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Friday Church News Notes
Volume 17, Issue 40 - September 30, 2016
The Friday Church News Notes is designed for use in churches and is published by Way of Life Literature. Unless otherwise stated, the Notes are written by David Cloud. Of necessity we quote from a wide variety of sources, though this does not imply an endorsement.
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ECUMENICAL PRAYER FOR REVIVAL (Friday Church News Notes, September 30, 2016, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - There are many calls these days for ecumenical revival prayer. The latest is an initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury geared for the spring of 2017. “Catholics, Baptists, Pentecostals, Copts, Methodists, Orthodox Christians and members of free churches will unite under the Anglican umbrella after the presidents of Churches Together in England (CTE) announced on Monday they would accept the invitation to pray in the 10 days before Pentecost 2017. ... They will write to their churches--which range from Seventh-Day Adventists churches to Coptic Orthodox churches--and encourage them to participate. ‘We pray to the Father that his family, called to be one in Jesus Christ, may see the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to transform many lives and communities in our land,’ they said” (“Missions of Christians to Unite in Prayer for Revival,” ChristianToday.com, Sept. 19, 2016). Prayer is exactly what we need today. It is the only thing powerful enough to solve the problems we face. But ecumenical prayer is blatant disobedience to God’s Word. The unity spoken of in the New Testament is a unity of being “perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Corinthians 1:10). This speaks of the unity found in a sound New Testament church, but these are churches that typically aren’t praying much. The mid-week prayer amounts to a few minutes of half-hearted supplication, mostly for physical ailments. Typically, there are no earnest prayer sessions preceding special meetings. There is little to no prayer for the nation in obedience to 1 Timothy 2:1-2 and for God to send forth laborers into the harvest in obedience to Luke 10:2. Fasting and prayer is a foreign thing to the typical Bible-believing church. Prayer is mentioned 407 times in the Bible and 121 times in the New Testament. It is one of the four foundational characteristics of the first church in Jerusalem (“they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship and breaking bread and prayer,” Acts 2:42). Prayer is to be first of all (1 Tim. 2:1-2). It was a major emphasis of Christ’s teaching (Mat. 6:5-13; 7:7-11), and the apostle Paul mentioned prayer in practically every one of his Epistles. But it is grossly neglected in our day.

3D TECHNOLOGY PROVES HEBREW BIBLE UNCHANGED FOR 2,000 YEARS (Friday Church News Notes, September 30, 2016, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - The following is excerpted from “3D tech proves,” The Times of Israel, Sept. 22, 2016: “The charred lump of a 2,000-year-old scroll sat in an Israeli archaeologist’s storeroom for decades, too brittle to open. Now, new imaging technology has revealed what was written inside: the earliest evidence of a biblical text in its standardized form. The discovery, announced in a Science Advances journal article by researchers in Kentucky and Jerusalem on Wednesday, was made using ‘virtual unwrapping,’ a 3D digital analysis of an X-ray scan. Researchers say it is the first time they have been able to read the text of an ancient scroll without having to physically open it. ... The digital technology, funded by Google and the US National Science Foundation, is slated to be released to the public as open source software by the end of next year. Researchers hope to use the technology to peek inside other ancient documents too fragile to unwrap ... The biblical scroll examined in the study was first discovered by archaeologists in 1970 at Ein Gedi, the site of an ancient Jewish community near the Dead Sea. Inside the ancient synagogue’s ark, archaeologists found lumps of scroll fragments. The synagogue was destroyed in an ancient fire, charring the scrolls. The dry climate of the area kept them preserved, but when archaeologists touched them, the scrolls would begin to disintegrate. So the charred logs were shelved for nearly half a century, with no one knowing what was written inside. ... The text discovered in the charred Ein Gedi scroll is ‘100 percent identical’ to the version of the Book of Leviticus that has been in use for centuries, said Dead Sea Scroll scholar Emmanuel Tov from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who participated in the study. ‘This is quite amazing for us,’ he said. ‘In 2,000 years, this text has not changed.’”

PERSECUTION IN NORTH KOREA (Friday Church News Notes, September 30, 2016, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - The following is excerpted from “New Report on Religious Freedom in North Korea,” Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Sept. 23, 2016: “A new report on freedom of religion or belief in North Korea, released today by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), provides further evidence that freedom of religion or belief is a human right that is ‘largely non-existent’ in the country. Total Denial: Violations of Freedom of Religion or Belief in North Korea, details the persecution of Christians and discrimination against other religions and beliefs including Buddhism and Shamanism. ... CSW’s new report states: ‘Christians usually practice their faith in secret. If discovered they are subject to detention and then likely taken to prison camps (kwanliso); crimes against them in these camps include extra-judicial killing, extermination, enslavement/forced labour, forcible transfer of population, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, persecution, enforced disappearance, rape and sexual violence, and other inhumane acts. Documented incidents include Christians being hung on a cross over a fire, crushed under a steamroller, herded off bridges and trampled under-foot.’ Practitioners of other religions, such as Buddhism, Shamanism and the native Korean Cheondoism--which combines elements of Confucianism, Buddhism, Taosim and Shamanism--also face restrictions and discrimination, but are treated more leniently. Christianity is repressed most harshly because it is viewed as a foreign religion, and Christians are suspected of being spies.”

FIRST CENTURY TEMPLE RESTORED BY TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY TECHNOLOGY (Friday Church News Notes, September 30, 2016, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - The following is excerpted from “The Temple Has ‘Reappeared,’” BreakingIsraelNews.com, Sept. 19, 2016: “A new project from The Temple Mount Heritage Foundation and ArchTour is perhaps the closest you can get to experiencing the Temple, at least until it is really built. The newly unveiled project uses virtual reality, a new technology used mainly for gaming and entertainment, in a way its innovators probably did not anticipate: immersing the user in a religious journey. The participant sits while wearing a special set of virtual reality goggles, which put him into a three-dimensional depiction of the world of the Second Temple. The tour begins in the open air shuk (market) in Jerusalem of approximately 2,000 years ago. It wanders by Robinson’s Arch and the Royal Stoa in the southwest corner in all their full glory, before passing in through the gates of the Temple. The virtual tour brings “visitors” through the Temple courtyards, past the altar, into the midst of the priests and their daily activity. The tour ends inside the Temple, where the visitor can see the menorah, the seven branched lamp, and the rack that held the show breads. Though animal sacrifices are not shown, the High Priest is seen performing the ketoret, the daily service in which the incense composed of 11 spices was burned on the small ‘Gold Altar.’ ... Creating this project was no simple task. It entailed bringing together cutting edge technology with esoteric learning, history, and live actors. Matanel Libi, the CEO, began the project five years ago, driven by a desire to create a way for people to see the Temple in all its glory.”

SCIENTISTS SAY HEALTH BENEFITS FROM ALCOHOL MAY BE GREATLY EXAGGERATED (Friday Church News Notes, September 30, 2016, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - The following is from “Scientists Say,” Fox News, Sept. 26, 2016: “Despite claims in recent years that a glass of red wine could reduce chances of getting heart disease, new research is discovering that the information may be faulty. Scientists are now saying that many of the studies touting alcohol’s benefits were actually subsidized by alcohol companies, reports Wired. The real science behind these so-called benefits may have been grossly exaggerated and may have led to the systemic burying of a serious risk of imbibing too much alcohol--cancer. Research conducted in 2014 by Boston University professor Curt Ellison led to the declaration that the consumption of moderate amounts of red wine could help in the fight against heart disease. The study was widely cited and heralded by wine industry insiders. But Ellison’s research was supported by ‘unrestricted educational donations’ from the liquor industry, according to Addiction magazine. ... The science behind much of the research is also allegedly flawed. ... A study released earlier this year in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs reviewed findings from 87 previously published reports on drinking and death, from all causes. The report found that all but 13 of those reviewed had critical flaws. ... The 13 studies that did account for abstainer bias found no health benefits associated with drinking. The re-evaluation of alcohol consumption is already causing governments to make policy changes. In January new guidelines put forth by the U.K.'s Chief Medical Officers warned that any level of drinking alcohol increases the chance of getting several different types of cancers. ... In January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services removed language in its guidelines on alcohol consumption that said light drinking could lower the risk of heart disease for some people.” Three thousand years ago the last word about alcoholic consumption was given in God’s Word: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1).

THE ROOTS OF MODERN SCIENCE IN THE MIDDLE AGES (Friday Church News Notes, September 30, 2016, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143) - The roots of modern science lie in a biblical worldview, a view that the universe is rational, that it was made by a Creator, that its laws are dependable. In God’s Philosophers, James Hannam traces the roots of modern science back to the Middle Ages. Though we understand the errors and limitations of Catholicism, Hannam makes the point that Catholicism was largely a friend of science. Following is a summary of God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science: “Hannam debunks many of the myths about the Middle Ages, showing that medieval people did not think the earth was flat, nor did Columbus ‘prove’ that it is a sphere. Contrary to common belief, the Inquisition burnt nobody for their science, nor was Copernicus afraid of persecution. No Pope tried to ban human dissection or the number zero. On the contrary, as Hannam reveals, the Middle Ages gave rise to staggering achievements in both science and technology: for instance, spectacles and the mechanical clock were both invented in thirteenth-century Europe. Ideas from the Far East, like printing, gunpowder and the compass, were taken further by Europeans than the Chinese had imagined possible. The compass helped Columbus to discover the New World in 1492, while printing allowed an incredible 20 million books to be produced in the first 50 years after Gutenberg published his Bible in 1455. And Hannam argues that scientific progress was often made thanks to, rather than in spite of, the influence of Christianity. Charting an epic journey through six centuries of history, God’s Philosophers brings back to light the discoveries of neglected geniuses like John Buridan, Nicole Oresme and Thomas Bradwardine, as well as putting into context the contributions of more familiar figures like Roger Bacon, William of Ockham and Thomas Aquinas. Besides being a thrilling history of a period of surprising invention and innovation, God’s Philosophers reveals the debt modern science and technology owe to the supposedly ‘dark’ ages of medieval Europe.”

CONCLUSION: The Friday Church News Notes is designed for use in churches and is published by Way of Life Literature’s Fundamental Baptist Information Service. Unless otherwise stated, the Notes are written by David Cloud. Of necessity we quote from a wide variety of sources, but this obviously does not imply an endorsement. We trust that our readers will not be discouraged. It is God’s will that we know the times (1 Ch. 12:32; Mat. 16:3) and that we be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. The News Notes remind us that the hour is very late, and we need to be ready for the Lord’s coming. Are you sure that you are born again? Are you living for Christ? “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:11-14).

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Distributed by Way of Life Literature., publisher of Bible Study Materials and reports for Fundamental Baptists and other fundamentalist, Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. OUR GOAL IN THIS PARTICULAR ASPECT OF OUR MINISTRY (REPORTS AND FRIDAY NEWS) IS NOT DEVOTIONAL. IS TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO ASSIST PREACHERS IN THE PROTECTION OF THE CHURCHES IN THIS APOSTATE HOUR.

David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org

The Way of Life Literature preaching and publishing ministry is based at Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. A mail stop is maintained in Port Huron, Michigan.

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