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Standing Up and Speaking Out

How the Manhattan Declaration is mobilizing silent-too-long Christians to protect life, marriage and religious freedomf-Colson-Standing-Up


It was Nov. 20, 2009 when more than 20 Christian leaders stood before the microphones at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Fox News, CNN, ABC News, The Wall Street JournalThe Washington Post and other media outlets were there with cameras and microphones.

There we announced the launch of the Manhattan Declaration. We proclaimed to the church—and put our nation’s political leaders on notice—that we would protect the sanctity of life, uphold the sacredness of marriage as a holy union between one man and one woman and defend religious freedom for all people.

In front of all those cameras and lights, the Christian leaders lovingly, winsomely and firmly took a stand. I will never forget the picture. I stood between Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., and Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia. I looked over at Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, and Ron Sider, president of Evangelicals for Social Action. To my left was Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., who mobilized African-American churches in the District of Columbia to oppose gay marriage. And there was Fr. Chad Hatfield, chancellor of St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Seminary.

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Building On Firm Foundations

Pastors must rediscover their historical, nation-shaping rolef-Barton-BuildingFoundations


During the American Revolution, the British dubbed the courageous clergy “The Black Regiment”—a backhanded reference to the black robes they wore. The British blamed the clergy for America’s independence, and rightfully so as modern historians have documented that “there is not a right asserted in the Declaration of Independence, which had not been discussed by the New England clergy before 1763.” 

The rights listed in the Declaration of Independence were nothing more than a listing of sermon topics that had been preached from the pulpit in the preceding decades. Early clergy literally believed 2 Tim. 3:16-17—that all Scripture is God-inspired, and that God’s Word is to prepare us for every work.

Their sermons presented a biblical perspective on pressing public issues, including what type of taxes were and were not scriptural, how education should be conducted, the biblical role of the military, the difference between offensive and defensive wars, and the importance of having written constitutions of governance and electing godly leaders. The sermons touched on scores of other biblical topics, which the pulpit is largely silent on today.

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The Miracle of Marriage

Helping build strong marriages begins with recognizing their unique place in God’s creationf-Weiss-MiracleMarriage

 

When you hold your first-born child, you immediately recognize two things. First, you realize that you are holding a miracle you did not create—but God did. Secondly, you are keenly aware that this miracle needs to be protected by you.

I have been counseling couples for more than 20 years, and I am well aware that just as each child is created by God and needs to be protected, equally so does each marriage. As the shepherd of a flock, be it a church or ministry, you are the protector for the marriages in your congregations and ministries.

Thank you for the many hours that you have invested in birthing marriages, offered premarital counseling and helped to save struggling couples. You have both the scars and joys shepherds accrue in having a family full of marriage from every level of depth. 

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Restoring the Fallen

  A blueprint for helping pastors and church leaders overcome sexual sins, and back into effective ministryf-Weiss-RestoringFallen

 

Counseling pastors who have fallen due to infidelity, pornography, prostitution or other sexual sins has been a regular occurrence in my office for the last 20 years.

When you do something for more than two decades, you learn quite a bit about those who fall and those who are able to get back into a growing ministry again. I’ve also learned a lot from those who fall but don’t go back to ministry, as well as others who go back in ministry without genuine healing and restoration. 

Falling happens in ministry. We can all conjure up names of the famous Christian leaders and pastors who have fallen in the last two decades. My guess is that you can also conjure up names of people in ministry you know personally who have fallen. I was on a plane one day after the national media reported that my pastor had fallen to sexual sin.

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Healing Marriages One at a Time

Dr. Doug Weiss has helped save thousands from sex addictions in the last 20 years. Today, he is passionate about empowering churches in strengthening and restoring marriages.f-Strang-HealingMarriages


Dr. Doug Weiss is all about healing. He has devoted his life to healing the sexually broken. Through his work as a counselor and clinical psychologist as well as his many books, public speaking and numerous media appearances, Dr. Weiss  has been able to help rescue thousands from sex addictions and other problems. He claims an 85 percent success rate.

Yet in healing sex addiction, he’s really healing marriages. And in healing marriages, he’s putting lives back together and affecting the very fabric of our society at a time when it seems everything is trying to tear it apart.

So it was natural that I invite Dr. Weiss to be guest editor of this issue of Ministry Today. This year we have dealt with some of the important issues facing the church—such as integrity, prayer, giving, evangelism, church growth and leadership itself. None is more important than marriage. For the leader, unless you have this area of your life together, you are ineffective in all other areas.

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