Asking “[w]ho really rules?” researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.
Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.
“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” they write, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
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This interesting post has been reblogged from Monergism:
Almost a decade ago I was involved in a titanic spiritual battle between two opposing theological views. I could feel the once rock solid doctrines of free will slipping through my fingers like fine sand. I begged and beseeched the Lord to deliver me from the relentless reasonings and scriptural bombshells ripping the house I had built on the shifting dunes of man-centered doctrines. My pride and self-respect were on the line.
See, for the first decade of my born-again life I embraced a form of Arminianism that many call Semi-Pelagianism. Simply put, I believed that man’s free will is the deciding factor in salvation. Calvinism, which is the belief that God is sovereign over all things, including man’s salvation, had recently started making sense to me and I was drawn to it. (While at the same time being repulsed by…
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The Second Coming Of Christ, A Look At The Any-Moment Theory
By James Slater is an excellent book on the return of Christ. In it Slater disassembles the any-moment theory making a strong case for Historic Premillennialism:
A watchdog group, Open Doors, is asking for prayer as Christians in Iraq and Syria continue to flee ISIS. Mike Gore, of Open Doors Australia, said that the exodus of the Christians had reached “biblical proportions” this year.
“Christians, not just in their hundreds, Christians in their tens of thousands [are] fleeing Iraq and Syria with little more than the clothes on their backs, because of increased pressure from the Islamic State,” Gore said during Sunday’s International Day of Prayer webcast.
“One of the things most people don’t realize is that in northern Nigeria, on any given Sunday, five churches are attacked in a similar fashion,” Gore said.
“The internet has the power to bring down regimes. That is what terrifies them. That is why they are now monitor our phone calls, they monitor our emails, and they monitor our free speech. It terrifies them. They have no particular jurisdiction over the internet. It belongs to everyone,”
How do you fix a superpower with exploding levels of debt, that has a rapidly aging population, that consumes far more wealth than it produces, and that has scores of zombie banks that could collapse at any moment. You might think that I am talking about the United States, but I am actually talking about Europe. You see, the truth is that the European Union has a larger population than the United States does, it has a larger economy than the United States does, and it has a much larger banking system than the United States does. Most of the time I write about the horrible economic problems that the U.S. is facing, but without a doubt economic conditions in Europe are even worse at the moment. In fact, there are many (including the Washington Post) that are calling what is happening in Europe a full-blown “depression”. Sadly, this is probably only just the beginning. In the months to come things in Europe are likely to get much worse. (Read More….)
Thousands gathered at Grace Community Church on Sunday (Nov. 2) in support of the “Houston Five,” the pastors who recently had their sermons addressing homosexuality subpoenaed by the city. Houston Mayor Annise Parker rescinded the subpoenas after the news prompted a national backlash.
The Christian Post reports that “I Stand Sunday,” drew such celebrities names as the Benham Brothers, Mike Huckabee and Phil Robertson.
Sin promises so much but delivers so little. Sin always amplifies its benefits and minimizes its cost. Sin always aims at the uttermost, always nudging toward utter death and destruction. And yet we love our sin, and secretly harbor it, and grieve to turn aside from it.
John Owen has a challenge for you. Before that next big sin you are pondering, he wants you to simply consider three things.
by Pastor J.D.
D. A. Carson points out that if you really want to embarrass the average Christian, just ask them to tell you about their private prayer life. Many Christians can bluff it when it comes to Bible knowledge, church attendance, even sharing their faith. But ask about prayer, and you’re likely to get a shuffling of the feet and some awkward stares.
Most Christians struggle to make their prayer times meaningful. (I count myself among them.) We think it’s supposed to be a sweet, mystical communion with Jesus . . . but when we start to pray we inevitably find ourselves working on grocery lists in our head or reliving last night’s episode of Blacklist. At other times, if we’re honest, we just aren’t sure how much good prayer actually accomplishes.
So what is prayer supposed to look like? Why is it so hard for us? And—most importantly—how can we move from having to pray to loving to pray? The answer lies in two phrases of Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew 6:5–10. In two short phrases, Jesus highlights two radical attributes of God’s character. If we were to grasp these two attributes, prayer would become as natural for us as breathing. Read more of this post
by Bill Muehlenberg
I have already written up the details of the November 4 rout of the Democrats and the huge gains by the Republicans in the American mid-term elections: http://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/11/05/the-american-mid-term-elections/
But a number of other things can be added to my initial write-up, especially as the dust is now beginning to settle a bit. One key lesson from this election is that strong conservative candidates can win, and win handily, contrary to the official wisdom.
A 29-year-old woman named Brittany Maynard, suffering from an aggressive brain tumor, died this past Saturday.
But not from the tumor.
She took her own life in the name of “death with dignity.”
It became national news because she had taken to social media to announce her decision to take her life. She even landed on the cover of People Magazine. Collectively, it brought the issue of “right to die” to the forefront of public conversation.
The Bible is very clear about the taking of a human life. In Exodus 20:13, in the sixth of the Ten Commandments, God says, “You shall not murder.” (NIV)
by Mike Ratliff
18 Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things. 19 And I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you the sooner. 20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:18-21 NASB)
R.C. Sproul once shared the following encounter, “Several years ago I was participating in a discussion with some business men in Jackson, Mississippi. In the course of the conversation, one of the men made reference to a man who was not present…
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