When sin lets us alone we may let sin alone. —John Owen
Words of Comfort: Arabs and Jews
In the Book of Beginnings, in Genesis 16:12, God said that Ishmael (the progenitor of the Arab race, see Time, April 4, 1988) would be a “wild man…and every man’s hand [will be] against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” Almost four thousand years later, who could deny that this prophecy is being fulfilled in the Arab race? The Arabs and the Jews are “brethren” having Abraham as their ancestor. The whole Middle East conflict is caused by their dwelling together.
Stunning Events: 2014 – 2015
OUR CURRENT RADIO PROGRAM
Jan Markell and Eric Barger spend two segments talking to White House correspondent Bill Koenig about a few of the most significant events of 2014. They also project into the new year and talk about at least one possibility: An Israeli strike on Iran. They discuss the ecumenical push taking place right now heavily led by Pope Francis but evangelicals are cooperating. Then Jan talks to Pastor Steven Khoury in Israel. There is unusual tension going on there. Steven gives an insider’s opinion as he is a Jerusalem pastor. We use the mobile app found on the Home page of http://www.oneplace.com.
Israel and the ISIS Threat
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS is on a massive land grab in the Middle East. Along the way they are stealing millions, brutalizing civilians, and slaughtering anyone who stands in their way. Much of the northern half of Iraq is in their control along with large parts of Syria. There are continued reports of ISIS fighters in the vicinity of the Golan Heights and incursions into Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. What do these developments mean for Israel and are they prophetically significant? We will look at the realities on the ground and in the Bible to find answers to the question of Israel and the ISIS threat.
Enhanced Torture of Homeless Veterans
As we know, there’s been a flood of politicians and bureaucrats on TV, cable, radio, newspapers and Internet reporting that the CIA purportedly tortured a few terrorist enemy combatants, and the reporting has been pouring down with more inundation than a torrential monsoon. The incessant sympathy toward a few terrorist thugs whose sole mission is to destroy America and our citizenry is considered newsworthy because they were apparently subjected to a form of torment based on the CIA’s “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.” Read more
Update: 7 more states join lawsuit to stop Obama’s amnesty – total up to 24
Earlier this month we talked about a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General and Governor-elect Greg Abbott. The suit seeks to stop Obama’s amnesty actions before they’re implemented. At the time, 17 states had joined the suit. Read more
Traditional Christmas Tunes Were Just Given a Major ‘Progressive’ Makeover
YouTube star Jon Cozart released “Progressive Christmas Carols” on Thursday, a video that features him singing amended, politically themed versions of some of the holiday season’s biggest hits. From Santa making a list of “gluten-free foods” to a quip about Jesus supporting the NRA, the lyrics are sure to stir some debate. “Progressive Santa’s coming to town. He’s 50 different races, and all for tax reform. He’ll protect all your children — well as long as they’ve been born,” Cozart sang during his brief rendition of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” And that’s only one example from the nearly five-minute clip, which has already attracted more than 500,000 views on YouTube. Race is just one of the other themes that emerges, with his version of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” proclaiming, ”Don’t walk the streets of Whoville. You might fight a cop the Whos will not indict.” More
6 Things for Men to Do With and Without Their Doctor in 2015
Men are notoriously bad at taking care of themselves. They often need a nudge from their spouse, partner or doctor to keep them healthy. Dudley Seth Danoff, M.D., FACS, men’s urologist and expert for more than 30 years, says that men have a tendency to ignore health issues and hope they go away on their own. Of course, this doesn’t happen. For that reason, here are some suggestions for men to stay healthier in the coming year: More
Atheist Invokes Mother Earth, Zeus, Satan, Krishna During City Commission ‘Prayer’
An atheist recently led a Florida commission meeting in “prayer” to a variety of entities from across the spectrum of religions, invoking the names of Mother Earth, Allah, Zeus, Satan and Krishna in addition to Jesus. As Preston Smith stepped to the podium to deliver the invocation on Dec. 2, a number of commissioners stepped out of the room so they would not be participants in what was about to take place. Mayor Mayor Pam Triolo also left the room as well, but told local television station WPTV that she did not do so because Smith is an atheist, but rather because he had mocked Scripture on Twitter earlier this year and did not wish to hear what he might say next. “Free speech works both ways,” Triolo told the outlet. “You can say what you want and I can choose to leave.” As Smith observed the mayor and three commissioners leave the room, he commented, “Duly noted,” and then proceeded with his statements. More
Jordanian King Warns Of Impending World War III
When OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, imposed an oil embargo on the West for its support of Israel in the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the French came out with a series of public service announcements on how to save oil. The 30-second ads gave consumers advice on various ways to economize gas and oil consumption. And the announcements would end with a voice saying: “In France we don’t have oil, but we have ideas. Today, much the same can be said about Jordan. The country is the only one in the region not producing oil. Its neighbors – Iraq, Syria, Israel and Saudi Arabia, all produce oil to varying degrees, except for Jordan and Palestine. More
US Congress moves to approve Russia sanctions, arms for Ukraine
American lawmakers defied President Barack Obama and approved fresh economic sanctions against Russia, prompting swift criticism from Moscow Friday over toughening the US response to a Kremlin-backed separatist insurgency in Ukraine. The legislation also authorizes — but does not legally require — Obama to provide lethal and non-lethal military aid to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons, ammunition and “tactical troop-operated surveillance drones.” The sanctions bill was passed unanimously Thursday in the Senate and House of Representatives. Because of a technical issue it returns to the Senate, where aides say there likely will be unanimous consent for final passage as early as Friday. More
U.S. seeks to defuse tensions over Israeli-Palestinian resolutions
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday the United States was seeking to defuse tensions over proposed U.N. resolutions to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during talks in Europe next week. Kerry will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome on Monday and senior European officials to discuss possible resolutions, which would require a vote in the U.N. Security Council where the United States holds a veto. More
Oil plunges again, reaches recession-level depths
Another forecast of weak global demand, another nosedive for oil. A 6-month rout in the price of oil accelerated this week, culminating in a 4 percent drop Friday — its third such drop in 5 days — to its lowest level since May of 2009, when the U.S. was still in recession. Friday’s trigger was a lowered expectation for oil consumption from the International Energy Agency. The benchmark U.S. oil price closed down $2.14 to close at $57.81 a barrel in New York. It is now 46 percent below its late-June high for the year of $107.26. Brent crude, the international standard used to price oil purchased by many U.S. refineries, fell 77 cents to close at $61.85. More
Assertive Russia causes military rethink in Sweden
With an assertive Russia next door, Sweden has started to beef up its military after a decade of downsizing, but a credible deterrent may take years to achieve, analysts warn. In one of Sweden’s most dramatic steps since the end of the Cold War, it has brought back the option of using reservists to boost its military force, making no attempt to hide the fact that the main motivation behind the move is Russia. Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist went on TV this week to argue the move was necessary against the backdrop of Russia’s rearmament and its annexation of Crimea, as well as the Ukrainian conflict. More
Canada’s currency at 54 mo low as oil prices collapse below $60
The Canadian dollar is taking spill with falling oil prices, and traded at a new low of 86.58 cents against the US dollar Friday. Canada has the world’s third largest proven oil reserves, and relies on oil and gas exports for 30 percent of GDP. The ‘Loonie’, as the currency is called in Canada, hit a 5-year low in October, and continues to sink along with oil prices, which have lost more than 43 percent from their June peak. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was trading at $62.95 per barrel at 13:15 MSK. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures slipped to $59. More
Radical Hindus Push Christian ‘Purification,’ Converting Churches to Temples
Hindu radicals in India are intensifying their religious purification practices, amping up cleansing, reconversion and converting Christian churches in the state of Uttar Pradesh to turn it into a Christian-free zone. The brutal religious cleansing attacks that have engulfed the Christian community have left many Christians feeling like they are facing a life and death struggle in the world’s largest democracy. More
Kirk Cameron, Former Evangelical Pastor Take to TBN to Make Case for Santa Claus
(CN) — Actor and filmmaker Kirk Cameron recently invited a former evangelical pastor to TBN to make the case for Santa Claus as Cameron promotes his new film “Saving Christmas,” which seeks to convince Christians who choose not to celebrate the holiday.
Cameron shared a segment of the interview on his Facebook page on Tuesday, in which he spoke with historian William Federer, a former evangelical minister and political candidate. Sporting the Liberty University logo embroidered on his shirt, Cameron invited Federer to outline the history of Saint Nicholas and other items found in his book “There Really Is a Santa Claus: The History of Saint Nicholas & Christmas Holiday Traditions.”
‘Pope’ Claims Mary Was Conceived ‘Without Original Sin’ During Feast of Immaculate Conception
(CN) — In one of the feasts and celebrations marked on the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar leading up to Christmas, Catholics around the world observed the Feast of Immaculate Conception on Monday, a day in which those who follow the religion commemorate their belief that Mary was born without sin.
The pontiff known as Pope Francis led Catholics in the annual observance of the holiday, delivering an Angelus address in St. Peter’s Square.
Texas Police Looking for Answers Following Slaying of Christian Music Teacher
(CN) — Police in Texas are searching for answers after a Christian music teacher was found slain in her Austin home.
Kathy Blair, 53, who ran the Christian Choral Society of Austin, was found dead by family members on Saturday, and was believed to have been killed by blunt trauma caused by an undisclosed weapon.
‘I Do It to Please God’: Missouri Christian Cleans Up Ferguson Following Riots
(CN) — A Missouri man is making headlines after he was seen cleaning up the streets of Ferguson, and is telling reporters that he believes that he was led by God to do something positive in the community.
Terrance Williams, 23, is from St. Louis and aspires to become a police officer. Williams says as he watched the rioting on television, his heart broke. He prayed and asked God what he should do.
Other Top News Stories of Interest:
Osteen Says He Doesn’t Listen To Criticism – Or Praise
“He’s not bothered by this — not even those “Joel Osteen: America’s Most Worthless Preacher” blog posts littering the Internet. “I don’t really focus on the praise or the criticism, I just try to run my race and do what God’s called me to do,” Osteen said. “The Scripture says people will know you by your fruit. People are coming to the Lord. I can’t go anywhere without someone saying, ‘Joel, you helped me change my life.”
Don’t Get Used to Cheap Oil
by Gal Luft
Journal of Energy Security
December 11, 2014
Sola Sisers: Christmas & Christian Liberty
“One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.” (Romans 14:5)
“Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.” (Colossians 2:16)
If at Christmas time, a Christian is going into profound debt in order to acquire things they don’t need (and which will all burn up in the end anyway), or is being gluttonous with food, or is training their children in the love of the world and things of the world, that would be sinful. But not all Christians who celebrate Christmas do so in that way. There are plenty of Christians who are in awe that God was made flesh, and who celebrate Christmas with great joy, giving God and our Savior glory all along the way, thanking and praising our Lord for the blessings of special gatherings and delicious food and Christmas carols and the beauty of decorated trees and sparkly lights.
As believers, we are commanded to pray for wisdom, and we are expected to exercise God-given wisdom and make judgments on all manner of things, including the celebration (or not) of festivals and special days (Rom 14:5, Col 2:16). Let us not look with disdain upon one another, regardless of what choice we make in this area. Here’s what that looks like: the one who celebrates the Lord’s birth should not look with disdain or judgment on those who don’t, but neither should the one who chooses not to celebrate Christmas look with disdain or superiority on the one who does. Peace.
Should Christians Celebrate Christmas? (Dr. John MacArthur, GTY)
The Best Gift I Can Give Christian Christmas Haters (Cripplegate)
God Came Near (Sola Sisters)
The Glory of Jesus (Sola Sisters)
Should We Have A Christmas Tree? (Got Questions?)
Christian Christmas Grinches (Kevin DeYoung)
Exposé of Alexander Hislop’s The Two Babylons (UK Apologetics)
4 Part Series by Dr. Richard P. Bucher
Lighthouse Trails Newsletter:
The most dangerous people in the world
Throughout history, the names of Ted Bundy, Adolph Hitler, bin Laden, Jack the Ripper, Al Capone, Charles Manson remain shudder-worthy because their crimes of evil were so shocking.
But none of those are the most dangerous people on the planet. It seems crazy to even think that there is a more dangerous class of person more devastating than a war-starter, dictator Hitler. That there is a more sinister evil among a community than serial killer Ted Bundy. There truly is is a more dangerous person in the world.
Who could it be? Who is worse than the man known for burning millions of people alive in a gas oven? Worse than the serial killer’s evil at the end of a sharp knife? Worse than a terrorist whose very name indicates their putrid heart filled with terror and crime? Who??
Ellen G. White.
Aimee Semple McPherson.
False teachers within Christianity. No dictator, serial killer or terrorist can hold a candle to the evil that false teachers do. Why? Read more here
W4YW: Foster Care, Godly Sleep, & Rob Bell’s Strange Journey
Wisdom For Your Weekend: your weekly installment of things we’ve been reading around the web.
Interview of the Week
The Tragic Prevalence of Sexual Assault, Tim Challies, interviewing Justin Holcomb. “Though the incidence of sexual assault is high, the rate of conviction is low. The majority of sexual assault goes unreported and the majority of those who commit sexual assault go unpunished. While the law needs to protect those who are unjustly accused, in cases of sexual assault it seems like the process of law can actually re-victimize the victims. And this helps explain why victims can be so hesitant to report the crime, and why accusations can take many years to come to light. The sin is awful and the aftermath can be excruciating.”
“Pastor Justin Holcomb has given a great deal of attention to this topic over the past few years, and I recently spoke to him about sexual assault in light of today’s headlines.”
Articles of the Week
Dear Mr. Anxious, Kyle Borg. “Mr. Anxious, I would have you always remember this one great truth–all that concerns a believer is in the hands of God. You were not made the recipient of every spiritual blessing in Christ that you might fret and fear, worry and be anxious. That’s a burden you aren’t meant to bear. I know the world will laugh at this. ‘Blind faith’ they cry! ‘Irrational,’ others will say. But let me remind you, faith is a shield and no soldier is mocked for bringing a shield to the fight. May God grant you what the world cannot.”
Six Things Foster Care Has Taught Me, Jason Johnson. As a church, we at the Summit have identified five areas of great need in our community. We want to consider these people our people, going to them as Christ came to us. One area we hope to grow in is foster care. Most kids in foster care have living family members, but have been removed due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Foster care is as messy as ministry gets. But as Johnson points out, it has much to teach us, too.
The Strange Oprahfication of Rob Bell, Samuel James. “Those who most benefited from Bell’s ministry are not the people who instinctively turn to Oprah Winfrey and Joel Osteen for spiritual guidance. I feel a measure of sadness for those people; they have to feel a bit betrayed right now. Even if he was wrong in crucial ways, there was a time when Bell had something to say. I don’t think that’s the case right now.”
How Do You Sleep? Jen Thorn. Charles Spurgeon once said that there are only two ways people sleep: with unholy presumption or with holy confidence. As it turns out, the way we rest hints at the way we view God. Sleep, it would seem, is about much more than just recharging our bodies’ batteries. Thorn helps explain what Spurgeon was getting at. Have a read to decide if that afternoon nap is in order.
What doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. ~ Micah 6:8
December 13, 2014
As you get older; you’ve probably noticed that you tend to forget things. You’ll be talking with somebody at a party, and you’ll know that you know this person, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t remember his or her name. This can be very embarrassing, especially if he or she turns out to be your spouse. ~ Dave Barry
MARSHA WEST’S COLUMN
Some of the news headlines this past week gave me reason for concern. …Satanism…religious liberty…beheadings…gender confusion…ecumenicalism. My tendency is to fret about such things, even though God reminds us in His Word: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
STOP OBAMA’S EXECUTIVE AMNESTY
Call your Representatives and tell them to oppose John Boehner’s plan to surrender to President Obama. Tell Congress to block funding for Obama’s lawlessness. As it exists now, Boehner’s plan (which has Harry Reid’s seal of approval) will fund Obama’s open-borders agenda.
Call: (855) 827-2356
This number will connect you to an automated system which will allow you to enter your zip code and will connect you directly to your House Rep.
When liberal preferences meet Islamic principles—Selwyn Duke
There was a recent scandal that, as much as anything else, illustrates the intellectual emptiness and moral ennui of the modern liberal man. It occurred in Britain but reflects a wider phenomenon; what can be said about it can be said about happenings in Sweden, France, Holland, Canada or Belgium – or the United States.
Obama opens fraud-ridden benefits programs to illegal immigrants—Byron York
President Obama’s unilateral executive action on immigration will make hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than a million, illegal immigrants eligible for federal transfer payments. That will be done primarily through two widely used programs — the Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC, and the Additional Child Tax Credit, or ACTC
WHAT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Georgetown basketball team sports ‘I can’t breathe’ shirts
NEWS TO KNOW
Sony’s Hacking Nightmare Gets Worse: Employees Medical Records Revealed
With Obama’s Help, House Passes Boehner’s Amnesty-Funding Cromnibus Bill
Time Capsule Found At Massachusetts State House
Chaplain punished for sharing his faith in suicide prevention class
Target and the Real War On Women—Bill Muehlenberg
There are some things that elevate the status of women, and some that denigrate and demean women. Here I want to mention three such things. And they all have to do with the retail chain store Target. The three diverse elements I seek to bring together here are Christianity, Islam and violent video games.
EDUCATION – Research Links
Are You Absolutely, Positively Sure You Want Your Kids in Public School?—Lee Duigon http://barbwire.com/2014/12/11/absolutely-positively-sure-want-kids-public-school
So you still don’t believe the public schools go far out of their way, on purpose, to warp children’s minds and character?
Well, consider this news report from Acalanes High School in northern California, “Parents angry after school tells 13-year-olds they can have sex, choose gender.”
HOMOSEXUALITY — Research Links
Salvation Army Promotes Homosexuality
Warning: I do not recommend the Daily Beast
The Rise and Fall of Chris Hughes and Sean Eldridge, America’s Worst Gay Power Couple
‘Nobody is born gay’ billboard stuck over Virginia highway until next year
The billboard along Richmond’s I-95 is paid for by the Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and uses a pair of twins as an example that nobody is born gay. ‘No young person should be driving down the road and see something that says they are not alright as they are,’ says Beth Panilaitis of Rosmy.
Former Lesbian Turned Christian: ‘We’ve Made God Little if We Believe He Cannot Change People’
MSNBC Reporter to Rick Perry: ‘Are You Smart Enough’ to Be President?
In a Tuesday interview with Texas governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate Rick Perry aired on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday, political reporter Kasie Hunt questioned the Republican’s intelligence: “Are you smart enough to be President of the United States?”
LIFE & DEATH – Research Links
Woman Has Abortion at 28 Weeks Because Baby Would Have “Deformed” Left Hand
MARRIAGE & FAMILY
Former director of ‘ex-gay’ ministry Love in Action marries same-sex partner
CHECK OUT THE BOOK STORE
Russell Moore is an evangelical theologian, ethicist, pastor and President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission – and he’s also a close associate of Albert Mohler’s. So this is a really BIG deal.
Russell Moore Says He Is Unsure of Differences Between His and Pope’s Gospel Focus—JD Hall
Am I living in an alternate universe or something? This is just surreal. While Moore is quick to relieve charges of social gospel from the Pope – saying “I don’t think Francis is a liberal Episcopalian in disguise,” he charges him with the sin of inaccessibility? Are we missing something? Like the Gospel, maybe? …
The Best Gift I Can Give Christian Christmas Haters—Clint Archer
CREATION VS EVOLUTION – Research links
When and How Did the Grand Canyon Form?—Andrew Snelling
Christian Company Ordered to Print Pro-Homosexual T-Shirts Files Appeal
Conviction Based On God’s Word—Ray Stedman
Where do Christians get solid food? From voices in their heads, intuition, imaginations, flights of fancy, signs, wonders? No. Solid food is consumed by feeding on the meat of the written
Word of God. ~ Sandy Simpson
Yes, AA’s cofounder was a freemason—John Lanagan
Angels – Research links
Pa$$ The Plate And Let Us Prey–SUFTT
Should we impart an anointing of the Spirit on someone’s head? Does the Holy Spirit posses us, or indwell us? Yes, big difference between these two terms.
Church Growth Movement/Seeker/Market-Driven
Contemplative Prayer – Research Links
Ravi Zacharias on Henri Nouwen – “I regret having said that” “Henri Nouwen Was One of the Greatest Saints In Our Time”—Lighthouse Trails
Rick Warren’s Call for Christians to Unite With Catholics, ‘Holy Father’ Raising Concerns
Emergent Church – Research Links
Let’s Stop Petting the Wolves—Amy Spreeman
Controversial pastor [?] Rob [No Hell] Bell and wife, Kristen, share new view on marriage
Hebrew Roots Movement
It’s Christmas time and that can only mean one thing: the Hebrew Roots folks are busy telling Christians they are sinning if they celebrate Christmas—Christine Pack
Hillsong NYC’s “biblical” silence about homosexuality—John Lanagan
Eugene Peterson’s The Message “bible” flat out deletes homosexuality as sin from two key New Testament passages, and gives a politically correct spin to a third
“Jesus Calling” – Research Links
Changing “Jesus Calling”—Damage Control for a False Christ–SUFTT
Joyce Meyer cancels speaking engagement at IHOP-KC Onething 2014
“The Message” Bible
The “Message Bible”: A Breach of Truth—John Lanagan
Mormonism — Research Links
A big evangelical stood up to Glenn Beck
Why Mormons Now Want to be See As Christian–SUFTT
Did Polygamy Accomplish the Purpose Given in LDS Scripture? http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2014/11/did-polygamy-accomplish-the-purpose-given-in-lds-scripture.html
New Age Movement/New Thought/Spirituality — Research Links
Controversial pastor [?] Rob [No Hell] Bell and wife, Kristen, share new view on marriage
New Apostolic Reformation/Dominionism – Research Links
Written in 2008. Posting as a reminder of who these people are.
We have had enough of false prophets—Marsha West
People in this movement believe that the Apostles and Prophets have authority over the Church. Even though they hold a high office, the “apostles” and “prophets” don’t see eye to eye on everything. It has now come to light that some of the “apostles” were concerned about the possible dangers of commissioning Todd Bentley and warned other “apostles” but they were rebuffed — and they’re not taking it lying down….
This Year’s Christmas Must Have A…Ouija Board–SUFTT
Pope Says All Dogs Go To Heaven
Written by a Roman Catholic
The “diminished and distorted” Christ of Pope Francis—Louis Verrecchio
Social Justice/Progressive Christianity
How progressive Pharisees brutalize the Bible—SUFTT
Witchcraft – Research Links
Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel — Research Links
Kirk Cameron, Former Evangelical Pastor-Turned-Catholic Take to TBN to Make Case for Santa Claus
Actor and filmmaker Kirk Cameron recently invited a former evangelical pastor who converted to Roman Catholicism to TBN to make the case for Santa Claus as Cameron promotes his new film “Saving Christmas,” which seeks to convince Christians who choose not to celebrate the holiday.
Kirk Cameron’s ‘Saving Christmas’ Film Won’t Be Saved from Lowest Rating Ever in IMDB
Smoking still a large contributor to US cancer deaths, study says
TGC Spotlight 12.12.14
TGC Spotlight highlights TGC articles from earlier in the week, previews articles coming next week, and links to items around the web that you might have missed.
Around the Web
Six Key Points from the C.I.A. Torture Report
A report released this week by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence discloses new details about the C.I.A.’s torture practices and claims the agency mislead the government and the American people on the effectiveness of the program.
Here are six key points from the report:
1. The report claims the C.I.A.’s interrogation techniques were more brutal than had been previously admitted and that they were employed more extensively than the agency portrayed. The report includes details from C.I.A. documents that outline some of the torture detainees were subjected to:
- Forced to stand on broken limbs for hours, sometimes with their arms shackled above their heads (p. 130). One detainee had been chained to a wall in the standing position for 17 days (p. 79).
- Kept in total isolation, complete darkness, and subjected to “auditory overload” (p. 83).
- Deprived of sleep for up to 180 hours (7.5 days), sometimes standing and with their arms shackled above their heads (p. 119).
- Subjected to “rectal feeding” without medical necessity. Rectal exams were also conducted with “excessive force.” (p. 102) (The report highlights one prisoner who was later diagnosed with anal fissures, chronic hemorrhoids, and “symptomatic rectal prolapse.”)
- Detainees were stripped naked and doused in ice water “baths.” (p. 13)
- Subjected to mock executions (p. 85), Russian roulette (p. 453), and mock burial (p. 61).
- One medical officer observed that “in the new [waterboarding] technique we are basically doing a series of near drownings.” (p. 115)
- Threats were made to slit the throat of a detainee’s mother, sexually abuse another and threatened prisoners’ children (p. 13).
- One prisoner died of hypothermia brought on in part by being forced to sit in a cold room on a bare concrete floor without pants (p. 83).
2. The report uses the C.I.A.’s internal records to present 20 case studies to support its conclusion that the most extreme interrogation methods played no role in disrupting terrorism plots, capturing terrorist leaders, or even finding Bin Laden. (This week C.I.A. Director John Brennan said it was “unknowable” whether “enhanced interrogation techniques” yielded useful intelligence.)
3. The report claims senior C.I.A. officials — including former directors George J. Tenet, Porter J. Goss and Michael V. Hayden — repeatedly inflated the value of the program in secret briefings both at the White House and on Capitol Hill, and in public speeches.
4. The report claims many C.I.A. interrogators were untrained, unqualified, or unfit for the duty. A legal advisor for the military even warned his superiors that because of the illegal torture tactics being used military participation in the interrogation of some prisoners would “involve risks for the U.S. military.” (p. 82)
5. According to internal documents, some C.I.A. personnel reported being disturbed by the new tactics. As stated in one C.I.A. memo (p. 73),
“Today’s first session. . .had a profound effect on all staff member present. . . it seems the collective opinion that we should not go much further. . . everyone seems strong for now but if the group has to continue. . . we cannot guarantee how much longer.”
“Several on the team profoundly affected. . . some to the point of tears and chocking up.”
6. The report claims C.I.A. officials asked officers to “compile information on the success” of the program to be shared with the news media in order to shape public opinion. The C.I.A. purportedly also mischaracterized events and provided false or incomplete information to the news media in an effort to gain public support.
• “We hire our pastors and staff to do that,” and nine other troubling statements church leaders and members make.
• Hannah Anderson considers fidelity and romance in the Digital Age.
• Let chef Gordon Ramsay show you how to make perfect scrambled eggs.
• NFL star gives it all up to be a farmer and feed the poor.
(For even more links, see the “Remainder Bin” at the end of this post.)
Featured TGC Articles
The Missionary Life: No Shortcuts | Evan Burns
I would soberly admonish any missionary candidate that the mission field is not all romance and radical adventure; it is also mingled with heartbreak, loss, and self-denial.
Eve’s Daddy Issues and Ours | Jasmine Holmes
Ultimately our trust issues don’t stem from daddy issues, broken families, or broken hearts, but from a lack of submission to the Father.
The Role of Singing In the Life of the Church | Rob Smith
Congregational singing is a gift to treasure dearly, engage in regularly, use wisely, and protect carefully.
Romantic Love is Not Enough | Dave Dunham
Our celebration of marriage is a good thing, but it can easily become an idolatrous thing.
How Education Can Serve a Divine Purpose for Human Culture | Bethany Jenkins
It is imperative that a warmer, bolder interest in learning should awaken among God’s people, in order to get scholarship back on its God-given track and to refute the lie that faith hates scholarship.
Featured TGC Contributor Articles
A 20th Century Classic: “The Master Plan of Evangelism” | Justin Taylor
In 1963 Coleman published his book on The Master Plan of Evangelism, which boasts over 3.5 million copies sold.
In the last few days, we’ve seen a lot of local news (and some national press attention) about the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act (MiRFRA). The bill has passed the Michigan House of Representatives and now heads to the Senate for consideration.
There is an ever-deepening divergence between the church’s understanding of marriage and the culture’s understanding. With the rise of no-fault divorce, common cohabitation, and same-sex marriage, many evangelicals are wondering what we do next.
Yesterday following the morning service a dear and faithful brother approached me at the door. In his customarily intense way, he looked me in the eyes and thanked me for the sermon. He expressed his appreciation for how the gospel was present throughout the exposition. Then he moved from appreciation to loving critique.
Strength in integrity | Ray Ortlund
The word “integrity” is the key word in Proverbs 10:9. A secure walk is not a matter of clever politics but of personal integrity. But what is integrity?
An Advent Prayer: Knowing and Treasuring Jesus | Scotty Smith
Dear Lord Jesus, this Scripture is crammed so full of holy mystery and immeasurable grace. You, the very God who created and sustains all things, who feeds birds and clothes the fields—you drew nourishment from a young maiden’s breast.
Why Pastors Should Pay Attention to the Torture Report
Steven Dilla, OnFaith
Three ways forward for leaders of Christian communities.
Time’s Person of the Year: The Ebola Fighters
Nancy Gibbs, Time
They risked and persisted, sacrificed and saved. Editor Nancy Gibbs explains why the Ebola Fighters are TIME’s choice for Person of the Year 2014.
U.S. Sees Decline in Births for Sixth Year
Tamar Lewin, New York Times
The number of women in the United States who gave birth dropped last year, according to federal statistics released Thursday, extending the decline for a sixth year.
Chimpanzees Are Not Entitled to Human Rights, New York Court Says
Elizabeth Barber, Time
The chimpanzee at issue is not entitled to a writ of habeas corpus allowing him freedom from his cage.
Most American Agree With Right-To-Die Movement
Dennis Thompson, Healthday
An overwhelming 74 percent of American adults now believe that terminally ill patients who are in great pain should have the right to end their lives, the poll found. Only 14 percent were opposed.
Abortion Is Out; Single Moms Are In
Nicole Russell, The Federalist
New data show fewer abortions and marriages, meaning many more single moms.Those who love life should start supporting good marriages and parenting.
Making Super-Mice: First, You Take an Aborted Human Baby
Susan E. Wills, Aleteia
The ever-shifting boundaries of research ethics.
Christianity and Culture
Church Giving Tops $50 Billion A Year In U.S.—And Its Future Is Not A Collection Plate
Ruth Graham, Fast Company
“Churches are no different than any other operation in that they need to be relevant and convenient,” said RaeAnn Slaybaugh, editor of Church Executive magazine, who has reported on new giving options. “The difficulty is in capitalizing on a moment of generosity.”
9 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Persecution of Christians
Rick McDaniel, OnFaith
Is discrimination against Christians an acceptable form of prejudice?
Should Children Make Up Their Own Minds About Religion?
Jason Stubblefield, First Things
Teaching our children a particular form of religious expression may seem something like teaching them to eat only one kind of cheese on a smorgasbord of limitless options. With so many religious alternatives, how can we help our children choose?
Body Cameras Worn by Police Officers Are No ‘Safeguard of Truth,’ Experts Say
Vivian Yee and Kirk Johnson, New York Times
No consensus has emerged about when officers should turn on their cameras, which could leave departments open to accusations of selective recording. And tapes do not always lead to universally shared conclusions.
Not Just a Rape Culture: The University’s Rape System
Greg Forster, Public Discourse
Only political reform can fight the system that protects rapists on college campuses.
Officer Fatally Shoots Man After Stabbing at Brooklyn Synagogue
Marc Santora and Joseph Berger, New York Times
A New York City police officer shot and killed a man who stabbed an Israeli rabbinical student at a Brooklyn synagogue early Tuesday morning, according to the police.
The Tragic Prevalence of Sexual Assault
Tim Challies, Challies.com
Sexual assault is all over the news today. Headlines in the United States tell of a long list of woman who have accused Bill Cosby of assault, and tell of college campuses where rape is shockingly common.
Drugs and Alcohol
Why Colleges Haven’t Stopped Binge Drinking
Beth McMurtrie, Chronicle of Higher Education
Despite decades of research, hundreds of campus task forces, and millions invested in bold experiments, college drinking remains as much of a problem as ever.
To Fight Child Homelessness, Strengthen Families
Alysse ElHage, Family Studies
The link between single mothers and child homelessness is one more reason the decline of marriage should alarm us.
Five Things I’ve Learned from Kids with Autism
Cameron Doolittle, Desiring God
Here are five things children with autism have shown me about the Christian life.
What Do Employers Owe Pregnant Employees?
Melissa Langsam Braunstein, Family Studies
To what extent must employers accommodate pregnant workers’ limitations? The Supreme Court is mulling that question.
Obese lose up to eight years of life
James Gallagher, BBC
Being severely obese can knock up to eight years off your life and cause decades of ill health, a report says.
Patients Prescribed Narcotic Painkillers Use More of Them for Longer, Study Finds
Katie Thomas, New York Times
While a major public health campaign has had some success in reducing the number of people who take potentially addictive narcotic painkillers, those patients who are prescribed the drugs are getting more of them for a longer time, according to a new study.
Here Are The Federal Government’s New Guidelines Against Police Profiling
Colin Campbell , Business Insider
Attorney General Eric Holder unveiled updated guidelines on Monday that directly prohibit federal agents from profiling members of the public except when necessary to identify a suspect.
American, South African hostages die in rescue attempt in Yemen
Mohammed Ghobari and Mohammed Mukhashaf, Reuters
U.S. special forces stormed a walled compound in a remote Yemeni village early on Saturday in an attempt to free Western hostages held by an al Qaeda unit, but an American journalist and a South African teacher were killed by their captors, officials said.
As Ebola Rages, Poor Planning Thwarts Efforts
Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times
Half of the patients in some front-line Ebola clinics do not even have Ebola, but their test results take so long that they end up lingering for days, taking beds from people whose lives hang in the balance and greatly increasing their own chances of catching the virus in such close quarters.
64 countries have religious symbols on their national flags
Angelina Theodorou, Pew Research
A third of the world’s 196 countries currently have national flags that include religious symbols, according to a new Pew Research analysis. Of the 64 countries in this category, about half have Christian symbols (48%) and about a third include Islamic religious symbols (33%), with imagery on flags from the world’s two largest religious groups appearing across several regions.
Time to Challenge No-Fault Divorce
Thomas F. Farr and Hilary Towers, First Things
State laws on divorce began to be implemented in the late 1960s, but today have been absorbed into the legal and cultural mainstream nationwide.
In Seven States, Atheists Push to End Largely Forgotten Ban
Laurie Goodstein, New York Times
Maryland and six other states still have articles in their constitutions saying people who do not believe in God are not eligible to hold public office. Maryland’s Constitution still says belief in God is a requirement even for jurors and witnesses.
“Where any of these fights on religious freedom are going to go, will in great part depend upon whether people of faith will stand up and speak now, or will they sit in silence. The outcome is up to you”
The New College Counterculture
Ryan Shinkel, First Things
When I first heard of Anscombe Societies, I recalled another generation of students: the ’60s counterculture student radicals. What formed their habits was a warlike refusal of silence. The dominant university culture of their time consisted of a form of technocratic liberalism.
The rape culture that everyone ignores
Michael Brendan Dougherty, The Week
While many are eager to put a spotlight on the problem of campus rape, fewer are concerned about a prison system that all but encourages sexual assaults.
Seven Things I Wish My Pastor Knew About My Homosexuality
Jean Lloyd, Public Discourse
May I make two requests? Love me, but remember that you cannot be more merciful than God. It isn’t mercy to affirm same-sex acts as good. Don’t compromise truth; help me to live in harmony with it.
Do Not Be Surprised… This ‘n’ That
- GetFed Online has announced their newest course offering: Dividing and Delivering God’s Word with Dr. Patrick Slyman. My two cents? If you have the time and some Christmas cash, this would be a good use of both.
- Guaranteed to make you want to slam your head against the wall.
- You know how sometimes you’re researching or reading on the internet and you end up traveling down a wormhole of tangents, gleaning all kinds of worthless information from the various sites you encounter? Yeah, so, that happened to me last weekend. The result? Two words: vulture vomit. And I love you too much not to share it with you.
- In case you aren’t weary of hearing about Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll, here’s some more commentary. It would hold a little more weight if someone would take a red editing pen to it, though. Just saying.
- Denny Burk and Charles Hodge on whether same-sex attraction is sinful.
- The ‘genderbread‘ person. Just one more reason to keep your kids out of the public schools.
- Mike Riccardi on how the Word tabernacled among men.
- Five disturbing things about attending a Benny Hinn faith-healing service (yes, only 5. The author would still be writing if he listed them all, I’m sure).
- Serving the God of holy-love.
- I really do pray that someone is reaching out to Kirk Cameron and calling him to repentance.
- A bit about Aimee Semple McPherson—one of the most stunningly deceptive false teachers of the twentieth century.
- Sigh. I actually was not anticipating this, and I’m not sure why I wasn’t. I guess I’m just slipping.
- Did the earliest Christians really think Jesus was God?
- Steve Lawson teaches from Luke 2:
Some here, some there — December 12, 2014
On with it:
- Seasonably enough, Kevin deYoung is among those presenting a lot of interesting information about St. Nicholas.
- Also seasonably: before you decided to gush all over The Piano Guys‘ Christmas video… just remember, they’re Mormons. Which, unless you’re the president of Fuller Theological Seminary, will probably bother you.
- Ferguson, etc. again. An interesting exercise would be to read Doug Wilson’s reflections on the significance of Ferguson and the path forward, Thabiti Anyabwile’s 8 suggestions on applying the Gospel in such cases, and my essay on seven revelations of Ferguson.Then ask: which essay, if followed, would actually have prevented the situations in question? or (more likely) which aspects of each essay?
If God is a woman then Old Testament would have been full of sacrifices if chocolate instead of barbeque.
— Chet Churchpain (@Churchpain) December 12, 2014
- BTW and apropos of little, if any of you are tempted to sing or cite the song Let There Be Peace On Earth (and Let It Begin With Me), you should know that it has its origins in the cult of Religious Science (aka Science of Mind), and that’s its framework. I remember singing it countless times when I was a lost teen in that cult. That Christians would sing or admire it gives me chills and nausea. No joke.
- Fred Butler offers nine bullet-points distinguishing classic apologetics from presuppositional apologetics.
- This may be the single best essay I’ve read on homosexuality and relating to homosexuals.
- And now, this week’s installment of “Because I’m the Pope, that’s why! Look it up!“
- No comment from Rick Warren as of yet, to my knowledge.
- Thom S. Rainer gives seven reasons why the pastor’s salary can cause tension.
- The SBTS Journal is out with an issue devoted to Deuteronomy. I’ve entered a number of links in my indispensable BibleWorks.
- The indispensable David Murray offers an idea for ways older women can serve younger women in the church.
- So under the category of Things That, In A Sane World, Would Not Have To Be Done, But, Sigh, Probably Do we have Jesse Johnson’s thoughts and model for coming out with a church statement on sexuality.
- Say what you will about Doug Wilson — and, as a rule, I generally say nice and admiring things about him — he is a Deep Thinker. Here are his Deep Thoughts, not so much about torture, but about thinking about torture as a means to gain potentially lifesaving information.
- Others and I have written and Tweeted about Rick Warren’s foolish words about Romanism and the Pope; now comes R. Scott Clark to add some really excellent thoughts, particularly lobbing a grenade at Warren’s inane “if you love Jesus, we’re on the same team.”
- As you’ve doubtless heard, Wheaton has elevated a woman who self-identifies as a
“murdering, harmless” “thieving, charitable” “rapist, nonviolent”“gay, celibate Christian.” Carl Trueman offers some observations. Earlier, Denny Burke offered helpful observations.
- If the striked-out words make you angry… well, good. Also, I remind you of Matt Moore’s I Love Jesus Too Much To Call Myself a Gay Christian. And me, I’ve been on-record for a long time about such muzzy thinking and self-contradicting language (here too). In this post, for instance, speaking of a morally-conflicted WORLD (! — not Christianity Today!) magazine writer who struggles as to what to make of homosexuality, I asked:
whether she’s struggled similarly to put her finger on just what she believes about rape, murder, Arianism, Roman Catholicism, lying, theft and other sins. Like when she mentions a “celibate homosexual Christian” friend — does she have child-molestor-Christian friends, atheist-Christian friends, murdering-Christian friends, Sabellian-Christian friends?
- By the way, I could bring up Rick Warren in this connection, too. Well, and by associations, Rick Warren’s Roman Catholic brother in the Lord (!) Luke Timothy Johnson.
- And did you know that Frank Turk won a Blogger of the Year award? It’s true. Congratulations!
Blogs of Interest
God gives that grace, but for some reason—his good reasons—it rarely comes in the form we would prefer. God gives it not in the form we want but in the form we need. We want God to zap away our sin, to instantly and permanently remove it. Those desires, those addictions, those idolatries—we want them to be lifted and to be gone that very moment.
I am absolutely convinced that one of the greatest needs in the church these days is for older women to help young mothers get some time on their own without their kids.
I’m not talking about older women mentoring younger women. What most young mothers need is not more teaching and nagging to do better, but simply to be “delivered” from their homes and children for a couple of hours a couple of times a week.
‘Twas the Night Before the Last Christmas!
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