Religious Liberty News
MEMORANDUM FOR ALL EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES FROM: THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
SUBJECT: Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty
The President has instructed me to issue guidance interpreting religious liberty protections in federal law, as appropriate. Exec. Order No. 13798 § 4, 82 Fed. Reg. 21675 (May 4, 2017). Consistent with that instruction, I am issuing this memorandum and appendix to guide all administrative agencies and executive departments in the execution of federal law.
Religious liberty is a foundational principle o f enduring importance in America, enshrined in our Constitution and other sources offederal law. As James Madison explained in his Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, the free exercise ofreligion "is in its nature an unalienable right" because the duty owed to one's Creator "is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society."1 Religious liberty is not merely a right to personal religious beliefs or even to worship in a sacred place. It also encompasses religious observance and practice. Except in the narrowest circumstances, no one should be forced to choose between living out his or her faith and complying with the law. Therefore, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, religious observance and practice should be reasonably accommodated in all government activity, including employment, contracting, and programming. The following twenty principles should guide administrative agencies and executive departments in carrying out this task. These principles should be understood and interpreted in light of the legal analysis set forth in the appendix to this memorandum.
The Withdrawal of Elder Support for Andy Stanley’s Material
Although Andy Stanley is a well-known and articulate communicator, sadly he has chosen to continue teaching ideas that undermine the complete truthfulness of Scripture and often clearly contradict the explicit statements of the Scripture.
Stanley has demonstrated a failure to teach the breadth and depth of Scripture in a manner that is reflective of one who is serious about the truthfulness of Scripture for some time now. He has continued to make statements that are inaccurate, degrading of small church pastors, and generally problematic, as well as handling clear biblical themes such as homosexuality without the clarity afforded in Scripture.
Given his speaking abilities, it appears that his omissions of the Scripture’s clear denunciation of homosexuality emanates from a deliberate choice of words rather than merely a misspeak. Listen to his message, When Gracie Met Truthy,
Therefore, the elders of Trinity Baptist Church withdraw authorization for the use of any of his materials by ministries of Trinity Baptist Church. Additionally, we do not support the use of his material by any member. We encourage members to avail themselves to the host of excellent study materials available by men and women who teach within the parameters of Scripture’s claim of complete truthfulness (John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16).
As is the tendency of those that travel similar theological trajectories, he has now moved into declaratively and unambiguously denying the reliability of the Scripture and undermining the clearest teachings from the Scripture. He is espousing the very things that we fought for twenty- five years in the Conservative Resurgence of the Southern Baptist Convention to expose and remove from our seminaries. Andy’s father, Charles Stanley, was one of the key leaders of the resurgence and a stalwart for the inerrancy of Scripture, which is precisely what Andy undermines.
In his message, The Bible Told Me So, he explicitly:
1. Denies the reliability of the Old Testament
2. Misrepresents the relationship of Scripture to the Trinity
3. Misrepresents the relationship of faith and Scripture both historically and contemporaneously to the point that one’s experiential relationship to the resurrection is sufficient
4. Utilizes language that is essentially the same that liberalism uses to undermine the Scripture, e.g. focus on Jesus, the resurrection, and Scripture as the record of God working rather than being the Word of God.
5. Denies what the Scripture explicitly says, such as when the Scripture says that the walls of Jericho fell and Stanley says the walls of Jericho did not fall.
Regarding #4, if one is unfamiliar with the language used by liberals in our Convention for many years, one might miss the gravity of what he is saying. Of course, this is as dangerous, maybe in some ways more dangerous, as his explicit denial of the truthfulness of everything Scripture says.
The first link below is his sermon The Bible Told Me So. The two subsequent links provide biblical critiques of his statements that will aid you in understanding the seriousness of his statements. The first critique is the more extensive critique of the two.
His sermon, The Bible Told Me So: http://northpoint.org/messages/who-needs-god/the-bible- told-me-so/
Critique of some of his statements:
Following is a link for an article by Al Mohler discussing Andy Stanley’s sermon,
The Elders of Trinity Baptist Church
SELECTED STUDY BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE
The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Victor Books, 1984.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament, John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, Victor Books, 1985.
Unger’s New Bible Dictionary, Merrill F. Unger, Moody Press, 2006.
Logos Library System, Several upgradeable levels are available. Find out more at www.logos.com
An Exhaustive Analytical Concordance (Strong’s or NAS).
Eerdmans’ Handbook to the History of Christianity, Dr. Tim Dowley, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977.
Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Walter A. Elwell, Baker Book House, 1984.
Evangelical Ethics, John Jefferson Davis, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 2003. Or Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issues and Options, Norman L. Geisler, Jan 1, 2010
Kingdom of the Cults, Walter Martin, and Ravi Zacharias, Bethany House Publishers; Rev Updated edition (October 1, 2003), or latest update.
10. Lectures in Systematic Theology, Henry Clarence Thiessen, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1983, or Eerdmans; Revised ed. edition (November 9, 2006).
11. Nave’s Topical Bible, Orville J. Nave, Thompson Nelson Publishers, 2002. 12. Pronouncing Bible Names, W. Murray Severance, Holman Bible Publishers, 1983.
13. Things to Come, J. Dwight Pentecost, Zondervan Publishing House, 1982.
14. Dispensationalism, Charles C. Ryrie, 2007
15. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, W. E. Vine and F.F. Bruce, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1996.
To the traditionalist, the present contemporary church model appears irreverently trendy and unacceptably shallow, more influenced by culture than influencing culture. To the ecclesiastically avant-garde—often known as the church growth movement, emergent, or simply contemporary—traditional methods and ideas seem to be out of touch, purposeless, and anachronistic.
In The Equipping Church, author and pastor Ronnie W. Rogers demonstrates that the New Testament church model—neither pragmatic fluff nor sterile traditionalism—is an equipping, engaging, and evangelistic church, which is primarily based upon Matthew 28:18-20 and Ephesians 4:11-16. Rogers believes the contemporary vs. traditional debate should be replaced by asking whether or not a church is substantively equipping believers to honor God with their lives and to advance the kingdom by engaging and evangelizing their world as prescribed by the New Testament.
Rogers sets forth the elements necessary to transition a church from stifling, dead traditionalism or the shallowness often associated with the contemporary model to an equipping church and speaks to those who desire to build New Testament churches that honor God first.
Copies are available from the author, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as online at Amazon (click the book) and WestBow Press.
Reflections of a
Author, Ronnie W. Rogers, senior teaching pastor of Trinity, has just released his latest book. Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist: The Disquieting Realities of Calvinism engages one of the classical strands of Protestant thought with the classical strength of Protestantism-shedding the light of the Scriptures on the questions of the faith. Rogers leads readers through the intricacies of Calvinist thought, touching on such topics as the sovereignty of God, predestination, unconditional election, the origin of evil, free will, and faith and works. The intent of this journey is to provide a critique of Calvinism and to present readers with a clear picture of the ramifications of subscribing to Calvinist doctrines. Chapters address particular theological topics by stating both affirmations rooted in the Scriptures and disaffirmations drawing their support from the Scriptures as well. The lines of thought do not shy away from complex theological questions, but instead rely upon the riches of theological reflection to assure the critiques of Calvinism are fair both to the doctrines and to the Scriptures. If you are a part of the Calvinist tradition and want to explore the nuances of your background, or if you locate yourself outside of that tradition but have deep curiosity about the questions the Calvinist tradition raises, then Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist: The Disquieting Realities of Calvinism offers a rigorous guide to exploring the depths of the tradition and critique of the tenets of Calvinism.
This book is available for purchase through Trinity or Amazon as well as other online retailers.
In His Grip
Trinity's Worship Pastor, Randy Presley has released another worship album where he praises God through his new, inspirational collection of songs on In His Grip.
This album is available for purchase or digital download.