Daily Archives: August 23, 2017

August 23, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)



President Donald Trump threatened Tuesday to bring the U.S. government to the brink of a shutdown if needed to pressure Congress into funding the border wall that was a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign.

The U.S. Navy dismissed the commander of the Asia-based 7th Fleet on Wednesday after a series of warship accidents raised questions about its operations in the Pacific.

President Nicolas Maduro said Venezuela’s authoritarian regime is prepared for additional retaliation from the U.S., one of the crisis-torn nation’s principal trade partners, including wide-reaching sanctions on its beleaguered economy and oil industry.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Pakistan must adopt a “different approach” to ending the 16-year Afghanistan conflict and play a central role in getting the Taliban to the negotiating table instead of supporting the group or harboring terrorists.

The U.S. tightened its financial restrictions on North Korea, slapping sanctions on Chinese and Russian entities it accused of assisting Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. It’s also seeking millions of dollars it said moved through the U.S. as part of the alleged scheme.

A top U.N. body on racial discrimination has taken the unusual step of calling on the United States to “unequivocally and unconditionally” reject racist hate speech and crimes following a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

President Donald Trump’s emergency management director said he’s pushing for an overhaul of disaster relief so that states, cities and homeowners bear more of the costs, and less of the risk falls on the federal government.

North Korea’s state media released photos Wednesday that appear to show the designs of one or possibly two new missiles.

While people over 80 make up only 3.7 percent of the population, the IRS estimates they control a larger share of the nation’s top fortunes than people under 50.

Hong Kong upgraded the storm warning to the highest for the first time in five years and canceled its morning trading session as Severe Typhoon Hato drew closer to the financial center.

AP Top Stories

President Donald Trump on Tuesday again signaled his willingness to pardon former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s conviction for intentionally disobeying a judge’s order in an immigration case. But he told a downtown rally of supporters that he wouldn’t do it quite yet.

Divers have found the remains of some of the 10 sailors who went missing when a US destroyer collided with a tanker off Singapore, the navy said Tuesday, the latest deadly accident involving an American warship.

Iran’s growing role in Syria poses a threat to Israel, the Middle East and the world, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

In a step that could affect hundreds of thousands of Russian tourists, the U.S. Embassy in Russia said Monday it would suspend issuing nonimmigrant visas for eight days from Wednesday in response to the Russian decision to cap embassy staff.

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince met senior U.S. officials including presidential adviser Jared Kushner in Jeddah on Tuesday and discussed efforts to bring about peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, Saudi state news agency SPA said.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Tuesday halted the scheduled execution of condemned inmate Marcellus Williams after DNA testing raised questions about whether he actually killed.

Two North Korean shipments to a Syrian government agency responsible for the country’s chemical weapons program were intercepted in the past six months, according to a confidential United Nations report on North Korea sanctions violations.


At least 30 people have been killed in a Saudi-led coalition air strike on the outskirts of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, local medics and an aid group say.

Corporate giants Walmart and Google are teaming up to enter the voice-shopping market, currently dominated by Amazon. From next month, US consumers will be able to buy Walmart products using the voice-activated Google Assistant platform on phones and home devices.

A debate has ignited in Australia over a statue of British explorer Captain James Cook, which has a plaque saying he “discovered this territory”. The 19th Century statue, in Sydney’s central Hyde Park, has come under scrutiny following recent discussion over Confederate monuments in the US. Critics say the inscription overlooks indigenous Australians, while others defend it as being part of history.

There has been a significant increase in the number of children used as human bombs by Boko Haram militants in north-east Nigeria, the United Nations said. Unicef reports there have been 83 cases so far this year – four times as many as in the whole of last year.


ESPN pulled one of its announcers from calling a University of Virginia football game because his name is Robert Lee, thinking that the appellation he shares with Confederate General Robert E. Lee might be offensive in the wake of events in Charlottesville Aug. 12.

In July 2017, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) experienced their worst fundraising month of July since 2007. The organization raised only $3.8 million. For comparison, the Republican National Committee (RNC) racked in $10.2 million. The DNC also added $154,000 to its debt, which now stands at $3.4 million. The RNC has no debt. July wasn’t an isolated bad month for the DNC; it’s proof of a larger, looming problem that the organization faces.

A Jewish woman and her longtime Hindu female partner have married in a traditional Hindu ceremony that British media is reporting as apparently the UK’s first interfaith lesbian wedding.

The Briefing 08-23-17

Explanations of the eclipse reveal clash of worldviews

Why Afghanistan is far more than a military challenge

After Barcelona attacks, secular Europe still denies the obvious…it’s theological

The post The Briefing 08-23-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.

Top News – 8/23/2017

Trump Is Slow Playing His Cards In This Game Of Deep State Poker
what if I were to tell you that the Donald is, in actuality, the most capable man to lead this country since at least Eisenhower? What if I were to tell you that the left is in its death throes?  What if I were to tell you that I believe we are on the verge of witnessing the unfurling of the greatest sting operation in the history of our country?

Emperor Justinian Mosaic Inscription Unearthed near Damascus Gate
A 1,500-year-old mosaic floor, with a Greek inscription, was discovered this summer following groundwork for Partner communications cable infrastructures near the Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.

US Liberals cozy up to Antifa, America’s anti-free speech ‘Taliban’
The liberal media is pushing the idea that any violence committed on the part of Antifa, the so-called ‘anti-fascist’ leftist group, is acceptable if it is directed at the political right. Such delusional thinking will only lead to civil war.

Trump’s team arrives once again to reignite diplomatic process
The team, made up of Trump senior adviser Jared Kushner, Mideast negotiator Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, will arrive after holding meetings in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. The three met with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman on Tuesday, and according to Arab media, “reaffirmed” their joint commitment to achieving a “real and lasting” Israeli-Palestinian peace.

‘Gamechanging’ New Landscape in Middle East: Amb. Danny Ayalon
Former Israeli ambassador to the US Danny Ayalon believes that the game in the Middle East is changing as Syria heats up and America puts the region on the bottom of its priority list.  (video)

Earthquake Hits Yellowstone During Solar Eclipse as NASA Seeks Supervolcano Solution
As tens of thousands of people gathered in Yellowstone National Park Monday morning to witness the once-in-a-century solar eclipse, the area was hit by a 3.2 magnitude earthquake. This recent tremor, though not large, is part of an ongoing series of quakes that began June 12. Experts believed the unusually large swarm of earthquakes would gradually die down but by the beginning of August, over 1,400 minor tremors had been recorded at the site.

Isang intensifies, heads for extreme Northern Luzon
MANILA, Philippines – Tropical Storm Isang (Hato) intensified on Monday morning, August 21, as it continued moving toward extreme Northern Luzon. In a bulletin issued 11 am on Monday, state weather bureau PAGASA said Isang is already 275 kilometers east of Basco, Batanes, still moving west northwest at 17 kilometers per hour (km/h).

Naples earthquake: 2 dead, 39 injured, 7 missing as Ischia rocked by quake on VOLCANO edge
The 4.3 magnitude quake hit the tourist hotspot at 8:57pm local time (7:57pm UK time), destroying several buildings across the island. Two women died and 39 people have been injured – at least one of them seriously – after the earthquake struck. Seven are still missing as officials rush to find them in the rubble. One woman died after the island’s historic church collapsed, while the other woman died after she was buried under the rubble of her home.

Air Force declares full operational capability of upgraded drone
The Israel Air Force has declared full operational capability of its upgraded Elbit Systems Hermes 900 “Kochav” unmanned aerial vehicle on Wednesday, after a lengthy series of tests performed by the IAF’s flight-test squadron. According to a statement released by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the main objective of the upgrade was to double the power and capabilities of the UAV in as many aspects as possible, including its size, carrying capacity, air time and flight range.

EU envoy: Israel can learn from Europe how to fight terrorism
Israel can learn from the European Union how to battle terrorism, and not only the other way around, according to outgoing EU Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen. On the eve of leaving Israel at the end of the month, after serving as EU ambassador for the last four years, Faaborg-Andersen told reporters at a briefing on Tuesday that regarding anti-terrorism, “We have a lot to learn from Israel, and Israel has a lot to learn from us.”

Senior PA official to Britain: We want our own Balfour
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has called on British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to recognize a Palestinian state in a declaration akin to that of the 1917 Balfour Declaration. “Balfour became famous for his promise to the Jews to establish a state for them on the land of Palestine,” Maliki said on Tuesday in Ramallah, in a meeting with British Middle East and International Development Minister Alistair Burt.

Egypt criticises US decision to withhold military aid
Egypt has criticised the United States after it reportedly withheld $195m (£152m) in military aid and cut $96m in other aid over human rights concerns. An Egyptian foreign ministry statement said the move – which has not yet been announced – reflected “poor judgement”. Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry also cancelled a meeting with Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law.

Trump threatens government shutdown over border wall funding
President Trump on Tuesday threatened to shut down the federal government if Congress doesn’t present him with a spending bill for the next fiscal year that includes funding for a wall on the southern border. “The obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it, but believe me, if we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall,” Trump said at a rally in Phoenix.

Rocklin Parents Grill School Board Over Transgender Discussions In Kindergarten
The Rocklin Academy school board is facing tough questions from parents concerned over a controversial incident involving transgender discussions inside a kindergarten class. “These parents feel betrayed by the school district that they were not notified,” said Karen England with the Capitol Resource Institute. The incident happened earlier this summer during the last few days of the academic school year.

Netanyahu to Putin: Iran’s growing Syria role threatens Israel
Iran’s growing role in Syria poses a threat to Israel, the Middle East and the world, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. “Mr. President, with joint efforts we are defeating Islamic State, and this is a very important thing. But the bad thing is, that where the defeated Islamic State group vanishes, Iran is stepping in,” Netanyahu told Putin…

Trump warns may terminate NAFTA treaty
U.S. President Donald Trump warned on Tuesday he might terminate the NAFTA trade treaty with Mexico and Canada after three-way talks failed to bridge deep differences. The United States, Canada and Mexico wrapped up their first round of talks on Sunday to revamp the trade pact with little sign of a breakthrough coming. Trump reopened negotiations of the 1994 treaty out of concern U.S. economic interests were suffering.

Atheist Group Calls Bible ‘Hate-Filled Book,’ Says God Worse Than ‘White Supremacist Thugs’An national atheist organization wrote that the Christian Bible “encourages violence and racism” in an Monday letter intended to bully Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin

The Imperial Collapse Clock Ticks Closer To Midnight
“…Trump has been totally brought to heel, a fact that’ll become increasingly crystal clear in the months ahead. This is now your standard Wall Street and military-industrial complex run Presidency…”

PayPal Begins Banning Conservative Sites
..Jihad Watch was reportedly banned from PayPal on Saturday after ProPublica – a George Soros funded investigative group – targeted the site and its director Robert Spencer (not to be confused with white nationalist Richard Spencer) in a hit piece that claimed the site was guilty of “extreme hostility toward Muslims.”

WATCH: NFL Star Drops Racism Truth Bomb On CNN… So CNN Cut His Mic
Over the course of the next day, he had filled up a page on his iPhone notepad expressing his feelings on the matter. Watson decided to piece his thoughts together into one Facebook post with an important message. “It’s not about skin. It’s about sin.” He relayed his message, which went viral, and then appeared on CNN to express his point of view. He was then rudely cut off.

IRS rehires personnel fired for targeting conservatives!
More than 200 IRS personnel who were fired for unethical and even criminal actions in connection with the targeting of conservatives are now back on the job, according to an inspector general’s report. According to the Office of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, 213 people were rehired by the IRS despite a checkered history with the agency.

McConnell Doubts “Trump Can Save Presidency” As Relationship “Disintegrates”
According to a new bombshell report from the NYT, the relationship between President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has “disintegrated” in recent week “to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks”, prompting the Kentucky senator to express doubts if Trump can succeed in office and “salvage the presidency” after a summer of controversies and

Wall Street Banks Warn Downturn Is Coming

In fairness a downturn is always coming. But we are pretty deep into the cycle at this point and debt levels are rising. (Particularly household debt.)

Will we see a 50% crash in equities like some think is possible? Let’s hope not. We don’t need any more drama at the moment.

Read More

Is America’s Collapse Inevitable?

Lamb Lion Ministries

Four Explosive Decisions

Ladies and gentlemen, over the last 50 years our Supreme Court has made four explosive decisions that have so weakened the moral and spiritual structure and foundation of our country that our inevitable collapse is certain. Right now we’re simply living between that time of the explosions that have weakened our basic foundation, and the coming implosion.

View Article

Franklin Graham at Trump Rally Prays to God: “Shut Their Mouths” (VIDEO)

View Short Video

Domestic Hate Group Southern Poverty Law Center Getting Millions To Silence Conservatives Online

It is no secret that domestic terror groups like ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter are funded by tens of millions of dollars through George Soros many splinter groups and shell companies. It is also no secret that nearly all the tech and social media companies are run by Alt-Left Liberals. And it is no secret that they have declared war.

For many years, Now The End Begins has been placed on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) list of “anti-government groups“, and we view it as a badge of honor. NTEB has never been anti-government, have never attended an anti-government rally or anti-government meeting of any kind. Yet, the SPLC waves their Alt-Left Liberal hand and slaps us and nearly 1,000 other groups with that label.

Why do they do it? To advance the fascist ideology of “Rules For Radicals” and other Marxist propaganda. They do it in an attempt to silence us, to minimize us, to discredit us. For years, the SLPC has been a kind of poor-man’s ALCU, yearning for the big-money spotlight. In 2017, with the rise in power of ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter, they have found it.

The Southern Poverty Law Center in just the past few days has received millions from Apple, one million from Hollywood actor George Clooney, indie band Wilco has donated all royalties from their song “All Lives, You Say?” to the SPLC, and the list goes on and on.

Pamela Geller, who has labored tirelessly to expose the Muslim terror groups like CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood, has been branded as a hate group leader and announced on her site that she was permanently banned today from using PayPal. She writes:

They did it. PayPal has banned our organization, American Freedom Defense Initiative. It’s coming down fast, while hate groups like CAIR and the SPLC are getting millions from left-wing corporate managers. The SPLC received a two million dollar pledge from Apple and MGM Resorts International will match employees’ donations to terror tied group CAIR.

The left is awash in funding. And they mean to cut off everything from those working in defense of the free and the brave. I received notice from Ronita Murray in the Brand Risk Management department that Paypal has suspended my account, permanently. source

The Alt-Left is on the rampage, and if you are a Conservative then you are their target.

It is no secret that domestic terror groups like ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter are funded by tens of millions of dollars through George Soros many splinter groups and shell companies. It is also no secret that nearly all the tech and social media companies are run by Alt-Left Liberals. And it is no secret that they have declared war.

All over YouTube, Conservative commentators like Ben Shapiro, Mark Dice and others have seen their ad revenues suspended for no reason at all. The Alt-Left is working overtime to cut off their income stream because if they can do that, they can silence them.


The seeds of the the new American Civil war, sown during the 8 years of the Obama regime, are coming into full bloom. The Democrat party may be in disarray since their historic loss last year, but the radical, George Soros funded Alt-Left is not.

They have millions of dollars, the support of the majority of the tech industry, and they have their hate groups like ANTIFA, Black Lives Matter and the Southern Poverty Law Center out in the streets nearly everyday.

Do you make your living online? Watch out, they are coming next to silence you.

Lesbian teens are getting pregnant more than twice as often as their peers

LifeSiteNews reports:

Statistics show that women who identify as “lesbian” become pregnant at a much higher rate than “straight” women and “homosexual” men are impregnating women at a significantly greater percentage than heterosexual men.

A Minneapolis Star Tribune graphic visually illustrates the disparity:

View article →

ZeroHedge Frontrunning: August 23

  • Trump Tries to Recharge His Base in Arizona Rally (Read More)
  • Trump Threatens Government Shutdown Over Border Wall Funding (Read More)
  • Trump defends response to Charlottesville violence (Read More)
  • Trump Assails Media in Angry Defense of Charlottesville Response (Read More)
  • North Korea presses rocket program, but amid signs of drama easing (Read More)
  • Military conflict with North Korea can be avoided: Germany’s Merkel (Read More)
  • ECB chief Draghi: QE has made economies more resilient (Read More)
  • Wage Hikes in China Bring Jobs, Factories Back to Japan (Read More)
  • U.S. Navy Relieves Admiral of Command After Collisions (Read More)
  • U.S. Readies New Steps to Pressure Pakistan (Read More)
  • Wall Street Banks Warn Downturn Is Coming (Read More)
  • The Case for Buying Venezuelan Bonds (Read More)
  • Billionaire Trump Donors Miss Post-Election Stock Gains (Read More)
  • Trump hints at pardon for Joe Arpaio (Read More)
  • Saudis Open Iraqi Border and Forge Ties to Counter Iran (Read More)
  • Pakistan says U.S. must not make it a ‘scapegoat’ for Afghan failures (Read More)
  • Saudi Aramco IPO Spurs Rush to Privatize in Middle East (Read More)
  • Why Energy Traders Got the Eclipse So Wrong (Read More)
  • Wal-Mart and Google Partner to Challenge Amazon (Read More)
  • True price of an Uber ride in question as investors assess firm’s value (Read More)
  • Big U.S. Banks Could See Profit Jump 20% With Deregulation (Read More)
  • Trains in Vain: Epic CSX Traffic Jam Snarls Deliveries, From Coal to Fries (Read More)
  • Qatar’s Plucky Plan to Outlast the Saudi Embargo (Read More)

Top Headlines – 8/23/2017

In talks with Putin, Netanyahu to focus on Iran threat

Netanyahu to discuss ‘Iranian entrenchment in Syria’ with Putin

Netanyahu to warn Putin not to cross red lines

Iran warns it can make weapons-grade material in days if nuke deal scotched

U.S. asks if Iran military sites to be checked under nuclear deal

Trump’s team arrives once again to reignite diplomatic process

Saudi crown prince discusses peace with Kushner

Palestinians wait for US envoy Kushner to break his silence

PA says 24 years of peace talks have achieved nothing

PA, Hamas rehash lie that Jews planned 1969 burning of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Abbas’s Fatah Party: Israel Has No Right to Temple Mount

Chief Rabbinate challenges court jurisdiction to rule on Western Wall deal

Switzerland stops funds to Palestinian NGO due to terrorism connection

Jordan River drying up amid finance impasse

Shell in Talks to Pump Israeli and Cypriot Natural Gas to Egypt

2 Israeli Jews converted to Islam, joined IS in Syria

Turkey Sees Risk of Kurds Defying Region With Independence Vote

Mattis Asks Iraqi Kurds to Put Off Vote on Independence

US to withhold up to $290 million in aid from Egypt

Outgoing EU ambassador: ‘Israel has much to learn from us in war on terror’

Moroccans shaken by links to extremist attacks in Europe

Moroccan who admitted killing 2 in Finland knife attack was refused asylum

Moroccan teenager admits killing 2 in Turku knife rampage, denies terrorist motive

New ISIS Threat to Spain: ‘War Has Not Been Fought and Gone’

Afghanistan hails Trump support in ‘joint struggle’

Taliban condemn Trump’s decision on Afghanistan war, vow ‘jihad’ will go on

Russia thinks Trump’s new Afghan strategy will not bring benefits

Yemen blames Iran for war, says it can’t be part of solution

UN: Boko Haram use of kids as ‘human bombs’ soars in 2017

Venezuela asks pope help, vaunts Russia ties versus US

Venezuela-U.S. relations at lowest point ever: Maduro

US sanctions Chinese, Russians over N. Korea support

Increasing sanctions, US says talks with North Korea may be close

North Korea will never surrender nuclear arms, says envoy

US-South Korea joint drills begin amid North Korea tensions

North Korea’s Kim orders production of more rocket engines, warhead tips: KCNA

NKorea issues trademark fiery rhetoric over US-SKorea drills

North Korea’s latest propaganda puts Trump in cemetery

N. Korea: Trump tweets ‘weird articles,’ ‘spouts rubbish’

Head of Navy’s 7th Fleet to be relieved of duty after second deadly mishap in Pacific

U.S. Navy admiral: USS John S. McCain, oil tanker collision may have been intentional

U.S. Military Commander Warns Enemies Not to Test Forces After USS John McCain Crash

Trump threatens shutdown over border-wall funding, predicts end of Nafta

L.A. sues Trump administration over sanctuary city crackdown

Confederate statues aren’t the only monuments people want torn down

PayPal Bans Conservative Sites After Soros-Funded Group Attacks Them

Largest asteroid ever tracked to pass by Earth 11 days after solar eclipse, NASA says

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Talisayan, Philippines

Klyuchevksoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 26,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 26,000ft

Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupts to 23,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 13,000ft

Sinabung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 13,000ft

Poas volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 12,000ft

Solar eclipse’s tides blamed for broken net, up to 305,000 Atlantic salmon dumped into waters near San Juans

Potential hurricane threatens Texas

Harvey to threaten Texas with major flooding to end the week

Typhoon Hato to blast into China, near Hong Kong, on Wednesday

Philippines deploys troops to a second province to fight bird flu

Hundreds confess to eating human flesh

Conservative Groups File Brief for Christian Grandmother Florist Sued for Refusing to Serve Gay Wedding

Rocklin Parents Grill School Board Over Transgender Discussions In Kindergarten

Jesus Set The Record Straight: “If God Were Your Father You Would Love Me”

Dr. Michael Brown Guest Hosting Sid Roth’s Crazy Train “It’s Supernatural”

Baltimore County man charged with murder of pastor says victim had ‘spiritual control’ of his wife

Parents Feel ‘Betrayed’ After Teacher Reads Transgender-Themed Books to Kindergarten Class

Sudanese Police Evict Two Pastors From Their Homes

Indian Pastor & Team Beaten With Metal Poles During Gospel Event by Hindu Extremists

California Insurance Agency Penalized for Not Covering ‘Cosmetic Procedures’ for ‘Gender Transitions’

Posted: 22 Aug 2017 06:02 PM PDT

An insurance agency in California has been leveled with a $200,000 administrative penalty for declining to cover cosmetic procedures and other “gender transition”-related services for seven patients in the state who identify as transgender. The California Department of Managed Health Care recently sent a letter to Health Net to outline its findings following an…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau Pushes for Abortion as ‘Human Right’ in Ireland

Posted: 22 Aug 2017 01:32 PM PDT

The nominally Catholic Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has urged his Irish counterpart to consider abortion in Ireland as a “fundamental” human right. During a three-day meeting in Canada between Mr. Trudeau and the openly gay Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, the two leaders spoke about Mr. Varadkar’s intention to…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

If God Was Behind Election of Trump, Is He a Cyrus (Deliverer) or Nebuchadnezzar (Agent of Judgment)

Posted: 22 Aug 2017 01:26 PM PDT

(By Tom Horn) Now that we know who some of the visible saboteurs, deep-state and shadow government players are, the time has come for me to spend a few entries examining a more profound spiritual question: Is the arrival of Donald Trump something that God was behind for reasons beyond what most…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

TN freshmen told to confront racism and privilege

Posted: 22 Aug 2017 01:20 PM PDT

Before the fall semester even kicked off at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, incoming freshmen were asked to ponder race and privilege — and what they could do about it. On Friday, the public university’s freshmen orientation included a program called “First Class” that focused on the school’s common…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DAYS OF LOT: 5 Year-Old Kindergarten Boy Undergoes Transition to Girl in front of Classmates

Posted: 22 Aug 2017 01:16 PM PDT

The push to make children comfortable with transgenderism has reached disturbing new depths, with a California school promoting it to kindergartners by having a 5-year-old boy undergo a “transition ceremony” in front of classmates. The boy left his classroom at Rocklin Academy Schools in Rocklin dressed as a boy then returned…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Is Google Next to Include Christian Groups in List of ‘Hate’ Organizations?

Posted: 22 Aug 2017 12:27 PM PDT

Google is known as the go-to search engine for many, but may soon be making news in its own way, by following the tactics of CNN in publicizing the targeting of Christian groups. Recently, CNN followed the Southern Poverty Law Center’s example in publishing a list of “hate groups” across…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

North Korea’s latest propaganda depicts Trump in cemetery

Posted: 22 Aug 2017 10:55 AM PDT

President Trump is pictured looking out over a Guam graveyard cluttered with crosses in a photoshopped image from the newest propaganda film — and grim warning — from North Korea. The regime followed the video with a statement posted through its KCNA news agency, saying Trump “spouted rubbish” and frequently…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

A Dream From God Has These 6 Clear Characteristics

Posted: 22 Aug 2017 09:32 AM PDT

(By John E. Thomas) I love dreams. I love the contours of God’s voice, the creativity He puts into His relationship with each of us. I enjoy interpreting dreams because every dream from God is an expression of His heart to the dreamer, and I get to see one more…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Major Christian Leaders Worried New Bill Could Be the End of Faith as They Know It

Posted: 22 Aug 2017 09:26 AM PDT

Church leaders in India have joined the chorus of protest against the BJP-led government, known for espousing a Hindu nationalist agenda, hurrying through an “anti-conversion law” in the eastern state of Jharkhand. The Freedom of Religion Bill, which was introduced and passed on the same day (Aug. 12) in the Jharkhand Assembly,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

What is The Gospel?

Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him:


While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a madman. Still others couldn’t decide or didn’t care. But Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). That means He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh.

Many people today don’t understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They’re content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to deity. That’s why they tried to stone Him to death (John 5:18; 10:33) and eventually had Him crucified (John 19:7).

C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

If the biblical claims of Jesus are true, He is God!


God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13).

As God, Jesus embodied every element of God’s character. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” He was perfectly holy (Hebrews 4:15). Even His enemies couldn’t prove any accusation against Him (John 8:46)

God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”


Our failure to obey God—to be holy—places us in danger of eternal punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The truth is, we cannot obey Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We are by nature rebellious toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible calls our rebellion “sin.” According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: “Christ … died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He alone is “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13).


Some people think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. But without a valid object your faith is useless

If you take poison—thinking it’s medicine—all the faith in the world won’t restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you’re trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless.

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God—then and forever.


Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him

The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority (Philippians 2:10-11). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection—the pinnacle of Christian faith and the way the Father affirmed the deity and authority of the Son (Romans 1:4; Acts 17:30-31).

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness (Isaiah 55:7). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).

It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

Jesus is the sovereign Lord. When you obey Him you are acknowledging His lordship and submitting to His authority. That doesn’t mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him.


All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”


Who does the Bible say Jesus is? The living God, the Holy One, the Savior, the only valid object of saving faith, the sovereign Lord, and the righteous Judge.

Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you—free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose. Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?

Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A335
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to YouYou may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/connect/copyright).

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(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).

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The Cessationist vs Charismatic Debate Video Released

The debate with JD Hall (a Reformed Baptist pastor) and Ante Pavkovik (an Assembly of God pastor) has now been released via video. The event took place at the 2017 Judge Not Conference, and was full of fireworks and should be as entertaining as it was edifying.

You can watch the video below.

Source: The Cessationist vs Charismatic Debate Video Released

Is Discernment Ministry Biblical? Video Released

This is a sermon from the Judge Not Conference, on the topic of “judging” as taken from Matthew 7 and a systematic theology of discernment. Is discernment ministry Biblical? Is it a sin to judge? Should discernment stay within the local church?

Watch and share.

You can also watch and share these teaser clips.


Source: Is Discernment Ministry Biblical? Video Released

Enemies of the Cross.

Once again we introduce our readers to a very good discernment ministry from South Africa, “Famine In The Land” – their intention is ‘to promote sound doctrine and discern truth from error, examining the current popular teachings in the visible church and compare them to the word of God’. With their permission we offer their latest article:

“Enemies of the Cross”.

“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.” Philippians 3: 18 – 19

From Rick Becker:

Not only is the cross the only beacon of light for a fallen world, it is also a clarion call for those who claim allegiance to Christ to pick up their own cross and follow in…

View original post 2,426 more words

Old Time Televangelism & Scandal

Trump spiritual advisor Paula White, a Florida preacher, recently appeared on Jim Bakker’s television program, saying:

It is God who raises up a king. It is God that sets one down. When you fight against the plan of God, you are fighting against the hand of God.

Of course, such theology, if meant literally, would seemingly command unquestioning obedience to any ruler. Fortunately, historic church teaching, and 1000 years of Anglo-American political tradition, argue against such blind fidelity.

More interesting, at least to me, was that White appeared on Bakker’s program. He still has a program???!!! Nobody under age 40, and few under age 50, will much recall the scandals that exploded the media and financial empire of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, with much of 1980s televangelism, in 1987, now unbelievably 30 years ago.

The Bakkers hosted a daily Christian television talk show, with its own network of millions of viewers, called PTL Club, standing for people-that-love and praise-the-Lord, part of a financial empire that included a Christian theme park called Heritage USA, a hotel and residential housing, sustained by thousands of donors endlessly solicited on air and by direct mail.

PTL was over-the-top garish, with folksy chatter and Gospel music punctuated by plaintive, often tearful appeals by Jim and Tammy Faye, whose dripping mascara became iconic. They both flaunted their high-end consumption backed by prosperity theology. The great mystery was who exactly watched them non-ironically much less mailed them checks. One of the last episodes I recall watching, out of prurient fascination, was Jim announcing plans to reconstruct at their South Carolina theme park a version of Queen Victoria’s Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851. Tammy Faye oohed and ahhed as Jim described this impending glass cathedral costing millions.

Alas, there would be no Crystal Palace, after former church secretary Jessica Hahn alleged she had been drugged and raped seven years earlier by Bakker and fellow preacher John Wesley Fletcher, after which the two appeared on PTL boasting about their relaxing afternoon. Bakker, who’d been paying hush money for years from PTLcoffers, claimed the encounter was consensual and asked Moral Majority founder Rev. Jerry Falwell temporarily to take over the PTL conglomerate until Bakker could recover from the scandal.

Falwell did so, initially offering Bakker’s version of the scandal to the public, until discovering that the Bakkers’ empire was an elaborate labyrinth of fraud, deception and bankruptcy, also including extensive sexual misconduct by Bakker, allegedly both heterosexual and homosexual. He went to prison for five years. Falwell called him “the greatest scab and cancer on the face of Christianity in 2,000 years of church history.” Tammy Faye was spared prison but did divorce Jim, later remarrying, then dying of cancer. Jim once out of prison partly resurrected professionally, remarried, and for 14 years has broadcast his program from Branson, Missouri, touting the end-times, while predictably marketing survivalist wares to anxious viewers hoping to endure them.

There were multiple subplots to the Bakker/PTL scandals and implosion, which I remember so well. Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, like Bakker, was ordained in the Pentecostal Assemblies of God denomination, but, unlike Bakker, was an exponent of old time Pentecostal revivalism. He was critical of PTL prosperity theology along with various therapeutic fads he saw threatening Pentecostalism. God raises up evangelists, not talk show hosts, he declared, in an obvious swipe at PTL, among other Christian programs.

As the PTL scandal broke, televangelist Oral Roberts announced on his program that the Lord would “take him home” if viewers didn’t donate $4.5 million by the deadline, then he retreated into his Oklahoma prayer tower to await his fate. Swaggart pronounced that televangelism had become a disgrace, with Bakker facing prison, while another “dear brother” was claiming “God is going to kill him” unless the needed ransom was produced.

As a young man I often watched Swaggart, even attending one of his revivals at the Capital Center outside Washington, DC, and I recall he claimed a special mission to clean up the church. He could be unsparing in his critiques of Catholicism, Calvinism, infant baptism, doubts about supernatural gifts, erring fellow Pentecostals, and any form of liberalism, which he pronounced “first cousin to communism.” His dramatic sermons, while strutting and even dancing across the stage of a stadium, focused on salvation, heaven and hell.

No less than Dan Rather reputedly called Swaggart America’s best orator. He was also a magnificent musician, singer, and piano player, as first cousin to rock and roll founder Jerry Lee Lewis, also known as “the killer,” and country music star Mickey Gilley. Swaggart’s talents at least briefly got him a global audience larger than even Cousin Jerry, as his program broadcast to millions in scores of countries including parts of the Communist Bloc, which Swaggart followers saw as itself a sign of the end times. On a crusade to Chile Swaggart met with dictator Augusto Pinochet, who appreciated support from his country’s growing Pentecostal population.

Not typically very political, Swaggart was enmeshed in the 1988 presidential campaign, initially opposing fellow televangelist Pat Robertson’s run for the presidency, believing preachers shouldn’t leave their spiritual calling to pursue politics. But Robertson, realizing Swaggart’s influence, flew on his private plane to Louisiana to persuade him, successfully. Swaggart disavowed any objection, judging Robertson to be more business executive than pastor.

Within a year of Bakker’s scandal Swaggart himself would fall, blackmailed and then exposed by a fellow evangelist whom Swaggart had denounced for adultery, and who caught Swaggart at a motel with a prostitute. Swaggart at his megachurch delivered his famously televised, tearful “I have sinned” speech. The Assemblies of God at first suspended and then withdrew his ordination, as it already had from Bakker. Much of Swaggart’s own empire collapsed, especially after he was caught three years later with another prostitute. Like Bakker, he somewhat recovered and returned to television, if never at the previous heights.

The 1980s era of televangelistic empires and influence seemed to collapse in 1987-1988. Pat Robertson made an initial but brief splash in the Republican primaries. The scandals tarnished flashy tv preachers but did not long if at all impair conservative evangelical political influence. Robertson, though defeated, would afterwards found the Christian Coalition.

Paula White, herself reputedly a prosperity gospel exponent, made dubious remarks on Jim Bakker’s program. But his survival and resilience showcase that in America religious entrepreneurship, both laudable and questionable, almost always has a market, with both spiritual and political implications.

Source: Old Time Televangelism & Scandal

The Four Soils: The Fertile Ground

Luke 8:8

Code: B170823

Our approach to evangelism shouldn’t be influenced by the way people respond to the gospel.

When the gospel is preached faithfully and clearly, acceptance of the message is never the result of the skill of the messenger or the marketing of the message. As we have seen throughout this series, it all hinges on the receptivity of the human heart—the quality of the soil into which the gospel seed is sown.

The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great. (Luke 8:5–8)

The “good soil” is well cultivated and produces the desired crop. Jesus says this symbolizes those “who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance” (Luke 8:15). This is the truly prepared heart. In Matthew 13:23, Jesus says the good soil pictures a person “who hears the word and understands it.” In Mark 4:20, He says it is a symbol of those who “hear the word and accept it and bear fruit” (emphasis added).

He is describing someone with a heart so well prepared that when the person hears the gospel, he receives it with true understanding and genuine faith. The expression Luke uses (“[they] hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance”) suggests a tenacious hold on the truth, and perseverance in the faith.

Perseverance with fruit is the necessary sign of genuine, saving trust in Christ. This is one of the key lessons of the whole parable: The mark of authentic faith is endurance. Jesus said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of mine” (John 8:31). Temporary faith is not true faith at all.

The “fruit” spoken of in the parable includes, of course, the fruit of the Spirit—“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23). It encompasses all “the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11). A truly believing heart will naturally produce worship—“the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15). And the apostle Paul spoke of people whom he had led to Christ as fruit of his ministry (Rom. 1:13). All of these are examples of the kinds of fruit Jesus had in mind when He said the good soil represents people who “bear fruit with perseverance.”

The expectation is that they will also bear fruit abundantly. Matthew and Mark both say “thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold” (Mark 4:20; cf. Matthew 13:23). Anything over tenfold would be an immense return on the farmer’s investment. While Jesus is clearly teaching what we know from experience—that Christians are not all equally fruitful—He is simultaneously suggesting that an abundance of fruit is the expected result of faith. The spiritual fruit in our lives should be copious and obvious—not so scarce that it’s hard to find. After all, we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). Jesus said, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, [the Father, who is the vinedresser] takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:2). Fruitfulness—a divinely wrought, abundant harvest—is the expected outcome of saving faith.

That can occur only in a heart that is clean and well cultivated.

The person’s heart needs to be prepared, ready to “receive with meekness the implanted word” (James 1:21, NKJV)—and then to nurture that seed to full fruitfulness. The Old Testament tells us that Rehoboam, Solomon’s foolish son and heir to the throne, “did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the Lord” (2 Chronicles 12:14, NKJV, emphasis added). Also, to the backslidden people of Judah and Jerusalem in Old Testament Israel, God gave this command through His prophet: “Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns” (Jeremiah 4:3). The context in verse four makes it perfectly clear that He was commanding them to prepare their hearts to receive the word. That is the duty of every person.

But here is the problem: We cannot accomplish that for ourselves. We are already hopelessly unclean. We are fallen, guilty sinners with shallow, weedy, rebellious hearts. Left to ourselves we would just grow harder. Every exposure to the light would bake in the hardness even more, until we became as impervious to God’s Word as a concrete walkway is to grass seed. “The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7–8).

Only God Himself can plow and prepare a heart to receive the Word. He does it through the regenerating and sanctifying work of His Holy Spirit, who convicts the world “concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). For those who believe, He awakens them spiritually (Romans 8:11). He enlightens their minds to the truth (1 Corinthians 2:10). He washes them clean (Ezekiel 36:25). He removes the stony heart and gives them a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). He indwells His people and motivates them unto righteousness (Ezekiel 36:27). He engraves the truth of God on their hearts (Jeremiah 31:332 Corinthians 3:3). He pours the love of God into their hearts (Romans 5:5). We who believe in Christ are totally dependent on the indwelling Spirit’s work in our hearts to keep us tender, receptive, and ultimately fruitful.

And we must remain faithfully dependent on Him.

Like David, who prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10), we must approach God with trust and submission, knowing that He must do the necessary work in our hearts that we cannot do ourselves.

Finally, this parable is a reminder that when we proclaim the gospel or teach the Word of God to our neighbors and loved ones, the results will always vary according to the condition of the hearts of our hearers. Success or failure does not hinge on our skill as sowers. Some of the seed we disperse will fall on hard, shallow, or weedy ground. But there’s nothing wrong with the seed. If you are faithful at the task, some of the seed you throw will find well-cultivated soil, and the result will be abundant fruit.



Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170823
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The Four Soils: Among the Thorns

Luke 8:7

Code: B170821

Most of us have endured the tragedy of watching people we counted as spiritual brothers and sisters leave the church and turn their backs on Christ. It is heartbreaking to see friends and loved ones reject the Savior and instead pursue sin.

When we think of apostasy, we generally think of blatant and outspoken rejections of Christ and the gospel. But much more often, apostates merely drift out of our churches without us even noticing. They may seem like solid believers and loyal members outwardly, but inwardly their loyalties remain divided between Christ and the world. Their hearts are still fixed on temporal and trivial things. The pull of the world continually erodes their profession of faith until they eventually disappear from Christian fellowship altogether.

Jesus issued strong warnings against those who thought they could love Him without abandoning the cares and pleasures of this world. And in His first parable, vividly described the deceptive pattern of such false believers.

The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great. (Luke 8:5–8, emphasis added)

The third type of soil, the kind situated “among the thorns,” represents a heart too enthralled or too preoccupied with worldly matters. Jesus explains, “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with the worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity” (Luke 8:14).

Those who fit this category (like the shallow-soil hearers) may seem to respond positively at first. The analogy suggests that there will most likely be some initial sign of receptivity. Seed sown among weeds would germinate. These people, when they “have heard” they “go on their way”—meaning, apparently, that they give every sign of pursuing the way of faith. Mark’s gospel seems to suggest that at first they seem to have every potential to be fruitful, but then at some point afterward, “the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful” (Mark 4:19, emphasis added).

This is not a hard-hearted unbeliever or a shallow, emotional person. This time the soil itself is well plowed and deep enough. But there are all kinds of impurities in it. Weeds native to that soil have already germinated under the surface. They will always grow stronger and faster than the good seed. The Word of God is a foreigner in such a heart. Weeds and thorns own that ground.

This person is too in love with this world—too obsessed with the “riches and pleasures of this life” (Luke 8:14). That’s the key. The values of the temporal world (sinful pleasures, earthly ambitions, money, prestige, and a host of trivial diversions) deluge the heart and muffle the truth of God’s Word.

This is “a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). As Jesus taught, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Luke 16:13).

Indeed, in Matthew’s account, the stress is on the worldly hearer’s love of money: “The deceitfulness of wealth choke[s] the word” (Matthew 13:22). Writing to Timothy, the apostle Paul said,

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6:9–10)

Nothing is more hostile to the truth of the gospel than love for the riches and pleasures of this world. To those whose main wish is to spend their resources on worldly pleasures, James 4:4 says, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

The apostle John condemned worldliness with equal severity. He wrote, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Did he mean it is a sin to love mountains and flowers or good food and people? Of course not. He is talking about the values and the vices of this world, everything embodied in the world’s pathological and self-destructive enmity toward God: “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world” (1 John 2:16).

That is precisely what the weeds and thorns in the parable represent: selfishness, sinful desire, and the unholy belief system that dominates this world. Values such as those—not the natural features of the created world itself—are what suffocate the truth of God’s Word in fallen hearts and make this world unworthy of our love.

Don’t miss the point. Material wealth is not inherently evil, nor is pleasure. When properly prioritized, wealth and pleasure should be received with thanksgiving as gracious gifts from the hand of God, who is generous with such blessings (Deuteronomy 8:18Ecclesiastes 5:18–19Hosea 2:8). But it is evil to love the gifts more than the Giver, or to value tangible and temporal benefits more highly than spiritual blessings. Paul told Timothy, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).

One classic New Testament example of the worldly hearer is the rich young ruler. He came to Jesus eagerly seeking eternal life, but he was a materialist and a lover of the world—and Jesus knew it. Scripture says the young ruler “went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property” (Matthew 19:22). He loved worldly things more than he loved God. Another example, of course, is Judas, who made every pretense of following Jesus from the time Jesus called the twelve until Judas finally betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver. Scripture tells us that Judas’s besetting sin was the love of money. “He was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it” (John 12:6). He was the most sinister kind of thorny-soil hearer.

Here’s what the hard-hearted hearer, the shallow hearer, and the worldly hearer all have in common: They “bring no fruit to maturity” (Luke 8:14). The whole purpose of agriculture is to produce a harvest. Soil that fails to produce a crop is of no value. The hardened roadside will remain perpetually hard, the shallow and rocky soil will most likely not be seeded again, and the thorny soil will be burnt. If it cannot be completely cleared, purged of weeds, and cultivated again, it will be abandoned as wasteland.

All three varieties of fruitless soil are emblematic of unbelievers—including those who originally showed some promise but failed to bear fruit. There is only one kind of soil that will bear true and lasting fruit—one kind of hearer who responds to the gospel in genuine repentance and faith. And we’ll consider that fertile and well-cultivated ground next time.



Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170821
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An Open Letter to Those Debilitated by Their Sexual Sin

Dear friend,

What do you do when you are still struggling? What do you do when repeated failure, guilt, and shame weigh heavily on your conscience?

Let me begin with a story about a friend of mine. He had come to faith in Christ when he was in his late twenties. As they say, “He had history. He came with baggage.” I’ve never forgotten the way he described his life at the point when Jesus reached him. “If you divided my mental day into a thousand moments, nine hundred of those moments were immoral. I simply lived in a world of immoral images and desires and pursuits and behaviors.” His entire life was steeped in polyamorous, bisexual immorality.

Did his newfound faith immediately bring about a complete change? You know the answer: of course not. But his way of describing the process was particularly vivid. “It wasn’t as though I went from nine hundred immoral moments down to zero. But nine hundred went to seven hundred. And seven hundred became five hundred, and five hundred became two hundred, and so on. It was very hard to think that seven hundred out of a thousand meant progress! But it was. It was huge progress, and even though I was still failing, Christ was changing me.”

He grew. Eventually, by the time I knew him, he was significantly changed—but still not perfect. And he lived with a daily awareness that, “I’m still vulnerable in the area of sexual temptations. I can never think I’m home free and will never struggle.” But he had entered into the long walk of discipleship, the patient, persistent obedience in the right direction, walking under the mercy of the Lord.

What sustained him for ups and downs of the long walk? I’ve never forgotten his words. “Early on I learned something that I’ve never forgotten. I had to presume that Christ loved me. Jesus knew the kind of person he had chosen to forgive and save. He who had begun a good work in me was committed to one day bring me to completion. I relied on the fact that his mercies for me truly are new every morning—I lived in that promise of Lamentations 3:22–24.” Christ’s love for him was the given on which his life depended. He could daily seek Christ’s mercies for what he needed that day: forgiveness from the Lamb, strength from the King, protection in the Refuge, guidance under the Shepherd’s hand.

Step by step by step by step he was moving toward the light. His long, hard fight was wrapped up in the mercy of Christ to him. It is the same for all of us, whatever our particular struggle—sexual immorality, anger and bitterness, fears, addictions, self-righteousness. Jesus knows the kinds of people he has chosen to save. We can seek him, and we will find him true and good for the long haul. My friend was honest, no secrets before God. He was honest to confess where and when he struggled. He was honest with friends, who helped him to seek and find the God who promises many mercies. He was honest in asking help from other people: accountability and prayer, counsel and conversation with brothers. He rebuilt a life that had good in it. He learned to treat both men and women as holy brothers and sisters, rather than as sexual objects.

Here’s an old metaphor about how a Christian fights against darkness. Envision your mind as a room. When sin reigns, that room is filled with dark thoughts, dark actions, and deceptive people who mean you no good. So how do you get darkness out of the room? There are two ways that you fight. First, you stand up to the darkness, expelling it from the room, learning to directly say no to evil. And second, you fight the darkness by filling the room with light. There’s no room for the darkness when the room is filled with worthy actions, true thoughts, and constructive people. When Christ enters the room, he is patiently committed to teach us to say no to what is wrong and yes to what is merciful and good. My friend began to care for other people, rather than using them as objects of his lust.

One of the actions that proved most helpful to him was getting involved in discipling teenage boys. (Pedophilia was not one of the sins he had indulged in.) They were entering adolescence and puberty in a hypersexualized world. At the same age that evil had trapped him, he could help to protect them from going down a self-destructive path. Serving others in need also helped him by filling the room with light so there was less room for darkness. In a sense, they were helping him as much as he was helping them.

Christ comes with mercy for people who know their sins. His mercy leads to doing simple things that consistently head in the right direction. Do you feel discouraged and defeated by your struggle? Don’t let anyone kid you that there’s some magic answer and somehow you missed it. There are no magic answers. But a Person full of light is willing to walk with you in the direction of the light. He is willing to walk with you the whole way home.


This letter originally appeared on the Crossway website.

David’s book, Making All Things New, was released by Crossway in August 2017. Purchase your copy here.

Sexuality was a part of God’s good creation from the beginning. But with sin came a world filled with sexual brokenness. Thankfully, God is always in the business of restoration.

Making All Things New offers hope for both the sexually immoral and the sexually victimized, pointing us all to the grace of Jesus Christ, who mercifully intervenes each moment in our lifelong journey toward renewal. Author David Powlison casts a vision for the key to deep transformation, better than anything the world has to offer—not just fresh resolve, not just flimsy forgiveness, not just simple formulas, but true, lasting mercy from God, who is making all things new.

The post An Open Letter to Those Debilitated by Their Sexual Sin appeared first on Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation.

An Open Letter to Those Nonchalant about Their Sexual Sin

Dear friend,

Sex is like fire. When it blazes in the fireplace, a good fire warms and brightens the room, enhancing joy and companionship. But when fires ignite in the wrong places, the house burns down. Is your sexuality igniting in the wrong places? Are you treating sexual sin casually? How do you know when this has happened? Let me offer a few tests that can rouse your conscience.

  • Is what you are doing simply wrong? The outright evils of sexual immorality are not hard to identify. Our culture makes the water very muddy, and preaches the doctrine that dirty water is good to drink. But the line between love and lust is clear. We are to treat other human beings in a familial way. You don’t ever sexualize a person whom you are called to treat as your brother or sister, your mother or father, your son or daughter. Sexuality is reserved for marriage. You are to protect other people, not lust after them. Consensual immorality is still immorality.
  • Are you captivated by sex? One sure tip-off is that you are preoccupied. When something takes up too much airtime in your mind, when you’re driven, when you must do it, you just do it, you can’t help doing it, you can’t not do it, you’ve got a problem. Whenever sex becomes obsessive, impulsive, or compulsive, it’s going astray.
  • Do you hide what you are doing? Hiding what you are doing and the time you spend doing it is another clear tip-off. Wrong doesn’t love the light (unless it’s become shameless and brazen). We hide when we know something is wrong. When you create a secret garden of any sort in your life, mutant things inevitably grow. So we hide from the eyes of others, from the eyes of our own conscience, from God’s eyes.
  • Do you use sex as a refuge? Boredom, stress, loneliness, and pain tempt us to look for an escape. Do you try to flee discomfort or mask pain? We are meant to look pain in the eye, to grasp the experience, to bring it in hand to our God, to cry out for help, to find refuge, and then to do what can be done constructively, however seemingly small our powers.

If you are being nonchalant about your sexual sin, I hope that my list arouses a proper sense of unease. Fires are burning outside the fireplace. Is something not right with your sexual behavior? You are a child of light—don’t walk in darkness! God’s point of view is good, right, and true. He beckons you. Walk as a child of light—for the fruit of light is found in all that is good, right, and true. The God who invites us into what is good also warns us off what is bad. You may be sure of this: everyone who is sexually immoral has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Don’t let anyone deceive you with empty words. Because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the disobedient. That’s the gist of Ephesians 5:5–9:

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true).

Take it to heart. Don’t let peer pressure or the culture deceive you. By the mercy of Christ, you will live a brighter, more loving, and more fruitful life.

How do you change? There are many facets of that big question, but I will point to four. First, the starting point for change is to say, “What I am doing is wrong.” That acknowledgement gets you pointed in the right direction.

But God doesn’t just tell you to shape up. The second step is to realize “I need mercies from my Father. I need him to love me and forgive me. I need his strength and forgiveness.” Recognizing wrong leads to awareness that you need something that only God can give you—something he freely gives. He gives himself in Jesus Christ.

The third step in changing is to act on this. The Lord calls you to seek him, to find him, and from him to receive what you most need. Psalm 25:11 brings this to life:

For your name’s sake, O LORD,
pardon my guilt, for it is great.

Cast yourself on the care of your Father. Find grace and help from outside yourself. Seek, and you will find the mercy you need.

The fourth step is not really a step, it’s a lifestyle. It’s learning to walk out what those “good, right, and true” things look like. This has many different aspects that work out in our lives at different times. Choose to spend time with different companions. Put filtering software on your screens. Set up real accountability with someone you trust. Make the kind of lifestyle changes that get you out of the path of where you’ve gotten yourself into trouble. Jesus uses a vivid picture of how to deal with our own evil. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. He shocks us into a radical amputation of evil. And, of course, none of these battles are one-and-done. God intends to work in you a committed resolve to take seriously what’s wrong, to need him, to pursue what’s right. It’s an ongoing fight.

Here is one of the most helpful things I heard early in my Christian life. Think of your soul as a room. When you’re in sin, that room is full of dark forces, dark people, and darkness. There are two ways you get rid of darkness in your soul. One way is to cast it out, fight it, resist and reject it. The other way is to fill the room with light. As your life fills with better people, better things to do, and more reasons to live in the light, then there’s less room for the darkness.

Jesus Christ gives a beautiful call. He invites you to live a radical life. He challenges people who think that it’s okay to do wrong. He challenges people who think they have moved past outmoded cultural values. He challenges people who think that current cultural assumptions are good, right, and true. Don’t go along with the crowd. Don’t drift with the culture. Do what Flannery O’Connor said we should do: “Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you.” Live out in the daylight, not in the shadows and darkness.

Finding the mercies of Christ and learning to walk in his light is courageous. It has an impact on people around you. You demonstrate the Lord. That’s bigger than any one of us individually. In a world where the light is going out on sexual rights and wrongs, you have an opportunity to turn on the lights.


This letter originally appeared on the Crossway website.

David’s book, Making All Things New, was released by Crossway in August 2017. Purchase your copy here.

Sexuality was a part of God’s good creation from the beginning. But with sin came a world filled with sexual brokenness. Thankfully, God is always in the business of restoration.

Making All Things New offers hope for both the sexually immoral and the sexually victimized, pointing us all to the grace of Jesus Christ, who mercifully intervenes each moment in our lifelong journey toward renewal. Author David Powlison casts a vision for the key to deep transformation, better than anything the world has to offer—not just fresh resolve, not just flimsy forgiveness, not just simple formulas, but true, lasting mercy from God, who is making all things new.

The post An Open Letter to Those Nonchalant about Their Sexual Sin appeared first on Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation.

Should President Trump’s Evangelical Advisors Resign?

CRN has reported that some of President Trump’s spiritual advisers are anything but authentic Christians; they are Word of Faith health and wealth prosperity preachers, which qualifies them as false teachers…wolves in sheep’s clothing. One such adviser to the president is his close confident and “pastor” Paula White. White is also the “spiritual daughter” to anti-triniterian prosperity preacher T.D. Jakes’, as you will see here. During a recent interview with Pastrix Paula, another word-faith wolf, Jim Bakker, proclaimed that this woman has “full access to the White House anytime she wants,” as she sat there nodding and grinning. So if some members of Trump’s “evangelical” advisory council feel they must resign, let’s cross our fingers that Paula White will be one of them.

Now to the story over at (questionably) Christian Headlines:

President Donald Trump & Paula White.

People are certainly divided over their support for President Trump. This division is not only seen in the country in general, but even within the Republican party, and also within the Christian community.

Trump created his Evangelical Advisory Board–a group of evangelical pastors and Christian leaders who are there to give him advice–during his presidential campaign. The Evangelical Advisory Board includes such prominent Christian figures as Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., Pastor Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, Pastor Paula White of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Florida, and Christian author and speaker Johnnie Moore.

Recently, some members of this advisory council have been considering stepping down, due to what they see as a disconnect in values between themselves and the President. Pastor A. R. Bernard, one of Trump’s advisors, actually did step down, and explained his reasoning here.

View article →

Source: Should President Trump’s Evangelical Advisors Resign?

“Merkel’s Historic Folly” – Pipes in Die Achse des Guten, #1550

by Daniel Pipes
Achse des Guten
August 22, 2017


Mr. Pipes, You have written that Angela Merkel’s decision to open the border to over a million migrants in 2015 “will likely be seen as a turning point in European history.” You are a historian, so, what do you mean by this expression?

I expect that when the evolution of European civilization is studied in the future, August 2015 will be seen as a key moment. The decision to allow unlimited immigration into Germany has had profound implications for Europe by raising this issue in a more acute way than ever before, creating divisions both among native Europeans who are for and against large-scale immigration and between native and new Europeans.

Angela Merkel’s nationally broadcast encounter with a 14-year-old Palestinian girl in July 2015 may have set the stage for her opening Germany’s borders a month later.

What basic questions do Europeans face?

Lacking sufficient children, the question is whether Europeans will they continue passively to accept whomever turns up, even if they lack skills and come from a largely hostile culture or whether they will develop a plan of controlled immigration, selecting people around the world most suited to bring skills and fit in? Germany’s decision to open the borders meant choosing the latter option.

Why are relations between Europeans and Muslim immigrants so fraught with tension?

They are fraught because Islam is an imperialist faith and many Muslim immigrants want to replace existing European civilization with Islam. Exacerbating matters, Europeans and Muslims are opposites on several key issues: Europeans have a low birthrate, Muslim immigrants have a high one. Europeans have a weak religious identity, Muslims have a strong one. Europeans feel guilty for their historical sins; immigrants have boisterous confidence in the superiority of their civilization.

Many Germans argue that as a rich nation, they morally must open their doors to people in need.

I admire that humanitarian impulse but it is unrealistic. Can Germany take in, say, 2 billion people? If not, how does it morally pick the tiny percentage it does allow in?

What, then, is the answer?

Practically speaking, see the world in terms of cultural and geographic zones: Westerners in need should stay in the West, Middle Easterners should stay in the Middle East, and so forth around the globe. Is it not strange that migrants from Syria and Iraq move to places like Germany and Sweden? They would be better off going to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, where the climate, the language, the religion, and the mores are all like their own; plus, these countries are much closer to Syria.

The 100,000 permanent, almost-always empty tens in Saudi Arabia can hold 3 million migrants.

Cultures and customs change. Perhaps Muslims will adapt to European cultures if given the opportunity?

In theory, yes; in practice, no. Experience shows that the first generation of Muslim immigrants to Europe is more adaptable than its children and grandchildren, as cultural separation increases over time. It is hard to find any place in Europe where Muslim immigrants have assimilated, leading me gravely to doubt that this will take place in the future. Chileans, Chinese, and Congolese fit better into European culture than do Muslims.

Many Muslims of immigrant origins point to discrimination as a factor hindering them from fully integrating into German society.

Yes, discrimination is a problem. I would not want to be named Muhammad and look for a job in Hamburg. But that supports my argument that it is better to be named Muhammad in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. Why push together peoples who, as the last 55 years have shown, cannot live easily together? As Thilo Sarrazin has showed, the experiment of Muslim immigration has failed; continuing it will increase tensions.

You stress that Islamism, not Islam, is the threat. How do you define Islamism?

Islamism is a specific understanding of Islam that holds if Muslims wish to return to the riches and power of 1,000 years ago, they must apply the Islamic law in its entirety. Islamists argue among themselves how to do so: the modern-oriented Gülen movement in Turkey represents one extreme and ISIS, which wants to return to the seventh century, represents the other. Some Islamists use violence, others work through the political system. In this way, they resemble communists, with their major tactical differences but similar goals.

Fethullah Gülen (top) and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi are polar opposites in terms of modernity and violence.

You describe “the Islamist threat” as “arguably the most consequential issue of our time” facing the West. Islamist terror can certainly do damage but how can Islamists threaten the West as a whole, given the West’s dominant economic and military power?

I see Islamism as the third great totalitarian threat after communism and fascism, a seductive and powerful body of ideas that threatens our way of life. And just as we had to fight against the fascism and communism, we now must fight Islamism.

When you say that the West needs to fight Islamism, what kind of fight are you thinking of – cultural, political, or military?

Fighting violence is the easy part because murderous jihadi attacks are frightening and the West has police departments, intelligence agencies and armed forces competent to deal with this problem. Further, this low-level violence destroys property and kills people but cannot shift civilizations. Lawful Islamists, in contrast, by working within the system, in the political, educational, philanthropic, or media arenas, have a potentially profound influence. While I’d rather encounter a lawful Islamist rather than a violent jihadi on the street, only non-violent tactics change the face of society; and relatively few Westerners even notice what’s happening.

How do you view Europe’s response to Islamism?

Compared to 20 years ago, a great leap in awareness has occurred – but not enough yet to make a difference in policy. Virtually everywhere in Europe, political parties exist that make immigration and Islamism a priority, but almost none of them has been in power because these groups tend to be staffed by amateurs, contain too many extremists, and are ostracized. As a result, they cannot reach 51 percent.

Like the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany, the only party that consistently opposes Muslim immigration?

Precisely. The AfD is an excellent example of amateurs mixed with extremists trying to figure out who they are – liberals, Neo-Nazis, or something in between? As long as they leave this question open, their electoral potential is limited, and they are dangerous. But I expect that eventually the AfD will mature, and I think and hope it will move toward the mainstream for there clearly exists a need for such a party in Germany. But every year that goes by, the danger grows.

Will the anti-immigration remain excluded from power?

No, I expect this will change, that these parties will start to gain power within a decade.

The AfD stands below 10 percent in the polls while Merkel’s CDU gets almost 40 percent. Does this signal that Germans are not that unhappy with Merkel’s immigration policies?

I am surprised by and cannot explain the lack of a CDU challenge to Merkel.

Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, one of the most prominent politicians against Muslim immigration, has been put on trial for hate speech. Your organization helped cover his legal costs; why?

We at the Middle East Forum believe in the freedom publicly to state opinions on matters concerning Islam and Islamism, whether or not we happen to agree with that opinion. Toward this end, our Legal Project often helps defendants pay legal costs, including Wilders‘ a few years ago. I disagree with his views on who the enemy is (he says Islam, I say Islamism) but that is secondary; I will help him, as any Westerner, assert the right to talk about Islam without getting hauled into court.

Geert Wilders (center, facing away) at one of his trials for speaking about Islam.

Is Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban” a useful way to keep Islamists out of the United States?

The Trump administration’s ban of the citizens of six majority-Muslim countries was well-intentioned but poorly executed. One should not look at a person’s passport but at his ideas. Some Canadians are our enemies and some Iranians are our friends. Of course, ideas are more elusive than nationality. But banning certain nationalities does not offer protection; that requires a serious effort to know each person entering the country.

The city of Hamburg in 2012 signed an accord, a “Staatsvertrag” with Muslim groups such as Ditib, Schura, and VIKZ to regulate Islamic classes and holidays. Members of those organization have been accused of Islamism and antisemitism, yet the authorities cannot find clean Muslim organization. Your comment?

Islamists are much better funded and organized than non-Islamist Muslims, in part because they receive help from Middle Eastern states such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey. This permits them routinely to dominate Muslim life in the West, appearing on television, engaging in interreligious dialogue, teaching in classrooms, and (as in this case) partnering with governments.

You want Western governments to empower moderate Muslims but in Germany, only a few Muslims have showed up to protest Islamism, so who and where are the moderates?

Calls for mass Muslim support against Islamism always fail in the West. (Muslim-majority countries are another matter.) In part this results from a lack of funding and organization, in part to intimidation: it takes an awful lot of courage to be a Muslim and to come out publicly against Islamism. The new liberal Ibn Ruschd-Goethe mosque in Berlin is a good example: its founder, Seyran Ateş, has received death threats.

What should Western governments do?

Strongly support non-Islamist Muslims – and especially anti-Islamist Muslims. Islamists like Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claim there is only one kind of Islam, namely theirs. No: there are many versions of Islam and non-Muslims should reject, and certainly not enable, Islamist hegemony. Rather, brave anti-Islamists like Ateş should get official recognition and other forms of support.

Asked in 2015 to address the German fear of Islamization, Chancellor Merkel suggested that instead of fearing Islam, Christian Germans should learn more about their own religious roots and go to church more often. Your response?

Merkel’s infuriating reply is typical of the elites in western (not eastern) Europe who remain defiantly unaware of the problems that Muslim immigration creates. The reasons are several-fold: guilty feelings, living in a bubble, looking for votes, political correctness, and fear of being called “Islamophobic.”

Why guilty feelings?

The cover of Pascal Bruckner’s “The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism.”

Because, as French novelist and essayist Pascal Bruckner explained in his 2006 book, La tyrannie de la pénitence, many Europeans feel deep personal remorse about the trio of imperialism, fascism, and racism, even when they themselves are not implicated in those evils. For some Europeans, white skin itself signals guilt. Accordingly, they feel compelled to show unlimited tolerance and goodwill to non-Westerners. The fact that non-Western peoples also sin does not register – which implies a certain arrogance, even racism: only white sins count.This sense of guilt is the more striking considering Europe’s great advances. I remember visiting Finland in 1987 and thinking as I walked its streets: “This prosperity, freedom, rule of law, and democracy is what humanity has always worked toward and now it’s been achieved.” How strange that a Europe which attained such success today drowns in guilt, has too few children, and chooses not to protect itself from a rival civilization. As an historian, I say: Such weakness has no precedent.

The above text may be reposted, forwarded, or translated so long as it is presented as an integral whole with complete information about its author, date, place of publication, as well as the original URL.

Barna Update | What Parents Look for in Christian Schools

What are the school-choice priorities for parents, and what role does faith play in those decisions? In partnership with the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), Barna asked parents of current and prospective Christian school students about their schooling decisions.

Read more

August 23, 2017: Verse of the day


9 A further participle, “having been made perfect,” leads into a second main clause, “he became …,” which balances that of v. 8; his “learning [of] obedience” was thus not an end in itself but the means by which he was able to fulfill perfectly his saving mission. For “made perfect,” see above on 2:10 and the introduction, p. 32; the reference is not to attaining moral perfection but to being perfectly equipped to fulfill his saving mission. The verb teleioō, “make perfect” (GK 5457), has special resonance in this context as teleioō cheiras, “to perfect (or fill) the hands,” is often used in the LXX for consecration to priestly service (e.g., Ex 29:9, 29, 33, 35; NIV, “ordain”). Peterson, 103, sums up a lengthy discussion (96–103) by endorsing the verdict of O. Michel that the “perfecting” of Christ here involves “his proving in temptation, his fulfillment of the priestly requirements and his exaltation as Redeemer of the heavenly world.”

And just as Christ “learned obedience,” so those who are to benefit from his saving work must also “obey” him. For them, he is the “source” (lit., “cause,” the one responsible for) of salvation (cf. 2:10, “pioneer of their salvation”). Jesus in Gethsemane could not bypass physical death, and neither can we; but this is “eternal” salvation on a different level altogether from merely escaping death. Just how Jesus’ obedience to a mission of suffering would bring about salvation for others is not yet spelled out, but the theme will be richly developed in chs. 9–10, and already there is a strong pointer in the fact that the issue under discussion here is priesthood, with its connotations of sacrifice. We will also read there why the solution that Jesus has provided for sin is not temporary, like the sacrifices of the OT priests, but “eternal,” since it is secured by the one sacrifice offered once for all by the eternal Son.

10 A further participial clause (“having been designated …” [NIV, “and was designated …”] could be understood wrongly to speak of a subsequent designation rather than the prior calling the participle denotes) rounds off the sentence and grounds it again in the text from Psalm 110 that is the legitimation for Christ’s priestly office. The reason it was appropriate for Jesus to undergo all this human suffering was because he had a role to play in fulfillment of the divine calling to be a high priest in the order of Melchizedek. Thus, the time is now ripe for our author to explain what this special order of priesthood is all about—but that explanation must first be postponed while the author’s frustration with his readers finds expression in a remarkable digression.[1]

An effective priesthood (5:9–10)

He was willing to suffer, and through the Gethsemane experience and what followed he demonstrated the greatest and most costly obedience. But what is meant by the writer’s assertion that being made perfect he became the source of our salvation? It certainly does not mean that before Gethsemane and the cross he was imperfect, any more than the preceding verse meant that prior to such experience he was disobedient. The word ‘perfect’ here obviously does not refer to his moral perfection. It repeats the idea found earlier (2:10) that by his life, death and exaltation Christ became ‘fully qualified’ as our saviour.

This epistle has already noted the six essential qualifications required of God’s Son in order for him to become man’s priest. He had to be appointed by God, identified with men and sensitive to human need, victorious over sin, obedient to the divine purpose and willing to die to effect man’s deliverance. His final qualification was that of his victorious exaltation to the right hand of God when he was ‘crowned with glory and honour’ (2:9). This is what our writer means when he says that ‘once perfected’ (neb) he became the author of eternal salvation. The obedient Son saves those who will respond to his redeeming message with obedient hearts and minds. Completely qualified, he is designated, clearly ‘named by God’ (neb), to all mankind as the high priest of our completely adequate and eternally relevant salvation.

Before we leave this passage with its moving description of Christ’s total submission, we need a further reminder that obedience was not only necessary for him; it is expected also of us. Salvation is for those who obey him. It is important for us to see that when Jesus surrendered himself entirely to God’s will, he obeyed not only in order to honour God but also to help us to see what obedience is all about. In his exposition of this passage, Calvin says: ‘He did this for our benefit, to give us the instance and the pattern of His own submission … If we want the obedience of Christ to be of advantage to us, we must copy it.’

These verses are particularly important at a time when some Christians may find themselves tempted to bypass the constant discipline Christ demands in favour of the ‘instant’ or ‘immediate’ holiness offered by some exponents of the Christian life. This is the ‘instant’ age; if a thing is to be had, it must be had now. The idea goes something like this: The promises are there, claim them at this very moment and the prize is yours, whether it is instant sanctification, instant power, or instant healing. We live in a impatient society and the idea of humble submission, patient waiting and steady perseverance does not make a ready appeal. But the way of Christ was the way of persistent obedience. All his life was given to it. He strongly resisted the temptation to have it effected in a spectacular and supernatural moment. He resolutely pursued the will and purpose of God. He knew that it could not be achieved in a magical minute.

Moreover, he made it clear to his followers that his way was to be their way. There was no other. The only possible route to holiness of life was by way of the cross. When the disciples expressed their horror about his cross, he told them about theirs. ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’ The act of taking up the cross may well occur initially and decisively at a precise moment of time. In that sense there is a crisis. But following after Christ and denying oneself is a daily, painful, costly reality that cannot be achieved by a sudden crisis, but only by a lifetime of constantly renewed dedication and obedient responsiveness to all that God requires of his people and equips them to do.[2]

Sacrificing for Men

And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation.” (5:9)

In His suffering and death, Jesus fulfilled the third requirement for high priest. He offered the sacrifice of Himself and thereby became the perfect High Priest and the source of eternal salvation. Jesus went through everything He had to go through, and accomplished all He needed to, so He could be such a perfect High Priest. He was not, of course, made perfect in the sense of having His nature improved. He was eternally perfect in righteousness, holiness, wisdom, knowledge, truth, power, and in every other virtue and capability. Neither His nature nor His person changed. He became perfect in the sense that He completed His qualification course for becoming the eternal High Priest.

In offering His sacrifice, however, Jesus differed in two very important ways from other high priests. First, He did not have to make a sacrifice for Himself before He could offer it for others. Second, His sacrifice was once-and-for-all. It did not have to be repeated every day, or even every year or every century.

By His death, Jesus opened the way of eternal salvation. All the priests of all time could not provide eternal salvation. They could only provide momentary forgiveness. But by one act, one offering, one sacrifice, Jesus Christ perfected forever those who are His. The perfect High Priest makes perfect those who accept His perfect sacrifice, those who obey Him.

The obedience mentioned here of those who obey Him is not that regarding commandments, rules, and regulations. It is not obedience to the law. It is “the obedience of faith” (Rom. 1:5). God wants us to obey Him by believing in Christ. True obedience, just as true works, is first of all true believing. “This is the work of God,” Jesus said, “that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29). Trust in Jesus Christ is the work of faith and the obedience of faith.

Sadly and tragically, all people do not believe. And whoever does not believe does not truly obey, no matter how moral, well-meaning, religious, and sincere. In First and Second Thessalonians, Paul speaks of the two responses to the gospel—the only two possible responses. In the second letter he tells of God’s retribution on those who “do not know God” and who “do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (1:8). In the first letter, by contrast, he praises the missionary work of the faithful Thessalonian Christians in Macedonia and Achaia (1:8). Their obedience in the faith brought others to obedience to the faith—and to the gift of eternal salvation.[3]

5:10 / As “the source of eternal salvation” Jesus has been declared high priest by God. The divine Son and yet fully human Jesus possesses the qualifications needed to be high priest: divine appointment (especially through Ps. 110:4) and ability to empathize with those whom he represents to God. He is thus a member of a unique priesthood—of the order of Melchizedek. At this point, however, the argument is interrupted by a long parenthetical warning, and is not resumed until 7:1.[4]

5:9. The fact that Jesus learned obedience perfected him. Jesus was perfect in that he possessed every qualification to be our High Priest. He also was perfect in that God glorified him with exaltation to his right hand.

Made perfect (teleiotheis) describes perfection in the sense of completeness or fulfillment. Jesus was obedient to God’s will in that he endured suffering and death. In doing this Jesus brought God’s redemptive purposes to their fulfillment or completion. By enduring suffering Jesus attained the goal the Father had for him. This enabled him to become a perfectly equipped high priest.

To say that Jesus was perfect does not suggest that he was imperfect before he suffered. During his human life Jesus’ perfection endured severe testing. None of this testing blackened a single feature of his perfection. Jesus’ perfection was the completion of someone who had faced trials, endured them, and learned to trust God through them. Jesus’ perfection developed in an atmosphere in which he had his obedience tested and strengthened by the trials he faced.

After passing victoriously through suffering, Jesus became the source of eternal salvation. This phrase carries a meaning similar to author of their salvation in 2:10. Jesus’ salvation is eternal because Christ accomplished salvation through a sacrifice which was thorough, effective, permanently valid, and never to be repeated or superseded.

Jesus’ salvation applies only to those who obey him. The practice of obedience does not mean that only the morally perfect receive salvation. We obey the Lord when we accept his provisions for our salvation. Obedience is our acceptance of God’s will. This response to salvation allows the privilege to be available to rich and poor, important and unimportant, Jews and Gentiles, and learned and uneducated. God’s gift of salvation is open to all. The one who learned to obey made salvation available to all who obey.

5:10. This section closes with the announcement that God had designated Jesus to be a high priest in a new order, the order of Melchizedek. This statement added additional confirmation to the emphasis that Jesus served in this position through a divine appointment.

Several features of this order differed from the order of Aaron. First, the order of Melchizedek had no hereditary succession. This feature stood in contrast to the Aaronic order, which saw wave after wave of priests succeeding one another.

Second, it was a unique order because only Christ belonged to it. It was an order which was fit for Christ because it placed him in an entirely different order from that of Aaron.

We might expect the writer of Hebrews to plunge immediately into a discussion of the theme of Melchizedek, but instead he paused to consider some problems among his readers. Their spiritual immaturity was a serious concern to him, and he spent the final four verses of this chapter and most of the following chapter warning them of the dangers of their present attitude. When he finished this warning, he returned to explain more about the significance of Melchizedek in chapter 7.[5]

8. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9. and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10. and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Verses 8–10 are closely connected with the preceding verse. Indeed, in the original Greek the main verb in verses 7 and 8 is “he learned.” That is where the emphasis falls in this passage. Therefore, numerous translations end verse 7 not with a period, but with a comma. This is correct, for the two verses are closely related and form a unit. Incidentally, the stress on the main verb, “he learned,” gives added support to the reading because of his reverent submission.

Consider these questions.

  • Would Jesus have to learn obedience? The author introduces this subject by mentioning the divinity of Jesus first and stating this fact concessively: “although Jesus was the Son of God.” He does not say that because Jesus was divine he had to learn obedience. Jesus did not have to learn anything concerning obedience, for his will was the same as God’s will. However, in his humanity Jesus had to show full obedience; he had to become “obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:8). As one version has it: “son though he was, he learned obedience in the school of suffering.”
  • What was the obedience Jesus had to learn? Translations, for reasons of style and diction, speak of obedience. In the original Greek, however, a definite article precedes the noun so that it reads “the obedience”; that is, the well-known obedience expected from the Lord.

When we interpret this verse we are not to think in terms of contrasts. It is true that sinful man needs to correct his ways by listening to God’s Word and turning from disobedience to obedience. But Christ, the sinless One, did not learn by unlearning. Rather, through his active and passive obedience, Christ provides eternal life for the sinner and a discharge of man’s debt of sin. Says Paul in Romans 5:19, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”

  • How was Jesus made perfect? The question is legitimate, for Jesus, as the Son of God, is perfect from eternity. But in his humanity, “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). We see his development in the school of obedience. As the burden becomes more taxing for Jesus, so his willingness to assume the task his Father has given him increases.

In the Garden of Gethsemane and on Calvary’s cross, he endured the ultimate tests. Jesus was made perfect through suffering. His perfection “became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” The author of Hebrews in effect repeats the thought he expressed in Hebrews 2:10—Jesus, made perfect through suffering, leads many sons to glory. Perfection, therefore, must be seen as a completion of the task Jesus had to perform.

  • What does the writer mean by “the source of eternal salvation”? The writer of Hebrews calls Jesus the “author” of salvation (Heb. 2:10) and the “source” of salvation. These two expressions are synonymous. Jesus is the captain, the chief, the originator, and the cause.

When the author uses the word source, he does not open a discussion on the primary cause of salvation; God the Father commissioned his Son to effectuate salvation. Instead the writer uses the term source in the context of his discussion about the high priesthood of Christ. By accomplishing his redemptive work, especially in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, Jesus is the source of eternal salvation (Isa. 45:17). Only those people who obey him will share in the salvation Jesus provides. F. F. Bruce describes the concept of obedience adequately when he writes, “The salvation which Jesus has procured, is granted ‘unto all them that obey him!’ There is something appropriate in the fact that the salvation which was procured by the obedience of the Redeemer should be made available to the obedience of the redeemed.”

  • How does the author of Hebrews conclude his discussion about the priesthood of Christ? He states that God designated Jesus to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek. That is significant, because this section about the high priesthood of Christ, beginning with Hebrews 4:14, is presented in terms of Aaron’s priesthood. The section continues and concludes with a clear reference to the priesthood of Melchizedek.

Note the following observations.

Not the writer of Hebrews but God designates Christ as high priest in the order of Melchizedek (Ps. 110:4). The writer of Hebrews searches the Old Testament and shows that God addresses his Son as high priest.

The topic of the high priesthood of Christ is important to the author of Hebrews. He introduces the subject in Hebrews 2:17; after a discussion about Israel’s disobedience in the desert and the meaning of rest the author returns to the subject in Hebrews 4:14–5:10; and the theme eventually is fully treated in Hebrews 7.

We also note that Jesus fulfilled the priestly duties of Aaron when he, in his submission and suffering, brought the task God had given him to completion. Thus Jesus became “the source of salvation for all who obey him.” This could never be said of Aaron or any of the high priests who succeeded him.

The subject of Christ’s high priesthood in the order of Melchizedek is deep. In fact, the writer of Hebrews calls it “hard to explain” (Heb. 5:11), although after a pastoral word to his readers he does explain it fully.[6]

5:9 And having been perfected. This cannot refer to His personal character because the Lord Jesus was absolutely perfect. His words, His works, and His ways were absolutely flawless. In what sense then was He perfected? The answer is in His office as our Savior. He could never have become our perfect Savior if He had remained in heaven. But through His incarnation, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, He completed the work that was necessary to save us from our sins, and now He has the acquired glory of being the perfect Savior of the world.

Having returned to heaven, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. He is the Source of salvation for all, but only those who obey Him are saved.

Here salvation is conditional on obeying Him. In many other passages salvation is conditional on faith. How do we reconcile this seeming contradiction? First of all, it is the obedience of faith (Rom. 1:5; 16:25–27): “the obedience which God requires is faith in His word.” But it is also true that saving faith is the kind that results in obedience. It is impossible to believe, in the true NT sense, without obeying.

5:10 Having gloriously accomplished the fundamental work of priesthood, the Lord Jesus was addressed by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek.”

It should be mentioned here that though Christ’s priesthood is of the Melchizedekan order, yet His priestly functions are similar to those carried on by the Aaronic priests. In fact, the ministry of the Jewish priests was a foreshadow or picture of the work that Christ would accomplish.[7]

9–10 Learning obedience from what he suffered, Jesus was made perfect (‘perfected’) i.e. ‘qualified’ or ‘made completely adequate’ as the saviour of his people (cf. 2:10). More specifically, he was perfected as the source of eternal salvation. Every experience of testing prepared him for a final act of obedience to the Father in his sacrificial death (cf. 10:5–10). By this means he achieved a salvation from sin, death and the devil, enabling those who trust in him to share with him in the life of the world to come. The idea that Christ establishes a pattern of obedience for others to follow is suggested by the words for all who obey him. However, this expression does not indicate that salvation is to be earned by obedience. Salvation is God’s gift to us in Christ, but those who look to him as the unique source of eternal salvation will want to express their faith in ongoing obedience as he did (cf. 12:1–4). Faith in Christ commits us to share in his struggle against sin.[8]

[1] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 77). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Brown, R. (1988). The message of Hebrews: Christ above all (pp. 101–102). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[3] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 125–126). Chicago: Moody Press.

[4] Hagner, D. A. (2011). Hebrews (p. 82). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Lea, T. D. (1999). Hebrews, James (Vol. 10, pp. 94–95). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, pp. 138–140). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[7] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 2171–2172). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[8] Peterson, D. G. (1994). Hebrews. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1333). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.