Damage control at its worst…
— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 14, 2019
This testimony should be available to every member of Congress and every single American. What is Schiff hiding?
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) October 14, 2019
Damage control at its worst…
— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 14, 2019
This testimony should be available to every member of Congress and every single American. What is Schiff hiding?
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) October 14, 2019
There is something very damaging about the CIA operative -turned gossiper- that Adam Schiff used to launch his Ukraine dossier (aka “whistleblower? report). If the gossiper wasn’t sketchy, the Democrats would be heralding his heroism; instead they are trying to sweep away any mention of their CIA ally, and drop the ‘whistleblower’ angle completely.
In this interview Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin discusses the shady tactics of the impeachment committees against the appearance today by President Trump’s former Russia aide Fiona Hill. Rep. Zeldin also notes the conspicuous bull-schiff.
There was a mid-day presser (below) with Zeldin and Jim Jordan that also provides good information.
In 1517 on October 31st, Martin Luther sparked a movement, unbeknownst to himself, that would arise as a mighty fire influencing the Western world for generations, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ that was re-discovered by the Reformers has had a worldwide impact that only eternity itself will ultimately unveil. Hence, October is Reformation month.
It is a sad testimony today that anyone who merely claims faithfulness to Christ is hailed as a true Christian by folks from all the surrounding quarters both within and without the myriad denominations. In conversations today, it is often the case that you will hear the familiar refrain: “Oh, we all believe in the same God,” or “Oh, how I love Jesus.” In the spirit of ecumenism, theological allegiances are played down. We have this wide tent mentality that is inclusive.
Anyone that names the Name of Christ is considered a Christian, irrespective of the beliefs and practices that they advocate. If we could all just get along, things would be so much better! Or so goes the mantra: “After all, jesus [lower case intentional] died for all of us” and “Jesus wants us all to be one.” Nobody pauses to ask the fundamental question: “Which jesus are we talking about?” The jesus [lower case intentional] of Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Arminianism, Methodism, Adventism, etc., etc., is not the Jesus of the New Testament. Far from it!
In the time of the sixteenth-century Reformation, in several countries or states, it was likely that you would be put to trial, and even suffer martyrdom for the correct belief. At present, we may ask: “Where are all the martyrs?” or similarly, “Where are all the Reformers?” Today, we whitewash over our differences and there is almost no variance in our respective commitments as we strive to bring “Christianity” down to its lowest common denominator. “Catholics and Protestants” shout the masses, “believe in the same God!” I have news for you. No, they don’t! Not even close.
Roman Catholicism is Popery pure and simple. It is a caricature of Christianity. It is a reward system that is blatantly opposed to the evangel. With no authentic gospel in its ranks, it is a bastardization of the New Testament faith. It has “Christian” garb but is inwardly full of dead men’s bones [figuratively and literally]. The Council of Trent condemned the belief in the Pauline gospel of Justification by faith alone. How then can it be authentic Christianity? Simply put, it isn’t!
During Mary Tudor’s reign in the sixteenth century, 282 martyrs were made by her absolute hatred of evangelical faith. No surprise that she remains known down the centuries as “Bloody Mary.” This was a period of 45 gruesome months. From February 4, 1555, until November 10, 1558, there were 226 men and 56 women burnt as heretics. Correct belief is worth dying for. At least it was for these faithful folks who, as the martyrs of Revelation 12, loved the Lord more than they loved life itself! What a testimony!
How can I, as an evangelical, converted by the true gospel of God’s grace, compromise on the very gospel that determines my eternal salvation? How can one call Roman Papists, Arminianists, Adventists, Methodists true Christians, when in another era, those with similar beliefs as those mentioned, would have likely put one to death? And, even if they were to spare one’s life, it nonetheless remains true that they would have blasphemed the Lord with their false beliefs. How can one remain silent?
Mary’s martyrs included many unnamed simple folks that remained steadfast in the face of marauding bishops and interrogators who gleefully sought their deaths. If the heretic was a bishop or high prelate, the Roman henchmen urged for the recantation of evangelical belief and the embracing of Popery, so they could use these examples to tempt others to apostatize.
How they rejoiced when Thomas Cranmer in a moment of weakness signed their dreaded documents professing allegiance to Rome. As an elect believer, however, God plagued his soul and when he was repentant, and finally charged to die as a Martyr, he confessed openly that what he wrote with the hand was contrary to his heart, and thus, his hand would burn first.
Other examples, such as Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, spur me on to stand for the distinct evangelical doctrines recovered in the Reformation era. Even though we live in peaceful times, and extremely few of us are in danger of dying for our faith, we nevertheless, should not forget the martyrs of bygone days.
The gospel they died for was the truth as it is in Jesus. It was a declaration from above that sinners will be rescued and redeemed from their utmost hatred of God and their blatant rebellion against Him. This Pauline gospel is about the saving of a chosen people for the glory of the Triune God. It is based on an eternal covenant God made within the immanent trinity before the universe existed. In time, this covenant plan was revealed to be based on the incarnate life, obedience, and death, and resurrection of Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. God the Son took on human nature and, in His person, became the vicarious savior of His people.
The blessed truths of unconditional election, substitutionary atonement, irresistible grace, and the perseverance and preservation of totally depraved sinners are the bedrock of this biblical gospel. That Christ’s saving work was accepted by God on the behalf of elect sinners is shown in the blessed resurrection and in the continuing intercession Christ is making for His people. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, based on Scripture alone, to the Glory of God alone.
Salvation is all of one cloth. It is not the cloth of Romanism, Pelagianism, Arminianism, Mormonism, Adventism, or Methodism. The cloth is one, and that cloth is pure unadulterated Calvinism. This is short-hand for the saving truths of the gospel. And, as B. B. Warfield said: “Calvinism thus emerges to our sight as nothing more or less than the hope of the World!”
Long Live the Reformation.
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. (5:7–8)
Three times in this section (vv. 7, 8, 9), James refers to the believer’s great hope, the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The realization that things won’t always be as they are now, that believers are headed for “the city … whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10), provides great hope for those undergoing persecution. For that reason, the more persecuted a church is the more eagerly it anticipates the return of Jesus Christ; conversely, an affluent, indulgent, worldly church has little interest in the Lord’s return.
Parousia (coming) is an important New Testament eschatological term. It is the most commonly used term in the New Testament epistles for the second coming of Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:1, 8; 2 Pet. 1:16; 3:4; 1 John 2:28; cf. Matt. 24:3, 27, 37, 39). Parousia refers to more than just coming; it includes the idea of “presence.” Perhaps the best English translation would be “arrival.” The church’s great hope is the arrival of Jesus Christ when He comes to bless His people with His presence. That glorious truth appears in more than 500 verses throughout the Bible.
Our Lord said much about His return, especially in His Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24–25; Mark 13; Luke 21). He taught that His return would be preceded by definite signs (Matt. 24:5–26). He portrayed His coming as a dramatic, climactic event, as striking and unmistakable as the flash of lightning across the sky (Matt. 24:27–30). It will be a time of separation, as the angels gather the elect to enjoy Jesus’ presence (Matt. 24:31) and gather unbelievers to banish them from it (Matt. 24:39–41).
Every Christian is to live in the hope of the certainty of Christ’s return. “The end of all things is near,” wrote Peter; “therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer” (1 Pet. 4:7). With his own death imminent, Paul could confidently say, “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). The sure hope of Christ’s return is especially comforting to those undergoing trials and persecution. To the Romans Paul wrote, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18). He reminded the Corinthians that “momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17). Peter also encouraged suffering believers to remember their Lord’s return:
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 1:6–7)
Focusing on Christ’s return also motivates believers to godly living. In 1 John 3:3 John writes, “Everyone who has this hope [the Second Coming—v. 2] fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” The study of end time events should not produce speculative eschatological systems, but holy lives. After discussing the destruction of the present universe, Peter exhorted his readers, “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless” (2 Pet. 3:14; cf. Phil. 3:16–21; 1 Thess. 1:9–10; Titus 2:11–13).
To further reinforce his point that believers need to wait patiently for the second coming, James described a familiar scene using a simple, straightforward illustration. The farmer, he points out, waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. The farmer would have been a tenant farmer or small landowner. Having planted his crops, he waits expectantly for the precious produce of the soil—his crops—to come in. That depends on something outside of his control, God’s providentially bringing together all the elements needed for the crops to grow. Those crops are precious or valuable to him because he depends on them for his existence. All he can do is to be patient (from makrothumeō, the same word used earlier in the verse) as he waits eagerly for the crops to come in.
James’s reference to the early and late rains shows just how long farmers had to patiently wait. The early rains in Palestine arrive at the time of the fall planting season (October and November), the late rains just before harvesttime (March and April).
Applying the analogy to his readers, James exhorted them, you too be patient. Just as a farmer waits patiently through the entire growing season for his crop, so also are believers to wait patiently for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul addressed a similar exhortation to the Galatians: “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Gal. 6:9). Perhaps James’s readers, like those described in Revelation 6:9–11, were growing impatient for Christ to return. They may also have been plagued by scoffers who denied the reality of the Second Coming (cf. 2 Pet. 3:3–4).
James further exhorted his readers to strengthen their hearts. Strengthen is from stērizō, a word meaning “to make fast,” “to establish,” or “to confirm.” In Luke 9:51 this term is used to describe Jesus’ resolute determination to go to Jerusalem, although He knew He faced death when He arrived there. It is a word denoting resoluteness, firm courage, an attitude of commitment to stay the course no matter how severe the trial. Stērizō derives from a root word meaning “to cause to stand,” or “to prop up.” James urges those about to collapse under the weight of persecution to prop themselves up with the hope of the Savior’s return.
Spiritual strengthening is seen elsewhere in Scripture as the gracious work of the Holy Spirit (e.g., Eph. 3:14–19; 1 Thess. 3:12–13; 2 Thess. 2:16–17; 1 Pet. 5:10), but is here presented as the believer’s responsibility. This is another instance of the profound tension between divine provision and human responsibility that permeates doctrinal truth. Christians are not to “let go and let God,” nor are they to view the Christian life as one of legalistic self-effort. Instead, they are to live as if everything depends on them, knowing that it all depends on God (cf. Phil. 2:12–13).
James does not tolerate double-minded, unstable people. In 1:6 he observed that “the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind,” and warned “that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (vv. 7–8). In 2:4 the inspired writer denounced those who equivocated by making “distinctions among [themselves],” and thus became “judges with evil motives,” while in 3:8–12 he pointed out the incongruity of those who bless God while at the same time cursing their fellowmen. James also rebuked those who claimed to love God, yet were in love with the world (4:4), exhorting them, “Purify your hearts, you double-minded” (v. 8). It is not surprising, then, that James exhorted his readers to have a settled conviction that the Lord Jesus Christ would return, and thus strengthen their hearts.
The obvious idea of this exhortation was that believers should realize that their trouble is temporary. It will end when Jesus returns. Though Jesus would not return in the lifetime of the recipients of this epistle, nor in the lifetimes of millions of other believers who have lived and died since—no one has known when He will—all may live in the anticipation that He may come at any moment. This argues for imminency, the idea that the next event on God’s schedule for Christ is the deliverance of believers from this world with all its troubles. This is the message of comforting hope for the church in every age (cf. 1 Thess. 4:13–18).
James emphasizes imminency by reminding his readers of the hope that the coming of the Lord is near. The verb translated near (eggizō) means “to draw near,” “to approach,” or “to come close.” The return of Christ is the next event on God’s prophetic calendar and could happen at any moment. He delays His return because God is still redeeming those whom He “chose … in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). But from the human perspective, Christ’s return has been imminent since He ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9–11). That reality has always been the church’s hope. “The night is almost gone, and the day is near,” wrote the apostle Paul to the Romans (Rom. 13:12). The writer of Hebrews exhorted his readers not to forsake their “own assembling together … but [to be] encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Heb. 10:25). “The end of all things is near,” wrote Peter (1 Pet. 4:7), while the apostle John added, “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). And Jesus’ last recorded words in Scripture are “Yes, I am coming quickly” (Rev. 22:20). It is both the privilege and the responsibility of all Christians to be constantly “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:13; cf. John 14:1–3; 1 Cor. 1:7; Phil. 3:20–21; 1 Thess. 1:9–10; 4:16–18). Any view of eschatology which eliminates imminency (believers in every age living with the hope that Christ could come at any moment) is in conflict with all those passages which provide hope for suffering believers by anticipating the Lord’s coming.
8 Like the farmer, Christians must be patient and strengthen their hearts (compare Luke 9:51; 22:32; 1 Thess. 3:13). In both instances such confidence is based on hope: the farmer is sure that the rains will fall, and the Christian that the Lord will come. The tense of the verb indicates that the coming is near.31
7.3.2. Second Exhortation to Patience (5:8)
188.8.131.52. Exhortation (5:8a)
James now repeats his exhortation to patience, but this time with some emphasis and in light of his analogy: “You must also be patient.” To this James adds a new idea before he gives his second reason for patient endurance: “Strengthen your hearts.”188 The word “strengthen” (Greek, stērizō) is used of fortifying oneself with food (Judg 19:5, 8), and by trusting in the strength of God one’s heart can be fortified and the will made resolute (Ps 57:7; Sir 6:37; cf. 22:16–17). Paul wants to strengthen, or fortify, the Romans with some spiritual gift (1:11), he prays that God will fortify hearts in holiness (1 Thess 3:13), and he is confident that good works fortify the heart (2 Thess 2:17). Not surprisingly, strength of heart comes from grace not food observances (Heb 13:9). When James says he wants the messianists to be strengthened “in your hearts,” he is thinking from the inside out, from the core of their being, both in resolution and confident faith (James 1:26; 3:14; 4:8; 5:5).
184.108.40.206. Reason (5:8b)
Why do they need to be patient and strengthen their hearts? As James puts it, “for the coming of the Lord is near.” We concluded above that “the coming of the Lord” refers to the act of God in judgment against the oppressors in the defeat of Jerusalem. But, again, some of this needs to be shown, and this verse and the next will clarify what remains to be demonstrated. Everything here hinges on the meaning of “is near” (Greek ēngiken). The word (engizō), in short order, means “draw near.” It speaks of something so near that its impact is beginning to be felt. The fear that somehow James, and therefore the Word of God, would be wrong if this word is given the meaning one expects it to have has led too many to less than obvious explanations. The word is used forty-one times in the New Testament.191 One of the more telling uses is in Mark 11:1 (par. Matt 21:1): “When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples.…” The point is that they were close but not yet there; so close that Jesus sent two disciples on ahead to get things ready. Other uses, such as Matthew 21:34; 26:45–46; Luke 15:25; 18:35; 19:41; 21:8, 20; 22:1 confirm that engizō means to be near, very near, but not yet arrived—but close enough for things to start happening.
What matters in our context is that ēngiken is used for cataclysmic eschatological events in the time-plan of the early Christians. Hence, Jesus can say the kingdom of God has drawn near (Mark 1:15; Luke 10:9, 11). Of note are Luke 21:20: “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near,” and 21:28: “Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” From Acts, we read in 7:17: “But as the time drew near for the fulfillment of the promise that God had made to Abraham, our people in Egypt increased and multiplied.” Paul says in Romans 13:12: “the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” And Hebrews 10:25: “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Peter too: “The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers” (1 Pet 4:7). In addition to these considerations we note that this term emerges at times in the context of oppression and serves to buttress the hope of the oppressed. Thus, Mark 13 speaks often of persecution and how the nearness of the Son of Man’s coming brings hope (Mark 13:26–31). Peter’s words about the end of all things being near immediately lead to encouragement about persecution (1 Pet 4:7–11, 12–19). The so-called roll-call of heroic faith in Hebrews 10 winds up its point in a combination of encouragement and promise that the Lord is coming (10:32–39).
One can read “the coming of the Lord is near” in James 5:8 in the context of Paul’s statements about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and, if ēngiken is understood as referring to something about to happen, then either Jesus did return somehow or James was wrong. Or one can read this text in light of the teachings of Jesus about the parousia in a Jewish context and see it as a prediction of the imminent judgment of God, and in this case one would have to think of the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 ad as told of so graphically by Josephus in his Jewish War. The latter is far more probable, and the next verse tips the balance in its favor. There (5:9b) the parousia has to do with God appearing as Judge. Grammatically speaking, the perfect tense of ēngiken needs to be seen in context: the state of affairs that comes through the perfect tense is that God has heard the cries of the poor (5:4, perfect tense), so the flipside of that hearing is that the “coming near” of the Lord’s parousia is a state of affairs. One might think of “being near” the way a plane might be put into a holding pattern just before it arrives. The Lord’s parousia then mirrors the hearing of the cries of the oppressed as a state of affairs. The Judge’s standing, or hovering, at the doors (5:9b) is another set of affairs sketched in the perfect tense. They need to be tied together: God having heard the cries, the coming near of the parousia, and the approach of God as Judge.
5:8 / Christians also must be patient. Like the farmer, the Christian bets his or her life on the outcome of a long wait. Like the farmer, reducing the tension (by compromise or attack) would be self-destructive. The Christian must place all hope in a condition outside his or her control, waiting patiently for the coming of the King.
As they wait they are to stand firm. As they wait doubt must be fought at all costs: The inner defenses must be constantly attended, their hearts must be strengthened in the face of suffering.
As a further encouragement he adds, the Lord’s coming is near. For the rich this is bad news (5:3–5); for believers this is good news. The waiting may still be long, but like a runner who has rounded the last curve on the track and sees the finish line down the interminable straightaway, they can receive a new wind from the vision of the end.
5:8 the Lord’s coming is near. A double meaning is intended here. “Near” means near in time, that is, “soon” (as in Rom. 13:11–12; Heb. 10:25). But “near” also means near in space, that is, “nearby” or “at hand” (as in Matt. 3:2; Luke 10:9–11). The word for “coming” (parousia), when used of Jesus, almost always refers to the second coming, which is in the future. And the primary frame of reference thus far in 5:7–12 has been the future. But the verb “is near” is in the perfect tense, which usually indicates something that has already been put into place and that has continuing effects. So besides the emphasis on Christ’s future second coming, there is also a sense that James is saying the Lord is nearby his readers now, that they should wait for him to rescue them from their sufferings in some ways before the second coming. This ambiguity of Jesus (or his kingdom) being both already present in some sense and not yet present in another runs through much of the New Testament. While 5:7–12 has a stronger emphasis on the “not yet” aspect, 5:13–20 emphasizes the “already” aspect.
7. Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. 8. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
Note these observations:
Fully aware of their adversities, James tells his readers to exercise patience. The adverb then links the command to be patient to the preceding verses in which James describes the oppressive conditions under which the poor live. In a sense, James takes up the theme with which he begins his epistle: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (1:2).
Patience is a virtue possessed by few and sought by many. We are living in a society that champions the word instant. But to be patient, as James uses the word, is much more than passively waiting for the time to pass. Patience is the art of enduring someone whose conduct is incompatible with that of others and sometimes even oppressive. A patient man calms a quarrel, for he controls his anger and does not seek revenge (compare Prov. 15:18; 16:32).
The old English term long-suffering does not mean to suffer a while but to tolerate someone for a long time. To say it differently, patience is the opposite of being short-tempered. God displays patience by being “slow to anger” when man continues in sin even after numerous admonitions (Exod. 34:6; Ps. 86:15; Rom. 2:4; 9:22; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 3:15). Man ought to reflect that divine virtue in his day-to-day life.
James knows that the readers of his epistle are unable to defend themselves against their oppressors. Therefore, he urges them to exercise patience and to leave matters in the hands of God, who is coming to deliver them. Even if they were able to do so, they should not take matters into their own hands. God has said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay” (Deut. 32:35; Rom. 12:12; Heb. 10:30).
“Be patient … until the Lord’s coming.” The readers know that the Lord is coming back in the capacity of Judge. They ought to exercise self-control toward their adversaries and demonstrate patience in respect to the coming of the Lord. He will avenge his people when he returns (2 Thess. 1:5–6).
Throughout his epistle the writer reveals his love for God’s creation. In this verse he portrays the expectations of the farmer who anticipates a bountiful harvest but must patiently wait for the arrival of “the autumn and spring rains.” The farmer has learned that everything grows according to the seasons of the year. He knows how many days are needed for a plant to develop from germination to harvest. Moreover, he knows that without the proper amount of rainfall at the right moment, his labors are in vain.
Although the amounts of rainfall in Israel fluctuate, the farmer knows that he can expect the autumn rain, beginning with a number of thunderstorms, in the latter part of October. Then he can plant his seed so that germination takes place. And he eagerly hopes for a sufficient amount of rainfall in April and May when the grain is maturing and the yield increases every time the rains come down. He depends, therefore, on the autumn and the spring rains (Deut. 11:14; Jer. 5:24; Hos. 6:3; Joel 2:23). He is able to predict the coming of the rain, but he cannot speak with certainty about the harvest. He waits with eager expectation.
James applies the example of the farmer to the readers. “You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” As the farmer confidently waits for the coming of the autumn rain and the spring rain on which his harvest depends, so the believer waits patiently for the coming of the Lord. As God promised Noah that “as long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest … will never cease” (Gen. 8:22), so the Lord has given the believer the promise that he will return.
James tells the readers to be patient and to stand firm (“to strengthen your hearts” in the original). They can say with confidence that the Lord is coming back, but they do not know when that will be. While they are waiting, doubt and distraction often enter their lives. For this reason, James counsels his readers to stand firm in the knowledge that the Lord in due time will fulfill his promise made to the believers. He falls into repetition, but the reminder of the Lord’s imminent return is necessary so that the readers will not lose heart in difficult circumstances.
Martin Luther initially hoped that the Roman Catholic Church would reform from within, but when it would not, he concluded that it was a false church. In this brief clip, W. Robert Godfrey examines some of Luther’s harsh words for Rome.
This Reformation Month, watch a short video every day on the history and insights of the Protestant Reformation. And don’t forget that for this month only, you can request your free digital download of R.C. Sproul’s video teaching series Luther and the Reformation plus the ebook edition of The Legacy of Luther, edited by R.C. Sproul and Stephen Nichols at ligm.in/Reformation. Offer ends October 31, 2019.
One of the harder things for moderns to understand is that in the sixteenth century there was absolutely no notion of denominationalism. For centuries, almost from its beginning, the church had thought about the church as either the true church or false churches. You know, today—I’m a Presbyterian, you’re a Baptist, somebody else is Lutheran—we have differences, and we may even see some of our differences as important, but we regard one another as Christians. That was not the case through most of the history of the church. You were in either in the one true church or you were part of a false church.
[Martin] Luther initially hoped very much to be a positive reforming influence in what he saw as the one true church, but when it became more and more obvious that the Roman Catholic Church would not listen to him, would not reform itself, Luther’s conclusion was that Rome is establishing itself as a false church. That’s why fairly early on in the 1520s Luther begins to talk about the pope as the antichrist. Again, maybe when people in the twenty-first century read that, they think he’s being sort of rhetorical. He was not being rhetorical. He believed that the pope was the eschatological revelation of the antichrist at the end of the age. So Luther is very earnest in everything that he says both about the pope and about the Church of Rome. What’s interesting is that when you read most Protestant writers in the sixteenth century, they never refer to the “Catholic church.” They refer to the Roman church, and their argument is that we are the catholic church. We are the universal church. We stand in unity with the church of all ages.
Now Luther and all the Reformers believed there were true Christians in the Roman church that still held to the gospel, but they believed they could say that the Roman church was a false church because it’s official teachers had rejected the gospel.
Scripture Reading: John 21:1–17
Key Verse: John 21:15
So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
Have you failed? Are your insides being gnawed away by the insidious emotions of embarrassment and remorse?
Then be encouraged by the failure of one of the great disciples. During Christ’s trial and crucifixion, it was crucial that the disciples stayed together and kept their faith strong. Instead, they fled. Simon Peter went as far as denying his beloved Friend three times.
However, when they met again after the Resurrection, Jesus held no malice for Peter. John 21:15 reports, “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ [Peter] said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ [Jesus] said to him, ‘Tend My lambs’ ” (nasb).
Jesus did not chastise Peter; rather, He stressed that for Peter to truly show his love, Peter would have to take on the commission: feed My lambs. The same is true for you. God does not desire for you to remain ashamed. His direction is that you renew your commitment and take up the purpose for which He called you.
As Oliver Goldsmith astutely notes, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising each time we fall.” You have no reason to live in shame. Rise again and take on the godly life to which God called you. You may find your biggest failure was only the beginning of your greatest success.
When I wallow in guilt, Lord, I am not doing it for You, but for me. Help me to rise quickly, ignore the naggings of embarrassment and remorse, and be about Your business.
The Reformation doctrine of justification is frequently summed up in the slogan sola fide, which means “by faith alone.” The phrase sola fide stands for the teaching that justification is by faith alone.
The Roman Catholic Church, historically, has also taught that justification is by faith. They say that faith is the initial stage of justification. It is the foundation and root of our justification. Rome insists on the necessity of faith for justification. So the fide in sola fide is clearly affirmed by Rome. What is not affirmed by Rome is the sola, because even though faith is the initiation, the foundation, and the root of justification, its mere presence is not enough to effect justification. There must be something besides faith in order for us to be justified—a necessary condition. A necessary condition is something that must be present in order for an effect or consequence to follow, but its presence does not guarantee the result.
For example, under normal circumstances, a necessary condition for fire is the presence of oxygen. But, fortunately for us, the mere presence of oxygen is not enough to cause a fire. If it were, we would catch on fire every time we took a breath of air. So we distinguish between a necessary condition and a sufficient condition. A sufficient condition absolutely guarantees that the result will follow.
Given that distinction, we can see the difference between the Roman Catholic view and the Reformation view of the relationship between faith and justification. In the Roman view, faith is a necessary condition for justification, not a sufficient condition for it. In the Protestant view, faith is not only a necessary condition but also a sufficient condition for justification. That is, when we put our faith and trust in Christ, God will most surely declare us justified in His sight. The Reformation view, which is the biblical view, is that if faith is present, justification is inevitably present as well.
What is unthinkable in the Reformation view is that we could have faith without justification. We cannot have justification without faith, and we cannot have faith without justification. Rome says that we cannot have justification without faith, but we can have faith without justification. We can keep our faith but commit a mortal sin that will destroy the grace of justification, so that we will be damned (without proper penance). But for the Reformers, the mere possession of genuine faith is all that is required in order for us to receive the grace and maintain the state of justification.
The confession says this:
Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification.
An instrument is a tool that is used for a particular purpose. When the framers of the Westminster Confession wrote that faith is the alone instrument of justification, they were aware of the sixteenth-century dispute regarding the instrumental cause of justification. It is necessary to have a clear understanding of this doctrine—the instrumental cause of justification—because it is about how we are saved.
The term instrumental cause goes back in history to the fourth century before Christ, to the philosophy of Aristotle. He was concerned to explain motion and change. In that process, he tried to isolate various causes that contribute to something’s change of state or status. How does that relate to our question here? We, by nature, are not justified. We are unjust, and our status before God is that we deserve his unmitigated wrath. We need a change of our status, from a state of damnation to a state of justification.
Aristotle distinguished four kinds of causes: the formal cause, the efficient cause, the final cause, and the material cause. He did not include the instrumental cause. His four causes, however, formed the basis for the idea of instrumental cause.
He used the illustration of a statue that starts out as a block of stone from the quarry. Aristotle defined the block of stone as the material cause, the stuff out of which something is made. The formal cause is the idea in the sculptor’s mind, or his blueprint or sketch, of the way that he wants the finished product to look. There has to be an idea before there can be a result. The efficient cause is that which brings about the change from stone to statue, and in this case it is the sculptor. He is the one who makes it happen. The final cause is the purpose for which the thing is made, which in this case may be to beautify a garden.
To these four causes, we may add the idea of the instrumental cause, which is the means by which the change takes place. If the sculptor wants to change the block of stone into a statue, he has to chip away at the stone to shape, form, and smooth it. His chisel and his hammer are the instruments, the means by which the change is wrought. In English, we often indicate means with the words by and through.
When the Reformers said that justification is by faith or through faith, they affirmed that the means or the instrument by which we are justified is faith and faith alone. The only instrument that we need, the only tool required to move us from a state of damnation to a state of justification is faith, but faith is not the only thing that we need in order to be justified. We also need Christ in order to be justified. That is, in order to be justified, we need His perfect righteousness and His atonement on the cross. Everything that is required by God to meet His standard of righteousness and justice has been fulfilled objectively in and through the work of Christ. He has done it all. The whole Roman Catholic–Protestant debate on justification is not over the objective work of Christ so much as it is over how we receive the benefits of His work. How is the objective work of Christ subjectively appropriated? The answer that the Reformers gave, based on the teaching of the Apostle Paul, was “in and through, or by and through, faith alone.” But it is not faith alone that saves us. When we say that justification is by faith alone, we are saying that justification is by and through our faith in Christ alone.
The instrumental cause of justification, according to Rome, is baptism and penance. Rome defines these sacraments as the instruments by and through which a person is justified. The difference is between salvation that is accomplished sacerdotally (that is, through the church’s administration of the sacraments) and salvation that is experienced through faith in Christ alone. This is all the difference in the world. The confession says that faith is the only instrument of justification because it is through faith alone that we rest on and receive the righteousness of Christ. The righteousness of Christ, the benefits of His atonement, the objective merit or grounds of our justification, are freely offered to anyone who believes.“The righteous shall live by faith” (Rom.1:17). We are justified not by faith plus works but by faith alone. All that is needed to enter the kingdom of God is faith or trust in the work of Christ alone.
Faith is not the grounds of our justification. The grounds of our justification is the righteousness of Christ, His merit. The Reformers said that the meritorious cause of our justification is the righteousness of Christ alone. The instrumental cause of our justification is faith, but when we say that we are justified by faith alone, we do not mean that faith is a meritorious work that adds anything to the ground of our justification.
What difference does that make practically? There are people who say they believe in justification by faith alone but who rely on their faith as if it were meritorious or a good work that will satisfy the demands of God’s justice. The fact that a person possesses faith adds no merit to his account. It adds infinite merit to his account by imputation, but it is the merit of Christ that is imputed to him. We can receive Christ’s merit only by faith, and there is no merit to that. The only One who can save us is Christ, and the only way we can get access to Him is through faith. We do not rest on anything else in our lives except Christ and His righteousness for our salvation.
This excerpt is adapted from Truths We Confess by R.C. Sproul. In Truths We Confess, now thoroughly revised and available in a single, accessible volume, Dr. Sproul introduces readers to this remarkable confession, explaining its insights and applying them to modern life. Order the hardcover book today.
Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18
Key Verse: Psalm 48:9
We have thought, O God, on Your lovingkindness, in the midst of Your temple.
Have you ever considered the value of keeping a prayer journal? It’s a record of your prayer relationship with God so that you can remember what you talked about with Him.
It works in this way. After you pray, write in a small notebook what you have said, along with the date. As God answers a particular item, draw a single line through the request, so that you can still read it, and put the date of the answer at the end of the line. When you review the journal, you can rejoice at His provision. You will be able to say, “God loves me. He is interested in me. I am growing in my faith, and He is working in my life.”
What a thrill it is to trace His involvement and see your spiritual growth unfold as you trust Him, releasing all of your worries and problems to Him. As you pour out your heart to Him, you feel His tender care.
In addition, prayer is a purification process. God changes more than just your outlook on external things; He opens your eyes to aspects of your behavior and attitude that were not obvious before. As you respond to His conviction and make the appropriate changes through His strength, your character is molded more and more into the likeness of Jesus.
A prayer journal will help you observe and chronicle this process for yourself and others.
Lord, I cherish the ways You’ve answered me in the past. Thank You for loving me and working in my life.
Scripture reading: Psalm 119:129–136
Key verse: Psalm 27:11
Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
A father carefully explained the basics of safe driving to his newly licensed son. The boy ignored the message: “Dad, I already know how to drive. There’s nothing you can really tell me.” But a subsequent trip to the grocery store ended with a thud in the parking lot—the result of rear-ending a slow-moving vehicle.
We sometimes operate in the same stubborn manner. We make our plans, do it our way, and tag God onto the end. But since God’s ways are higher—different and better—than ours, we do well to follow His plan of action.
How can you know God’s ways when the path is unclear, the next step tentative at best? The best means to know God’s way is to know His Word. God’s Word expresses His will and character; and the better you know it, the more familiar you are with His ways.
Just as important is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, your Guide for rough ground and Teacher for perplexing circumstances. God is not reluctant to help you in time of need; you simply need to confess your helplessness and sincerely lean your weight on the Holy Spirit’s ability.
Tell God you want to know His way in your situation. Then expect Him to show you. You won’t be disappointed.
God, I want to know Your plan. Show me. Be my Guide through perplexing circumstances.
For the next couple of weeks I’ll be preparing to speak at the Cruciform
conference, so I’ll be re-running some popular articles from the archives.
I hope you’ll enjoy this one.
Should Christians listen to the song Reckless Love? Should churches use this song in their worship services or other activities? Aren’t songs like this OK if they point people to Jesus and the lyrics don’t blatantly contradict Scripture?
Goodness, I have never seen so much buzz over whether or not a particular song is OK to listen to or use at church. Regardless of your opinion of the song itself, I think we could all agree that one awesome thing that has come out of the Reckless Love debate is that it has encouraged Christians to actually look at the lyrics of, and think theologically about, the songs they listen to on the…
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Dr. Roberts, who has a PhD in Economics and is a former Assistant Treasury Secretary in the Reagan Administration, predicts the NWO will take down the financial system as a last resort if all else fails. Dr. Roberts explains, “Now, if they can’t get Trump out, they will crash it. There will be a big crash before the election, and people will blame Trump. That’s about how smart Americans are. Now, there is one constraint for the Fed doing that because the Fed is a tool of the New York banks. If they crash the economy, they are going to crash those New York banks. That’s the only restraint on the elites. That’s their ultimate nuke. If they can’t get him out, they will say, okay, we are going to bring down the economy and too bad for the New York Banks, or they will find some special way to bail them out while everything else goes: the pension funds, the hedge funds, the mutual funds. They will wipe us out in order to get rid of Trump.”
On Sunday the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) struck a deal with the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad to push back Turkey’s invasion into northeast Syria. Russia mediated the deal and the move changes the complexion of the war with unseen and perhaps disastrous consequences for the Middle East.
Investors pulled roughly $60 billion from stock funds in the third quarter, marking the largest equity outflow since 2009, according to Morningstar data cited by the Wall Street Journal.
The trend follows heightened US-China trade tensions and a global economic slowdown — just some of the factors that roiled equity markets through summer. Equity fund inflows and outflows don’t account for all investments in US stocks, but the multibillion-dollar shifts hint at how major players expect markets to perform in the near future.
While investors pulled money from funds, they sank more capital into traditionally safer assets. Bond funds took in over $118 billion over the same period, according to Morningstar, while money-market funds saw a net inflow of $225 billion.
Investors have also been driven away from expensive funds as competitors lower the costs of investing. Charles Schwab, E*Trade, and TD Ameritrade were among the slew of brokerages that recently slashed commission fees from their trading platforms in a bid to boost customer value.
A rapid rise in passive investment platforms and high-yield savings accounts has also pulled interest from fee-laden money managers. Zero-commission trading startup Robinhood opened the waitlist for its new Cash Management feature on October 8. The service will pay users 2.05% interest on their uninvested cash.
Robo-advisors like Betterment and Wealthfront already offer high-yield savings accounts with similar interest rates.
The equity outflow arrives just days before money-management firms begin reporting third-quarter earnings. BlackRock announces its latest figures Tuesday, with State Street and Brookfield reporting in the following weeks.
Thomas Littleton 10/ 14 /2019
Betrayal today is so commonplace it is often unnoticed . Perhaps it is because it has become expected and we no longer care.We respond with little more than a shrug. This may even be an acquired skill to ensure survival. It is correctly stated “Those who expect little will not be disappointed.” Yet not all betrayal is equal.
Spiritual leaders who betray the trust and position they are assigned by divine appointment sell short not only the flock of God under their care but the Good Shepherd Himself. Judas betrayal was foretold -even on the night it took place but that did not lessen his guilt or accountability or alter his fate. Judas paid a high price for his thirty pieces of silver and so too will the modern evangelical sell outs -those followers of Judas whose spines have turned to rubber ,hearts have grown cold ,and convictions either never existed or have become like silly putty left exposed to the sun.
Some may only be going along with the prevailing winds of culture but others are enemies of the CROSS of CHRIST. They know who they are . Betrayers as used here mean evangelical leaders who allow themselves to be taken for biblical conservatives but drive narrative that undermine the very values their hearers take them as espousing . Hiding progressive politics behind historic theological positions is a betrayal of the kind of trust invested to those who play this game . If the narratives were coming out of true Biblical conviction by these leaders then there would be no need to source or coordinate them from progressive political and social science think tanks. Would there ?
FIVE TURNING POINT FOCUSES OF BETRAYAL
There are five major areas of betrayal rising on the evangelical horizon today. Take the time to look a them in this writers VIEW -of deepening order of importance and decide for yourself about the gravity of each and the long range error these betrayals bring with them.
*HUMAN AND SEXUAL “RIGHTS ” BETRAYAL
*SOCIAL JUSTICE FALSE GOSPEL BETRAYAL
*”FAITH AND WORK” BETRAYAL :GOING AFTER A GENERATIONS ACHIEVEMENTS AND THE NEXT GENERATIONS FUTURE MAKING YOUR CHILDREN AND GRAND CHILDREN INTO JUSTICE WARRIORS FOR THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY .
*COLLECTIVE FAITH BETRAYAL :USURPING INDIVIDUAL SAVING FAITH AND THE PRIESTHOOD OF EVERY BELIEVER.
EVANGELICAL POLITICS OF BETRAYAL
In this article we will look at Evangelical Political Betrayal.
Political life is , at its core ,a life of betrayal . This is universally true because political life requires making promises its betrayer cannot keep and endless efforts to be all things to all constituents . Today we see spiritual leaders forming a whole new type of political betrayal. This one is framed around a false gospel and laced with talking points from the social sciences and left wing think tanks. This betrayal is made to sound Christian with the overuse of hybrid theological jargon which people like Tim Keller seem willing to simply make up along the way as needed. The political engagement stew is then salted with some bible verses tossed in and then published like a global VBS lesson for spiritual children and made to especially appeal to the idealism of the next generation.It really appears to be more like a set of cheap shots and sucker punches to the intellect and biblical foundation of believers . And yes- they do appear to assume that we are all too stupid to notice .
Example of the rhetoric : (stop when you have had enough )
HERE IS A LOOK AT THE LATEST POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT GUIDE FROM SBC CIRCLES .IS IT A BETRAYAL ? YOU BE THE JUDGE .
DISOWNING CHRISTIAN IDENTITY
There was a gathering of LEADING EVANGELICAL THINKERS called by Doug Birdsall because, in his words he was ” fearful that this association with Trump now threatened the focus on personal salvation”. Nice of him to be concerned about other believers salvation just because he does not like how the vote. Over 50 leaders gathered secretly at Wheaton to discuss these issues. One blogger likened the closed door meetings to a Bilderberg Group approach for solving evangelicalism problems .
“Doug Birdsall, the honorary chair of the Lausanne Movement, an international evangelical organization, decided to move ahead with a two-day “consultation” for evangelical leaders that he had been mulling. According to Birdsall, its aim would be to revitalize Graham’s original mission and to discuss the future of the faith.
In the e-mail invitation Birdsall sent to participants, he wrote that the meeting was “prompted by the challenges of distortions to evangelicalism that have permeated both the media and culture since the 2016 election.” He recruited Harold Smith, the president of the Christianity Today ministry, which publishes the evangelical magazine of the same name founded by Graham, in 1956; Claude Alexander, a respected pastor in North Carolina; and Philip Ryken, the president of Wheaton College, in Illinois, to help host the gathering. Jenny Yang, a vice-president with World Relief, a refugee-resettlement group, and Gabriel Salguero, the president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, were asked to co-chair. (I was invited to attend because for several years I was the managing editor of Christianity Today.) Like many other young Christians, the 2016 Presidential election left me with an acute sense of abandonment.
Birdsall’s invitation stated that the “support of ‘eighty-one per cent of self-identifying white evangelicals’ for Donald Trump is a call to self-reflection on the current condition of Evangelicalism.” Nevertheless, he insisted, “Our purpose . . . is neither political nor centered on public policy.”
Last week, more than fifty pastors, scholars, and college presidents converged on the Billy Graham Center, at Wheaton, for the meeting. Participants included the Presbyterian pastors Timothy Keller and John Ortberg, and also Mark Noll, a historian of American evangelicalism who is perhaps best known for his book “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind,” a critique of the movement’s anti-intellectual bent.”
( Photo from Christian Post article https://www.christianpost.com/books/tim-keller-evangelicals-politics-social-justice-how-churches-should-treat-non-christians.html)
ONE THING IS CERTAIN -WITH 2020 LOOMING IN THE NEAR FUTURE EVEN MORE SUCH MEETINGS AND STATEMENTS ARE GOING ON AND FORTHCOMING .
Why are the “conservative evangelical ” leaders who found great joy in being in the company of the Obama administration so upset about Trump being President ?
THE PRESIDENCY TRUMP IS NOT THE ISSUE
Love him or hate him Donald Trump altered the US political landscape forever. Presidential politics are a billion dollar industry since the 2008 election and now it is likely to become more and more a billionaire’s game. What is really at issue is the future of Conservative Christian conviction reflected in voting patterns .
Leadership in the Old Testament times was a mixed bag. Leaders often are. Moore and Keller and others desire to shame Christians for voting the best they can. The goal goes beyond voting habits to Christian public identity . Betrayers want American Christians to disown their convictions reflected in their political stand but also call openly for evangelicals to disown the very name or label “evangelical ” along with the very identity . The call is repeated over and over but the goal is not to find a Gospel stance in political engagement but rather to move believers left of center on EVERY
Ironically the spiritual political betrayers are everywhere and seldom even try to hide their betrayal . “Never Trumper Evangelical” leaders like Russell Moore and Tim Keller appear willing to brazenly feed themselves without fear among the flock while they sell you the snake oil of progressive political talking points and assert them as “gospel values ” reflected in the “justice policies” of the Democratic Party. All this takes place while one of the most honest people in the Democratic loop Cecile Richards will plainly tell you “you cannot be a Democrat unless you support ABORTION”. Worst of all your children are being sold this bill of goods at every hand.Even in Christian media , educational institutions ,(where parents are often paying the tuition ) and in your very own churches . Soon it is likely Planned Parenthood will have no problem finding even more support from “conservative Christians ” . Liberal churches are already devotees at these pagan alter fires.
HONEST INJUN /SCOUTS HONOR/READ MY LIPS
So who is HONEST here ? Is it the woman whose organizations budget reached over a billion dollars a year by 2015 by being faithful to its supporters who want to promote “women’s rights to choose” and control “global birth rates ” ? Or is it the SBC “ethicist “Russell Moore and the PCA’s new C S Lewis Tim Keller who wrap their narratives in theological packaging and offer answers and responses to the Christian masses which undermine one of the most black and white convictional issues of our time or any time? Sadly the former head of Planned Parenthood – perpetrator of global child slaughter that would make the priest of Moloch blush – is more honest than our evangelical talking heads in their political talking points.
This art of theological deceit is practiced across the realm of those leaders in network with Moore and Keller. They cover a range of issues in their casting the vision of a new liberal Christianity with conservative dressing but none more revealing than in the issue of abortion . You can read at this link as Mark Dever and Jonathan Leeman or The Gospel Coalition/ 9MARKS / ERLC practice the talking points calling out Christians for being “single issue voters”. How dare we think the value of life can be distilled into a single issue i.e. saving babies from slaughter ?
If we have been slain it was either by the hand of our own or the willingness to deliver Christians up to their slayers. David did not escape his betrayal of Uriah the Hittite even though it was a hand other than Davids who did the deed. Guilt will find the shedder of innocent blood. It is had and fast rule of life in God’s economy .Betrayal results in death .If not death of the person betrayed – Betrayal does bring about the death of Hope and Trust and often the Hope of the Future .In the worst of cases it brings about the death of the most precious commodity -the FAITH of the betrayed. This is the worst of all possible results. Many are being and have been so betrayed by spiritual leadership today that their very faith in God and His Word are in crisis. While modern day betrayers count their thirty pieces of silver , build their etifacies and organizations and write endless books and conference -many do so over the scattered dry bones of their victims .
We must ask and answer again the question “can these bones live?”. The 2020 election cycle is well inplay . So are the betrayers of your faith and ,if the have their way’ the betrayers of your vote and of life as we know it in America .
Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan is enraged that NATO members are not supporting Ankara’s incursion into neighboring Syria, to target local Kurdish militias, arguing that in doing so they are siding with terrorists.
Ankara has been subjected to diplomatic and economic pressure by fellow NATO members, including Germany, France, and the UK, following its decision to launch a military operation in northeastern Syria last week. An arms sales embargo and other measures are on the table over what Turkey touts as a legitimate counterterrorist campaign.
Erdogan on Monday criticized a lack of support from nations that are supposed to be allies under NATO. “According to Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which side should they take? They need to stand by us,” he told reporters, referring to the cornerstone of the agreement that says a military attack on one member is an attack on all of them.
Also on rt.com
Erdogan said some people in Turkey thought the mistreatment was due to the fact that their nation is the only Muslim-majority NATO ally. He chose to believe that European leaders were simply misinformed about what Ankara was doing, the president said. “I’ve seen that they, unfortunately, do not know many of the facts and are under the pressure of very serious disinformation,” he said.
Turkey’s Operation Spring of Peace targets Syrian Kurdish militias, which in Ankara’s eyes are nothing but an extension of its domestic Kurdish guerrillas. Supporters of the Kurds say they played a key part in defeating jihadist forces in the northeastern part of the country, with the US providing air and artillery support.
Attorney General Bill Barr (Screenshot) “This is not decay; this is organized destruction” of American society by militant secularists, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr warned in a speech at the University of Notre Dame Law School on Friday.
The US won’t fight fellow NATO member Turkey over the Kurds in Syria, President Donald Trump has said, while also suggesting the Kurds may be releasing terrorist prisoners just to get the US involved.
In early Monday tweets, Trump defended his decision to hastily pull American troops and negotiators from the north of Syria, where a Turkish military operation against Kurdish fighters is in full swing. Trump’s critics have called the move a betrayal of the Kurds, who up to recently had been America’s principal allies on the ground in Syria. Kurdish leaders have now turned to Damascus, striking a deal that will see Syrian government troops deployed to the area.
Still, Trump doesn’t think these allies are worth fighting another NATO member over. “Do people really think we should go to war with NATO Member Turkey?” he tweeted, repeating the threat of “big sanctions on Turkey.”
The Kurds “may be releasing some” of their Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) prisoners specifically to get the Americans involved, Trump speculated. Earlier, a senior commander of the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces, the main Kurdish military force in the region) did say guarding IS prisoners will no longer be “top priority” in the face of the Turkish offensive. Separate Kurdish-sourced reports said hundreds of IS-affiliated prisoners already escaped when prisons came under Turkish fire.
However, the escapees aren’t a US concern, Trump said, instead chiding Europe for missing the “chance to get their ISIS prisoners” earlier and for relying instead on the US to “pay the cost.” Kurdish forces are reportedly holding up to 100,000 IS fighters and members of their families, captured during operations in Syria.
The operation in Syria has already pitted Turkey against its NATO allies, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan implying that other alliance members are supporting “terrorists” (the official Turkish stance on Kurdish fighters) instead of a fellow member state.
Also on rt.com
Operation Spring of Peace saw Turkish forces cross over into northern Syria last week, with a stated goal of advancing some 30-35km into its territory to clear it of Kurdish terrorists. Ankara says it wants to create a buffer zone to prevent Kurds from infiltrating into Turkish land.
Undercover whistleblower organization Project Veritas has done it again – after CNN insider Cary Poarch secretly recorded his colleagues. Poarch reveals CEO Jeff Zucker’s “personal vendetta” against President Trump, including orders to focus on impeachment, as well as a mandate that employees cut ties to Republican lawmakers, including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
Via Project Veritas:
A brave CNN insider came to Project Veritas to expose anti-Trump bias at the cable giant. Cary Poarch, who works at CNN’s Washington D.C. Bureau, tells Project Veritas “I decided to wear a hidden camera…to expose the bias running rampant” at the network. Poarch documented CNN’s bias for months; recording undercover footage of numerous long-term employees, some of which talk about Jeff Zucker’s anti-Trump agenda.
Zucker details his expectations for CNN’s coverage and very matter-of-factly states “impeachment is the story.”
Leading up to today’s release, O’Keefe noted that insider is still at CNN and ‘overheard’ CEO Jeff Zucker talking about the upcoming Veritas sting.
This is far from the first time O’Keefe and crew have infiltrated CNN. In 2017, a producer was caught on tape admitting that the Trump-Russia story was nothing more than a ratings grab by Jeff Zucker, and the narrative is “mostly bullshit.”
During the same series of releases, CNN host Van Jones called the Russia story a “big nothing burger.”
As always, President Trump sought to capitalize:
ABC News was just busted using two year old gun range footage while reporting on Turkey ‘slaughtering’ the kurds in the wake of a US withdrawal from the region.
This video right here appearing to show Turkey’s military bombing Kurd civilians in a Syrian border town. The Kurds, who fought alongside the US against ISIS now horrific reports of atrocities committed by Turkish-backed fighters on those very allies” -ABC News
here’s the ABC News report Update: different embed, as original had been taken down.
And here’s the footage they used – from the Knob Creek gun range in West Point, Kentucky in 2017.
Just a simple editing room oversight, we’re sure.