Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Contending for the Faith

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A California pastor says his church — one of many churches looking to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church due to its ongoing debate over homosexuality — could end up being evicted or forced to pay millions to keep their building.

The Archbishop of York says that the opening words of the Lord’s Prayer may be “problematic” because of their patriarchal association. They are considering editing the "Lord's Prayer."

Amid this present darkness, archeologists have discovered ancient Sodom. 

Perhaps the ruins of Sodom will serve as a reminder.

The biblical Christian Church is being called upon to stand and "contend" for the faith.

Be informed, not misled.

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3).

Biblical doctrine under attack.

The faith once delivered to the saints is under attack, not only from the secular world but from within the church itself.

Pastor Glen Haworth of The Fount, a small congregation in the Fountain Valley area of Orange County, warned his church about the potential outcomes of standing for biblical Truth shortly after attending the United Methodist Church's  California-Pacific Annual Conference in Los Angeles.

The Fount describes itself as an “evangelical and historically Wesleyan community of faith, holding to the historic, orthodox Wesleyan Protestant doctrines of the Christian faith.”

In a post on the church’s website last month, Haworth said he and another church leader, Ted Smith, unsuccessfully sought to get the conference trustees to “reconsider the terms of disaffiliation,” which requires local churches seeking to do so to pay the UMC the equivalent of roughly half the property value of the church. 

One of the main points of contention is what’s known as the “trust clause,” in which church properties affiliated with the UMC are considered held in trust with the denomination. According to the UMC, the trust clause traces its origins to Methodism founder John Wesley to protect theological drift within the denomination. 

Instead, as Haworth puts it, the clause is being used by UMC leadership to “try and drag local churches into errant theology.”

“But the question arises, if the UMC is drifting away from the historic teachings of the church (which it most certainly is), is the denomination a suitable trustee in regards to this “trust clause”? Is the UMC trustworthy?” asked Haworth.

And, as Haworth explained, if the UMC does not agree to reconsider, either The Fount would have to “walk away” from the property and find another location for their fellowship, or they could take UMC to court.

“Neither of these are attractive options,” he added.

He does, however, have a solution. I'll come back to that in a minute.

Revising "The Lord's Prayer."

The Archbishop of York says that the opening words of the Lord’s Prayer may be “problematic” because of their patriarchal association.

In his opening address to the Church of England’s ruling body, the General Synod, Stephen Cottrell said that including “Our Father” in the Lord’s Prayer may be an issue. 

“I know the word ‘father’ is problematic for those whose experience of earthly fathers has been destructive and abusive and for all of us who have labored rather too much from an oppressively patriarchal grip on life,” Cottrell said.

The statement has already caused some division. 

As it should.

“Is the archbishop of York saying Jesus was wrong or that Jesus was not pastorally aware?” Canon Dr. Chris Sugden, chair of the conservative Anglican Mainstream group, asked. “It seems to be emblematic of the approach of some church leaders to take their cues from culture rather than scripture.”

But Rev. Christina Rees, who has campaigned for female bishops, said Cottrell “put his finger on an issue that’s a really live issue for Christians and has been for many years."

“The big question is, do we really believe that God believes that male human beings bear his image more fully and accurately than women? The answer is absolutely not,” Rees says. 

Earlier this year, the Church of England said it would consider no longer referring to God as “he” after priests asked to be allowed to use gender-neutral terms instead.

The Church of England has previously tackled the issue of same-sex marriage. The church allows clergy to bless gay and lesbian couples who have undergone a civil wedding.

Speaking of gay and lesbian couples.

Archeologists have found the ruins of Sodom.

An archaeologist who claims to have located the city of Sodom says the location matches the biblical description and that the on-site physical evidence – including “glazed” pottery – supports his case.

Steven Collins, Dean of the College of Archaeology at Trinity Southwest University, told Joel. C Rosenberg in a new episode of the Rosenberg Report that his team uncovered pottery from the mid-Bronze Age at a site in Jordan that appeared it was melted by “flash heat,” thus matching the biblical account that says God destroyed Sodom with sulfur and fire.

Digging in the soil, Collins said, “as soon as we get a few centimeters into that [Bronze Age] matrix, this piece of pottery, the shoulder of a storage jar, is facing up at us. And it looks like it's glazed.”

A member of his team who worked on the World War II-era Manhattan Project that developed the first atomic bomb looked at the melted shard and remarked, “Wow, that looks like Trinity,” Collins said. “Trinity” was the code name for the first nuclear test site in New Mexico in 1945.

The archaeological site, known as Tall el-Hammam, is located in modern-day Jordan.

Collins referenced a 2022 paper in the journal Nature in which 21 scholars and researchers said they had uncovered evidence of a “highly unusual catastrophic event” – potentially a meteor – that left a “charcoal-rich destruction layer” and melted object roughly 4,000 years ago in Tall el-Hammam.

The paper posited that Tall el-Hammam was “wiped out in the blink of an eye,” Collins said.

Meanwhile, Collins said, the Tall el-Hammam site matches the biblical evidence. In the book of Genesis, he said, “there are at least 25 known pieces of geography [in Scripture] that you can triangulate between to take you to the city of Sodom,” he said.

“When you do the science of Sodom, you go to the text first. Why? Because the Bible is the only place, the only ancient text, that has survived with the name Sodom in it.”

One biblical piece of evidence, Collins said, is Genesis 13:10.

“Where was Lot standing when he lifted up his eyes and said the whole plane of the Jordan was well-watered? He was at Bethel and Ai,” Collins said. “And then it says he traveled eastward.”

Tall el-Hammam is east of Bethel and Ai, Collins said. Other locations in the region that have been posited as sites for Sodom don’t fit the biblical narrative, he added.

“It was actually the biblical text that put us at this site,” he said. “We just simply navigated around the geography.”


Pastor Haworth told his congregation, “We need a move of God! And we need to get on our knees so that God can have a clear path to do what He will."

Indeed we do.

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Bold. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful.