Daily Archives: March 26, 2018

March 26: Grace and Favor

Numbers 30:1–16; 1 Corinthians 12:12–13:13; Psalm 25:1–22

Usually when we seek someone’s goodwill, we emphasize our own winning traits or accomplishments. Our supervisor, significant other, or family members are barraged with a list of our actions in an attempt to get the other to respond in kind. Often this results in a tug-of-war mentality, basing all we deserve on what we give.

But our relationship with God doesn’t follow these rules. God’s mercy isn’t based on what we’ve done—it’s based entirely on His own goodness. The psalmist, realizing this, turns all of his attention to God’s mercy in Psa 25: “Remember your compassion, O Yahweh, and your acts of loyal love, because they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions. According to your loyal love, remember me if you will, for the sake of your goodness, O Yahweh” (Psa 25:6–7).

In this individual lament, the psalmist reaches out to Yahweh with a cry for forgiveness and guidance. Instead of justifying his actions to obtain Yahweh’s favor, the psalmist turns the focus to God’s works and His faithfulness in the past. What he deserves isn’t what he gets—something he is altogether thankful for.

God’s abundant graciousness extends far: from heaven down to earth, where Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sin. We can’t be thankful enough for that great act of mercy. It’s a reason for humility and thankfulness, as the psalmist expresses, and an act of faithfulness to us that we can never return. His mercy should completely transform our concept of what we deserve; it should alter us so much that we treat those around us not with expectations of who they should be for us, but with grace and love, as God treated us.

How are you extending God’s grace to the people around you?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]

[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

March 26 Dealing with Sin

“And forgive us our debts” (Matt. 6:12).


Believers confess their sins; unbelievers deny theirs.

Christians struggle with sin. That surely comes as no surprise to you. As you mature in Christ, the frequency of your sinning decreases, but your sensitivity to it increases. That doesn’t mean you are more easily tempted, but that you are more aware of the subtleties of sin and how it dishonors God.

Some people think you should never confess your sins or seek forgiveness, but the Lord instructed us to do so when He told us to pray, “And forgive us our debts” (Matt. 6:12). That’s the believer’s prayer for the Father’s forgiveness.

John said, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:8–10). That passage doesn’t tell us how to get saved, as many have taught. It tells us how to distinguish believers from unbelievers: believers confess their sins; unbelievers don’t.

The phrase “forgive us” in Matthew 6:12 implies the need for forgiveness. “Debts” translates a Greek word that was used to speak of a moral or monetary debt. Here it refers to sins. When you sin, you owe to God a consequence or a debt because you have violated His holiness.

When you sin as a believer, you don’t lose your salvation, but you will face God’s chastening if you don’t repent. Hebrews 12 says, “Those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives . … He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness” (vv. 6, 10).

If you are harboring sin, confess it now, and allow God to cleanse you and use you today for His glory.


Suggestions for Prayer:  Write down why God’s forgiveness is important to you, then express those thoughts to Him in praise.

For Further Study: Read Psalm 38. ✧ What physical and emotional ailments did David experience as a result of his sin? ✧ What was his attitude toward God as he confessed his sin?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 98). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.


Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord.

2 Corinthians 6:17

I dare to say that Christians who have genuinely come to love and trust Jesus Christ have also renounced this world and have chosen a new model after which to pattern their lives.

Further, we should say that this is the aspect of the Christian life that most people do not like. They want comfort. They want blessing. They want peace. But they recoil from this radical, revolutionary break with the world.

To follow Christ in this rough and thoroughgoing way is too much for them!

Actually, the true Christian dissents from the world because he knows that it cannot make good on its promises. As Christ’s believing disciple, he is not left without a “norm” to which he seeks to be adjusted. The Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the norm, the ideally perfect model, and the worshiping soul yearns to be like Him. Indeed, the whole drive behind the Christian life is the longing to be conformed to the image of Christ!

Dear Lord, it is difficult to be a future citizen of heaven yet live and function in this present world. Help me live each day in a manner worthy of Jesus Christ (see Philippians 1:27).[1]

[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

March 26, 2018 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)


President Donald Trump ordered 60 Russian diplomats the U.S. considers spies to leave the country in response to the nerve-agent poisoning of a former Russian spy in the U.K. and closed Russia’s consulate in Seattle, senior administration officials said Monday as European allies moved to take similar measures.

At least 10 European countries will take coordinated action on Monday in response to Russia’s alleged chemical attack in the U.K. this month, according to two people with knowledge of the decision. Announcements are scheduled for 3 p.m. as a group of the European Union’s 28 states rallies behind a fellow member following the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the city of Salisbury.

The Trump administration is “actively” involved in talks with China to resolve trade tensions, and the U.S. has no intention of starting a trade war, a senior White House adviser said.

Japanese Prime Minister Abe saw support slide in two more public opinion surveys Monday, as he sought to deflect demands that his wife answer public questions about a land-sale scandal.

Saudi Arabia said it intercepted seven ballistic missiles fired at Riyadh and other cities by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, the biggest such barrage since the kingdom went to war against them in March 2015.

Israel approved a plan to invest 1 billion shekels ($275 million) to digitize the personal health records of its nearly 9 million citizens to help develop new drugs.

Wall Street’s average bonus jumped 17 percent in 2017 to $184,220, the highest since 2006, according to estimates by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

Remington Outdoor Co., the 200-year-old maker of rifles, handguns and bullets controlled by Cerberus Capital Management, filed for bankruptcy, after the election of a “true friend” to the White House ironically wound up stifling sales. The chapter 11 filing in Delaware bankruptcy court Sunday comes with a revised plan to eliminate $620 million in debt, pay most creditors in full, and hand over most of the company to a group of lenders.

AP Top Stories

Two Russian diplomats must leave Italy within a week in response to the nerve agent attack against a former Russian spy in southern England, the Italian foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Mount Etna, Europe’s largest and most active volcano, is slowly sliding towards the Mediterranean Sea, scientists have observed. The entire 11,000ft stratovolcano, located on the east coast of the Italian island of Sicily, is currently moving downslope at an average rate of 14 mm per year – or 1.4 meters over 100 years.

Scores of children are feared to be among at least 64 people killed in a fire that swept through a busy Russian shopping center. As many as 41 children could be among the victims of the blaze at the Winter Cherry shopping Center, in the Siberian city of Kemerovo, on Sunday.

President Donald Trump has issued an order supporting his push to ban most transgender troops from serving in the U.S. military except under “limited circumstances.” But the decision is expected to be the subject of an ongoing legal fight in the months ahead.

Almost a month after a deadly earthquake, Papua New Guinea is struggling to get aid to desperate survivors, having allocated just a fraction of its relief funds, while a rent dispute left disaster officials briefly locked out of their offices.

In his Palm Sunday address, Pope Francis encouraged youth to “shout” and not allow older generations to silence them after student-led gun control rallies were held across the country.

Investigators are working around the clock as they struggle to determine why a man with no apparent ties to terrorism drove a flaming minivan full of propane tanks and gasoline cans through the main gate of a major Northern California Air Force Base this week.

Defense News reported that the Department of Defense has said that it will spend $48.5 million during the next five years to develop the capability for a low-yield warhead to be launched from America’s existing submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

The schoolgirls kidnapped by the Boko Haram jihadist group in Dapchi, northeastern Nigeria, were reunited with their families on Sunday after spending nearly five weeks in captivity. The 105 girls, covered head to toe in burkas, arrived aboard five buses in the town of Dapchi, in Yobe state, where they were greeted by their parents at the boarding school from where they were snatched on February 19.

China’s air force and navy have announced drills in the South China Sea to help develop preparedness for war, military leaders said, after the British defense secretary indicated the UK would sail a warship through the disputed region.

Hundreds of Syrian rebels and civilians quit the penultimate opposition-held pocket of Eastern Ghouta on Saturday, bringing the government ever closer to sealing its victory over the battered enclave.


The first scheduled non-stop flight between Australia and the UK has touched down in London’s Heathrow Airport. Qantas Flight QF9 completed its 9,009-mile journey from Perth in just over 17 hours.

Iran has railed against US sanctions imposed on 10 citizens and a tech firm accused of cyber-attacks on at least 320 universities worldwide, along with US firms and government agencies.


Sundaes will never be the same, say Christian activists troubled by the invasion of the U.S. market by a Canadian ice-cream chain called “Sweet Jesus” that seems hell-bent on a marketing plan centered around soft-serve blasphemy.

School officials in San Diego are claiming they are immune to a lawsuit over their decision to allow a Muslim Brotherhood front group to gain “unprecedented power and influence” to the point of editing what is taught in classrooms.

The Briefing — Monday, March 26, 2018

1) March for Our Lives: Just how significant is a symbolic march?

New York Times (Michael D. Shear and Emily Baumgaertner) –
Children vs. Guns Around the World And in Washington

New York Times (Alan Blinder, Jess Bidgood, and Vivian Wang) –
In Gun Control Marches, Students Led but Adults Provided Key Resources

2) What generational gaps tell us about the future shape of politics

Washington Post (Dana Milbank) –
The Kids Have Come to Save Us

3) Congress passes omnibus spending bill and continues to fund Planned Parenthood


4) The military’s transgender revolution is put on hold

Washington Post (Dan Lamothe) –
Trump Issues Order Supporting Ban on Many Transgender Troops, Defers to Pentagon on New Restrictions

News – 3/26/2018

Andrew McCabe admits he misled investigators: ‘I was confused and distracted’
“Some of my answers were not fully accurate,” McCabe confessed in a Washington Post op-ed. “At worst, I was not clear in my responses, and because of what was going on around me, may well have been confused and distracted — and for that I take full responsibility.

On Saturday night, something happened at the edge of space over Alaska. More than 200 km above Anchorage, a hot ribbon of ionized gas sliced through Earth’s magnetosphere, creating a luminous arc that rivaled the Moon in brightness.

‘Blasphemous’ ice-cream chain coming to U.S.
Whole shocking shtick of ‘Sweet Jesus’ is mocking Christianity…..there’ something just downright creepy about the Mad Magazine-style imagery of children in the company’s ads. Some of the children have bruises and appear to be abused. Some say the ads sexualize children and have accused the company of pandering to pedophiles.

China’s Other Nuclear Option…
In addition to the nuclear option of using its portfolio of U.S. Treasury securities to retaliate against trade tariffs, we believe the Chinese government could target the U.S. stock market. We wrote last week how the U.S. is in a weaker negotiating position as the result of increased market volatility.

Rapper Killer Mike to ‘Progressive’ Gun Grabbers: ‘You’re not Woke,’ and ‘You’re Going to Progress Us into Slavery’
In an interview with NRATV’s Colion Noir, Killer Mike explained how the left equates gun control with progress and observed, “[They are] going to progress us into slavery.” In the lead-up to the March 14 school walk out for gun control, Killer Mike said he told his kids, “I love you, but if you walk out that school walk out my house.” “You can’t continue to be the lackey,” the Atlanta-based rapper and business owner said. “You’re a lackey of the progressive movement because you have never disagreed with the people who tell you what to do.” “Celebrities often don’t know what to do. They’re told what to do,” Killer Mike said, “In real life, the cops don’t come on time.

World War 3: Turkey’s Erdogan calls for ‘ARMY of Islam’ to ATTACK Israel on all sides
Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have announced they want to create an “army of Islam” to wage war against Israel, it has been revealed. It called for the 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to form a joint army to simultaneously attack Israel from all sides. The article said: “If the member states of the OIC unite militarily, they will form the world’s largest and most comprehensive army.

Third Temple Alert: Police Authorize Passover Sacrifice Next to Temple Mount
Religious Jewish factions say they are moving ever closer to the realization of the Third Temple in Jerusalem. The latest evidence of this is police authorization, granted on Sunday, for a Passover sacrificial ceremony to be held just tens of meters from where the Second Temple once stood. Religious groups have been holding public Passover sacrifices, in accordance with the biblical outline, for years. But never before have they been permitted to conduct the ceremony so close to the Temple Mount…

Exclusive: Royal Burial in Ancient Canaan May Shed New Light on Biblical City
The extraordinary discovery of a magnificent and untouched 3,600-year-old burial chamber in the ancient Canaanite city-state of Megiddo has stunned archaeologists, not only for the array of wealth found in the tomb, but also for the potential insight it may provide into the royal dynasty that ruled this powerful center before its conquest by Egypt in the early 15th century B.C.

Major earthquake 7 mag, 151 km E of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea
A major earthquake with magnitude 7 (ml/mb) was reported 151 km E of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea (94 miles) on Monday. The earthquake occurred at a depth of 10 km (6 miles) below the earth’s surface. The temblor was detected at 19:51:04 / 7:51 pm (local time epicenter). Date and time of earthquake in UTC/GMT: 26/03/18 / 2018-03-26 09:51:04 / March 26, 2018 @ 9:51 am. Unique identifier: at00p66zd3. Ids that are associated to the event: pt18085000, at00p66zd3. Exact location of earthquake, 151.5° East, -5.7° South, depth 10 km. A tsunami warning has been issued near Kimbe in Papua New Guinea (Does not indicate if a tsunami actually did or will exist).

Magnitude 6.6 earthquake rattles Papua New Guinea
A magnitude 6.6 earthquake has rattled the Pacific island nation of Papua New Guinea, a month after a deadly quake there killed more than 100 people. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries from Monday’s quake, which the U.S. Geological Survey said was centered in a remote area of East New Britain province.

Bolton updated Israel to avert hostile UN moves
He told Yishai Shnerb on Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) this morning that whenever the UN or certain elements in the US administration formulated a resolution against Israel, John Bolton would update him so that the Prime Minister would phone the President directly to quash the threat.

‘Passover has special meaning this year thanks to Trump’
The United States Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, released a special video message ahead of the Passover holiday which begins Friday evening, wishing Israelis a happy holiday and celebrating the upcoming transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Court allows prayer at Temple Mount gates
Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Judge Shmuel Herbst rejected a police request to distance three 14-year-old Jewish girls from the Temple Mount area who prayed near the Temple Mount gates. In his decision, Justice Herbst ruled that the right of young Jewish women to pray at the Temple Mount gates was no less than the right of the Arabs and that police should allow the young women’s prayers.

‘Trump won’t be president forever; now is the time to build’
Kalmanovich, who met with Bolton a month ago, said that “in stark contrast to Obama Administration national security advisors and their predecessors in previous administrations, John Bolton understands very well that the Palestinian Authority is not a true partner in the fight against terror.”

Report: Europe’s Youth Abandoning Christianity
A new report, Europe’s Young Adults and Religion, reveals that European youth (ages 16-29) have abandoned the Christianity of their ancestors in large numbers, and now many young people, in some countries more than 50%, do not identify with any religion at all. In addition, large majorities of young Europeans say they never pray.

‘Teaching Whites a Lesson’: Every Five Days a White Farmer Is Killed in South Africa by Blacks
South African farming activists are outraged at the lack of police action following a series of brutal attacks on white farmers.

Trudeau Government Tells Department To Avoid Non-Gender Inclusive Language Like ‘Mother’
The Trudeau government is accelerating its war on non-gender inclusive language by insisting a major government department avoid calling people “Mr.” or “Mrs.”

UN: Women Should All Be Able To Abort
The United Nations (UN) held its annual Commission on the Status of Women in New York and concluded Friday no woman should be prevented from accessing reproductive healthcare and abortion services.

Study reveals surprising cure for workplace stress
Workers in your office stressed? A boss who’s narcissistic or a megalomaniac? Abuses just too much to tolerate?  Maybe a voodoo doll can help.

‘Blasphemous’ ice-cream chain coming to U.S.
Sundaes will never be the same, say Christian activists troubled by the invasion of the U.S. market by a Canadian ice-cream chain called “Sweet Jesus” that seems hell-bent on a marketing plan centered around soft-serve blasphemy.

Lights go dark for Earth Hour to focus on climate change
…It lasts for just an hour and its power is purely symbolic. But in countries around the world, at 8:30 p.m. local time, people were switching off the lights Saturday for Earth Hour, a global call for international unity on the importance of climate change.

Pills filled with powdered human baby flesh found by customs officials
South Korea has seized thousands of smuggled drug capsules filled with powdered flesh from dead babies, which some people believe can cure disease.

Navy applauded for decision on atheist ‘chaplain’
Two members of Congress are applauding the U.S. Navy for rejecting an atheist’s application to become a chaplain.

The Budget-Busting $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill That Was Just Passed By Congress Is A Betrayal Of The American People

I don’t know if I even have the words to express how disgusted I am with the omnibus spending bill that was just rushed through Congress.  Members of the House of Representatives were given less than 24 hours to read this 2,232 page monstrosity of a bill before they were expected to vote on it, and so obviously nobody was able to read the entire thing before the vote was held.  This is the kind of thing that Democrats were greatly criticized for in the past, but now it is Republicans that are doing it.  The Republican Party is supposed to stand for limited government, and this is yet another example that shows how badly broken the system in Washington has become. (Read More…)

Mid-Day Snapshot

Mar. 26, 2018

Political Pawns Ignorantly March Against Gun Rights

Saturday’s “March of Our Lives” was a classic display of appealing to emotions over facts.

The Foundation

“Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings — give us that precious jewel, and you may take every things else! Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel.” —Patrick Henry (1788)

Headlines – 3/26/2018

Ehud Olmert: When peace was within arm’s reach, I was politically ‘assassinated’

Israeli victory is essential for Middle East peace

Reports say Israeli jets hit Hezbollah positions along Syria-Lebanon border

IDF: Iron Dome activated by gunfire in Gaza, no rocket threat to Israel

Did Israel’s Iron Dome make a major mistake or was Hamas up to something?

Hamas launches large-scale military exercise in Gaza

Senior IDF officials: ‘Gaza homes not yet renovated will come to know our strikes’

PA warns: Gaza on the verge of collapse

U.S. pledges record $705 million in missile defense aid to Israel

Israeli monitor: Settlements grew under Trump presidency

Most new West Bank homes being built in ‘isolated settlements’

Israelis warned against traveling to Turkey, Egypt and Jordan ahead of the Passover holiday

Why the days around Passover are dangerous for Jews

Third Temple Alert: Police Authorize Passover Sacrifice Next to Temple Mount

Biblical tomb vandalized with Swastikas in Palestinian village

An 85-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor Stabbed and Burned to Death in Her Paris Apartment

French-Jewish Holocaust Survivor Found Dead in Burned Paris Apartment; Security Group: ‘Everything Suggests’ It Was Antisemitic Crime

France Suffered Its 20th Islamist Attack Since 2014. Experts Explain How Italy Stayed Terror-free

‘Army Of Islam’: Erdogan’s Plot Against Israel

How Turkey is working to restore the Ottoman Empire

Syria has continued developing nuclear program, Arab site says

Egypt election: polls open amid concerns over voter apathy

Sisi seeks high turnout in Egypt presidential election

Britain urges Iran to stop supplying weapons to Yemen’s Houthi militia

Yemen is entering its fourth year of war – when will the suffering end?

Saudi forces intercept 7 Houthi missiles, including one over Riyadh

Arab states condemn Houthi rocket attacks targeting Saudi Arabia

As Israel fetes Air India flight over Saudi airspace, El Al cries foul

Netanyahu hopes Saudis will open airspace to other flights to Israel

UN food agency boss warns of new European migrant crisis

Russia denies aiding Afghan Taliban in wake of U.S. general’s comments

Malaysian government seeks 10 years in jail for ‘fake news’

Oil prices fall as U.S. trade dispute with China looms

President Trump hints he may use Defense budget to build the border wall now

Obama envisions creating ‘a million young Barack Obamas’ during speech in Japan

Parkland Survivor: Don’t Use My Sister to Push Gun Control

Keep shouting, don’t become anesthetized, pope tells young people

School shootings are extraordinarily rare. Why is fear of them driving policy?

School District Plans for More Armed Security Following Attention over Rocks Defense

How video games turn teens into millionaires

Polls show Facebook losing trust as firm uses ads to apologise

What Facebook’s privacy policy allows may surprise you

Bahrain vows to hunt social media dissidents

Hungary Warns of ‘Global Government’ That Will ‘Strip People’ of Identities

Israel to launch Big Data health project

6.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Kimbe, Papua New Guinea

6.4 magnitude earthquake hits near Saumlaki, Indonesia

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Hachijo-jima, Japan

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near El Hoyo, Argentina

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Hachijo-jima, Japan

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 19,000ft

Kirishimayama erupts to 16,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 15,000ft

Sakurajima volcano on Japan erupts to 15,000ft

Aoba volcano on Vanuatu erupts to 15,000ft

Agung volcano in Indonesia erupts to 12,000ft

Ex-cyclone Nora brings flooding rain to far north Queensland

Severe flu season could cost the US nearly $11 billion, experts say

The Other Opioid Crisis: Hospital Shortages Lead To Patient Pain, Medical Errors

Pastor who starved toddler to death to exorcise demon gets 99 years in prison

Toys R Us blames bankruptcy on millennials not having kids

Did Toys R Us hasten its own demise by donating to Planned Parenthood?

Family Planning And Abortion Access Is Vital For Women, UN Concludes

LGBT Activists Target Trump’s Pro-Life Christian Delegate at UN, Label Her ‘Anti-Trans’

Transcript: Stormy Daniels describes her alleged affair with Donald Trump

Stormy Daniels says threats kept her quiet about alleged Trump affair until now

Stormy Daniels vs. Trump — Here’s why conservative Christians are sticking with the president

What the Starr investigations tells us about Mueller’s probe

Apostasy Watch

Monday 3-26-18

New Post – I’m Back! ….and very grateful

After years of inquiries, Willow Creek pastor Bill Hybels denies misconduct allegations

Bill Hybels Accused of Multiple Accounts of Sexual Misconduct

Bid by Father Jesus to build church in Gulfport gets denied

The Catholic Church – coming to a Starbucks near you?

Petitions Call Canadian Ice Cream Chain ‘Sweet Jesus’ Blasphemous, Request Name Change

Crazy Duggar Stories From the Crew That Worked With Them

Pastor who starved toddler to death to exorcise demon gets 99 years in prison

Parents who believed in faith healing convicted for 2-year-old daughter’s death from pneumonia

Mount Etna in Sicily is sliding into Mediterranean Sea

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 07:11 AM PDT

Mount Etna in Sicily is sliding into Mediterranean SeaMount Etna – Europe’s tallest active volcano – is sliding toward the sea which could have “devastating consequences”, scientists have warned.  A team of British experts has discovered the giant volcano on the east coast of the island Sicily, Italy, is edging closer to the Mediterranean Sea by 0.6 inches every year which could result in collapse.  Etna is one of the most active volcanoes in the world and is in an

almost constant state of activity with a history of violent eruptions. Open University geologist Dr. John Murray has spent nearly 50 years studying the volcano and believes this is the first sliding of this magnitude to be recorded. He and his team of scientists have reported their astonishing findings in The Bulletin of Volcanology. Their research used GPS measurements over 11 years between 2001 and 2012. READ MORE

Coins from great revolt discovered just in time for Passover

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 07:07 AM PDT

Coins from great revolt discovered just in time for PassoverCoins dating from the Roman-Jewish War (66-73CE) were discovered by archeologists in a cave near the south wall of the Temple Mount on Monday, according to the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority.  During archaeological digs run by Dr. Eilat Mazar of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, dozens of bronze coins as well as numerous fragments of pottery vessels,

mainly jars and cooking pots, from the Great Revolt period were discovered in a large cave measuring 7 x 14 meters. The discovery of the coins, which were dated from the period of the destruction of the second temple, was given particular significance as they were found just before the Jewish holiday of Passover, a celebration of Jewish freedom and self-determination.  READ MORE

China launches petro-yuan to challenge greenback’s dominance

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 05:45 AM PDT

China launches petro-yuan to challenge greenback’s dominanceThe highly anticipated yuan-backed crude oil futures have been launched in Shanghai. China is the world’s biggest oil consumer, with eyes on rival benchmarks Brent and WTI as well as the US currency. Trading of the new oil futures contracts for September settlement started on the Shanghai International Energy Exchange at 440.20 yuan ($69.70) per barrel, reports Chinese daily the South China Morning Post. Some 18,540 lots have reportedly been sold and purchased so far.

The long-awaited step evoked a surge in global prices for oil with Brent Crude soaring to $71 a barrel for the first time since 2015. US crude benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) reached the highest level in three years at $66.55 per barrel, before retreating to $65.53. Experts see China’s yuan-dominated contracts as historic as the new futures symbolize the first time that foreign investors can access a Chinese commodity market. The launch ends years of setbacks and delays since the country’s first attempt at listing the securities in 1993. READ MORE

US military man fears he was ‘abducted by aliens’ after UFO trailed him through snow

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 05:40 AM PDT

US military man fears he was ‘abducted by aliens’ after UFO trailed him through snowATTENTION: The following report does not reflect the views or opinions of ETH

Paranormal investigators are looking into mysterious claims from a former US military man he may have been abducted by aliens after being “stalked by a UFO.” The man, who has not been publicly named, filed a report with UFO investigators in which he claimed he experienced lost time during a nocturnal snowmobile ride through woods in Ontonagon, Michigan, USA.  In a witness report to the

National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) he said: “A light overpowered my headlight, which made me stop and look behind me. “I witnessed a solid white light with pinkish strobe lights on either side of the main white light in the middle. “Together they formed an oval saucer shape.” He said the blinking lights had no rhythm. The man added: “It was close enough to me that it lit up the entire ground and trees around me. READ MORE

‘Blasphemous’ Ice-cream Chain Coming to the United States

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 05:32 AM PDT

‘Blasphemous’ Ice-cream Chain Coming to the United StatesSundaes will never be the same, say Christian activists troubled by the invasion of the U.S. market by a Canadian ice-cream chain called “Sweet Jesus” that seems hell-bent on a marketing plan centered around soft-serve blasphemy.  The Toronto-based company founded by Andrew Richmond and Amin Todai in 2015 now has 19 locations in Canada, and one at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. It has plans to open in other U.S. locations, such as Mall of America.

One ad on the company’s website shows a Nativity Scene, but instead of Baby Jesus, there’s an ice-cream cone. Many of their ads are replete with cherished Christian and Catholic symbols that are used to mock faith, including a rosary beads, a crucifix with a corpus, and angels. And there’ something just downright creepy about the Mad Magazine-style imagery of children in the company’s ads. Some of the children have bruises and appear to be abused. Some say the ads sexualize children and have accused the company of pandering to pedophiles. READ MORE


3 Things You Need to Know About the Prophesied New Jerusalem

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 05:25 AM PDT

3 Things You Need to Know About the Prophesied New Jerusalem

(By Asher Intrater) Three times in the book of Revelation it is stated that heavenly Jerusalem descends from heaven. To the faithful at the church in Philadelphia, identified as a great example of a church, God promised:

Revelation 3:12
“I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God.” At the founding of the new heaven and new earth at the end of the millennium, John foresees the new Jerusalem as well. The Jerusalem of above is the dwelling place of all the angels who stayed loyal to God, and of the spirits of godly men and women who have passed away. Since the international community of people who believe in Yeshua, that is, the church, is called the bride of Messiah (Eph. 5), so also heavenly Jerusalem is called here a “bride,” since that is where the people are:

Revelation 21:2-3
“… the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Look! The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them. They shall be His people …”  The descent of the New Jerusalem is a joining together of the dwelling places of God and man into one. Most of chapter 21 is dedicated to describing this heavenly dwelling place. It is the final restoration of the Garden of Eden, the ultimate marriage of the Lamb and the total reconciliation between God and mankind. CONTINUE

American adults just keep getting fatter

Posted: 26 Mar 2018 05:22 AM PDT

American adults just keep getting fatterU.S. adults continue to put on the pounds. New data show that nearly 40 percent of them were obese in 2015 and 2016, a sharp increase from a decade earlier, federal health officials reported Friday. The prevalence of severe obesity in U.S. adults is also rising, heightening their risks of developing heart disease, diabetes and various cancers. According to the latest data, published Friday in JAMA, 7.7 percent of U.S. adults were severely obese in the same period.

The data – gathered in a large-scale federal survey that is considered the gold standard for health data – measured trends in obesity from 2015 and 2016 back to 2007 and 2008, when 5.7 percent of U.S. adults were severely obese and 33.7 percent were obese. The survey counted people with a body mass index of 30 or more as obese, and those with a BMI of 40 or more as severely obese. READ MORE

China warns of ‘trade war’ with United States

Posted: 25 Mar 2018 06:14 PM PDT

China warns of ‘trade war’ with United StatesA top Chinese official warned Sunday that a “trade war” would harm all sides but gave no indication of Beijing’s possible next move in a spiraling dispute with President Donald Trump over steel and technology.  Speaking to global business leaders at a development forum, Vice Premier Han Zheng appealed for cooperation to make economic globalization “beneficial for all.” “A trade war serves the interests of none,”

Han said at the China Development Forum. “It will only lead to serious consequences and negative impact.”Han didn’t mention Trump by name or refer directly to the dispute with Washington, but the country’s newly appointed economy czar warned Saturday that Beijing will  defend its interests. The government issued a $3 billion list on Friday of U.S. goods including pork and stainless steel pipes it said might be hit by higher tariffs. READ MORE

RUMORS OF WAR: China and India massing military build-up along border

Posted: 25 Mar 2018 06:09 PM PDT

RUMORS OF WAR: China and India massing military build-up along borderNuclear superpowers China and India are bolstering deadly arsenal along their borders sparking fears of WW3, it has been revealed.  Chilling satellite images confirm both countries are pursuing wide-ranging buildups along four critical air bases to prepare for a “military confrontation”. Images show India increasing the deployment of its premier Su-30MKI fighter jets at Bagdogra and Hasimara air bases in West Bengal. The jets will soon be capable of striking land targets with the advanced BrahMos

– the fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world. An “even greater level of activity” was visible of the Chinese air bases near Lhasa and Shigatse, according to US geopolitical intelligence company Stratfor. China has moved it’s KJ-500 airborne early warning and command aircraft, components of the HQ-9 long-range surface-to-air missile system and Soar Dragon unmanned aerial vehicles at Shigatse Peace Airport.  READ MORE

Flat-earther blasts off in homemade rocket to prove world is shaped ‘like a Frisbee’

Posted: 25 Mar 2018 06:03 PM PDT

Flat-earther blasts off in homemade rocket to prove world is shaped ‘like a Frisbee’A self-taught rocket man who believes the earth is flat blasted himself 1,875 feet into the air, in an effort to reach orbit and reassure himself the world is shaped “like a Frisbee”.  ‘Mad’ Mike Hughes, who has been likened to cartoon character Wile E. Coyote, propelled himself into the sky in a homemade rocket on Saturday, landing hard in the Mojave Desert. The 61-year-old limo driver said he was fine – apart

from his aching back – after the launch near Amboy, California.  “I’m tired of people saying I chickened out and didn’t build a rocket,” he said after being checked out by paramedics.   “I’m tired of that stuff; I manned up and did it.”Mr Hughes worked on overhauling his rocket in his garage for months before the launch on Saturday, which was given the go-ahead by Albert Okura, who owns Amboy. READ MORE

Liberman warns that Northern Israel unprepared for war

Posted: 25 Mar 2018 05:59 PM PDT

Liberman warns that Northern Israel unprepared for warDefense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Sunday warned that Israel’s north is unprepared for war and called for a large budget increase by the security cabinet in order to address the problem.  “The best situation is in the south, in the area around the Gaza Strip; the worst situation is in the north,” the defense minister said, speaking at a conference held by the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.  In an

onstage interview, the defense minister said that Israel would neither allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon nor let the Islamic Republic entrench itself in Syria.   “We’re not just saying it, we mean what we say,” he said. Liberman was also asked about a planned mass protest along the security fence surrounding the Gaza Strip, amid current tensions with terrorist organizations in the coastal enclave.  READ MORE

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Monday: The Arrival of the King

By James Boice on Mar 26, 2018 01:00 am

One of the difficult things that I have had to do in working with various organizations is to try to summarize the purpose of the organization in order to focus your energies and sometimes communicate to other people what you’re trying to do. Sometimes when this kind of thing is attempted, one comes up with a comprehensive statement, which is good, but which can also be a bit long. At least in some cases, it is helpful to be able to shorten the purpose statement to make it more effective in terms of recognizing and remembering it.

Read more…

Answering Sixteen Objections to the Resurrection of Jesus


There are several approaches to defending the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus. Skeptics have offered a wide range of natural explanations throughout history to explain away the bodily resurrection of  Jesus. In this post, I will go ahead and several of them and try to give a response. In some cases I will leave some additional reading.

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary professor Andreas Kostenberger co-authored this statement about historical investigations (published through B&H which has SBC ties). Kostenberger, along with Bock and Chatraw, write:

“With regard to the past, one cannot empirically prove a historical event in the same way in which one proves a mathematical equation or verifies that someone is six feet tall or has blue eyes, though historical evidence can point strongly in one direction. Historical truths are tested by assessing hypotheses in view of the evidence and then accepting the hypothesis that best explains…

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The Trans War on Truth and Reality

I told an audience yesterday morning that a good definition of truth is “that which corresponds to reality”. If there is a major mismatch between what you say and the way the world actually works, you might not be speaking truth. An obvious example is to claim that the law of gravity is merely a matter of opinion or personal preference.

Testing such a claim is easy enough. Stand on the roof of a five-story building and jump. Then see what happens. Reality will always trump personal opinion. Broken bones, if not death, will be the result of that little experiment. The objective truth of the law of gravity stands. Not so mere subjective feelings.

While we are entitled to our own opinions, we are not entitled to our own facts. And when we live in denial about the truth, we will always get a pushback from reality. One illustration I use when I speak of truth as that which fits reality is a road map.

Today of course we might prefer to mention the GPS. But either one, if they are any good at all, will always correspond with the way the world really is. As I told my audience yesterday when I was in northern Victoria, if I wanted to return to Melbourne and I consulted my GPS, and it told me to head due north, you know something is amiss with that GPS.

It is time to get a new one. But it is not just a Global Positioning System that might go haywire. So too can various Gender Positioning Systems that now seem to abound with all the social activists on college campuses, in pop culture, in the mainstream media, and in most political parties of the left.

They are seeking to reposition gender, or sexuality, and as they do so, they move away from reality, not toward it. The idea that you can simply “identify” as a sex that you were not born with is a flight from reality and will cause as much damage as a leap from a five-story building.

And the activists have even dreamed up new terminology for those whose feet are NOT planted firmly in mid-air: cisgender. For those not in the know, that refers to you and me – normal and rational people. It refers to those who identify with the gender they were born with.

Um, I just call it living in the real world, and not giving in to mental madness and psychological delusion. But the flight from reality knows no bounds with the trans activists and the other sexual revolutionaries. They are not just intent on destroying sexuality and biology, but reality and nature.

They have in fact declared war on human nature itself. A great piece just penned by Tom Gilson convincingly makes this case, basing it on earlier insights from the great C. S. Lewis. Entitled “The Transgender Abolition of Man,” Gilson begins:

Mankind has been trying for centuries to conquer nature. Now we’re trying to conquer not just nature but human nature. How? Look at the transgender movement. C. S. Lewis explored this conquering impulse in The Abolition of Man, his brilliant analysis of mankind’s impossible quest to re-engineer mankind. It’s our grand project to free ourselves from the constrictions imposed upon us by human nature. And not just human nature, but that to which human nature looks: “the Tao,” Lewis’s chosen term for moral principles recognized by people the world over.

Here’s how he saw it unfolding when he wrote in the middle of the twentieth century. Human nature has to be wiped clean of its “flaws,” both physical and mental. Someone must manage and correct everyone’s thoughts and attitudes through propaganda and behavioral conditioning. Only one all-controlling, all-wise State could have that “conditioning” power.

That inevitably leads to tyranny. That is its first, most obvious problem, illustrated masterfully in Lewis’s novel That Hideous Strength. But there’s much more wrong with this project: The tyrant seeking to control Nature will always find himself controlled by nature.

I too have often referred to both these books by Lewis to assess the way modern coercive sexual and social utopians are seeking to remake the world in their image. He was certainly prescient, having written them so long ago: Hideous was penned in 1946 and Abolition in 1947.

Gilson looks a bit further at the latter volume and then writes:

We can forgive Lewis for not seeing today’s “transgender moment,” as Ryan Anderson calls it in the subtitle to his new book, When Harry Became Sally. No one else saw it coming either, not even as recently as five or six years ago. But Lewis did foresee quite accurately how far Man would go in his quest to conquer Nature: All the way, until he collided with reality.

The sad thing? Even when modern man collides with reality, he won’t admit it. He just doubles-down on the idea that he can make reality bend to his wishes. But he can’t; especially not according to the philosophy that would allow a man the choice to be a woman. That same philosophy, you see, also insists that his choices are determined by Nature. Everything is determined by natural law, period. The mind, as Lewis noted, is ruled by the weather or by digestion. Even the LGBT “born this way” defense is an admission that the mind has no power over Nature after all.

So in the world of transgender activism the mind controls all, yet in that same world the mind controls nothing. Physical nature determines nothing, yet physical nature determines everything. Or as Lewis put it, “Man’s conquest of Nature turns out, in the moment of its consummation, to be nature’s conquest of Man” — meaning, all that is distinctly human.

The transgender person born male wishes to abolish his manhood; the transgender movement carries forward the abolition of Man. And all humanity — or so it seems, at least — is stumbling over itself racing to throw itself on the fires of its own destruction.

He concludes:

While I have nothing but empathy for the gender dysphoric, who cannot feel comfortable in their own bodies, I have nothing good to say for the movement that tells them their best answer is to defeat their bodies. These activists are urging them — and all of us, really — to fight a fight on the wrong field, trying to overcome Nature where Nature simply cannot lose.

The wiser, saner battle to fight is the one that takes place within the mind. Victory isn’t easy there; if it were, it wouldn’t be the battle it is. It isn’t always easy even to define what victory means. But if it means anything at all, it must include this: holding firm to humanness, resisting the abolition of manhood and womanhood — and with it, also resisting the abolition of Man.

Lewis would not be surprised at all this, but even he might not have expected it to go this far. When we bind ourselves to bizarre ideologies which pit us against reality, reality will always win. But there will be plenty of casualties along the way when people persist in this militant moonbattery.


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What Does It Mean to Walk by Faith?

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The following article by Dr. Jerry Vines is taken from The Vines Expository Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2018).

The Journey of Faith | Genesis 12:1-8

All of us are on the journey of life. We can make the journey in one of two ways. We can make the journey on the basis of what our eyes can see—that’s walking by sight. Or we can make the journey on the basis of what we cannot see—that’s walking by faith.

The Bible says we walk not by sight but by faith (2 Cor. 5:7). God wants each person’s life’s journey to be a journey of faith. Through the life of Abraham, we learn what walking the journey of life by faith really means.

I. The Call of Faith (12:1-3)

Genesis 12:1 says, “Now the LORD had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country.’” Notice that the Bible says that in the life of faith, God always takes the initiative. Somebody said, “I sought the Lord until I finally found Him.” In reality, if you ever sought the Lord, it’s because the Lord had previously searched for you. Jesus said, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). God always takes the first step and makes the first move. God reached out to Abram.

A cost is also involved. God told Abram he had to leave his country, Ur of the Chaldeans, and his father’s house.

Sometimes when God sends us, He doesn’t tell us the whole story. But notice that God made seven promises to Abram in Genesis 12:2-3:

  1. “I will make you a great nation”
  2. “I will bless you”—God did indeed bless Abraham
  3. I will “make your name great”—Abram’s name (Abraham as he is referred to later) is revered in the three major religions of the world: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity
  4. “You shall be a blessing”—indeed, Abram has been a blessing
  5. “I will bless those who bless you”—historically, those who have blessed the Jewish people, God has blessed
  6. “I will curse him who curses you”
  7. “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed”—through the line of Abram, this great man who was willing to obey the call of God to faith, ultimately came the Savior. You and I have a Savior whose name is Jesus because of God’s promise to Abraham.

Isn’t this amazing? One act of obedience! God basically says, “Abraham, you follow Me; and if you will, I will bless you seven ways.”

II. The Compliance of Faith (12:4–6)

Here was Abram, settled down, prosperous business, everything going well. God spoke to Abram, telling him to follow His instructions and become a blessing to the world. The Bible says that Abraham obeyed and departed.

Faith is based on God’s Word, and faith is demonstrated by obedience. Total obedience means giving all your time, talent, and treasure. It means giving your totality to Christ. Believers should never be satisfied to be “halfway” Christians. We should go the whole route with the Lord Jesus Christ, giving Him everything we have.

III. The Confession of Faith (12:7-8)

In two symbolic ways, Abram would confess his faith in the Lord. Look at Genesis 12:7: “The LORD appeared to Abram.” When Abram arrived where God had sent him, the Lord was there to greet him. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” This means that the same Jesus who called you to follow Him by faith will meet you where He sends you.

Notice in Genesis 12:8 that Abram did two things: he pitched a tent, and he built an altar. I circled tent and altar in my Bible. Those two symbolic actions demonstrate Abram’s confession of faith in the Lord.

Abram pitched a tent. Back in Haran, he had probably been dwelling in a very nice, luxurious home. From this point on, he began to live in a tent. Why? God had made it clear to Abram that he was to live in a tent as a confession that he understood this world was his temporary dwelling, and that he was going to a city whose builder and maker is God (see Heb. 11:10).

Please don’t get too attached to this old world. Don’t drive your stakes down too deep. If you have responded to God by faith, if you are on the journey of faith, God has promised you a better world. Remember—you are a stranger and a pilgrim.

Abram also built an altar. The Bible says that he called on the name of the Lord. The altar reminded him of his devotion to the Lord—that his all was to be on the altar. We face the same lesson in Romans 12:1 where we’re told to present our bodies as “a living sacrifice.” Have you laid your all on that altar for Jesus Christ? Is Jesus absolutely number one in your life?

Genesis 12:8 also says that Ai was on the east and Bethel on the west. Ai means heap of ruins; Bethel means house of God. Abram’s altar was between his daily choices of direction for his life. Would he move his life toward the heap of ruins, or would he move his life toward the house of God?

Every day in this journey of faith, that’s the decision we must make. We have to decide if we will live toward that heap of ruins, the things of this world, or if we will we live toward Bethel, the house of God.

When you make that decision by faith, when you say goodbye to this old world and hello to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, then you are on the journey of faith.

The above article is taken from The Vines Expository Bible (Thomas Nelson, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Jerry Vines. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. http://www.thomasnelson.com. All rights reserved.

Dr. Jerry Vines

Bio: Dr. Jerry Vines Dr. Jerry Vines (@jerryvines) is a native of Carrollton, Georgia and was educated at Mercer University (BA), New Orleans Theological Seminary (BD), and Luther Rice Seminary, (ThD). He has spent over 60 years as a Baptist pastor/preacher and was elected President of several Pastors’ Conferences throughout his ministry career. Dr. Vines spent 24 years serving as the Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida, retiring in 2006 to focus on mentoring and leading a new generation of pastors through his seminars and teaching materials. He and his wife, Janet have four children and seven grandchildren.

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Inside President Trump’s FY 2018 Spending Bill

Shortly after 1:00 PM on Friday, March 23, 2018, President Trump signed the U.S. Congress’ omnibus discretionary spending bill, which authorizes the various departments and agencies that make up the U.S. government to spend $1.309 trillion through the end of its current 2018 fiscal year on September 30, 2018. The chart below shows where most of that money is going, as appropriated under each of the individual 12 spending bills that were collected into the omnibus spending bill, as compared to how much each category was allowed to spend in the 2017 fiscal year.

Every spending category recorded an increase that was faster than the 1.8% core rate of inflation from 2017 to 2018.

This chart only shows the discretionary spending portion of the U.S. government’s total spending, which is the part of the U.S. government’s budget that isn’t on autopilot. In addition to this $1.3 trillion, the U.S. Congress has previously mandated the U.S. government to spend an additional:

  • $987 billion for Social Security
  • $982 billion for Medicare ($582 billion) and Medicaid ($400 billion)
  • $624 billion for welfare programs
  • $310 billion for net interest on the U.S. government’s total public debt outstanding, which has already climbed over $21 trillion and which will climb even further, and a little faster now, thanks to the spending bill that President Trump signed last Friday.

Altogether, the U.S. government will spend somewhere around $4.2 trillion during its 2018 fiscal year.

After signing the FY 2018 Omnibus spending bill, President Trump vowed that he would “never sign another bill like this again”. Alas, this kind of thing is business as usual in Washington D.C., where President Trump has yet to clarify how he intends to live up to that new vow.

Source: Inside President Trump’s FY 2018 Spending Bill

Nunes: We Found Links Between Clinton, the Democrat Party, and Russia

(The Western Journal) As Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump-Russia collusion continues to bear down on Washington, one House Intelligence Committee member stated that it was not Republicans America had to worry about, but Democrats.

House Chairman Devin Nunes spoke to Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Features” to reveal who he claims to be the true antagonist in the collusion between Russia and the U.S.

“We’ve been listening for over a year to the Democrats in this country scare the American people saying they have evidence of collusion with the Russians — no they don’t,” Nunes said. “We also found no collusion between the Trump campaign,” he added. “But we did find links between the Clinton [campaign] and the Democratic Party to the Russians.” View article →

Source: Nunes: We Found Links Between Clinton, the Democrat Party, and Russia

Come Out From Them and Be Separate

Here’s Mike Riccardi’s latest installment of a series he’s writing on those “whom the faithful Christian minister may legitimately partner with in ministry,” a series we highly recommend. In this installment he urges Bible believers not to unite in ministry with the world, “even that part of the world that goes to church and calls themselves worshipers of Jesus.” He describes who these people are and explains why we shouldn’t even pray with them, and that includes those who identify as Roman Catholics. In Riccardi’s view it’s unthinkable to join hands and pray with apostates. It’s also unbiblical, as you will see in his piece over at The Cripplegate. He writes:

In our series on 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1, I’ve been considering what implications that text has for us as we consider whom the faithful Christian minister may legitimately partner with in ministry (parts onetwothree, and four). Last time, we considered that the church is the temple of the living God in this age, and that all false religion is idolatrous. To partner in ministry with those who are enemies of the Gospel is to bring idols into the temple of God, and to court His judgment.

The consequence of that reality for our lives—the responsibility it creates for us as God’s temple—is stated in 2 Corinthians 6:17–7:1: “Therefore, ‘come out from their midst and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘And do not touch what is unclean.’ And I will welcome you. ‘And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

Do Not Touch What Is Unclean

First, there are the divine prescriptions. Because we are the temple of the living God, because God’s promise to dwell in and walk among His people, and to be their God, is fulfilled in us—Therefore, ‘come out from their midst and be separate’ . . . ‘And do not touch what is unclean.’” If we are God’s temple, we must keep that temple pure. We must refuse to pollute it by any alliance or fellowship with the idolatry of false religion. We must be separate.

These calls for separation are quotations from the Greek translation of Isaiah 52:11. In that chapter, Isaiah is prophesying of Israel’s return from the Babylonian exile (which they hadn’t entered yet!). Starting in verse 8, the prophet says,

“Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, They shout joyfully together; For they will see with their own eyes When Yahweh restores Zion. Break forth, shout joyfully together, You waste places of Jerusalem; For Yahweh has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. Yahweh has bared His holy arm In the sight of all the nations, That all the ends of the earth may see The salvation of our God.”

God is going to deliver His people out of exile. And when He does, He gives instructions to the priests and Levites in the next verse: “Depart, depart, go out from there, Touch nothing unclean; Go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves, You who carry the vessels of Yahweh” (Isa 52:11). The priests and Levites were the keepers of the vessels of worship in the Temple of God. And God is commanding them to go completely out of Babylon, and to touch nothing unclean—that is, to bring none of the idolatrous vessels that pertained to idol worship in Babylon. The people of God were chastened by the exile, but now that they were free they had to separate themselves entirely from that pagan nation and conduct themselves in the purity of true worship of Yahweh.

Paul quotes this verse and applies it to the Corinthians. In effect he says, “Dear brothers and sisters, has God not delivered you out from the captivity of sin and the idolatry of paganism through the redeeming blood of Christ? He has saved you out of that spiritual exile, and restored you to a right relationship with Himself! And in light of that deliverance, just as He said to the priests of the Old Covenant He says to you—a royal priesthood (1 Pet 2:9)—‘Come out from them and be separate, and touch nothing unclean!’ As a kingdom of priests (Rev 1:6), don’t pollute the temple of God by attempting to mix the pure worship of Christ with the trappings of pseudo-Christian idolatry of the Judaizing false apostles. Make a complete and total separation from everything that you were called out from in the world! And that includes false doctrine concerning Christ! Because of their false doctrine, the Judaizers are still in the Babylonian captivity of the soul from which you have been delivered! Therefore, there can be no spiritual partnership between you!”

This rich imagery of pure temple worship versus the idolatry of false religion only further underscores the main lesson of this text. The church has no business partnering in ministry with the world; even that part of the world that goes to church and calls themselves worshipers of Jesus. Whenever true Christians join in common spiritual cause with unbelievers, we are like exiles, delivered out of the Babylonian captivity, set apart to the pure worship of Yahweh, who then set up Babylonian idols in the middle of Yahweh’s temple. It’s just unthinkable!    View article →


Idolatry, Demons, and Ecumenism

Idols in the Temple of God

Source: Come Out From Them and Be Separate

On Socialism’s Rhetorical Appeal

Socialism’s appeal has always lain primarily in its vision of living in a fantasy land, a land of lollipops and lemonade, a land where everyone has plenty and all have the same. Aside from the utter impossibility of attaining such abundance without private property and free markets, this vision has a fatal element of abstraction from the realities of the Iron Law of Oligarchy. It declares that “society” or “the community” will own all the means of production, but in reality this communal ownership always boils down to de facto ownership by a political elite with untrammeled power and a determination to obliterate individual rights, first private property rights, then all other rights, including the entire litany of civil rights. Socialism is a mythical, impossible ideal employed as a rhetorical enticement to mobilize large groups in favor of collective action that leads ultimately if not immediately to their own enslavement. That so many young people in the West now regard socialism as the most desirable form of political economy is a tragedy in the making.

Source: On Socialism’s Rhetorical Appeal

Why Resurrection?

As followers of Jesus Christ we recognize the power of the resurrection and the implications it has on our lives. We celebrate our risen Lord and the assurance that death has lost its sting!

But what about those who are not sure they can believe in the actual resurrection of Jesus? What evidence could we share with them demonstrating that the resurrection is more than a fairy tale or myth?

I would love to share with you a brief article by Dr. Dillon Burroughs: 7 Reasons You Can Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus. This great resource is easy to share with those who are seeking. It is also a great tool to use in your small group or with your family in preparation for Resurrection Sunday. We pray your belief will be strengthened and that God will give you the opportunity to share the Hope of the Resurrection with others this year!

Dr. John Ankerberg

Covenant Theology: The Law, Justification, and Sanctification

When the Protestant Reformers recovered the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone on the basis of Christ alone, they recovered the heart of the gospel. By the mid-1600’s in England, heirs of the Reformation learned that the doctrine of justification by faith alone was not merely supported by exegesis of a few texts of Scripture (eg., Rom 3:28, Gal 2:15-16), but by the Bible’s overarching covenantal structure. Furthermore, the Bible’s covenant theology shows how this great doctrine of justification is not alone, but ever accompanied with sanctification.  Historic Protestant and Baptist covenant theology, sometimes called federal theology, preserves both gospel blessings.

1. The Covenant of Works. Reformed covenant theology teaches that the New Testament shows that God made a covenant with Adam in the Garden of Eden. Because God created Adam in His own image, he was created in knowledge, righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10), which means that Adam had the work of the moral law, the Ten Commandments, written on his nature. Romans 2:14-15 says, “For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness.” Adam was the first Gentile (Lk 3:38), made in God’s image, which means that the “work of the law” was written on Adam’s heart.

But what law is Paul talking about in Romans 2? Paul goes on and lists laws of the Ten Commandments: “stealing” (Rom 2:21), “adultery” (Rom 2:22), and idolatry (Rom 2:22). Paul even distinguishes this moral law of the Ten Commandments from the “positive law” (law that is uniquely posited by God in each distinct covenant) in verse 26, where he says it is possible to “keep the law” without being “circumcised.” Thus, Adam had the work of the moral law of God, the Ten Commandments, written on his heart by nature, but not the Old Covenant positive laws. And the sinfulness of Adam’s disobeying God’s command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was rebellion against God, which is a moral transgression against the Ten Commandments.

God created Adam and put him in the Garden of Eden, and required of him perfect obedience to the whole moral law of God (the Ten Commandments). His obedience to the Ten Commandments would be tested by whether or not he obeyed the positive law of that covenant of works (not eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). If Adam had passed the test and fulfilled all righteousness by perfect obedience to the law, he would be justified, granted eternal life, and glorified. Of course, Adam sinned against God’s good law, and as a result, Adam and all of his posterity were condemned and became justly liable to eternal punishment in hell. Because of Adam’s failure in the covenant of works, those who descend from Adam by ordinary generation inherit from him a sinful nature that rebels against the work of the moral law written on their hearts (Rom 5:12, 18-19).

The Second London Baptist Confession clearly teaches that there was such a covenant with Adam in the Garden. The confession says, “Although God created man upright and perfect and gave him a righteous law, which had been unto life had he kept it, and threatened death upon the breach thereof . . . [Adam] did willfully transgress the law of their creation, and the command given unto them in eating the forbidden fruit” (6.1). It also says, “The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto Him as their creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of life but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which He hath been pleased to express by way of covenant” (7.1). And it says, “The covenant of works, being broken by sin, and made unprofitable unto life” (20.1).

In summary, the covenant of works promised justification and eternal life to Adam on the condition of perfect obedience to the law of the Ten Commandments, which was imprinted on his nature, and obedience to the positive law of the Garden of Eden, which God revealed by way of covenant.

2. The Covenant of Redemption. Temporally speaking, the covenant of redemption was formed in eternity past, but Christ actually obeyed its terms in His incarnate life (2 Tim 1:9-10). But logically speaking, the covenant of redemption comes after the covenant of works because Christ undoes what Adam did in the fall. That’s why Paul speaks of Adam as the federal head of the human race and then Christ as the federal head of His people. “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience, the many will be made righteous” (Rom 5:19). Christ answers the problem Adam created in the covenant of works. That’s why Paul calls Christ the “last Adam” (1 Cor 15:45), referring to His work in the covenant of redemption.

The covenant of redemption was an arrangement, principally between the Father and the Son, about the redemption of the elect. Our Lord Jesus covenanted with the Father to do what Adam failed to do. As a substitute for the elect, He agreed to obey the Ten Commandments perfectly to merit justification, and to suffer condemnation and death to satisfy the penalty of the violated law. For Christ, this covenant of redemption was a covenant of works, not a covenant of grace. He had to obey the terms of this covenant in order to satisfy the law’s penalty of death and to earn the law’s blessing of life, and His resurrection proves that He earned justification and life for all His chosen people. This is Christ’s substitutionary work of law-keeping, which is the basis of free and gracious justification by faith alone. Jesus did what Adam and his descendants failed to do so that we only need to trust Him to be justified and reconciled to our holy God.

The Scripture explicitly calls this arrangement between the Father and Christ a “covenant.” In Luke 22:29, Jesus says, “I assign [diatithemai] to you, as my Father assigned [dietheto] to me, a kingdom.” The word “diatheme” can mean “to make a covenant or to enter into a covenant.” And here Jesus tells us that the Father made a covenant with Him to give Him a kingdom. The arrangement between the Father and the Son is also called a “covenant” in Isaiah 54:10, referring to the work of Christ to make peace between God and men in Isaiah 53. Many passages speak of such a covenantal arrangement between the Father and the Son (Ps 40:6-8; Is 42:1-9; 49:1-26; Jn 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 10:17-18; 17:1-5; Eph 1:3-14).

The Second London Baptist Confession speaks of this covenant of redemption between the Father and the Son. It says “This covenant is revealed in the gospel . . . and it is founded in that eternal covenant transaction that was between the Father and the son about the redemption of the elect; it is alone by the grace of this covenant that all of the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved did obtain life and blessed immortality, man being now utterly incapable of acceptance with God upon those terms on which Adam stood in his state of innocency” (7.3).

In summary, Adam sinned against God’s law in the covenant of works and so failed to obtain justification and life for those covenantally united to him, and instead brought condemnation and death upon them. But Christ perfectly obeyed God’s law in the covenant of redemption, earning its blessing and paying its penalty, and so merited justification and eternal life for the elect who are all united to Him in time.

3. The Covenant of Grace. Founded upon the covenant of redemption with Christ, God made the covenant of grace with His elect people for their salvation from condemnation and punishment. This covenant of grace was inaugurated in Genesis 3:15, immediately after the fall, when God promised His people that the Seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. This covenant is revealed by farther steps throughout the Old Testament (eg., Isa 61:8-10; Hab 2:4), such that Old Testament saints were saved only by this one covenant of grace. Hebrews 9:15-17 explains that the covenant of grace saved those in the old covenant but that it was legally established at the death of Christ and the inauguration of the new covenant.

“Therefore, he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive” (Hebrews 9:15-17).

And what are the graces of this covenant of grace? They are the merits of Jesus in the covenant of redemption. Christ’s perfect obedience to the law and His death merited His resurrection life and resurrection life for all who are united to Him.

Union with Christ. The saving benefits of the covenant of redemption come to the elect in union with Him in the covenant of grace. God has blessed His people “in Christ with every spiritual blessing” (Eph 1:3). That is every single saving blessing of the Holy Spirit comes to the elect after they are united to Him. The Holy Spirit works regeneration in the elect in union with Christ. He works repentance in the elect in their union with Christ. And justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification are all in union with Christ. Every blessing of the Holy Spirit comes at the point in time when the elect are united to Christ.

How does the covenant of grace undo the lawlessness of Adam in the covenant of works? The covenant of grace reverses Adam’s lawlessness and the lawlessness of His elect posterity with the two blessings, of justification and sanctification, which Calvin called the “duplex gratia.”

The Duplex Gratia: Undoing Lawlessness

Justification. In union with Christ, God imputes the perfect righteousness of Christ, earned by His perfect obedience to the law in the covenant of redemption, to His people for their justification. Jesus obeyed the law and paid its penalty; therefore, when the elect are united to Him and His righteousness, they receive His justification. They receive justification by faith alone and not by works because Christ has done all the works necessary to merit justification. In the context of union with Christ in the covenant of grace, Paul says, “If because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jess Christ” (Rom 5:17). The elect consciously accept Christ’s righteousness by faith in union with Him, but even their faith is a fruit and purchase of His perfect meritorious righteousness (2 Pet 1:1). The term “justification” here stands for every objective blessing. Adoption and positional sanctification are merited by Christ’s work in the covenant of redemption in the same way.

Sanctification. In union with Christ, God regenerates and produces a progressive holiness in believers on the basis of Christ’s merits in the covenant of redemption (Rom 8:10). Christ’s work in the covenant of redemption earned life and freedom from sin and its miseries for His chosen bride, which is why the Spirit gives the elect freedom from actual sins in the covenant of grace. That means, He makes them to walk in His law (Rom 8:4). They freely and willingly keep the Ten Commandments from the heart. In Hebrews 8:10 God says that in this covenant of grace “I will put my laws into their minds and write them on their hearts.”

The Second London Baptist Confession speaks of the covenant of grace: “Moreover, man having brought himself under the curse of the law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to make a covenant of grace, wherein He freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life, His Holy Spirit to make them willing and able to believe” (7.2).

Summary Conclusion

The Covenant of Works: The Law as a Covenant
Adam broke the law of God in the covenant of works and brought the curse of condemnation and actual sinfulness upon himself and his posterity.

The Covenant of Redemption: The Gospel Accomplished
But Christ obeyed the law of God in the covenant of redemption and purchased the resurrection life of justification (a righteous law status) and holiness (actual lawfulness) for His people.

The Covenant of Grace: The Gospel Applied
The Holy Spirit applies Christ to God’s chosen people by uniting them to Christ in the covenant of grace and giving them the double blessing of justification and sanctification. In justification, the law’s curse is cancelled and righteousness is imputed, giving them the right and title to eternal life. In sanctification, the Spirit works actual holy obedience to God’s good law, making them more and more like Christ for their joy and His glory.

Thus covenant theology preserves justification, which is at the heart of the gospel, and it preserves sanctification, which is likewise one of the gospel’s very precious promises. Those who love the Reformed understanding of the gospel should not neglect the Reformed doctrine of the covenants. There is richness and life to be found here.

Source: Covenant Theology: The Law, Justification, and Sanctification

What Do Christians Mean When They Say, “God (or Jesus) Spoke to Me”?

I must confess that I empathized with Joy Behar (co-host of ABC’s The View) when she recently expressed concern about a claim that Vice President (and Christian believer) Mike Pence has heard the voice of Jesus on occasion. I didn’t become a Christian until the age of thirty-five, and prior to that time, I also found it disturbing when Christians said, “God spoke to me last night,” or, “Jesus told me I should do this (or that).” Behar expressed a similar concern when she told her co-hosts, “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness if I’m not correct. Hearing voices.” I can honestly remember saying something similar to a Christian co-worker back when I was a committed atheist. He claimed that God told him something, and I thought he was, well… crazy. But years later, after becoming a Christian myself, I began to understand exactly what believers mean when they use expressions like this, and it’s not necessarily what Joy Behar may think.

I pressed my Christian friend, all those years ago, and asked him if he actually heard the audible voice of God, and if God sounded like George Burns (the movie, Oh, God!, was my only point of reference prior to Morgan Freeman’s role in Bruce Almighty). My friend laughed and explained that the expression, “God spoke to me,” didn’t necessarily mean that God spoke audibly. Christians, he said, believe the Bible is the “word of God,” and by reading it, gain access to the mind of God. As I began to study the New Testament a few years later, I discovered this truth for myself. If the Bible is, indeed, “breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16), and “the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12), there might be many ways someone could legitimately say, “God spoke to me.” Here, for example, are four:

“God spoke to me through scripture
The Bible is more than an ancient record of historical events and theological truths, its also a wise and time-tested guidebook, filled with insight and advice. Believers have been reading the Bible to glean Divine wisdom for thousands of years. When a Christian says, “God spoke to me today,” they may simply mean that God’s word, the Bible, provided them with the direction they needed.

“God spoke to me through a sage advisor
As a new Christian, I was grateful to find more mature Christians who had been studying God’s word for many years. They had already learned how to “think Christianly,” and became a source of Divine guidance. They helped me understand, interpret and embody the words of Scripture as they relayed what they had learned. When a Christian says, “God spoke to me today,” they may simply mean that one of God’s children provided them with Biblical wisdom from what they understood by reading the word of God.

“God spoke to me through my situation
There are times when I recognize a Biblical truth only after experiencing a pleasurable or difficult circumstance. C. S. Lewis said it best in The Problem of Pain, when he wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” When a Christian says, “God spoke to me today,” they may simply mean that their situation brought God’s word to mind and His wisdom to life.

“God spoke to me through a supernatural interaction
Of course, there may, in fact, be times when God does something God certainly has the power to do: speak audibly to his children. As a non-believer, I rejected this notion altogether, but if we have good reasons to believe that a supernatural God exists, then it’s equally reasonable to believe such a God may act… supernaturally. Because such supernatural interaction would be, by definition, unusual, I wouldn’t expect to hear audibly from God on a continuous basis. But, when a Christian says, “God spoke to me today,” they may simply mean that God spoke to them today.

As a skeptic (and a detective), I investigated the case for God’s existence, the reliability of the Bible and the Resurrection of Jesus, and I eventually concluded the truth of Christianity was the most reasonable inference from the evidence. After becoming a Christian, I came to understand what the writer of Hebrews meant when he wrote:

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” (Hebrews 1:1-2)

As a Christian, I’ve also heard God (and Jesus) speak to me, just like many other believers. But it hasn’t always happened in the way Joy Behar assumed; God can certainly speak to me in an audible way if He chooses, but He also speaks to me daily through Scripture, sage advisors and the everyday situations of my life. That’s what most Christians probably mean when they say, “God (or Jesus) Spoke to Me.”

This article first appeared at Fox News

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case DetectiveChristian Case Maker, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and the author of Cold-Case ChristianityCold-Case Christianity for KidsGod’s Crime SceneGod’s Crime Scene for Kids, and Forensic Faith.

Source: What Do Christians Mean When They Say, “God (or Jesus) Spoke to Me”?

The Anthropology of the Thief

Luke 23:39-43

Code: B180326

I have good news and bad news.

No one wants to hear those words from a medical doctor. Most would rather just hear the good news alone. But often the good news isn’t truly good until we truly understand the bad news.

The same principle applies to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The word gospel is a synonym for good news, but the true goodness of that news hinges on the bad news that precedes it. And it is the bad news of our guilt that is a pill too bitter to swallow for many.

That’s why, as John MacArthur observes, the gospel has always aroused hostility and resentment.

Although all people like to think of themselves as basically good, the testimony of God’s Word is precisely the opposite. Scripture states unequivocally that the entire human race is evil. In the vernacular of our times, humanity is bad to the bone—corrupt to the core. To put it in familiar theological terms, we are totally depraved.

We are naturally, intuitively, painfully aware of our guilt too. A ubiquitous sense of shame goes with being a fallen creature. It’s what made Adam and Eve mask their nakedness with leaves. That’s a perfect metaphor for the futile ways people try to paper over the shame of their wickedness. They don’t want to face it. They try to eliminate that sense of guilt by adopting a more convenient kind of morality, or by silencing their crying conscience. [1]

Natural men refuse to accept God’s verdict—they reject the evidence put forth in their prosecution by His Word. Sinners want nothing to do with their guilt, preferring to cling to delusions of personal goodness. Such false notions keep their self-esteem and false sense of respectability intact.

Conceding to God’s Verdict

The anthropology—that is, the doctrine of man—displayed by the repentant thief on the cross stands in sharp contrast to the default perspective of fallen humanity. We’ve already seen that the thief had excellent theology—he feared God. And his basic grasp of God’s holiness produced a sound and sober assessment of his own undeniable guilt.

One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:39–43 emphasis added)

Don’t assume that the thief was some petty criminal. It’s important to remember that Christ’s cross was originally intended for Barabbas—a violent insurrectionist and murderer (Luke 23:18–24). In all likelihood, the two thieves on either side of Jesus were probably convicted of similarly egregious crimes. They were utterly wicked men.

Yet amazingly, one of them was willing to humble himself and concede the judicial fairness of his punishment: “We indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds” (Luke 23:41). The fact that he believed crucifixion was the just punishment for his crimes means he must have understood how evil his sins were. John MacArthur highlights the necessity of biblical anthropology as the natural companion to a right view of God.

Closely connected to fear of God’s judgment is the second evidence of a changed heart, a sense of sinfulness. The repentant thief’s further rebuke of the other malefactor reflects his acknowledgment of his own sinfulness. “We indeed are suffering justly,” he reminded him, “for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds.” Like the prodigal son in Christ’s parable (Luke 15:17–19), this man came to his senses and admitted that he was a sinner. He understood that justice operates in the world of men, but more perfectly in God’s realm.

Here is an example of the true convert who confesses his guilt and absolute spiritual bankruptcy. He recognizes that he has nothing to offer God, nothing to commend himself to Him. He knows that he needs mercy and grace to escape judgment and be forgiven, because he is an unworthy sinner, a crouching, cringing, cowering beggar mourning over his transgressions (Matthew 5:3–4). [2]

That is the bad news sinners must accept before they can appreciate the good news of the gospel. They must acknowledge their need for a Savior in order for salvation to make sense. And they must understand the immense cost of their crimes—more on that next time.

The contrition and confession modeled by the thief is an extremely rare commodity in our therapeutic culture overflowing with victimhood. The whole world resonates with a false cry of innocence. As Solomon lamented, “All the ways of man are clean in his own sight” (Proverbs 16:2). “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness” (Proverb 20:6 KJV).

Just as all good theology begins with a reverential fear of God, it should also produce a biblical view of man. Like the thief, true Christians would sooner humble themselves than protest their innocence. We should go to the seminary we find in Luke 23:39–43, emulate the thief, and agree with God and what He says concerning our condition. The thief reminds us that it’s never too late to confess our sins.

Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B180326
COPYRIGHT ©2018 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/about#copyright).

The Church’s Dumbing Down (Guinness)

The Reformed Reader

 (This is a re-post from May 2013).

A person only needs to listen to contemporary Christian radio for thirty minutes to realize that the Christian faith has been extremely watered down in our day.  Since there is little talk of the law, sin, and God’s wrath, any mention of Jesus reduces him to a divine friend or perfect life coach rather than the sovereign Savior of miserable sinners of whom Scripture speaks.  For an intellectual discussion of this topic, one of the “go to” books is one I’ve mentioned here before: Fit Bodies, Fat Minds by Os Guinness.  This is a great resource on how evangelicalism has nearly lost its mind.

Part one of this book is called “A Ghost Mind.”  Guinness lists eight things that have dumbed down modern evangelicalism. The following list is my own summary:

1) Polarization: the focus on feelings at the expense of…

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Facts vs feelings in the debate on gun control vs self-defense


I found a splendid at the Daily Signal article that ought to be read by everyone who has an opinion about the conflict between gun confiscation vs self-defense.

Here are the 8 points made in the article, then I’ll comment on my favorite one:

  1. Violent crime is down and has been on the decline for decades.

  2. The principal public safety concerns with respect to guns are suicides and illegally owned handguns, not mass shootings.

  3. A small number of factors significantly increase the likelihood that a person will be a victim of a gun-related homicide.

  4. Gun-related murders are carried out by a predictable pool of people.

  5. Higher rates of gun ownership are not associated with higher rates of violent crime.

  6. There is no clear relationship between strict gun control legislation and homicide or violent crime rates.

  7. Legally owned firearms are used for lawful purposes much more often than they are used…

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Why Francis Schaeffer Matters: The Turning Point in Truth – Part 2

Veritas et Lux

sch 2

The Truth Crisis

Francis Schaeffer sets the tone for his apologetical procedure by explaining the crisis of truth in America:  “We are fundamentally affected by a new way of looking at truth.  This change in the concept of the way we come to knowledge and truth is the most crucial problem facing America today” (The God Who Is There, 6).  He believes a paradigm shift occurred around 1935 when the American attitude toward truth changed.  Prior to this time, American’s were devoted to thinking about presuppositions, namely, the existence of absolutes, particularly in the areas of morals (ethics) and knowledge (epistemology).  But the average American took it for granted that if a certain idea was true, it’s opposite was false.  In other words, “absolutes imply antithesis.”  The working antithesis is that God exists objectively (in antithesis) to his not existing.

Schaeffer believes that presuppositional apologetics would have stopped…

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Why Francis Schaeffer Matters: An Introduction – Part 1

Veritas et Lux

Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984) may very well be one of the most important Christian thinkers of the twentieth century.  Schaeffer graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary and was heavily influenced by J. Gresham Machen, Cornelius Van Til, and the Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper.

In 1948, after a ten year pastorate in the United States, he moved his family to Switzerland to engage in missionary work.  In 1955, Dr. and Mrs. Schaeffer founded L’Abri in a small mountain village in Switzerland.  French for “shelter,” L’Abri became a refuge for people in need of spiritual help.  The Schaeffers were especially interested in people who sought answers to basic philosophical and metaphysical problems.  He writes, “To the best of my ability I gave the Bible’s answers.  But all the time I tried to listen and learn the thought forms of these people.  I think that my knowledge, whatever it is, is formed from…

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