Little Girl, Bella Santorum, Is A Miracle Who Beat the Odds

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Rick and Karen Santorum’s have opened up and shared the details of their daughter Bella. Their new book reads like a novel, but its a true story of a remarkable little girl who beat the odds. Their youngest baby daughter was born with Trisomy 18. Most babies born with Trisomy 18 do not survive past a few days. “The doctors later told us that Bella-that Bella was incompatible with life. And to prepare to let go. They said even if she did survive, her disabilities would be so is severe that Bella would not have a life worth living. We didn’t let go.” Rick Santorum said to the GOP convention in 2012.

Karen a nurse and lawyer, shares her heart from a mother’s perspective. When the doctor described Bella as having a “lethal diagnosis” and referred to her as “incompatible with life,” Karen wrote, “The stark utterance clanged like a hammer against an empty cistern. Rick looked me and squeezed my hand. I turned to the doctor, ‘Thanks for your concern, Doctor, but we’ll continue to fight for Bella’s life. She’s clearly exceeding medical expectations.’ The doctor looked mystified, ‘I don’t’ know why you would want to do anything. You have to let her go. Statistically, there’s no hope here.’ He walked away , not knowing he had prodded a momma grizzly by talking about my little girl like that. My claws were out. She is not a statistic. She is not a diagnosis. She is my child. The medical community is filled with many like him who weight the value of life according to IQ or in terms of one’s usefulness. They were not going to dismiss my little girl so easily.”

This book doesn’t get overly political. Both Karen and Rick write from the perspective of concerned parents. They open up and talk about the loss of another child, Gabriel who died earlier. Through this book are stories of true love, commitment and healing. On one occasion, Rick talks about talking to a man on his staff when he was U.S. Senator. When the conversation turned to his marriage, the man said, “I am not getting what I want out of my marriage.” Rick responded, “Good!” Rick’s reaction startled him, but Rick went on to explain that marriage is a sacrificial relationship of giving yourself to your spouse, not a business contract for a delivery of needed goods and services. Rick told the man that marriage is not based on feelings alone but on love even if one does not respond. Rick and Elizabeth both appealed to Christ’s sacrificial death as a model for marriage. Marriage and raising a family can be fun, but the most successful marriages take sacrifice.

Rick cited C.S. Lewis, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” Rick and Elizabeth share their vulnerability.

They show beautiful examples of how raising Bella is hard work, but she is so worth it. “Bella is almost seven,” wrote Karen, “and raising her has shown us the beauty and brilliance of everything…raising Bella has been a different experience from raising our other children…Instead of homeschooling as I’ve done for all our other children for the past eighteen years, I homeschool Bella in a different way. We read books and sing songs, but we also do occupational therapy, physical therapy, riding therapy, music therapy and massage therapy. This is my new world of homeschooling, and I would not tad this time with Bella for anything in the world.” Regardless of your political leanings, go buy this book, Bella’s Gift. You won’t be able to put it down.

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When the New Christian Left Twists the Gospel and Perverts Morality

Hipster Christianity

Almost a decade ago, I remember attending Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, packed with thousands of young evangelical leaders. It was there, that I first heard a young creative pastor named Rob Bell, pastor of the fast growing Mars Hill in Michigan. At the age of 25, I was finishing up seminary, but felt rejuvenated when I heard the line up of Catalyst speakers like Rob Bell, Donald Miller, and Andy Stanley. These teachers were creative but avoiding a lot of the controversial doctrinal issues that I heard from my alma mater Liberty University’s founder Jerry Falwell.

Rob Bell and these Catalyst communicators did not have pulpits, but were either walking, or sitting in comfortable chairs and bar stools. They weren’t talking about politics, or hell, or inerrancy of Scripture, or homosexuality and certainly not abortion. By no means were these guys like James Dobson or Falwell’s Moral Majority.

To me, their teaching seemed like a breath of fresh air compared to the dry doctrine. I felt burnt out on from seminary. There was excitement like the energy of a concert. I was not alone, thousands of those who grew up in non-denominational, Southern Baptist or Church of God congregations were drawn to this new kind of Church. Out of this generation, some sons and daughters of conservative Bible expositors, including Andy Stanley, Jonathan Merritt and Rachel Held Evans would drift away from their father’s evangelical fundamentalism and rise up to become today’s defenders of tolerance, social justice and gay “rights” at bakeries.

Ten years ago, at my first Catalyst conference, I did not agree with everything these younger communicators were saying, but I thought perhaps they could bring more balance. Weren’t these guys like Rob Bell and Donald Miller authentic by asking questions? We were the generation that was more about what we were “for” and not “against.” After all, there was no need for me to also always be discussing controversial things like abortion, gay marriage, doctrine and apologetics. In my young ignorance and piety, I told myself that I appreciated their “tone.”

So as a 25 year senior pastor of the SBC Immanuel Baptist Church, I got rid of the pulpit, bought some skinnier jeans began showing Rob Bell’s Nooma videos to the church on Wednesday nights. As I sipped on my Starbuck’s latte and saw an excitement from younger people, I felt relevant. I thought Bell’s teaching was authentic and fresh. But as time passed, I noticed things that concerned me. As I read the Bible and compared it to the teaching of some younger evangelicals like Bell, I did not always see correspondence. Fortunately, my seminary professors like Dr. Thomas Howe and Dr. Norman Geisler had engrained in my mind the laws of logic, the inerrancy of Scripture and the historical grammatical method of interpretation. I knew that I had responsibility to train others into the truth. Thankfully, there were several individuals who challenged my thinking when I started to get off track. As I returned to those old dusty seminary books by J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul, and Peter Kreeft and scholastics like Augustine, Anselm and Aquinas, I started rediscovering life in the truths of God. Thankfully, God saved me from the fruit loops theology of Rob Bell, Oprah and Rachel Held Evans.

In the last couple years, we have seen a steady rise of professing evangelical Christians who are no longer simply rebelling against the “Moral Morality” conservatism of the Ronald Reagan era that their parents might have taught them, but instead, have become zealous promoters of secular liberalism all in the name of Christian “love” and “social justice.” They are finding their voice through well-marketed blogs including CNN, Religious News Service, and the Huffington Post. Rather than focusing on religious liberty, classical Christian virtues, and the proclamation of the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ, this group has become staunch defenders of gay marriage, social justice, global warming awareness, feminism and religious pluralism that has empathy towards Islamic jihad.

Chelsen Vicari’s new book Distortion evaluates how this progressive or savvy driven Christianity which boasts of “authenticity” and “nonjudgmentalism” have actually repackaged the Scriptures and are leading a generation astray. Through a combination of well performed emotionally led worship services and false shallow teachings, the Christian left claiming to be “real” have promoted politicians who are actually increasing abortion rights, gay marriage and Marxism.

Vicari’s new book takes to task these millennial evangelicals whose theological maturity consists of “Worship” music and Jesus Calling devotionals. Chelsen Vicari is a younger evangelical who serves at the Institute on Religion and Democracy. She tells her story of how though growing up in a traditional Christian family, she left home and in college, “morphed as a full-fledged feminist, told my parents they were ignorant for not endorsing homosexuality, and bought into the distorted social justice rhetoric that confuses carrying for the poor with advancing socialist or big government systems and demonizing the United States for its free market system.” She tells her powerful story of how she realized how wrong she her new relativistic and Marxists ideas were and through an investigated journey, turned back to believing in Biblical principles. In her book, Distortion, Vicari exposes the generation of bloggers and speakers who are rebelling against the Bible-believing conservativism of their parents. Some of these writers include: Rachel Held Evans, Andy Stanley, Jonathan Merritt, Rob Bell, Jay Baker, Brian McLaren and Jim Wallis. Some of these liberals used to claim “neutrality” about gay marriage, traditional morality and controversial subjects because they say, “We want to be known what we’re for, not what we’re against.” But Vicari shows that these “progressives” are not just “positive” but are vehemently against any conservative who holds to natural law, biblical inerrancy, and traditional marriage.

Rachel Held Evans is an outspoken feminist who has fueled her anger against conservatives like Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. Evans a defender of gay rights and “equality” is the daughter of a conservative Bible-believing fundamentalist who worked at a fundamentalist Bible college. Rachel Held Evans has been capitalizing by poking fun of the conservative and Biblical teachings she was taught as a youth. Vicari’s book challenges Rachel Held Evans’ for throwing out undocumented assertions against conservatives. Rachel Held wrote for CNN that young Christians are leaving the church because Christianity has become “too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice and hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual people…our LGBT friends to felly truly welcome in our faith communities.”

Vicari also reveals the inconsistency of Andy Stanley, pastor of America’s second largest church and son of famous traditional Bible believing preacher, Charles Stanley. Andy Stanley whose church of North Point claims to stay out of the politics of abortion and gay marriage, hypocritically goes on the attack of those who appeal to their Christian convictions that business owners like wedding cake owners should not be forced to by the law to serve a gay marriage for that would “violate their personal conscious.” Andy Stanley found that it was “offensive that Christians would leverage faith to support the Kansas law….serving people.” Of course Andy Stanley who claims neutrality, does not apply his own principles at his North Point Church to perform gay weddings. Yet he uses his platform to find flaws in those who promote America’s religious freedom.

Another Baptist minister’s son that Vicari mentions in Distortion is Jonathan Merritt, whose father was once president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Jonathan Merritt gained great appeal with mainstream, as one coming from a conservative background but has no problem showing the errors of the Falwells, Pat Robertsons and Duck Dynasty guys. Mainstream media loves evangelicals  who can write as an insider and find flaws in the conservative and Biblical ideas. Vicari wrote, “Jonathan Merritt, Richard Cizik, Rachel Held Evans, and a whole host of others on the evangelical Left assert the myth that the way to end abortion is by passing out tax-payer funded contraception like it’s candy.” (p. 115) Vicari replies, “Nice try, but the research and data are against them yet again. Planned Parenthood’s own think tank, the Guttmacher Institute, surveyed more than ten thousand women who had abortions during 2000 and 2001. The study found that a mere 12 percent of the women cited limited access to birth control as the reason for their pregnancies and subsequent abortions.” “Researchers in Spain analyzed the use of contraception and abortion rates between 1997-2007. What they found was astonishing. During that decade access and use of contraception increased 80 percent, yet abortion also increased-by a whopping 108 percent.” “Essentially greater access to contraception,” says Vicari, “led to a false sense of security. When contraception failed, as often happens, the baby was aborted.” I would comment that Vicari does not make a hasty generalization. She does not argue that all of these leftist Christians hold the same views. She cites Merritt in positive way of common agreement when talking about Christians who face persecution in Middle East.  I think Vicari’s approach is reasonably balanced and fair. She also is clear to break down the topics that some progressives reject, while others may not be as extreme.

Towards the end of the book Distortion, Vicari interviews young evangelicals that are living out a bold faith and not willing to give into the trendy fads amongst hipster evangelicals. Vicari interviews Eric Teetsel who is now directing the Manhattan Declaration who talks about his experience at Azusa Christian College. He said, “I found that it was only Christian only in the sense that we would do a devotional before class and then immediately jump into the same material that they were studying at University of Southern California down the street, including all the tolerance, pro-gay, white guilt stuff.” When a same-sex speaker spoke at this college, Teetsel asked, “Wouldn’t you agree that even if you dismiss some of the specific verses that speak to homosexuality that there is broader theology of human sexuality that goes from Genesis to Revelation that affirms heterosexuality?” And the speaker said, “No, I don’t agree, and I would invite you to stop speaking.” What Teetsel experience is not unique. The Christian left while claiming “tolerance” is very intolerant those who take a stand for traditional marriage. I encourage those who understand the incoherency and dangers of the new Christian left to read Chelsen Vicari’s Distortion: How the New Christian Left is Twisting the Gospel and Damaging the Faith.

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Obama Compares Christianity to ISIS, speaking of “Terrible Deeds Done in the Name of Christ”; yet Obama has Used God’s Name to Bless Terrible Deeds of Abortion

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President Obama’s comments of comparing Christianity to ISIS at the National Prayer Breakfast has stirred some controversy. He said, “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Many people have asked if this negative attitude towards Christianity and America’s founding is really helpful and even fair? Rev. E.W. Jackson said, “The President wasn’t just wrong to attack Christians and equate our faith to terrorist acts at Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast, he empowered and emboldened our enemies. Obama needs to stop apologizing for America and providing terrorists with a recruiting tool.” Here are several concerns:

1. Why Ignore those being Persecuted Today by Islamic Jihadist?

Obama seems to want to draw empathy for Islamic jihad by mentioning past sins of Christianity. But Obama diminishes and ignores the thousands of Christians who are dying around the world, and the highest percentage is caused by Muslims. The Vatican told the UN, “Credible research has reached the shocking conclusion that an estimate of more than 100,000 Christians are violently killed because of some relation to their faith every year. Other Christians and other believers are subjected to forced displacement, to the destruction of their places of worship, to rape and to the abduction of their leaders – as it recently happened in the case of Bishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji, in Aleppo (Syria).” Obama implies that to emphasize these evils would “to get on a “high horse.”

2. Can We Blame Christianity Alone for the Evils of the Crusades?

Even today, both Catholic and Protestant acknowledge that there have been a misuse of Christ throughout history. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Yet, to blame the Crusades as the evil led by Christianity alone is not completely fair.

I don’t think it is right for the president to bring up the Crusades done a thousand years ago, while encouraging Christians to never speak a word of negativity against evils done by Islamic Jihadist in our present time? For one, the Crusades were not led by America, but called by the Catholic Church after Islam had conquered over half the Christian world. Islam had already conquered Jerusalem, attacked Spain, Italy and France for years. Also it’s very difficult to blame all the crusades solely as the evils of Christianity. Let me give you an analogy. As an American Christian, I may disagree with the extent America’s use of atomic weapons at the Hioshima and Nagasaki bombings, but this does not mean that I would to call all of America’s WWII involvement evil. In fact, I’m very thankful that America did get involved with WWII to rescue many lives.

Likewise, if the Catholic Church would have not responded to Islam, then Islam would have taken over the entirety of Europe. If Pope Urban would not have responded with the crusades, there would be no Oxford or Cambridge. There would be no United States, if it was not for the Catholic Church fighting back Islam’s conquering of the world during the crusades. Should Pope Urban have allowed the Jihadists Turks to rape women on alters, slit the throats of priests and children and burn churches? Obama may believe that he should have “turned the other cheek.” In reply, let’s suppose that Pope Urban was completely 100 percent wrong and the Catholic’s response to Islam’s threats were wrong in every single event. Do the evils done a thousand years ago in the name of Christianity mean that Christians and Americans should be silent today about ISIS? If we speak out against the evils of ISIS, does that really mean that we are on a “high horse?

3. Why Not Acknowledge the Christians Who Abolished Slavery and Segregation?

Obama in his attempt to silence Christians, brought up racism and slavery. He spoke of, “terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.” Sadly, Obama sounds very similar to some European Marxist educators of the 20th century, who want to to paint America and Christianity as the leaders of all racism. Most Americans and professing Christians today are ashamed of slavery and racism, but slavery was not invented by America. It was practiced around the world and many of America’s founders opposed it. America’s sixth president John Quincy Adams was so much against slavery that after his presidency, he continued in congress to so he could fight slavery. Although there were slave owners who misused the Bible, it was also abolitionists who appealed the Bible to abolish slavery. There were preachers like Rev. Peter Ackers who inspired Abraham Lincoln to play a part in the abolition of slavery. As far as segregation, there were many Christians, including Martin Luther King Jr. himself who appealed to the Bible to speak against racism. There were also white preachers like Billy Graham who refused to preach to segregated audiences. Graham invited King to join him for a New York Crusade. Graham even bailed King out of jail. Why doesn’t the president praise America’s leaders like King and Graham, instead of using “racism” in the name of Christianity as way to silence Christians about ISIS?

Furthermore, why pick out “Christians” as ones who “justified slavery.” For over 1,400 years the Muslims have been involved in slave trade, including African Muslims. This terrible practice continues with some Muslims today. Mohammed himself was involved in every aspect of slavery, including owning many non-Muslims women and children slaves and passing around slaves for sexual purposes. Why is it that whenever slavery is discussed we tend to ignore the horrific record of Muslims over a much longer time and single out American white Christian slave owners over two centuries? Certainly, the white Christian slave owners of the 1700’s and 1800’s were terribly wrong, but why ignore those who continue to traffic women and children in the name of Allah.

4. Obama’s “High Horse” of Religious Pluralism Excludes Anyone who Disagrees with his Spiritual Preference.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to pin point Obama’s religious views. But he seems to be a religious pluralist, who considers himself Christian. A religious pluralist is someone who says that all religions are equally true. Religious pluralism may say, “Christianity is true for you, but not true for those who disagree with you. So please keep your beliefs private and personal.” This is very common and I could argue that Oprah, George W. Bush, Mitt Romney and others have said statements of religious pluralism. Obama takes it a step further with a jab, “Don’t claim that your religion is more true, or that’s a “high horse.” Born in India, Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias once said:

“We are living in a time when sensitivities are at the surface, often vented with cutting words. Philosophically, you can believe anything, so long as you do not claim it to be true. Morally, you can practice anything, so long as you do not claim that it is a better way. Religiously, you can hold to anything, so long as you do not bring Jesus Christ into it.

“If a spiritual idea is eastern, it is granted critical immunity; if western, it is thoroughly criticized. Thus, a journalist can walk into a church and mock its carryings on, but he or she dare not do the same if the ceremony is from the eastern fold. Such is the mood of the twentieth century.”

Religious pluralism claims to be open-minded, but is it really? When we stop and think about the claims of religious pluralism, we discover that this worldview doesn’t accept any faith expression that is not pluralistic. Even though pluralism is touted by the President and also at many universities as “open-mindedness,” it’s actually just another form of religious exclusivity. Why? Because it excludes anybody who doesn’t believe it. Therefore, Obama’s religious pluralism excludes the beliefs of hundreds of millions of Christians who claim that Jesus Christ is the only way for salvation (John 14:6).

Interestingly, it’s not just Christianity that claims to be exclusively true. Muhammed, the founder of Islam, claimed Islam to be the true religion, and the teachers of Hinduism say it is the true religion. Then some Hindus decided to reject certain teachings of Hinduism, so they split off and started a new religion called Buddhism. Even the Dali Lama’s form of Tibetan Buddhism is distinct from hundreds of sects, each of which has its own set of spiritual beliefs. Obama’s religious pluralism may seem open minded, but it’s really a “high horse” of relativistic pluralism that rejects orthodox Christianity, Sunni Islam and host of other religions that contradict his religious preferences of the day.

5. Obama speaks of “Terrible deeds done in the name of Christ” but this is the same president who went to the largest abortion fundraiser and in the name of God, “Blessed” Planned Parenthood’s terrible deeds of slaughtering 327,653 children. 

Planned Parenthood’s own website records that Obama was the first sitting president to address the nations largest abortion provider. In their 2014 report, Planned Parenthood performed 327,653 abortions. This does not even include early abortifacients, but these are murdering by suction, chemical and dismemberments of unborn children. When Obama speaks of “Terrible deeds done in the name of Christ,” I can’t help but think of what could be worse than saying “God Bless You” to an organization that earns more money from the slaughtering of children than any other procedure. In 1994, Mother Teresa spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast. She courageously said, “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. Many people are very, very concerned with the children of India, with the children of Africa where quite a few die of hunger, and so on. Many people are also concerned about all the violence in this great country of the United States. These concerns are very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions who are being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is what is the greatest destroyer of peace today – abortion which brings people to such blindness.”

Would Obama think that Mother Teresa is on some “high horse?” If so, maybe that’s a “high horse” that more Americans need to get on to protect our children and to speak out against the evils of abortion, Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

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Abortion: The Death of Innocence

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We all become aware of death at different ages, through different experiences. For many of us, our first encounter comes with the death of a great-grandparent at a ripe old age. The less fortunate may experience having a parent or a child torn away far too soon. But regardless of the nature of the introduction, death leaves an unmistakable mark. A couple of years ago in Dallas, I watched a nurse escort a young woman from a building to her car. From across the street, I could see that the patient’s cheeks were stained with tears. She looked barely out of her teens, but her face was tight with pain and shock. I had seen that look before: the mark that an encounter with death leaves on an innocent face.

The building I was watching wasn’t a hospital; it was an abortion facility. I was standing across the street praying for the women entering and leaving. As I drove home that day, I fought back tears and found myself only able to pray the words of Christ: “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”

Death is a natural part of life, but at times in history it has swelled to epidemic proportions, swallowing up all in its path.  The Black Death of the mid-1300s claimed between a half and a third of Europe’s population, leaving almost no city untouched. An estimated 39 million souls have perished from AIDS since 1981.

But other epidemics have been completely manmade. An analysis of 20,000 mass graves in Cambodia’s infamous Killing Fields indicates that Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge executed and buried roughly 1.4 million innocents. More recently, around 800,000 Tutsis were slaughtered in Rwanda over a three-month period in 1994.

A German Christian during World War II recalled hearing the sound of the trains that were taking Jewish people to the Nazi death camps, where 6 million of them would die:

“Week after week the whistle would blow. We dreaded to hear the sound of those wheels because we knew that we would hear the cries of the Jews en route to a death camp. Their screams tormented us.”

Read the rest of article in Billy Graham’s Decision Magazine

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The Incredible Forgiveness Story Left Out In the Movie Unbroken

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Article written by Clay Sterrett & Dave Sterrett

Louis Zamperini is a true World War II hero, whose story has been vividly portrayed in the N.Y. Times bestseller, Unbroken, by  Laura Hillenbrand . Angelina Jolie’s new film does a good job showing the first half of Louis’ story. What Zamperini endured in those war years was a most remarkable story of endurance. Yet Jolie leaves out that Zamperini was a very broken man when he returned to the United States. He became an alcoholic and a poor husband. He was filled with hatred and unforgiveness towards the guard who tortured him. Louis constantly had nightmares of the guard torturing him. Jolie’s film shows portions of Hillenbrand’s story in which Zamperini was an Olympic runner, who was on target to become the first American to break the four minute mile, but when war broke out, he joined the U.S. Air Force.

On one rescue mission, due to engine troubles, their B-24 airplane crashed into the Pacific Ocean, but Zamperini and two other crew members amazingly survived the impact. Then, they lived the next 47 days on a couple life rafts, just barely surviving starvation, constant shark attacks, and being shot at directly by a Japanese bomber. One man died, but the other two men finally reached the Marshall Islands – only to be captured by Japanese soldiers.

Zamperini would spend the next two and a half years spent in various prisons, where American prisoners were treated very cruelly. One big, sadistic Japanese guard, named Matsuhiro (“The Bird”) seemed to have a demonic hatred especially bent toward Zamperini. Just about anytime they would cross paths, this guard would pound Zamperini in the face, sometimes with a belt buckle on his hand. About half of the story in Unbroken describes the horrible, humiliating suffering Zamperini and others endured in these Japanese prisons. It is truly the hand of God that he survived, especially at the end of the war, when Japanese soldiers normally killed all POW’s before fleeing, but in this case, they fled, and the prisoners were left to be rescued.

Louis shocked friends and family by returning back home alive and he was an instant celebrity. However, the celebrity status produced little income and he soon found himself in a quick marriage, which turned bad, and then he became more addicted to alcohol. Every night he was tormented by nightmares of the guard, Matsuhiro, attacking him. All this changed, however, in 1949 when he attended a big tent crusade in Los Angeles, where a young, popular speaker, Billy Graham, was preaching. Filled with brokenness, Louis went forward in the second night to trust in Jesus Christ, whose body was broken on a cross. Louis returned home, poured out all his liquor, and slept peacefully for the first time in years. He never again had a nightmare of Matsuhiro. He was truly a new man in Christ.

A few years later, Zamperini had an opportunity to go back and visit some of the former Japanese guards, now prisoners themselves. He and other Christians shared the love and forgiveness of Christ to these former tormentors, who were greatly surprised. Zamperini never saw Matsuhiro in his visits, but he sent him this letter. Matsuhiro never responded before his death, but Zamperini had obeyed the Lord in forgiving this former enemy.

To Matsuhiro [sic] Watanabe,
As a result of my prisoner of war experience under your unwarranted and unreasonable punishment, my post-war life became a nightmare. It was not so much due to the pain and suffering as it was the tension of stress and humiliation that caused me to hate with a vengeance…
The post-war nightmares caused my life to crumble, but thanks to a confrontation with God through the evangelist Billy Graham, I committed my life to Christ. Love replaced the hate I had for you. Christ said, “Forgive your enemies and pray for them.”
As you probably know, I returned to Japan in 1952 [sic] and was graciously allowed to address all the Japanese war criminals at Sugamo Prison … At that moment, like the others, I also forgave you and now would hope that you would also become a Christian.
Louis Zamperini

What amazing forgiveness! You, too, can forgive – even your greatest enemies – because Jesus Christ suffered the terrible abuse and torments of men, and yet he chose to forgive us. While hanging on the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) Therefore, you must also “Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Col.3:13) To hear the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association special on the rest of the Louis Zamperini story download here: Billy Graham Video.

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Merry Christmas! Limited Time Offer: 3 E-Books for $1

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According to Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith, the number one reason students reject the faith in college is intellectual skepticism. Naturally, many parents are concerned that their children will reject the Christian view of ethics, sexuality and human sacredness during their years in college. Unfortunately, many Christian students are ill-equipped to respond to the arguments they will hear in the classroom disparaging Christian history and doctrine.

Josh McDowell and I partnered to create three novellas in which students discuss the basic tenants of the Christian faith. They are:

  1. Is the Bible True…Really?
  2. Who is Jesus…Really?
  3. Did the Resurrection Happen…Really?

These books will help both Christians and seekers understand the historical reliability of Christianity by “listening in” on conversations you might hear on a college campus.

In December, you can download the Kindle versions for $1. If you do not have a Kindle device, you can read them on the free Kindle App on your computer or phone.

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How the “Fierce Convictions” of Hannah More led to the Abolition of the Slave Trade

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Dr. Karen Swallow Prior’s new book Fierce Convictions tells story of Hannah Moore who, in addition to being a noted author and philanthropist, was a key figuring in abolishing the slave trade in Great Britain.

Beyond becoming a famous poet and playwright, More used her considerable literary talents to describe in great detail the suffering slaves experienced in their voyages at the bottom of slave ships. Although not as well-known as abolitionists such as William Wilberforce and John Newton, Prior reveals how More influenced such men personally and through her writings.

Prior also gives us a window into what is perhaps More’s most compelling quality: her ability to connect personally with great leaders and influencers, as well as with the poor and downtrodden.

As Prior writes, “More was a woman of strong convictions, but she kept a plentiful table. She mixed comfortably and enthusiastically with rich and poor, church and unchurched, and all in between.”

Brilliant and well-educated, More was nonetheless unapologetically committed to the Bible, “Bible Christianity is what I love…a Christianity practical and pure, which teaches holiness, humility, repentance and faith in Christ, and which after summing up all the Evangelical graces declares that the greatest of these is charity” (p. 155). She added, “I know of no way of teaching morals but by infusing principles of Christianity nor of teaching Christianity without a thorough knowledge of Scripture” (p. 160).

Read the rest of the article here at Multiply Life

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