Hillsong conference in Australia attracts high-profile speakers, scores of believers

From Sydney, Australia, a worldwide movement has grown, centered on the ministries based at the Hillsong Church, including Bible teaching and worship.   Each year, the Hillsong Conference draws thousands from across the globe to hear world-class speakers and musicians.   Christian Today (Australia) reported that there were some 72 nations represented in the conference, which is headquarted at the 25,000-seat Allphones Arena in Sydney Olympic Park.

In the last 25 years, Hillsong Conference leaders say their main focus has been to "create a place for people of all ages who are passionate about their local church and to empower them with purpose for the Kingdom of God."

Speakers included Steven Furtick, founding pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, who told the gathering on its second night that, he was not ready to accept God's call for his life, but he responded to the Lord anyway.  He said, "I've never been ready. I wasn't ready when we started the church. I didn't feel ready when the church started to grow, thousands of people were coming to Christ, but the church got bigger than the town I grew up in. I wasn't ready for that."

He went on to say that, "Since God doesn't need you to feel ready – news flash – He just wants you to obey and follow Him. God doesn't need you to feel ready for what He's calling you to do."

Passion movement founder Louie Giglio recounted a low point in his life when he was struggling with stress and depression.  He told the story of how God gave him a song in his heart:  "...Just four lines: Be still my soul there is a healer. His love is deeper than the sea. His mercy is unfailing. His arms a fortress for the weak," he said. "And then this little phrase, 'I lift my hands to believe again.' I'm thinking that from two o'clock to 4 o'clock that night I sang that song."

Giglio's difficult time came during the middle of a church plant and the death of loved ones, said that although things became better for him after his first prayers and singing to God, there were many daily struggles yet to overcome.

He said he eventually did receive help from a doctor, but...It was a weapon of praise that led me out of the darkness and back into the land of the living. It was praise that ripped open that cloud and allowed the light of God's love to shine in and draw me back up into the symphony of all creation."

Other speakers included Joyce Meyer and Joseph Prince. Guest worship leaders included Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman. The Hillsong leadership team is composed of Brian Houston, Bobbie Houston, Joel Houston, Reuben Morgan, Joel A'Bell, and Julia A'Bell.

It makes a significant impact when thousands of Christians from all across the globe become energized and motivated in their walk with Christ, and the ministry of Hillsong has been used significantly to draw believers closer to Christ and help them to develop a greater passion for him.  

The Hillsong Live worship team has released a new project, "Cornerstone", videos are available at, and the team will be touring the U.S. this fall.   One stop is in Birmingham, AL on September 18th at the Boutwell Auditorium.  You can find tour information at that Facebook page, as well.

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